Wednesday, October 28, 2009

To My Sweet Ainsey-Girl...

Two things you will never fully comprehend:

1. How totally unexpected you were.
2. How much I wanted you.



51% Sweetheart ...

... 49% rascal. Don't push it.

Peanut, Peanut Butter!

The house is quiet, and I revel in a few minutes of “me” time.

The prudent side of me urges: Check on John! Quiet is bad, very bad!

The self-indulgent side of me counters: Chill!

Inevitably self-indulgent wins the battle, but prudent wins the war. I eventually look for my sweet toddler and find that five minutes of alone time doesn’t come free.

Of late, peanut butter has been John’s partner in crime. Their favorite victim? The couch. Not the old, battered couch that could brave an encounter with Peter Pan and emerge with little to show for its troubles. Oh, no, no, no. John goes for the nice couch.

Hope triumphs over experience when it comes to finger food as well. Sliced cheese and grapes are usually safe bets, but why- oh- why do I continue to give John dry cereal in a bowl? Oh, the sound of Crispix underfoot!

This morning John and I sat down at the table to paint with water colors. We had great fun coloring Spiderman and Doc Oc. I stepped away for just a minute and, sure enough, heard a gushing sound as the water we were rinsing brushes with sloshed all over the dining room.

I have often reflected on how my children lead me to be detached from created things. There’s the son who has a tendency to lose items, the toddler who leaves his mark on everything and anything, and the infant who outgrows clothes in the blink of an eye.

“Store up for yourself treasures in heaven,” Jesus tells me in the Gospel of Mathew, “where moth and rust (and two-year-olds) will not destroy.”

Thanks to Tim, Kolbe, John, and Ainsey-girl for reinforcing the message.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

A Good Question

Tim: Mom, what's an anvil used for?. In movies they're always falling on people.

I love Turns out the primary use of an anvil is not to smash hapless people. An anvil is a heavy, smooth piece of iron used as a surface to hammer and shape other pieces of metal.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Right Back in the Lion's Den

I love the music of Marie Bellet. She is a wife, a mother of six, and a gifted song writer.

Her lyrics are right on for this stage in my life.

I was driving around the other day, ruminating about troubles a-brewing and the line "right back in the Lion's den" struck a chord with me. She's talking about her husband. It reminds me to be grateful for the great provider that my dear husband is. He wakes long before dawn to drive 45 minutes into what often is indeed "the lion's den." On a light day, he puts in ten hours; on a tough day it might be 18. He hops back into the truck and drives another 45 minutes home. He usually calls to see if he can stop at the grocery store on the way home.

Because he does this, I can tend the home front full-time. On my bad days I resent the hours and the burden this demanding job places on me. Today I am aware that he has returned to the den day after day for nearly 20 years. And I am grateful for Dave's heroic sacrifice.

High Brow Humor

During the twelve years and nine months that I was the sole female resident of the house, I learned quite a bit about the nature of men and boys. One observation was reinforced this weekend: male humor is unlike female humor.

A major moment of enlightenment came many years ago while hiking the trails of Yosemite National Park. Tim was walking next to me and 18-month-old Kolbe was in a backpack. Horses had just been through the area, and I pointed out their mess to Tim.

"Don't step in the horse poop," I warned.

Kolbe burst out laughing like I had never heard him before. Deep down belly laughs. Guffaws.

"It's hard wired," I thought. Boys hear the word "poop" and they can't contain themselves.

This weekend was the Boshears fly-In here in Augusta. It's an ever-shrinking but still fun air show. The Boy Scouts camp out at the airport. Saturday evening is something called "The Cracker Barrel." The various scout troops assemble and entertain each other with skits. Apparently there are a few tried and true routines that get reheated each year. There's a "Hans and Fritz" number that's an oldie but a goodie. Last year being an election year, it morphed into "Hans and Joe the Plumber."

Kolbe came home and recounted some of the skits for me. One of them was LOL funny. Now LOL has to be one of the most tired expressions of the day, but in this case it fits-I really did laugh out loud and offended Kolbe in the process.

"You didn't laugh like that about our skit," he complained. "And ours had underwear. Real underwear."

Yep, underwear. It's right up there with poop for knee-slapping funny.

I can't say much for the rest of the show except that at one point Kolbe came up to Dave and asked, "What's a bra?"

And Dave probably guffawed.

Monday, October 19, 2009


The sleeping quarters of a nameless inhabitant of our home.

I believe the expression "Oy Vey" was coined to describe such a scene.

The good news? During this brief photo shoot, I located a book that's due today.

Coffee Break

Standing on a cooler, wearing Kolbe's shoes, drinking Mom's coffee.

Grammar Girl

I saw these slip-on tennies on the wrong feet and embarked on a trip down memory lane.

My dear niece Lissi sported a girl’s version of these and, like John’s, they were always on the wrong feet. I mean always. It was one of Lissi’s many charms.

Lissi taught my grammar class for years with her creative use of pronouns and penchant for non-standard verb conjugation.

We used to play hide and seek. We followed a certain protocol. I would walk into the room where she was hiding and call out, “Where’s Lissi?”

The one time I skipped my line, Lissi jumped from her hiding place and yelled, “You forgot to ask where I is.”

I remember her parents walking out the door and Lissi asking, “Who’s going to take care of we?” As we loaded up the van for an outing, she commented, “We’re riding in him’s car.”

Cute, cute, cute. I shared all these examples with my ninth grade English students, and tried to convince them that it’s not nearly as sweet when you’re 14.

Lissi loved cats and had a plethora of stuffed ones. When she was about three, the family inherited a live one. Poor Max. He was an anti-social, slightly neurotic Himalayan who had lived alone with my dear grandmother. Lissi was ardent in her love and generous in her affection. Max became even more of a recluse.

You could get Lissi to do anything if you promised to give her a glimpse of the cat.

I got her out of a lengthy bubble bath by promising to find the elusive Max. Lissi was soaking wet and still clutching a bar of soap when I carried her to parents’ bed and found Max hiding underneath.

“Kitty, kitty, kitty,” Lissi laughed. She was mess - wet, soapy, and covered with Max hair.

Max never quite adjusted to life in a busy household of kids. His misbehaviors were so icky they are best left unmentioned. There came the day I had to tell Lissi that Max was moving south to live with her single aunt.

She responded solemnly and in typical Lissi fashion, “Max don’t like us, Auntie Kelly.”

Lissi was and is a born competitor. There was the now-famous Game of Life. From the outset, Lissi announced her intention of bearing girls and girls alone. Imagine her disappointment when two consecutive turns brought “Add a baby boy collect presents.”

Vesuvius began to stir. Lissi was not amused.

Lissi’s turn came round again. Megan, Lissi’s older sister, read the square and began to laugh. “Bad news, Liss,” Megan giggled. “You’ve got another boy.”

Vesuvius erupted. Lissi stood on her chair, pointed a shaking figure at her plastic sedan, and yelled, “Get them boys out of my car.”

We laugh about it to this day.

Lissi is now 18. Her competitive nature paid off. She graduated from high school with a near-perfect GPA. She’s studying engineering (not English), but managed to master pronouns. She’s quite the fashionista, but prefers spike heels to slip-on tennies. They are always on the right feet.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Small Successes

1. I styled my hair two days in a row. The wet hair in a ponytail has been de rigueur for years now.

2. We woke up very late, but made it to school with no shrieking or threatening.

3. I cleaned out and updated three phone lists.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

John spies a Truck

And begins his monologue: Dadt! Where he goingt? Twuck! What he doingt?

Alas, it wasn't Dadt's twuck.

Monday, October 12, 2009

I Caught a Smile

This same day we spent about ninety minutes in a portrait studio and never saw a glimpse of this gumby grin.

I'm Two and I'm Good at It

Just over two years ago, my friend Rachel and I had babies a week apart. Henry and John are now taking the world by storm. A few signs of the times:

  1. Your favorite word is Nope! As in: Do you need a new diaper? Nope! Are you ready for a nap? Nope!
  2. Mynt! is another favorite. It’s a variation on “mine” and follows your penchant for adding a “T” to everythingt. Megan = Megant. On = Ont. Dad = Dadt. Oddly, Mom is pronounced Momp.
  3. Screaming and flailing on the ground underscore your deeply held opinions.
But two has its charms as well.
  1. Saying “I wove you.”
  2. Standing up in your crib every morning and taking inventory of your loved ones. Where Dadt? Where Timmy? Where Kolbe? Where Ainsey?
  3. Carrying your new Thomas the Tank Engine train around. Sleeping with it clutched in your chubby hand.
  4. Doing the Linus thing and never letting go of your “bot.”
  5. Dashing to the window, overcome with excitement at seeing the garbage twuck.