Exposing the Real Issues in Sochi


Tonight, the big torch will light, and another two weeks of the world’s top in athletics will wow and inspire us with their dedication, determination, and skill in athletics. I’m as excited as the next person to watch the Olympic Games. I love everything about the Olympics, though admittedly I’m always more drawn to the summer Games than the Winter.

But there’s a shadow over these 2014 Olympics Games, and I’m struggling to get excited. In the days leading up to these Games I’ve heard little about the athletes, and much about the condition of the hotels, the discomfort of the visiting journalists, and OH DEAR ME THE POOR SHIPMENT OF YOGURT THAT NEVER MADE IT.

*caps for dramatic effect*

Last year, I participated in three phone calls with the U.S. Department of State on the situation with the law banning Americans from adopting from Russia. I listened as bereaved parent after bereaved parent asked, “Where are our leaders? Who is fighting on our behalf?”

We were given answers that were pandering at best, most of them meant to deflect a question without an answer. Outside of Senator Mary Landreiu and a few of her colleagues, very few of our nation’s leaders had anything to say on the matter of Russian adoption. For months and months, the issue was pushed aside as parents who had already met their children, who promised to return and bring them home, languished with no answers.

So imagine the horror we all feel at this abandoned shipment of Chobani. Within hours of hearing that the yogurt would not be cleared, Senator Schumer fired off a strongly worded statement: 

“Chobani Yogurt is safe, nutritious and delicious and the Russian Authorities should get past ‘nyet’ and let this prime sponsor of the US Olympic Team deliver their protein-packed food to our athletes.” Senator Charles Schumer.

Where was this indignation when innocent children were caught in the red tape? Where was the quick response, the strongly worded rebuke, the balled fists and determined pride, when over 200 families who had already met and bonded with their children were told they could not return?

Forgive me, but this is a gross misdirection of priorities and it leaves me sick.

I’ve tried to ignore Yogurt-Gate, but when I turn away from that story, I’m accosted with the images of what appears to be a slew of uncomfortable, horrified journalists who have shown up to half-finished hotel rooms, yellow water, and bathroom situations that leave them red-faced and confused. I read these stories, and I see the tweets, and I can’t laugh. I just can’t do it.

I understand that the Olympics are a big deal, and that a certain level of service and comfort is expected when one visits the top athletic event in the world, but can I just offer a tiny bit of perspective? People live like that every day, all over the world.

Instead of making an entire country, and the wonderful people inside that country, the laughingstock of the world, why don’t you start doing the thing that journalists are supposed to do:

Why don’t you ask why?

Why do you think the conditions are so deplorable in Sochi?  An estimated 51 Billion dollars was spent on these Olympic Games, with an estimated two-thirds of that suspected to have been lost to corruption.

Please, everyone, stop making fun of the situation, and start asking questions, because the people of Russia are by and far good, kind, hardworking people. They don’t deserve to be laughed at, but by all means, question the man who serves as their “leader.” Expose him as the fool that he is.

I want to enjoy the Olympics this year. I really, really do. But I will not laugh at a group of people that I love, especially when they are operating under a man who is nothing short of a dictator. And I will not grow indignant at a missing shipment of yogurt when I know thousands of children are sitting in orphanages waiting on promises to be fulfilled.

I just can’t do it.


If I Say it Enough?



When my life looks like this:



And this:



And this:


One of many scratches down the side from wayward bikes.


And especially this:



Then I have to remind myself of this:



You think if I keep saying it, I’ll start to believe it?



Hide Yo Kidz. Hide Yo Wife.

Let’s lighten things up around here a bit and discuss roaches, shall we? Let’s dicuss roaches and HOW I FIND THEM ALL THE FREAK AROUND MY BEDROOM AND BATHROOM!

That’s sounds like fun, doesn’t it?

Join me in my horror. It’s super duper over here.

Remember when we lived in St. Louis and we had a problem with Cave Crickets, or as I like to affectionately call them – Satan’s minions? Well, I’ve officially decided that if Cave Crickets are the devil’s minions, then roaches are the verman that crawl about his feet and fetch his slippers at night.

That’s right. You read that correctly.

(Incidentally, I believe he keeps yellow flies as his pets. He feeds them and pets them and gives them pithy names like Betty and George.)

(On a related note: We clearly have issues with bugs.)

(On another related note: I’m fairly certain that I am raising neurotic children when it comes to multi-legged, scurrying creatures. You should see them run and scream at the sight of an insect. It would be funny if I wasn’t leading the pack of psychotic freak outs…)

What was I saying?

Ah yes. Roaches. They have become my nemesis. And don’t try to make them sound romantic and pretty by labeling them Palmetto Bugs. I Googled roaches to see if they provide any benefit to the ecosystem and do you know what I came up with?



Actually roaches provide a huge source of food for predator insects such as scorpions, spiders, crickets (some species are very carnivorous), centipedes, praying mantises, and other carnivorous insects. In additon, some animals prey on roaches such as lizards, birds, and birds. So, they fill a gap in providing a ready food source for a variety of animals and insects. As far as a helpful role in the ecosystem (other than being prey). They do not provide any helpful benefits. Roaches are scavengers and scavenge on rotting and filthy sources of vegetation and decaying meat. Because of this, they can also be plague carriers of various diseases. Which goes to show you how helpful they are to society.

To translate the above statement – roaches serve no real purpose other than to feed the other insects that bring me horror.

Now before you roll your eyes and tell me to stop being so dramatic, I would like you to look at this picture:

So that’s a roach.





Freaking roach in my freaking bed. I’ve killed two of them there – little perverts. Shortly after seeing this picture, my friend Carol felt it necessary to inform me of one of her nursing friends who had to dig a roach out of a woman’s ear in the ER once.

“But don’t worry,” she said. “That lady was sleeping on the floor. That’s how the roach got in there.”


I now sleep in ear muffs. Lee thinks it’s hot.

(Kidding. I don’t sleep in ear muffs. I just curl up in the fetal position with my hands pressed firmly over my ears. I haven’t slept well in a month…)

Not long after that, I opened the medicine cabinet in search of…well, medicine. As soon as I pulled the door open, the roach was standing there pointing a gun at my head. He was all “Tell me about it, punk.” I slammed the door shut and ran. He was found belly up a few days later.

(While the cave crickets always took on the personality of a Japanese warrior, roaches are more like tough Italian mob bosses. No, I haven’t been drinking. This is how my mind works. Roll with it.)

Last week we saw a rather large roach high up on our bathroom wall. I think it was the Godfather of them all. He kept opening and closing his wings like he was going to parachute down on my head while I showered. We just left him there because sometimes I feel like denial is better.

If you ignore a problem, it goes away, right?

That was a week ago and there had been no sight of the Godfather since. Until last night. I made the mistake of letting Lee order me a chai tea latte at 5:30 yesterday, which means I was still wide awake at 12:30 last night. I stumbled into the dark bathroom and just as I rounded the corner, he was there.

The mob boss.

He scattered around in an effort to throw me off his trail. I think he was trying to make me dizzy so I’d stumble and fall and he could attack more easily. But what he didn’t know was I wasn’t alone this time. I ran shrieking to Lee that I’d found the leader of the pack and with shoe in hand, Lee ended the life of the roach who has been watching me sleep at night just waiting for an opportune moment to burrow into my brain.

In an effort to shake off the horror, I’m going to the beach today.

See how I did that? I turned and rolled and sifted it all around until a trip to the beach was both justified and warranted.



Happy Monday to you all. *wink, wink*

How to throw a no fuss birthday party

Like every other parent, I began my career as mom going completely and totally over the top for birthdays. Sloan’s first birthday party was quite the fete and Tia’s grew even bigger thanks to the fact that all of our friends had multiple children when her first birthday rolled around. By the time it was Landon’s turn, I felt I had to throw a first birthday party simply out of obligation, but it wasn’t nearly as big as the others. Poor third baby…

As time went on, the parties stayed big and seemingly out of control with it all culminating on Sloan’s fifth birthday which was fun, but enormously chaotic. I vowed after that party never to put myself in that position again and for the last four years birthday parties have been smooth sailing around here.

So how do you host a cheap, no fuss, totally fun birthday party? It’s easy: Just follow this simple acronym:




Stupid (or Silly…’cause stupid sounds kinda harsh)


Part of the reason Sloan’s 5th birthday party was crazy-town was because I invited everyone and their brother. Literally. I was so afraid of hurting someone’s feelings that I invited every single person we knew, even if they weren’t people that Sloan played with on a regular basis. And because I didn’t want to inconvenience any parents, I decided to include the whole family in ever invitation.

Most of Sloan’s friends had two or more siblings. And everyone came!

No more. From that time on, birthday parties became low-key events at our home (minus Tia’s fourth birthday, which we had at a local gymnastics facility). The kids are allowed to invite five or six friends and we try to focus on doing something they really love to do.

We’ve had tea parties and movie parties. Last year, we invited six of Sloan’s friends to a local park, gave them all water guns and let them have at it. It was a blast and was as cheap and no fuss as you can get.

Remember Tia’s pink princess party?

I bought a hot pink bed sheet, a handful of costume pieces, which doubled as both photo props AND party favors, made a cake and some pink princess cookies and voila! A super fun princess party for little money and lots of fun with minimal preparation.

Another thing I’ve learned about throwing kid parties – skip cleaning the house! The kids could care less and they are just going to mess it up again, so just wait until after they leave and clean it then. That’s really a win-win for everyone. The kids get an unstressed Mama and you save yourself a needless afternoon of cleaning.

Finally, don’t forget that kids don’t really need that much to entertain them. They don’t need fancy, organized games, tons of food or manufactured settings to have fun. The less time and money you spend trying to give them the perfect party, the more fun they seem to have partying.

With that in mind, I planned Sloan’s party this year on the fly. I did not clean the house, I made a simple cake from a box and the only thing I planned and purchased were the flavored crickets and larva that he wanted to eat.

Uh-huh. It was a Bizarre Foods birthday party.

Bacon and Cheese Flavored Crickets

Mexican Spice Larvettes

Scorpion and Cricket Suckers. *shiver*

Prep time for this party was less than an hour. I simply cracked open a few boxes of dried bugs and sat back with camera in hand.

They made me eat one of the crickets. And you all know how much I love crickets. I picked cricket parts out of my teeth for an hour afterwards. *shudder*

On the count of three!

The rest of the afternoon the boys played baseball, swam, played a wicked game of Manhunt (which is esseintally a cuper cool name for hide-and-seek tag) and, of course, had chocolate cake. We topped the evening off by shooting some fireworks with our neighbors in the driveway. Just before leaving the boys all agreed, it was the best. day. ever.

The best part? Sloan decided a few weeks ago that instead of gifts. he wanted to have a donation party. He asked his friends to just put whatever they would have spent on a present in a jar. He collected $110.00. Enough to buy two goats and two chickens for families in need.

When I asked him why he wanted to do this, he told me he felt like he had enough stuff. “I just want to give good things to others this year.” I love his tender heart and I love the fact that he constantly challenges me to give more freely. I also love that, after he made the decision to forgo gifts from friends, he leaned over and whispered in my ear, “But you guys will still give me presents, right? ‘Cause family always gives presents.”

At the end of the day all of us were very, very :

What are ways that you simplify life?

Happy Fourth of July!

Why we’re both scarred for life

First things first: To the individuals responsible for deciding and implementing the change in policy that allows children to leave their shoes on while going through airport security, please send me your name and address.  I would like to send you cookies. 

Or…no, I want to send you a fruit basket. 

An Edible Arrangement!

If I could kiss you, I would. But that would be weird. I feel compelled, however, to do something to convey my sincere love for you and your wise decision. You all don’t get praise often enough, but for this you deserve sainthood.

Oh yes. Yes you do.

Flying with the kids is always an adventure. A well choreographed dance. And when it’s just me, the ballet turns into tap and I am the MASTER. This last adventure with the kids was just short of peaceful. They each had their own backpack, which they were able to carry with nary a complaint.


On top of that, I packed nothing but a small bag containing only my wallet, my sunglasses and my ipad. That was it. No sippy cups. No diapers. No snacks. No toys. It was so easy and my bag was so light that I spent half my time looking around in panic, sure I’d left something behind.

Turned out it was just my sanity, but I’ve long since been able to find that so no worries.

Once settled on the plane, things got a little more interesting. There were four of us travelling, but only three seats to a row and everyone wants the window seat. After the heat of my flaming dagger eyes calmed everyone down, we came to the not so convenient decision of me and the boys sitting in one aisle and Tia sitting next to the window in front of us. I watched as person after person looked at her and passed on by until finally a mercifully sweet young couple braved sitting next to the pig-tailed cherub with her nose pressed to the window.

I felt I owed them money about midway through the flight as they helped her retrieve item after item from her backpack wedged beneathe the seat. And of course, there was the dreaded, “Mom, I need to go to the westwoom,” immediately after take off.

My daughter makes it her mission in life to need to pee at the most inconvenient moment possible. Last time, her immediate need resulted in all four of us cramming into a bathroom together.

We like adventure.

When it became apparent that Tia was in imminent danger of springing a leak, we made a beline for the bathroom at the back of the plane.

“The seat belt sign is still on,” the stewardess said gently as we hustled back. She glanced down at Tia who was dancing, her eyes clearly conveying desperation. “Oh,” she smiled. “I see,” and she gestured us on by. Bless those who understand five year olds with overactive bladders!

We made it to the bathroom and I yanked open the door and that’s when time stopped for a moment too long. Yelping, I slammed the door shut again, the vision of his wide, dimpled backside forever seared into my brain.

Why?! Why the unlocked door?! And why the pants around the ankles?! Why?!

Maybe she didn’t see, I thought, slowly looking down at my daughter who had finally stopped squirming. Her eyes were wide, much like my own.

“Dat. Was. Gwoss,” she said quietly, looking up at me.

I had to bite my lip to keep from laughing as I rushed her to the front of the plane, because Lord knows I didn’t want her seeing that man’s face so she could point him out to her brothers and everyone on the plane.

Let this be a public service announcement to you all: LOCK THE DOOR WHEN YOU USE THE AIRPLANE BATHROOM!

I fully expected to hear of “Air Butt” the rest of the trip, but somehow, mercifully, she never brought it up. Maybe she found it to be as disturbing (or more so…it was pretty much at her eye level) as I did. Maybe she just forgot. I certainly don’t plan to ever mention it to her again.

Sadly, the unfortunate incident only added to my alreadyunreasonable fear of airplane bathrooms. Forget being sucked out – now every time I enter a bathroom I’ll have that image in my mind.


I fear just one thing

Sloan and Landon's seats

The bags are packed and have been strategically wedged into the car in what I can only describe as the worst game of Tetris ever.  We have everything but the kitchen sink and that’s because my in-laws wouldn’t let us take it.  We even gained a chest of drawers.  This was Tia’s birthday present from her grandparents and it’s the first time we’ve been able to pick it up.

We packed it before packing it.  Everyone has to carry their weight.

The floors are covered in bags, boxes and with last minute crap treasures we couldn’t bear to part with.  In short, we are hauling whatever bits of our lives that didn’t fit in the PODS beneath our feet.  For 16.5 hours.  Who’s having fun?

I’m not overly concerned about the trip, really.  Especially since Lee was able to fly up here and make the drive with us.  Not having to do that trip alone?  Priceless. Mastercard has nothin’ on that miracle.  I’m quite looking forward to the adventure of driving down to Florida.  I think it will be fun.  Stressful, but fun.

Really...how important is it to see out the back window? On a scale of 1 to 10?


But I am worried about one tiny, little thing.  It’s really the only thing that I find myself thinking about pretty regularly with some anxiety.  And you would too – in fact, most of you will probably understand and identify with this thing I fear.  It’s quite frightening and is worth a bit of trepidation.  What’s the one thing I fear?

GAS. And not the kind you purchase at a station (although that has me a little anxious too.  Expensive much?)  No.  The gas I fear is the kind that you don’t want and comes with a price all its own.  The “cut the cheese” kind of gas…

Three kids.  One dog.  And a husband.

I don’t stand a chance.

You coop that many people up in a box for two days straight eating food out of a bag or a fast food joint and the smell is bound to err on the side of ruthless.  Add to it my extremely motion sick first born and his tendency to get barfy in the car and you’re looking at a good time right there.

Good. Time.

So there you have.  I am afraid.  I’m woman enough to admit it.  I’m scared of gas.  Because it’s hot outside so cracking the windows just stirs around hot air, which only makes everyone sticky and sweaty.  It doesn’t help.

Tia and Sadie's seats

We covet your prayers – for safety, for enjoyment, for excitement and for provision.  But if you think about it, and you feel so inclined, feel free to say an extra prayer for me.  Because I’m about to be trapped for 16.5 hours in a metal box and I kind of have a sensitive sense of smell.  Smells get trapped up in my nose and don’t come out.  It is a curse.

Good times.  Good. Times.

Tell me your favorite, and funniest, car trip story.  It will give me something to do while I try to survive the box.

Monday in Bullets

– My children are systematically trying to ensure that I never sleep a full night again.  This is the part of the mom blog where I’m supposed to say that it’s Thanksgiving and I’m thankful for the sound of their little feet pitter pattering through the house no matter how early it is…

I’m not gonna say that.  I want to sleep.  I want to sleep all night long without someone coming into my room for this, that and the other.  I’m tired today.  And a little crabby.

– In Landon’s defense, he has been dealing with winter illnesses for a couple of weeks now.  He’s had a cold, that’s morphed into upper respiratory issues on top of which he’s developed pink eye and has so far this morning puked twice.  Good times.  In the midst of that, we’ve moved him out of the crib into a big bed allowing him the freedom to traipse into our room at all hours of the night.  Because we’re brilliant like that.

– Yesterday we attended our church’s annual Family Christmas Workshop.  I love this event.  There are almost 100 rooms set up with different homemade crafts for the kids to make.  There are Christmas carols and cookies (so many cookies!) and it’s a great way to kick off the holiday season.  It also gives us several handmade gifts to give to teachers and grandparents.  Score!

– Speaking of our church, we are putting on a Broadway style musical in a couple of weeks and, if I do say so myself, it’s going to be amazing.  Wanna come?  Purchase tickets here.  Most of the front tables have already been sold, but there really isn’t a bad seat in the house.  And in addition to a great show, you’ll also get dessert!  All for ten dollars.  Please come!

– I have a fantastic giveaway up on STL Family Life today.  Seriously – you don’t want to miss it.  The bracelet I’m giving away is gorgeous.  I so wish I could keep it for myself.

– Landon is watching Toy Story 3 Monster’s Inc. right now.  I am letting him watch all the TV he wants today.  It keeps him still and near the puke bowl in case he needs it.  And it keeps me from having to follow him around the house hoping to catch his upchuck because, as we all know, toddlers give no warning before spewing. 

– I’m grateful to my husband.  He’s been amazing this weekend.  He helped me out so much in a variety of different ways and this morning before leaving he told me he knew today was going to be sucky and he was sorry.  I so needed to hear that.  I didn’t need a pep talk about how I could do this and how I would survive this day and how I just needed to power through.  I just needed to hear some acknowledgment that today, indeed, will be a sucky day.  What a guy…

– I’m going to sit down and take a nap on the couch fold laundry while Landon watches his movie.  Here’s to hoping he doesn’t yak on me while I sleep work.

– Go Monday – FTW!

Potty Training 103

I’m not one to talk about all things potty on my blog.  It isn’t my schtick.  So you will not be getting all the gory details of Landon’s potty training, as diappointing as I’m sure that is to all of you.

Actually, things have been going as well as they could be around here.  We’ve had plenty of accidents and when I say plenty I mean I’ve got six pairs of soiled underwear sitting in the basement waiting to be washed today.  But we’re also having plenty of successes too. 

The issue with child number three is the mobility of our lives.  When I was enduring this conquering this with Sloan, we stayed home for a week.  We did not leave the house.  It was like house arrest…with leaking bodily waste.  But we got the job done and after seven days it was over.

The second time around proved a bit more challenging thanks to an active four years old and a newborn in the house.  There were many more accidents, but ultimately, we survived.

The third time around is almost feeling like an impossibility.  He is having to be trained in Pull Ups most of the time, which is not overly effective in my opinion.  But he really doesn’t like the picture on the front to disappear so that works in our advantage quite a bit.  So far we’ve only had one major accident in public and that was yesterday at Walmart.  Thankfully we made it out of the store before the dam broke. 

He told me he had to go, then changed his mind and said he didn’t have to go.  And I believed him. Sheesh.  It’s like I’ve never done this before.  Mom fail.

Otherwise we’re doing alright in public.  And at home.  Thankfully we are planning on getting new carpet soon so I’m not overly concerned when accidents happen on the floor.  In fact, I’m kind of glad because I figure it will speed up the much needed process.

And speak of the devil, he just said he needs to go potty.  Excuse me while I go fulfill my motherly duty and get up close and personal with my child.  No one ever said motherhood was boring, right?

…but I always remember to brush my teeth

When Lee and I were first married, I lived the good life as a freelance writer/gymnastics coach.  I realized early on that the typical 9-5 job wasn’t for me.  It cramped my style.

Such a Prima Donna…

So I got a sweet job coaching gymnastics at the top gym in the nation, where I didn’t have to go to work until 3:00 in the afternoon and I spent my mornings ghostwriting and editing books, writing corporate newletters and walking the mall that was .2 miles from our Frisco, Texas apartment.

That was the good life.  I miss that life some days (read: many days).

One of the more productive ways I filled my time was meeting every Tuesday morning with an amazing group of women from our church.  Most of them were stay at home moms, save for one other woman (my dearest of friends) who had no children like me but worked as an actress so she also had a flexible schedule.

I’ll never forget one Tuesday morning as we all began our time of study and Allison, a new mom, threw open the door, her hair all askew, her eyes wide, her clothes wrinkled and a look of total bewilderment on her face.

“Getting out of the house with a baby is hard!” she exclaimed.  You had to know Allison to understand how sweet and cute this moment was.  We all laughed and I shook my head, totally not getting it.  I mean, how hard is it to get a shower and change your clothes, right?

Fast forward three years when I myself became that wide-eyed, bewildered new mom.  I would wake up each morning resolved to be cool and smooth and put together, and inevitably by 10:00am I could still be found in my wrinkled pajamas (which, of course, weren’t really pajamas but rather the clothes I had been wearing for the past several days because who had time to change her clothes on a daily basis?), my hair knotted and gnarled in tufts around my head, my eyes bloodshot and red and my bladder full because I couldn’t figure out when I was supposed to go to the bathroom.

You know…first baby syndrome.

Was I supposed to put him down and let him scream just so I could pee?  But then it would take all that time and effort to get him calmed back down and God forbid the kid wants to nurse again because there’s a good chance that certain necessary parts of my chest might literally fall off if he nurses one more time…

And so I stood and bounced for hours on end.  Not because he needed to be bounced, but because I needed to pee and because it kept me from thinking about the grungy state of my appearance.

It took a few weeks for me to snap out of that daze.  It took some time for me to figure out that it was indeed okay to put the child down for moderate stretches of time.  Good Lord, when I figured out that I could put him in the bouncy seat for 2.4 minutes of quiet and jump in the shower, I became a different woman.

One with hygiene.

Within a few months, we had settled into a nice little schedule of two solid naps a day, which allotted me all the time I wanted to make myself presentable.  Glory day!  Until child number two entered the picture.  Then, gasp! There were two of them.  If I got the baby to sleep, I still had the two year old to contend with.  I don’t think I showered for a month.

But again, thanks in part to Tia being a freak of nature and sleeping roughly 19 hours a day for the first six months of her life, we eased well into a schedule that allowed me to at least pull a brush through the nest on my head and run a toothbrush over the fuzz on my teeth.

Enter kid number three.

I gave up on showers all together.  Because when you shower, crazy things happen, like kids cutting each other’s hair, or small children taking a Sharpie to the walls, or any number of unimaginable craziness that can happen in the few minutes I leave them unattended.

So if you run into me in public and I look…questionable…just nod your head, smile and take heart in the fact that I always brush my teeth.

Almost always, anyways…

Girl and Boy and a Cricket Makes Three


As Lee and I lead up to our 10th Anniversary, I am chronicling some of the favorite memories of our years together.  You can read our love story here.

By the fall of 1999, Lee and I were an official “item.”  Although neither one of us could ever really call each other “boyfriend and girlfriend.”  It sounded silly and trivial and we’d giggle every time we said it.  We also felt very strange and junior high when we would walk and hold hands.  Because we knew that marriage was imminent, it almost felt like hand holding and labeling trivialized our relationship.

When we returned for what would be my senior year at Baylor, Lee decided to go to the K-Life Board of Directors and tell them about our relationship and his intentions for it.  Because he was on staff and I was a volunteer leader, technically we weren’t supposed to date.  I was willing to step down as a volunteer if I needed to in order to officially date Lee, but I did not have to do that.  The Board was not only supportive of Lee and I, they were excited for us.  And for that entire school year, they really poured into us as a couple.  What a blessing that was.

So we were free to move forward as an official couple, and move forward we did.  Every available moment we had, we spent together.  Because I was in my final year and it was kicking my tail academically, Lee and I spent a lot of time at Barnes and Noble – me studying, him staring dreamily at me…

Okay, not really – I think he usually prepared his K-Life talks or Bible studies, but I like to think that he was so distracted by my beauty that he got nothing done at all during that time.

For those of you who have been in Waco in the autumn, you will know that what I am about to write is no exaggeration.  Every fall, Waco experienced what can only be described as the Plague of Crickets.  Thousands upon thousands (maybe millions) of crickets would swarm the town, covering buildings, falling from the sky and altogether making my life a living hell.

I’ve told you about my unnatural fear of crickets here.  This fear stems from my years as a Baylor student.  And the fall of 1999 was the worst cricket infestation of all my years there.  You couldn’t go anywhere without seeing one or 10,000 crickets.  They were in restaurants, churches, libraries, classrooms – every-freakin’-where

One evening, as Lee and I sat in a quiet corner of B & N studying and talking, I kept a wary eye on the crickets that were crawling on the wall next to us.  It was at a particularly intense moment of conversation that I felt a tickle on my calf.  I gasped and slapped at my leg, shaking my pants around a little.  Lee laughed and called me paranoid and we moved on. 

A moment later, I felt another tickle on the back of my knee.  I yelped and shook my leg under the table.  When no cricket came tumbling out, I decided that maybe I was being a little crazy.  Until…

I felt something crawling on my thigh!

At this point I leapt to my feet in the silent but crowded book store where several people were studying and began hopping and dancing about as I stuck my hands down my pants and dug for the voyeristic little cricket.  I finally felt my hands close around it and I snatched it out of my pants and threw it across the room with a scream.

I looked around to see all eyes on me and Lee doubled over in laughter.  I gave a little smile and wave, then slowly sat back down all shaky and hot.  Lee was still laughing.  I glared at him and leaned forward.

“Lee,” I hissed.  “Did you see that?”

He snorted.

“Lee!” I was desperate for him to understand the seriousness of the situation.  I had just been viciously attacked, for crying out loud.

“That cricket was in my pants,” I stage whispered in horror.

Lee sat up and wiped his eyes, then looked straight at me.  “Well,” he said with a grin.  “Lucky cricket.”

My mouth dropped open and my face got hotter still.  Then we both started cracking up. 

And then we left…And I have had a severe Crickiphobia ever since.