Friday, July 16, 2010

Cookie Monster

I’ve heard numerous stories about how, when my husband was a kid, he liked to sneak cookies from the cookie jar when his mother wasn’t looking. He spilled the beans as a young adult and she promptly bought him one of those cookie jars shaped like a shark that plays the Jaws theme song every time it’s opened. Just so everyone knows who’s in the cookie jar.

The apple, apparently, doesn’t fall far from the tree.

We made chocolate chip cookies last night. (And before you go thinking I am the mother of the year, coming home from a long day’s work to bake cookies with my children, rest assured I am not that mother. We bought pre-made dough from Papa Murphy’s that was about to expire. But hey! I try.)

I left that cookie sheet full of cookies on the oven. I sent to boys to bed, and I was thinking I should put those cookies away, but, whatever I’ll do it before I go to bed. I headed for the comfy couch in the basement instead.

Cut to 30 minutes later when I hear Liam tip-toeing across the kitchen floor. This has become a routine for him. I send him to bed, I sternly warn him to STAY in bed, I throw out all kinds of consequences for not staying in bed, and 30 minutes after closing his door he is out of bed.

I say his name in the most threatening voice I can muster, and I hear him scrambling back to his room.

I’m not satisfied he’s actually back in bed, so I investigate.

Liam has this little night-stand-like-table-thing by his bed. When I come around the corner into his bedroom, there he is: dangling his legs from his bed, facing the table that is now home to THE ENTIRE COOKIE SHEET, and rapidly, forcefully, intensively shoveling cookies into his mouth.

It took me a moment to take in what was happening, but as soon as I did I was all WHAT ARE YOU DOING? And right then, he dropped the half-cookie in his hand and gave me this look. This look that said OH MY GOD I’m in so much trouble. I’ve never seen him look so alarmed and terrified in my life. He was totally and completely caught red handed.

He jumped down from the bed, exclaimed his sorry’s, and then burst into pathetic crocodile tears because my child does not like to think Mommy is mad at him. (He’s also quite manipulative—I try to be stern—he bursts into tears—I melt in an instant.)

I sent him to wash his hands so that I could run downstairs and tell Nate what his child did. Also, I needed to laugh and I didn’t want him to see. I’m trying to discourage him from stealing a tray full of cookies after all.

I took a quarter from his piggy bank as a consequence. (He could care less if I gave him a timeout or took away a toy, but mess with that boy’s Chuck E. Cheeses’s fund and hoo-boy has a message been sent!) The truth is, I wish I could tell him how hilarious I really thought it was, because really Liam? Really? The whole cookie sheet? This is going to be recorded, and I am going to tell your future girlfriends.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Teetering On Top of the World

We recently took a trip back to my beautiful home state of Colorado. Though Liam's body wasn't quite sure how to handle the altitude, and revolted in the form of multiple bloody noses (especially when he was wearing a WHITE shirt!), there is simply no denying the beauty of the state.

Nate and I always come back to the same conundrum: Minnesota or Colorado? We have about equal pros and cons for each. I doubt we'll ever have an answer to the question. I propose we just move to Hawaii.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Little Gymnast

One day a few weeks ago Liam took a running start across our basement and launched himself into a head stand of sorts on our couch. It was genuinely cool, and I told him so, which turned out to be a big mistake because later that night I was informed that he pushed the Little Tykes table up to the side of the couch and attempted a back flip. This did not end well.

I signed him up for gymnastics class the next day.

Last summer he tried swimming and soccer. Swimming was okay, but he was far more interested in playing than learning, and he made sure I knew how much the learning part was not happening. Soccer was a disaster, normally ending in him taking off for the nearby playground in a bevy of tears. He was THAT kid. We didn’t even go to the last three sessions.

So while I was hoping that a gymnastics class might be just what he needed to get his itch to flip and jump and bounce out, I was preparing for the worst.

The class started out with Liam and his 7 classmates (all girls—the teacher learned his name right away), skipping, crab crawling & jumping across the gym floor. All the while I could hear Liam laughing and exclaiming “this is fun!” and I knew we were at least off to a good start. Later in the class the teacher pulled out a wedge and was demonstrating how to do a backward roll by “squishing the cookies.” And Liam, my shy child who will recoil into a mess of anxiety whenever confronted by a gaggle of kids or a new task to try was volunteering to go first. Loudly. Excitedly. I didn’t even recognize him for a moment.

By the end of the class he was completing a circuit that involved backward rolls, forward rolls, donkey kicks and balance beam feats, and each time he’d complete a task he’d laugh and clap his hands. He couldn’t have been having more fun.

When we got home he assembled the couch pillows in perfect formation to show his Daddy how he can squish the cookies. He also showed impeccable form in demonstrating how he held his arms out perfect and straight while navigating the balance beam. He couldn’t stop talking about it and hasn’t stopped asking me when his next class might be.

I’m not sure where this will lead, if anywhere. But I’m daring to think we may have found a hit. Which is good, because if we had to endure another class wherein he ran away in tears I might be the one recoiling into a mess anxiety should “recreational activity” and “Liam” be mentioned in the same sentence.

Of course, if I can avoid having that reaction when handed the bills that come from “real” gymnastics classes, I’ll be in good shape. Also, I'm not sure my couches will ever forgive me. But, in the mean time, I’m just going to enjoy my budding gymnast.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

A conversation in the car

Quin: Leg off.

Me: What?!

Quin: Leeeg off-uh.

Me: You mean shoe?

Quin: LEG OFFFF!

Me: Quin? You can't take your leg off sweetie.

Liam: Quin. You're not a lego man.

Me: Right. What Liam said.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Chocolate Face

Here's looking at you, babe.
No better way to start the day. Yum.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Epic Mothering Fail

If ever I begin saying things like, “Oh. My kids NEVER get sick,” and “Oh. I don’t know what to even DO with sick kids,” like I did in this post. Please just slap me. Hard.

You remember that post? It was last week? My nephew—who is with the boys everyday—was sick last week, and I’m all whatever, my kids never catch these things. And in fairness, they may not have swapped germs at all, but what I do know is such assumptions make and ASS out of, well, just me. Should be Assme--there's no 'u' in this story.

Heh.

Liam started complaining that his tummy hurt and he didn’t feel good on Monday, and today he’s running a fever of 102.5 and complaining that the light is too bright and the noise is too loud, and (here’s where I know he’s REALLY sick) he’s been falling asleep ON THE COUCH. Whoa.

My poor baby.

Remember when I said I don’t know what to do with sick kids? It’s still true. I stayed home with him yesterday, so Daddy is taking a turn today, and meanwhile I’m at work about three seconds from bolting for the door because MAH BABEEE is sick. Also, even though I called the doctor and was told to wait it out a couple more days, I’m a nervous wreck and am convinced that they don’t know what they’re talking about. He needs to go in NOW. Right? He has a FEVER. I’m not quite sure he’s ever had a fever in his life. Clearly, something is terribly wrong.

Anyway. Point being. It’s all my fault for claiming such things as I did last week, and even though I said I’d be knocking on wood while I wrote it, I didn’t because I’m not superstitious, and therein lies the fact that I’m officially the worst mother ever.

Fail.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

My childless friends are so jealous of me right now.

I was going to sit down today and write about how, when I got Quin out of his crib this morning he was trying to tell me he was stinky, except it came out as “neeky” and I thought he was saying “naked” and was explaining to him that we should probably leave our clothes on today. I realized my error when I pulled down his pull-up so he could go potty and got poop all over my hands. Also, no matter the fact that I’ve washed my hands about 500 times since, I still have two fingers with the lingering smell of poop on them.

But I’m tired today. So I think I’ll give you a rain check.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Minnesotans Are Screwballs

When I was growing up, my mother went back to school to complete an undergraduate degree in English. This resulted in her constant need to correct the English of my sister and me, which in turn resulted in a constant need from a nine-year-old me to correct the English of everyone else.

I didn’t realize until I was much older that such an activity might be deemed annoying. So while I am constantly correcting your English in my head, I’ve learned to mostly keep it to myself.

But English is a funny thing in that it can be completely different depending on where you live. I grew up in Colorado, where of course the dialect is Correct and Right. I now live in Minnesota, where the dialect is All Wrong. (Recognize facetiousness, people.)

Like I did when I was younger, I used to constantly point out to native Minnesotans the err of their ways, until I recognized (and I was quicker on the up-keep this time) that such an activity was again deemed annoying. Ahem.

But right now, I want to stand on my high horse and point out for you what is All Wrong about the upper Midwest dialect.

Pop: This is not something that you drink. “Pop” is a sound, like, when I’m having way too much fun with bubble wrap making all those popping noises. If it’s a fizzy beverage I am after, I’ll be looking for a Soda.

Words ending in ‘AG’: Let me make this clear, “Bag” is not spelled “Bey-g” and therefore should not be pronounced as such. The letter A is only pronounced “ey” in a circumstance like “I have a ball.” Or maybe in the word Bay. I’m sure there are some others. But otherwise, if you have a word with ‘ag’ in it, it is pronounced AH! Ah. Ah. Ah.

Karaoke: This word is pronounced (at least in 49 of 50 U.S. States) as Care-E-Okey. In Minnesota, it comes out like Ker-O-Kee, which is just plain weird. Sounds like croak or something, which is a really odd visual to have when you’re talking about singing badly. The first time my husband (a native Minnesotan) said Ker-O-Kee to me, I literally had no idea what he was talking about.

• I’m not even getting into the elongated O’s. Mostly because I find myself using them. SHUT UP.

You Betcha: This is a common misconception. Minnesota thinks it has the market cornered on “You Betcha,” but I actually disagree. I’m pretty sure the rest of the country uses this term just as much, and honestly, I don’t hear it all that often. Dontcha know.

Borrow You: As in, “I’m going to borrow you my CD collection.” I hear this all the time, and it drives. me. crazy. The term you are looking for, Minnesota, is LOAN. You will LOAN me your CD collection, and I will BORROW it from you.

Hotdish: Do you know how long I went wondering what on earth a hot dish is? A dish that just came out of the oven? No. Oh! It’s a casserole! (Also, last time I checked, casserole rarely comes with tater tots, but if I’m being honest, it’s somewhat delicious.)

Uff-ta: I said uff-ta before I moved to Minnesota. It doesn’t count. Color me crazy.

Duck, Duck…Grey Duck: What on earth is that? Seriously, Minnesota. It’s duck, duck, GOOSE. Why would you say grey duck anyway? Isn’t a grey duck just another duck? How about next time I play “white duck, brown duck, grey duck” and see how confused you get?

And Minnesota? Don’t take offense. You know I love you.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Stupid Bee

When I was five years old, I was outside playing with the neighbor boy, doing five-year-old kind of things, when that neighbor boy exclaimed, “You have a bee in your ear!” Naturally, my reaction was to immediately clasp my hand over my ear. Because you know, that seemed like the right way to handle a BEE in my EAR.

I think it goes without saying that I got stung.

I remember everything about that moment. The kind of day it was, exactly where I’d been standing on the sidewalk outside my house, running inside to get comfort from my Mom. And while I’ve been irrationally afraid of any bee buzzing anywhere near me ever since, what I’d forgotten about was how much it must’ve hurt. Because on Sunday, my baby boy got stung by a bee.

Let me say that as much experience as I’ve gleaned as a Mom, there are two areas that I have absolutely no experience with and therefore I am rendered hopelessly incompetent: injuries and illness.

The illness issue is a bit of a mystery to me, and truthfully I should be knocking on 25 tons of wood before I say this out loud. But. My kids have never been sick. When Liam was a baby we had a couple bouts with ear infections and both kids get the occasional cold. But really and truly sick? It’s never happened. Vomit? Liam has only done so once, and I’m pretty sure it was because he had too much candy that day. And I’m telling you, I still don’t get it. Not that I’m complaining, I’m not. I just don’t get it. They’ve even been exposed to swine flu, and this stomach bug that got to everyone (Nate and I, their cousin & his parents, the grandparents, everyone) but my boys remained healthy through all of it. It’s bizarre.

The lack of experience with injury stems entirely from my own neurotic need to watch them at every second of every day lest they get into something dangerous. Oh no. I’ve seen too many reports of kids getting hurt on the most innocuous things, so I opt to just watch them like a hawk. What? Don’t tell me I can’t sustain that vigilance. I can. And I will.

But a bee that sneaks into the house. That I didn’t see coming. And so it was on Sunday morning, when my poor, unsuspecting 21-month-old baby was told to go pick up his trains, and he so dutifully complied, and there was a bee hanging out on those trains who wasn’t all that happy to be manhandled by a baby, and WHAMO.

And oh my god, it’s ALL OUR FAULT for telling him to pick up his trains in the first place. That’s it. My kids officially get a pass from cleaning up toys.

It got him on the back of the hand, and at first I thought he was crying because he wanted help with his trains or something, but then Nate starts with his Oh My God shriek and Quin just got STUNG by a BEE, and I go into panic mode. What if he’s allergic? What am I supposed to do? I don’t know how to handle injured children!

To my credit, while I was cuddling my baby boy (who in-between sobs kept repeating “hand” and “buuuggg” to tell us just what happened in case we missed it) I did ask Nate to go get the ice pack from the freezer and some Tylenol. And you guys, I discovered afterward that’s exactly what the internet told me to do. Hurah. I watched for signs of allergic reaction. But aside from a swollen middle finger (seems fitting, doesn’t it?) there were just a lot of sobs.

(Also, there was a pause from the sobbing to say "Yummy" in reference to the Tylenol, which I’m now convinced is a very bad sign. Maybe someday I’ll tell you the story I’ve been told about how I ate a bottle of Tylenol when I was little. Yeah. I did that.)

My sweet eldest child showed just what a good brother he can be, when the stealing of toys are not involved. He found every toy he could think of to make Quin feel better. I’m pretty sure that between assuring Quin that it’d be OK, and finding a combination of Zhu Zhu Pets and Buzz & Woody from Toy Story, Liam did a better job of making Quin feel better than I did.

Eventually, My Poor Baby got down to play again. He’d fiddle with some Lego’s or blocks and then pause to cry some more. This is the part I’d forgotten, how much it lingered.  But after an hour or so, he was over it.

Me on the other hand; I’ll remember every moment of that bee sting. Just like I did when I was five.

Monday, May 17, 2010

A Peeved Rant

When I married my husband, I inherited this most unfortunate problem that I didn’t even consider would be a problem until it became a problem, and now it’s escalated into my biggest pet peeve ever.

My married name is also a common first name.

Meaning I have two first names as a whole name.

Given that creepy people hang out on the World Wide Web (I mean, none of YOU of course, just other people), I don’t want to give away what that actual name is. But let’s call me Amanda Morgan for demonstrative purposes.

Usually, it’s at the doctor’s office or when I’m getting an email from someone who doesn’t really know me (because they see my name in their inbox as last name first).

Last week, I took my kids to the doctor and even though I said I had an appointment for Liam and Quinlan Morgan, the receptionist still looked up and asked, “And you are Morgan?”

Yes. My name is Morgan Morgan. Isn’t that handy?

It really irritates me when people can’t take the time to really LOOK at my damn name and get it right. Because for God’s sake people, does that mean you think my last name is Amanda? Every time I see an email addressed to Morgan, I get this prang of irritation and the urge to respond in some snarky way usually involving calling them by their last name. (Take THAT Smith! That is your name, right? First name Smith, last name Adam? Smith Adam?)

HA!

Haha!

But I always chicken out.

And while I feel more annoyed than I probably should when strangers call me Morgan, my irritation increases to epic levels when someone I KNOW calls me by my last name. Like that guy at that agency whom I’ve been working with for nearly two years.

Or the co-worker I see ON A DAILY BASIS.

Am I really so forgettable? Don’t answer that.

The point is. What I really need is to stop being so afraid of correcting people. That’s what I need. But I’m introverted by nature, and I also have this irrational fear of upsetting anyone, so normally I let it go. (And also, simply calling that person by their last name is lame.)

But this pet peeve of mine, it occurs at least on a weekly basis, so what I need is a good come back. Got any good comebacks? I am lacking in the witty department. What I’d like to so is shout “Goddamn it people, my name is Amanda. Get it right!” But I’m thinking that might now be the best way to go about this.

As a side note, my second biggest pet peeve: Girls who pucker their lips in photos. What is that about anyway?

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

What the Flagnar

Here I am again in this all too familiar situation. I tell myself, Self, you really need to do more writing, it will make you feel so good. And so I promise to get back to my blog and create a post every day. Of the week that is. Barring any major busyishness in work, school, children, life, and OH CRAP there go all of my posts.

So I’m reaching today, because I made the promise. What can I tell you?

This morning, Liam announced that he couldn’t find his monkey in his bed. I asked if it was on the floor. “Well,” he said. “It’s not on the right. And it’s not on the left.”

(It’s much funnier when delivered in a four-year-old voice.)

Last night I was very proud of myself for fixing a nice pork chop dinner (mind you, I rarely cook, this was really a feat). Liam went to bed without having eaten a thing. “Why can’t you just make peanut butter and jelly for dinner?” Bust.

I bought a new Wii game! OH, it is SO much fun! It’s called Just Dance. You guys, you gotta try it. Just don’t go peering into my windows after the kids go to bed because if you catch me playing this game I will be mortally embarrassed.

I’m going to start my fourth MBA class tomorrow. It’s Financial Accounting. I’m going to die. If I manage to come out of this class with my current 4.0 intact, it will truly be a miracle.

Also, YEAH, I bragged about it. I totally have a 4.0. That’s right. I’m awesome.

Tomorrow, I promise to have more interesting things to say. The kids have a doctor’s appointment tomorrow morning, that’s GOT to make for good conversation.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

I'm Going to Curse Now (You've Been Warned)

I love my house. I love absolutely everything about my house, except three things.

One, I don’t have a three-car garage. Two, I would really like four bedrooms. And three, well, number three is a game changer.

I’m not trying to complain or sound ungrateful; because like I said, I have a pretty awesome house and I’m really very blessed to have it. But, so okay, Nate has an old dune buggy he’d really like to be fixing up--hence the need for the three car garage; and most of my family lives out-of-state so it sure would be nice to have a guest bedroom for them to stay in--hence the need for the fourth bedroom. And I’m really saying all of this because I know I said I was never moving, but you know, can I really live without those things?

The answer is yes, I could. EXCEPT for the third thing. If it wasn’t for the third thing, I’d probably get over it. And the third thing is the farm that is situated about a quarter mile from my house.

THAT FARM is like finding out a month after moving into your new house that you actually live right on railroad track, but you couldn’t see it when you decided you loved the house. Because THAT FARM has this grain fan, or dryer, or something of the like that I’m about to go over and destroy with a sledgehammer if it ruins one more goodnight’s sleep. (I’m kidding. I’m far too pussy to actually try such a thing. But I do dream about how good it would feel.)

The first night we noticed the noise, it was right around Christmas time when all of the neighbors put up those blow-up decorations in their yards and we were like WOW, the little motors on those decorations are really loud. It didn’t take very long to figure out it wasn’t a little blow-up decoration motor. It was THAT FARM. (Imagine me pursing my lips and clinching my teeth when I say ‘that farm’ because that’s totally how I look.)

The fan on that farm? It’s like on Dumb & Dumber when Jim Carrey asks if his friend wants to hear the most annoying sound ever and then he lets out this incredible shriek of awfulness, except in my case it is a continuous shriek and it tends to last 24 hours a day for at least a week straight. Sure, it may be turned off for a few days every now and then, and those days are the most peaceful, bliss-filled days you could ever imagine. But then, just as I’m starting to fall in love with the sweet sound of crickets in my back yard all over again, Jim Carrey rears his awful head and starts shrieking in my ear.

During the winter months, we could tune it out a little better. Because it is winter and we’re hardly outside anyway and our windows are shut. And sure, it was still annoying, but then spring arrived.

Spring. Didn’t you know? The best part of spring is sleeping with the windows open; and guess what I’ve hardly had the pleasure of enjoying this spring? Sleeping with the windows open. Because that fan is shrieking in my ear, and rather than falling asleep to the cool breezes flirting with my curtains and the sound of distant frogs, all I hear is THAT FUCKING FAN.

I sent a letter of complaint to the city. I have reason to believe that they really don’t need to run the goddamned thing as often as they do. The city has not responded. I even printed off copies of the complaint form to hand out to the neighbors, because I KNOW they must be as pissed off as I am, they just have to be. Of course, then I was reviewing the city code which clearly laid out all of these rules about disturbing the peace, and I’m all, HAHA I TOTALLY WON, until I got to the last line about how agriculture noise is exempt from the policy.

Total crap.

So, yeah, when I say I’m never going to move again. What I mean is, I’m never moving again AS LONG as I can successfully wage a vigilante war against THAT FARM and win. Otherwise, I’m totally out.

Monday, May 10, 2010

What I Got for Mutter's Day

I knew from the day Quin was born that he was the proverbial ‘easy baby’. Literally. Well, at least I wondered because I distinctly remember holding this quiet, calm baby and wondering why he wasn’t crying? Because Liam was not an easy baby. Or toddler. Or preschooler. I’m still trying to figure that kid out.

When I was in the hospital with Liam, I thought for sure Child Protective Services was going to bust down my hospital room door demanding to know what I was doing to that poor infant that required him to scream that way. I closed up the windows in my house right after I brought him home because I didn’t want the neighbors to think I didn’t know what I was doing (I didn’t, but that’s completely beside the point).

Nothing in raising Liam has been easy. He is as stubborn as the sky is blue (no idea where that came from). When he was a year old, I wondered if he would ever be able to eat real food, because he refused to even try solids (at A YEAR OLD). It wasn’t until he was nearly 3 that he finally stopped waking up in the night demanding attention. In fact, there was one night when I was pregnant with Quin, and Liam and I were having such a struggle over getting him to go to bed that I wondered if the infant inside my belly wasn’t just a little afraid to come out and be part of all this craziness.

And then there was the potty training. Oh. The four-letter word in my house. Remember this post?

Yeah. That was last fall. LAST FALL PEOPLE. Liam refused to even consider the potty until he was well past three years old. We’re still working on the night time issues. I’m convinced he’ll be 13 before we’ve conquered that one.

I have a point beyond embarrassing my beautiful boy some day in the future (sorry, Liam).

Point is. Quin: just the exact opposite. And all of this oppositness culminated this weekend when he just DECIDED he was ready to use the potty. Decided. As in, it wasn’t even on my radar because, my god, the kid is only 20 months old. He just started talking a month ago (I’m not even exaggerating, four weeks ago he went from not talking a bit to using two word phrases).

I’ve been privy to some conversations of mothers who have kids about the same age as Quin. They’re all asking questions of each other about potty training, and here I am laughing to myself because, HAHA! They are so na├»ve. Their kids won’t be training for a quite long time, didn’t they know? They need to just stop worrying about it. For real.

I was wrong. (Mark your calendar, I admitted wrongness.)

Thing is. I didn’t anticipate that Quin would want to mimic his brother and his cousin, both potty aficionados. So it shocked the hell out of me when he wanted to sit on the potty last week. I was shocked, but come on, he’s still just a baby…this won’t lead to anything.

And then this weekend, just for “Mutters Day” I am sure (Mutter’s, as Liam would say), Quin started using the potty. Using, like really and truly using it for its intended purpose. He’s been wandering around in his Thomas the Tank Engine underwear (that are too big for him since I am clearly not the only one who poo-poo’d, pun intended, the thought of a 20 month old needing underwear since the smallest size available is 2T/3T), and he hasn’t had any accidents. He’s even been telling us he needs to go. My baby. Who is not so much a baby. Who just started talking four weeks ago. Who now decides that he is a potty using kind of boy.

I can’t even believe it.

So anyway. When Quin is completely potty trained before Liam, which is looking like will be about next week, I’m hoping that will give Liam good incentive to drop the nighttime pull-ups because at this point, even when I tell him he doesn’t get one at nap time, he still goes into his closet and pulls one on.

No. He’s not stubborn. Not at all.

And Quin. I’m going to be really freaked out when he starts reading next month. Just so you know.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Wonder Day

May I share something with you? Because this is a safe place and I can put something out there without judging, right?! Don't answer that.

For the longest time, when I ask my four-year-old what he did today, he always replies with "nothing," or "I can't remember," or any number of non-answer kind of answers. It drives me crazy.

So, a while ago, I started asking him if he flew to the moon, or went hunting for lions, and whatever else I could think of to get a laugh, and maybe even a real answer. So that's become our thing. We share wild stories about our day.

I wrote him a story. I've been staring at it for months, and I've never shared it with anyone. But I want to share it with you.

*****************************************

I sat down to dinner after a long and fun day when my Mama, she asked, “What did you do today?”

At first I squirmed and squiggled and scuttled because generally speaking I have little to say.

But closing my eyes, and wondering wide, I remembered my day was full of surprise.

First was the shark, so mighty and massive; we wrestled and wrangled until he was plain passive.

Then came the trip to the moon on my ship; I gazed at the stars while munching on chips.

And after my snack I made an attack on a group of bold ninjas who were reading a map.

The ninjas and I we played ‘til we cried, and then we ran circles around the town far and wide.

Getting bored with the ninjas I decided to run in a marathon out in the hot morning sun.

For lunch I ate cookies and candy and pie, and just to please Mama, I tossed in some rye.

After lunch it was nap time, and you won’t believe, I slept in the jungle on twigs and soft leaves!

Dreaming dreams big and plenty, my world was so big, riding waves in Tahiti, ducking bulls in Madrid.

Once nap time was done, I continued along, catching bad guys and zombies where they didn’t belong.

To cap off my day I led a parade with a clown and a band and three cats in charade.

“My goodness,” said Mama. “You had quite the day! Sweet boy I am happy your adventures abound, but now I’m so glad you are home safe and sound.”

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Lilac

I’ve lived in Minnesota for nearly three years now, and to this day I still maintain that I was duped. Sure, I’d visited the state in winter, specifically over two separate Christmas holidays. But no one told me that the 50 degree weather we were enjoying during each of those visits WAS NOT NORMAL.

If you didn’t know, during the winter there are known to be days in Minnesota where the high is a negative number. And there was even a time when I may have celebrated such a thing. I was so naive.

I loathe winter here. I’ve been known to stare out my bedroom window on a winter’s night, gazing at the snow covered streets and imagining that they were suddenly free of snow, green and warm and ready to host a neighborly game of street hockey. In other words, I spend all winter pining for spring.

But Minnesota, she is a sly one, because she has something up her sleeve that almost, almost, makes up for those months of torment. This something can make me instantly forget winter’s anguish and fall in love with Minnesota all over again. Minnesota has Lilac’s.

In my life, I’ve never seen a love affair with Lilac’s quite like the one witnessed in this state. They are positively everywhere. And when I say everywhere, I mean everywhere: in seemingly every back yard, along all of the highways, outside shopping malls and probably even the prisons. Everyone loves to plant Lilac bushes.

And that fact alone is why I love this state.

Most of my friends here have exceedingly fond memories of the Lilac’s of their youth. Riding their bikes past those Lilac bushes in the spring, they knew that winter was officially over and summer was just around the bend. And every year, I know that when the Lilac’s bloom those friends have this celebrated experience of reliving their childhood memories all over again.

I don’t have that.

I can tell you this, however. When I walk out of a building in spring, and the rush of air that hits my face is filled with the sweet and splendid scent of Lilac’s, there is no better antidote for winter fatigue.

That scent alone reminds me why I love living here. Sure, next winter I’ll be combing through real estate listings in Colorado, trying to remind myself why I endure these winters. But for now, it’s spring. And then it will be summer, and then fall, and I am telling you, those three seasons can’t be topped anywhere else. They are simply magnificent.

And when I’m staring out my bedroom window next winter, pining for the warm, green glorious days of spring; I’ll remind myself to stare at the dormant Lilac bush in my front yard and remember what awaits me just around the bend.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

In The Mornings

In the mornings. This is the time of day that I feel so refreshed, so rejuvenated. I am quite certain that I can accomplish anything.

In the calm of my car, during my 45 minute commute to work, this is the time that I contemplate the future. It must be the sweet morning air, or the privilege of watching the sun rise over a land so beautiful that it takes my breath away (yes, Minnesota is good for some things). Maybe it’s the uplifting stories I hear over National Public Radio (you know, once I get past all the stories about war and car bombings and politics). Whatever it is, I get this electrical sense of confidence and excitement, elation and glee for what could be.

My chest feels like a balloon pumped full of possibilities. I’m going to be a writer. And why is it I always told myself I can’t teach? I could totally teach. One of these days, I’m going to move to the country and live in a home filled with sunny, warm colors and beautiful old antiques. Or maybe I’ll move my family to the beach somewhere. Won’t it be incredible to watch my children frolic on the beach every day? Also, I’m going to start a business and rule the world. Whatever happened to that children’s story I started writing? I really need to finish that.

I am so blindsided by my visions for the future, I can’t think past anything else.

Sure, sometimes these things turn into reality. Like, there was that thing that I couldn’t get out of my head about going back to school for a Master’s degree. Not all my morning dreams fade with the day.

But what happens to the other dreams? Where does my elation go?

I think it starts from the minute I exit the cool dawning of a new day and enter my stale cubicle walls. I lament the piles of everyday, ordinary work to be done and that balloon in my chest begins to deflate as if someone were pulling at either end of the opening and it was making that shrieking “no, no please don’t deflate me!” kind of noise.

I move about my day as if on auto-pilot. I forget about my early morning dreams and focus on the now. I take care of my job and sometimes I take care of all of that other, external stuff that needs to be taken care of: the setting of doctor’s appointments, the calling of the insurance agents, the paying of the bills, the…the…the…!

And then I leave my office, and that crisp new morning air is gone, replaced by a thick afternoon fog of frustration and traffic and headaches. And my 45 minute commute that this morning was full of potential and hope is now the most dreaded part of my day as I fight my way through the throngs of others, who may have been just as hopeful as I this morning, and are now equally as deflated.

Then I get home. And that balloon, now almost completely gone, is replaced by something equally as wonderful but wholly different: love. Because now, all that occupies that space where the balloon lived this morning is the desire to be with my children. My sweet, beautiful boys who are so amazing and full of wonder that I can’t take my eyes from them. I kiss their heads and give them more hugs than they can bear. I play trains with them, and dinosaur’s too. I whisper in their ears how very much I love them. I try my best to make up for not being with them all day. I try my best to make sure they know just exactly how much they are loved.

In the quiet of the evening, after the boys have gone to bed and I might actually have time to contemplate and plan my future, take action that might fulfill those dreams; my attention is diverted by the haze of exhaustion. The desire to spend just a minute with my husband. The need to accomplish that bit of homework. I am tired, and the balloon is deflated, and…, and…, and. The day is done.

I finish my work for today. I drag myself into bed and get lost in the chapters of a good book. I drift off to sleep having accomplished absolutely nothing and positively everything.

But I remind myself: Tomorrow is the dawning of a brand new day.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Busted

Easter-Eve of last year found Nate and I strategically hiding those multi-colored eggs when a then 2-(almost 3) year-old Liam came downstairs for water? A hug? I don't remember. I do know that we really thought he didn't know what we were up to, and had he known, he was only two. So. No harm done.

I had completely and totally forgotten about this event until tonight at bath time when I had a conversation with Liam that went like this:

Me: Hey Liam, did you know that the Easter Bunny is coming tonight?

Liam: I know. And then you're going to hide the Easter eggs.

Me: Well, I don't hide the Easter Eggs. The Easter Bunny does, remember?

Liam: (In a somewhat exasperated tone.) Mom. I saw you hiding the Easter eggs last year.

I couldn't recover. I hadn't remembered and therefore didn't have any excuse prepared. He knows the secret and there was nothing I could say to protect my cover. He just kept giving me this look that said, "I know what I saw, why are you lying?"

Notes to self: 1. Never assume your child is too young to remember. 2. Wait until your children are actually asleep before playing the part of pretend holiday creatures.

Friday, February 19, 2010

It's Alive

And now a break from my regularly scheduled ignoring of this blog for a brief, and highly coveted update, in which I will not tell you very much except share a story for which I have no other venue to share. (Whew. That must've been, like, the longest sentence on earth. Why am I still speaking in italics?)

Anyway.

A few weeks ago, I bought Liam a new quilt for his bed. It has dinosaurs on it and it is REALLY cool. However, it's not as thick as the comforter he had before, and being that we live in Antarctica Minnesota, this might pose a problem.

On the other hand, he seems to have inherited this strange gene from my Husband's side of the family which renders a person inexplicably hot at all times, no matter the temperature. Good when you live in Minnesota. Bad when you sleep next to this person who is like a gigantic, sweaty water bottle.

But I digress.

I asked Liam to tell me if we was cold at night, but of course he didn't tell me, he told Grandma. Grandma was kind enough to fill me in, and I subsequently asked Liam if I could add another blanket to his bed.

This was met with a vehement NO.

So, rather than fight that battle, I let it go opting instead to put another blanket on him while he is peacefully dreaming about Kung Fu Panda or Candy. This has gone on now for, I don't know, a week? Every morning he throws that blanket on the floor without a word. Nary a question spoken about this blanket until last night when he asked Daddy:

"Daddy, how does that blanket get on my bed every night?"

And Daddy ruefully responded, "I don't know, Liam. What do you think?"

"I think it's alive."

For my part, I nearly fell over with laughter when I heard this because, OF COURSE he would think the blanket was alive. WHAT was I thinking? Poor kid.

On the other hand, no one has told him it's not and I'd kind of like to see where this goes. MAYBE I can convince him that his Monkey is also alive and is making sure he is behaving ALL THE TIME.

Not really. Nevermind. That's creepy.