Thursday, April 10, 2014

Life Lately (According to My Phone)

Not broken, just bruised.  And numb.

Snow day shenanigans. Look at that little face!

What do you do when you're over playing in the snow?  Decorate a clubhouse.

Last ski day of the season.  Really.  Look at the non-snow under the lift.  But it was a great day!

Running a 5K with my boys.  Who totally smoked me.  W went on to play in a lacrosse game and then a baseball game.  Finally, something made him tired!

Couldn't be prouder.  Or more delightfully surprised.

Post 10K selfie with my dad.  A terrible picture but a great memory.

Post Monument Avenue 10K with my dad and the hubs.  Two of my favorite fellas!

Apparently, we are simply no good at selfies.  But I love finding these surprises on my phone anyway.  Sweet girl.

Beautiful and delicious.  Best shared with a bestie on a lazy Friday morning.

Finally, a nice day.  Yes that is an ice cube.  Momma can't wait until it's chilled.  The article about Kimye is ridiculous.

A gaggle of boys.  I heart this.

I took this in secret (hence the screen).  He used the broom to "paddle" his way across the Sea of Monsters in his boat (the dump truck) and now he's setting traps.  I love his BIG imagination and sincerely wish I had gotten a video of him padding his dump truck with a broom across the grass.

In other news, today is the hubs' birthday.  I won't tell you how old he is as he's having a hard time with it.  Age is just a state of mind right?  A state of mind and creaking bones.  Love that man.  I am truly blessed.  Happy birthday sweetheart!

Friday, April 4, 2014

The Diaper

The other day, as I was folding laundry, I came across one of Tate's shirts, the sleeves of which were knotted.  

My initial reaction was astonishment.  My washer can knot something up like that?  I mean, yes, occasionally pulling clothes out of the washing machine is like untwisting pretzels, especially those darn skinny jeans, but this?  This was taking it to a whole new level.

As I picked at the sleeves, I suddenly realized what I was dealing with.  

Washing machines can't make slip knots.

And then I had a vision.  A vision of an 8-year-old boy streaking through the house the other night wearing nothing but a sumo wrestler diaper.  A blue one.  That he had crafted himself.

Out of this shirt.  

I hadn't paid that much attention because, honestly, we're talking about Tate.  This kind of stuff happens all the time.  (Just yesterday, we melted crayons in the microwave for fun.  A few days ago, he was a ninja in the back yard with a lacrosse stick and his karate yellow belt tied around his head until he whacked himself in the unmentionables.  Before that, he was trying to ride the skateboard down the slide while wearing a mustache on his face.)  And, he lost part of his shirt diaper halfway through his streak and wasn't wearing anything underneath.  Because of course. I was more focused on him not exposing his goodies to his sister and the fact that he was supposed to be taking a shower if he wanted to stay up for Agents of Shield than what he had actually used.

Have you ever washed and dried a shirt that was tied into a knot?  No?  Well, that knot was not to be undone.  

And I wasn't either.  Bye bye shirt.  You were ugly anyway.

And Tate, in the future when you make a sumo wrestler diaper for yourself, could you please 1)wear underwear in case of wardrobe malfunctions and 2)not use your shirts.  Or any other clothing items.  I have cloth diapers you can borrow have.  

Monday, March 31, 2014

Memory Monday

"The Time I Knew I Had it in Me"

When I was a kid, I rode the bus home from school.

This is where I received the bulk of my education.  It was a lesson in survival of the fittest.  It was a lesson in minding your own business.  It was a lesson in the fickle nature of social acceptance.  It was a lesson in bureaucracy and how hierarchies worked.  It was a lesson in how to make yourself invisible.  It was a lesson in how to make yourself heard.  It was a lesson in trash talking.  It was a lesson in slang.

Sometimes, it was even a lesson in the power of prayer.

Our bus was wild.  We lived in a small town and our bus route covered a lot of territory.  We didn't live in one of the subdivisions that provided my school's population; we lived closer to downtown.  Our bus represented kids from, truly, all walks of life.

The busdriver did his job.  He drove the bus, he opened the door, he closed it.  He punched our bus tickets.  That is all.  He did not insert himself into the hijinx happening right behind him.  On a rare occasion he might tell one of the trouble makers to sit down, and then the bus got real quiet.  When the silent one speaks, you listen.

My sister and the couple friends/neighbors I knew who rode it kept to ourselves.  We rarely uttered a peep.  Everything you did, you did discreetly.  You didn't treat yourself to the dessert you saved from lunch; it would need to be turned over to some hoodlum bully.  You didn't laugh too loudly, lest you be caught, called out and insulted with a "why are YOU laughing    (insert a name like "honky" or "midget" or "freak" -- for the record I had no idea what a honky was but it sounded scary and I certainly didn't want to be called one)  .  Kids were singing and dancing in the aisle, making up songs about each other, or insulting each other (your mama's so big she put the elephants out of business).  I would listen to these exchanges, never completely understanding where the uncrossable line was.  And it changed from day to day anyway.

This bus is where I stood up to a bully for the first time.

His name was David.  He was from a nice family.  He had a terrible attitude and he was mean.  I don't know why.  I'm sure his parents had no idea.  But he made the bus trip home a living hell until his bus stop.  You never knew what was going to set you in his cross hairs.

One day, the bus driver spoke to him and threatened to stop the bus if he didn't sit down.  He didn't.  The bus driver stopped the bus alright, smack dab in the middle of the steep hill next to the school.  As he slammed on the brakes, 20 or 30 little kids all went slamming into the back of the seat in front of them, suspended halfway in mid air (I mentioned the hill was steep; I forgot to mention we were going down).  I think, in my misery and frustration, I blurted out "sit down" (he had grabbed onto my seat to steady himself and was surprisingly still upright).  He slowly turned his head to me and said, "what did you say?"  Drumming up bravado I wasn't really feeling I said "sit down" again.  My 8-year-old life flashed before my eyes as he leaned over toward me menacingly.

"Your mama."

Like "honky" I really had no idea what this meant, but I knew it was an ultimate insult and in no way funny.

I looked him in the eyes and said, "yours."

He got real quiet, and got right in my face. I might have passed out a little, I'm not sure -- the details are fuzzy.  Certain death was staring me straight in the face and I was lightheaded and I think I might have peed in my pants a bit.  Trying, trying, TRYING not to let him see me quiver.  Too petrified even for tears.

And then the most amazing thing happened.  He sat down.  Right across the aisle from me.  Didn't say a word, just stared at me the whole way home, occasionally nodding his head.  I tried hard not to look at him.  I was sure he was planning my slow and painful demise.  I sweated out the entire next day and for the fate that awaited me on the bus.

As I boarded, I saw that he was already there, on the aisle.  I had to walk past him.  I put on my best "I don't even know you're here" face and was about to brush past him when he stuck out his arm, palm facing me.  "Five."  Shocked, I gave him my best, most pathetically awkward and confused five and sat down.  He nodded at me, quietly.

And he never bothered me again.  In fact, his whole demeanor toward me changed.  Other than the occasional nod, or random "gimme five," he still ignored me, but he didn't scare me anymore.

And he couldn't have even if he tried.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Memory Mondays

My youngest child also happens to be my thoughtful, imaginative, creative child.  He loves to read, loves science, wants to be an engineer.  He’s always looking for inspiration for new games, new adventures.  Lately, he’s taken to asking me to tell him stories at night – not made up stories, stories about my childhood.  Especially ones that give him “ideas.”  Ideas for what I’m not exactly sure.  What I do know is that he loves when I share my memories with him.

I’m not good at off the cuff.  I am good at on paper.  So I decided, since his baby book is bare and this blog was created as an alternative way to chronicle my children’s lives and stories, to share them here.  Maybe if I write them down, I’ll remember them when it’s bedtime.  And maybe, just maybe, one day he’ll look back on these stories and remember them too.

The other day, I remembered a story that I shared with him after a day of skiing together, just the two of us.  He told me it was the best story ever.  It was just a memory, but I realized that the reason he connected so much with it is because, in so many ways, he’s like me.  When I told him that I used to make up stories in my head about people as I fell asleep, he exclaimed “me too!”

So Tate (and Meems and Will), starting next week, I am going to make myself accountable for Memory Mondays, where I share my stories with you, because you love them so much.  Whatever memories I have, they’re yours for the taking.  Whatever adventures I had as a child, I give them to you.  You won’t ever ride your bike through the streets of town, helmet-less, with a bucket on the handlebars so you can catch crawfish in the creek at the public park, but you can live it anyway.  You won’t ever play Swiss Family Robinson under the Weeping Willow in the back yard, but you can pretend you did.  You won’t ever bury cigarette butts in the dirt, making little graveyards for them while your grandparents enjoy an after dinner smoke and your parents talk, and that’s probably a good thing.  I hope you will see the kind of kid I was, and see that we were a lot alike.  I hope you will come to understand the cast of characters who shaped my life, and that you’ll have a few of your own one day.  Your blood runs thick with Southern color.  Count your blessings for that, and treasure your heritage.  There are lots of great stories there.  Read them all, digest them all.  May they feed your soul.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Meanest Mom EVER!

I am the meanest mom ever.  EVER!  It's official.

Tonight, T threw a spaghetti noodle in his sister's milk.  You would have thought he had tried to poison her the way she carried on, but, hey a noodle in your milk IS gross.  I'll give her that.  Especially someone else's noodle.  Especially your BROTHER'S noodle.

After she finished going berserk and I talked her down off the ledge (girl's got a flair for the dramatic, and why am I the only one who gets to experience it? hmmm), I assured her she didn't have to drink her milk.

She poured her noodle milk into her brother's glass.

After he finished going berserk, I dispatched Little Meems elsewhere, amid huffing and stomping because while she didn't want to stay in the same ROOM as her brother (her words and inflection, not mine) apparently she couldn't bear to be sent away either.

And you wonder why motherhood is so exhausting.

"And as for you, young man, you need to drink your milk."

"But it has a NOODLE in it!"

"I know.  And you're going to drink it anyway."

"But I'll drink the NOODLE!!"

"Hmm.  Sounds like you're in a predicament."

"Well, you're the meanest mom ever.  In the world.  Maybe even in the universe. Maybe even the galaxy.  Definitely in this neighborhood."

"Yeah, I know, right?"

"But I'm SORRY."

"Don't apologize to me, apologize to your sister."

He dismounts his chair and starts to take off.

"AFTER you drink the milk."

Huff.  Puff.  Angry muttering under his breath.  Head thrown back in agony with a bear growl thrown in for good measure.

"Yeah yeah, enough. I get that this isn't pleasant, but you can't throw food into people's drinks. It's not OK to ruin something of someone else's because you think it's funny.  Now drink.  Actions have consequences.  Yours is to finish your noodle milk."

And he did.  There was a lot of gagging and eyes rolling back into his head and more bear growls (his specialty), but he drank that darn milk, until he found the noodle.

He fished it out and put it in the sink, as well as his milk....almost.

"Nuh-uh.  Finish."

He hugged me. Hard. I think he was fighting back tears.

My goal was not to torture him.  I mean, really, it was a noodle.  I knew he'd survive.  The goal was to teach him a lesson.  Unfortunatley, some lessons are learned the hard way.  The world isn't always going to show you mercy.  As noodle milk isn't dangerous, I felt OK about my choice.

"Drink, mister."

"But there's residue."  The noodle was bare.  There was no residue.


And he did.  And (gasp) he lived!  Hallelujah!  And he offered his sister a heartfelt apology, one that can only be gained from truly experiencing empathy.  And I was proud of him.  Of course, she screamed at him for being in her room and slammed the door on him, but bless his heart his intentions were good.

I don't think he'll do that again.

Drinking noodle milk may be torture, but having to apologize to your sister?

Waaaay worse.