A Disgrunted Moment

It dawned on me, as we were getting back from Costco- remembered the milk, forgot the Ritz crackers- that what I really am is a glorified burro. A pack animal. A beast of burden, picking up what everyone else lays aside, a coat-tree with curly hair and boobs.

Getting out of the car and making my way to the house, I had in my arms: Abby, my diaper bag over my shoulder, keys to open the door, cell phone, a bag of books from the book fair at Jeff’s school, the Costco receipt (for some reason), Beanie’s Mickey Mouse backpack, the mail wedged under my arm, Abby’s blanket and the sock she kicked off, and my own coat. Jeffrey asked me to hold his lunchbox, for which he got a glowering look, as he bounded from the car and ran towards the backyard. 

The thing is, even holding every loose article in my family’s possession, I still managed to get to the door and in the house without dropping either a) the baby or b) everything else carefully perched upon my person.

Sigh.

After sending Jeffrey out to get his own lunchbox (grrrr…) getting Beanie a snack, and popping Abby in her crib with some toys, I prepared to head out back out and schlep all the many loads of Costco crap into the house.  My wonderful husband called right about then, to ask me “What are you doing?” Do you want to imagine how that conversation went? You’re right.

When the steam ran out of my tirade, my wonderful husband suggested I leave everything in the car, and he would unload it all when he got home. Hallelujah- you don’t have to ask me twice! So that’s what I did.

One of the best things about living somewhere with real weather- as opposed to California ‘winters’- is that you never have to hurry home from the market; you can leave your groceries in the car, and your milk might actually be colder when you bring it in than it would be in the ‘fridge. (You gotta be careful about leaving soda pop in the car, though. I made that mistake when we first moved here- super mess!)

What’s Today?

It just dawned on me that Thanksgiving is a week from tomorrow… and I’m cooking this year. Yeah, I’m ready. Sure!

Actually, I’m really looking forward to a mellow day with friends coming over. We have some good friends that are military (more or less) that are joining us, and they are bringing some wives whose husbands are in Iraq- so I think this year, we will have a lot of sincere, genuine things for which to be grateful.

For some odd reason, I feel really relaxed and at home with the holidays this year- not stressed about anything, and even though I’m crazy busy, I’m doing what I can, and letting the rest fall where it may. We’ll see how long that lasts, eh?

Oh Heck, it’s Up To My Neck…Gulp.

Too many irons in the fire… too many… toomany…toomanytoomanytoomany… gulp.

My brain is totally scattered- I feel like a cup running over- so much is going on I can’t keep myself straight. Filling orders, running to the printer, helping friends with their projects, working on projects with my quilt group, pot-lucks to attend with specific food requested of me, parent-teacher conferences, making and selling bags, trying to get it together enough to figure out what I want on my website, posting elsewhere too, helping with the Christmas pageant, making Magi and shepherd clothes, getting Abby in for her 6-month, making about 10 different  Christmas presents for family, making Christmas cards, trying to get my older paintings photographed and cataloged, a special project I can’t talk about for a friend, my packaging needs to be redesigned before a website, new designs need to be ready for January, have I paid the bills for November yet (?), gotta go to Costco, out of milk and Ritz crackers….

That doesn’t even touch on the domestic bliss that awaits my attention- the 7 loads of laundry needing me, the unending shovelling of keeping ahead of the tidal wave of mess made my a family with three little kids, oh, and somewhere, I have a husband who could probably use a little attention….

I need a wife!

The Christmas Program Revamped

Our ward (what we mormon’s call our congregation) is doing the coolest thing for Christmas this year!! Instead of the normal Christmas party, with ho-ho-ho-ing and tons of candy, maniacal kids, Santa and all that jazz, the new activites commitee couple has taken a radical (and awsome, I might add), departure.

There will be no Santa at our Christmas party this year (and I’m all for Santa most of the time). Now, before you go getting all up in arms, listen to what they are planning…  Christmas in the time of Jesus- a sort of living nativity, if you will, but all of us will be participants. They are making booths for the gym, where vendors will be set up, selling unleavened bread, fish, yogurt, olives- all foods that would have been appropriate for the year 32 in the Holy land. The signs on the booths will be in Hebrew and Aramaic (provided by yours truly) and when you enter the gym, each family will get a small bag of “gold” coins, and a cipher key of Hebrew and Aramaic letters. With your “gold”, you purchase the food for your individual family for dinner.

Here’s the fun part- we are being asked to dress appropriately! Head scarves, robes, sandals, whatever you’ve got or can come up with- just not in your regular Christmas clothes. Now I know some people are not going to like that, but phooey- it’ll be totally fun! The music and entertainment will be time-appropriate.  Then, after dinner, there will a be a living reenactment of the nativity, accompanied by music and reading of the story of the birth of Christ.

I am so totally into this!

Just the other day, DH and I were trying to figure out how we could help our kids “get” what Christmas was really all about- and this is the perfect answer. I think they will love it, not only because they adore playing dress-up, but mama and daddy will be joining in on the “game”.  That, and daddy is going to be one of the Magi…

This year, for the first time in years, I’m really looking forward to our “Christmas” party… and they boys are going to be so cute as shepherds! Should I make Abby a sheep??? Oh, I’m so going to!!

Veteran’s Day

In honor of Veteran’s Day today, I am going to re-post the letter I wrote about my grandpa when he died, right before Abby was born. And, Happy Birthday to my Dad, who also happens to be a Veteran. Deep and heartfelt thanks can never convey what we owe the men and women who have fought and sacrificed for our liberties. But thanks are all I have… So thank you.

Grandpa Jack died late last night. He went out, like he did everything in his life, on his own terms.

He lived and died in the Midwest, and he was not someone I saw frequently, but oh, the stories I heard about and from him. And, the time I actually spent with him, did not disappoint the myths. He was a part of that generation Tom Brokaw respectfully refers to as “The Greatest Generation”, and while my grandpa would laugh and mock that title, it’s absolutely true.

If you have seen Saving Private Ryan, you know a little bit about my grandpa. He was there that morning, when those brave young men landed on the bloody beaches of Normandy. If I remember correctly, he landed on Omaha beach, and was one of the very lucky ones who survived. He continued to serve this country in the European theater for the rest of WWII, earning a passel of medals and clusters which he never even let us look at. After the surrender in the Pacific, he headed off to Korea, where he spent several years. My grandmother held the home down back in Georgia as best she could, raising three little girls that were born between Leaves.

Grandma had as many colorful names for Jack as my box of crayons, but even I could see that he was the Love of her life, despite a divorce soon after the Korean War ended. And in the short time I spent with grandpa, the affection he felt for Grandma was clear. I hope they are talking to each other right now, reminiscing and released from the earthy pains that troubled their lives.

Grandpa spent the rest of his life alone, living in the house he was born in, refusing even to have a telephone. If we wanted to check in with him, we had to call the local VFW, and they would get a message to him via a buddy. Visiting him was such a marvelous treat- he was a source of fascination and mystery, and I loved staying up late into the night listening to him talk. Once, when I was a teenager, he even went down to his basement and brought up a box of medals and commendations, and plopped them on the kitchen table. It was then that my mom and I learned he was actually the most decorated hero of war for his state- which he unceremoniously brushed off.

His one nod toward accepting the accolades he is entitled to was agreeing to be buried in Arlington National Cemetery. Next month, he will be awarded a full-honors military funeral, in the final resting place of the greatest men to serve and protect our freedom. My mother and both my brothers will be there, as well as my uncle and his family. I will not be able to go because of my pregnancy, but if this maybe-girl has sprouted a penis and is actually a boy, rest assured, his name will be Jack.

Grandpa, I hope you have all the answers to all the questions you ever had…

Charlotte and the Silver Screen

OK, normally I hate it when they make a book I love into a movie. Always always always, the images in my mind are more vivid, multidimensional and real than are someone else’s interpretation- and that’s all well and good. But there is something I watched today I think I’m excited about seeing…

Charlotte’s Web is coming out next month, right before Christmas. Out of curiosity, I checked the website and the trailers- and by the end of both of them, I was in tears. It looks like they might have done right this time- the story appears to be handled with the care and sensitivity it deserves, and the animals are all real animals, as was done in Babe. The exception being Charlotte, who is CG, but I suppose there was no other way to create a word-spinning, talking, articulate, lovely spider. But she does look like a spider- they didn’t cute her up too much, which also makes me hopeful the film might remain in true with the original spirit of the best children’s book ever.

After watching the trailer alone, I called the boys in to see their reaction. They watched in rapt silence, and when the trailer was over, Jeffrey, very happy, puts his arms around my neck and whispers “Mom, I might cry when we go see Charlotte”.  Hugging him back, I think, yes, I know, sweetie. Me too.

My feelings for Charlotte run deep and long, so I will approach this film with caution, but with a dewdrop of hope, as well.  Oh, and a full box of kleenex for me and my boy.

A Breif Rant

It’s getting to the point where my trips to Costco are almost as fraught as my trips to Target. Yes, that was us you heard today in Costco, or more precisely, that was Beanie, screaming “NOOOOOOooooooooo!” and making his bones turn to rubber bands as I dragged him towards the door.

We just went in to grab “Cars”-and a pizza. Silly me. I thought it might be nice to have a family night tonight, snuggle up with a blanket and some popcorn, and watch the latest Pixar masterpiece. Well. We got the movie, but Beanie was so naughty I’m not sure he should get to watch it tonight- and that bums me out. Plus, my husband called me (about 17 times already today- it’s slow season at work) and reminded me he has an EQ presidency meeting tonight. So, my warn snugglies are out the window. Oh well.

Does anyone else have a DH who calls all the time? He calls at 8:25 in the morning and asks me what I’m doing. WHAT do you THINK I’M doing, you turkey? I have a baby on one hip, a diaper bag on the other, a three-year old rolling on the floor, I’m trying to get the coat at backpack on the kindergartner and it just started raining. Beanie has pulled his shoes off for the third time this morning, and I can’t find his socks now. Abby just pooped, and if I change her, we will be late for school, but I can’t let her sit in poop, so off with all the coats, and to the changing table. While I do that, Beanie will spill his cereal at the table, and Jeff will trip over his shoelace and bust his lip open- all while I have the phone pinched between my shoulder and cheek and listen to you, in your quiet, peaceful office, ask me “what I’m doing?”. Cool babe!

First Tooth

This afternoon, as I was cleaning up the kitchen, Jeffrey comes bawling down the hall, tears into the kitchen, displays a mouth full of blood, and the telltale little gap where once his tiny tooth had been. He lost his first tooth! And though he has been wiggling it for days, the actuality of it falling out was startling and frightening. Poor Boy!

Congratulating him, I grabbed some paper towels and began to sop up the blood and blot his tear streaked face, reassuring him that everything was OK. We sat down on the floor and he climbed, big giant boy, in my lap and wiped his tears on my shirt.

We talked about teeth,  how bigger, stronger ones are waiting underneath, and how this is perfectly normal for a boy his age. He kept on crying, and I found tears springing to my eyes, too.

This was a real milestone in his life. Another mile-marker of him growing up and becoming his own person. He kept saying he didn’t want anymore teeth to fall out, that he wanted to stay just the way he is now. What could I say? It’s inevitable? We all grow older? We just sat and quietly talked about growing up, he in my lap, I on on the living room floor, while Beanie and Abby played.

Then he remembered the Tooth Fairy…

And suddenly, he wasn’t scared anymore. He leaped from my lap, and wanted to see the tooth- and the “hole” where it had been. He showed Beanie, now quite proud of his accomplishment, and the moment was over.

He’s sound asleep. A small envelope with a tiny little tooth is tucked tightly under his pillow, and hopefully little boy dreams fill his head. Now I must be off, I have to prepare for my inaugural trip as the Tooth Fairy. I wonder where I put my wings….?

Colds

Kleenex everywhere, snoring abounds, grumpy little monsters and rivers of green pouring from plugged-up noses… yes, we are sick. And, I have spent the day trying to juggle tending my babies with filling orders and taking care of some neglected business things.

Didn’t go so well, actually.

Babies don’t (and shouldn’t have to) understand Mama being busy, or trying to return e-mails and phone calls. So finally I just gave up.

We all piled in my bed, I popped in The Little Mermaid, and snuggled until it was time for bed. Sigh. Sometimes, you just gotta go with the flow. Now, if we can just keep the cold’s from turning into ear infections, it’ll be a minor miracle.

Oh, and it’s my brother Dumber’s birthday today. Happy Birthday!