Friday, January 25, 2008

It was 3:14 and I was trying to hurry out the door to pick up my oldest from pre-school by 3:30. I grabbed my two-year-old Ben, his bright orange scrubby brush-kitchen-utensil-toy (don't ask), and my purse, and started to head for the door. Wait, my keys! I looked all around for them. "Keys" Ben said knowingly. All of the sudden he exclaimed "THAT!" so excitedly that I almost dropped him. Nope, not the keys, just a sippy cup. So then I was holding Ben, the scrubby brush, my purse, and a sippy... but still no keys.

At 3:17 we had acquired a farm toy, and a burp cloth for me to wipe my son's faucet of a nose, but still no keys. At 3:19 I discovered my keys inside my purse *rolled eyes*, so then all of us went out to the car.

Getting buckled in was an entirely different matter. Ben had a death grip on the sippy in one hand and the scrubby brush in the other. Then he realized beneath the layers of clutter we had dragged into our SUV, that he's missing his beloved blankey. So, not wanting to miss a chance to exercise, I jogged back inside, grabbed the blankey, and jogged back to the car. I gave myself a mental high-five for getting some quality running in for the day. That should counter-act those cookies I had with lunch.

At 3:23 we were on the road. When I pulled into the school parking lot at 3:31 I quickly glanced around to see if a member of the Guiness Book of World Records had stopped by to congratulate me on my remarkable speed. When I didn't see them, I pulled Ben out of the car, scrubby brush in tow, and jogged toward the classroom door. Another high-five for me; that should count toward the soda I chugged earlier.

As we waited in line, I noticed another toddler with a blue kitchen utensil in her chubby fingers. I smiled and nodded politely to her mother, who in turn, smiled and nodded back, glancing at Ben's hands. "Ice pick" she informed me. "Scrubby brush" I replied. We nodded some more, and had a nice conversation about how the world should do away with toys and just give the children our expensive kitchen supplies, makeup, tools, etc., to play with. I made a mental note make a donation of toys to Goodwill the next day.

We greeted Jake with hugs and exclamations, and you wouldn't even believe how excited I was to learn that not only did he have pancakes at school, but lots of syrup to go with them! Just great, now he was going to be bouncing of the walls all afternoon. I thought about sending his teacher a new puppy as a thank you.

When we headed back outside we discovered it had started raining. Not sprinkles either, but big, soppy, waves of water wooshing down from the Heavens. "Hoods up, boys!" I exclaimed, noticing my flannel shirt was without a hood, and very thin. We made a run for it, back to the car, Ben giggling in my arms the entire way. I was glad one of us was enjoying it. But, hey, more running! That should take care of those waffles I had at breakfast. This new healthy lifestyle I've started has really been working out, I noted to myself.

When we got to the car, and I hurridly strapped the boys in, and was finally able to jump in to the driver's seat about ten minutes later. I glanced in the rearview mirror, and then slowly pried myself back again. My efforts of beauty from that morning were gone. I had spent twenty-five minutes in the bathroom spraying, smoothing and flat-ironing my hair to perfection, and then I had spent another ten minutes trying to make my face like Cindy Crawford's... all to have God laugh and say "Not today!" Puff ball was an understatement; my hair looked like I had stuck my finger in a light socket and enjoyed it so much that I went back for seconds. My mascara was running, my lips were chapped, and my bangs were plastered split down the middle of my forehead, glued to my face with rain-water.

Then, from the backseat Ben giggled and said, "Rain funny". I was so glad one of us thought this adventure was hilarious. As I pulled out of the lot, squinting through the heavy sheets of rain, Jake piped up, "Can we have more pancakes for dinner?" My reply: "It looks like seafood tonight, son."
Ben has some green frog boots and he's obsessed with wearing them. He wears them around the house. He wears them while watching a show. He wears them to bed occasionally. With socks, without socks. With red sweats, jeans, or his Church Pants. He'd wear them in the bathtub if I'd let him, but hey, a mom has to have some boundaries.
The other day in Target my youngest son, Ben, chose a bright orange scrubby brush for himself. I thought, okay great, I can use it on the dishes. So far it's only been used to "brush" my hair. And Ben's hair. And I think I saw some dog hair on it... ew.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

My Benjamin is turning two this week and for the past couple of years my hubby and I have never once sat through an entire Church service without having to "tend" to our baby.

When he was an infant he cried in the nursery because the "" workers would forget to place the formula in his bottle of water. I mean, wouldn't you be a little bummed out if you were expecting milk and instead received plain ol' tap water? It's like going out to eat and instead of a nice steak and potatoes the waiter brings you pb&j on wheat bread. Seriously, a big bummer; I understood the tears.

And then in the toddler room he would enjoy playing with the toys, as long as he had a death grip on my pant leg. As soon as I started to edge toward the door it was like a marathon sprint race: who would reach it first, me or him? And my heart would sink further and deeper into my chest while I slithered away... "I Abondaned My Child And Forced Him To Play And Eat Goldfish" was flashing in neon across my forehead.

And so my hubby and I would sit in the auditorium, with the pager in our hands, and counting the minutes until it vibrated. One time in particular, it was a good twenty-plus minutes into the service and just when my hubby and I were giving each other the "well, look at this!" nod, it buzzed. *Sigh* so off I went, to comfort my tear-stained child.

And this week he turns two, so we decided to try out the two year old room with the lovely Miss Jill. Seriously, the woman is a saint. She works with disabled children ranging in ages from 1-3 during the week, and volunteers her time on Sundays for the two's room. I don't have patience for a single two year old throughout the week, let alone a room full of specially challenged kids.

When we arrive in Ben's new "big boy class", I skeptically set him down and tell him "okay!" and off he went! To the fire truck, to the trains, to the play-doh! Disneyland has arrived at Church! Miss Jill set down a big bucket of toys and low-and-behold there was a baby doll in there just begging to be cradled. No problem, Ben's on it. He picked it up and exclaimed "baby, baby!"

So I waited... and waited... and waited. Surely he'd notice that he hasn't said goodbye. Nope. He could've cared less. So I quietly stepped outside and peeked in the window. He'd miss me when he realized I'm not standing there (I rationalized). Minutes ticked by, a bird sings, leaves fell... he still didn't notice. Off I went to Church, to greet my Beloved, but I sent my hubby back to peek on him a little later. His report: happy as can be!

We've achieved victory! Praise God Almighty! The funniest part was, my hubby and I were noticing things we hadn't seen since today: We have a Pastor! There's a band! With musical instruments! There's actually communion if you make it that far into the service. And wouldn't you know it, but they play a song at the end of each service, too! There is a new Magic Kingdom in town, and it's Valley Church.

Friday, January 18, 2008

I think it's so interesting how clothes can alter the way one feels about themselves. I have found that wearing certain items of clothing can drastically change my mood for the day. No one can disguise their mood better than I! Wonder Woman has met her match!

For instance, take my black stilletos and black dress pants when paired with a snappy top instantly declares: watch out world, here she comes! ...nevermind the baby spit-up stain on the collar. Or when I'm feeling very "Mommy-ish" I wear my ultra comfy, horribly dirty, Ugg boots styled with slouchy jeans and a basic tee. Nothing says "I'm a devoted mother and spend so much time with my kids that I can't spare a minute to dress myself properly" like a pair of funky, awkardly shaped boots.

There is also Church Girl who is careful that her hemline is long enough, blouse is high enough, bra is tucked in at the shoulders.. and of course, the "practical" shoes replace the stilletos. God doesn't need you to be another four inches taller in order to worship Him. Actually, this is a reason why I love God. You could wear Jelly sandals, tapered jeans, and a tie-dyed tee shirt fashioned at the side of your waist with a clip and he wouldn't care. Nope, not God. He doesn't worry about your fashion sense.

And let's not forget the most important part of being a woman, the value of accessorizing what's underneath these clothes. The woman on the outside may be "Career Snappy" but under it all she could be wearing Grandma panties due to laundry day. There's "Church Girl" sporting her lacy thong, and what about those women who bend over and flash so much panty that the entire cast of Friends could sign what's sticking up past her belt line. Then you horrifyingly begin to wonder just where does it all go when she stands back up?

This is why I love clothes! It's like dress-up for grown-ups! Oh, and the makeup! The perfumes! The body creams! The endless persona's continue. And now "Casual Girl" in her comfy sweats and zipped up sweatshirt is heading off to bed to dream of what will become her tomorrow....

Monday, January 14, 2008

Okay, so I have to admit... I'm more of an "eater" than a "cooker". I enjoy a nicely done up, home-cooked meal... as long as I'm not the one forced to do the cooking. Don't get me wrong, I'll cook for my kids (who doesn't love a good ol' artery clogging corn dog, made with questionable parts), but when it comes to just me, I get all the ingredients I need in a beautifully packaged Lean Cuisine meal. Honestly, you'd be surprised at the variety they carry. Really!

Yesterday afternoon my darling hubby was tired and laying on the couch and the kids were being babysat by the television, so I thought I'd conjure a lovely family dinner. I went to and found a wonderful "Chicken and Broccoli Braid" meal. Chicken and broccoli and cheese, plus other stuff, all piled inside a huge loaf of bread--a dieter's dream come true! Hey, it's got veggies in it, and lean chicken, so it's got to be good for you, right?!

It was heavenly to smell and more divine to taste! While I was prepping my ingredients and my house was slowly filling with the aroma of "mama's ol' fashioned home cookin'", my husband slowly got off the couch and came into the kitchen. And what to his wondering eyes did appear, but cheese and garlic and chicken and broccoli... and me, his lovely wife, with knife in one hand and onion in the other, hard at work. The poor guy was probably thinking, "this is the best smelling frozen casserole she's heated up in a long time." He actually said, "Wow! It smells amazing in here! I love the smell of a good home cooked meal!"

So with tears on my face (I'm convinced they're from the onion and not from my overwhelming joy that nothing was burning and all the ingredients were coming together without a hitch) I look at him through blurry eyes and say, "I'm glad you're excited for it"... all the while thinking, "keep your fingers crossed buddy, it isn't even in the oven yet."

But low and behold, there it was, 25 minutes later in all it's glory... beautifully golden brown and baked to perfection. I've included some photos more for my glory then for anyone else's approval. I'll go back to tonight see what other brilliant contraptions I can conjure this evening. Maybe I'll reconsider the life of a chef... NOT!

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Another New Year, another diet gone down the drain, another baby in the family (my adorable niece!) and another year of laughter and tears with my family.

So new resolutions: Diet (if you gain 5 lbs when a camera captures you, then it should be the same for a mirror, too); good nutrition for my family (peach cobbler is a fruit, right?); safe driving (everyone knows the speed limit is more around 70-75 than the 65 that's posted); and an overall happy disposition in general (hey, we're over the flu bug that plagued our Christmas holiday... I've never been happier!).