Tuesday, December 23, 2008
Saturday, December 20, 2008
At first I was sort of aghast at this sentiment, but on second thought I agree that photo cards could be viewed as another step in the WRONG direction for a holiday that has long been on a mudslide. But I LOVE getting the photos from all of my friends and family (even the bad ones -- see below), so I must assume the same is true for the people to whom I send cards. So next year, expect a traditional card with a photo stuck inside, per Rev. Martin's suggestion.
Side Note: The reason that I have to write all of this in the middle of the busiest time of the year is because I got some sort of 24 hour flu-like thing and we had to change all of our holiday travel plans. It could definitely be worse, but it seems that I get an inordinate amount of upper respiratory infections, which Dr. Google says is not an indicator of a dysfunctional immune system (but might be Lyme disease).
And now back to the topic of holiday cards. I have to tell y'all about this year's winner of the Worst Holiday Card Contest, which is further evidence of why we should not be replacing the baby Jesus with our own babies.
So, every year I have a contest (on my refrigerator) to see who sends the cheesiest and/or just plain worst card. One year someone we know sent a photo card in which everyone in the family -- adults and children alike -- was dressed in red and green polka dot footey pajamas. After that, a tradition was born. Don't worry ... any of you who read this blog are automatically disqualified from the contest.
Last year nothing came through, but this year, there was a card so good that I feel like setting aside the contest for a couple years. Actually this card was sent to my neighbors, so I'm relatively sure that there is no way I can offend anyone publicly by describing this card here.
The picture was mostly black and white and in the center it had a small child dressed in red with a red bow in her hair (the dress and bow were not in b&w, obviously) sucking her thumb, rubbing her ear, and leaning against a hugely pregnant woman whose entire abdomen was exposed. The area below her abdomen was wrapped a green tarp, and above it was a bikini top (also made out of green tarp). There was no head on this belly, just the expansive bump wrapped in tarp (there was also a good amount of breast and armpit showing, just to clarify further).
But, oddly enough, that picture alone didn't seal the deal. It was the caption that actually won the contest for this family, for this photo card had not only a title, but TWO subtitles. It read, "Primary Colors: A Seasonal Portrait by the C Family ... in red, green, and blue." Below that it had their names, parents' names written in green (like the tarp), little girl's name in red, and then the name of the bump -- in blue (it's a boy, for those of you who aren't as quick).
Y'all: I could not stop laughing about this photo card. Especially after Brian pointed out the fact that the expectant mother looked vaguely like the headless statue of a mermaid wrapped in visqueen.
And then it occurred to me: GREEN IS NOT A PRIMARY COLOR. And anybody who has seen a ziploc bag commercial knows that ("yellow and blue make green -- it's EASY!"). Not that any of this matters, but when you send out a card with a professionally made, half-nude photo that has two subtitles, then you should at least get your colors straight.
And THAT is what made me change my mind and agree with the Right Reverend. Maybe our families should not replace the original Christmas family -- for a lot of different reasons, but especially if our families are scantily clothed in visqueen.
Happy Christmas everyone!
Monday, December 15, 2008
I like the ones on the bottom row center and right, but the "I wonder as I wander" (top right) is what most of you will get.
Just for funsies, VOTE by leaving a comment!
This is what happens when I don't have students to attend.
Friday, December 12, 2008
Today we had an inclement weather day even though I could still see the grass under the snow.
In this video, I love how he actually ponders the question, "Are you an angel?"
We went for a hike and acted silly all morning. Now the guys are sleeping off the snow and sushi while I desperately try to find a decent picture for a Christmas card. Husband is against being on the card, which complicates matters. I'm thinking of using an "I wonder as I wander theme," since there's the line about how Jesus came "for poor ornery people like you and like I" ... Even though that incorrect first-person subject pronoun bothers me there in object position, I think the ornery theme is pretty right on.
Click here for more snotos.
I crack myself up.
Monday, December 08, 2008
Thursday, November 20, 2008
We have survived the stomach virus, two colds, and are currently working with laryngitis. Mama's THIRD (3rd) bout this year. I don't get it. I don't smoke, I don't clean with harsh chemicals (or even with mild ones for that matter), and I don't have allergies.
I guess it's just the universe reminding me to be quiet sometimes. I won't do it on my own, so it's forced.
Everything he does is so wonderful to me. I mean all he did was add ears and hair to his body with eyes and legs and now I'm looking at private schools with art emphases.
While he progresses, unfortunately I digress and regress. Did y'all know there's a show about the try outs for the Dallas Cowboys' Cheerleaders? If you did, and you didn't tell me, then you're in trouble.
Now, I never actually wanted to BE a DCC (a rockette, a figure skater, or a Mandrell sister were my top choices), but Lord knows I would love to get to CHOOSE the DCCs. I have been watching this show every night and I'm getting really close to these girls. I mean really -- they just wanna help people, y'all. They are not in it for the flashy performances, the white boots, or the proximity to extremely rich young athletes.
It's all about the community service. You know ... seeing off the troops heading out to Afganistan, posing with crippled children, and supporting fellow wanna-be DCCs by participating in crying sessions and/or pep talks, whichever is more appropriate for the occasion (getting kicked off = crying; getting a warning that you might = pep talk). And really, it's just like their director tells them when they do get canned: Some of them are just not a fit. It's not the uniform or the dancing or the hair. Sometimes, it's just not a fit. Sometimes they look winded after jumping into the air and falling into a split. Sometimes they just don't have long enough hair or legs or fingernails. But there's always a good reason and it's true: Not everybody is meant to be a DCC.
Right now there are 66 and they've GOT to get that number down to something more reasonable.
In case you wanna watch, it comes on right after "My Big Redneck Wedding" on the country music channel.
Last year it was Delilah. Now this.
I may have to start moonlighting or join another book club.
And if anyone knows what kind of lip gloss Barbara Mandrell used to wear, do tell. I've been trying to get my lips to shine like that for nearly 30 years.
Sunday, November 09, 2008
Wednesday, November 05, 2008
I wrote a really long, detailed post which got lost when my desktop crashed for the 413th time. Now I'm on the laptop, and I really think that it can all be summed up in six words:
BEYOND BELIEF BACKSEAT BARF and ASTHMA.
Mama said there'd be days like this. But, being an optimist,
I didn't believe her.
Clearly, I'm stupid.
Barf and asthma scare me. Today we had both.
The Goose, on the other hand, is primarily scared by a nine-eyed green hulk. I prefer more everyday problems. That's all, really.
And now, a week in pictures ...
My prayer: Please let all these drugs be working. I couldn't stand to know that all of our efforts were in vain.
And PLEASE let my baking soda/vinegar scrub of the ENTIRE backseat of my car not be in vain either.
Vanity is useless. Steroids and baking soda better not be.
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
"A Baby Ruth! WOW! Some Starburst! Holy cow! M&Ms!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"
We don't give him a lot of candy, poor thing. He never knew there was anything besides M&Ms. At one point during the night, he turned to Annie and said, "Don't be eating all that candy or you'll rot out your teeth." As she stuffed a Butterfinger in.
Saturday, October 25, 2008
1. When I was 11, I moved into my closet with nothing but a mirror, a sleeping bag, a jambox, and some Reba McEntire cassette tapes.
2. I like to eat the half-popped kernels at the bottom of the bag of popcorn.
3. I got in the top ten at the 1995 Mississippi Junior Miss. It's not a pageant; it's a scholarship program.
4. I have a minor in piano performance. My first piano professor in college broke a pencil over my fingers. "Inadvertently."
5. I am obsessed with CNN & NPR.
6. I keep a red pen handy when I read books. If I find an error, I mark it using a proofreader's code, and then I send a letter to the publishing company. I also diagram the sentence and put that in the envelope as well.
7. I once sued Northwest Airlines for the demolition of my Medela Pump-n-Style breast pump. I lost, but the judge CLEARLY liked me, as evidenced by his meanness to both the corporate attorney AND the flight attendent witness. You can also read about it here and here.
Sorry guys, but I'm tagging you: Heather, Cindy, Ashley, Carrie, Kellymac, Andy, and Judy. And just because I know some of your won't participate, I'm tagging some additional people just for funsies: Amy in Austin, Carrie in Austin, and Liz in Austin.
By the way, those are most of the blogs I read, plus Melany, who tagged me.
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
His four-year old school portraits. I had to spend $50 just to get three pages of photos, so y'all need to ooh and ahh a bit.
Look at him sitting there so senatorial-like. Luckily, you can't see the dirt under his fingernails.
And here is his class full of girls. There's one other sporadic boy attendee, but John likes Miranda the best (far right).
And tonight he carved a pumpkin in his underwear and favorite t-shirt.
Because who can keep their pants on when there are Ironman briefs to show off?
The end result: Even our Jack-o-Lantern has a crooked nose. Must run in the family, huh Bruce?
Happy Hump Day!
Sunday, October 19, 2008
Last night we couldn't find a babysitter, so we just took him with us because Mama HAD to get out of the house, and y'all know the rest about if Mama ain't happy ...
We ALL had a blast ... went downtown, ate some great Turkish food, listened to some music, and built silverware/tabasco sauce towers through which to fly paper airplanes made out of a folded-up menu.
Y'all call us if you ever need any fun ideas.
Friday, October 17, 2008
Earlier this week, my beloved next-door neighbor and I attempted to take our children to a pretty lake for some lovely fall photos with a blue sky, clouds, and autumn leaves in the background. Here is what really happened.
First, we were just walking and all was well for a wonderful 4 minutes. We found a nice spot for a few shots and actually got some that aren't bad:
Then we heard a lawnmower start up, and the two adults present practiced their sprinting skills, abandoning one child right.beside.the.lake, and bounding toward the other, who had turned the key on a large piece of wheeled equipment with sharp blades. The guilty party was plucked off, and lots of crying and apologies followed. The apologies continued on into the night. I think he was afraid I might forever ban all lawnmower sitting, which is a huge pasttime (especially during visits to Lowe's or Home Depot).
Next we found another good photo opp spot, but neither child would cooperate.
Finally, we left the park and went home to take birth control pills and valium.
The End.ION ...
Today, JEB got a flu shot and has limped about pathetically for nearly 12 hours now. I am continually amazed at how much/often a four-year old cries. I guess I thought that kids just magically stopped crying EVERYDAY.FOR.LONG.PERIODS.OF.TIME after a few years.
When we pulled his pants down in the examination room I discovered that OOPS! upon dressing himself this morning he forgot underwear. The people at the doctor's office are so forgiving. Last time we were the star attraction because of the permanent dirt on his knees (which neither alcohol nor acetate would remove and four nurses came in to gawk at). Now we're going commando on (pre)school days. What in the world will we do with this child when he's 14?
Y'all: It's only 10 years away!!!!
We came away with a pink lemonade dum-dum sucker and a lot of questions about the flu, the elevator, and pink lemons. What's the flu? Why do I get a flu shot to NOT give me the flu? Why does the elevator only have 3 buttons and carpet and a mirror? How do you make lemonade pink and put it on a stick?
Hopefully I'll come away from this weekend with my sanity, a pumpkin, and a not-crying four-year old.
Don't bother praying for me to have patience.
Maybe just humor.
YES! I like the sound of that.
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
The director of The Goose's swim school has just offered us 3 private lessons for the price of the group lessons in an effort to catch him up to his peers. It's been a harrowing few weeks at swim school, and no one is pleased with his progress. We're all hoping this effort will help alleviate some of his, um, challenges.
So, being paragons of good parenting, we're gonna infuriate him by sending him to MORE swim lessons! I'll keep you posted as I know you're all standing by anxiously awaiting news on this front. I fear that my dreams of Olympic gold are fading, but at least we still have the political aspirations!
JB for VP!
Thursday, October 09, 2008
The top half looks good ... the bottom half ... not so much.
He chose to wear this chambray shirt with the yellow dinosaur tie (thanks Macy!), a new pair of "slim" bluejeans (thanks Nanny!), a black braided leather belt, and a pair of navy and green rain galoshes.
In other news ...
I gave in and am letting him use the portable DVD player in the house. Desperate times call for, well, you know.
And finally ... to leave you with a smile:
At 2, your child should be able to:
- Place dirty clothes in a hamper
- Put a dirty diaper in the bin
- Pick up toys after playing with them
- Place napkins on the table
- Sort lights and darks for the laundry
At 3, your child should be able to:
- Sort socks by color or possibly match them
- Water a plant
- Feed a pet
- Clean up her own spills
- Get her own simple snack ready
- Remove her own dish from the table
- Help wash a car
At 4, your child should be able to:
- Set plates, forks, and napkins on the table
- Remove silverware from the dishwasher
- Fold towels
- Help make her bed (smooth out bedspread neatly)
- Remove wet towels from the floor
- Pour milk
- Help with food preparation
- Sweep with a child-size broom
Or should I say, "SWEEP!"
Tuesday, October 07, 2008
I just returned from the bathroom in the building where my office is. It's the library building--one of the busiest buildings on campus. And there was a student in there talking on her cell phone. She wasn't even using it (as our Delta kids used to say); rather, she was pacing back and forth in front of all the stalls apologizing profusely about some incident with her landlord.
Now I have been known to talk on the phone in the bathroom in the privacy of my own home where background noise can be somewhat controlled, but THIS? This is just too much.
I lost track of the conversation while the toilet was flushing, but it seems she's in a bit of a mess with a bounced check, and I do wish her well. But most of all I wish her some better phone etiquette.
Isn't that somehow a violation of my privacy?
I mean, it's not really that I care that much about privacy, given that I live with a four year old who wants to know all the details of all things bathroom-related and will fight to discover them either first- or second-hand. But here's the thing: If little boys are disallowed in the women's locker room at the rec center--which is quite an inconvenience to me--then I think cell phone talking should be banned in public bathrooms even if it is an inconvenience to some.
I know that that is a logical fallacy, and I don't care.
What is the world coming to?
Maybe we'll find out tonight at the debate.
Sunday, October 05, 2008
Our weekend was relatively uneventful, but I feel the need to share ridiculously mundane details fo my everyday life, so here goes ...
Saturday we had an agonizing swim lesson (complete with the coach's warning that he can't come back if he screams the whole time next week). This was particularly hard for Mama, who is banished to the stands to watch from afar. I can't ever really see what's going on, but I can hear it all. I felt like my Olympic dreams were being dashed. Coach Margaret says that if he does better next week then he can have two suckers. She thinks bribery works, but little does she know about the severe stubborn streak of this child. She even said, "It's not that he's scared; I think it's just that it's not his idea."
Really? You think? I wouldn't know anything about that.
After the dream-dashing lesson, we went to a festival across the street from the indoor sports complex. Besides spending $20 on a bunch of things that are all now gone (face paint, chicken on a stick, popsicles, balloons, etc.), not much else happened.
I spent the remainder of the weekend moping around and feeling sorry for myself because I STILL do not have Brian on the weekends. We ditched the park ranger thing (in large part) because of the schedule, but now there are other things which occupy his time. Don't get me wrong ... they're all GOOD things which I understand and support, but it doesn't stop me from pouting and angrily folding laundry.
All I am is boring these days.
Today we did manage to take a bike ride with the whole fam, which briefly and beautifully interrupted my pity party. It was during this time that a funny statement was made by Husband, who said, as we biked to Target -- me just biking regular-like, and he pulling the hitchhiker:
"It feels like I'm riding with a flat tire and one lung."
Fun! Don't you want one for the back of your bike? Yeah! It's really great ... you just put your 40-pound flailing monster on and attempt to actually make it somewhere without anyone having a temper tantrum. Yes, indeed. That is fun stuff.
Wednesday, October 01, 2008
And me watching from the stands, nervously biting at my cuticles and popping valium leftover from my second round of laser eye surgery.
Of course, this swimming thing ... it's only if the whole presidential thing doesn't work out.
Or hey! How about Vice President! That might be a better option! In fact, he could possibly even be qualified NOW for that position!
John-John: My mom and dad and me, we can actually SEE a bank from our house.
John-John: Really! We can SEE the bank from our house, and sometimes I go in there with my mom to make deposits, and we drive past there EVERY DAY, and I wave at the security guard when he's standing outside!
Thursday, September 25, 2008
One of my Ethiopian students was making a presentation on the Queen of Sheba, and she had a lovely PowerPoint presentation to accompany her talk. About halfway into it, I noticed that throughout her PowerPoint was the phrase "Ark of the Covenient." Of course no one else noticed this, so I let it go.
But I can't help but wonder what the Ten Convenient Commandments might look like ... though I fear in pondering that (or -- worse -- posting it on the Internet) might be breaking the one about not using God's name in inappropriate ways. Especially under the current situation in our country, where end-time prophecies are dangerously close to fulfillment, one wants to remain as chaste as possible.
In other news ...
It never fails that if I post something about improved behavior then we have a bit of a setback. Is setback the right word? Maybe not, since it implies going in reverse to a past time, and though I often dream about that during every new turn of the growing-up dial, I don't think it's that. It's more like a new committment on the part of my child to find different and innovative ways to torture me. Yes. That's more like it ... it's not the same old tricks. These are tricks in their infancy, developing daily into quirkier patterns, threatening what little sanity remains.
How to name this? Hmmm ...
The phrase wild screaming comes to mind.
As does unrequited thrashing & demonic writhing.
I'm usually threatened in a way that precludes a sticker, an M&M, or some cheetos. As in, "Mom, if you don't stop that, then you're not gonna get a treat."
Most of this errant behavior occurs around bath/shower time and the subsequent outfitting that follows.
For three nights now he has howled for the entire duration of the shower and/or bath. Sometimes there is an injury that is being exacerbated by the soapy water. Other times he just doesn't want some certain body part washed. And then there are the issues of tile destruction through splash damage. One night I even stooped so low as to tell him that he was decreasing the value of our home by messing up the ONE bathroom. He just smiled and dumped another cup of water onto the bathmat.
After we wrestle him out of the tub, he proceeds to plunder through his underwear drawer in search of "4s" underwear. We only have one pair of 4s underwear, so this is often disappointing.
Underwear issues are oft followed by bottoms drama and long parental diatribes wherein Mama waxes philosophic about the dangers of wearing clothes out of the hamper, the importance of cleanliness, and the positive qualities of pajama bottoms (as opposed to jean shorts).
Thanks to the grandmothers, we now have enough jean shorts to make it about four days, so Thursday nights are usually rough in terms of clothes selection. As he attempts, post-bath, to find an outfit which he will sleep in and wear to school the following day (his own ritual, not mine, though BRILLIANT in terms of saving time in the a.m.), there is sometimes trouble. A suitable outfit can only consist of some combination of the following: basketball shorts (of which we have 3 pair), soccer shorts (1 pair), or blue jean shorts (4), paired with a shirt that has either a number, a race car, or a large piece of dangerous machinery. These are the only options.
And in case you're wondering, none of this is convenient. And come to think of it, a lot of it isn't really honoring me. But that's another issue.
And finally, there is the matter of Spearmint Gum Puppy. SGP is an alter ego that appears during snacktime, demanding puppy treats to be served in a puppy bowl on the floor. Even the neighbors enjoy snacking in this manner.
And with that, dear friends, you've earned dismissal.
Onward, upward, sideways, and backward,
Monday, September 15, 2008
Happy 4th birthday spearmint gum puppy! No offense bud, but I have to say that I am thanking goodness the year of the “threes” is now gone. You never were a Terrible Two, but Three has been difficult. Some kind of light switch was flipped ON (I’m sure it served some beautiful developmental purpose), and try as I may to embrace it, I haven’t yet been able to.
In addition to your burgeoning, um, independence, there were lots of big life events for all of us during this year that haven’t made things any easier. During your year of being three, we survived the following:
- Mom returning to work full time
- Dad changing careers (rightfully)
- The purchasing of our first home
- Two new/different schools for you
- The discovery of your asthma
- The decision to expand our family
November 2007 (Note that the shirt is the same. This is an important 3-year old trend.)
I know that it could’ve been SO much worse, and I thank God everyday for all of our blessings – the biggest of which is YOU.
All of these events have helped me to come to grips with something that all parents must face at some point, which is that I cannot make your life perfect or easy, no matter how hard I try. No matter how much I attempt to make decisions with your best interest in mind, you are an individual person, separate from your parents, who must make your way in the world just like the rest of us: learning through experience, realizing that good and bad times come no matter what, and personally experiencing the economic principle of opportunity cost (for every option in life, there is a corresponding price). I have tried to help you learn these life lessons easily and with minimal confusion, but this year has taught me that ultimately I can only lend a hand here and there and be a model, for you must learn to accept the consequences of your actions (whether natural or doled out by grown-ups) be they rewards or punishments, fair or unfair. And that, my son, is very difficult for a parent to watch.
One thing I can say about you with complete confidence: You are not a spoiled child. At least not according to the current American standard. In fact, I think it’s quite the opposite situation going on here. You have spoiled your parents. We are accustomed to a child who is smart, cute, funny, and actually doesn’t mind going to bed. You say “yes ma’am” and “no sir” and you use your manners almost without fail (except when Spiderman is on). When I hear other people talk about you glowingly (like teachers or babysitters or friends), I am reminded of how hyper-critical I can be, and I am often humbled and grateful in a way that nothing else in my life could precipitate.
And when you say grace ... boy, when you say grace!
Angels sing "Ahhhhhhhh" in perfect four-part harmony right there in our dining room. A halo appears above your head just as you get to the part about "watch over Macy & Grandaddy and Nanny & Grampy and my tractors."
Throughout this year of Three, I have often told people that you are not a “difficult” child, but rather, that you are “intense” or “challenging,” or “God’s answer to my prayer for learning patience.” If nothing else, you are a lesson in patience, understanding, and a vision of how everything comes back around again. And now that the light of Fourdom is here, I can finally see the fruits of our labor.
This morning on the way to school, you wanted the “Flea on the Track” song, not the “Wheels on de Bus” (Dafe Womack is a new fave), and so, in keeping with three-year old tradition, you shrieked, “NOT THE WHEELS SONG, IWANT THE …” and then you stopped, took a breath, and changed your tune (pun intended): “Mom, could you please put on the 'Flea' song instead?”
Again, the angels glorious harmony. This time, in the car. All around me.
John-John, we are still cleaning up from the damage of the Category "3" Hurricane that came and has now gone this year, but of course there were some things we NEEDED to clean out. Like, for example, my quick temper, or my negative attitude, or how about my lovely proclivity to always feel that there is something that could be better ... something that just isn't right ... something to call an expert about. Yes, all of those things -- while not being completely eradicated -- have definitely been called into question during this year.
Because really: Can one family need an expert 5/7 days a week? Oh! If only I would expose myself to more smart, independent, happy, energetic children! Then I would see that all of you is perfectly normal and normally perfect in just the way that only my son could be. Hurricanes are good for showing you what really matters.
For most of this year I have been completely convinced that there was nothing we could do to curb your "bad" behavior. And now all of a sudden, just as you're turning four, I see progress. I see wonderful, beautiful YOU shining through the developmental downs, the medicated moods, and the awful parental practicalities that have complicated this year for you. And I can't help but love you even more. FOUR TIMES MORE than I ever have before.
You are my teacher, and my shadow, and my buddy. And just like I tell you every night:
I love you very much.
Nothing you could ever say or do would make me stop loving you.
I hope you have sweet and long dreams.
I'll see you when you need me.
If you need me, call me.
I'll be right here.I love you THIIIIiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiissssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssss much,