If you wanna feel better about your family, just read about ours...

Starring: a dad, a mom, a son & daughter-in-law, a daughter & son-in-law, a teen, a tween, 1 grandson, 3 granddaughters, 3 dogs, and a whole lot of love.

Family Story Pic

Family Story Pic


Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Take me out to the ballgame.....

Something about our family naturally draws attention. We joke that we're The Truman Show. Well, maybe we aren't joking. I think some part of us actually believes it's true. But when the crazy stuff that happens to us happens so often, it gets easier and easier to believe.

With baseball season approaching, I can't help but think of The Dayton Dragons. The Dragons are one of those Minor League Baseball Teams that are fun to watch because they're casual, family oriented and very entertaining. Part of what makes it so unique are the games they play between innings with people picked right out of the crowd. But I'm getting ahead of myself....

Five years ago, we went to our very first game. We were running late that day, which is par for the course for our family whenever it involves my husband and his addiction to finding a parking spot that involves the least amount of walking humanly possible. (I predict that he never even comes close to those 10,000 recommended steps a day, nor does he care to.) We were running into the entrance dragging K along behind when we got stopped by an employee. Not too surprising since we were dragging a six year old by her arm while we cycled through a familiar argument involving words like 'late', 'parking', and 'Recommend 10,000 steps a day', in increasingly loud voices. But before I could explain, she asked if we would like to participate in a game between innings. Hubby and I shot suspicious glances at each other but she continued. She told us that we would get to go down onto the field and the kids would get to come too. That's when Z, A, and K weighed in on the decision with their excited, hopeful little faces. We had no choice but to agree. We were told to meet her after the third inning.

Needless to say, we didn't enjoy one minute of those first three innings. We were extremely nervous and both of us regretted what we had just agreed to, but of course we didn't even know what we had just agreed to. Hubby finally pointed out that this was no big deal. It's not like we'd know anybody there so who cares what we do in front of thousands of strangers? Shortly after he said that, a couple arrived late and began excusing themselves as they squeezed into our isle to find their seats. They attend the same church we do. As they settled into their seats, I glared at my husband. Not only did we know someone, but they were seated in our row! He noticed my glare and said, “Okay, those are bad odds.”

When the time came, we slipped out of our seats as casually and discreetly as two large adults and three fighting children could. Which is to say that there was nothing casual and/or discreet about it and by the time we escaped from the 'death glares' of the people whose feet and legs we'd just trampled, our fellow spectators were practically applauding our early departure, hoping to never see us again. Little did they know…

We were quietly led through a series of corridors that led down into the bowels of Fifth Third Stadium. When we got to the bottom, there was another couple looking equally as nervous. It is so true when they say that misery loves company because we immediately felt better. Whatever it was we were about to do, we should only have fifty percent of the crowd's attention. At least that's we told ourselves.

We were given costumes to wear. I had to wear a t-shirt that said, “Number One Mom.” Cool. I just assumed that he would have a t-shirt that said, “Number One Dad.” So imagine my shock when I came out of the dressing area to find him in a giant diaper with a bonnet on his head and carrying a huge baby bottle. His face was beet red and he was NOT a happy baby. Uh oh. Before he could blow his stack, we were quickly ushered out onto the field where two red steel Radio Flyer Wagons were waiting by home plate. Here was the deal. Hubby and the other (equally miserable diapered) guy had to straddle the wagon while we pulled them around the baseline in a race. We were all starting at home plate. He and I would race toward the first base and the other couple would race toward the third base, we would pass each other somewhere around second base and whoever got back to home plate first won. Where were our kids, you might be wondering? They got to sit with the visiting team and the Dragon's mascot. They were loving it!

As gently as he could, he lowered himself onto the little wagon. The crowd was already laughing and so was the Dragon Team who were in their positions on the field. In a panicked voice he told me he thought he heard a cracking sound. I thought, no way big boy. That's a Radio Flyer. When they said 'Go!', I took off….or tried to….but because his weight was toward the back of the wagon, as soon as I pulled, it tipped over and dumped him off the back. The word 'Crap' or something along those lines immediately came to mind when I saw the look on his face. But being the good sport that he is, he climbed back onto the wagon. This time, I might have also heard a cracking sound. I starting pulling the wagon down the baseline. To make it easier, I turned to face him in the wagon so that I could use both hands to pull the heavy wagon while I walked backward. I was trying to give reassuring smiles at my furious husband but right before my eyes I saw the wagon starting to fold up around his crotch like a taco with his legs hanging out of the sides. His eyes got huge as he felt the squeeze of the steel fold around him. To the credit of the Radio Flyer, it never did snap in half. But at least it would have put an end to this debacle. Instead, it folded in half until the wheels came slightly off the ground and the only thing touching the baseline was the steel crease in the middle, thus leaving a trench of plowed dirt down the baseline as I pulled. Somewhere behind me, I heard one of the Dragon players say, “Wow.” But the crowd was going wild. That's the first time I've ever been on the receiving end of a crowds roar and it was quite a rush. Gone were the hopes of only having half of the attention, because it's safe to say that every single eye was on us that day. The other couple easily won because somewhere between first and second base the wagon became too deeply buried to be pulled.

The race was over and everything became a blur of activity as workers rushed out to repair the field for the next inning. Some guys who helped with the entertainment, proudly displayed the broken wagon as they carried it around the field to the cheers of the crowd. I was looking for our kids and my husband was yanking his diaper and bonnet off. When we caught up with our kids in the visitors dugout, the other team thanked us for 'the best thing they'd ever seen at a game' and were kind enough to give our kids autographs.

It was finally time to head back to our seats and regain anonymity as we blended back into the crowd to enjoy the rest of the game. No such luck. When we got back to our seats, our entire section gave us a standing ovation that lasted an awkward amount of time. Apparently these same people forgot that a mere twenty minutes ago they hated our very existence and cursed the day we were born for interrupting their game and possibly crushing several toes beyond recognition. When the game resumed we joked that our fifteen minutes of fame were over. What we didn't know was that minute sixteen awaited just around the corner…

One of the fun things they do is name the 'Fan of the Game'. They flash three choices onto the giant screen, give them a funny nickname, and let the crowd choose by applause. The screen was directly behind us, so we didn't even realize this was happening until we heard that familiar 'roar' of the crowd. We slowly turned to see a giant picture of my husband in his bonnet and diaper sitting in the middle of the curled up wagon with the sub title “Man of Steel” across the bottom of the giant screen. (And he'd just been awarded the title of 'Fan of the Game'.) His 15 minutes of fame got extended even further when the clip of our race made the highlight reel and anyone attending a Dragon's Game for the next couple of years got to relive the whole thing. We haven't returned to a Dragon game since, but none of us will ever forget the year of the Draggin Wagon…and my husband is quick to remind everyone that they don't make Radio Flyers as strong as they used to.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

For better or for worse......

I'm thankful to say that I don't get sick very often. Not that I'm the picture of health, but I try my best. The last time I got sick was this past fall. I had taken the kids for their flu shots, and I came down with the flu. I remember hearing lots of activity in the kitchen so I dragged myself out of bed to check into it. I wish I hadn't......Z was straining rice through a colander, my husband, dressed in his boxer shorts, was cooking frozen pot pies in the microwave (without taking them out of the box), A was on the verge of hysteria about the frozen fish sticks he made her that were beer battered and she was only thirteen, and C had no clothes on and kept repeating something about poop on the floor. I silently turned around and went back to bed before they noticed me.

That's when I decided to take my attempts at staying healthy to a new level. I spent this past winter losing my 20 lbs of lingering 'C weight', getting back into a hard core workout routine, and making some healthy substitutes in the meals I made. All was going well until C got Croup on Thursday and I got the Flu on Friday.

I'll spare you all the gory details of what my weekend entailed. It's kind of a blur, anyway. I vaguely remember C having an accident in our bed which led to my husband and Z rolling me back and forth as they tried to get the sheets out from under me. And I think I remember him talking to the three year old about the importance of not 'misjudging a fart' but let's just chalk that up to my fever-induced stupor, okay?

The important thing is that it's day three and when I woke up I could tell that the worst was behind me and although we missed church I was hoping to try to make it to Marriage Class tonight. Then I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror. PMS aside, I think this is what the vows mean when we say 'for better or for worse.' And I sent up a prayer of thanks that I have a husband who lives up to those. But then I began working my way through the house on my way to the shower. Reminiscent of his old college dorm room, I passed both sets of Play Station controllers lying on the couch in the rec room amidst stacks of pizza boxes, piles of dishes with dried up food scattered throughout the house, and the kids toothbrushes were dry as bones as I'm sure they'd not seen the inside of a mouth in three days.....and then I sent up a prayer of thanks that I am the type of wife who lives up to those same vows.

The first thing I did was call everyone together this morning and explain my disgust with what I found and since he never seems to learn not to say what's on his mind, my husband offered up his thoughts on the subject. He said, "That's how I feel when I go back to work after taking three days off......"

On that note, I think it's safe to say we'll be at Marriage Class tonight come h*** or high water......

Friday, March 26, 2010

Yeast, Peaches, & Kidney Stones

(((Warning))) You're about to read way too many personal details. Be afraid. Be very afraid.

My husband has a history of dealing with kidney stones. He also has a love for pop. He's been told that pop can contribute to kidney stones. Every time he gets a kidney stone, he swears off pop. Similar to childbirth, if we all stuck to what we swore off, everyone would only have one child. But it never fails, when the pain is but a distant memory, he reaches for the pop again. Sometimes he's able to pass the kidney stone naturally but occasionally they have to be surgically removed. In sticking with my childbirth analogy, my husband has required a c-section in the past.

Several years ago I got my hopes up that he would do anything he had to do to avoid kidney stones ever again. He was relieving himself at a urinal at work. It just so happened the President of his company was standing right beside him doing the same thing. Suddenly, my husband felt the large kidney stone he'd been struggling with making it's move. There he stood beside the president with no choice but to face reality of what was about to happen. So he held his breath and silently 'gave birth' to an extremely large stone that landed with a loud 'CLINK' into the base of the urinal. To the President's credit, he stuck to the rules of the urinal and never even glanced my husband's way. And to my husband's credit, he waited until the President left before digging it out of the bottom of the urinal. I'll spare you the details of how he took it back to his department and his buddies spent a good hour studying it under a microscope and congratulating him on his manhood to be able to pass such a boulder. But it didn't take long for him to go right back to his pop.

Over the years he had several minor kidney stone flair ups but nothing that required a c-section or reaching his hands into a urinal. But last summer he started feeling that similar feeling. (Insert my eye roll and 'Here we go again' look.) He came home from work in severe pain. We headed to the ER. Keeping in mind that I've been through this way too many times, I wasn't exactly doting over him with sympathy. As a side note that will hold relevance later, I was struggling with a Yeast Infection at the same time. When we finally got called back to a room, I grabbed a stack of People Magazines to bide my time. When the doctor came in, I was casually sitting in a chair, legs crossed, reading my magazine, while my giant husband rolled around in the fetal position on the exam bed moaning loudly. The doctor stopped and looked back and forth between the two of us several times. Finally, with a straight face, he asked, “So who am I seeing today?” I bit back the urge to say, “Me. I have a Yeast Infection. Chuckles over there just has an addiction to pop.”

Several hours, doctors, and magazines later, it was decided that he would be admitted and undergo surgery the next day. Actually, HE decided to be admitted. He had the option of going home on pain medicine but he wanted to stay. Possibly for his own protection from me, or he enjoys having a television within arms reach and meals brought to him on a tray...probably a combination of both. So I headed home to our kids and changed into my ratty old pajamas. At 8:30pm I received a call from our Pharmacy. It seems my husband had been forgetting to pick up K's inhaler and I had until 9pm or they would have to dispose of it. (Insert profanity of your choice here.) I jumped in the van and sped the twenty miles crying the entire way. With four minutes to spare, I pulled up to the drive through. It was closed. Crying, barefoot, and wearing pajamas that were never meant to see the light of day, much less the florescence of a Drug Store, I burst through the front doors running to make it back to the Pharmacy before it closed. Surprisingly, they gave it to me without asking for identification and / or calling security.

That brings me back to my yeast infection. (You still have time to turn back. Don't say I didn't warn you.) The next morning, it was out of control. His surgery was scheduled for the afternoon so I was looking for a quick fix to make me comfortable for the long day ahead. I turned to the internet for some good old fashioned Home Remedies. Yogurt was the recurring theme and I became convinced that it was my key to freedom from this vile infection. The instructions were simple: Buy plain yogurt. Eat half of it. Spread the rest onto a tampon and insert, thus killing the yeast from the inside out. Off I went to our tiny town grocery. I headed straight to the yogurt isle and was devastated to find that our little store didn't carry plain yogurt. Quite the dilemma. I was forced to choose between Mixed Berry and Peaches 'n' Cream. My husband likes to point out that I also had the option of walking two isles over and buying a tube of Monistat. I know that. But at our little out in the middle of nowhere store, Monistat would have cost a fortune and I held in my hand three doses of yogurt for two dollars. It seemed like a no brainer. Another thing I'm sure you know about small towns is if I'd chosen Monistat, word would have reached the post office and beyond that I had a yeast infection before I even arrived home. Anyway, I decided on Peaches 'n' Cream since it wasn't as darkly colored as Mixed Berry. (I believe that yeast drives a woman so mad that she can't think clearly. That's the excuse I'm going with, anyway.)

I sped home eating half a container of yogurt as I drove. When I got home I set up my laboratory in our bathroom downstairs and ever so gently iced a tampon with pretty pink yogurt and followed the rest of the directions. It didn't take long for my mind to connect all the dots of the error of my ways. Flavored yogurt contains sugar...sugar feeds yeast. What I had just triggered was a feeding frenzy that sent me running. I flew to the bathtub where it took ten minutes of ice cold water and the shower head to put out the flames. (The pool was Plan B.)

Needless to say, I bought Monistat that very day. I bought my second Monistat seven days later. Turns out yeast loves Peaches 'n' Cream. My husband believes people like me are to blame for companies putting ridiculous warnings on their products and that if we were the suing type, we'd probably win a fortune from Yoplait for not labeling their container with a 'should not be inserted on a tampon' warning. But on the bright side, for several days, our bathroom filled with the sweet aroma of peaches every time I urinated.

I'm pleased to report that his stone drama seems to be a thing of the past and the only yeast in this house is in the bread. We both learned some valuable life lessons. He only drinks pop on special occasions and I haven't even been tempted to put yogurt anywhere but in my mouth. See? All's well that ends well.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Top 10 ways a trip to Childrens Hospital becomes a blog entry.....

10. Accidentally dating all the forms with the year 2003.

9. Completely skipping the sections asking for the parents names,
birth dates and social security numbers. (Nah, that's not suspicious.)

8. C and I both ending up covered in pee trying to catch some in a tiny specimen cup.....

7. ....spilling what we managed to collect all over the bathroom sink....

6. ....and then holding our dripping fingers over the cup to salvage what we could from the only source we had. (We are nothing if not good under pressure.)

5. When her oxygen levels were only registering at 95%, I asked if they round up on that number. Apparently they don't.

4. We had to ask the nurse how to shut the room door. She explained "You have to yank on it real hard." To which Z replied, "That's what she said...." (And I actually giggled. I've officially been corrupted by boy humor.)

3. The very nice doctor went into an awkward and lengthy demonstration of all the different sounds of Croup.....I found myself debating whether or not to administer the Heimlich Maneuver as I avoided all eye contact with Z.

2. When the nurse had me confirm C's birth date before giving her medicine I mistakenly said March 19th instead of the 16th. (oops.) Then she asked me if she was allergic to anything to which I replied no. She explained that she flavored it with Cherry syrup to hide the taste and right as C swallowed it, Z jokingly said, "Wait. Isn't she allergic to cherry syrup?" (Granted, the look on the nurse's face was priceless...but Chuckle's junior needs to learn when to keep his yap shut.)

1. And the number one way a trip to Childrens Hospital turns into a blog entry is....(drum roll please)....when a generously sized admission nurse comes in to register us and gets wedged between the wall-mounted computer and the bed rails. When I saw the panicked look on her face I asked if she needed help but she refused and decided to just rock back and forth sideways until she broke free. And I couldn't help but be proud of ourselves for keeping straight faces as my finger hovered over the 'call button' in case the rocking idea didn't work out. (That's called maturity, people.)

So today I am thankful. First, for the fact that C only has Croup and nothing more serious. And second, I'm thankful that it was my 16 year old son with me.....because believe it or not, it could have been much worse had it been my husband.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

When it comes to playing the role of 'female'.....I pretty much suck.

I don't mean to question God's decision when he created me as a female, but sometimes I wonder what He was thinking. Maybe it just boils down to my mom getting perms while she was pregnant with me or perhaps she signed up to take experimental drugs to pay for my birth. Either way, something about me just doesn't fit the mold.

That doesn't mean to say that I don't love being a woman. Being a wife and mother has always been my dream and I'm blessed to be living it! I'm not struggling with an identity crisis. I'm quite happy with the woman I'm striving to be. It just goes back to that mold that I don't fit into.

For example; I haven't worn a dress since my wedding day and I even regret doing it then. I hate all things involving lettuce unless it's placed between two patties of meat and served on a bun. Yet, it's not uncommon for women to get together and have an assortment of salads for lunch....and when I offer to bring the lasagna, I get 'the look.' Once when I was out to lunch with a friend, she ordered a salad and I ordered the Cowboy Burger. When the waitress brought the check, she automatically handed it to me. Ooookay....so the waitress thought we were on a date. Yikes. I'm also not a fan of tea, therefore 'Tea Parties' hold no appeal for me. (Unless you're talking politics, but that's another subject.) And the fact that I can eat an entire Wendy's triple cheeseburger doesn't qualify me for the Guinness Book of World Records, in my opinion. And shall we talk sex drive? Why is it that my husband thinks a back rub can just be a back rub without turning into everything else? I'm getting mixed signals here! When our role reversals got revealed in marriage class, people started using the words 'male' and 'female' with quote fingers around them. So it shouldn't come as a surprise that I'm not a fan of sitting in groups, opening up, sharing my feelings and crying together, either. That's not to say that there's not a time and place for that....just let me know what time and I'll avoid the place. And don't even get me started about the pain of mall shopping. But if you'd like to get together for some volleyball, softball, swimming, or working out, I'm so there.

I just don't fit in the box. This isn't a new revelation to me. This is probably harder to accept for some of the women who fit nicely in the box than it is for me. I'm pretty used to me. Thankfully, I'm surrounded by women and men of all backgrounds who love and accept me just the way I am, and the feeling is mutual. I have the best group of friends an outer box woman could ever ask for. When I was offered a beer at a Euchre party recently, I felt all warm and fuzzy inside....and not from the beer. I declined that because I don't drink. Hey! That's kind of a woman thing to say! Maybe all hope is not lost? But at that same party I yelled 'Son of a #$%&@' when I got euchred, so never mind.

Realistically, there are several things that qualify me for the position...I love getting my hair done, I was a super cool cheerleader all through school, and I'm a huge fan of eye make-up....the more the merrier, I say. But then every so often I get slammed back into reality. For instance back in October when I got a letter from our insurance company denying payment for my annual Pap Smear....as it turns out, my Gynecologist had me listed as a 'Male' and they had to send proof of gender. I have no idea what that entailed, but I choose to believe it involved a detailed note of my awesome hair and my heavily made up eyes.....

Saturday, March 20, 2010

The 'Von Trapps' ain't got nothin on us......

The Von Trapp Family from 'The Sound of Music' tended to make a spectacle wherever they went as they sang songs on their bikes while wearing clothes made of curtains. Oddly enough, we seem to have the same effect when biking, sans the singing and curtains.

Last year we were riding through the park when a little boy yelled, "Mom! Look at that really big family!" It's not like we're the Duggar Family. There are only 6 of us, for crying out loud. And while my husband and I might have some pounds we could stand to lose, I don't think we qualify for the words 'really big' but I could be wrong.

Today was our 1st bike ride of this season and when we headed out to gather our bikes, it was in the upper 60's, sunny, calm, and warm. It began with putting air in the tires, the adjusting of seats for growing children, and of course my husband's saws-all made an appearance as he always finds an excuse to use a power tool. Two hours later, it was overcast, gray, and a wind had picked up causing it to feel like the temperature was in the 50's, but by that point, bailing out wasn't an option.

We got ourselves lined up down our driveway in the order in which we'd be traveling before pulling out onto our somewhat busy road. My husband was in the lead, then it was A, K, me w/ C in the baby seat on the back, and Z was bringing up the rear. Away we went. Right off the bat, Z hit a skunk. Granted, it was dead on the side of the road, but the rest of us seemed to manage. A few minutes into our ride I noticed my husband pulling further and further ahead and the rest of us were stuck behind A who was pedaling feverishly but getting nowhere fast. He finally noticed and pulled off into a ball park and the rest of us followed him. Once we got A's gears adjusted, he announced that we're going to 'ride around the block.' We've lived in this house, way out in the country, for 5 years and not once have I ever heard the word 'block' used. But he seemed pretty sure of himself.

Here's a clue for future reference.....if in order to go 'around your block' you have to cross over 2 sets of railroad tracks and all of the roads you'll be taking start with the words 'County Road' and end in a 3-digit number, and one of those roads is made of mostly dirt with bits of gravel, it ISN'T a 'block!' It's a road trip, and you should pack a lunch and bring your GPS. By the time we passed the words 'Help Me' spray painted on one of the roads, it was too late to turn back. (Clearly someone else has been around this 'block').

Somewhere in the middle of our journey, Z decided he needed to be directly behind his dad. (Something about 'drafting'). That's when we realized the skunk he hit still had some stink left in him. K was doing really well following behind Z and I was riding along gritting my teeth as I listened to C sing one line out of a worship song from church. (The real version: "Oh no! You never let go! Through the calm and through the storm." C's version: "Oh no! You better let go! Through the barn and through the snow!") Cute at first, but by mile 7 I'd had enough. And when I glanced back at poor A, she looked like the guy in 'Dumb & Dumber' with frozen snot streaming from her nose from the bitter wind that we were riding against.

Suddenly in the middle of a country road I saw something fall off the bottom of my husband's bike and his chain followed behind. Are you kidding me?! It was unrepairable and he would have to walk his bike the rest of the way. A was relieved and wanted to walk her bike home too. That left Z, K, me and C to forge ahead. On the way home we passed the sign that announced we were 'Entering' our County. We left our county?!?! I sent the kids inside and told Z I was gonna take our truck, that has 190,000 miles on it, to pick up the rest of my family. He asked, "Oh, did dad get the brakes fixed?" (Insert crickets chirping here....) Turns out, I didn't have to worry about the brakes because the truck died every time I pressed the pedal. I finally found my stray bikers, picked them up and we were on our way home when my husband told me that I should slow down. Why? Because the hood wasn't latched from where he was working on the brakes a couple months ago......

I'm pleased to say we all arrived home safely a mere 3 hours after our journey began. I started dinner and sent my husband up to the little market to get taco shells and all was well......until he got home and asked me why I didn't tell him I put our Census form in the mailbox to mail back....turns out he decided to stop and 'get the mail', thought it was for him, and opened it up, destroying the envelope in the process....Dude, if the red flag on the side of the mailbox is pointed up, it's contents are not for YOU to pick up....I realize it's only 6pm, but I think for everyone's safety, we should go to bed now and call it a day.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

I remember the day we met our new neighbors....let's hope they don't.

Five years ago our family piled into the van with our dog to finalize inspections on our new home. The kids were excited about the in-ground pool. My husband and I were excited about having only one neighbor. Having lived in a crowded chaotic sub-division for ten years, we were ready for some solitude and we were praying that the people who lived next door were nice and more importantly, normal. Twenty minutes into the thirty minute drive our dog pooped in the back of the van. It was quickly scooped into a plastic bag barely averting a domino effect of vomiting that we're pretty famous for. When we arrived at the house he put the plastic bag on the tire of the van, for lack of a better idea. While he met with the inspector the kids and I walked next door to introduce ourselves to our neighbor. I was relieved when a friendly woman and her polite teenage daughter answered the door. I was explaining a little about the crazy neighborhood we were moving from and how much we were looking forward to a quiet life in the country. That's when I noticed my husband walking toward the van. Before I could react, he started backing the van down the cement driveway, popping the bag and spreading the poop as he did. (Not to mention the smell.) As K watched it happen she looked up at me and yelled, “He forgot about the bag of poop!” and she took off running to the van. I felt my face burn as I tried to continue making eye contact with our new neighbors and attempted to casually change the subject. Out of the corner of my eye I could see K and my husband having an animated conversation while I stood there trying desperately to act like a normal person. When K returned, my neighbor asked if everything was okay. She replied, “My dad said he's going to kill himself.” That's when I started throwing out sentences like, “It was nice to meet you and we look forward to getting to know you better and my husband would never kill himself” as I quickly backed away from their door. I stormed over to my husband and asked him why he would say such a thing and he said that he didn't. He said he was going to kill the dog. K thought we should go tell the neighbor that daddy was going to kill the dog. I assured her we had plenty of time to further traumatize the nice people next door. More than likely, they had also been praying for normal neighbors....You win some you lose some.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

There are 2 types of moms in this world....those who have sons that juggle, and those who don't.....

Admittedly, there could be a whole lot worse going on with our 16 year old son. He gets good grades, has great friends, he's focused on the right things, and all in all he's got pretty good decision making skills......but don't think for a minute that the juggling doesn't wreak it's fair share of havoc on our family. Granted, it doesn't keep me up at night, but few things have the power to 'keep me up at night.'

When it comes to Z's interests, he's always thought a little outside the box. He started Karate when he was four and earned his Black Belt when he was twelve. For eight years, any and all pieces of wood became free game and normally ended up broken in half and nailed to his bedroom wall as notches of defeat. I also had to be on my guard at all times for fear he was waiting around a corner as he practiced being 'stealth.' (And he was really good at that.) And it wasn't uncommon to hear a loud and sudden "KE-OP!!!" resonate through the quiet house, sending the dog running and the adults grabbing their hearts. But we survived. After Karate, he entered gymnastics and competed for a boys team that was located an hour away from our house and he practiced four nights a week for three hours a night. Need I say more about that one? I ended up with freaking hemorrhoids and had to sit on an inter tube....but whatever. And if you didn't know, gymnastics and diving seem to go hand in hand and he would take his skills from the gym to the fifteen foot high dive at the local water park. That was all fine and good until we had an exchange student from Japan who liked to copy anything Z did. When I saw Kosuke kick into a scary unstable handstand fifteen feet in the air and proceed to crash into the water as one might crash into a brick wall I think I blacked out. Suddenly I was picturing having to mail him back to Japan in several pieces.......

Now Z juggles. First of all, I'm sick to death of finding his balls lying all over the house. And I may as well tell you that I'm sick of the giggles from my husband every time I yell at Z to pick up his balls. Secondly, there isn't a moment in this house when he's not juggling and calling everyone together to watch his 'new move.' It's exhausting. I told him that I'm completely aware that he doesn't hear a word I'm saying when he's got his balls in his hands. (Insert my husband giggling here......) And since we've all started watching episodes of 'The Office' I can't say anything these days without Z replying, "That's what she said." (Husband giggling again....) As someone who grew up with zero brothers, this 'living with boys' thing is kind of disgusting.

As if the balls alone aren't enough trouble, enter the uni-cycle he got for Christmas. (ALL Santa's idea. I assure you, 'Mrs. Clause' had nothing to do with that one.) Z spent the entire winter teaching himself to ride a uni-cycle through our house. It wasn't uncommon to hear screaming as he would come teetering around a corner like a drunk driver and knock someone over.....sending his balls flying.....(Okay, now I giggled....crap.)

Needless to say, the signs of Spring bring a welcome relief to our house. The uni-cycle has been moved to the garage and hopefully his balls will soon follow. I couldn't help but think how great it would be to have his juggling moved outside. I was surprised when he agreed with me......and then he asked if he could get some flaming juggling torches......I think I might take up drinking.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Three years ago today, I was pissed at Tori Spelling......

I don't know Tori Spelling. I've never read any of her books and only caught a couple episodes of her reality show several years ago. But what Tori Spelling never knew, was that she and I shared the same due date.....April 12, 2007.....and 3 years ago today, news broke that Tori had given birth to a healthy baby on March 13th. I'm sure all the moms out there can relate to my 'end of pregnancy rage.' You get to that point where your maternity shirts don't fit anymore, people freely offer up their opinions that you look 'ready to pop', and you hit rock bottom when you have to ask your husband to join you in the bathroom because you can't see, much less reach, any of the areas below the waist that need shaved. But I digress......

Needless to say, I'd reached that point. So when I woke up that morning to hear that Tori (yeah, we're on a first name basis), had given birth, I became enraged....and I went on an eating binge, but that's neither here nor there.....By the time I called my husband at work, I was in tears and things only got worse when he didn't seem to understand the magnitude of what had just happened. (Oh, the things I've had to forgive....) I was in such an emotional frenzy the entire day, it didn't really register that I was starting to have contractions. By 4pm, I realized it was time to call my husband again. He answered the phone with, "I really don't want to hear anymore about Tori Spelling." (Men.)

On March 16th 2007, two wonderful things happened. Our healthy daughter arrived at 12:18am, and I completely forgave Tori Spelling......much to her relief I'm sure.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

He said; She said

Tonight my husband & I attended our first 'Marriage Class' that is being offered through our church. We were pretty hesitant to sign up and commit to such a thing because we feel like we have a pretty decent relationship and things like this have a way of stirring up trouble for us.

Enter Exhibit A......

Last year some friends gave us 'The Love Dare' book. (Wonder what they were implying?) We decided to give it a try and journal about it. Below is a compilation of the first three days from each of our perspectives ....

Be Careful What You Dare:
Our attempt at the Love Dare Book (From the movie, 'Fireproof')

Day 1: Love is Patient
The Dare: .... Say nothing negative to your spouse at all. It's better to hold your tongue than to say something you'll regret .....

She said:
I should have taken one look at today's title and known this wasn't a good idea. Love is patient? You've got to be kidding me. I've been taught never to pray for patience and for good reason; God will try to train you. There's only one way to learn patience and that's through trial. No thanks. Never-the-less, I excitedly (and naively) read the 1st chapter out loud to my husband. He didn't think he'd have much trouble following that dare. (I didn't think he would either .... I'm much easier to live with than he is.)

The day was going so great. After a big pancake breakfast, we spent the entire morning in bed reading and watching college wrestling. (Let me clarify; I was reading. He was watching college wrestling.) But we were together and it was nice. I was just getting ready to crawl back into bed to take a nap when the day took an unexpected turn. My husband, motivated by the wrestling he was watching on television, and a sudden shot of testosterone, jumped up and picked me up in a 'fireman's hold.' I was upside down over his shoulder. Before I knew what was happening, he threw me head first onto the bed. When I landed I heard the sound of bubble wrap popping down my spine. (To hear him tell the story, he says “We were wrestling.” Let me assure you, I was not wrestling.)

Reminiscent of the time he caught my hair on fire trying to do an Ear Candling Kit or when he lowered the automatic garage door on my back when I was seven months pregnant, once again I'm lying there at the mercy of my husband and son as they debate whether to call the squad. De Ja Vu, you might say. Since I was in pain and had lost feeling in my right hand, I thought the squad might not be a bad idea. Then I remembered what I was wearing .... or rather what I wasn't ..... and calling the squad was out of the question. K came in to see what was happening and he told her that he was trying to figure out who to call to help mommy feel better. K suggested the Librarian. Bless her heart. Thankfully, my husband knows that response was due to my love for reading and not an inappropriate relationship with Adam the Librarian. Sadly, for a split second, I suspect my husband actually considered calling Adam. But then he decided on Plan C ..... the leftover Vicodin from my c-section.

I had him get me to a standing position before he went upstairs so I could see exactly what hurt. I could stand up, but my arms couldn't hang to the side without pain shooting through my neck and back. I stood there, bent slightly at the waist, with my arms hanging at odd angles. He told K to stand beside me until he gets back. K then asked, “What if it tips over?” He reminded her, “It's not a mannequin, it's mommy! So don't let it tip over!” (Wow.)

While I waited for my Vicodin, I noticed the Love Dare Book lying by the bed. Love is patient. Love is patient. Love is what?!? Does 'Love' put their spouse in a fireman's hold? Does 'Love' then torpedo that spouse head first into the mattress? Doesn't 'Love' realize that this is the year I chose my no-cussing resolution?!? I would have started screaming if the pain hadn't been so bad. That's when I decided to forgo the Love Dare (and resolution) for today, give him the tongue lashing he deserves, and start over tomorrow. Then I got scared of what tomorrow might hold. If he almost fractured my spine on Day 1, what in the world could he do to me on Day 2? Since I'm terrified of the unknown, I decided for my own safety it was best just to finish out what we'd started and I held my tongue. It was between gritted teeth, but I held my tongue. Anyone who knows me at all knows that I might have just earned my very first stone in my crown of glory in heaven one day. I don't have a tip to my tongue anymore and I lost 30% of my taste buds in the process, but I survived and more importantly, so did he.

He said:
I'm very proud of myself. I can honestly say that I didn't say anything negative to her all day. I even took care of her when she hurt her back and had to be on Vicodin all day. I also cooked dinner for her. I think this is going to be easy.

Day 2: Love is Kind.
The Dare: In addition to saying nothing negative again today, do an unexpected gesture as an act of kindness .....

She said:
I still can't go off about yesterday. Great. When the alarm went off for church and I sat up to searing pain running down my spine, it all came back to me. That wasn't a great start to my morning. When I went upstairs to get ready, I grabbed my washcloth, only to realize it was completely covered in clumps of drying toothpaste. (Love is patient, love is patient, love is patient.) I'm obviously being tested. But I held my tongue and didn't even try to find out which one of my children thought to use my washcloth to clean up toothpaste! (I don't really want to know.)

Thankfully, things got better as the day progressed and by this evening I was ready to do my kind gesture for him. I surprised him by packing his lunch for the next day and I feel really good about it. This little experiment might just work :)

He said:
Even though technically I did kind things for her yesterday, like cooking dinner and bringing her Vicodin, I still did a kind thing for her today. First thing this morning I noticed a bunch of toothpaste all over the bathroom sink so I wiped it all off with a washcloth before she got up. She never thanked me but I guess that's okay.

Day 3: Love is not selfish.
The Dare: In addition to saying nothing negative, buy your spouse something that says 'I was thinking of you.'

She said:
I didn't go anywhere today to buy him anything, so I improvised and surprised him by making him an ice cream sundae. Then I explained to him that I realize I was supposed to 'buy' him something, but since I didn't get out I still wanted him to know I was thinking about him. He immediately jumped up, ran out to his car, and brought me in a half-eaten pack of Ho Ho's and told me he was thinking of me too. I think I'll end my journal entry now.

He said:
I totally forgot today's dare until she brought me down an ice cream sundae. Luckily, I had bought a pack of Ho Ho's on the way home and only ate one. That was a close call.

.....needless to say we're not doing 'The Love Dare' anymore ..... why cause trouble, right?

That brings us to the 'Marriage Class' where right off the bat, he introduces us to the class and announces that we've been married for 16 years. When I corrected him that we've actually been married for 17 years he said, "Oh. I was counting them by Super Bowls." (We got married Super Bowl weekend, but that's another story for another time.) And guess what our first homework assignment is for this week? We're not allowed to say anything negative to our spouse at all......and he was quick to remind me of that when he gave our 2 year old his full cup of hot chocolate in the car and she spilled it all down her dress on the way home from the freakin Marriage Class! Suddenly, blogging seems like the best idea ever......

(((Warning))) Blogging Causes Diahrrea

Well, I guess this is my official blog debut, and I’m a nervous wreck. But on the advice of a close family member, I’m going to forge ahead and see what happens. Worst case scenario is that no one follows it, right? Then no one will even know…..or maybe that’s the best case scenario. Time will tell.

I guess I should start with a little background of what brought me here. I used to be a pretty introverted person although people who think they know me might not agree. I think I’ve done a pretty good job of hiding it. Whether or not people noticed, I used to have a lot of protective walls built up around me. Some were to protect me from legitimate hurt I’d experienced in the past and some were built from my own paranoia. Then an amazing thing happened…..I started a Facebook. To be honest, I was determined to keep my Facebook friend list narrowed down to ONE. My best friend from high school who talked me into starting one. Not realizing how quickly your name spreads around Facebook, pretty soon I was up to ten friends and I panicked and changed my privacy settings so that no one could even request to be my friend. (In Facebook as in life, you might say.) But, I quickly came to realize how much I LOVED Facebook! It became a wonderful outlet for the rivers of sarcasm that flow from my very core of existence. And it was hilarious! But then a strange thing happened…..my best friend ‘De-friended’ me. As it turns out, not everyone is able to convert sarcasm from the voice to the written word, and she didn’t think it was quite as hilarious as I did. Who knew? There was a time when that incident would have prompted me to de-activate my account and send me crawling back into my protective hole. But oddly enough, it had the opposite effect. I started slowly breaking down pieces of my walls and letting people in. I connected with friends from school, people that I go to church with but never took the time to get to know, and members of my wonderful extended family!

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not one of those people with 600+ ‘friends’ who I don’t even know. I still have a reputation of checking into people who put in a request for me and if I don’t know them I don’t hesitate to ignore, because my Facebook page has kind of become an extension of my world. My world consists of my husband of seventeen years and our four children and I’m fiercely protective of it. My Facebook wall is my outlet for my sarcasm & my humor and I don’t want to have to answer to anyone who misunderstands it. But it’s also become a little taste of what it’s like to live in my world. And let me assure you, it is an adventure!! And my friends seem to enjoy it as much as I enjoy getting to know them and keeping up with their lives. Every time one of my crazy updates makes someone laugh, I come to a realization……God made me the way I am on purpose and for a purpose. Dare I hope that sarcasm falls under the category of ’spiritual gift?’ Is it possible that the very thing I always thought of as a flaw could be used to bring a smile to someone’s face?

Well, I certainly hope so, because I decided to go with it. And my Facebook became a very personal peak into the fun insanity that seems to follow my family…..and fear not, NOTHING is off limits. You get the whole story, whether you want it or not.

I guess a blog is just a different avenue of sharing my experiences as I walk along this path that God has me on. If you’d like to join me on this journey, you’re more than welcome. If not, that’s cool too. I don’t even know if I’ve done this right. All I know is that ever since I registered this blog, I’ve had stomach cramps and flu like gurglings down below……so without further ado, I’d better get to the bathroom…….