Monday, December 26, 2011

For all the ladies, as we begin a new year...

As I sit here, the day after a wonderful Christmas, listening to all of the New Year’s commercials selling the message to all women that we need to lose weight or change our hair or invest a small fortune to hide all signs of aging (because, apparently, getting older is a BAD thing – I personally feel lucky for every minute I get!) or use products that will grow our wimpy eyelashes or grow our wimpy fingernails or get rid of our cellulite or hide our spider veins and then turn us into super women who can bring home the bacon, raise perfect children without ever resorting to putting them in front of the T.V. once in a while (where my kids are right now, as a matter of fact), make a nutritious, well-balanced dinner every night (not to mention breakfast and lunches) and be ready to leap enthusiastically into bed with our partners at a moment’s notice (without first needing a glass of wine or even a full night’s sleep)... I am reminded of all the wonderful women I have been lucky enough to know...
Women who occasionally feed their kids oatmeal for dinner, just ‘cuz they’re too dog-tired to whip up a balanced meal after working all day... Women who sometimes slip between the sheets at 8:30 pm, wearing comfy sweatpants, not silky lingerie, without (gasp!) washing off their make-up and applying wrinkle-reducing night cream first... Women who hang onto their clothes that are one size up, so they can be comfortable after a holiday spent indulging in every delicious food or drink they desire, rather than denying themselves and starving themselves to fit some advertiser’s definition of “beauty”...Women who are ballsy enough to say what’s on their mind and to stand up for what’s right, even if it’s not the most “feminine” thing to do...Women who have faced incredible challenges and losses in their lives with humor and chutzpah...Women who get up every day and get on with the business of living and working and caring for the people they love, even when they’d rather hide under the covers...Women who have made me laugh, made me cry, debated me, supported me, inspired me to appreciate my life with all of its hurdles and rewards, and women who care about me enough to always tell me when I have broccoli in my teeth.
Imperfectly perfect women!

Thanks for all the richness you have added to my life. You are beautiful, worthy, hilarious, stubborn, gifted, and unbelievably strong. Wishing you a happy, healthy, peaceful New Year!!! we come!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Stop It...Santa Knows We're Being Naughty!!!

My kids are finally at the age where they remind EACH OTHER that Santa is watching. It's GREAT! We had a glorious Christmas Eve Day today, largely due to the fact that if either boy was starting to do anything even remotely "naughty", his brother would quickly remind him to knock it off. Maybe it helped that we tracked Santa's progress on NORAD all morning....Maybe it helped that Santa actually called this morning to let the boys know he'd be here later on tonight...Maybe it helped that Santa sent each boy a personal video email message...I dunno. Overkill you say? Maybe. But, let's just say that technology does come with a few advantages, and I had a wonderful, peaceful, joyful Christmas Eve Day. So, whatever works.

Hubby dearest had to work as usual, so the boys and I did laundry first, just to get it out of the way (I've never had such eager laundry helpers, let me tell ya), then began our day of fun. (We spent  yesterday afternoon buying last-minute groceries, picking out some toys for Toys for Tots, and letting each boy put some of his own money in the Salvation Army jar. Today, was devoted solely to fun. After the laundry, of course.) Anyway, then we Elfed-Ourselves, our cousins and our grandma and grandpy online, laughing hysterically the entire time. There is nothing funnier than watching my Dad break-dancing to "Jingle Bells", dressed in an elf outfit. If you haven't ever Elfed-Yourself, I highly recommend it. It's free, it's funny, and it's fabulous! Then, we started out a day of healthy eating (not!) with donuts and the candy I snuck in to a movie. Which movie? Well, we tried to go to "The Muppets", but we accidentally got pointed into the wrong theater and ended up watching "Alvin and The Chipmunks" instead. I have to say, that little Theodore chipmunk is just about the cutest thing I've ever seen. Not kidding. I wanted to take him home in my pocket. And, the movie had the right blend of adult humor and kid humor to keep us all highly entertained. We got home and baked cookies and, for the first time, meringues. Okay, have you ever baked meringues? It took me 35 minutes to get the batter to "form stiff peaks." 35 minutes! With a hand mixer, 'cuz I don't have the other kind. And, then, they take 2 hours to bake. If these little suckers don't come out tasting absolutely wonderful, I might have to have a mini-temper tantrum. Oh, better not...Santa's watching!

Now, we are settling in for our traditional Christmas Eve spaghetti feast. (Gotta carb-load for tomorrow's present-opening marathon, y'know.) Hubby dear just walked in the front door and is about to pour us a glass of something red and delicious. But, before I go, I have to document the wonderfully creative and unique letters my little boys wrote to Santa, yesterday. (They just couldn't wait until today.) All spelling and puntuation is exactly as written by the boys...

Spencer's letter:

To: Santa
From: Spencer
Marry Christmas! open me!

PLEASE Tell me How you Get into my House with out a chimny on it?

thanks!  marry Ho! Ho!

Foster's letter:

to SAntA
from Foster

to SAntA from Fostee
I hope you heve a good ChristMas. And lots uv good cookys. And milc. you are a good raper. (Translation:  "wrapper")

Happy holidays to you all. And, here's wishing us all a peaceful, healthy, and more prosperous new year.


Friday, November 25, 2011

Old wounds...

Last Christmas morning, my beloved little dog, Cosmo, suddenly and tragically died. It was an awful Christmas, and I couldn't wait for it to be over. I miss his fuzzy little presence, but I've adjusted to life without him over the last year. I've been doing just fine. Until today, when I opened up the bins of Christmas decorations to begin my annual day-after-Thanksgiving decorating bonanza. Foster was "helping" me. Translation: taking everything out of the bins in no particular order, and tossing them around the room, creating total chaos and confusion. After a while, he came to the bin that had our family's Christmas stockings.

"Here's Daddy's stocking!"

 "Here's Spencer's!"

"Ooooh, here's MINE! And, yours too, Mommy."

"Here's Lucy's stocking!"

"Oh, here's Cosmo's stocking, Mommy. Where are we going to hang it?"

Next thing I knew, I was bawling my eyes out...
It's amazing how quickly old wounds can re-open, isn't it? And I've been crying off and on all day long.

By the way...I hung Cosmo's stocking right next to his picture.

I wish he was here.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Ahhh..the irony.

Coming home from work just now, I was behind an SUV at a red light. A HUGE bumper sticker across the back of the car stated "Remember Anna. Keep your eyes on the road!" Great sentiment, right? Except for the fact that the driver was texting and didn't even notice when the light changed. I had to honk my horn to get her attention. Sigh.


Saturday, November 12, 2011

Spencer Wisdom

A few nights ago, I was tucking Spence into bed, which involves singing 3 songs and then having a long conversation about whatever may be running around in that amazing little brain (his, not mine), followed by "snuggles." The whole thing only takes about 10 minutes, and it's one of my favorite times of the day. Unless, to be honest, it's been one of those days where I'm just counting the minutes until I can be responsibility-free, in my pj's, glass of cabernet in hand, channel surfing under my snuggly electric blanket....Then, the 10 minute routine can seem endless. I'm not gonna lie. I have those days.

Anyhoo...We'd finished our songs, and Spence started talking about things he wonders about. Typically, this involves thoughts on robots, alien life forms, or some sort of scientific invention. This time, it was a bit different:

"Yes, sweetie."
"I've been thinking a lot about caterpillars."
"You know, caterpillars build cocoons around themselves and stay there for a long time, right?"
"Mmm Hmm."
"And, then, without even moving around at all, they somehow get wings and turn into butterflies."
"I know."
"It's the most amazing thing, isn't it Mom?"
"And, it doesn't take any technology at all! Isn't that the coolest thing?"

In this electronic age, when people line up days in advance for the next fabulous gadget from Apple, families eat dinner without ever looking up from their cell phones, and the number of Facebook "friends" is a status symbol, MY boy marvels at the transformation of a butterfly. THAT'S the coolest thing!


Wednesday, September 28, 2011

OK, OK, I'm a dinosaur.

When I was a kid, we were the last people I knew to get a microwave and a color T.V. It didn't matter how passionately we begged, pleaded, cried, and insisted that "Everyone, absolutely EVERYONE else has one!!!"


Because, in my youthful opinion, my Dad was stuck in the stone age. Afraid to try new things. Afraid to embrace new technology. Stubbornly clinging to the ways of the past. An old fogey...

Apparently, I have now become my own father.

Yes, I do have a microwave and not one, but TWO color T.V.'s in my house. One of them is even a flat screen. But, I only have basic cable and the other T.V. is one of those huge, boxy old Sony's. I don't have DVR features or picture-in-picture or anything fancy like that. I still use a VCR to record programs, and I honestly have no idea what the difference is between a regular DVD and a Blue Ray. Whatever.

And, I have a blog. That's embracing new things, right? I'm contemporary, dammit! Instead of journaling the old-fashioned way, with pen and paper, I type. But, I don't do Facebook or Twitter, which I've been told you absolutely MUST do, if you want anyone other than your family members to actually read your blog. Maybe I'm old-fashioned, but I want to communicate in full sentences and paragraphs, not in "tweets." Whatever they are.

I did finally cave in and buy a cell phone last year as well. Again, embracing new things. But, it's just one of those pre-paid trac phones, and I don't know how (nor do I want to learn how) to text. I prefer the sound of someone's voice to the beep,beep of text messages. Plus, I'm trying to avoid carpal tunnel of the thumbs, which I hear is on the rise in frequent texters. I think I will probaby have to embrace texting, once my boys become teenagers, but who knows what will have been invented by then, anyway? Maybe we'll be communicating via telepathy or something...

But, this is where I draw the line...Books. Books, books, wonderful books! I'm sorry, folks, but I have no interest in reading books off of a Kindle or iPad or any of those other fancy schmancy devices. Call me old-fashioned. Say I'm a dinosaur. I care not. There is nothing like an actual, real, book, and no expensive little device is ever going to replace the experience of reading one. Yes, I know you can get ones that actually simulate the turning of a page, but you're not actually TURNING a page. You're not feeling the weight of the book in your hands, or smelling that unique "book-y" smell, or having any of the other experiences one has with a real book. No more perusing used book stores and wondering how many others read the same book over the years...No more sitting on the couch with a little boy in your lap, helping him turn the pages all by himself....No more passing on a great book you've just read to your best friend or your brother or that nice stranger on the airplane, knowing they'll be holding the very same book you held, holding their breath at the very same places you did, and coming across the spot where you accidentally spilled your coffee...No more accidentally dropping your book into the bathtub, but not worrying about it, because you know you can just blow the pages dry...And no more late nights reading a book by flashlight, so your Mom or your Dad (or your husband) won't know you're up late, glued to the pages...

So, I embrace my old-fogey ways, and I raise a glass of wine in tribute to my dear ol' Dad. And, now, I'm going to turn off my clunky, 5-year old computer and go read a book. A real one.


Saturday, September 24, 2011


I am, in no way, bug-phobic. I'm used to bugs. I mean, come ON, I live in the soggy, humid Pacific Northwest. I expect to deal with slugs and yellow jackets and mosquitos. I even expect to deal with the clouds of fruit flies that always appear toward the end of August and seem to multiply and multiply and multiply...and then suddenly vanish in September. And, being the mother of two young boys, I've had to learn to appreciate all of the roly poly bugs, assorted beetles, spiders, and ants they bring to my attention (or occasionally put right into my hand, when I'm least expecting it) in a whole new way...

But this Fall, there's something new in town...

What is it? Well, I've never actually seen one up close enough to really identify it, but my neck, scalp, face, feet, fingers, arms, elbows, and even my earlobes, are covered with tiny, red, incredibly itchy bites. I mean the kind of itch you wouldn't wish on the girl who stole your boyfriend right out from under you in college. (Well, to be honest, you might wish it on HER.) The kind of itch that keeps you up at night, as you toss and turn, trying everything to resist scratching. The kind of itch that must be scratched, resulting in unattractive scabs all over your face and body, because everyone knows you can't stop once you start... Are you getting the picture? And, these tiny terrorists are FAST! They swoop in, attack, and swoop out again, before you can squish them the way they deserve to be squished. Now, if your mind went to fleas or bedbugs or some other sort of disgusting household infestation, it's not either of those. These particular mutants are some sort of microscopic flying bugs-from-HELL that live outside and attack relentlessly just before sunset.

How do I know this?

I know this, because my husband and I are still trying to rebuild the back deck we had to rip out three months ago because of wood rot. (Thank you, once again, to the morons who originally built the deck, but didn't bother to attach flashing to the side of the house, resulting in the afore-mentioned wood rot running all along the wall, into the siding, and even into the floorboards. We really appreciated having to rip out a huge section of our wall, paying a contractor to fix the rot we couldn't do ourselves, and then rebuilding the deck. Thank you very friggin' much.)  Anyhoo...Because of this never-ending project, hubby and I are frequently out in the backyard after work around sunset, digging trenches, burying concrete blocks, attaching joist hangers, laying down planks...AND, NOW, BEING EATEN ALIVE BY TINY, HORRIBLE, BLOOD-SUCKING FLYING PARASITES!!!

Where did they come from?

Why do they love the taste of our flesh so much?


Here's hoping you have managed to avoid these mutants. Unless you're the girl who stole my boyfriend in college...


Sunday, September 11, 2011

10 Years Later...

Ten years ago, today, I was a newlywed in my 30's, trying to capture a few more minutes of sleep before getting ready for work. Suddenly, my husband burst in, telling me that a plane had hit the World Trade Center. I rushed to the living room and we both stood, transfixed, watching the images from New York City -- Smoke and flames billowing from the North Tower, highlighted against an amazingly clear, blue sky...I had been a nanny in New York for 2 years, taking care of two amazing children who lived just across the Brooklyn Bridge from the tragedy unfolding before our eyes. Immediately, I thought of them, and of their Dad, who worked in one of the office buildings on Wall Street. I closed my eyes and hoped with all of my heart that their family was safe. I was still standing there, glued to the screen, as my husband reluctantly went to shower in preparation for work. Moments later, the second plane slammed into the South Tower. I don't remember what I yelled, but John was out of the shower in a heartbeat, wrapped in a towel, watching in shocked amazement by my side. That was the moment when we, along with the rest of the country, realized this was no accident, but a deliberate, premeditated attack against America.

The rest of the day remains a bit of a blur, but certain moments stand out in stark contrast to the fuzziness of the rest...Seeing the images of people throwing themselves from windows to escape the fire...The faces of New Yorkers as they stared in horror at the spectacle...The surreal moment when the first tower collapsed -- images of the smoke and debris and terrified people running for their lives...Hearing that the Pentagon had been hit...That another plane had gone down in Shanksville...The fear of not knowing if any of the planes overhead were being piloted by terrorists...Standing alongside my fellow staff members at school, our faces pale with shock, wondering how we were going to take care of the children under our care, even as each of us wanted only to gather closely to our loved ones and to remain riveted to our televisions and radios for every new moment of news...

And, here we are, ten years later. Once again, I've been riveted to the television all morning, as the memorials take place at Ground Zero, the Pentagon, and in Shanksville. My husband and I held hands as Paul Simon sang "The Sound of Silence", tears running down our cheeks... As the faces, names, and ages of people who died scrolled across the bottom of the screen, I noticed, in particular, the photos of a young father and his two children, aged 3 and 8, who were killed that terrible morning. Ten years ago, I hadn't yet experienced the profound, shocking, life-changing love that overtakes you, when you become a parent. But, now, as the mother of two beloved little boys, I read those names and broke down again, imagining the pain that family members must have felt at that moment, and still feel today...

I remember the feeling that seemed to sweep across our nation at that time. Patriotism. Compassion. Pulling together... I remember feeling connected to something bigger than just my own corner of Washington State. I remember people making eye contact with one another, smiling at one another, reaching out to help one another. I remember media messages filled with hope and optimism and stories about the courage and resilience of the American people, and how we can overcome anything if we come together in unity. Unity... One would hope that an event of this magnitude would permanently change a country for the better.

One would hope...

And, yet, as I reflect on where we are today, a decade after the horrific events of September 11, 2001, I feel a profound sense of disappointment. Instead of becoming stronger as a nation, we are more fractured than ever. Instead of using 9/11 as a wake-up call to mobilize as a country to end our dependence on foreign oil and to invest in renewable energy resources, we went to war. As a result, ten years later, thousands upon thousands of young men and women are still losing their lives, forever altering the lives of the family and friends who love and need them...And, as we spout rhetoric about being a free country in which every individual has the right to worship, or not worship, as he or she desires, anti-Muslim sentiment abounds. Ten years later, on our own soil, Muslim families are experiencing acts of hatred and intolerance that should make every American stand up and say "Enough! This is NOT how we behave in my country!"...Ten years later, we connect with others, not face-to-face, with smiles, handshakes, hugs, and eye contact, but with text messages and tweets. Instead of walking across the street to chat with neighbors, people hide in their houses and Facebook their 500 "friends"...  And, while just one decade ago, members of Congress stood as one and sang "God Bless America" in unison, ten years later, members of the Republican party in Congress have openly stated that their only objective is to make sure that Barack Obama is a one-term President. They are proudly content to sit back and do nothing to help people who are suffering in our country, or to invest in the education of our promising young people, or to rebuild our infrastructure, or to address the catastrophic results of climate change around the globe, because that would mean working cooperatively with the Democrats they have sworn to defeat, no matter what...

Unity? Strength? Courage? Resilience? Hope?

What have we really learned?...

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

When hair coloring goes horribly wrong...

I WISH I could say that this post is about somebody ELSE'S hair coloring disaster...Unfortunately, it's about me. So, in order to spare anyone reading this from the same horrible accident that befell me approximately 20 minutes ago, I'd like to share this tip:

When coloring your hair, don't assume that every clock in the house is displaying the same time. When you glance at the clock to see what time you started the coloring process, use the same clock for ending the coloring process. Otherwise, you may find yourself, like me, with hair that was supposed to be a nice shade of light auburn, but is now about the same shade as Little Orphan Annie's hair, all because you changed rooms and used a different clock to monitor the timing, which resulted in the hair color staying on a full 10 minutes longer than it's supposed to.


Ten minutes really makes a difference.

Wait 'til my hubby gets home from soccer practice...

At least it's 3 more weeks until I go back to work. I can just wear hats and shampoo my hair 3 times a day in hopes that my current, dazzling shade of BRIGHT orange will fade to something resembling "light auburn."


Wednesday, July 27, 2011

This either makes me a really stellar Mom or one of the worst Moms in history. You be the judge.

Today is Foster's 6th birthday. He had YMCA Superhero camp all day, today, so I jumped out of bed at 6:30am and ran out to get the traditional Birthday Donuts (the way we begin every birthday in our little family), so he'd have that before going to camp for the day. Hubby and I had put up decorations last night, and we let him open one present this morning, before he left. We also bought enough cookies to feed the entire camp, so Fos would be able to share something special with his fellow campers and camp counselors. We were really looking forward to doing the big celebration, when he and Spence got home.

Another family tradition is "The Birthday Code." This particular tradition involves hiding presents in various locations around the house, and the birthday kiddo decoding special messages to find them. I worked on the coded messages last night, so all I had to do was hide the presents in their assigned secret spots. Fos loves figuring out the coded messages, so I knew he'd be excited.

John left to pick the boys up for camp, while I hid the presents, brought out the camera, got the cake ready (adding sprinkles, because, frankly, the cake was a bit lame, considering what we paid for it), and popped a pizza in the oven. I could hardly wait to see Foster and to celebrate his special day with our family!

Then, John walked in. One look at his face, and I knew it hadn't been a good day at camp. Nope. Not good at all. BOTH boys were written up at camp, today. Spence, for uttering, in frustration, a certain expression he picked up from a fellow First Grader this Spring: "Son-of-a-b-----!"  (Now, there is one expletive that I am fully guilty of uttering from time-to-time, especially when Lucy digs up my vegetables, so I'd be willing to accept responsibility, if that's what he had said. But, it wasn't. Therefore, not my fault. Not this time. I can blame it on a kid, instead. Someone else's kid, even. Whew!) Fos, my challenging, impulsive little Fos, was written up for being mean to a girl camper and for being disrespectful to his camp counselors. On. His. Birthday. Great.

So, what are you supposed to do in this situation? Here's your little boy. Love of your life. Just turned 6 years old, and you want to lavish him with love and attention and the presents you picked out especially for him, just to celebrate his very existence and to show him how lucky you feel to have him in your life. But, how is that possible, when he just got formally written up for being rotten all day??? He violated our family rules and the camp rules, and we're going to give him cake and ice cream? How does that make sense, or teach him any responsibility for his actions???

But, how do you take away your kid's birthday? I mean, seriously, how do you do that?

I'll tell you how, and I'm starting to cry again, right here at the computer, just thinking about it:

Step One: Have an emergency parent meeting in the kitchen. In urgent whispers, try to come to some kind of consensus about the right thing to do.

Step Two: Start to cry, when you realize that you and your hubby are about to take away your kid's birthday celebration.

Step Three: Pull yourself together, and have a family meeting in the living room, during which you talk about the behaviors that were not appropriate, let your children know that you love them very much, but that you do not love the choices they have made, and then ask, "Do you think that you deserve a birthday celebration after the choices you made today?" (Crossing your fingers, knowing the answer could go either way.) When the birthday boy looks up at you with big, sad, blue eyes and says, "No, I don't.", you quickly walk into the kitchen, again, so that he won't see the tears welling up in your eyes.

Step Four: You realize that there is no friggin' way you are going to be able to pull yourself together, so you look up at your husband with your own big, sad, weepy eyes, silently begging him to take over from here. He recognizes that you are losing it, so he takes charge of the kids, while you quickly put away the birthday cake, and then throw yourself onto your bed, where you sob uncontrollably at the very thought of NOT celebrating your baby's birthday with him today.

Step Five:  The phone rings. It's Grandma and Grampy, calling to sing "Happy Birthday" to their grandson. Instead, they get to listen to their adult daughter having an emotional meltdown for 10 full minutes. Not quite what they were expecting...

Step Six: Hubby leaves for his soccer game. You take birthday boy into his room to tuck him in. Before you can help yourself, you are sobbing again. Then, he falls apart. Thinking he is upset about his presents and cake, you ask him why he is sad. His reply? "Because I made you cry, Mommy. Please don't cry anymore."  Ouch. Physical pain to the heart.

Step Seven: You and birthday boy cling to each other, bawling your eyes out for a few minutes. Then, you grab the kleenex so you can both blow your noses. You tell him, again, that you love him very much, and that he will have the chance to make tomorrow a "do-over day." He clings to you once more, then looks up at you with those eyes, those eyes that can break your heart, and says, "You are the best Mommy in the universe." Which, of course, makes you start to cry all over again. Because you are the very same Mommy who took away his birthday celebration. And, he still thinks you're the best Mommy in the universe.

What. A. Day.

God, being a parent is tough. 

So, did I do the right thing? I guess that time will tell...


Friday, July 22, 2011


OK, my husband can officially no longer be called “unromantic”. He planned a wonderful, surprise 10th Anniversary trip for us. Yes, it was a family trip, but, given that we don’t have any relatives that can take the boys for us (All of you Moms who are lucky enough to have relatives who'll take the kids for a weekend, or a night, or even a couple of hours in the afternoon -- you have NO idea how fortunate you are! Hug those relatives. Hug them hard.), he managed to make it romantic as well as full of family fun. We drove as far as Ellensburg Sunday afternoon and stayed the night there at just a regular Quality Inn. Then, got up early the next morning and drove to Coeur D’Alene, ID, arriving at lunchtime, where we checked in to the Coeur D’Alene resort (a place I have ALWAYS wanted to stay) into THE MOST BEAUTIFUL ROOM I HAVE EVER SEEN! We were on the 17th floor, with a view of the entire Coeur D’Alene lake. We had our own fireplace, mirrors that reflected light all over the place, so that it felt like we were in some sort of tropical paradise, a separate living room area with a daybed, and have I mentioned the view??? John and I spent most of our free time wrapped in our super-soft white hotel robes, sitting out on our balcony, watching the boats coming and going, people walking along the marina, drinking wine, and just talking. (We brought 3 bottles of Hot to Trot with us on our trip, as well as a few Coronas for daytime.) I’m telling you, this is how the OTHER HALF LIVES. This is the kind of place those people benefitting from all the Bush tax cuts go to stay, not regular folks like us. Way out of our league, and I don’t even want to know what it cost, but it was so wonderful!!! I appreciated every single little thing about it, from the nightly mints accompanying our next day weather forecast on our pillows, to the awesome massaging shower head in the bathroom.
Rich folks who do this sort of thing all the time, probably don't notice the details anymore. Not me. I noticed EVERYTHING!

We hung out in our incredibly gorgeous room for a while, had a couple of beers on our balcony, then went out to lunch and headed to Silverwood Theme Park, where we spent the entire afternoon having a total blast. The boys got to go on their very first rollercoaster (a wooden one called “Tremors” that traumatized Spencer: “I didn’t like that one. Nope. Didn’t like it. Let’s not do that one again, OK?”, scared the hell out of me, thrilled John, and semi-terrified Foster. As he put it, “There were parts of that ride that were really fun and parts that were NOT!”), we got soaked on the family water ride, we got pink and freckly in the sunshine, the boys noshed on theme park food, and we all just had a great time. Spencer decided that he would try a different rollercoaster that corkscrewed around, so he and I went on that one together, while John took Foster to play a few games. Spence loved it, and I re-discovered (after at least a decade away from rollercoasters) that motion sickness and corkscrew rollercoasters don’t mix very well. Luckily, it was an extremely short ride. After that, I stuck to non-spinning rides. John wanted to go on a crazy loop-de-loop coaster where the people ride with their feet hanging free. Neither of the boys were big enough to go on it, so I was off the hook as well. I took the boys on the log flume ride, instead, and the three of us had so much fun. There were grins, giggles, and lots of hugs and kisses, followed by exclamations such as: "This is the best family vacation EVER!", "You are the best Mommy and Daddy in the entire universe!", "This is totally awesome!!!" None of us wanted to leave when the day was over...

We picked up Chinese food on the way home and took it back to our room...For some reason, it felt extra decadent to be noshing on Chinese food from cardboard boxes in that gorgeous, luxury room! Then it was time to hit the hotel pool & hot tubs for a while. We came back and let the kids watch the Disney channel until they fell asleep from sheer exhaustion, while John and I sat out on the balcony drinking our wine and enjoying the view. We stayed up way too late, just talking and reminiscing and reconnecting and fantasizing about vacations we’d love to take some day if we ever hit the was lovely.
Next morning: Breakfast at one of the hotel restaurants. BEST BELGIAN WAFFLE I HAVE EVER EATEN. No joke. It was like a party in my mouth. A really great party, with lots of celebrities and cool music and fancy beverages with umbrellas. Fantastic! Foster said the same thing about his pancakes. He kept saying, “These pancakes are GREAT! They’re the GREATEST, Mom. Really! GREAT!” He even thanked the waitress for “making me the greatest pancakes I’ve ever had.” So cute.
Then, we just spent the whole day playing around the hotel and the harbor. We walked all around the pier, played on the beach, played in Coeur D’Alene park, did more swimming and frolicking in the pools, lounged on our balcony, wandered around the shops, etc. Dinner back at the same restaurant where we had breakfast...amazing, again. Topped it off with more lounging, wine drinking, and soaking in the view from the balcony that night, while the boys slept. A perfect mix of relaxing and action. We even invented a word that summed it up: “Relaxtion”. Wonderful day.
Slept in the next day (even the boys) and then hit the road around noon. The drive home was nice, though. We took lots of time, stopped at viewpoints and anywhere else we felt like it along the way, did Mad Libs with the kids, sang "Dynamite" and "Raise Your Glass" about 75 times, and still got home around 8:00. 
Last night, we topped it off by getting a babysitter and heading out for a real “date”. Dinner and a movie, just like the old days.
Great 10 year Anniversary! Thank you, sweetie, for making it one I will never forget.

Here’s to the next decade. May it bring good health, a bit more wealth (or at least financial security, for a change), and continued laughter and love!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Education Schmeducation!

Spoiler Alert: As a mom, as an educator, and as a very disillusioned and frustrated U.S. citizen, I'm hopping mad about what the Republican party is doing right now, and I'm about to express that. Forcefully.

This week, the Republican controlled House of Representatives voted to increase the military's budget by double-digits. (That's billions, by the way. Double digit billions.) This is at the same time they are supposedly fighting to decrease our nation's debt. Actually, they're holding raising the debt ceiling hostage in order to get more of what their special interest groups want, rather than what our country actually needs in order to grow, to prosper, and to compete in our global economy. What do the Republicans want? Major cuts to all social services intended to help the poor, the elderly, and children, of course. Who cares about the poor? I mean, come ON. They should just pull themselves up by their bootstraps like everybody else, right? And, children? Who needs 'em? Let 'em take care of themselves!
Along with that, our Republican representatives want to make sure that we don't invest in our country's future by:

1) Investing in the development of renewable energy resources. After all, why should we worry about, or take any responsibility for, global warming and other threats to our environment, right? Let's just leave that to places like Norway to figure out. And, why should we actually attempt to be innovative and creative and come up with new ideas that we can then export to other countries, when we can just sit back and wait for OTHER countries to invent things that we can then buy from them?

2) Improving our country's falling-apart infrastructure. A major job creator, by the way. Hmmmm...

3) And, have I mentioned investing in educating America's youth, so that our entire country can benefit? Republicans don't seem to see anything wrong with continuing to cut and cut and cut education funding, pretty much guaranteeing that the United States will continue to fall behind countries that actually consider the education of their children to be one of the most important ways a country can invest in itself and sustain growth and innovation and competitiveness around the globe.

So, let's continue to ramp up military spending, keep open tax loopholes that allow the very rich to escape the same tax burdens faced by the middle class, keep cutting education funding to ensure that millions of children are kept ignorant, so that they will grow up and vote for idiocy and stagnation, rather than becoming the kind of critical thinkers that will question their government and vote for innovation and progress, let the poor suffer the consequences of their poverty without support or programs to help them climb out of the hole in which they find themselves, allow sick children of poor and middle class families to suffer without adequate health insurance, while the rich enjoy the benefits of the best healthcare their money can buy (after all, they've got all that extra income from the Bush tax loopholes), suppress acceptance of diversity by continuing to deny marriage rights to loving gay couples and to insist that church dogma has any valid place in politics, make sure that no woman has the right to choose (again, ensuring that the cycle of poverty and ignorance continues, thereby providing the Republican party with more future voters), and do whatever we can to make sure that every single household has both a bible and a gun!

'Cuz that's an America in which I want my two little boys to grow up!


And, for anyone who is saying that Republicans are as open to across-the-board reforms as Democrats, here's a quote I saw on MSNBC this week:

Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass, scoffed at the suggestion that "everything is on the table" in budget negotiations between the Obama administration and congressional leaders.
"The military budget is not on the table," he said. "The military is at the table, and it is eating everybody else's lunch."

I'm going to go hug my boys, now. I hope they get to grow up in a country that models acceptance and tolerance, that recognizes that the Constitution was designed to be a set of living guidelines that are adapted as our country grows, and that invests in education and innovation and the health and happiness of its citizens. But, I admit that I'm feeling pretty discouraged right now...

Sunday, July 10, 2011

What a GAS!

OK, I admit it...

I'm a little embarrassed about it, though...

I'm having a hard time actually typing the words...

Here goes...

Whoopee Cushions are hilarious! Seriously. Hilarious.

I had no idea just how hilarious Whoopee Cushions can be, until my boys each received one as a birthday gift from their wonderful surrogate grandparents this morning. (We love you, Laureta and Joe!) They'd never seen one before, so I explained the concept, all while mentally cringing inside at what this gift was about to unleash in my living room.

As it turns was side-splittingly funny watching my little boys blowing up the Whoopee Cushions, finding all sorts of creative ways to sit on them (over the pillow, under the pillow, on the ottoman, on the couch, on the floor, the flying leap-sit, the slow-motion rolling sit, etc., etc...) and then laughing hysterically each time they heard the gaseous result.

So,  I had to take a break from deck demolition (Sigh. A topic for another time...) to document the addition of Whoopee Cushions into our lives. And, I sign off now, as the music of loud farting floats through my house, accompanied by the giggles and guffaws of two little boys, who are in Whoopee Cushion Heaven.


Saturday, April 16, 2011

Things you just never realized. Oy!

I've talked about this before, but it bears repeating...Because, being the only woman in a house with one husband and two small boys continually makes me realize things I'd never quite grasped in the past:

1) Boys really are completely fascinated by their own penises from a very young age. It's a fact. Based on the behavior of adult males, this fascination apparently never goes away. Explains a lot...

2) It is 100% possible for a home to go from completely clean to looking like a tornado literally blew through it, scattering couch pillows, books, toys, papers, and clothes in all directions, depositing dirt and mud and sticks and grass on the just-swept the time it takes for one husband, one five-year-old boy, and one six-year-old boy to walk in the front door, through the living room, and into the kitchen. That's about two minutes. Two. Minutes. (By the way, it takes far less time than that, for one exhausted, working Mom, who just cleaned that house while the boys were outside, to completely lose her mind!)

3) It is apparently physically impossible for males to get all of their pee into the toilet. Doesn't make sense to me, either. I mean, they've got equipment that actually allows them to AIM their pee. They can write their names in the snow with the stuff, if they want to. So, why is it that boys ( can't just aim it at the water and GET IT ALL IN??? Thankfully, I have mostly managed to browbeat my husband and sons into cleaning up their drips afterwards. The mystery is why there are drips in the first place...

4) There are a LOT of different words for vomit. Something I'd never really thought of until two days ago, when Spence came up to us and asked us if there are other ways to say "throwing up." My husband's apparent glee at generating a list of vomit words was a bit disturbing. But there really are a lot of them, when you think about it. Which I don't recommend doing, by the way. Still, it was slightly fascinating to watch these two males-of-the-species -- one small boy and one very large boy in a man's body -- enthusiastically coming up with all the different puke words they could think of and high-fiving each other after each one. I just can't imagine a little girl having the same conversation with her Mommy. But, maybe I'm wrong. One thing is sure, with two little boys, I'll never know...

I can only imagine what new discoveries lie ahead for me -- the lone female representative in this family -- once my boys hit puberty... Yikes.


Thursday, March 24, 2011

You seriously couldn't wait until AFTER you were done peeing? Seriously?!!!

Last night, I met a girlfriend at a local bar for a beverage. (This is a rare and wonderful occurrence, which always reminds me that I am more than a wife/mother/counselor. I am also a somewhat sassy, frequently funny, often obnoxiously opinionated woman, who is actually capable of carrying on a conversation that is not about kids, husbands, housework, or mental health issues.) Anyway, at some point during our blissful evening away from all domestic and work responsibilities, I had to pee. So, I went into my stall, and I was getting ready to do my thing, when I heard the bathroom door squeak open and the sound of high heels click-clicking across the floor. The stall door next to me opened up, and I could hear the unseen lady getting settled on her seat...

Then, I heard her punching numbers into her cell phone...

Then, I heard her start yakking to somebody on the other end...

THEN, I heard her peeing. Yes, people, yakking and peeing at the same time.

I'm sorry, but what could be so important to say, that you couldn't wait a couple of minutes, until you're at least done peeing?!!! I mean, COME ON! Is there no limit to the madness???

So, to any of my friends who may be out there reading this... PLEASE pee before you call me or answer a call from me. Nothing we have to say to each other is so crucial that it can't wait until after you've answered the call of nature.


Friday, March 18, 2011

I'll show you mine, if you show me yours!

Parenthood is just one giant adventure. Unexpected events happen constantly, from bus disasters to more bus disasters to stuffed animal catastrophes...just one big surprise after another...after another...after another. Guess what? We had another one last night. Lucky us!

The phone rang about 7:30pm. Hubby was doing something on the computer (of course!), Foster was running around in his pj's looking for leprechauns, Spence was in the tub, and I was attempting to lie down for a few minutes before storytime. I heard a deep voice on the answering machine, and I suddenly realized it was the principal from the boys' school. Calling at 7:30 at night. There's just no way a nighttime phone call from your kids' principal can be good!

I yelled for John to answer the phone, and then flew down the hallway, so that I could hover near him, listening to his side of the conversation and anxiously trying to piece together what was happening. I couldn't tell which kid it was about, but I heard things like "On the bus?!!", "Last Thursday?", "No, he didn't say anything to us about it.", "Oh yes, definitely inappropriate.", "Yes, he knows that private parts are private.", "Was the parent upset?"


As it turns out, yesterday afternoon, a parent called the principal to tell him that her child had seen some first graders showing eachother "their butts" on the school bus the week before. Her kid identified a first grade girl (the very same girl Spencer recently identified as his - gulp - girlfriend"). Of course, the alarmed parent immediately called the principal, worried that there was some sort of hanky panky going on. He interviewed the girl and found out that she had two accomplices....Spencer and his best friend. When he pulled Spence in to his office, Spencer was very upfront and honest about his participation. (The principal said he was having a hard time keeping a straight face, because Spence was so serious and apologetic.) Apparently, all three kids decided to check out each other's parts, even though they knew they weren't supposed to. As if that wasn't bad enough, for some inexplicable reason, they thought that the school bus ride home was a good time and place to do it. And, according to both boys, the whole thing was the girl's idea! Wow. I hope her parents are ready...

Needless to say, we had another long conversation with both of our boys last night...Very serious. With no giggling on the part of the grownups (at least not until the boys were asleep, that is).

Another one for the memory books...


Saturday, March 12, 2011

Vindication for women and girls EVERYWHERE!

In a pitiful attempt to lessen the stress in my life, Friday night is always "Mommy Movie Night." This means that I do the typical frantic race across town after work to meet the boys' bus, but then we jump in the car, drive straight to Little Caesar's Pizza and order Combination #1 (large pepperoni plus crazy break, of course), then walk next door to the local video place to rent movies. The boys each get to pick one cartoon to watch sometime later in the week, and I pick out a family movie for us all to watch together. (Translation: A kid movie that I can stomach watching as well, usually a classic like "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang" or "Bedknobs and Broomsticks" or "Doctor Doolittle" --  Not the crappy remake with Eddie Murphy, but the  classic with Rex Harrison and the Push-Me-Pull-You.) Then, the three of us pile the pizza, the movies, and ourselves back into the car, come home and change into pj's, I pour the boys some milk and myself a glass of cabernet, and we all settle in for a movie picnic. If we're lucky, and John's crazy schedule works out for us that day, it turns into a "Family Movie Night" with Daddy along for the ride. (Also in his pj's. PJ's are a requirement.)

Anyhoo ... (too late to make this long story a short one, eh?) ...

Last night, I chose "Harry and the Hendersons" for Mommy Movie Night. It actually turned into Mommy, Daddy, Grandma, and Grandpa Movie Night, because John's shift was an early one, and my folks came into town to visit us for the weekend. Yay! I admit that I did relax the pajama requirement for my folks, especially since my Mom is fond of wearing long, see-through nightgowns, and my Dad sleeps in his tighty whiteys.

So, after the Bigfoot has come into the house and totally trashed the joint, the movie Dad asks his movie kids how they know that the Bigfoot is a male, instead of a female.

That's when my little genius, Spencer, turned around and said, "Oh, it's easy to tell, you guys. It's 'cuz boys make huge messes all the time, but girls are much, much cleaner."



Saturday, March 5, 2011

No wonder women ignore the signs of a heart attack. How can we even tell the difference between a heart attack and just living life?

I had a pretty weird few days. I was at a work conference on Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday. Sunday night, my chest was feeling sort of tight, like I was being gently squished, but it also felt like my diaphragm was being sort of squeezed upward. I’ve never had heartburn or indigestion, before, but I assumed that’s what it was. My hotel roommate gave me some of her tums, but it didn’t do anything. So, I just kept going at the conference. Still feeling the pressure, but it wasn’t anything that I couldn’t breathe through or work with. Eating didn’t make it any better or worse, and I didn’t have a fever or any other symptoms.

Then, on Thursday morning, I woke up with it really bugging me, then it started to sort of burn across my chest and up into my shoulder and neck a little bit, so I called my doctor. They sent me immediately to the Emergency Room. They ruled out an immediate heart attack pretty quickly, but they couldn’t figure out what was going on. I couldn’t reach the hubby, since he was driving a shift, so I was all alone, freaked out, while they did EKG’s and gave me nitroglycerine and baby aspirin and took blood and did other tests, etc., etc.. Because I have a left ventricular bundle branch block in my heart, it makes reading my EKG’s next to impossible, because they all come out looking wacko. With my strange health history – mini stroke, avascular necrosis, busted thyroid – they were afraid to just let me go, so they admitted me. This meant that I sat in the back corner of a cubicle in the ER for another hour or so, all alone, while they tried to find me a bed upstairs. Since I still hadn’t talked to John, I was trying to figure out who might be able to pick up the boys and get them settled, if necessary. I don’t have a cell phone, so I couldn’t call anybody just to keep me company or to get the ball rolling with a plan for the kids. The only phone in the ER was attached to the wall, and I was forbidden to get up and move around. On the plus side, I did get to listen to the drunk guy who’d just gotten in a car accident giving the nurses and attendants all kinds of trouble. It was pretty entertaining. Lots of cussing and threatening and thrashing going on. Then there were calls for "Technicians! Stat!", followed by the sound of clomping feet and deep voices and then more whining and crying from the patient, as he swore up and down that he'd sue every single person who was holding him down. I couldn’t see it, but I could hear it through the skinny little curtain. At least it took my mind off of things for a while. It was like listening to an episode of Grey's Anatomy, without being able to see the picture. Oh, and the other plus side to this whole situation, was that my ER doctor looked EXACTLY like the guy from the TV show Castle. I don’t know if you’ve seen that show, but the resemblance was uncanny. Could’ve been his twin brother. And that’s a good thing...I felt surprisingly calm staring into his warm, concerned, blue eyes.
Anyway, I got admitted upstairs, where they did another unreadable EKG, gave me more nitroglycerine, took more blood, and I can’t remember what else. I finally reached John, and he and my friend (who had gamely driven me to the ER earlier that morning) put their heads together to see if they could get the boys picked up and my van back from the school (staff members’ cars tend to get vandalized, when left in the school parking lot. Hmmmm..) Then, John was able to come and see me for just a little bit to bring me contact solution and pj’s and stuff like that. The on-call doc (not my gorgeous Castle doctor from the ER) explained that they still didn’t really know what was going on. They were going to try to see if there was something going on in my G.I. tract, since my heart seemed to be doing OK and my blood pressure was stable and fine. So, they made me drink the “G.I. Cocktail”, which was a horrendous pinkish white slushee, that I had to gulp down to see if it would numb my G.I. tract and give me some relief. All it did was make my tongue go numb. I still felt the pain and pressure on either side of my sternum, mostly left side. So, they just gave me morphine, put me back on oxygen, and kept me all night, waking me up to do the various vital checks all night long. In the morning, my nurse gave me valium, to see if it would lessen the pressure. It did take the edge off of the pain, and I didn’t feel like I was being squeezed quite as tightly. So, my doctor put his head together with my cardiologist and came up with this final diagnosis: Chest pain and severe pressure of unknown physical origin, most likely caused by too much ongoing stress. Then, I had to hear the whole anti-stress spiel (delivered in a tone so blatantly condescending it was like listening to fingernails being raked down a chalkboard) about taking time for myself, getting enough sleep and exercise, eating healthy, and making sure I take time to recover in-between stressful responsibilities. (How, exactly, is that supposed to happen? Have you ever been a full-time working mother with two little kids, no family resources anywhere nearby, and a husband who’s schedule means he’s never around? Huh? No? Then kindly shut up about giving myself recovery time in between stressful responsibilities, you officious little man! That is, unless you're offering to take some of my responsibilities off my plate. No? Not gonna take any of that on? Didn't think so.). Anyway, it was all the usual stuff. So, I got home last night, with a little bit of valium, which they want me to take when the pain and pressure are severe, just to take the edge off. Of course, I can’t take it, if I’m going to have to drive, and there's no way I would take it at work. Caffeine? Yes.Valium? No.

Anyway, I have a follow-up appointment with my doctor next doubt to discuss my stress levels some more and to hear one more person, who has NO idea what my lifestyle has really been like for the last 3 years, or the type of emotional and physical energy it requires to keep this family bumping along relatively smoothly with the schedule John works, tell me that I need to take it easy. I swear, if she smiles at me and says, “Sweetie, you’re really just not taking good enough care of yourself,” I will fly across the room and rip her head off!!! But, then I’d be guaranteed a nice, long rest in a psychiatric hospital, right? Oooooh, now there’s food for thought!


Wednesday, January 19, 2011

For you, Jodi.

            For My Beautiful Friend

My friend with the unforgettable, ear-to-ear grin.
My friend with the impossible-to-resist belly laugh.
My friend with the wicked sense of humor and a constant twinkle in her eye.
My friend, who worried more about how others were doing than she ever did about herself.
My friend, who battled cancer with courage and positivity and amazing strength.
My friend, whose life was unjustly cut short.
My friend, who will never be forgotten.
My friend, who I will love and miss for the rest of my life.

I love you, girl. Thanks for all the laughter over frappuccinos and V.V.'s. Thanks for the great hot tub and campfire conversations about everything from marriage to sex to politics. Thanks for the movie matinees, the skiing, the trips to Dairy Queen, and the after-work drinks and chicken quesadillas. Thanks for one of the most hilarious and memorable New Year's Eve's of my life. Thanks for being there when I wanted to give up on John and on the day I became his wife. Thank you for making me laugh so hard that my cheeks and stomach muscles were sore for days. And, thank you for showing me what true courage and grace really looks like.

My Dad's favorite saying has always been, "Who ever told you the world was fair?"
Well, you died this morning. And, that proves it. The world isn't fair.

I can't believe you're gone.


Monday, January 10, 2011

It takes a village (or, in this case, one nurse, one secretary, one frazzled Mommy, and about 6 strangers in a waiting room)...

You know how, sometimes, when you know that a challenging day is coming, you're able to sort of line your ducks up in a row to make it easier??? Then, everything goes horribly wrong...

Today was that day.

OK, it wasn't horrible, actually. And, looking back on it, now, several hours after all of the chaos, it's pretty amusing. Still...once in a while, I'd like those ducks to stay lined up.

This morning, hubby had to have a colonoscopy. Having been through this before, we knew that he would need me to be there to pick him up and to take care of his poor, sorry, miserable, drugged-up self for the rest of the day. So, I arranged to stay home from work, we timed everything so that we could drop the boys off at school in the morning, and then I'd be able to drive him to and from his appointment and take care of him all afternoon in a peaceful house.

Then, it snowed. Quite a bit for our little part of the world, although anyone from a state that REALLY gets snow (like Minnesota, for example) would turn their noses up at us and laugh at our wimpiness. Anyway, given the road conditions, the district decided to start school 1 1/2 hours later than normal. Sooooo, with no last-second childcare options at our 8 o'clock, I loaded the boys up with lots of toys, a Leap Pad, some paper and pens, snacks, etc., and took them along to drop Daddy off for his procedure. They assured us that he would be ready to be picked up at 10:00am, sharp. Since the boys' school wouldn't be starting until 11:00am, it seemed like everything would work out just fine. I'd take the boys to McDonalds to play in the tubes and burn some energy, while I enjoyed a cup of crummy coffee and an hour or so of relative peace. Then, we'd swing back by to pick up the hubster, I'd tuck him in at home, and I'd be able to easily get the kids to school by 11:00. Sounds great in theory, doesn't it?

Everything went smoothly until pick-up time. We showed up just before 10:00. Not ready yet. The boys played with their toys as time ticked on. They began to get restless. I appeased them with snacks. They began to get louder and slightly obnoxious. I appeased them by having them make "Get Well" cards for Daddy. Foster made a paper airplane and accidentally hit an old lady in the leg with it. (She was not amused.) I was getting slightly desperate. Then, the nurse came to get me.

"There really isn't room back there for the kids."

"Um. Well, I had to bring them, since it's a late start snow day. I didn't have any choice."

"Well, there isn't room." Then, she just stood there, looking at me, as if I could somehow pull a brilliant solution to this little dilemma out of thin air.

That's when the delightful secretary (who must be a fellow mom) piped in with, "They can stay in the waiting room. I'll keep an eye on them. They can just play with their toys."

With a grateful smile, and trying not to make eye contact with the old lady who had been hit by Foster's paper airplane, I went back to see the hubby. There he was, poor fella, all drugged up and goofy. The nurse assured me that the doctor would be "right with us", and then I'd be able to take him home. I told her the little guys were out in the waiting room, and that they were due at school in 20 minutes.

"Oh, don't worry. I just saw the doctor. He'll be right in. Won't be more than a minute or two."

Yeah, right. Note to self: Anytime a nurse says the doctor will be "right in", that's code for "I have no idea when the doctor will actually make an appearance, but I'm hoping, for both of our sakes, that it will be in just a few minutes."

The minutes ticked by. I didn't dare leave, because the doctor might come "right in", but I was picturing the havoc that my boys were potentially wreaking in the waiting room and it was seriously stressing me out. Finally, the nurse (NOT the doctor) stuck her head back in.

"Sorry, the doctor has been delayed, but he'll just be a couple more minutes. I checked on the boys, and they're doing just fine out there." Big smile. Which kind've made me want to smack her a little bit. Is that wrong? It really wasn't HER I was irritated with. It was the situation. The stress. Her cheery attitude in the face of my frustration. By now, I knew it would take a miracle to get the kids to school on time.

A few more minutes passed. This time, when she stuck her head in, I told her I had to duck out to see the boys for myself.

"Okey dokey. But, come right back. The doctor will be here any minute."

Here's what I saw:

Foster was standing on the arms of his chair, apparently trying to climb the wall like Spiderman. Spencer was sitting on the floor, drawing a picture, with his rubber rain boot pressed RIGHT up against the electric heater. I could smell the melting rubber.The old lady had vanished, the secretary was on the phone, and there was only one other person in the waiting room. He appeared to be half asleep and was sitting as far away from my boys as possible.

After getting Foster down from the wall and moving Spence away from the heater, I pleaded with the secretary: "Are you sure the boys can't come back there with me?"

"Oh, no, no, no, it'll be all right. I promise. Just go on back. I'm sure the doctor will be right there."

So, back I went. I gave up on worrying and decided to trust that the secretary knew what she was talking about. I figured the sprinkler system would kick in, if either boy set themselves on fire with the electric heater. I figured they'd come and get me, if there was a real emergency. And, I figured that they must have dealt with similar situations before, so they could probably deal with this one...

Fifteen or so minutes later, after finally talking with the doctor, helping poor groggy hubby back into his clothes, and trying not to laugh too loudly when we all heard the voice of an obviously sedated (but not yet sedate), older man yelling at the top of his lungs, "You are NOT putting that in my ass!!!" (a statement the giggling nurses, trying hard to be professional, insisted they had never heard before), I was heading back out to the waiting room.

This time, the view was quite different. This time, my little boys were the center of attention of at least 6 lovely adults, of all ages, who were now waiting in the waiting room. Spence was telling them all about his best buddy, Milo, and showing them the folders he had decorated with the markers the secretary had given him. Foster was showing the apparently captivated older lady next to him his Leap Pad. Everyone was smiling and laughing and surrounding my little guys with warmth and humor and caring. It was wonderful. When I came out, they all greeted me with huge smiles and exclaimed over my "adorable", "intelligent" boys. I thanked them all profusely and left the waiting room feeling warm all over and slightly choked up by the generosity of this group of strangers. A group of people who saw a need and jumped right in, just to make life a little easier for one frazzled Mom and two little boys.

Sometimes, it really does take a village. Or, a waiting room full of caring strangers.


Friday, January 7, 2011

Just what you need, right when you need it.

So, it's been a rough time for my little family over the last couple of weeks. Job stress and uncertainty for both of us. The car breaking down. The sky light in our bedroom cracking. Cosmo, our beloved, hairy, smelly, loyal, sweet little dog, dying on Christmas morning, after a brief, violent, sudden illness. New Year's Eve consisting of watching "The Guardians" in our pajamas with the boys and then falling asleep right before midnight, only to be woken up by the thunderous fireworks being set off by our neighbors. (Fireworks that then continued until 2am, keeping us all awake and resulting in crankiness all around. Sigh.) And, now, we find out that hubby's work is changing his day off in February. What does this mean for us? We have to find (and pay for) another day of daycare for Fos. The hits just keep on coming!'s been tough.

BUT...once in a while, when things are getting you down, somebody says or does something that is EXACTLY what you need, at the exact moment you need it, to give you a new perspective, remind you of how lucky you are, or make you feel loved and appreciated and supported and strong enough to tackle whatever obstacles life throws at you.

This was mine.

A few minutes ago, my little guy came in to say goodnight to me...

"Hey, Mom."

"Hey, Fos."

"I love you."

"Love you too, sweetie."

"I came in to say goodnight. Can I get up in your lap?"

"No, sweetie...Daddy's waiting to sing you songs."

"I know that, Mommy. But I really, really, really love your lap. Face it, Mommy -- Your lap is the best."

Needless to say...he ended up in my lap.

Lucky, lucky me.