Fifty Questions

Ok, I may not be able to string three coherent thoughts together this week, but here is something I CAN do- I can answer fifty nonsensical, baseless, fluff questions. Exactly what I need, if hardly riveting reading… Courtesy of Susan at Strange Pulse, who happened to be my very first Blog friend from years ago. I love Susan.

1. Do you like blue cheese? Oh yes, the stinkier and more like Colston Bassett Stilton the better.
2. Have you ever smoked a cigarette? Only once- at a sleepover in 4th grade.. Ew.
3. Do you own a gun? Not me.
4. What flavor do you add to your drink at Sonic? I don’t think I’ve ever been to a Sonic. But at In-N-Out, I’ll take a strawberry shake and a grilled cheese, no onions. Mmmmm.
5. Do you get nervous before doctor appointment? Only if it’s for something scary.
6. What do you think of hot dogs? I think they’re gross and super yummy- no ketchup please.
7. Favorite Christmas Song? Hmm. Carol of the Bells
8. What do you prefer to drink in the morning? Water. A big glass of icy water is fantastic.
9. Can you do push-ups? Ha ha ha!
10. What is your favorite movie? I can’t pick just one. I love Gone with the Wind, Pride and Prejudice, You’ve got Mail, The Color Purple, The Godfather, Fried Green Tomatoes… a theme? Mostly chick flicks.
11. What’s your favorite piece of jewelry? Only thing I wear—my wedding ring.
12. Favorite hobby? Writing, sewing, painting, creating, cooking, drawing, stained glass, antiqueing… I do not garden. I do not sing.
13. Do you work with people who idolize you? I work with small children who use me for a human napkin all day. Idolize? Not a chance!
14. Do you have ADD? Nope.
15. What’s one trait that you hate about yourself? I don’t hate anything- I have body issues like many women, but I don’t hate myself. I wish I was more able to follow a routine and be less flighty, but then again, that’s part of what makes me, me.
16. What’s your middle name? Leigh.
17. Name three thoughts at this moment:
-We need to rake the enourmous drifts of leaves piling up in the backyard.
-How many days until the wedding? 19? I better get started on the dresses- I hope the serger is easy to figure out… I have to make tulle underskirts, and dupioni silk ravels like crazy…
-Beanie, get that horrid stinky nasty peanut butter smelling thing away from me before I crawl out of my skin!
18. Name 3 things you bought yesterday; A rare trip to the grocery store allows me to answer this one- popsicles, sharp cheddar cheese and milk. how. exciting.
19. Current worry right now? Oh nothing- life is peachy- nothing at all to worry about.
21. Current hate right now? Politics.
22. Favorite place to be? Picking fruit and vegetables at the farms north of town with my kids.
23. How did you bring in the New Year? I think I was asleep.
24. Where would you like to go? All over the world. I love to travel- anywhere and everywhere.
25. Name three people who will complete this? Are you kidding? I have no clue.
26. Whose answer do you want to read the most? I hate this questions. There’s my hate answer.
27. What color shirt are you wearing? Can a pink bathrobe be considered a shirt? Heather O. sent it to me, if that helps…?
28. Do you like sleeping on satin sheets? Gah! No! Horrid! Blech!
29. Can you whistle? It’s pitiful, but yeah, I guess you can call it whistling.
30. Favorite color? Crispy green apple green. Or blue. Or Autumn. What? It is too a color.
31. Would you be a pirate? Only if I could be on Johnny Depp’s ship.
32. What songs do you sing in the shower? I spare the world and usually do not sing in the shower. I do like my showers in the dark, though.
33. Favorite girl’s name? I have a hard enough time naming my kids, I don’t have a spare list of names I like. Oh fine. Persephone.
34. Favorite boy’s name? See above. Henry or Jack. Both of which were vetoed in the search for names for our sons.
35. What’s in your pocket right now? A receipt from the grocery store, and a blue Lego.
36. Last thing (Person) that made you laugh? Tina Fey or Jon Stewart.
37. Best bed sheets as a child? Holly Hobbie.
38. Worst injury you’ve ever had? I’ve been pretty lucky with injuries. I broke my foot as a teenager, and I had three babies the old fashioned way- does that count?
39. What is your favorite snack? Chewy crusty bread, apples and cheese!
40. Favorite thing to do on Sundays? Why, getting ready for church with three small kids, for sure!
41. Who is your loudest friend? Mo!
42. How many dogs do you have? None. Stella is enough for me.
43. Does someone have a crush on you? You’re kidding, right?
45. What is your favorite book? Charlotte’s Web. Or, Their Eyes were Watching God, by Nora Zeale Hurston. And I hate Oprah made it into a movie. Read the book, skip the movie.
46. What is your favorite candy? Lemon drops. Lemonheads. Lemon lemon lemon anything.
47. What is your favorite sports team? Huh? What?
48. What song do you want played at your funeral? Sufjan Stevens version of Come Thy Fount of Every Blessing.
49. What were you doing 12 AM last night? Snoring and probably drooling on my pillow.
50. What was the first thing you thought of when you woke up this morning? Oh crap, we’re going to be late for school!

Waiting to Exhale

I’m out of energy to even come up with new metaphors and allegories for how I feel. I am tired, worn, limp and dusty. Things are hard. They’ve been hard for the better part of almost a whole year. It’s been a trial of almost everything; finances, faith, marriage, health, security, fears, hopes, dreams, patience and on and on and on…

I’m not so myopic that I think what I’m going through is unique or even that special. It’s not. It’s just life- sometimes life is hard. But I also get that things change, and looking back on my life, I know hard things don’t last forever. That’s the rock I keep clinging to- It’s not a whole lot, but there it is.

Hopefully soon, I will be able to look back at this year and count the tremendous blessings that have come from this trial- I could do so already, but I hesitate because I am skittish and fearful from being kicked so many times. The job is only a part of it- and while getting a job would fix a great deal, it wouldn’t make for instant perfection. It would, however, give me the breathing room to look around, squint at the unfamiliar sunlight, and gingerly dust off my tattered and sore arms.

I think I’ve been holding my breath for almost a year…

Sadness and Grief

A childhood friend of mine lost her husband Wednesday morning to a heart attack. She is my age, and expecting her third child in December. If you have any extra prayers hanging around, maybe you could throw them her way?

When will this year be over? I ache.

Blue Toothpaste and The Grumpy Mama

I hate bedtime. I really, really hate bedtime. It seems, due to my sucky organizational skills and my less than structured nature, bedtime is chaos in this house. Tonight, Bean and Abby were downstairs when I called for bedtime. Jeffrey was outside swinging. In his jammies, with new white socks in the dirt. David was taking a phone call. No one listens to me. Much whining, crying and gnashing of teeth later, all three kids are in bed, David is still on the phone, I’m covered in sweat and all ticked off.

We don’t do baths every night. Call me a bad mom (I dare you) , but I think every other night is more than enough torture, thank you very much. But we do have what passes for routine. Jammies, teeth, reading time, kisses and prayers, lights out. I may not be consistent about much, but that’s pretty solid. So why, WHY is every night utter chaos? Why do they run, hide, get naked, beg for a bath on Not Bath night? Why on Bath Night do they run and hide under the bed? Why is getting them to bed such an exhausting, teeth-gritting way to end the day? I hate it. I don’t want to end my day mad at them.

And will someone PLEASE tell me why all kid’s toothpaste is blue glitter? Why? WHY? Because when it dries, and it surely will, it’s like quick-crete mortar, and you need a chisel to chunk the stuff from your bathroom mirrors and counters and sink and floor- because a four five year-old can get toothpaste everywhere, including the shower, but he CANNOT get it on his TOOTHBRUSH.

I know someday I will look back on this time and wish for it. I know snuggling with babies is divine. I know these sweet little bodies will not always clamour to be in bed next to me, to rub my cheeks, share my pillow, read the book again, kiss me again, and a dozen other spontaneous ways to stall sleep.  And I was going to put a “but” in there, and make a snarky comment about how I really just want it to be easier… then I read what I just wrote.

I’m going to go kiss their little rosebud, sleeping, trusting, innocent, precious cheeks right now instead. Even if there is blue glitter toothpaste in Bean’s hair…

Wanna Smell Like Crap?

Allow me to introduce you to the most disgusting, nastiest shampoo ever. Want to smell like an old mothball? Like the smell of wet-dog? Enjoy the way the old man down the street who sits on his porch yelling at neighborhood kids while smoking a stogie smells? Then this is the shampoo for you!

Recently my head has decided to be a little itchy and dry, and I normally love the Neutrogena product line. My favorite moisturizers, cleansers and eye make-up remover all bear the Neutrogena label. Even the T-Sal shampoo is wonderful, so it seemed a good bet to give this one a try. Big mistake. Like, seriously wretched mistake.

When I popped the bottle open in the shower, the viscous, nearly black gel glopped into my hands, and I was immediately assailed by one of most gag-inducing smells ever to come from a shampoo bottle. Still being swayed by misplaced brand loyalty, I thought “It can’t really be that bad- and maybe it will make my head stop itching…” Wrong! As soon as I sudsed up my hair, I knew the smell was going to make me wretch. Immediately I started rinsing and rinsing and rinsing… to no avail.

Three shampoos later, with all the fragrant stuff I could find, my hair still smells like mothballs. Really. And I still itch. I smell like an old man in a mothball sweater walking a wet dog. So if you like that idea, this is the shampoo for you. Otherwise, run.

Auntie Heather’s Photo Recap

My new favorite photograph of Jeffrey…

The only photo of Abby where she is not making two-year old photo-face…

I adore this photo… Bean and Heather, loving each other.

Jeffrey and Heather picking blackberries, with Beanie in the background

My sweet Bean- note the lovely blue nails…

The blackberry fruits of our labor. This is actually mine…

The Peach Pie I said was the prettiest one you would never, ever see. I lied.

Happy Anniversary

 Nine years ago today, giddy and positively overflowing with joy, I married my best friend. That moment was quite easily the happiest single point of my life.

While the ensuing nine years have been nothing I could have imagined, marrying David is still the best decision I ever made. We have travelled together for more than half my life, but the nine years as husband and wife have given me the greatest happiness and deepest sorrow, all of which makes me more human, more complete, more capable of love and closer to being the person I came here to become.

Our story is here, documented more for our posterity than for anything: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4. No, I don’t actually think anyone is going to read all that! Talk about naval gazing… Anyway, happy anniversary David. I love you. (Picture was taken in Yosemite, on the trail next to Vernal Falls)

Happy Birthday Beanie

Dear Sweet Bean,

You were so excited last night, you had trouble falling asleep, and this morning, when you climbed in bed with me, your eyes were so bright as you pried my eyes open to remind me that  “TODAY IS MY BIRTHDAY MAMA!” Yes, yes it is, sweet boy.

Five years ago tonight, you came like a firecracker into our lives. There hasn’t really been a dull moment since. The last year has been a year of growth, discovery and answers. You are such a wonderful mix of quiet discovery and volatile energy. You are as at home running wild in a summer rain storm as you are curled up in my lap looking at the moon. One-on-one time is precious, and I see the loveliest sides of you when we go on our Beanie-Mama Dates. We both love those times.

While you are reserved with your affections, you are willing to talk to anyone, at length, about whatever has captivated your interest. Just last weekend at the blackberry farm, you talked extensively with a man on the next row about wasps and bees and the relative merrits of each, including an explanation of the wasps who take over bees hives in Japan. You don’t forget anything.

You have declared today to be Backwards Day, in hopes of opening your presents this morning instead of after dinner. The concession was to allow you to open one present, and you are currently deeply involved in a Play-Doh undersea world, courtesy of Grandma. The rest have to wait for later.

You are so excited about starting your new pre-school, and we are hopeful it will be a good learning environment where you can work out some of the things that challenge you, as well as make some new friends and share some of your exuberant happiness.

Baby boy, I’m proud to be your mama. I pray that we can always meet you halfway on your journey- because you are definitely on a journey- and that you will carry in your heart how very much I love you.

Love,  Mama