Friday, May 30, 2008

Blackmail Photos

Most of the time I try to take artistic pictures. Well, about as artistic as I can with no Photoshop software, a simple point and shoot camera with limited zoom, the balancing skills of a jelly bean and the steadiness of a Jell-O Jiggler. Sometimes my pictures turn out pretty good and sometimes they don’t, but I don’t let it bother me. I’ll take my many bad pictures for the one good picture I stumble on here and there.

I love close ups of the faces of my children. I love black and white photos but I rarely take them in black and white. I’m not really picky, really. I love all the photos I take that don’t turn out shaky and fuzzy.

For about the last 6 and half years, there has been one ginormous exception to my good photo rule. The one that makes me throw all attempts at artistry out the window and just point and shoot to capture the moment. My exception?

The blackmail photo.

There are certain photos in my collection that I have taken for the sheer blackmail factor. While I don’t truly intend to sit down with either of my son's first girlfriends and pull the blackmail album out, I do intend someday to pour over the memories with my way in the future daughter in laws and grandchildren. But the boys don’t need to know that. I might just have a little fun with a slight threat here and there.

Maybe I am subliminally evil.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

The a.m. Hours

This morning Critter woke up at 2am for his feeding. Afterward, he decided it was playtime. According to Critter there is no time in the day more fun than the hours between 2 and 6 am. He didn’t necessarily play the entire time, but I’d say he played me. He already knows his mom is an old softie. Every time I would try to lay him down he would wake up. Eyeballs. To quote Bonehead, “Uh, Chas, I see eyeballs.”

Not this morning. Bonehead was busy snoring.

It’s OK though, because I honestly think some of Critter’s cutest moments happen between the hours of 2 and 6am. I wouldn’t want to miss them. There’s something completely adorable about playing handsies with his pudgy little fingers and watching his lips try to move deliberately as he coos at me in the quiet of the night.

By about 3:30am it’s not quite as cute. Most definitely by 11am at work the thought crosses my mind that it’s a good thing he’s so cute to begin with, because at that point there is no cuteness to be found in my tired and burning eyesight.

As eventually he began to doze in my lap (before my first attempt to lay him down and each try thereafter) I looked to my computer for entertainment. I found it all right. I found it in the form of the longest most perky earworm I have been infected by since Suzanne Vega’s song Tom’s Diner slunk its way into my head back in the 90’s. I still walk around humming that melody when I can’t think of anything better to hum.

My new earworm? I'm Yours, by Jason Mraz. I’m not sure what made me search for it online, except this unexplainable desire I had to hear it again. It’s bubbly yet strangely hypnotizing.

In fact, the last time I heard his new song it stayed with me for a solid 2 days. I even had the accompaniment follow me through my dreams. Now I smile and think there’s nothing quite like a repetitive soundtrack in the background while tornadoes chase me through cornfields and grocery stores because I forgot my locker combination while wearing a clown suit.

Maybe it’s a good thing Critter didn’t let me go back to sleep.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Abc's of Me

Because I seem to be thinking a little too much about birds this week, and I don't want anyone to think I'm obsessed with them by telling another bird story, I went with this entry this evening. I saw it on two of the blogs I read this evening, and it looked like fun.

A. Attached or Single- Attached

B. Best Friend- Bonehead

C. Cake or Pie- Pie is gross

D. Day of choice- Saturday

E. Essential item- Laughter

F. Flavor of ice cream- Half Baked

G. Gummy Bears or Worms- Bears

H. Hometown- Sturgis, Michigan

I. Indulgences- Starbucks caramel frappuccino, reading a book in a bubble bath

J. January or July- July

K. Kids- Smoochie and Critter

L. Last movie I saw in a theater- Bourne Ultimatum

M. Missing in action

N. Number of siblings- 1

O. Oranges or apples- Oranges

P. Phobias or fears- Birds, phones (funny from someone who answers customer calls all day), asking people for things, tornadoes, spiders

Q. Quote- My husband’s quote of me whenever I’m frustrated “Cute baby fingers and cute baby toes”

R. Reasons to smile- Smoochie, Critter, Bonehead, and the fact that I understand jokes 20 seconds after everyone else and have been known to call my uncle to have him explain one (or two) to me

S. Season- Fall

T. Tag 4- I got nuthin’

U. Unknown fact about me- Not only do I have that crazy longer second toe, but it's double jointed

V. Vegetarian or oppressor of animals- Bring on the steak!

W. Worst habit- Falling asleep ½ hour after I’ve made my husband put MY movie in

X. X-rays or ultrasounds- Ultrasounds

Y. Your favorite food- Ham, green bean and potato stew/soup

Z. Zodiac- Scorpio

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

My Biggest Fear Part 2

Before I begin part 2 of my story, my mother has informed me I need to correct one of my facts. Apparently Polly was a gift from my grandmother to my great-grandmother. All this time I thought it was an aunt’s bird. I guess that’s what I get for reaching down into the memory of a 10 year old, but now it’s all straightened out.

I was correct about a couple of things. Polly was a very smart bird, and he hated children due to my uncles’ actions during their childhood.

I left off when my mother took Polly in for a while. I truly think Polly was onto me. He knew how scared I was, and he spent a considerable amount of time in his cage planning his method of attack.

I remember a couple of pot pie nights in our house when Polly was allowed out of his cage to roam. My sister and I would sit at our dining room table with our feet tucked up as far under our behinds as we absolutely positively could get them so we wouldn’t lose our toes to Polly’s wrath. Our little girl ears could hear him walking toward us through the kitchen. To us, there was no mistaking the tap tap tap of little Polly feet on our linoleum floor.

As he would reach the doorway of the dining room, we would look at each other in panic and fear. Usually there would be a chorus of “MOOOOOM!! Polly is in the dining roooooooom!!” To which we’d hear the answer “He’s fine, girls, eat your dinner.”

And then Polly would get closer to us little step by little step. I forget which one of us it was, but either my sister or I got the brilliant idea of tossing pot pie crust pieces towards him in order to keep him busy eating and avoid his being close enough to chew our toes off. Eventually he would get enough to eat and leave us alone. Inside him was a little extortionist, I think. We lost large portions of more than one pot pie that way.

Polly had this giant iron cage that he lived in. Now because I remember these activities from my childhood, the cage could actually be a bit smaller than I remember it. I remember this cage being about 3 foot in diameter and about 5 feet tall. It took up a whole corner of our den when he stayed with us. His cage had a bar that happened to be bent just so, and this meant that Polly could occasionally become an escape artist. My parents would attempt to fix it, and within days the bar would be bent again somehow and he could squeeze through to freedom.

One afternoon, my sister and I were hanging out in the bathroom together (as siblings of the female persuasion are known to do) doing girl stuff- braiding our hair or something equally girly. As we went to leave the bathroom and opened the door, we stumbled into a world of terror we were totally unprepared for.

There in the door frame was Polly, who had stealthily snuck out of his cage 4 feet away, and waited silently outside our door in his little stalker mode. He knew I was in that room and he’d waited all these many years to carry out his plan of attack.

My sister and I both shrieked as loud as we could. Polly let out a loud squawk and came charging towards us, and there was instantaneously mayhem everywhere. I forget which one of us went where- it all happened so fast and all I really remember is the ultimate feeling of terror that everything I had spent my whole childhood fearing was finally coming to fruition.

All I know is that when all of the feathers stopped flying and the shrieking stopped, one of us was inside our claw foot bath tub shaking like a cold Chihuahua, and the other was completely horizontal on the top shelf of our walk in closet trying to blend in with the linens.

My mom showed up at this point with a broom handle, and Polly gave up his pursuit to hop onto it. She placed him back in his cage where he watched us, waiting for his next opportunity...

Monday, May 26, 2008

My Biggest Fear Part 1

I mentioned that my mom has 4 older brothers. They’re crazy. They’re often insane. People have been known to shake their heads and walk away. Others stick around for the entertainment value. I grew up with my wacky zany uncles and their antics were just a way of life for me. The rule of thumb was to never take what they said seriously, even if it was something as simple as, “Ah-choo!”

Back in their childhood days, they had an aunt with an Amazon parrot named Polly. According to the folklore my uncles put forth, one of them wasn’t particularly nice to Polly. That is to say, he teased him fervently. Unmercifully. The way young boys can be known to do.

Not surprisingly, Polly learned to dislike children. I’m not sure if it was strictly one uncle’s fault or not, but what I do know is that parrots live a very long time and this particular one was very intelligent. After his aunt passed away, my now adult uncle inherited Polly.

I’m absolutely sure that Polly was a very good bird. My mom loved him. My grown uncles loved him, although I think Polly may have carried a grudge toward the uncle who teased him.

Polly did some really neat things. He could mimic the cry of a baby. He would use this cry if he felt he was in trouble or being treated unfairly. Whenever it was dinner time in my uncle’s house, you could often hear him say, “Polly want a crack-crack-craaaacker.”

Here’s the part where I have difficulty distinguishing between truth and non-truth. When it came to Polly, I had the fear of God put into me by my uncles. “Don’t go near his cage. He’ll bite your finger off. He killed a small dog once. His beak is razor sharp – it will cut you real good.”

I don’t know if the dog part is true, but I do know he really disliked children. And so between the combination of a grouchy bird and the things my uncles told me, I cultivated an unhealthy fear of birds. On the rare occasion I was around when Polly was out of his cage, I would experience anxiety like no other known to man. Especially when he would look at me with his little eyes and his feathers would fluff and he’d emit a low growl that sounded sort of like, “bruuuk.” At those moments I knew his little mind was wrapping itself around the fact that he was free and I was little and there was nothing between us.

I love my uncles (and my mom) with all my heart. But I’ll have to admit even as a child I was skeptical when they would tell me that all I had to do if Polly came after me was put down a broom handle and he would get on it so I could put him back in his cage.

Are you freaking kidding me? There wasn’t enough candy in town to bribe me into getting a broom’s length away from that bird. He was out to get me and chew my fingers off and that was that. So I did my very best to stay away from Polly.

Now that I’m all grown up I realize what a neat bird he really was. He was absolutely beautiful- this lime green and yellow combination that was really neat. I was fascinated how he could sound so much like a baby. And the way he would sit around and say “Polly. Polly. Polly” when he knew you were eating and not sharing with him. Even so, no matter how neat he was, I think I would still have a major panic attack if I ran into him today.

At one point in my late childhood my uncle and aunt couldn’t bring Polly with them to the current residence they were renting. I’m not sure if she volunteered or was asked to, but my mom said Polly could come and stay with us for a while. I firmly believe this is when he realized how massive my fear of him was and began to mess with me……..

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Saturday Snapshots

It’s Memorial Day Weekend and today is pretty much the only nice day we’re expected to have. I think Critter may have brought a cold home from daycare and shared it with both Mom and Dad. This has made for a grouchy Critter, Mom, and Dad. Poor Smoochie- he’s the only healthy person in the house and I’m pretty sure he doesn’t quite understand why our home has turned from such a loving place to grouch central.

In order to combat the grouchies, I decided Critter really needed this seat I’ve been thinking about buying for 6 weeks or so. It’s time, he’s ready, and a change of scenery might actually do both Critter and myself some good. Plus getting out of the house gives me an excuse to swing by Starbucks for my favorite caffeinated beverage.

So I placed Critter in his carseat and prepared for a mini-excursion to our local “Tar-zhay” store. I thought the way his ears bent out under his little baseball cap was cute, so I grabbed the camera. I’m glad I did because I captured something so rare it has yet to be captured on camera. And in a house full of grouchies, it was even more than a rare gem…

The elusive Critter smile. It’s rare, but when I’m lucky enough to see one my heart palpitates with pride.

We bought the seat, I got my coffee drink, and headed for home. The cold drink felt so good on my sore throat I drank it too fast. I got brain freeze but I didn’t let it deter me. I just kept right on drinking until my eyeballs hurt. I didn’t care either because it’s the best my throat felt all day.

I have no brain freeze pictures but I do have pictures of Kepler, Critter, and Smooch at play in our back yard upon our return with the new seat.

Kepler is our German Shepherd. He’s such a sweet dog, and he loves both the boys. He kept searching the yard and bringing Critter all the sticks he could find.

Kepler wasn’t sure what to think when we first brought another crying bundle home, but I think by this point Critter and Kep are pretty in tune with one another.

I tried to get some good pictures of Smoochie at play, but he was too quick. What matters is how much Critter loves watching his big brother do all those big boy things he does.

We enjoyed a little bit of time outdoors today. The rain is due to start tomorrow and continue for a few days. For at least a few minutes we enjoyed a little sunshine, a little laughter, and lost a little of our grouchies.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Ugly Betty Night

Tonight is Ugly Betty Night in our house. It’s as good as a holiday.

Bonehead and I are too cheap to pay for real cable, so we pay $9.95 a month for the absolute most basic package we can get. Essentially this means we get ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX, and PBS. We figured since there’s nothing on anyway, there might as well be nothing on cheaply. We don’t miss it much, really. Sometimes I miss the Discovery Channel and The Learning Channel, and once a year Bonehead misses the Tour De France. Other than that, we’re good.

I had a rare night at home while Smooch and Bonehead were out doing their thing. While flipping through our primitive channel selection, I happened to flip onto the series premiere of Ugly Betty. Much to my surprise, I rather liked it.

The next week, as the family was united in our living room, we performed our Thursday night channel flipping ritual again. There was Ugly Betty. I chimed up, “Let’s watch this- I saw it last week and kind of liked it.” So the three of us hung out and watched Ugly Betty to pass away an otherwise uneventful evening.

The next day my Smoochie asked, “Is Ugly Betty on?” And again the day after that. And AGAIN the day after that. I attempted to explain that it would not be on again until Thursday night. My efforts were futile. Smoochie was hooked. It took a while, but eventually he came to understand that Ugly Betty is on once a week.

Every Thursday I began stopping for Qdoba on my way home from work, in honor of Ugly Betty day. We began a weekly tradition of meeting in our living room (not entirely unlike The Simpsons now that I think about it) and watching Ugly Betty. This weekly family ritual spawned two phrases in our home.

Phrase #1: Is your Qdoba arm broken?

Phrase#2: Happy Ugly Betty Day.

We’re still watching.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Seriously- iceberg lettuce?

To me, Wal-Mart is like that bad smell you can’t stop sniffing. Every time I go there I get frustrated beyond belief, and yet they have the cheapest diapers on the planet so I keep going. I’m sure at some point I will blog about the evils of Wal-Mart, but for today, I think I’ll just make a list of things they have been out of when I have gone there to do my grocery shopping.

Bananas- Because banana splits are all the rage.

Bread-Was national sandwich day this past Sunday?

Coffee- Freaking coffee fiends.

Iceberg lettuce- Mass cravings for lettuce aren’t entirely unheard of.

Mrs. Grass’ soup-This one is mostly understandable.

Shopping carts-Apparently parking lots eat them. All.

I’m sure there’s more, but off the top of my head those are the ones that stand out the most to me.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Birth Certificate Bingo

I gained 80 pounds during my last pregnancy. Yes, I just went there. Normally, this would have been a secret I would threaten my husband with bodily harm about and taken the secret with me to the grave, but my deep dark secret is out anyway. Apparently, the state of Illinois has felt the need to include this information on my son’s birth certificate. The reasoning behind it has left me absolutely baffled.

I have tried to reason this out in my head, but every time I attempt it I pull up a visual of my little Critter screaming and flailing while running from the county court house after a failed attempt at filing for a marriage license. “80 pounds!! My whole life has been a lie!! I can’t marry you, I don’t even know who I am!!!”

As lost as I am regarding why that whopper of a tidbit needs to be on my son’s birth certificate, I have a better idea of why I gained that much.

My first son weighed 9 pounds 5.9 ounces. My second son weighed 9 pounds 15.8 ounces. Both were little bowling balls, so that can’t be it.

I am of the belief the difference was entirely in the cravings. With Smoochie, I couldn’t get enough steak and green beans. Steak was something I hated until the pregnancy arrived, and then I turned into an absolute steak eating fool. I ate green beans by the can full. I’d have an entire can after work as a snack. Green bean casserole was a nightly occurrence during that pregnancy. I kept the French fried onion people in business single handedly.

Critter brought with him cravings of all things forbidden. McDonald’s breakfast foods-oooooooh the hash browns!! Did you know you could order an extra one for less than 50 cents? That’s probably not the best piece of information to stumble on while pregnant. Their cinnamon rolls, too, found their way into my belly quite often.

Unfortunately, my crave-a-saurus didn’t stop at McDonalds in the mornings. If I stumbled upon anything that was made with sugar, or a non diet soda, it screamed my name into a megaphone until I HAD to eat it just to shut it up. So I would eat it, and say I’d do the worrying later.

And now its sooo-ho later.

I’ve dropped half the weight but that means I’m only half way there. It’s a little hard for me to truly diet right now because I am nursing and can’t really afford to skimp on the calories. Plus, nursing makes me ravenous most of the time. It’s all I can do to put myself in check and keep the grazing to a low roar. So I do the best I can. I will get there eventually, I know I will. I’m sure there will be grumbling. I’m certain there will be the occasional chocolate fest. But I fully intend to keep with it until the much lighter brutal end.

I’ll keep you posted on my progress. I figure I have to do something to keep me busy and healthy until Critter runs screaming from the courthouse in 24.7 years.


Did I mention that Bonehead used to pick on me?

We were in theater together, Bonehead and I. My junior year in high school we were in Macbeth together. The play was long and drawn out, really. I give my parents kudos for coming to see it, and my Grandparents hold a sacred place in my heart for enduring a 4 hour drive in order to sit through 3 hours of Shakespeare. Not JUST Shakespeare, but high school Shakespeare to boot.

My grandparents actually spent the whole weekend the time they came to watch me in Macbeth. They hung out with my parents while I did the usual theater traditions- the play followed by various after party activities. To be completely honest, I don’t remember which particular after party activities I attended for that particular play.

What I do remember is the wake up I got at about 6am Sunday morning. I vividly remember being all warm and toasty in bed and being brought from a deep sleep by the sound of my door creaking open. And then there was the whisper from my mother. “Chasity Lynn, there’s something you need to get up and take care of before your step dad wakes up and sees it.” Chas is what most people call me. Chasity Lynn is what my parents saved for when I really screwed up.

If I did something worth waking me up at 6am on a Sunday morning AND using my full name, this could not be good. My mother’s words demanded immediate obedience- not only because I wanted to avoid any trouble that might be brewing, but because my interest was peaked as well. To the best of my knowledge I had done nothing wrong.

As I padded my sleep deprived body to the living room to see what was up, my mother directed my attention to the front picture window. My grandparents were chuckling and my mom was trying not to chuckle as well.

My front porch was bathed in the shadow of a 15 foot sign. It was tied from one end of my porch all the way to the other side. I vividly remember the conversation I had with my grandparents after removing the sign that was large enough to be seen by satellite.

It didn’t take two guesses as to who put the mammoth sign on my front porch. Bonehead. When my Grandma asked me who he was, I pointed out who he was in the play. “You mean the young man with all the curly red hair?” In fact, it was. Her granddaughter had just had a sign posted on her front porch sometime after the hour of 1am on a Saturday night by a strange boy with long wild red hair and her response was this:

“I would kill to have his hair.”

Monday, May 19, 2008

My thing

Bonehead has been known to pick on me from time to time. Occasionally. Sometimes I realize it right away. Other times, even after 14 years of marriage, I don’t see it coming. I have no idea why- even our 6 year old is onto him. But I never learn. I will probably never learn.

In high school I used to have this Yamaha Jog. It was this periwinkle blue scooter that went 45mph, tops. I loved it because before I had a car to drive it brought me a freedom I had never encountered before. I was 14 when my parents bought me this scooter – the legal age to drive one where I grew up in rural Michigan. I had a brief taste of the freedom it provided before I moved to Illinois at 15 and met Bonehead. It had to be put away until I turned 16 in Illinois, but the second I could legally drive it again, I was on it.

Scooters were not real popular at the time I drove mine. Whenever I would tell someone what I drove eyes would glaze over and fruit flies would gather. I soon began to call my scooter “my thing”. Then, when I talked about “my thing” it would become interesting. Your thing? What’s that? How fast does it go? You get HOW MANY miles to the gallon?

Some of my friends would pick on me about it, but I became accustomed to picking rather early in life. My mom has 4 older brothers, so essentially Bonehead just walked in and picked up where they left off. In the grand scheme of things there’s not a lot of difference between walking to the shot gun cabinet muttering about pesky “wabbits” when your niece trick-or-treats as a bunny and hiding your wife’s curling iron on top of the entertainment center above her 5’3” height level.

For a brief time Bonehead and I worked at TJ Maxx together. On the nights we would both work, a group of us would meet afterwards and go to the burger joint across the street for shakes and fries and whatever other junk food struck our fancy. Sometimes I would ride my thing, and other times I would hop on the back of his motorcycle for a ride.

One evening I left work and walked across the dark parking lot to my thing. I trudged along putting my helmet on as I walked. The closer I got, the more puzzled I became. I got to the spot where I parked my thing and stood there in the darkness, helmet on, looking around.

My thing was not where I’d left it. My thing was no where near where I’d left it. In fact, my thing was nowhere to be seen.

Through my panic about what my parents were going to say when they learned my thing was stolen, I heard snickers from behind the brick wall nearby. Bonehead and his friend had picked up my thing and moved it.

I think I might have made him pay for my fries that night.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

You know you're a mom when...

My sister and I have had an ongoing conversation for about the last 6 years. It always starts out “You know you’re a mom when…”, and then we finish it with some of the more abnormal things that have happened to us. I thought maybe I would share a few.

You know you’re a mom when……
You open up your purse and your child’s socks stare you in the face.

You know you’re a mom when…
Your much needed alone time is a trip to the grocery store-preceded by a guilt-ridden trip to Starbucks for a caramel frappucino.

You know you’re a mom when…
You’ve used the phrase “Don’t bleed on the couch!”

You know you’re a mom when…
You put on last years spring jacket and there’s a matchbox car in the pocket.

You know you’re a mom when…
You can sing a nursery rhyme and sleep at the same time.

You know you’re a mom when…
You’ve been chewed on like beef jerky in the last 24 hours.

You know you’re a mom when…
You can dress a screaming baby, answer the questions your 6 year old is shooting out at 100mph, plan the dinner menu, and mentally take a pantry inventory all at the same time.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Birthday Celebration

Our good friends have a little girl who is absolutely adorable. Today was Webling's First Birthday party. A year ago I held Webling for the first time and fell in love. In fact, I fell in love so much that I told Bonehead we should have another baby. He agreed and we figured in about 6 months or so we would start trying. Less than two weeks later I was with Critter. In a way, Webling is the reason we were blessed with Critter, so she will always have a special place in my heart. Plus I like to spoil the girls since I was blessed with boys.
We all had a wonderful day, but I have to give the top award to Smoochie. Not only were his Aunt and Grandma there, but so were Webling and The Girlies. In the space of one afternoon, he had cake, a brownie, pop, AND he got to play with his Girlies.

One of the best parts of the day was to see Smoochie smiling and feeling better.

Even Critter joined in the festivities.

I got this random shot while they were preparing for a group picture.
The Girlies lived with us for a year and a half, so they're more like big sisters than cousins.

I love not telling them I'm going to take their picture now.
This one's a little cuter.
Even better.

Friday, May 16, 2008

It was my idea

One evening in our younger days, Bonehead and I and our friends decided to get together to partake in liquid beverages that were meant to be consumed by those who were older than us. I’ll make a long story short by stating that Bonehead and I never dated. Some day I may share that story- but for now lets just say we always dated other people but were close friends.

I want it to be said that in all of my adult wisdom (and in case my nieces ever read this, or my children in the future) I no longer condone the underage consumption of the spirits. I would certainly like to say for the record that we no longer partake in underage adult beverage shenanigans. It’s wrong, and Girlies, if you are reading this, turn off your computer and go to bed.

Now. With that said, one evening Bonehead and I participated in a small private party at a friend’s house with our perspective dates. In a stunning revelation that will be more of a surprise to those who know the two of us than those who don’t, I was actually wilder in my late teenage years than Bonehead was in his. Bonehead was no pro at the party scene. I would not personally call myself a pro, but I had partaken in shenanigans slightly more than bonehead.

On the particular night in question, we drank. And then we drank. And then we drank a little more.

More sooner than later we were all very happy. I was happy, both our dates were happy, and Bonehead was VERY happy.

Normally I might share some gratuitous Bonehead escapades but on the particular night in question he has just as much embarrassing blackmail on me as I do on him. Upon reevaluation… he has more, so I have decided that some events of this evening shall remain unwritten.

Eventually it got late and we had to head home. Rather than ride in a car with anyone who had been drinking, Bonehead and I decide to walk home. Since Bonehead and I were neighbors, we took off for the walk across town together. I’m sure we made quite the pair as we struggled to walk that hair thin line that was the sidewalk.

At some point we saw a police car drive by. In my happy stupor, I became paranoid. All of the sudden it was as if the cop was staring at us. Not only that, but he was a mind reader and knew that we had been up to no good. He knew exactly what we had been doing and for exactly how long. He knew I was under age and he was going to cart me off to jail for the rest of my adult life. I straightened up the best I could and did my best not to spin with the rest of the world around me.

The event that occurred next has been the subject of the greatest debate the two of us have had. This debate has lasted for 14 years and there is no end in sight. This debate will continue to the very last nanosecond of our marriage. It was my idea, but Bonehead will swear until his last breath that it was his idea. Because this is my blog (and because it WAS my idea) I’ll narrate the next portion of my story as if it was my idea.

Not wanting the cop to see a couple of teenagers out late at night up to no good, I grabbed Bonehead’s hand and held it and said, “Quick, let’s pretend we’re married.”

We held hands the rest of the way home and then continued on with our lives as normal. There was no way for us to know that eventually we wouldn’t have to pretend.

Thursday, May 15, 2008


I had a conversation with Bonehead a couple of days ago. Here’s how it went:

Me: I haven’t even had time to blog

Bonehead: I’m sure YOUR LOYAL READER will be disappointed.

Me: Shut up.

(My mom reads it-When I call her and tell her to).

Dear Mom,
I’m so sorry I haven’t had time to update my blog this week. It seems Smoochie, who we thought might have strep throat, has something much worse. Smoochie has some sort of intestinal virus that has been anything but pretty for the last week. The poor little guy has been in some serious pain, and I as a mother have faced one of my biggest nightmares: not being able to make it better for him.

Since you have decided you like your Florida residence and won’t come home no matter how much I beg, plead or stomp my feet, I am extremely fortunate to have my Mother-In-Law near enough to help us out. I used all of my days off for the year up on Maternity leave, and have had to go to work every day this week regardless of how much I want to stay home and rub Smoochie’s head. Bonehead’s mom has been gracious enough to stay with us this week to help us out with Smooch.

I still have Critter to get ready every morning for daycare, but until Smoochie is feeling better, he’s staying home with Grandma. The doctor has told us this virus can last between a week to two weeks. So with one week down, I am hoping and praying that his pain will begin to subside.

Unfortunately, my Mother-In-Law has been quite productive in her endeavors while at our house during the day. My Laundry is caught up, my dishes are done, my infamous crap countertop has been sorted through, my grocery shopping done, and my son well taken care of. Bonehead’s mom, without a doubt, is a saint.

You would think that all of this saintly helpfulness would help me out, now wouldn’t you? Here is the problem with all of that wonderful help. After getting up an hour to two hours before my alarm is set to go off each day due to Critter’s own not so functional internal alarm, I have rushed to daycare to drop him off, and then to work to be swamped. Upon returning home, feeling quite inadequate for not helping more, I try to lend a hand with dinner, take care of Critter, and set aside time for cuddles with Smooch to help him feel better. Then there’s laundry to put away, dishes to help find homes for, children to get ready for bed- and believe it or not by the time Critter’s off in Critterland, I am ready to sleep on my feet.

So I have to apologize for not updating my blog this week. It’s a good thing I haven’t called you in a few days to remind you to read it. However, there will be a brand new blog entry tomorrow at some point (most likely evening), and I will try to get ahead over the weekend so you will have something to look forward to next week.

Your frazzled daughter.

PS. Thank you for being my loyal reader. Even if I have to remind you to be.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Mother's Day

WARNING: This blog entry may contain sentiment or may have been created on machinery that has been used on or around sentiment. Anyone who is allergic to sentiment should leave this page and shower.

As of Saturday afternoon, Smoochie had spent two nights up writhing in pain due to a stomach ache. In fact, Friday night Bonehead spent the night in Smoochie’s bed trying to soothe him- and the first thing Saturday morning they made a b-line for the walk in clinic. Critter and I stayed home to keep any waiting room germs at bay and await the doctor’s verdict.

The verdict came back possible strep throat, and since Smoochie’s cousin has it and he saw her less than a week ago, strep is entirely possible. I did not know this (which is probably why I’m not a doctor) but apparently strep throat can cause stomach aches and the rash (which I did not notice) that Smoochie had both of. The immediate culture was negative, but the doctor seemed pretty sure that it would cultivate into strep by Monday. So we have a prescription for an antibiotic to either sit on until Monday or go ahead and use if things get worse for him.

Off to the store I went with Critter in tow because, well, at this point he’s pretty much a squirmy barnacle- where I go, he goes. I purchased the necessary ingredients to help a sick Smooch feel better and headed home. Among the ingredients in my back seat were Jell-O snack cups, Sprite, Gatorade, crayons, and a coloring book.

In my younger days-ok, ok, in my MUCH younger days, my mom had a tradition for my sister and I whenever we were sick. Not “Cough cough I don’t want to go to school today” sick, but truly booty over teakettle sick. The kind of sick when you want to scream and cry and throw a fit at the injustice of it all, but can’t because you used all your energy pulling the covers up under your chin. Whenever we were that sick, she would go to the store and bring my sister and I Sprite, a coloring book, and crayons. I have to admit there was nothing to make me feel better on a brutal day than to crack open a package of Crayolas and color that first page in the new book.

I realize that without setting out deliberately to do so, I have chosen this particular tradition as one to pass on to my own children. It doesn’t matter if they have their weight in crayons and coloring books, what matters is that it makes them feel special and pampered on a day when they otherwise feel absolutely cruddy. What matters is that they color knowing deep down that no matter what, Mom will be there for them- even on the days when they want to do nothing more than grumble and cry.

As an adult and mother myself now, I know that things weren’t always easy for my mom. I know full well that there are days when the last word you really want to hear is that three letter mom word. I also know there are days when the smile or giggle you get from your children can be the energy you needed to make it through the rest of your day. Through her example, my mom has taught me how to not only meet the physical needs of my children, but how to make them feel special as well. She has taught me that motherhood is more than feeding, clothing and bathing. It’s also about playing, nurturing, emotionally providing, and teaching through example.

Thank you, Mom, for showing me all of these things about motherhood. Thank you for giving me special traditions to pass along to my own children. I hope I can be half the mother you have shown me how to be.

Happy Mother’s Day.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Winter Story

It’s almost the end of the school year, and throughout kindergarten Smoochie has transitioned completely from a preschooler into a full fledged boy. Not only does my 6 year old laugh at the word butt and entertain himself by seeing what body sounds he can imitate, but I heard Smooch and a friend giggling over “worm poop” the other day. His transition into big boy has been accompanied by an enormous effort to be more grown up and big with each passing day.

We had a very hard winter this year. I have to confess that to me it was miserable. It may have seemed even harder due to my pregnancy. Every time I turned around there was more snow for me to waddle through, more freezing cold my coat wouldn’t cover my belly for, and more ice for me to slip on.

One morning I bundled myself up the best I possibly could against the futility of my situation, and prepared to walk Smooch to the bus stop. After the full body workout of stuffing him into his cold weather gear, we left our house for the trip down the street a bit.

As we shuffled through the snow in the driveway and out into the eyeball freezing wind, I focused on not falling. By the time we got a few houses down we prepared to cross a driveway that had been shoveled at one point, but had accumulated more snow, forming a wet slippery mess.

I noticed my son stop short in front of me and turn around to check to be sure I was still there behind him. My heart melted for the caring and sweet little boy he had turned into. He was thinking about someone other than himself, and that always makes a mom proud. He looked up at me with his big blue eyes and said, “Be careful, Mom, it’s slutty out here.”

I tried not to laugh too hard, and replied, “Oh, sweetie, you mean slushy.”

Friday, May 9, 2008

Today's highs and lows

Today was my first day back at work from maternity leave. I haven’t had much free time for writing today, so I thought I would just share some highs and lows of my day.

High: Playing handsies with Critter at 1am when he’s at his cutest.
Low: Realizing at 2:30am that Critter was not going to go back to sleep.

High: Adult conversation with someone who isn’t male and legally bound by marriage to ignore me.
Low: 2000 emails waiting for me in my inbox.

High: Bringing dinner home instead of cooking it.
Low: Not being able to walk Smoochie to the bus stop.

High: Anticipating the popcorn they’re going to bring me when Bonehead and Smoochie get back from watching Speed Racer tonight.
Low: Not being able to watch it with them.

High: Leaving work today with 3 whole emails left in my inbox.
Low: Realizing my day started at 1am.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

San Diego Rendezvous

Bonehead was in the Navy when we first got married, stationed on a submarine. After we’d been married for about a year and a half, his time was up on the submarine and he went to San Diego in order to attend Corps School. Because the length of his school was just under six months, the Navy would not pay to move me with him. We’d decided it was best for me to wait at home with my parents until he had the location of his next station, so I went home to live for a brief time with my parents and await his graduation.

The weekend before my 21st birthday I flew to visit him for the first time. He went away to Corps School in August and my birthday is in November, so we hadn’t actually seen each other in about three months. I had been away from Bonehead for 3 months before, but this time was different. This time I had not watched him pack himself like a sardine onto a nuclear powered tin can. This time I didn’t have to worry about anything flooding, catching fire, blowing up, or sinking. This time I could talk to him at least twice a week.

Even so, I counted down the days until I was able to see Bonehead again. As the weeks got closer and turned into days, I got more and more excited. The day of the flight, it was all I could do to concentrate at work long enough to form a complete thought. It seemed to take forever, but finally my work day was over and it was time to go to the airport for the flight out. The flight took an eternity and I surprised myself by actually sitting still on the flight from Illinois to San Diego.

Bonehead met me at the airport. We took a taxi to the Navy Lodge. I thought for sure the taxi driver was trying to kill us all, but I tried to focus on conversation with Bonehead and not on the cab darting in and out of traffic with a terrifying speed that would put the space shuttle to shame.

I have to admit once we got to the hotel we got a bit lost in the moment. I hadn’t seen my husband in about an eternity and a half so we forfeited the conversation and began to do, well, what husbands and wives are known to do.

After all was said and done and reality came flooding back to us, I heard Bonehead say, “Uh-oh.” Which of course was followed immediately by my, “What?”

It was at that point that I saw what he saw. It was that point that I wanted to crawl under the covers and hide for the rest of the weekend. I actually thought about leaving the hotel through the window from that point forward. I never imagined that a two inch gap could feel as large as the width of the Mississippi at its widest. It was at that point I flushed so hard that Crayola could have created Rendezvous Red in my honor.

It was at that point that Bonehead got up and closed the hotel room door.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

5 Things

5 Phrases Heard in Our House Daily

Because I said so.

Have you seen…?

Smoochie, let the dog out/in.

Poke and annoy.

You are so full of bean dip!

5 Things Most People Don’t Know About Me

I hate anything mechanical. I don’t WANT to know how it works, I just want it to do so.

There is currently a hostile dandelion takeover in my back yard.

I’d much rather clean a toilet than match socks.

I envy people with thick eyelashes.

I inherited my Mother’s secret desire to walk into a grocery store, up to a shelf, insert my arm up to my armpit, and walk until I reach the end of the aisle- clearing everything off. Why? I have absolutely no clue.

5 of My Many Favorite Things

The smell of summer right after a heavy rain.

Starbucks Caramel Frappuccino.

Walking into town for dinner at my favorite Mexican restaurant on a hot summer night.

A lined notebook just screaming for lists to be made.

A weekend afternoon at home with Bonehead, Smoochie, and Critter.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

The Ninja Hat of Death

I am of the opinion that my life is for all practical intents and purposes pretty boring. I have two children, a husband I love very much, and outside of the fact that I have to return to work in 3 days, I pretty much stick around the house to hold and nurse a 3 month old, grocery shop, hold a three month old, load the dishwasher, hold a 3 month old, and that’s pretty much how my days go. So when I tried to think of a topic for today’s blog entry, I drew a total blank. I could talk about how my baby, affectionately known to us as Critter, is the grouchiest baby on earth today due to the shots he received at his Doctor’s appointment yesterday. We should have nicknamed him bear, he’s so grouchy……….


I can foray down into my basement for a little while and dig out the Ninja Hat of Death for a portrait. The Ninja Hat of Death isn’t just any hat, and although it’s been packed in a box in our basement for a while, I think the time may come soon to pass it down to our oldest son, Smoochie. The hat belonged to Bonehead in high school, which amazingly enough keeps getting longer and longer ago- but I’ll not say how long ago in order to avoid the embarrassment.

You see, Bonehead was a bit of a nonconformist in high school. He never cut his hair, which was curly and red. He usually wore ripped jeans, and if my memory isn’t too fuzzy, his tennis shoes may have been duct taped together on more than one occasion. He also had an accessory that accompanied him everywhere he went.

The Ninja Hat of Death.

If you ran into Bonehead in the hall, there it was in all its glory, crammed onto his thick hair with purpose. In the lunchroom again- keeping his intelligence warm while he dined on Dr. Pepper and Peanut Butter Cups. I think he might have even worn it while he was running makeup laps in gym class. After school in the theater- still there.

In fact, the only time this hat came off his head during waking hours was when he felt like lobbing it as a Frisbee at unsuspecting victims. Namely me.

Now, my husband has a very long and very distinguished career of picking on me. I was 15 when we met, and I still have not seen the end of it. I can’t tell you how many times I would hear my name called by him and turn to acknowledge him, only to get biffed in the face by a camouflaged cloth Frisbee. Generally, it played out like a spliced together gag reel. Biff! Whoosh! Whack! Plunk! I began to have a very special relationship with The Ninja Hat of Death, and an even better friendship with the wearer of said hat.

The time came for Bonehead to graduate and I was a year behind him in school. At the end of the summer he went away to college and I stayed behind. A few days before he went away to school, he knocked on my door (he was my neighbor three doors down) and we talked for a little while in my driveway.

I forget exactly what he said, but it had all of the necessary ingredients. I was a good friend, he could tell me anything and I was never judgmental- that’s about all I remember of the conversation. What I do remember is that he removed The Ninja Hat of Death and gave it to me.

It was one of the sweetest gifts I have ever received.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Blogging Frustrations

OK. I now have two posts for Monday, May 5th due to the fact that I inadvertently deleted my entry from May 4th. All would have been good until Bonehead (my husband) pointed out that one of the pictures had red eye. From that moment on, it was like someone was shining a laser pointer at my computer screen. I actually tried to ignore it.

I told myself that things will get better as I get more experience with blogging. My laser point became the size of a quarter on my computer screen.

I told myself that a year from now I would be able to look back on my first few posts and see how much I've learned and how far I'd come. My blaring red quarter sized dot grew to the diameter of a dinner plate.

I told myself that someday I would get a chuckle from the first few frustrations of blogging. My dinner plate turned into a giant sized red blob and swallowed me whole.

I decided my photo would have to be fixed or it would nag me for the duration of eternity. I promptly fixed the photo, and once I had the relief of a red eye free son, I proceeded to my blog to edit. Please don't ask me how I did it, because I'd be hard pressed to even duplicate it. It happened so fast I don't even think I had time to blink.

My blog entry completely disappeared. I didn't have it saved anywhere else. I am always Google chatting with Bonehead and in my panic I sent him a Google chat with some not so fun language. I remember starting with the word crap-ola and the rest is a giant blur.

But now all is well. The red eye is gone, and I have two blog entries today. My husband will always be a bonehead - but I love him dearly.

Red Mohawk

Family Fun Night at my oldest son’s school resulted in turning his Mohawk red.

Once I relaxed and stopped seeing his Mohawk like this-

I realized how cute his red Mohawk actually was-

When nothing about it is permanent.

What’s the cutest thing about the Red Mohawk?

The sweet little boy who is wearing it.

Saturday, May 3, 2008


One of my favorite things in this world is the sight of a little boy in overalls. My oldest son is too old for them but my youngest son, who was born on Valentine's day, is my lucky little fashion plate. I get to start all over again.

Lets forget for a minute that whenever I take my little Valentine's picture he always looks like a deer in the headlights. Seriously, no matter how many pictures I take he looks like he's about to be hit by a Mack Truck.

There's something about a little boy in overalls (especially a baby boy) that just makes me smile. I'm not even sure if I can put a finger on what it is. The innocence, the relaxed look, the Dennis the Mennis quality- maybe its the fact that it makes me want to sing about puppy dog tails.

I just love it.

Friday, May 2, 2008

My Neurotic Spot

My husband and I had our 14th Wedding Anniversary yesterday. Our celebration won't be until tomorrow night, but I thought maybe the best place to start would be the explanation of my title. Several years ago, I developed an itch in the middle of my back. This particular itch isn't your average itch- the kind you can scratch and make it go away. My itch kept comming back, no matter how many times I scratched it. Not right away, but hours, sometimes even just a few minutes later. To make matters worse, my itch was in the exact spot on my back that neither my right hand nor my left hand could reach no matter how I stretched and hopped up and down. I often asked my husband to scratch this spot for me because I couldn't- not for lack of trying on my part.

On one occasion several years ago, I asked my husband to scratch my itch for me. I had grown increasingly frustrated with this spot and wanted to possibly get down to the root of the problem. Now, because I am a normal human being and can't see my back, I thought maybe my husband might humor me and clue me in to the great mystery of the spot I couldn't reach. I asked him, "Do you see or feel anything? Does it feel like there are any bumps there or anything? Does it feel dry?"

Without missing a beat, my husband said "No, it feels neurotic."

Between the laughter and the tears, I knew right away that my spot would from that day forever forward be known as the neurotic spot.