Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Your 2023 American Idol

As you all well know, my son does not talk. Although he's starting to try. Sort of. He's hovering somewhere around 20 words and while this is borderline unacceptable to this English lover, the joy that he brought me last night knows no bounds.

He watched a couple of songs on American Idol with me and then left the room in favor of his dad and a rousing episode of Sports Center--or something. Toward the end of American Idol, he came back into the bedroom and climbed up next to me. I let him snuggle with his blankie and paci. All of the sudden he threw his pacifier at me (he knows he can't have it while he's walking around) and piled his blanket on my lap. He turned to climb down. "Are you going to go find daddy?" I questioned. He looked at me like I was a lunatic and said, "no."

He jumped down, opened the drawer in the nightstand, pulled out a flashlight, turned to face the television, held the flashlight up to his mouth, bounced up and down (his version of dancing), and starting making an off-key ruckus into the flashlight.

He has never been personally introduced to a microphone. I have never showed him that other objects can be used as pretend microphones--I save all my hairbrush concerts for when he is tucked tightly in bed. My 21 month old son decided, completely on his own, to use a flashlight as a microphone and sing along with American Idol. The only way I could be more proud is if he recited Shakespeare and, let's face it, you need more than 20 words for that.

I ran and grabbed the camera but the video from last night didn't turn out very well. He kept running out of the room and singing on the landing, where I could not see him. I took this video this morning. I figured that since yesterday was Neil Diamond night, I'd play some Neil for him in hopes that he would do it again. He gets a little bored from time to time and, as all good performers do, keeps you anticipating with bated breath. At one point he even climbs up in the chair and does a contemplative, unplugged, version. See for yourselves.

video
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Today my house overheard the following: Garrett, I know you don't think you need a nap but it's nigh-night time anyway because I have to go clean up the mess your brother, the dog, made.

Upon initial inspection I thought the dog took a totally loose dump in our house. However, it was later determined that some sort of hairball full of little twigs and some other unknown substance was released, probably through the act of vomiting. It wasn't a large quantity, it looked like poo, smelled a little more like barf. The jury is still out.

I just don't understand that idiot dog. Hmmm. I have to either throw up or take a dump. In fact, it's basically an emergency. I think I will walk over here and do it all over the carpet right next to the couch. It doesn't matter that there are several, much better options. Sure, I could stick my head into the trash can in the bathroom that's right next to me. However, my intelligence level is really not that high. I could probably do it on my bed, which can be washed. Wait, wait, the tile would be a good choice because it can be mopped. No. These options pale in comparison to the wonderful carpet choice.

In fairness to the dog, it was pretty close to the door so maybe he was sitting there hoping that someone would come and let him out. In fairness to me, when he realized that I saw it and he cowered in the corner with his tail between his legs, I walked over to him, patted him on the head and said, "It's okay, buddy." Our dog just doesn't take a poop, or puke, on the floor on a regular basis. It would probably be a little mean for me to scold him for intestinal irregularity.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Colorado

The truth is, nothing terribly eventful is going on in our house. We have the daily, bi-daily, sometimes tri-daily toddler meltdown. We clean the bathrooms. We occasionally pull some weeds. The past few days just haven't been particularly noteworthy. So I thought that I might get back to posting on the states I've been to, since it's been a good three months. I'm going in alphabetical order and with Arizona and California being published already, it's time to move on to Colorado.

It's strange but, as a teenager, I always kind of wanted to move to Colorado one day. We went when I was eleven and I remember a horrendous windstorm nearly blowing my brother and me straight into Kansas while my dad tried to pitch our tent. I remember the University of Colorado at Boulder and how I decided that I would most likely go there for college. Because, after all, one should figure these things out when they are getting ready to enter middle school. I remember that the airport in Colorado Springs wasn't scary at all but when we tried to make our connecting flight in Denver we were sprinting from one end of Gigantic Airport to the other. I've since taken an international flight out of O'Hare so maneuvering DEN might not be as big of a deal, but as a little eleven year old it was large and I was not and it made me feel like whoever penned It's A Small World was maybe smoking ganja.

More than anything though, I remember the Olympic Training Center. We went to Colorado at the height of my obsession with being an Olympic swimmer. Every single set at every single practice had my two friends and me racing against each other to see who took gold, silver and bronze. I knew, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that I was going to swim in the 2000 Olympics at Sydney. Maybe, just maybe, I would be good enough for Atlanta. It's important to mention that although these dreams obviously did not come true, I wasn't just one of those kids who swam for six months and had delusions of grandeur. I trained 45 minutes from home four-five days a week for five years straight (that's not counting the other five years I swam exclusively in Ramona) and sometimes, in the summers and during my freshman year of high school, I did doubles. Back in the early 90's, when I visited the Olympic Training Center, I was consistently finishing ahead of Staciana Stitts and she got a gold medal in Sydney. It could have happened. That's all I'm saying. I mean, it didn't. But. It. Could. Have. Ask my brother. He lived in the car and at swim meets for, like, half of his childhood. What a trooper. Um let's get this rabbit off it's trail. My point being, the Olympic Training Center had a big, huge, giant impact on me and it's in Colorado so Colorado must be good.

I love Colorado. I've never been there in the winter and even my summer experiences are minimal but it's a beautiful state full of rivers and camping and hiking and mountains and the Continental Divide. But most of all, now that I live in Utah, I love it for keeping me one state away from *Kansas.

There are a few states I've been to that I wouldn't consider moving to unless God bashed me on the head with a frying pan or wrote it in the sky or put it up on the Jumbotron at a football game. Colorado isn't one of them. If I were looking to move (please God, no. Not even out of my rental. Please please please no. I do not like putting all my earthly possessions in a giant van!) I wouldn't hesitate. I'd explore the options in the Centennial State.

*As I've said before, I'm sure that those of you who live in Kansas find it quite lovely. My time there did not endear me to it's plains and biting winds and general, uh, vastness. If you'd all like to move I would gladly petition Congress to turn it into a giant lake or wildlife preserve.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Prayer

Dear God,
Thank you for making it warm in Salt Lake City today. Also thank you that it is supposed to be warm tomorrow. I was wondering if you would reconsider the 50-60 degree weather you have planned for the following eight days? Also, please make my toddler stop having diarrhea because it is icky. In Jesus's name, Amen.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

There Are Some Things Money Can't Buy

Additional amount spent on groceries each month: $40.00

Umibilical Hernia Repair surgery: $1200.00

Monthly diaper and wipe fees: $45.00

Snuggle time with a busy toddler who actually fell asleep in my arms: Priceless

There are some things money can't buy. For everything else there's a JetBlue American Express card and using it slowly gets me free flights.

Friday, April 25, 2008

California Moments

I have California moments. These are times when, completely out of the blue, something hits me and I almost leave my husband a note:

Dear Troy,
Moved back to San Diego. Took the boy. Don't worry, we still love you.
-Wife

Today I took the little dictator to the mall because I was in need of a new pair of jeans. We had a good time. There were no tantrums. Jeans were purchased. Lunch was had. At the end of lunch he saw the carousel and very near had a coronary trying to pitch himself over the side of his stroller while screeching and pointing frantically. I didn't really want to take him on the carousel because there was no one else with me to watch the stroller, diaper bag, and purchases. And I really didn't want to lug the bags up onto the thing with me. So I took him to the play area instead. He slid on the dino slides, he hid in the play logs, and he spun the giant globe they have in the center. Each continent on this particular globe is painted a different color but there are no cities or state lines or mountains or bodies of water other than the major oceans. When North America went whirling by I smiled to myself. I've always loved how easy it is to find where I live. Just trace your finger up to the very top of Baja and move it another couple millimeters to the north. I was just about to show Garrett how to find where we live when it hit me. Out of the middle of nowhere I almost starting crying right in the middle of Dino Towne Play Area. On this particular globe there wasn't even a blue dot representing The Great Salt Lake. I could have ventured a guess as to where on the globe we were at that very moment but for all I know I might have pointed to somewhere in eastern Nevada or southern Idaho. It was suddenly very disconcerting to only have a vague idea where I was.

And I am not saying that I'm not supposed to be here--because I am. I am not saying that the Lord did not lead us here--because he did. I am not saying that I want to move back or that I don't have friends here or that there aren't four thousand and one reasons to be happy in my new home. I'm just saying that the homesickness sneaks up on me, unwarranted and unexpected. It's in the fact that my mom couldn't meet me at the mall today. It's in the sweater that I am wearing at the end of April. It's in the discovery that there are only two Jack in the Boxes in this whole state and they are in southern Utah. You'd think since it took me five months to realize this it wouldn't be a big deal but the fact of the matter is that I kind of wanted Jack in the Box when it was determined that I could not have it. It's in the epiphany that I'm not just above Baja anymore. There are a great many miles between me and that endless ocean now.

I find a great deal of comfort in the fact that when Abraham was 75 God called him to leave all he knew. He took his wife and his nephew and set out from Haran. Sarah probably wasn't terribly thrilled. And on top of it all Abraham was paranoid about getting killed by the Egyptians. At least when I moved my husband didn't make me tell everyone I was his sister. Thank goodness for that. But it turned out pretty well for ole Abraham. You know, "I will make you a great nation," and all of that. The thing is, you can know you're where you're supposed to be and still have California moments.

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He might only have 20 or so words in his vocabulary, but today he strung three of them together and said, "No more, mama." He was only repeating what I told him to say but if you lived in the house of the incessant babbling you, too, would be beside yourself with joy.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Little Boy Blue and the Man on the Moon

Last night I danced with my son. As we spun and dipped and bounced, he threw his head back and let out a deep belly laugh. I tried to memorize his chubby cheeks and the contours of his pudgy toddler neck. I tried to concentrate on what it felt like to have his legs wrapped around my waist and his little hands pressed against me. I thought of dancing with him at his wedding and how I hope, when that man leads me onto the dance floor, that I can remember what his baby laugh sounded like. I started to think about how strange it will be for another woman to love my son completely. It's so very odd that one day he will want nothing more than to be with her. Long gone will be the days of sitting on my lap and giggling over a rousing game of hide and seek. She will love the man inside of my boy, but I will always love the little boy inside of her man.

While we're on the subject of my son and any future wedding plans he may have, I should tell you that he is in love with Miley Cyrus/Hannah Montana. He will sit through a half hour of that show better than he'll sit through any cartoon. If you ask him if he loves Hannah Montana he nods emphatically. Follow that question with, "Is she your girlfriend?" and he smiles and says yes. Sorry Miley, I hope you don't mind having a 21 month old boyfriend because I just don't have the heart to tell him that you're not interested.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

My New Project

So awhile back, I made a craft at MOPS. I liked it a lot and decided to modify the project to make a wall hanging for my parents with pictures of two of their trips to Hawaii. I had so much fun making that one that I made a few more for gifts. I had so much fun making those that I decided to make some more. However, I don't actually need bajillions of these things hanging from my walls so I'm going to try to sell them. The fun thing about this is that I can make just about anything. So, let's say you saw these and had an idea for one that would be great in your home or your kid's room or something. Well, you could either make one yourself or you could ask me to make it for you. I really like doing it and it gives me kind of a creative outlet while Garrett is napping. You know, other than blogging. Anyway, I have pictures of the ones that I currently have for sale. They are $10.00 plus shipping (probably 2-3 bucks) if you live somewhere that is not in my new neck of the woods. I apologize for the bright glow in most of them, the flash reflects back in the metal. These come complete with a hanging device on the back and two of the strongest magnets ever, to hold the picture. What is great about these is that you can change the picture super easily just by removing the magnets and then replacing them on top of the new picture. Believe me when I say that you could set this outside during a brutal windstorm and your picture would not fly away. These are crazy good magnets. I can make one in just about any color and just about any theme. They are approximately 9.5 x 7 inches, although I could make any size. Each of the ones that are for sale feature pictures of my family but that is only so that you can see what they look like with a picture on them.
This one is light blue and perfect if you enjoy the nautical theme or you have been on a luxury cruise liner and want to feature a picture of your time in the Bahamas or you own a yacht or you like the ocean and enjoy boats.
Some people think that happiness is being a cowboy, or riding horses, or maybe being an outlaw. I am not really one of these people but I'm sure someone has a western theme in their home.
For a kid's room. Or, well, maybe a paleontologist.
This one is good for a girl's room. Or a boy who likes pink flowers. This one also has a flower applied to the top corner of the metal.

I can find many different wooden accents if you want something specific but these are the ones I currently have just waiting for a project:
purple flower on green stem
pink & purple flower on green stem
zebra
sailboat
football
horse with saddle
basketball
baseball glove with baseball inside
yellow butterfly
purple & pink butterfly
giraffe
pail & shovel
train engine
anchor

They make a good gift or room accent. Let me know if you just have to have one. Also, I don't really have a name for them yet so, if you have no interest in them whatsoever but want to help me name my new craft, just post a suggestion in the comment section. That is also where you should tell me if you would like one. Make sure you leave a valid email address unless we're good buddies and I already know everything there is to know about you.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

We Had An Outing...

This morning I took my tantrum throwing toddler with me to run several errands. And would you believe that the heavens opened up and angels sang and peace descended upon us? We were gone for several hours and the only time we had any tears at all was when I let him hold a certain truck at Pic n Save (Big Lots to most of you but it'll always be Pic n Save in my mind. Also, shout out to Price Club!) and then wouldn't let him take it home. The tears were minimal though. Hardly a blip on the radar. We went to WalMart, Michael's, and Pic n Lots and had no major tantrums. I did not use the pacifier. It was glorious. It might have had something to do with promising him repeatedly that if he behaved he would get a treat. I'm just not above bribery. So shoot me.

When we were finished at Big n Save we walked across the parking lot to McDonald's. $4.50 later I made the bright choice to have him facing the play area. Oops. He only wanted to eat french fries. I told him that unless he consumed his hamburger, there would be no playing. He gobbled half of his burger down. The second half was like pulling out wisdom teeth with tweezers and no anesthesia. He wasn't being particularly naughty, he just didn't want it. So he plugged his ears and squeezed his eyes shut. Most of you know by now that Troy is the parent of choice by a landslide. I don't know why, probably because he sees too much of me and not quite enough of him. At meal time, Troy can get him to eat just about anything, especially the things that I can't get him to eat. It's a dirty trick they play on me. So I said, in reference to the half of burger that was still left, "Daddy really wants you to eat a bite of this." And would you believe that kid opened his mouth like a starving baby bird and munched. We got down to three bites. I ate one of them for good measure. The other two sat on the table for a good seven or eight minutes. I tried everything. Against my better judgement I attempted to "airplane" it into his mouth. I told him daddy still wanted him to eat it. I finally said that we would not be able to play if he didn't eat the last two bites. As the minutes ticked by I honestly thought I was going to have to put him in the car without playing and hope he understood the action/consequence situation. Finally he ate them and I just about threw a party.

Here it should be mentioned that a multitude of parents allow their children to wolf down nuggets and fries on the playground while wearing their shoes and shoving all the other children. It's true, the sign says that the play area is for ages 3-12 and my kid isn't even 2 but I supervise extremely well and I take off his shoes and I make him eat his lunch in a chair so that he doesn't leave half chewed bites of soggy guck on the slide. So anyway, it took him forever to finally go down the slide but once he did, there was no stopping him. Eventually he decided that he wanted to go on the big slide but he was scared of crawling through the tunnels by himself and, quite frankly, with the huge middle schoolers that were playing on it, I was a little scared for him. So together we climbed up into the tunnels. As we were waiting our turn to go down, a big burly boy shoved me to try to get past. I nicely told him that we were waiting in line. About five seconds later he hissed, "Excuse me!" I looked at him and said, "I am waiting to take him down the slide." He kind of rolled his eyes and gasped. Oh my gosh. I'm so very sorry that the adult up here is inconveniencing you so much. I didn't say that, mind you. I just wanted to. Not two seconds later he literally barrelled himself into me, pushing me into the side. If he had gotten past me, he would have had to climb over my toddler and I'm just going to go out on a limb and say that he wouldn't have done it with a great deal of care. I have the confrontation skills of a timid cat, even when it comes to children, but this kid was making me mad. So I rammed my arm sideways, blocking his course of action, and sort of hissed in his general direction, "My son and I are next!" I realize that he probably thought the overgrown child (me) had no business being on the play equipment to begin with but the sign clearly says that parents are allowed. Of course, in that moment, the slide became available and Garrett threw himself down it with wild abandon, oblivious to the fact that his mother was about to get into a fist fight with a kid a third her age. That left me sitting up in the stupid play yard with no toddler. Given the line behind me and the fact that my son was unattended at the bottom, I had no choice but to slide down all alone thus looking like I spend my free time at the McDonald's playground. Ah well, the smile on Garrett's face when I got to the bottom was worth it. It was more of a "weeee I love slides" smile and less of a "you tell that big bratty bully," but in any case he went down the smaller slide one more time and then we came home. I think he was asleep before his head hit the mattress. After all, it takes a lot out of a kid to not throw a tantrum, eat a hamburger, and spend the better part of an hour climbing and sliding.

Monday, April 21, 2008

21 months!

Yesterday our little lad hit 21 months. Time seems to be moving at lightning speed because I remember, quite clearly, when he was just a wishful figment of my imagination. This morning we weighed and measured him. He was 27.5 pounds and measured 33.75 inches. According to this website, that puts him in the 58 percentile for both. I guess that means that, even though he looks like a little chub, he's proportioned properly. It's nearly impossible to get a decent portrait of him these days, what with the cheesy grinning and all the wiggling and the busy busy business. I tried anyway.

This last one says it all. Doesn't the look on his face just scream, "This morning I took my diaper and my pajama bottoms off because I was tired of being in a wet diaper. As a result of this I urinated all over myself and had to have a shower with my daddy. My mommy had to do an unexpected load of laundry because my bedding was all tinkly. Also I played in the sandbox that might actually be an old compost pile and I rubbed sand on my tummy and put fistfuls of dirt into my diaper repeatedly. Also I threw another fit this morning. But then I smiled like this and my eyes sparkled with mischief and my mommy practically devoured me in one bite."

I'll tell you one thing though, if this kid keeps taking off his diaper and using his mattress as a urinal, he's going to have a crash course in potty training. But it's true, sometimes when I look at him, all I see is a giant ice cream sundae with whipped cream on top and I want to eat him up.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Opposites Attract

I don't generally use the lyrics of Paula Abdul as a personal mantra but as Troy and I bantered back and forth on the way home from church this morning I realized that opposites really do attract. The truth is, if we wanted to get a divorce, I would simply sight irreconcilable differences. We don't want to get divorced, mind you, but we are just not on the same page when it comes to weather. Or temperature. Or natural forces. Let's take today's weather, for example. I would trade a whole heap of snow for the hideous wind we have smacking us in the faces on this very day. My husband, he likes it. He thinks it feels like twenty puppies are licking his face. Okay, so he didn't say that exactly. He said something about how it feels cleansing. Cleansing to have dust thrown all over you. Really? And then something about how it gives him some sort of dirt facial. Or something. I don't know, I'd stopped listening. But I don't like dirt facials. I don't think the wind is cleansing. I think it messes up my hair and makes my ears hurt if it's cold and sounds eerie when it moans through the rafters.

Troy hates the sun. He has sensitive eyes and overheats in record speed. If I would consent to live in a bat cave, he'd elect me wife of the year. I will not consent to such nonsense because who in their right mind hates the sun? The sun is warm. The sun is bright and shiny. The sun is crisp and clean and glorious. Troy doesn't like it because it chases the rain away. I think his brain has grown mildew as a result of so many rainy years in the northwest. Clearly his water socked head is effecting his ability to think rationally. If it rained, constantly, in that bat cave, he'd elect me wife of the decade. I don't mind a little rain here and there to brighten up the greens and wipe away the dust, but if more than a few days pass without my splendid sunshine, you can bet my world is going to feel upside down and all twisty inside.

We agree on so many things. Before we were married, we went though a book called The Hard Questions by Susan Piver. I'm not sure that two people with such strong personalities ever got through this book with such flying colors. Out of 100 questions, I think there were 2 that we had even a slight difference of opinion on. Our goals and dreams and lifestyles line up in ways that have made our relationship very easy. And obviously, our shared faith and equal yoking has been the platform on which our marriage has stood. It's a good thing, however, that mother nature doesn't ask us our opinion on the weather because you can bet we'd have a long distance relationship. Occasionally I'd put on a coat and enter the rainy bat cave and he'd wear a bathing suit and step into my sun room.

Today someone told me that his idea of heaven was a German chocolate cake trampoline. I don't like coconut so I was left to ponder the fact that if I died and found myself sinking in German chocolate cake, I might think I had ended up in the wrong place. In John 14:2 Jesus says, "In my father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you." I'm pretty sure that Troy's room is in the basement. There is a constant mist, the gentle rumble of thunder, and wind for the times he needs a dirt facial. There is also an endless supply of brownies. My room is always 76 degrees, the sun shines in on me from an open window. I sit on the window seat and smile out at Lake Tahoe because, somehow, it is there too. Occasionally a gentle breeze blows the thin curtains just slightly. And in the center of the room is my giant tiramisu trampoline.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Ketchup Discovery

So what with all the talk about how my kid is stubborn, strong-willed, and generally two years old these days, it might seem like I'm not enjoying raising a toddler. But in fact, it is the opposite that's true. To watch the excitement over the smallest of things, to see the discovery, to witness pure joy in his squeals and smiles, is my greatest reward. Take this for example:

That's the discovery of ketchup. It's not his first experience with it, but it is the first time it has been quite so impressive. I'm not quite sure what motivated this particular application but it did cause me to laugh out loud. In an attempt to get a decent shot of him, I took several pictures because any time he sees a camera these days, he does this:


That's his "say cheese" face. I am not entirely sure why he feels the need to squeeze his eyes shut and I hope that this is only a phase. I mean, my brother went through the phase where he thought he needed to try to smile the way a five year old draws one--with no teeth showing at all. Just the bottom part of a half circle. I hope Garrett goes through this phase because it was adorable. My brother also went through a phase where he tried to show all of his front teeth and it came out looking more like a snarl. I hope he passes over that particular phase. I don't care if he keeps smiling the way he is in this picture, I just hope he starts to open his eyes soon.

But, squinty eyes and all, I love that his face discovered ketchup today.

Friday, April 18, 2008

A Haiku For Mom

Along with 732 other people, I entered a haiku in a mother's day contest. It had to be about my mother. I mean, the other 732 people didn't write about my mom, they wrote about their own. Right? Cuz that would be weird if they were writing about some woman they'd never met before. The winning haiku writer gets 1,000 dollars. Mine didn't make the top five. I certainly wasn't expecting it to. But, Mom, here is the poem I wrote for you. For those of you who may not know, a standard haiku has five syllables in the first line, seven in the second, and five in the third.

Here's to the times you
Held my hair out of the puke
And lifted my dreams

Maybe because it has the word "puke" in it people don't want to give it 1000 dollars or any real critical acclaim. But the only other one syllable word I could come up with for vomit was barf and it didn't flow as well. I suppose spew could have worked. It should be stated that whenever there was actual hair holding, 75% of the time it was my dad. But in that particular line, puke is actually a metaphor for all the times she picked up the pieces or managed to keep me out of life's gunk. It should also be noted that I ralphed a whole lot as a child. It wasn't until Garrett and the Great Vomiting Evacuation Excursion that I truly appreciated the enormity of the sacrifice my parents had made concerning my own volumes of upchucked stomach contents. Anyway, it's hard to say just how much my mom means to me in seventeen syllables.

Here are the haikus that took the top five spots.

By Darcie at Such the Spot:
You have taught me that
because of a mother's love
I will never crack


By Anne Glamore at Tiny Kingdom:
You've been gone two years.
Your ghost disses my red hair:
"You look better blonde!"


By Chelsea at Crafty Cassie:
I always thought Mom
was bipolar til I had
children of my own.


By P.A.:
Mom, my heartmother
Not of your womb, but filled with
Your life's legacy.

By Veronica at Toddled Dredge:
"Girls can't play ball," they
told her once. Her grand-daughter
pitches and she smiles.

If you'd like to award one of these 1000 dollars, head over here and vote. But, let me ask you one question before you vote for the last one (if you were planning to vote for the last one). Isn't smiles two syllables? I mean, I pronounce it smy-uls. Do people really say smyuls in just one syllable?

Thursday, April 17, 2008

The Terrible Toddler Strikes Again

So remember that whole thing about how my kid acts like he's two and yada yada yada. Well today, after a MOPS session that was dedicated to disciplining, my son threw the largest tantrum in the middle of WalMart. He was in the back of the cart and it was half full of groceries and he decided he would start throwing them out. This isn't that big of deal if the things he chooses to throw are boxes of cereal or foil. It's annoying, yes, but it doesn't become a big deal until he does it with the milk. I caught it in mid air because, yeah, I've learned to adapt to my surroundings. So I thought that maybe we could try the whole, walk next to mommy and hold onto the cart scenario. It worked for about thirty seconds. One moment he was standing up against the cart and the next second I was diving for a carton of eggs that he had decided to pull down and examine. Only by the grace of God did I reach them before they became a pile of sticky goo on the floor. I put him in the front of the cart. He stood up. He hates being strapped in so I avoid it, but obviously this was no time for Pushover Mommy. I clicked the strap together under his arms.

And for the next TWENTY minutes he screamed absolute, bonafide, blood curdling murder. There was kicking. There was snot everywhere. There was bright red faced humiliation. Me, not him. Oh no, he was just as content as he could be pitching World War 3 in the middle of the grocery store. I tried whispering. I tried consoling and soothing. I tried stern looks and "this is unacceptable." Still the screaming continued until it became complete with gurgling and choking. I think children have been murdered for less but I was in a busy supermarket and had no weapon with which to proceed. Finally, when we rounded the corner into the produce section he spotted a watermelon. He pointed. "Ball!" And the crying ceased. I showed him little balls and explained that we call them apples. I showed him medium sized balls which we called honey dew. I showed him tiny balls which we call grapes. He wanted to eat them. I told him he could have some with his lunch. Complete and utter meltdown commenced.

He finally calmed down in the check out line. When we got to the car it was 12:45. I kind of feel like, while his meltdown was a product of a stubborn little boy who hates to be strapped to the cart, it may have continued for so long out of...hunger pains?

I put off my plans of slow dismemberment in favor of feeding my little guy and putting him down for a nap. Oh the joys of parent/toddler relationships. Some minutes it's all fun and games and angelic choirs declaring love and peace and some minutes it's all out guerrilla warfare.

To make it perfectly clear to any CPS worker who might stumble upon this blog, the writer would never murder or dismember her child.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

American Idol Updated

In regards to the earlier post from today, I know that there are many other people who have found fame through American Idol. The example given to me in a comment was Daughtry. Yes. Yes. Yes. Of course I know Daughtry. I mean, not personally but, yah. And like I said, Jennifer Hudson has an Oscar for crying out loud. And many many others have gone on to have hits and be on Broadway and open restaurants and appear on television shows etc. I was simply pointing out that, of the people who went on to WIN American Idol, you don't hear too much about anyone but Kelly and Carrie. At least on a grand musical scale.

Idol

So, after a several year hiatus, I've been watching American Idol this season. I know, I know, I'm a dork. But Garrett really likes music and one day, back before they were down to the final 12, I flipped it on and he was hooked...for ten minutes. Of course, as a result of that ten minutes, I was hooked for the season. I blame the writer's strike because nothing else is on!

In Utah, it's a really big deal whenever someone from Utah does anything that resembles greatness on a reality show. The winner of Survivor this last time was from Pleasant Grove and let me tell you that the news here went nuts with that tidbit of information. It was the lead story. Utah Man Wins Survivor! Oh my heck, you're kidding me? Let's all throw a huge party and lead the news with it. (It's important to note that although I have been told that Oh My Heck is a huge saying in these parts, I have only heard it once. And I've lived here for almost five months. And I don't say it, by the way. Only for blogeffect.) So my point is that David Archuletta--no clue if that is how you spell his last name and I don't want to put the effort into looking it up--is from this very valley. I could be in his town in like ten minutes. And when you drive through it, the businesses have signs up that say things like, "Arctic Circle Votes For David Archuletta," and for some reason, whereas the whole leading the news thing with the fact that Todd won Survivor just kind of annoyed me, signs posted for David make me smile and feel somehow warmer and fuzzier inside. I'm a hypocrite. I know. I think it might be because I'd like to shrink that little guy and carry him around in my pocket. I'd take him out when I felt like a serenade and, you know, to feed him. He is just so adorable and his cheeks are so pinchably cute. I probably shouldn't talk about a 17 year old like he is a puppy but I can't help it. I think he might burst and shoot sunshine rays all over the world. Also, though, the tag line on the news every Tuesday night is something along the lines of, "Did Utah's own David Archuletta steal the show on tonight's American Idol?" Or something. I do find this just a bit annoying. Post your signs, sure. Vote for David, sure. But seriously, I kind of feel like that one murder might be a bigger deal.

Also, I think that David Cook is crazy good. He knows what he's doing, that one.

At the start of the show I wanted to cut off Jason's dreads and use them as bonfire fuel. For some reason, they are starting to grow on me in a very weird, very inexplicable kind of way.

The girls have good voices. I do not think any of them will win.

The last thing I would like to say about this whole Idol thing is that, while I am addicted this year, I do not understand how it's still even on the air, much less how it is CRAZY POPULAR. The only two idols who have really carved a big gigantic name out there for themselves are Kelly & Carrie. I think Fantasia does Broadway--maybe. So what I am saying is that, sure some of the top ten people have gotten famous in other ways (Jennifer Hudson) as a result of the show, but we're talking about two people out of millions who have auditioned, been "crowned" American Idol, and made it BIG. So why do we keep thinking that the next person is going to have some glorious career? Oh it must be because of how famous Taylor Hicks is. So famous that when you Google his name you get his myspace page.

I do have aspirations of auditioning though. Clearly I don't have an ice cube's chance in the Sahara of getting on but, if I got through the rigorous rounds of auditions before you actually reach Randy, Simon and Paula, I have big dreams of being the next William Hung.

The end.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Weather

It looked like it did yesterday when I got up this morning. I dressed myself in shorts and a t-shirt and put my son in a romper.

It's now 55. The clouds are rolling in and the wind is blowing the trees at quite an impressive angle.

The weather here is just silly.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Spring!

Today, April 14, my son is two. Not in any official capacity, mind you. His actual birthday is in July. But this day will live in infamy as the day that Garrett woke up and announced proudly that he intended to enter his terrible twos three months early. He's toyed with being terribly two several dozen times before and we've shrugged it off as the product of strong-willed parents. But this morning there were many tears and several spankings before the clock struck nine. (Yes we use corporal punishment to redirect our child's behavior. It comes in the form of a tap on the diapered hiney that, if not accompanied with our irritated faces, wouldn't even make that boy flinch.) We informed him that his continued behavior would earn him a spanking. Continue. Spanking. Remove him from the situation. He returned to the situation. Continue. Spanking. Rinse. Lather. Repeat. It finally ended in the culmination of my son throwing himself on the floor and pitching a monstrous fit while I buried my head in my husband's shoulder and said, "Oh my gosh! A year and three months of this?" To which Troy informed me that he wouldn't necessarily snap out of it on his third birthday. So we could have well over fifteen months of this strong-willed terror. I considered putting him back. But. Um. Ouch. And no thank you.

Luckily his attitude improved. We are having our first day of what I would refer to as warm weather. It's over 70 and Garrett and I spent the morning in the backyard swinging, playing with his wagon and picking flowers (weeds that he brought to me with the biggest look of accomplishment on his face. It was almost as adorable as this). As Garrett ran around in shorts and a t-shirt getting dirt on his hands and pebbles in his toes, I remembered why I love being a boy mommy. The lense didn't capture the smells of spring or the wind that God must have sent simply because it feels almost exactly like a soft sea breeze or the sweet sweet look on that terrible two year old's face when he handed me what he knew to be the best rock in the whole entire world, but it did capture the chubby cheeks of a little boy who is growing up way too fast.
Happy happy happy Spring!

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Heaven

Oh fine! In regards to yesterday's post I have been properly chastised and, if I ever find myself with child again, I will feed the fetus fruits and vegetables and I will not dump excessive amounts of salt or sugar straight into its little body.

I'd like a machine that shifts the washed laundry directly into the dryer so that all I do is put it in and then come back to fold it. Well, actually, as long as we're dreaming big here, I want a machine that folds it, too. Somewhere in a cemetery somewhere, one of my ancestors is rolling in her grave thinking about how lucky I am that I don't have to walk down to the river to wash my frock with a stick.

It's 67 degrees outside and it feels like heaven. That is to say, it feels like what I imagine heaven to feel like on a slightly more chilly day. Obviously if I were dreaming up heaven it would be 80 and when I looked out the back window, there would be an ocean. And I would somehow know how to surf. And Caramel Java Chillers from Sonic wouldn't be fattening and I wouldn't have to urinate all night long if I drank one.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Bake Off

We had a church bake off tonight and we're all about to enter diabetic comas. We're not diabetic but what with eating our body weight in cakes and cookies, we probably qualify.

My cake didn't personally win any awards but I think that might have had something to do with the fact that my mom wasn't a judge and, apparently, Shannon received divine intervention in the baking of her chocolate cheesecake. I'm not even kidding. All you had to do was cut into that cake and the Hallelujah chorus rang out.

More bake offs. They make me happy. They make my husband happy. They make my toddler extremely happy. I know you're all mad at me because I let my child have sugar but it's not like I feed it to him by the spoonful. I'm pretty sure I was allowed to have a cookie here and there as a child and I turned out alright. In fact, I wasn't even a sugar addict until that kid took over my body and it started being all, "Feed me sugar! Come on, it's for the fetus. It's not you who wants it, feed the kid an entire Costco cake!" Truthfully, I'm praying for another baby with the hopes that it will hate sugar and get me out of this obsession. If I ever get pregnant again, the second that pee stick gets two lines I'm going to start dumping salt down my throat at an alarming rate. "We like salt new embryo," I will say, "Sugar is very bad. Salt is where it's at. Right? Please."

Friday, April 11, 2008

Clarification

So yesterday's post about that one awful day in Israel prompted this response from my husband:

T: I cared and I was within earshot.

Me: Um. Come again?

T: Your blog. I read it. I cared.

Me: Oh. Of course YOU cared. I meant that no one else cared. (pause) Should I clear that up?

T: I just don't want people to think I'm a terrible husband. I would have stayed back with you but I couldn't, being the tour leader and all.

Me: I'll fix it. You're not a terrible husband.

T: I was really sad, too.


He went on to tell me that I should just make a post script at the bottom of the previous blog but I figured I'd put it here so that no one missed it. It certainly wasn't my intention to imply that my husband was trying to blow off my meltdown. On the contrary, he was and is my rock.

****************************************************

We tried to take a picture of Garrett's black eye today. The bruising has settled into a deep purple line with some light purple around it. Since his idea of, "close your eyes, Garrett," is to cover his eyes with his hands, Troy had to take the picture while I held his eye closed. He liked that about as much as he'd like getting nipped at by crocodiles. And, of course, the end result doesn't do the eye justice. But you get the idea. He's rough and tumble, that kid.What you can also see in this picture is that my hands are drier than the freakin' Sahara. I thought skin couldn't get flakier than it does in Ramona. I thought wrong. You can also see that my fingernails are whittled down to just about nothing. Typically the shortness of my nails has a direct correlation to my stress level. So, hmmm, the Great House Purchasing Debacle of 2004 needs to fix itself now, among other things. I apologize to those with strong nail biting aversions or phobias (Joelle) for the state of my keratin.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

The Shiner & Advocacy Day

Last night the boy took a spill straight into the edge of my hope chest. Though he cried immediately--a good thing--it was ear drum rupturing hysterical sobbing complete with flailing and back arching--a not so good thing. He calmed down pretty quickly, which might have had something to do with the robin's eggs that I was feeding him while I tried to ice his huge lump and gorgeous shiner. Here are a couple pictures of the lump. It was difficult to get it in all its glory because Garrett must have his eyes staring directly at the camera at all times. Today the swelling is down but his eyelid is several shades of purple. It is quite a sight to behold and I am wondering if this kid will live to see two.
Happy Infertility Advocacy Day!
As soon as I found out I was pregnant with Garrett, I realized that I’d probably been pregnant once before. One time, over the course of our trying to have a baby, had I felt the same aversion to food, the same cocktail of emotion and hormones pulsing through my veins, the same hopefulness. I will never know whether or not I was pregnant. We had done a round of clomid. I had known the precise day of ovulation. The two week wait had come and gone. Three weeks had come and gone. I was halfway around the world, in Israel. If I wasn’t pregnant, my body should have let me know on the first or second day of the trip. Each day that went by was cause for elation, hope, almost celebration. And then there was the scant bleeding that I explained away as implantation spotting. “Sure it should have been earlier but maybe the kid is a procrastinator.” Finally, with the end of the eleven day trip nearing, the bottom dropped out. At the time it didn’t cross my mind that I could be having a miscarriage. I simply thought that my body had played a very, very mean trick on me. I thought the food aversions were because I was eating a Mediterranean diet. (Although, that diet was the healthiest I have ever eaten). I thought the emotions were because of the hormones. I thought the hormones were normal, though I had never in my life been brimming with quite so much estrogen. Perhaps it really was all those things. Or perhaps, since I felt the exact same way early in my pregnancy with Garrett, I lost a very tiny, very young, baby. I don’t mourn the possibility of that child because it never crossed my mind that I was miscarrying. But whether or not I actually was pregnant, I thought I was. For one week. In that hotel room, when I knew for sure that I wasn’t, I hit my infertility rock bottom. It’s different now that I have I child, but the knowledge of that lowest of low is why I try not to get my hopes up each and every month. I can’t feel that depleted of energy and life again, not if there is anything I can do to help it.

The next morning I contemplated staying at the hotel that day instead of heading out with our tour group. Troy said it was my decision and eventually I decided not to be all alone in the middle of Jerusalem, while my group gallivanted around. I skipped breakfast and I tried to compose myself. I managed to get on the bus. I even appeared in pictures. When I look at our scrapbook, it is ridiculous. I’m beaming on so many days of that trip, believing that I was, just maybe, finally, pregnant. But on that day I am the embodiment of the statement, “You look like hell.” Maybe no one else from our trip can see it but I sure can. I have absolutely no color. Literally, my face is almost ashen. Every smile is so obviously counterfeit and I look like, in an instant, my face might crack and bleed tears and estrogen. I thought I was being weak and ridiculous. "So I thought I was pregnant and I’m not, what’s the big deal?" Although, in retrospect, I suppose if I’d had a miscarriage, the loss of HCG could have caused the completely unstable crazy woman. I had never wanted my mommy so badly as I did when, for really the first time in my life, I couldn’t have her. She was halfway around the world. I mumbled something about being on the verge of a meltdown—though, truthfully, I had already jumped off the edge into full emotional collapse. But no one within earshot really seemed overly concerned. And really, what was I going to do, ruin everyone else’s vacation with the news that lo and behold, the infertile woman is still infertile? I've never really mentioned this before because I am not defined by it. It was only after the conception of my son that it dawned on me that I was probably pregnant back then. It’s simply a moment in time, and there were many low moments during our first struggle with infertility, where I sat, for awhile, at rock bottom.

I mentioned at the beginning of the month that today is The National Infertility Association’s Advocacy Day. I’m mentioning it again because, while that day in Israel does not define me, the nightmare of infertility does. I have met so many wonderful couples who struggle with this demon. I sat in the specialist’s office and tried not to stare at the other women who were trying not to stare at me. We all kept our eyes fixed on the wall because, for some asinine reason they had Maternity magazines in there and if we accidentally saw one, well, the world might end. Some days I wonder why God blessed me with my miracle when so many others remain childless and some days I wonder why God hasn’t blessed me with another miracle when so many take for granted the miracles that they have. I have watched the ultrasound screen for any evidence of ovulation and been told, numerous times, that, “no, not this month.” And I have watched the ultrasound screen and seen my child’s heart beating furiously. I have been to the rock bottom and I have been sky high and I’ve been somewhere in between. I know the importance of the issue. I realize that society’s ignorance about the subject makes it worth fighting for. If ten percent of the population started flopping over dead, I think it would be a major concern. But when ten percent of the population walks around with the inability to conceive, it’s considered a superfluous desire. So please pray that the specialized issues we care about would be taken seriously. And, if you do not struggle with infertility, please don’t ever-EVER--take your own fertility for granted.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

New Kids On The Block

Rule #942 of parenthood: Do not leave your child momentarily unattended in the highchair with ketchup. It doesn't matter if there is only a small dab, surrounded by chicken nuggets, on a large plate, the child will still manage to get it on every inch of the tray and in each ear and nostril.


Okay, so I'm sure I'm not the only one who's heard about the NKOTB comeback. I also trust that I am not the only person who finds this more than a little absurd. Oh don't get me wrong, I was a New Kids On The Block fanatic when they really hit the scene back when I was, you know, eight years old. I was rocking the side ponytail and the double neon socks with the best of 'em back in those days. I had all the songs on the Hangin' Tough album memorized and this fact severely degraded my hairbrush and the full length mirror on my closet. I fell out of love with my daddy and into love with one Joey MacIntyre. Although, to tell the complete truth, I knew that everyone my age loved Joey and, never wanting to appear the follower, I made a big deal about how everyone else could love Joey because I was in love with Jordan. My friends were cool with that, just as long as I didn't love Donnie or Danny because the former looked like a thug and the latter was clearly the missing link. So at night I stared at my poster and whispered into Joey's ear that if he asked me to marry him I would say yes. Then I looked at Jordan and informed him that, on the off chance Joey didn't want to marry me, he would do. After all, he was also extremely attractive and brooding. "But Jordan," I would say, "If Joey rejects me and we do get married, you will need to stop wearing your name on all of your shirts. It's getting weird." And let's not forget that on special occasions, when I got to sleepover at a friend's house, I packed my NKOTB overnight bag. Oh. Yes. I. Did.

So the problem with this reunion is that their fan base was comprised of females born between 1975 and 1983. So, given the fact that these women are all old enough for college degrees and many are probably married with children by now, we've all sold our bags and our albums at garage sales. In fact, we did so about sixteen years ago--a full two years before you even broke up--because we were kind of over it.

I read that the group will be releasing new music but that they would, of course, be performing the old stuff at their concerts. Really? Think you're going to be getting a high number of twenty-six year olds at your concerts? Do you think we'll show up with our hot pink shirts tied in a knot at the hip and our overnight bags on the off chance that Joey will ask one of us to marry him and we'll need a change of clothes for the trip to Vegas?

Honestly, I'm fine with them producing new music, they sounded fine back in the early nineties and Joey's been on Broadway so I'm willing to accept that they can still sing. The problem is they are still referring to themselves as a Boy Band. Let's call a spade a spade here, okay? They're a Man Band. Oldest member, Jonathan Knight will turn 40 later this year for crying out loud. And youngest member, Joey MacIntyre, who we're maybe supposed to still be referring to as JoeyMac these days, will be 36. Don't get me wrong, I think it's good for them if they successfully market themselves in the same way they did during the previous century. If stores start selling them as dolls again, and little girls start buying them, more power to NKOTB. Although, I might submit that they be referred to as Old Men On The Block (no offense to my mid-thirties husband. I mean, he's not running around yapping about how he's got the right stuff and saying he's in a boy band). It'll just be really interesting to watch it all play out. In six months I'll probably be posting the lyrics to some new song they've written and wishing I'd never gotten rid of that darn overnight bag.

Although it must be said, before I go, that Jordan Knight is still pretty attractive. I don't even think I'm going out on a limb here when I say that he is, indeed, the hottest OMOTB member. Sorry Joey, but you're just not fifteen anymore and you also never asked me to marry you which was very selfish on your part. Very selfish, indeed. On the other hand, Jordan, I think we could have had something really special. If I wasn't married and you weren't married, well, we could at least discuss the option of you wearing a shirt with your name on it. I might even iron it for you. If you asked nicely and promised to sing Cover Girl whenever I asked.

Edited to add: Oh my gosh! I just went and watched a clip from the Today Show when the New Kids made the official announcement and, sure enough, there are bajillions of late twenty somethings standing outside, in the rain, screaming their full blown heads off. Wow.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Tow Mater & Barn Flakes

All I'm going to say about Memphis giving Kansas the win on a silver platter is that somewhere in the world a large Mediterranean man is beside himself with joy. Moving on.

So you know how you start to sound like your friends, dress like your friends, sometimes even look like your friends? Well this just happens to be my son's very best friend in the whole wide world these days.


That's right. Mr. Tow Mater himself. And while I think Mr. Mater is a nice guy and all, I'm not sure I want him to continue hanging around my son. He's got that back woodsy hick thing going on complete with a lack of grammatical knowledge. He says, "Dag Gum!" quite a lot and my son is starting to pick it up and, while funny, I'm not sure it's what I want coming out of his mouth. Plus there is that whole tractor tipping obsession and I just don't know that I want my son learning that skill before the age of two. But what's a mom to do? I mean, they are very best buds. And Mater, well, he's definitely rubbing off on my kiddo.

Today the boy and I went to Costco and WalMart. He has a cold--AGAIN (I honestly think he catches one if it's so much as buzzing around the state of Utah somewhere)--and by the time we got to WalMart he was getting pretty whiny. I was trying everything to keep him from going completely ballistic and, apparently, my brain turned into mommy mush. I stood in the cereal aisle for a good minute and a half contemplating a box of generic barn flakes. What the heck are barn flakes? What are they doing in this aisle? I didn't even know that WalMart carried animal feed but, even so, put it in the pet section, not the cereal aisle. Those were my first thoughts. Then I thought that, barn flakes, in a box the same size as all the rest of the cereal, was maybe some kind of way to get kids, who are pretending to be farm animals, to eat their breakfast. So I stepped closer to the box. It was a very plain box, not at all enticing to the child's eye. I mumbled, "I don't get it," and walked away. However, my curiosity and confusion would not let me leave the aisle without glancing back over my shoulder for another look. There, staring back at me, was the generic box of Bran Flakes. You know, flakes made of bran. Only took me ninety seconds to read it correctly.

I wonder if any of the other people in the aisle watched me contemplate a box of bran flakes and then mumble, "I don't get it." Perhaps it was the highlight of their day, watching the crazy woman.

Monday, April 7, 2008

It's Hereditary

Last night, for reasons I won't go into, was an emotional evening for me. It was one of those times when you look at your husband, sitting there at the end of the couch, and you crawl over to him, bury your head in his lap and thank the Lord God Almighty over and over again for bringing him to you. It was one of those times when finances and infertility and hard water just didn't matter, they were trivial compared to what I was feeling. And in that one moment I was so head over heels in love with that man, and with the fact that we both love the same God, that I wouldn't have cared if we were living in a one room shack with no heat as long as I had him. (In that one moment, mind you. I'd have a hard time really living with no heat. Unless I was living in Chad). I always love my husband, but I cherish the times when it dawns on me that 4.5 years later, not only do I love him more, I love him different. I still miss him when he's gone and I still long to be in his presence, but it's comfortable. I can lay my head in his lap and just be still. I can dance around the house like a crazy loon. I can be the person I am, entirely. The fact that God gave him to me and together we navigate the crud just never ceases to amaze me.

This video is maybe almost two minutes long, so if you've got two minutes to spare I recommend it. It is further evidence of the fact that "The Cleaning Gene" is hereditary. After dinner last night (Troy was at a meeting) I said, "Hey Garrett, do you want to help me clean up?" He sprinted over to the closet, got out the mop, and started pushing it around the floor. I didn't have the camera on, of course, but I tried to recreate it. See for yourselves. I am aware of the fact that my voice is still high pitched and annoying. I have been working on it but, I've done an investigation and determined that the boy responds to me only when I talk in an octave higher than normal. When he has better communication skills we will sit down and have a lengthy discussion about this. I do not intend to talk in all matters of shrill when he gets older. For the time being, turn off your sound or ignore me. Please.

video

Saturday, April 5, 2008

All The Pirates Of The Caribbean

Caution: Pirates of the Caribbean trilogy spoilers ahead. For those of you who haven't seen them all and still think you might.

Though I am losing my mind and can't remember quite that far back, Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl came out in the summer of '03. I remember things from that summer, things like getting married and going on a honeymoon and working in at a mechanic shop which is just about the worst job ever for a theatrical female. But for the life of me, I can't remember if Troy and I saw that movie before or after our wedding. I'm going to wager that it was before. We spent every waking minute that we could together so I'm sure we managed to fit a movie into the wedding planning shenanigans. Pirates of the Caribbean is my favorite ride at Disneyland. It hasn't always been but what with the musty smell and the sound of forks against plates in the Blue Bayou as you float past and the pitch black fall into the world of pirates and, um, ladies of the night and skeletons and dogs with keys, it has occupied the top of the list for quite some time now. I was eager to see the film. And I enjoyed it. I remember being riveted by how gorgeous Keira Knightley is that movie. I know it's a wig but I'd give my left arm and throw in a big toe and the flower plates I bought at Dollar Tree to have that kind of hair. And then I found out that she was just 17 when she made that movie and I decided that one day I might--might--have to egg her house or something. But still, I liked the movie. We bought it on DVD. We laughed at Keira and Jack Davenport on the commentary. We decided that we rather enjoyed Keira's eyebrow acting. I swooned over Johnny's acting skills and Orlando's, well, Orlandoness. We considered naming a future daughter Keira. The end.

We saw Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest sometime between the day it came out, on July 7, 2006 and the day our son was born on July 20. It was the last movie we saw before becoming parents led to the demise of our film going frequency. I saw a total of two movies during the first 16 months of Garrett's life. Oh my gosh I hated Dead Man's Chest. Keira was still just dandy in all of her, what, twenty year old ness. Orlando was still easy on the eyes. Johnny was still wonderfully, Johnny. But if I'd have known that we were paying 17 bucks to watch Hollywood attempt every single special effect known to man over and over and over again, I might have opted out. Especially because at that point, Garrett's butt needed to GET OUT OF MY RIB CAGE RIGHT NOW! I had started sleeping on a pair of socks because I needed constant pressure on a certain spot in my back and had to take said socks to the movie theatre to alleviate some of the Get Out. Get Out Now I Don't Even Care That It's Not Your Due Date Yet.* And that whole scene with the ridiculous ball rolling and the heart flying all around really just added to my discomfort. Then, here comes the end and there's creepy and disgusting Tia Dalma and I respected her as an actress because what kind of accent was that, even? But, I mean, I couldn't really look at her without wanting to cover my unborn child's eyes. And there was the little matter that I did not know it would end with no resolution. My husband knew this but he had failed to inform me. I had to wait a whole year to find out what the heck was going to happen next. The end.

As it were, we waited twenty months. Last night we rented Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End right off of our TV. I was resigned to the fact that there would be about ninety minutes worth of special effects and fight scenes when only about fifteen of those were actually necessary. I accepted the weird crab thingies. I was even okay with Johnny seeing a million Johnny's because, personally, I wouldn't mind a million Johnny's running around my house drinking rum. It would probably spice things up--or something. But the end, are you kidding me? So, I've waited approximately five years to discover that poor little Keira has to mourn the death of her father on a desolate island and see her husband once every TEN years? And don't even get me started on the fact that it's a darn good thing she was ovulating on the precise day that she got to see him last time so that she could spew forth little Orlando and he could anxiously await the return of his father at the very end, after the credits. And why, exactly, was she not allowed to step foot on The Flying Dutchman to be with him when she'd been on it a few times before? Consistency people, consistency. So I've rewritten it in my mind and Jack Sparrow forces Beckett to stab the heart and he has to ferry souls to the afterlife. And Will Turner (otherwise known as Hottie Orlando) never gets stabbed and they (Orlando and Keira) live happily ever after. The end.

My version is way better. Admit it. Also admit that if you really take a step back and think about it, only the first film was worthy of praise and Tia Dalma/Calypso is really, really creepy and not in a good way. And Keira Knightley is a good eye brow actress.

*I've often talked about how wonderful and easy my pregnancy was. Until the last few weeks it was extremely wonderful and, despite concern about growth restriction and low fluid blah blah blah, I maintain that it was a very easy pregnancy. There was, however, the overwhelming back pain for about three weeks before he was born. No biggie. I'd lay on a pair of socks again in a second for that kid.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Heredity

He-red-i-ty (huh-red-i-tee) - noun.

1. the transmission of genetic characters from parents to offspring: it is dependent upon the segregation and recombination of genes during meiosis and fertilization and results in the genesis of a new individual similar to others of its kind but exhibiting certain variations resulting from the particular mix of genes and their interactions with the environment.
2. the genetic characters so transmitted.

Lately, I've been getting quite a lot of, "You look like your mom." Even though I sometimes catch myself in the mirror and think the same thing, this is an especially foreign concept to me. It's true, I've always had her eyes, a dark brown heritage that--save for a brief stint of craving blue eyes in elementary school--I have always been fiercely proud of. As a child, however, that is where the similarities ended. I was my father. We were colored with the same crayon and my hair, though muted, always carried the thread of red he gave me. Our baby pictures, though separated by a couple of decades, suggest that, perhaps, the children in them are fraternal twins. So it's strange to find myself beginning to look like my mother. I have a difficult time seeing it, I'm still the same hue as my dad--and my hair is looking more and more like his every day. And then there is the little matter of my son.

At birth I wasn't entirely sure who he looked like. But it didn't take long for me to start noticing the similarities between my own baby pictures and the cherub I held in my arms. Family members often said that it was like looking at me, two and a half decades later. That's not to say that he doesn't have features that come from my husband. The fact that he has short legs, detached earlobes, and Troy's upper lip come to mind. And for all I know whenever my husband's family members see Garrett, they think he is a carbon copy of Troy. I've only seen a handful of baby pictures of my husband so I really can't say for certain. Our coloring is the same, so if Garrett had popped out any other shade, there might have been confusion. He's got my eyes, large and dramatic. They've really yet to pick a color though. Once in awhile they appear light brown, as if Troy's blue eyes dimmed my brown ones. On occasion they are a dark, steely blue, as though my dark ones clouded my husband's. But usually they are green--like my dad's. He has my nose. That is to say he has the nose I had as a toddler, which looks very much like the nose my father had as a little guy.

My grandparents sent me a picture of my dad when he was toddling. They thought it looked like Garrett. I agreed. I scanned the photo and cropped it, so it's a little difficult to get the full effect but you can see for yourselves. I did the same thing with a picture of myself and followed them both by a picture of Garrett. Maybe if we were all grainy and looking in the same direction it would be more obvious.


When you look closely at the actual picture of my dad, it's as though Garrett is walking around in clothing from the early sixties. My dad's face is much longer--my son's round face must come from my husband's side of the family because no one in my family had it. But their hair is the same color, their noses are almost identical, and their cheeks flush in the exact same spot. It's hard for me to think about my dad being like my son. I've always known him as strong, mature, put together. It's difficult to think that there were days when he was the sweetest little angel and days when he wouldn't stop climbing my grandma and she maybe thought about drop kicking him halfway across the kitchen. I wonder if he was obsessed with cars and trucks in the same way and if he followed my grandpa around the backyard "helping" with yard work. More than anything, though, it is so hard to imagine him being small. And it reminds me that one day my son will have a wife and a career and leg hair.

We have many of the same genes, my father, myself and my son. I am proud of the way that God has crafted us. But more importantly, as I look at each of those three pictures, I realize how desperately I want to become half the person that the first little boy became. And I know that if my son grew to look like my dad on the inside, I would count him a success. I do not look in the mirror and see my father reflected back nearly as much as I used to, but as I look through my mother's eyes, I hope to love my son in the way I was loved. I hope to pass down a rich heritage, where genetic roots only swim on the surface.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Loot & Bell Peppers

So last night I debated going to MOPS today. See, yesterday, Garrett was whiny and tired and had three horrendous diapers where, let's just say, bad things happened. I didn't want to take a sick kid to the nursery but he seemed alright when he got up so we headed over. And boy am I glad we did. We have opportunity baskets (raffles) and I won! For the grand total of five dollars, look at the loot I brought home. Not pictured: One loofah scrubby thingy because I gave it to Brenda because she was really the rightful owner of half of my plunder. See, we each got six tickets and there was a strip that I ripped in half and gave her half of. If she'd been in possession of my half, this would all be hers. I informed her that she should take whatever she wanted because I wouldn't use up all that bath stuff in the course of two years. She wouldn't take anything. Until I forced a loofah scrubby thingy upon her. Otherwise, the contents include, another loofah scrubby thingy, bar soaps, a bath pillow, a hair towel, a regular towel, a washcloth, a candle, a delicious smelly potpourri thing, sprays, bubble baths, liquid hand soap, a wooden counter decoration, a sponge, lotion, a giant basket and I think that might be all. But I could be forgetting something. Plus, for my five dollars, I got the following:
Pictured above is the kiddo booty. It included: A plastic basket, dental floss, toothbrush, toothpaste, bubble bath, kid soap, a book, ducky no slip grip things, a dolphin and her three bath time babies, a fishy loofah scrubby thingy, a watch for potty training, and an Edibles Gift Certificate. It was kind of like, for five dollars, Garrett and I threw ourselves a birthday party. Speaking of The Dictator, he did the weirdest thing yesterday. We had a couple of baby red bell peppers leftover from a veggie tray and, as a joke, I handed him one. I thought, for sure, that he would taste it and make a horrid face. I would then take it back into my possession and give him a cookie or something else that might be easier on a baby's tongue and tummy than bell peppers. This is what happened.


video

I know you are thinking that I caused his wretched diapers but he'd already had those. He just thought were scrumptious and, other than flecks of bright red pepper skin in his diaper this afternoon, he didn't seem to show any signs of difficulty digesting. He ended up eating both of them!


Tuesday, April 1, 2008

What? Another Picture?

If you haven't already, please read my blog about Infertility Advocacy Day! This issue is extremely dear to my heart, please show your support through prayers and through awareness.



As promised, here are a few of the rejected Red Thing ideas:


* table runner (the Magic Scarf just would not proportion itself properly)


* Christmas bow (it just ended up looking like a big giant blob on top of a Christmas box)


* dress (The Red Thing was so porous that it would have needed a full body red slip underneath)


* negligee/lingerie (oh how it would have worked but this is supposed to be a family friendly blog)


* tube top (there was just not enough to hold the garment in place. This is a direct result of using my body to feed my infant son)


*leg warmers (this would have worked quite well if there had been two of them)



I have an announcement to make. Because of popular demand I have decided to continue the run of The Red Thing*. Pictured below is a little piece of modern photography that I like to call The Emerging Fury.

This picture happened sometime near the beginning of The Red Thing Phenomenon. I was trying to use Garrett as a model for something, perhaps the cummerbund. He was kneeling on my bed and, as I tried to take the picture, he began thrashing in an attempt to GET IT OFF OF ME RIGHT NOW. I hadn't checked the setting of the camera and, instead of being on the normal setting, it was on one we never use. This picture resulted. I think it is interesting that his arms have disappeared. I also think it looks like he is emerging from a cocoon. Furthermore, the features of his face remind me so very much of his ultrasound pictures. In it's totality, I find this photograph, though a complete accident, to be completely fascinating.

*April Fool's! While I had a great time blogging about The Red Thing, I am running out of ideas. This is the final installment. I encourage you all to run out and purchase one for your own self. Perhaps you can come up with other uses for this garment. Remember to accessorize with abandon.

As a final parting, I'd love it if you responded with an answer to the following question. The choices were selected based upon popularity in the comments section. You can click each link if you don't remember what they looked like:

My favorite Red Thing episode was
A. Troy wearing a Fred Flintstone tie
B. Lori in the burqa
C. Garrett as a Super Hero
D. The Fuzzy Steering Wheel Cover
E. Lori as Juliet Capulet
F. None of the above (please choose your favorite)