Monthly Archives: April 2010

The Journey

Lately I’ve been reading stories about a lot of different journeys, both joyful and difficult, that people have been on. There are some beautifully written stories that celebrate life and teach all of us that we should enjoy each and every day and be grateful for every minute we have with the ones we love.

We’re all on our own journey, and sometimes our paths just happen to intersect with the paths of those people who are able to change our lives and our outlook, either in a brief instant or over the course of time. So, I guess that’s where I’d like to start—the journey.

Here’s what a journey is, according to Webster. Journey: 1: an act or instance of traveling from one place to another 2: a day’s travel 3: something suggesting travel or passage from one place to another.

To me, this means that not only am I on an amazing life journey, but tucked snugly inside that journey, there are thousands of smaller journeys that have led me to be at the point where I am now. Life is a journey. A journey can be an adventure, an exploration, a voyage, and so many other things.

With that said, I have been on so many journeys in this life, most of them good, but some of them not so good. Am I proud of everything I’ve done? No way. But I can say, with certainty, that I’m proud of the person I am now and of the family I’m a part of. And all I can say is that every inch of every journey is what has brought me to this place I am in now. If I can give a lasting message to my kids, I would want them to know to embrace every day and look forward to every tomorrow.

And no, I’m not planning on going anywhere soon, but too many times, people don’t get to say what they want to say. I’ve been inspired by the number of strong people in the world who are able to tell their stories and turn negatives into positives, and I want to be able to pass this along to my children.

Here are the things that are important to do every day:

  • Laugh
  • Smile
  • Help someone who doesn’t expect your help
  • Compliment someone
  • Say ‘please’ and ‘thank-you’
  • Enjoy nature and the world around you
  • Relax, even if you only have a few minutes before you get busy again
  • Appreciate your friends and family
  • Remember all the people who love you
  • Pray
  • Be grateful for what you have
  • Be yourself
  • Do what’s right

There are more, but these are the major ones. And even though it may sometimes be hard to see through the fog when things are difficult, remember that the journey will take you to a good place if you let it.

And if you are already in a good place, remember the people who may not be in such a happy spot. If your journey is going how you want it to go, be sure to look out for ways you can help other people along the way.

If I were going to instill a message in my kids, it would be this. My journey has led me to you, the very best things in my life, and no matter what it took to get here, I wouldn’t change it for the world. Enjoy the journey!

My Daughter, My Nutritionist

Seems that there’s this trend going around through the health-nut community to educate our children about healthy eating habits, and I find this very distressing. Gone are the days when a mom can sit down and have a nice stack of Oreos in peace! Oh no, now I have to contend with Micaela saying confrontational things like, “You know those are full of trans fats, right?” and “You shouldn’t have a snack right before bed ‘cause your body, like, won’t metabolize it right.” Huh?!!?

It’s not bad enough that I have to listen to this advice from a little size 5 pre-teen whose newest goal in life is to develop a 6-pack (Thanks, Carl.), but even worse is the fact that, dang it, she’s so right!

Gone are the days when my children would sneak up and steal my Oreos—or whatever other trans-fat-filled indulgence I may have chosen. (Well, except for Jordan, who would eat pretty much anything and still crawls under the bleachers at the gym in search of any dropped snacks from previous bleacher-dwellers. HE will still eat my Oreos.) Instead, now I have to eat my Oreos in shame, under the glowering disapproval of a 12-year-old. She stands glaring at me, hands on her hips, telling me how my spleen might burst and my head might just explode if I eat one more granule of processed sugar. (No, I don’t really think this will affect my spleen, but then again, I don’t have a medical degree.)

And to top it all off, I got a lecture about the evils of soda all the way to Neosho last week. That’s a 2-hour drive, folks, so that was a LOT of lecturing. Did you know that soda is a one-man-army with the sole purpose of casting us all into a life of toothless shame and obesity? Ok, I might be exaggerating a little about her lecture…but not a whole lot.

So no more Oreos, no more soda. This kid is trying to kill me. It used to be that I would look forward to a nice snack after all the kids were settling down—sort of a sugary form of Prozac to get me through the rest of the evening. But this…this is not relaxing, not in the least. At least if I curl up on the couch with a stalk of asparagus, maybe she won’t lecture me anymore. But somehow, asparagus and milk doesn’t sound nearly as good as cookies and milk.

Ok, enough sarcasm (but I still really want a cookie)—I gotta give a shout-out to their awesome coach for teaching them not only to be rockin’ trampolinists, but also all-around healthy and strong kids. Maybe they can teach their mom a thing or two!

My Apologies to R2D2

Dear R2D2,

Please accept my most sincere apologies for accusing you of clogging our plumbing. As it turns out, the culprit was one of these little guys:


Needless to say, there will be no more Tadoodling at our house. Tadoodles do not flush well. In fact, I don’t even know how this one made its way into the depths of our toilet, because it would seem that its size would be a deterrent to any flushing mechanism available to the general public. But lucky us, $175 later, the offending object was removed. And a valuable lesson was learned: Jordan’s potty time must always be supervised…well, at least for the foreseeable future.

The Dark Side

Well. Here’s what I’ve learned this week. R2D2 is a very cool little robot thing, but he couldn’t swim even if it meant saving the entire universe from the Dark Side. In fact, he has quite possibly drowned by now in the depths of our plumbing.

Also, I have learned that when a flapping 3-year-old is trying to tell me something, I should try to figure out what he is saying. (Well, not saying, but communicating via his own little flap-happy form of morse code.)

Anyway, most moms might be alarmed to find a flapping 3-year-old standing beside the toilet and covered in water, but not me. Nope—me, I keep my cool and think to myself, ‘No problem…it’s probably just a coincidence that Jordan is standing here, dripping and frantically motioning to the swirling water in the toilet.

So I did what any harried and self-respecting mom would do, and I ushered him off to wash his hands and get ready for a bath—and that was the end of it. I didn’t think about the swirling toilet water and flapping toddler again until much, much later.

Later happened at about 8:00 when I went to use the facilities located in our upstairs room (the same location where said toddler was found flapping and dripping a mere couple of hours before). All was proceeding according to plan…until the flush, at which time, the toilet gurgled, burped, and sort of made this cat-drowning-in-a-puddle noise. (And no, I have not witnessed a cat drowning in a puddle—ever—but I can only imagine what it must sound like, and this was it.)

The water level rose to that point where you really start to think you might need to run and get some towels, but then, miraculously and in the knick of time, it stopped. Our toilet, full of water looked sort of like a glass of soda does right before the fizz runs over the side of the glass because it was filled too full. Yeah, like that.

Anyway, disaster was narrowly avoided, and I went to tuck the boys in and casually mentioned to my loving husband that ‘Oops, the toilet is clogged.’ He then began the inquisition that sounded something like this:

Jason: What did you do?

Me: Well, I did what I USUALLY do, but this time, something went wrong.

Jason: And I suppose you want me to fix it?

Me: Yes, honey. But don’t worry, our t.v. program is being DVR’d, so we won’t miss anything.

Jason: How did you clog it?

Me: Ummmm…

So, plunger in hand, he valiantly marched upstairs, my knight in shining armor. 45 minutes later…yes, I said FORTY-FIVE minutes, I could still hear the furious plunging noise as he tried to force water through our pipes.

And it was only then that I thought to myself, “Hmmm, I wonder if Jordan might have put something in the toilet before he flushed it.” (Normally, I do not require 45 minutes of plunging after I visit the restroom.)

So, I march upstairs, preparing myself the whole time to tell Jason that maybe, just maybe, our little sweet pea had flushed something unnatural down the toilet. But when I arrived upstairs and caught a vision of Jason hunched over the toilet and plunging as if he were trying to shove the toilet through the floor, I couldn’t do anything but laugh. I know it was horrible and awful and totally inappropriate, but he was up to his elbows in toilet water, and there were there terrible gurgling noises, and the whole scene just struck me as hilarious in that instant.

My fit of laughter began to subside when I realized that he was not laughing along with me. Instead, he was glaring at me, plunger in hand and water dripping from various parts of his body—not sure whether this was sweat or toilet water—but darn it, THAT was funny, too, so I laughed again. But rest assured, I did finally compose myself enough to blurt out that I thought Jordan might have flushed something.

And do you think I got gratitude for that revelation? No. No, I did not. Instead, if possible, his glare became more pronounced and I’m pretty sure that if he looked directly at any metal object, he could have melted it. Yep, he was that mad.

After 45 minutes of furious plunging, he marched downstairs to the garage, pulled plastic gloves from his CPR training kit, kneeled in front of the toilet, and I swear, looked like he was about to help the toilet give birth. So then he was elbow-deep in the toilet, and you know what? That was funny, too! He fondled something for a few minutes, announced that, indeed, there was a foreign object in the toilet that felt curiously like the bottom half of the R2D2 toy that lay forlornly on the bathroom floor.

He used a screwdriver to try to gouge the toy and pull it out—no luck. Then he used my tweezers to try to pinch the edge of the toy—no luck. (And no, Honey, I do not need my tweezers back—I’ll get some new ones.) His final suggestion was to remove the toilet. Yes, that’s correct. Remove. The. Toilet.

Now, this would not seem like such an odd suggestion if, in fact, either of us had one iota of experience in any sort of plumbing. Let me put our fix-it abilities into perspective. If it’s more complicated than a light bulb or an outlet faceplate, we call for help. So there was NO WAY I was going to allow a toilet to be removed without proper professional supervision.

He swore he would not call a plumber to remove R2D2 from the toilet. No way. Too expensive. “We can do it ourselves,” he said. We don’t need no stinkin’ plumbers.

After an hour of plunging, digging, coercing, flushing, and cursing, I believe he decided he’d had enough. He had a blister about the size of the end of the plunger handle in the center of his hand, and he was covered in….well, something. We left the toilet in its pitiful state, plunger protruding from it so that no one would accidentally mistake it for a fully-functioning commode, and we cleaned up and went to bed. This morning, I e-mailed him the numbers for a couple of plumbers. Oh yeah, we need a plumber.

My Little Guys At the Trampoline Meet

It was a looooong day at Neosho–well, not really long as far as trampoline meets go, but long when you are 3 years old and only about 36″ tall. The boys did a great job of hanging in there and entertaining themselves while we watched their sisters perform, but they were definitely ready to go home when the day was done!

I love this picture of my two little monkeys looking down on the floor and watching everyone perform!

Mommy Needs Meds

Aspirin. Advil. Morphine. Whatever you got…I’ll take it. (Of course, always in a very responsible way and never while the kids are awake or while operating heavy machinery.) Mommy Needs Meds was going to be the title of a book, and it may still end up being that, but for now, it’s a good way to give a visual of life in our crazy little world.

So, let’s see, in the last 24 hours, we have dealt with:

  • an escaped rabbit
  • a chinchilla with a taste for the used-to-be-pretty baseboards in our house
  • kids in a window well
  • kids trying to fill the same window well up with water from the garden hose
  • an emergency have-to-have-black-pants-NOW shopping trip
  • a have-to-have-matching-shoes crisis
  • a spur-of-the-moment trampoline meet
  • crazy relatives (not pointing fingers or naming names)
  • a habitually barfing cat
  • and oh yeah, 3-year-olds who would rather wallow in their own poop all day instead of going to the potty

I’m sure this list is nowhere even near comprehensive, so, yeah, Mommy Needs Meds. And the good ones, too. Not those wimpy little Tylenol capsules or aspirin. I need full-on, high-potency NyQuil on the rocks with a twist, shaken, not stirred. There’s nothing a good NyQuil cocktail can’t fix!

Conversation between a semi-intelligent adult and an even more intelligent 3-year-old

Jadon: Oppers go ow.

Mommy: What?

Jadon: Oppers go OW!

Mommy: Ok, sweetie. (Pretending I have some remote idea of what he’s saying.)

Jadon: (Increasingly frustrated and gesticulating wildly.) Hoppers! Owt!

Mommy: (Realization suddenly dawns.) Hoppers got out?

Jadon: Yeah.

Mommy: (Running toward the stairs.) Hoppers is out of his cage right now?

Jadon: (Laughing.) Yeah.

Mommy: (Fifteen minutes later, after chasing a loose rabbit around the house.) How did Hoppers get out?

Jadon: (Very proud and grinning.) Me.

So, evidently now I have to be on the lookout for 3-year-olds helping critters make jailbreaks. Wonderful. I didn’t have enough to do.

Understanding

Last night, Marissa really, really wanted to go over to her friend’s house to play. The problem is that the friend lives a couple of streets over, and there was no way I was sending her hiking her way over there by herself. Evidently, she promised her little friend that she would call her after school and confirm that she, too, could play.

But, only after Jason had fired up the grill and tossed dinner on it to cook, did she let us know that she was unable to call her friend because she had lost the number. The next logical thing in her mind was for Jason to take her over the the friend’s house so they could talk and figure out whether or not they could play. No problem, right? Wrong.

Jason told Marissa that he couldn’t just drop everything and run her to a friend’s house, especially if we hadn’t talked to the parents, so with that said, he turned, continued grilling, and was oblivious (as far as I could ascertain) to the now-escalating panic of our 8-year-old.

Her eyes teared up, and she slouched in the chair looking dejected and sad, so finally I agree that we would ride over to her friend’s house to see if she could come out and play with Marissa. As it turned out, the little friend was just piling into the family car for an outing, so they would not have been able to play together anyway.

But the big deal…the HUGE deal to Marissa was the fact that she had told her friend she would call, and she didn’t call. Because someone (an accusatory-tone-type someone) had misplaced her friend’s number.

Only after we had indeed found her friend and retrieved the phone number anew did Marissa calm down enough to explain to me what the actual problem was. She said something like this:

“When Daddy gets frustrated, he stops undertanding.”

Yep, as Jason and I discovered last night, that little girl is pretty astute. He does sort of stop understanding once frustration sets in.

So hey, Jason, would you mind stopping not understanding? It’s really freaking us girls out!

Eating Healthy Food While Avoiding Botulism

Ok, so this is a short—yet funny story that sort of covers what happens when two totally different intents and purposes collide.

On the one hand, we have Jason, my wonderful husband who would do anything in the world to help me. And he did. And does. Just the other day, he stopped at the store and begged free lettuce from the deli counter for our bunny. Not that we don’t want to pay for lettuce, but you know, if there’s perfectly good bunny lettuce just sitting there waiting to be thrown out, then we will happily take it off their hands. So he brought two bountiful and recently expired bags of lettuce home and stashed them in the fridge for Hoppers, who is a huge fan of lettuce. Happy day for everyone involved.

But wait. Then along comes Micaela, who is on a health kick because her coach told her that she should avoid sugar and should count calories and should become the Ghandi of the health aisle at the grocery store. And, being an adolescent girl who is concerned about her appearance, she took her coach’s advice to heart and began her healthy eating regimen. On the same day (the. same. day.) that Jason brought home the wilty, slightly slimy, but perfectly-fine-for-a-bunny lettuce.

You can probably see where this is going. Micaela came home after practice, and it was late in the evening, so Mommy was already on her quest for the perfect evening slumber. Which left Jason in charge. And I’m pretty sure he was otherwise occupied (facebook, anyone?) when Micaela proceeded to made a huge-mongous salad from the ever-so-healthy lettuce she found in the fridge. She must have thought the health market fairy had stopped by our house to drop off such a delicacy. (We normally don’t buy the pre-cut, fancy lettuce, but instead opt for the pedestrian kind that you have to chop up yourself. I know. Almost as bad as buying day-old doughnuts, right?)

So she reveled in her salad, and if I know my daughter at all, I’m pretty sure she licked the bowl clean and then had seconds. So, long story short, a LOT of lettuce was consumed.

Fast forward to the breakfast table the next morning. Micaela skips in, and over a glass of skim milk, which her coach (whom I’ll now refer to as Satan) told her she must drink to be healthy, proceeds to describe in detail the delicious nature of the salad she enjoyed the night before. (I’m tellin’ you, this girl was happy about lettuce. That should say a lot regarding the amount of fresh vegetables we usually keep in the house.)

About halfway through her description, Jason piped up and began with something sort of like, “About that lettuce…” and ended with something like “Owwww!” when I kicked him under the table. Clearly, we don’t need to tell the kid she ate slimy, re-purposed lettuce. I mean, ok, if she becomes gravely ill with a serious case of botulism or some other equally disturbing malady, then we might let her know, but otherwise, let’s just keep in on the down-low.

When Jason began to tell her about the origins of the lettuce she had eaten, all I could envision was a drama similar to the scale of what happened at the bombing of Pearl Harbor unfolding right in our dining room. She would certainly come down with a concocted illness, a mystery stomach ache, and 12 more reasons why she should not go to school that day…because, “what would happen if she got food poisioning at school and suffered senselessly before succumbing to a painful and untimely death!!” Yep, no way was I having that conversation, and no way was I going to let her find out about the lettuce.

So the lettuce will remain a secret. A dirty little secret Jason and I will take with us to our graves. Ok, probably not. Instead we’ll probably wait a reasonable amount of time and then torture her with the knowledge that she ate slimy lettuce, because we are awesome parents like that, and it would be pretty darn funny to see her reaction. But later. Much, much later.

Spank Dat Rain!

Ah, springtime. Flowers and bees and trees…oh wait, and screaming toddlers who do not care for springtime storms. I love this time of year!

Here’s just a sample of what we’ve heard over the last few days of rainy and windy weather:

“Jadon skeered” (translation: scared)

“Too noisy!”

“Too yowd” (translation: loud)

“Dada, spank dat rain!”

The weather is not playing by the rules in Jadon’s little world, and he’s pretty certain that all can be made right if Daddy would simply beat the living tar out of the rain. (Because we beat them a lot—not.) I’m not sure where he got this notion, because I’m pretty sure I can count the number of love taps they’ve each gotten, with their diapers for padding no less, on three fingers (or less).

We are, however, full of threats, and I’m sure Jadon has adopted this manner of dealing with all the ills in the world. Don’t you know, anything can be fixed with a spanking? Or at least the threat of a spanking.