Monday, June 30, 2008

You Can't Write Characters Like These

Yesterday, when I read my post to Troy, I got him all fired up. Not about needles, like you might think, but about our birthing classes. He told me it was something I needed to post about. The longer we talked and reminisced about it the more I decided he was probably right--and the more I decided I wanted to give birth again.

We took the "crash course" which meant that, instead of going twice a week for six weeks, we'd go all the live long day for two Saturdays. We lived 45 minutes away from the hospital and the price of gas was killing us. It was late Spring in 2006. Gas had skyrocketed to $3.25 a gallon. Those were the days. There were about 20 couples in our particular class. Of those couples, there were two that did not know the gender of their children. We were one of them. Of the remaining couples, Troy and I are fairly sure that around 16 of the unborn children were females. 2006 in San Diego was a very girl year. Seriously, I knew Garrett was a boy simply because there are laws about averages.

I don't remember much about most of the couples in our class. I remember that most of the women were, in my eyes, huge with child. This may have had something to do with the fact that I had the latest due date and, on the day I went to the hospital to deliver, my waist measured only half an inch larger than my bust. Though, in fairness to pregnant women everywhere, during (and of course after) pregnancy my chest should have asked the government for its own zip code. There was one other woman who didn't look as though she had swallowed a prize winning pumpkin. She was one half of The Cute Couple. The husband was either a cop or a fireman. I think he was a cop. Troy thinks he was a fireman. And he was attractive. The wife was just adorably cute. When they walked in Troy leaned over and said, "Well they're going to have an ugly baby." Of course, his voice was dripping with sarcasm. They were the kind of people that you want to walk over to and say, "Hey, do you want to be our friends? Here is our resume. Troy here has the uncanny knack of spouting random facts about ancient history and I crack jokes all the time. Some of them are funny. Most are not. So how 'bout it?" We refrained from doing this.

Another couple I can recall with some clarity is The Irish. Though much older than myself, The Irish had also conceived after struggling with infertility. We were kindred spirits. That coupled with the fact that we hung on every word of those accents made us like them instantly. We learned that they had been driving from Temecula to Point Loma for their fertility treatments. We thought that our drive had been long given that we'd often had to do it several times a week. People who have to fight for their kids like that are good people. And these were Irish good people, which is even better.

I also remember The Eater. Okay so we all know that pregnant people need to eat. But if you are sitting in a room with 19 other pregnant people and no one else is eating than maybe you are eating a little too much. Here's how this all went down. We started around 9:00 in the morning. We were given a lunch break at 12:00. Then we had a snack break at 3:00 and finished up close to 5:00. I had breakfast before we got there, had lunch during the allotted time, and relieved my bladder at 3:00. A lot of people took advantage of the snack break and went to the convenient store around the corner for their craving for Ho-Ho's or SunChips. The Eater arrived at 9:00 with McDonald's bag in hand. She proceeded to consume two breakfast sandwiches and a hash brown. I suppose one of the sandwiches was for her and the other for her offspring. I guess they had to fight over the hash brown. About a half hour later she pulled out an apple. Forty-five minutes after that she had a banana. (At least these were healthy choices, mind you.) When we got back from our lunch break she proceeded to snack on bags of cereal, cookies, etc. Then, during our snack break, her husband fetched her some more food. It was incredible. I have never seen someone eat continuously. Everyone else in the group would kind of eye her as she reached into her bag to see what other gems she would pull out. Occasionally you could see 19 pairs of eyes close in jealousy. Why is it that you aren't hungry until someone else is eating a Twinkie in front of you? Once she delivered I have no idea how she kept that child happy, given that she was used to being fed every thirty seconds.

What's an Eater without The Drinker? Really, The Drinker was a very nice woman. We sat near her and her husband and they seemed like friendly people who would make good parents. As we went off to our lunch break she walked up to the doula teaching our class and said, rather desperately, "When can I have a drink?" The doula looked surprised. "I mean, I'm not an alcoholic or anything but I am dying to have wine with my meals again. I don't think I can go until she's weaned before I have a drink." I didn't really hear what the doula had to say on this subject but Troy and I caught each other's eye and kind of smiled. Kudos for her for not drinking while she was pregnant, of course. It was just such a foreign concept to Troy who is a teetotaler and me who is a teealmoster (yes I know that isn't a word).

Finally there was Mama Know It All who I mentioned briefly in my post yesterday. Mama Know It All was pregnant with baby number four. It was her first baby with husband number two and she claimed that she was there so that he could learn what to expect. This is a strange claim given the fact that he was late to the session on the first Saturday and absent altogether for the second Saturday. She talked all the time. There were a few people in our class who were having child number two and wanted a refresher course. In all honestly, I would probably consider taking birthing classes again if I ever find myself with child. I think each labor can go so many different ways that it doesn't hurt to hear it over again. But I wouldn't sit there interrupting everything with, "That happened to me with my second," or, "I have wanted to give up with each of my babies but I just kept pushing through. Don't worry, ladies, you'll make it through. Don't give up." I kind of wanted to look at her and say something about how the alternative is, what? That it stays in forever? Death? I'm fairly certain that, when faced with the option of dying or meeting your unborn child most of us will go with the latter. It was during the discussion of the Epidural, however, that she almost got a smack down from the doula. "Ladies, I've had three and I've had the epi with all of them. Each time there is this electric shock that makes me feel like I am going to be paralyzed. It hurts worse than labor. I'm going to do this one (she pats her middle) without. It has to be better than that horrible electric shock." Insert color draining from the faces of all the first time mothers here. The doula's eyes narrow. "What are you talking about?" Another mother of 1.5 pipes up with, "That didn't happen to me." Mama Know It All continues, "It's just horrid!" And for the next eight weeks I laid awake at night terrified about some paralyzing electric shock. As I mentioned before, there was no electric shock. I felt a prick and then some weird pressure in a place I'd never felt pressure and then the contractions disappeared and I felt bliss and nothing else. When all was said and done I had a bruise on my back and a baby in my arms. No shock. Nothing. But Mama Know It All sure toyed with my mind for eight weeks.

It's funny the characters we meet along our journey. I can really only recall six or seven of the nineteen other couples in our class. And if I'd had the ability, I would have only kicked out Mama Know It All. The Eater livened things up a bit. Well, her and the inappropriate haunch swinging exercise. It amazes me to think that there are these twenty children, all born within six weeks of each other, running around the world. They could meet and never know that they've shared a classroom. Sometimes I wonder about them. Is Spawn of Majorly Attractive Couple also majorly attractive? Does The Eater Baby love to eat or is she one of those teeny tiny babies who wears 12 month clothes still? Baby Know It All probably learned to walk and talk before age one and now, at two, is attempting to invent a spinal that is taken orally. I'll never know. I also wonder what Troy and I were dubbed by other members of our class. It may be a good thing that I also will never know the answer to this...


I used to be deathly afraid of needles. Seriously. Just ask my mother about that one time when I ran around the doctor's office screaming and then fled into the hallway because oh my gosh they are trying to kill me with a flu shot. I had to write a letter of apology. It was not my finest moment. I never ran around shrieking again--but I wanted to. During every flu vaccine, every booster shot, every blood draw I could feel the five year old in me begging to run. Until I turned 23. That's how old I was when we started seeing a fertility specialist. I realize that to most of you it sounds like I was just a baby myself. I should have been out partying and sowing my wild oats. But I've never been a partier and I've never wanted to have to pray for crop failure. I'd wanted to be a mom since I was, I don't know, two. Plus my husband is 123 months older than I am so we were ready. Fertility specialists are like vampires, they want your blood. A lot. Every time you see them, it seems. My desire to have a baby was infinitely stronger than my fear of needles. It got to the point where I could actually watch. I still can't handle the needle breaking the skin but everything else is kind of fascinating.

Given the fact that I have overcome my fear of needles you would think that getting my IV during labor would not have been the worst part but it pretty much was. It was definitely worse than the epidural which I stressed out about for eight months before getting it and realizing, "Hey, that didn't hurt much at all. I didn't feel any kind of electric shock that the quack mother who was pregnant with kid number four in my birthing class referred to. In fact, I'm fairly certain I've made the right decision. That little prick in exchange for being put out of my misery was a brilliant choice."*

My husband, however, is not a fan of needles. If you so much as mention that he might have to have his blood drawn, the color drains from his face and his blood pressure shoots through the roof. Today we had our physician's exams for our homestudy. Mine was first. I take a daily dose of Metformin to control my disease. That's what the doctor called it today anyway. It actually made me laugh on the inside at the stupidity of insurance companies who won't cover infertility. According to my physician we're diseased, for heaven's sake. Alright though, seriously, the Metformin has been successful in making way for ovulation which is good considering the fact that the tiny little cysts all over my ovaries (PCOS) generally inhibit that sort of thing. And even when reproduction does not want to occur, ovulation is important for a myriad of reasons. So anyway, the doctor told me that because I take a daily dose of Metformin, I should have my sugar and cholesterol levels tested periodically. He said he could do it today if I wanted. I figured I might as well save myself a trip.

I walked into the waiting room sporting a cotton ball with some of that fancy bright orange tape wrapped around my elbow. Usually I remove the tape as soon as the nurse is out of sight but this was just going to be too easy. Troy was standing at the counter checking in. I made an I'm sorry face and gestured to my arm. He went from Caucasian flesh colored to nauseous gray in a moment. His eyes got big and he said, "Are you kidding me?" I just kind of smiled feebly. He closed his eyes for a second, as if deciding whether it was worth it. Is another member of our family worth the pain and suffering he would have to endure to get his blood drawn? When he opened his eyes I told him that he didn't have to get pricked and explained why I did. "Really? Thank goodness. My blood pressure just went way up." Then he looked at the person checking him in and explained his utter detestation for needles.

But he would have done it. Because he's a good daddy like that. Even though we don't know our second born child's name. We don't know is he's a he or if she's a she and we don't know what color skin he or she will be sporting. We don't know how much that child will weigh at birth and whether or not we'll even be there. And we don't know if we'll meet this child in a year or two or three. But we desperately want to know her or him--and we'll do what it takes. He didn't have to have his blood drawn, but I know he would have. His blood pressure would have been high and his palms would have been sweaty but, really, he wouldn't have thought twice.

*To my friend, Joelle, who is just weeks away from her first birthing experience: Labor is wonderful. It feels like a dozen fuzzy puppies licking your face. At Disneyland.

No but in all honesty, by the next day I would have done it all again in a heartbeat if given the option. Even the IV part. Because there is nothing like watching your child come into the world.

Sunday, June 29, 2008


For Father's Day we got Troy a gift card to Sears. That way he could get himself a new shirt or a tool or whatever else he might want. Last night he decided to take the boy and head over to Sears Grand. Garrett was only wearing basketball shorts. If you're curious the answer is yes, he does look funny with those stubby little legs sticking out of long basketball shorts.

Me: Make sure you put shoes and a shirt on him before you go.

Troy: (gives me this look that says, "What kind of moron do you think I am?") Uh. Yeah.

Me: I just didn't want you to forget.

Troy: It's not like I have a history of forgetting his shoes.

Me: No. I was more concerned about the shirt.

Troy: Oh my gosh. Because I so often take him places looking like a little hillbilly. What kind of father do you think I am?

I couldn't respond because I was laughing too hard. It was the way he said hillbilly that had me cracking up. Then I had these visions of my son with a big straw hat and overalls without a shirt sitting out on the homestead with a piece of hay to pick his teeth. The visual was just too much and, as they mounted the stairs to retrieve said shirt and shoes, I continued to chuckle.

That remind me. I think chuckle is a funny word. I think it's humorous because I think it's supposed to be onomatopoeic but it isn't, really. I mean, when I chuckle it doesn't sound like I'm saying, "chucklechucklechuckle," over and over again. I'm just saying is all...

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Grandpa Ane

That's a picture taken from our deck at 9:30 pm. I'm not kidding. We are much farther North than we were in San Diego plus we live very close to the Pacific Time Zone even though we're in Mountain time. Garrett, who went to bed at 7:30 all winter, is staying up until around 9:00 now. He'd think I was making him take a nap if I put him down earlier than that because it still looks like broad daylight. It is definitely taking some getting used to.

Below is a video clip of Garrett's funny words for Grandpa and Two. His Grandpa Jon flies helicopters and visiting my dad's work is his favorite place to go in all the world. He just adores anything that flies. One day he started looking at pictures of my dad and saying "ane" which is his word for plane. My dad doesn't fly planes but Garrett's not even two so we'll forgive him his mistake. Then he started doing this funny thing with his arm. You'll see what he does on the video. Also, there is footage of him attempting to show us that he is almost two by putting up fingers.

This one is just him saying a few of his words. I was trying to get him to say some of his news ones but he pretty much just felt like saying the ones he is good at. Then he got bored.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Words Words Words

The boy has had a language explosion. It's true that we cannot decipher a large number of these new words but I would say that, at this point, he's saying between 2-5 new things every day. Here is a sampling of words he has said lately.

-guitar (pointed at a picture of one and said gee-ar)
-two (we ask him to say he is two and put his fingers up--we're practicing for next month. He puts his whole hand in this strange position and says doo. It's funny.)

I'm drawing a blank. I'll have to ask him what other words he knows when he wakes up from his nap. Speaking of his nap, he started sobbing this afternoon when he thought I was going to make him sleep in his room. He took my hand and walked me all the way down to the basement where his Pack n Play is still set up in the bathroom. When I put him in there he went right to sleep. You want to know what I love the most about being a mother? I love that even when he is having a very "Doo" day, I laugh. Every day is just hilarious.

No Longer A Criminal

I'm very sorry to report that our criminal activity was extremely anti-climatic. Turns out there was merely a mix up with whether or not we'd actually had the fingerprinting done. The verbage in the letter that was sent to the agency made it sound as though there was something criminal in our background simply because it was worded the same way things are worded when people do have a history of being naughty, to use a word from our household. I know that you were all hoping there was another Lori Doozleberry* out there who was wanted for identity theft or insurance fraud but I, for one, am glad that it was a good old case of absolutely nothing.

Yesterday there was a bird perched in a tree outside our window. Our cat was stalking this bird and, as the bird swooped from the tree, our cat sprung up in the air swiping his paws together in an attempt to catch it. Oliver was a good three feet short of actually getting the bird. However, this obviously irritated the bird and it proceeded to swoop down just over Oliver's head several times. Finally, it flew just above Ollie's head and made a sort of squawking sound. Our cat jumped a foot and sprinted under our deck. It was hilarious. We are talking about a pretty decent sized bird here, almost half the size of our cat, but still. Have you ever seen a feline running away from a bird? He's not much of a hunter, that one. Oh well, at least I don't have to spend my days cleaning up rodent and avian carcasses.

*Names are, once again, changed to protect myself from murdrous stalkers--you know people with faulty sets of fingerprints.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Criminal Extraordinaires

Our pregnancy woes (or really, lack thereof) have been decently chronicled on this blog. I mean, I don't exactly shout it out when I think I might be ovulating but that's mostly because my brother can be found reading here and I just don't think that is information he feels like stumbling upon. I've been much more open about it this time around though. Last time I wanted to move to another planet. My very skin felt foreign and angry and the last thing I wanted to talk about was the albatross in my womb, where a baby should have been. This time I put on the emotional armor I purchased a few years ago. It's only every so often that anything penetrates that bullet proof vest. I don't know if it's necessarily a healthier alternative, but it's definitely allowed me to be a more functioning member of society.

For fifteen months we've been trying for offspring number two. For those of you who aren't keeping track, that's a month longer than it took us to conceive Garrett. And I'm finished. Spent. Over it. If, like last time, some miracle is bestowed upon us I will ecstatically celebrate. For now we are actively pursuing another adoption. A few weeks ago we sent our background check information to our homestudy agency. On Monday we had our fingerprints taken and today my phone rang.

Apparently something is fishy. Our fingerprinting could not be completed because we have unresolved issues. (I think we all have a few unresolved issues but that's not really the point of this little story). I was asked if I had any unpaid tickets or if I'd tried to smuggle a nail file onto an airplane. No and no. She said this kind of thing is fairly common when people have popular last names. Our does not fall into that category. I asked how we go about resolving our issues if we don't know what they are. She told me she would do some research and get back to me. A couple hours later I needed to leave so I called to see if she needed my cell phone number. She'd been unable to get a hold of whoever might help us but assured me it would get taken care of. She then mentioned something about "criminal" and "abuse" and how she thought I would probably remember if there was something criminal and/or abusive in our backgrounds. You think? I'd bet the farm, if I had a farm, that my husband is not a serial killer masquerading as a pastor. If he is, he has me fooled. And unless I have multiple personalities, in which case I have more problems than a questionable set of fingerprints, I'm not your average, every day, pedophile nor have I thrown a lamp at anyone or tried to run over someone with my car.

Do you want the plain truth about me? I've never smoked a cigarette. Not even once. My drug of choice is ice cream and I never had a wild stage. My number is one and I'm proud of that figure and the fact that it doesn't matter that I'm too old for Gardasil. I ditched high school one time. During my senior year my friends and I had parental permission to go to Disneyland for the day. I went to a Christian school for college. I had a curfew during my freshman year for heaven's sake. I married a pastor straight out of college and had a stint teaching high school. Now I spend my days raising our young son. I don't sit around eating bon bons much less smoking crystal meth. I can probably count on both hands and a foot the number of alcoholic beverages I have consumed in my entire life and most of these would have the words wine and cooler in them. I've been fingerprinted several times and never had a single red flag pop up in the air. I'm pretty much so clean I occasionally squeak.

I know adoption isn't easy. I know that I'll hit a lot bigger bumps than this along the way but come on already, give a girl a break. In a way, though, it is funny. Troy says it's so out of left field that he'd be less surprised by an elephant showing up at our front door. I think I'd prefer the pachyderm.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008


My husband really enjoys fantasy type television shows and movies. Me, not so much. He had a birthday earlier this month and he got quite a lot of cash. With some of it he purchased a television series on DVD called Firefly. I'd never even heard of it before but he really wanted me to watch some of it. The line he gave me was, "I really think you'll enjoy the characterization. Each character is just really well developed." Do you think he's learned how to speak my language in the last five years or what? I told him, as kindly as I could muster, that the problem we have is this...

Me: You really want me to like it. And I'm just not going to like it. Then, when it's over, you'll ask me if I liked it. I'll either have to lie* so as not to hurt your feelings or I'll have to be honest. If I lie, I will be forced to endure countless more hours of watching it but your feelings will be preserved. If I tell the truth, you'll feel bad for wasting an hour of my life. I cannot envision a scenario where we both win.

Troy: I'll give you a massage while you watch it.

Me: See, that's why I married you. This is a win-win situation.

Last night we were going to watch a movie but then Troy had to take care of a situation and was on the phone for awhile. We didn't really want to start a two hour movie at 10:00 pm. Long gone are those days. So I asked him if he wanted to watch something on TV or watch a television DVD instead.

Troy: Sure, let's watch an episode of Friends.

Me: Or we could watch an episode of Firefly.

Troy: No it's okay. We can watch Friends tonight.

Me: Or we could watch an episode of Firefly.

Troy: I really don't mind watching Friends.

Me: Or we could watch an episode of Firefly.

Troy: Alright. Sit in front of me.

Ah compromise. Or, in this case, repeating myself until he agrees that the best thing for everyone in this marriage is for me to get a back rub.

Truthfully--and do not tell my husband this part--I kind of like it. It took me a little while to get into but, it's true, I do like the characterization. It's a total win-win. For me anyway.

* Carol, write this down. I really try to tell the truth because rule number 3 in the Pastor's Wife Handbook is that thou shalt not lie. It does state that it's okay to tell partial truths if absolutely necessary and then it goes on to list a few examples. Like how, as the pastor's wife, you can't really go over to someones house to deliver a meal after they've had a baby and declare, "Boy, that kid really got creamed on the way out, didn't she?" Or "Man alive I hope he grows into that nose." Instead you should choose a feature that you find cute regardless of the attractiveness of said child. A good response is always, "She's so tiny. Look at those sweet sweet toes." If the mother replies, "I know. Isn't she adorable?" You counter with, "Oh, I just adore her. Can I have her or are you pretty attached?" It should be noted that I, personally, find just about every baby to be precious and basically want to bring all of them home with me. I'm merely telling you what it says in The Handbook.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Where Does Your Kid Nap?

Our house in Ramona has a huge master bedroom. It takes up the entire upstairs. Downstairs and around the corner and down the hall was the baby's room. Troy and I never wanted our child in our room. It can be argued extensively from both sides and I'm not here to judge but we didn't want to have to break the habit of a baby or toddler or thirteen year old who has always slept in bed with mom and dad. We were so panic stricken about having to break such a habit, we didn't even want the child to be in the same room as us. Additionally I worried that once we had children I would slide my husband to the back burner. I knew that a good way to prevent putting my kids on a pedestal higher than Troy was to keep our room sacred to our marriage.

But the second that I knew I was pregnant I knew that putting that bundle of joy and sweet innocence that far away from me was just not going to happen. Troy wholeheartedly agreed. So we decided that we'd put Garrett in the closet (we had two in our bedroom). That way he would have his own space that was not exactly in our room but he'd be close enough that I could hear him breathe. Let me explain that one of these closets was approximately the same size as a small bathroom and the other was big enough for Troy to take a nap in--but that's another story.

Our mothers were not so keen on this idea. They thought it was cruel, or something. We disagreed and I cleaned out the closet. And then, for a baby shower, I got the gift of Pack n Play. It was one of the large ones with the changing table and mobile built right in. It didn't fit in the closet. We mourned the loss of our unborn baby's perfect pint sized room. Our mothers rejoiced. We ended up making a corner of our room a little temporary nursery. When Garrett was born he slept in the pack n play for three months before we transitioned him to his own room. We have a magnificent video monitor, bestowed upon us by my dear friend, so we could always look in on him. All night. Whenever we felt like it. Whenever he made a peep. The first night he slept that far away from me was sheer torture. I timed how long I could sprint from my bed to his room. Using the railing on the staircase to take the steps three at a time I made it in six seconds. I felt satisfied with that. All of this is beside the point, however.

The point is that our moms did not like the closet idea. So they probably wouldn't be too thrilled to know that Garrett has been napping in the basement bathroom. Our house is boiling hot. Especially in Garrett's room. It doesn't matter if we run the air conditioning, for some reason his room remains a degree or two over sweltering. How did I put it to my friend, Michelle, today as our kiddos frolicked together at the park? Oh yes. I said that it was a suburb of hell in there. Three days ago I went to get him after his nap and his head was soaking wet. There was a puddle in the middle of his bed, where his cute noggin had been. The next day he woke up sobbing. I went to get him and he immediately started screeching, "Biss! Biss! Biss!" I got him a drink right away and he downed the entire cup. So yesterday Troy and I decided that the bathroom in the basement is cool, dark and very quiet. We never use it because we can choose from three others. (It is quite silly that there are four bathrooms for three people and one of those people isn't even toilet trained.) I think I have personally used that bathroom twice in the seven months that we have lived here. So it's perfectly clean and doesn't smell weird or anything. And the Pack n Play fits inside like it was made to be set up in the bathroom. We put our other baby monitor (our cheap, non video monitor) in there and then we propped the door open with a rock. It took him awhile to fall asleep but when he did he slept for over three hours, woke up cool to the touch, and wasn't screaming for juice.

Today, when I put him down in the same spot, he didn't make a peep. He just snuggled into his blanket and was out like a light. So yeah, my kid sleeps in the bathroom. If you have a problem with it, you come take a nap in his room, or as I like to call it, New Underworld. See how you like it. You'll be begging for the bathroom too.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Dental Discoveries

Troy and I, for the first time in our married life, just bought dental insurance. Last week my husband went to the dentist. When he came home I asked him what he thought. He told me that he liked him, that he didn't have any cavities, etc. Then he launched into the most ridiculous story.

Troy: You know the little utensil that spins around and grinds the gritty stuff onto your teeth during the cleaning.

Me: Uh huh.

Troy: They don't use that. Instead they use a baking soda concoction. They spray it on with this high pressure water thing.

Me: Really?

Troy: Yeah.

Me: Interesting. Did you like it?

Troy: Yeah. And they put Vaseline all over your lips and make you wear goggles and this dental burqa* thing with mesh over the eye holes.

And it's at this point that he starts laughing. See now I tell outlandish stories like this all the time. It's the drama queen inside of me. I just learned enough in all of my theatre courses to know that you don't start laughing well before your audience has bought the shtick. I merely rolled my eyes at him.

Me: I believed the high pressure water thing but Vaseline and goggles. Come on Troy, you need to at least try to make your stories sound valid if you want me to believe them.

Troy: (still laughing) What? You don't think they have a dental burqa?

Me: Um. No.

Troy: That would be funny though, right?

Me: You're weird.

My dentist appointment was today. Yesterday we were driving and Troy asked me if I was ready for the dental burqa. I glanced at him and said something about how maybe I would just waltz right in there and demand the dental burqa that my husband seems so enthralled with. You know, just to see the puzzled looks on their faces. He asked me to please not do that--he didn't want to look like a lunatic.

Today I had my teeth x-rayed and measured and picked at and then it was time for the little motorized toothbrush thingy to do its magic. The hygienist held a pair of goggles out to me. Oh my gosh. He's gone out of his way to pull one over on me. Where is the hidden camera? I took them tentatively. She then explained to me that this dentist prefers this innovative high pressure baking soda and water teeth cleaner. She called it something else. It had the word sand in it. I was listening but my mind was reeling as I tried to figure out whether or not this was an elaborate joke and, either way, how Troy had totally pulled one over on me by telling me the truth and then making it sound like an absurd story. She explained that it was like microderm abrasion for my teeth. So on went the goggles. On went the Vaseline. On went the dental burqa!

When I got home Troy asked me how I liked the burqa.

Me: Very funny. I did think about asking them for it though, just to see what they would say.

Troy: (As his eyes narrow just slightly) Oh stop it. Seriously. How'd you like it?

Me: Let it go Troy. They use the spinny cleaner just like every other dentist.

Troy: WHAT? Did they give you a choice?

Me: No--seriously, Troy, let it go. Stop lying.

Troy: I'M NOT LYING! They made me wear a washcloth thing with mesh eyes. And goggles!

Me: Yeah. Okay.

Troy: I'm serious! Are you sure they didn't use blasting water and baking soda and a dental burqa?

Me: Well I think I'd remember something like that.

I changed the subject and walked out of the room. A few minutes later I walked back in.

Me: So when they busted out those goggles I thought, "Oh he got me good!"

Troy: Ha! They DID do it! I knew you were lying. Well, I mean, I thought you were. Probably. But then you just kept going with it. I was gonna call the dentist and make them tell you they have it. I wasn't going to wait another six months to prove it to you.

So today we both effectively pulled one over on other. It's pretty much what our marriage is built on. In our wedding vows we probably should have said that we promised to love, honor, cherish and mess with each other. You have to stay on your toes around here.

*It should be noted that the dentist does NOT refer to the washcloth mesh eye hole thingy as a burqa. That is the name that Troy christened it with.

Sunday, June 22, 2008


Some of you may be under the false impression that pastor's wives are cut from a different mold. You might think we belong to a special Pastor's Wives Club and that we humbly hang our halos in our closets so as not to make you less holy folk feel exceedingly sinful. Let me assure you absolutely none of these notions are true. Perhaps the following story will help clear up any misconceptions you might have.

There was a time in college when my roommate (although at that point she was just my hallmate) and I cancelled Chemistry class. It was the second semester of my freshman year. We had this old professor--or at least, to an 18 year old he seemed old--who we'll call Val Christensen. It is his name, after all, so it seems fitting. Even eight years later the only reason I'm actually writing his name down is because the man is ancient. I highly doubt he sits around googling himself on the off chance that one of the students who cancelled class back in 2000 might come clean on her blog.

Michelle and I hated chemistry. It was honestly the definition of horrible. It was held in Boney Lecture Hall. Boney was old and cold and settled in its ways, to say the least. Val was already retired but got his thrills out of teaching an occasional chem course. I can't remember exactly but I think we had chemistry for about three hours in the afternoons on Tuesday and Thursday. If you've ever lived on a teeny tiny peninsula in California you know that in the spring the sun breaks through the fog in the afternoons and for a few hours the weather is absolutely perfect. We were stuck inside Boney--with no windows--for three hours. We could have been working on our tans or laying in the grass feeling the collegiate breeze tickling our flip flop clad toes. Actually, the particular day in question was cold and stormy but that's beside the point.

At lunch we discussed that if we had to go to that three hour long class we might just die right then and there from boredom of an extreme degree. We considered ditching for the day. But at that point I'd never ditched a class. I think I can probably count on two hands the number of times I missed class in those four years and at least one of those hands is full of illness. After we decided against ditching we thought it might be funny to see if we could cancel class. We never dreamed that it would actually work.

We realized that all professors did when they cancelled class was put a sign up on the door. There was no official school seal on the sign. No one guarded it to assure the students that it was, in fact, cancelled. A single white sheet of paper hung on the door. And that was it. We could do that. Oh we could so do that! We were a little afraid of getting caught red handed by forensic evidence so we went to the library. That way our printers couldn't somehow be traced. We held the computer paper between our elbows. That way out fingerprints wouldn't be all over Exhibit A should we be hauled into court. We printed two--one for each door. There were no classes before ours in that particular lecture hall so we headed over a couple hours before our class was slated to start. We made sure the coast was clear. We tacked the signs up with scotch tape and high tailed it outta there.

If you've ever been to Point Loma Nazarene University than you know that the winds can really blow on top of that hill--did I mention it was a Christian institution for higher learning? While we were gone the winds blew and blew and blew one of our signs right off the door. We went to class at the normal time.

Of course we went to class! We had to make it look like it wasn't us. We were just a couple of freshman showing up for class. And we showed up to a great deal of confusion. Those who had entered on the signless side of the lecture hall were wondering where their sign was. Those who had entered on the sign side were swearing that class was cancelled. Most left, conviced that old Val was home in bed or out of the state or something. Some stayed. We stayed. Well we had to see how it all played out!

And then Val was late. Oh yes, he was. It could not have gone better for us. So with class about 30% full, his secretary waltzed in declaring that he'd be about ten more minutes. You should have seen the confusion on the faces of the students. "But, the sign said class is cancelled. Most of the class left." The secretary was a tad skeptical until one of the students produced the evidence. She looked at it, furrowed her brow, laughed a little, and then said, "Well, we'll keep this for evidence. He's coming. I guess he'll have to decide what to do." I have to admit, the hairs on the back of my neck stood a little on end with that bit about the evidence.

Val shuffled into class and looked slightly stunned by the small numbers. Immediately he was hit by several students shouting things about class being cancelled. "Oh dear," said he, "well it isn't cancelled. I'm right here. Did the others leave?" When it was confirmed that, yes, when a sign is hanging on the door it's a good indicator that class is cancelled, Val instructed the rest of us to take the afternoon off. Trying to hide our wide eyes and our pride, Michelle and I left. We walked back to our dorm and straight into one of our rooms. We closed the door. And then we laughed and high fived and laughed more and had the best chem-free afternoon.

To my knowledge, there was never an investigation. If there was, we were never indicted or even suspected. I never cancelled class--chemistry or otherwise--again. I can't say for sure if Michelle did or not but she never bragged that she did and I think there would have been bragging. I've since done the math and realized that each chemistry class session was costing my parents and/or myself about 40 dollars. But that was freshman year and I had a decent number of scholarships. Even so, we'll just say that that particular class session got wrapped up into my student loans, which I will be paying until I am approximately 41 years old. When you look at it that way, it was the best 40 dollars I ever spent.

And if you think our fun with Val ended there, you'd be wrong. I am so getting kicked out of the pastor's wives club.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Women's Speaker

Remember how I once said that I wanted to be a retreat speaker in twenty years, you know, when I have it all figured out? It's really too bad that I'm not already a speaker because that would certainly keep the cost of our October women's retreat down. I wouldn't need any airfare and it would probably be so bad that I'd have to pay the women to sit and listen. So you see, they'd actually make money off of me.

But alas, I most certainly do not have it all figured out. I'm still running around like a chicken with my head cut off trying to figure out what it even is. My talks would be really meaningful though. I'd be all, "So this one time when I was in college, my roommate and I so totally cancelled our Chemistry class!" And everyone would look at me like I was crazy and say, "What does this have to do with God?" And then I'd be like, "Oh yeah. Sorry. Rabbit trail."

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Back Order Babies

Troy and I often say that it took us a really long time to get Garrett because the good ones are on back order. This, of course, does not mean that I am calling any "first try" (or second or third or fourth try) kids duds. We've accidentally made this comment in a public place before and oh my sparkling stars if people didn't get all up in a tizzy at the thought that I was suggesting that my child is superior and theirs inferior. Dude, it's ALL I get! And if all I get is a humorous line about getting a masterpiece kid, I'm going to take it. Because the bottom line is that it really stinks to sit around watching the world around you popping out babies like bunnies. It does seem that all the world is pregnant again--except, you know, me. But I'm choosing (mostly) to embrace those bouncing bellies--um, not literally. Yay world! Good for you!* What I am choosing to do is tell all of you, pregnant or otherwise, about how I really did get a good one, presumably because he was on back order for so long.

Garrett is an amazing sleeper. He has always been a stellar night time sleeper and he's been a great napper since he was six months old. The first six months were terrible, awful, no good, very bad months for napping. I'll admit it, the napping angel fell asleep on the job or something. Garrett started sleeping through the night at two months old. I realize that this is no big deal to moms who either used to or still do put their babies to sleep on their tummies. Tummy sleepers sleep through the night much quicker, I think. But I believe that two months is pretty young for a back sleeper to go all night. And by all night I mean ten to six. Then I would nurse him in bed with me and he would sleep, cuddled up to me, for another ninety minutes or so. Around Christmas we had a minor set back. Garrett was four and a half months old. He was having a growth spurt and, once he was finished spurting, he was back to his 8-10 hours.

Until six months the napping, as I mentioned, was horrid. I tried absolutely everything. Each day I attempted to make him cry it out. It NEVER worked. And it wasn't operator error. One day I made that kid cry for over an hour while I sat in the backyard where I couldn't hear it. Oh he'd nap alright but only in my arms. Much as I loved my tiny angel sleeping in my lap, I kind of felt like that defeated the purpose. Once, when I was discussing this, someone asked me how old he was and then replied, "Just wait until six months. He'll nap." It was like clockwork. One day he actually cried it out and from that moment on, I had a napper.

Garrett will be two next month and, some days, he is starting to outgrow napping. He's at least starting to not need one if one cannot be had. This is quite liberating, in a sense. It's also nice that when he does need one, or when I need him to need one, it's almost always three hours long. And that's on top of sleeping from around 8:30 pm to at least 7:30 am. Of course we play very very hard every day. I'm quite good at getting him really tired out.

But see, I told you I got a good one. Especially when it comes to sleeping. I'm not saying that to brag. Well, maybe a teensy tiny bit. I'm saying it because on the days when he is busy being very very TWO, I need to remind myself that this tantrum shall pass and then he'll go to bed and sleep for at least eleven hours.

Believe me, I know the next one will refuse to nap, not sleep through the night until she or he is thirty and wake me at five am--oh no, wait, the next one's on back order too. Just waiting to have the sleep button installed.

*It really, truly, is much easier for me to be legitimately happy for all the babies in bellies this time around. This time the anguish catches me off guard like a storm that blows in quickly from the west every couple of weeks or so. The first time it was like living in the northwest where if I woke up to sun I celebrated, knowing full well that it would be raining by evening.

Concerning words:
Yesterday he said plane (Ane--but he was pointing at a plane). He also says shoe clearly now. He's said it for awhile but it wasn't entirely clear. Since his discovery of saying the word very clearly, he also repeats me anytime I say, "Shoot." This makes me very glad that I do not say another word which sounds very similar to shoot. After all, rule number two in The Pastor's Wife Handbook is that thou shalt not swear.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Garden Update

I have a tomato blossom! And if it isn't the cutest little thing than I don't know what is. Golden retriever puppies, maybe. In case you are wondering about the status of the Great Gardening Escapade of 2008, here is an update.

Watermelon: Germination was supposed to occur within 8-12 days I think. It's been about 40 and there isn't a sprout to be seen. Prognosis: Crop failure.

Corn: We planted a row and a half of corn and it seems to be doing well. Each little corn plant is about four inches tall. They are quite adorable as well.

Strawberries: There are four strawberry plants and they appear to be growing. I think this is a good thing. We're hopeful.

Tomatoes: Well, like I said, we have a blossom. We planted three tomato plants and they are all growing and looking lively. Two of them appear to be better than the third but I have reason to believe that one is just going to be a late bloomer.

Zucchini: There are two zucchini plants. One of them is huge. I am not even kidding when I tell you that it is taking over the garden. It has leaves on it the size of my hand. The other, though only half the size of the over achiever, appears to be doing well.

Butternut Squash: The poor little butternut squash plant is on life support. I've been watering it just the same as all the other plants in the garden (Mr. Watermelon was planted elsewhere) so I don't know what's wrong with it. It does have some new little leaves on it so I am hopeful that I can nurse it back to health but it hasn't grown much, if at all. I am quite sad because I really wanted to have a healthy squtternut bosh crop.

In any case, the garden is flourishing. Yay.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Yard Work

When we moved in to this house it was the end of November. The yard was dusted with snow but we could tell that it was full of weeds and deceased foliage. In fact, on our rental paperwork we actually listed that there were many dead plants. As Spring crept slowly into this valley, the snow began to melt, and we ventured outside for longer than a few minutes at a time, we began to survey the landscape of our yard. I don't know how many people have lived here prior to us but it seems as though each tenant has planted hoards of trees, vines, and bushes. It's a yardworkphobs worst nightmare. During the long winter we were sure that we'd be yanking up massive amounts of plant debris come warmer months. This is what the majority of our plants looked like:
This is not actually a picture that I took, I just went to Google Images and tried to find something that looked like all my nasty looking plants.
We've been doing a ton of yard work around here. We'll do an hour here or an hour there. Believe me when I say that pulling all the weeds, trimming all the trees, and mowing all the lawn would take forever if done all at once. So, much like the way I keep the house cleaned a little at a time, we have adopted a kind of slow and steady attitude in regards to the yard.
Those dead bushes though, they are another story entirely. We've done nothing to them. We've just left them there, fending for themselves. We've decided they're really better if left to their own devices.

So apparently I wouldn't know a rose bush in winter if it was, I don't know, on fire and God was telling me it was a rose bush.* Our yard has literally erupted into purple, white, yellow, pink, red and light orange colored flowers, many of which are roses. I haven't a clue what to do with a rose bush other than trim it back. Truthfully, I do not want to become a rose expert, I feel that my life is rich enough without such efforts. And they seem to be doing just fine all on their own, doncha think? Given the fact, however, that they are actually everywhere, I decided that the bush wouldn't miss just a few...

So that's what they look like on my table. I cut them last night and those couple of buds have bloomed into brightly colored roses. And the smell is absolutely heavenly. A dozen roses have filled my house with the freshest most wonderful scent. They make me feel all warm and fuzzy inside and not at all like I live in the tundra for the better part of seven months.

*I realize that Moses's burning bush was not a rose bush. Or at least, was probably not a rose bush.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

To My Dad

As a child I toed the line. It was expected by both of my parents but my father was definitely the heavy. If my mom uttered those cursed words, "When your father gets home..." I knew I was in big trouble. I now expect nothing less than line toeing from my child(ren). I want my son to feel proud when complimented on his behavior in a restaurant or awarded high citizenship grades in school. But with that being said, I think my dad gave us the perfect balance of discipline and joy.

Discipline is both training to act in accordance with rules as well as an activity, exercise, or a regimen that develops or improves a skill; training. Joy is the emotion of great delight or happiness caused by something exceptionally good or satisfying; keen pleasure; elation.

Joy: Dad made a great Pillowhead monster. It scared me but it terrified my brother. Not only was it fun to be chased by Pillowhead, it was hilarious to watch my brother go from laughing to crying to puking in the hallway.

Discipline: Dad has a vein on the side of his forehead that pops out when he's extremely angry. Jon and I learned at a fairly young age that we'd be alright as long as the vein stayed submerged. As soon as that squiggly blood tube appeared, apologies would need to be uttered immediately.

Joy: Summer vacations. I'm one of the biggest advocates of family camping (or at the very least family time without television, video games, and other forms of media) because of the wonderful times we had in a tent at national parks. We couldn't play Nintendo or watch cartoons so we played Steal the Shoe and watched our marshmallows turn golden in the campfire. My dad was always really good about taking vacations and my life and memories are certainly richer because of it.

Discipline: Over and over and over again my dad sat next to me while I stalled the manual transmission. He continuously told me that I wasn't listening. "What part of push the gas pedal down while you're releasing the clutch don't you understand?" He even used his hands to demonstrate. Repeatedly. I understood perfectly. It was applying the knowledge that I struggled with. At one point I left the car stalled in the cul-de-sac at my aunt's house and just walked away. Eventually he handed me the keys and said, "Figure it out." I did but I sure lost a lot of sweat in the process.

Joy: Seeing him sitting at most of my swim meets (for ten years) when he thought that going up and down a pool staring at a black T had to be the second most mind numbing thing. The first being actually sitting at a swim meet. I don't think I knew until I was much older that he was bored. He hid it well. It had to help that I was good. Right Dad? Right?

Discipline: Chasing me (I'm so not kidding) around the circle of our living room/dining room/family room after I broke a few of the pieces of my mom's heirloom nativity. I knew that if he caught me I would be killed. So after a few laps around the heart of our house I dashed to my room, slammed the door, and tried to pull my dresser behind the door. Yes, I was planning on living out my last few days holed up in that room. He was so angry that he told me I needed to come up with my own punishment. I was so remorseful that I came up with a real doozy. My actual punishment paled in comparison to what I had planned to inflict upon myself.

Joy: My 16th birthday party which exceeded my wildest expectations and probably the budget. My wedding which, I think, stayed in the budget. But the budget was large. I certainly didn't have a Ritz Carlton reception or rent out the Del Mar Fairgrounds but anytime you put 400 people in a room and feed them and make sure they all have napkins it's going to cost a lot. Also he saw the look on my face and put his foot down on the Charles R. Nunn Performing Arts Center for my reception. I should thank him more often for this.

Discipline: Turning out the lights in rooms we weren't occupying. We were always being lectured about saving energy. I am now the Electricity Gestapo and even find myself turning lights off in the homes of other people. I think that recognizing you have a problem is half the battle, right?

I could go on and on about how my dad taught me about vacuum lines, making a really great ice cream Sundae, the importance of daddy/daughter dates, and how to take on a crazy art teacher, even if, in the end, she doesn't change your grade. I could reminisce about dancing on his feet and the time that he had to climb a fence with me while I ran a high fever or how we would be the only two people awake on road trips and we'd make fun of my brother and my mom for catching flies.

When I was born my dad was just 22 years old. For all intents and purposes he was still, like, a baby himself. It's incredible to think that, at such a young age, he had his act together. The countless blessings have not gone unnoticed. And, looking back, most of the discipline is uproariously funny. But then, I did make it pretty easy on him being the wonderful picture of obedience that I was.
:-) :-) :-)

So yeah, I toed the line. But do you want to know why I toed it? Because just around the corner, my father was waiting with abundant blessing.

I love you, Dad.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

A Video for Your Enjoyment

This morning, at 8:15, Garrett brought me the sunscreen and shouted over and over, "Pool! Pool! Pool!" Which really sounded more like, "pooah, pooah, pooah!" I managed to get him to eat breakfast, help me with laundry, play in his playroom, and run an errand with me before we went out to the pool. At 10:45 I drained the disgusting dog water and hosed out the hair. By 11:00 Garrett was happily playing in his beloved pool. He played until noon when I made him get out and have lunch, promising that we could go swimming again sometime soon.

He's been starting to repeat a lot of what we say now (Finally!) and some of his words are hilarious and/or very strange. Take, for example, his word for car which somehow manages to come out as though he is an Indian chief. How! Car=How. Sure. I mean, what's the difference? Aside from all the letters. I think I've mentioned that his word for juice or milk is Biss. Blankie, which used to be Dainty and then for a long time was nothing at all, is now Gankie. Food is Num Num. He learned how to open the refrigerator but he knows he's not supposed to. So, today I was upstairs and I heard the fridge open. I started down the stairs, ready to scold. He must have heard me coming because he slammed it shut. The yogurt in his hands was a dead giveaway. He came toward me saying, "num num num." I asked him where he got the yogurt from and he lifted his hand up as if to say, "I have no idea." Little liar.

I am sure there are more newish words but I can't remember them right now. I'll post as I recall them, more for my own remembrance than for your enlightenment. Oh, he says key all the time. That word, however, comes out perfectly.

Friday, June 13, 2008

In Quest of The Kiddie Pool

Today I decided to get Garrett a decent kiddie pool. He had one that my mom supplied last summer but it's seems to have gotten so small. I think it has something to do with the fact that my son has gotten so big. It was a blow up pool and it worked great last summer. This summer I decided we needed something slightly more permanent, something I didn't need to blow up every time I wanted to put Garrett in it.

I drove to the WalMart by my house (five minutes away) and I found the hard plastic kind that I was looking for. However, for ten extra dollars I could get one with a slide. I figured this would be ten dollars well spent. They were out of the one with the slide. I asked if they could check to see if the other WalMart by my house (ten minutes away) or the other WalMart by my house (twelve minutes away) had them in stock. The girl who was helping me couldn't find the item number so she told me to go to Customer Service and ask them to call over to the other locations. I did so but not before Garrett had a near death--or at least near major injury--experience.*

Me: Hi, you are out of the hard plastic kiddie pools with the slide and the person who was helping me told me to ask you to call the one at Jordan Landing to see if they have them in stock.

Customer Service Girl: I can't do that unless you have the item number.

Me: She couldn't find it.

Customer Service Girl: Then I can't help you. I'm sorry.

Me: You can't call them and ask?

Customer Service Girl: No. I'm sorry.

Me: So I have to drive over there to check and see if they have them?

Customer Service Girl: Yes. Sorry.

This is the point that I turn and walk away completely floored and knowing full well that if I can pick up the phone and call them, she can pick up the phone and call them. In the car I called my husband and had him look up the numbers for the other locations. I stopped at Target to see if they had them. Nope. They had decided not to carry the hard pools this season. I stopped at the house and got bungee cords. This is very important and will play an exciting role as the drama unfolds. I was on hold with the WalMart at Jordan Landing for over ten minutes before the guy helping me came back on the line and said, "We have one in stock. It does have a big hole in it though." At this point there is a long pause as he, apparently, waits to see if I still want it. What I said aloud was, "Um. Well okay. I, uh, don't want it then." What I thought was I don't want it for its decorative value you pinhead. I want it for my kid to swim in. I'm pretty sure a big hole kind of defeats the purpose. I mean, I don't know, I only swam competitively for ten years of my life so I'm not really the expert on the whole concept of a pool but I have a sneaking suspicion it needs to have the capacity to hold water.

So I turned my car in the direction of the other WalMart and called them. Again with the on hold thing. Oh and also a guy tried to cut me off and, when he wasn't successful, he laid on his horn and flapped his hands in my direction. There may have been a middle finger. I'm not sure. I know that my blood was already on boil mode and it was just about all I could do to keep my own fingers in check. But then, in the Pastor's Wife Handbook, rule number one is Thou Shalt Not Flip People Off. So I didn't. Finally I got ahold of the other WalMart and they had them in pink, blue, and yellow. Trouble was I wasn't sure where this WalMart is. I called Troy and had him Mapquest it. Mapquest wouldn't work. So I drove to the one I thought it might be. It wasn't. They did, however, have two blue kiddie pools with a slide in stock. They were outside in the garden section covered in bird poop, dirt and feathers but they had them. Here is where the real fun begins.

I kid you not, this pool is about five feet across and, given the fact that it's mostly a circle (the slide makes its dimensions weird) it is pretty darn big. And I had a cart. And a kid. I should have left it there and gone back with Troy but I was so over trying to find my son this stupid pool that it was going home with me if it was the last thing I ever did. By the time I got out to the parking lot Garrett was crying because I had put the pool on top of him in the cart (he was sitting in the back part and it was over him like a fort) and it, apparently, scared the bejeepers out of him. Thankfully a very nice woman offered to watch the pool while I found the car (it was lost) and put Garrett in it. I drove the car back to the pool and began the task of bungee cording it to the roof. It must have been quite laughable, me on the back of the car, trying my best to look like I knew what I was doing. I finally got it affixed to my roof and I started driving through the parking lot. I rolled down my window, reached my hand out and pulled on the side of the pool. It seemed alright. I started driving faster. I heard thumping. I reached my arm out and I could no longer feel the pool. Uh oh.

I had put the pool bottom side up. Wind was passing underneath. What we had here was a sort of kiddie pool airplane, hovering just above the car. Luckily the bungee cords were keeping said aircraft from taking off on its own flight pattern. I pulled over and grabbed ahold of it with my left hand. Thanks to those ten years of competitive swimming and two years of toting around a child, my biceps are in working order. I held it firm the rest of the way home, if I went over 25 mph the pool caught air and ripped out of my hand. If I stayed below 25 I felt relatively sure that it wouldn't blow off the roof causing a major wreck. I prayed. A lot.

After Garrett went down for a nap I spent about an hour building it (it has a railing next to the slide) and cleaning it out. Then I filled it with water and it was ready for Garrett. Beck has this basic working knowledge of what belongs to Garrett and he usually doesn't bug Garrett's stuff. (There was that one time with the crocodile but generally speaking he's pretty decent.) He looked it over and then plopped down next to it. However, Holly, the Labrador retriever we are dogsitting for a few days, did not quite understand the order of things and she took to the pool like a moth to a flame. So, within moments the pool was swimming with dog hair and dirt. I didn't have the heart to tell her to get out, she was just too darn adorable.

Later, Garrett got to get in his new pool--dirty as it was. I don't think he minded the dog hair. You can decide for yourselves.
I mean, I think he looks pretty happy. Ignore the cloudy dog water.

*As I was surveying bathing suits with built in life jackets, I turned my back on my son who was in the back of the cart. I know, I know, shame on me for putting him there. As I turned back to ask him a question I saw him reaching for a toy on the other side of the aisle. He had already pitched completely over the side and was plummeting head first for the concrete floor. I dove into the side of the cart and grabbed the heel of his right foot, catching him just before he slammed into the ground. He started sobbing and I literally held him so tight and kind of scolded him and told him how much it scared me.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

High Maintenance

So I have a kind of high maintenance dog. He doesn't wear clothes or anything like that and he walks on a leash so I don't have to carry him everywhere, but his, uh, poopies are not adequate size and we found out the hard way that he needs his anal glands expressed periodically. Here in Utah it costs us 16 dollars every couple of months to have this done. I would gladly spend that to relieve myself of anal expression duty and allow someone at the vet's office to do the stinky job. Initially, when we discovered this charming problem back in Ramona, we were having it done every four weeks or so and finding that, at that frequency, Beck's glands weren't even close to full. We elected to mark his expressions down on the calendar and wait until he told us they needed some relief. How do we know? That's easy. Beckham starts licking his hindquarters with vigor. I noticed yesterday that he was paying a little attention to his hiney so I kept an eye on it. Today he was most concerned. It's been a good couple of months so I called the vet. This is what I meant to say and what I hope I said.

Me: Hi, I need to schedule an appointment to bring my dog in for an anal expression.

This is what, upon reviewing the conversation in my head, I think I said.

Me: Hi, I need to schedule an appointment for an anal expression.

And that just really sounds like I am the one who needed the expression. Far as I know I don't have anal glands and I certainly don't need or want them expressed. Especially by a veterinarian. I mean, it's not like they didn't know that it was FOR MY DOG but still. I hate when I have to schedule his expressions. I really hate saying the word anal out loud to people I don't know. It's because I have the maturity level of a nine year old.

They said I could bring him in right then which was great except that he was a huge spazoid and I was trying to wrangle him and the kiddo and I was wearing flip flops and Beck's nails scratched the top of my foot and it really hurt. And it was totally the kind of situation where if I wasn't at the vet I would have beat him or something because he NEVER behaves like that and it was embarrassing. I mean, I don't regularly beat my dog but he doesn't regularly behave as though he has ingested large volumes of crank. While he was in the back, having his butt tended to, a woman entered with a small and frightening dog. Not only was she wearing clothing (I only really tolerate animals dressed as people if they are big dogs backpacking in the Himalayas or something similar) her name was Prissy. I really half expected Paris Hilton to be holding her. But then, I'm sure Paris Hilton's dog has its own, personal, live-in vet. But Prissy, that's just inviting the other dogs to make glorious fun of your canine. As though the sweater wasn't doing enough already.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Turning The Other Cheek

Today I had to go to Dollar Tree and Costco. I made my son's day by buying him a slice of pizza for lunch and then taking him to the Dino Playland at the mall. While we were there we encountered hoards of children including Jagger, a big boy--maybe four, and Ridge, an even bigger boy--six or seven. I'm so not kidding about those names either. They have not been changed to protect the innocent. They were brothers and Ridge kept getting in trouble for trying to scare little kids and his mother was so focused on his naughty behavior, and on feeding the baby (name unknown--probably Thorpe, or something) that she failed to notice that Jagger kept shoving kids out of line to get in front of them on the slide. I didn't mind either of their behavior too much because I was busy watching my son get punched in the face by someone who was younger than him. Garrett was smacking his hands on a dinosaur egg and this little boy toddled up. They were close to the same size so I thought that maybe they would play together. Garrett kind of smiled at him and continued to pound on the egg. The other little boy clearly wanted the large egg to himself and he screeched something that sounded a bit like the word no and then slapped Garrett across the face.

I was prepared for an all out blood bath. It's possible that Garrett has been slapped in the face before--maybe by another child in the nursery at church or at MOPS. But I have never seen him get decked before and, assuming that it's never happened, I figured he retaliate. I was ready to pull my ballistic son off of the much less coordinated bully. Garrett simply rubbed his face and backed away. I called him to me immediately. By the look on his face I could tell that he thought he was in trouble. At this point I didn't know who the bully belonged to and I wouldn't have said anything anyway. Garrett wasn't even crying. But I did pull my son onto my lap and said, "Thank you so much for not hitting that boy back when he hit you first. You were a very good boy. That was so naughty of that other little boy. We do not ever hit because it hurts. When daddy gets home from work we are going to tell him how good you were. Now you can go play."

That's what I said. That's what Jesus would want him to do. But inside I was thinking you need to walk back over there and throw that kid down. Sit on him. Clobber him with both fists until his mother pulls you off. Okay not entirely. That would have been embarrassing.

Later I saw the bully hanging on a stroller. There was a ball in the basket and Garrett walked over and took the ball out. I jumped up and said, "Garrett, that's not your ball. We need to give it back to the boy's mommy." I handed it to her and, looking at me with disgust she mumbled a pretty rude thank you and glared at my son like he had no business taking a ball out of her stroller. I had my eyes on him 100% of the time so I know he hadn't ever done anything to her son.

I smiled because of that whole lack of confrontation thing but inside I was thinking, "He's not even two! He doesn't quite have the concept down about the ownership of strollers. At least he's not going around slugging people in the face."

Moral of the story: Don't name your children Ridge and Jagger. I mean, come on, one day he's going to be Grandpa Jagger. What, did you think it was going to have something to do with not hitting?

Tuesday, June 10, 2008


Here is some evidence to support the fact that I can totally hack it as a boy mom. This morning, while Garrett was pushing breakfast around his plate, I went out to water the garden. I decided to flip the sprinkler switch instead of watering it by hand. As I rounded the corner of the shed I saw a snake, coiled and catching some rays. I called the dog and put him in the house and quickly headed back to survey the reptile. When I first saw it laying there I did jump just a bit. Having lived in Ramona for most of my life, I just assume that all snakes are guilty of being rattlers until proven innocent. I wasn't sure what kind of snake it actually was and I didn't feel much like getting bit so I attempted to pick it up close to the head. Unfortunately, it was much faster than me and I ended up grabbing it by the tail end just before it darted under the shed. It never tried to bite me so I permitted it to come into my home and meet my son.

Garrett thought it was a hilarious riot. He continuously hissed and darted his tongue back and forth. I put the snake in the bathtub until I could think of something better to do with him. (Why do we refer to snakes as males?)

I called Troy to ask if we could keep him--further proof that I am a stellar mom of boy. Troy seemed less sold on the idea, "You'd need a ten gallon tank. Where would we put that?" I called my dad because I wanted to try to feed the snake for the purpose of educating my toddler and I could not figure out what kind of snake this was. It didn't particularly look like a garter snake but my experience with gopher snakes is that they are mean mean mean and this little guy was actually kind of friendly. I certainly didn't want to try to feed a fish/insect/frog eating snake a mouse and I didn't want to try to feed a rodent eating snake the aforementioned fish. My dad wasn't sure but he said that it would probably only need a 5 gallon tank--if I did decide to keep him. I put the snake in a plastic bin on the front porch and headed over to Petco.

After walking around Petco for a good twenty minutes I decided that tank, ground cover, heat lamp, light bulbs, heat rock, water dish (especially one big enough for a fish eating snake which I was pretty sure this was), food, etc was going to cost more than I wanted to spend. I used to joke that we were two cats over our pet quota. I now feel very badly about that statement since Evie has apparently gone to the great cattery in the sky. However, it doesn't change the fact that three pets can be a bit much, even if one of them is a reptile living in a cage. I decided that, perhaps, Garrett could have a snake when he was a little older. Maybe some kind of smallish boa that moves slowly. I informed my son that we would go home and release the snake and we could have an outside pet that we rarely, if ever, get a glimpse of. But we'll know he's there.

Me: Well, we should probably name the snake. You know, in case we see him in the yard.
Garrett: Nods
Me: What should we call him?
Garrett: Sssss
Me: Really? Are you sure? Maybe something else.
Garrett: (with authority) Mama!
Me: Then Sssss it is!

I don't really want my resident snake being referred to as "Mama" although my dad pointed out that then Garrett could tell people that Mama sleeps under the shed. Just before I released Sssss back into the wild, I decided to try to get a picture of Garrett with him.

I'm holding the snake and taking the picture. Garrett kind of poked him in the face and I think Sssss flicked Garrett with his tongue. Then Sssss started wildly waving his head and upper body all around in an attempt to get free. This freaked my son out and he ran halfway across the yard. Then I let Sssss go and he slithered along the side of the shed and straight underneath it. Garrett has been asking for Sssss ever since. I just inform him that he's napping. I did some research on the Internet and discovered that the reason it didn't look like a garter snake is because it is a juvinile and they are a different color.
So, you see, God totally knew what he was doing when he gave me a son. He totally knew that I would catch a snake with my bare hands and strongly consider keeping it. Even now I feel a slight sadness that I didn't splurge on all the reptile paraphernalia. So I ask, am I a good boy mom or what?


Here are a few pictures from our Dinosaur Museum Excursion on Friday. The first one is Troy and Garrett playing in this kiddie tunnel thingy.

Below is a hands on exhibit where you can build dams out of sand and redirect water pathways and play with toy dinosaurs. We put a frock on Garrett to keep him clean and dry but it didn't really matter because he wasn't quite sure about having wet sand on his hands so he pretty much watched. Troy and I, on the other hand, well, we can play just as well as the other five year olds.

Finally, here is Garrett hanging out on a dinosaur. We all had a good time and now if we ask Garrett what a dinosaur says he makes a very loud growling sound.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Vomit, Vomit Everywhere

Last night there was a lot of vomit. It was not mine. This morning it took two loads of laundry to get all the sheets, blankets, and clothing cleaned of barf. Garrett threw up in his bed and in my bed. He was awake for most of the night acting completely hyper in between spew sessions. I tried to sleep with him on his floor (on top of a sheet with a trash can nearby) but that didn't work because he kept sitting up and saying, "Dada! Ball! Honk Honk! Biss!" I put him back in his bed and he slept for three hours before his sobbing woke me up. I put him in my bed. Forty minutes, a couple of rounds of throwing himself under the covers and then playing peekaboo, and a whole lot of, "Dada! Teeee (TV)!" later, he ralphed into my hands and all over my sheets. I decided to try his floor again. I rubbed his back and every time I stopped he either grabbed my hand and put it on his back or sat up and pushed on me until I resumed rubbing or whimpered, "Mo-a." At six this morning he finally drifted off to sleep for a couple of hours. At eight he shot straight up and shrieked, "DADA!" I crept off to my own bedroom and informed Troy that I was going to sleep and he was on duty. I slept until 10:00 bringing my total hour count up to almost six. Garrett hasn't thrown up anymore but when I put him down for his nap, he was running a 101 degree temperature. The poor little guy has been catching everything that germinates within a few hundred miles, I think.

I wouldn't trade being a mom for anything in the world but when you look at that positive pregnancy test you think things like, "Oh, it's going to be so cute and cuddly and it'll smile and laugh and I'll get to give it a bath and take it to Disneyland." Rarely do you think, "Yep. Pretty soon I'm going to be in the trenches of motherhood, catching barf in my hands." But when that soft little head finally fell asleep on the pillow next to me, it didn't matter that it smelled like the inside of a stomach, it was still the sweetest little thing. And in my mind I heard the words of a Caedmon's Call song...

this house is a good mess
it's the proof of life
no way would I trade jobs
but it don't pay overtime

I'll get to the laundry
I don't know when
I'm saying a prayer tonight
cause tomorrow it starts again

could it be that everything is sacred?
and all this time
everything I've dreamed of
has been right before my eyes

the children are sleeping
but they're running through my mind
the sun makes them happy
and the music makes them unwind

my cup runneth over
and I worry about the stain
teach me to run to You
like they run to me for every little thing

when I forget to drink from you
I can feel the banks harden
Lord, make me like a stream
to feed the garden

wake up, little sleeper
the Lord, God Almighty
made your Mama keeper
so rise and shine
rise and shine

cause everything is sacred
and all this time
everything I've dreamed of
has been right before my eyes

Could it be that everything is entitled to reverence and respect because God placed me in the very circumstance? Could every mundane act of feeding that child, cleaning up his puke, vacuuming the house, be worthy of prestige? It's true that my reaction to that one positive pregnancy test among the many negative ones was surprise and elation. In that one instant I suppose I began naming him, holding him, teaching him. I certainly did not instantly think of the sleepless nights and the vomit. But in the bleeding and the bumps and the bruises and the stomach flu, I see glimpses of heaven. God has entrusted me with this little life and every day I learn more about how much the Creator loves me because of how much I love my son. And trust me when I say that God does a whole lot more than hold my vomit in his hands.

Sunday, June 8, 2008


My Padres have won five games in a row. If you follow baseball you understand that this is a big deal since the Friars have been stinking so badly that I can smell them all the way from San Diego. I miss watching them on television every night in mighty ways but just knowing that they've put together five goods games is cause for squealing with glee.

Saturday, June 7, 2008


Last night we ordered an appetizer of calamari. I got a bucket of snow crab with corn and new potatoes and Troy ordered a seafood platter (breaded scallops and shrimp, fish, french fries and cole slaw). But we split all of it amongst the three of us. Our son, who is not quite two, ate a bunch of scallops, french fries, calamari and part of one of the octopi that came with the squid appetizer. He also had a banana and some Gushers. But I'm not even kidding that he ate octopus. And squid. And scallops. I'm so proud of that boy.


I've mentioned Evie the feral cat on this blog before but never really told the story in detail. I won't even go into now because it would take forever and to tell it would be to tell about Smeagol, Gollum, Dodger, Raider, Sterling, Musetta, Jiriki, Strider and Molly, her kittens that began the chapter of our life with that cat. (Smeagol, Gollum, Dodger and Raider started off extremely nasty so they got naughty names.) To tell it would be to talk about how she earned the name Evil because when Oliver was quite tiny she stole his food and bullied him. Later, when she purred more and hissed less we changed her name to Evie. We eventually caught her and had her spayed. We fed her for a couple of years before moving to Utah. Every night we tried to tame her by moving closer to her while she ate, moving her food pile closer to our house, reaching out and petting her with a stick, and finally, petting her with our own hands. I almost cried the first time she purred while I was petting her. We evacuated her along with our own cat and dog the night of the The Great Vomiting Evacuation Excursion. That was the first time I picked her up, by the scruff, and dropped her into a cat carrier. When we moved here she and Oliver lived in our basement for the cold winter months. Unable to run away from us, she warmed up fairly quickly. Anytime that her and Ollie were piled on top of each other in his cat box, she would let us pet her without freaking out, even though there was no where for her to run. She began to play with toys or hands like any kitten would play, she just failed to retract her claws so we referred to it as mean playing. When it got warmer, we let the cats out. They were very tentative at first but slowly, Oliver began to explore. Evie was mostly content just to sit close to the house. Every afternoon she napped in the cat box and every evening she came back inside for dinner. I came back from San Diego last Thursday night and on Friday, I went down into the basement. Oliver was no where to be seen but Evie was sleeping in the cat box. I crouched down and pet her side. She looked at me slightly skeptically but didn't hiss, a surprise since she hadn't seen me in eight days. I went upstairs. That night when I called the cats, Oliver came running for his dinner. Evie never came. I left a pile of food for her in the window bay. The next morning, that cat food was still there. We haven't seen her. I don't know if she died or not. She was an extremely smart cat so I find it hard to believe that she ran in front of a car. At the same time, she was a homeless orphan for so long that I know she wouldn't just relocate leaving her handouts behind. I'd like to believe that one day she woke up a little homesick for the warmth of Southern California. I hold on to a sliver of hope that she'll follow the 15 all the way back. Stranger things have happened. But my experience and my gut feeling is that something devastating happened to that poor scavenger. And I miss her. I miss her because I loved her even though she never loved me, never fully trusted me.

I think when it comes to God, we're a lot like that fluffy gray cat with the one tooth that just would not stay inside of her mouth. He tells us to follow him. He promises that if we do he'll feed us and keep us warm and let us curl up in his lap when we're tired or in need of love. But instead, we hiss and occasionally swat at him. We hide behind an entertainment unit and bite the hand that reaches in to pull us out, the hand that is offering a life better than what can be found tangled in a bunch of cords and cables. We climb up into a chimney and refuse to come out for a day and a half simply because we're exercising our independence. But God loves us anyway. Even when we don't love him back and even when we don't trust him.

We invested a great deal of time and energy in that cat--and I vowed to tell the whole story once I could accompany it with a picture of her snuggled in my lap. I believed that one day it would happen. I am letting go of that hope--it just wouldn't be like that cat to leave for a week. And with each day that passes I become more and more convinced that that Friday afternoon back scratch was the last I will know of my Evie.

Friday, June 6, 2008

More On Troy's Presidency

Happy Birthday to my husband! Today we slept in until 8:40 because our son is seriously the best sleeper ever. (Although, right now he is flat refusing to take a nap. After sitting in his crib talking and squirming for over an hour, I put him in with Troy--who is taking a birthday nap.) Then we got up and went to a museum of ancient history. Think dinosaur skeletons and a bunch of hands on things for little kids--and big kids. Troy and I decided, while playing in this sand/water/toy dinosaur area, that we actually have the collective age of eleven and a half. Tonight we are taking an Uncrustable to Joe's Crab Shack for dinner. Although, Garrett really likes seafood so he might be eating less peanut butter and jelly and more crab. After that there is a delicious looking caramel turtle ice cream cake in the freezer. It's a bit strange to be away from extended family on Troy's birthday but we're having a good day.

There seems to have been overwhelming support in regards to Troy and me taking the White House by storm. For those of you who may be concerned because you aren't sure what Troy actually believes, let me tell you that he is a Republican but when we got married I was registered with that donkey party so he certainly doesn't have a problem fraternizing with Democrats. I am now registered Independent but I'm fairly certain that our cat is a Democrat so we've got the whole spectrum covered here in the *Doozleberry household. I think that's all you really need to know, right? I mean, do we know any more about Obama? Oh, Troy is also old enough to legally be the President but not so old that he might flop over dead before he actually takes office. By that I mean, two of him put together doesn't equal the age of Senator McCain. And as my mother pointed out, if he uttered the words, "I did not have _______ ________ with that woman..." it would be because he really didn't.

But more on how awesome I would be as the First Lady because, let's face it, what I would do in the White House is so much more interesting than what Troy would do. But I'm still eight years away from being old enough to run. Let's just say that there would, inevitably, be a naked little boy streaking down the hallway and straight into the "china room" where he would slam into one of the displays containing dishes belonging to the Truman's or something. His mother, a.k.a. The First Lady, would come screeching after him, probably with poop on her hands, demanding that he, "COME HERE RIGHT THIS INSTANT YOU LITTLE PRESIDENTIAL SPAWN!" This same naked china breaking boy would be seen on the lawn in a wading pool, his mother sprawled out on a towel catching some District of Columbia rays. She'd be wearing a bathing suit--not a business suit. Business suits make me feel old. I might own two or three if I happened to be the first lady but mostly I'd wear a good pair of jeans or a cute sundress. I'd invite my friends over for chick flicks and when they wondered what that really loud noise outside was I'd be all, "Oh that. That's just my husband coming in on Airforce One." And then they'd be like, "Your husband is the President of the United States." And I'd say, "I KNOW! And we totally go to Camp David all the time!" And we'd squeal. Also, I would go to important dinners and then whine about how, "Can we please go get a burger? That small pile of goo on my plate, the one that cost 1,400 dollars, was not good at all." I would totally still wear flip flops all the time. And the Secret Service would knock on the door and I'd be in my pajamas and I so would not even care. Also, I'd have a cool nickname. You know how the President, at least in movies, is always referred to by the Secret Service as Liberty? I'd make them call me something like Mary Poppins. So when I went from one room to another room they'd whisper into their super secret watch walkie-talkie, "Mary Poppins is moving." I might change my name every day, just to keep them on their toes. I'd put on plays, too. Troy would be like, "Hey, members of the FBI and the CIA, you need to come and see my wife's play tonight." Because I am quite certain that this would be one of their top priorities. And I'd make the White House chef serve me Shirley Temples and ice cream whenever I felt like it. And you all could come over to the White House and play with me whenever you wanted to. I'd probably let your toddler run around naked, too. Or play slip 'n slide on the lawn. Because I'm totally low key like that.

*Names have once again been changed. This time to protect the future President of the United States of America