Thursday, September 30, 2010

Tea Pot

The good news is that I didn't burn down the house. The bad news is that my tea pot may never be the same again.

Word to the wise: When you think you're boiling eggs, make sure you turned on the correct burner. If you turned on the wrong one, make sure your tea pot isn't sitting on it.

When I came back upstairs from printing something in the office my white tea pot was an interesting shade of brown--inside and out.


Wednesday, September 29, 2010

My Miracle

Wednesday nights are Kid's Club nights. The Husband heads to Bible study and he takes The Rock Star to our children's program. It's something that I'm not involved in this year because, well, something had to give.

So it allows me some quality time with my youngest. The older guys leave around 6:30 so I get an hour with The Little Buddy. Of course, that does mean that he's sitting on my lap right now alternating between watching Timmy Time and "helping" me type. We've already taken a shower, had a meltdown because I told him that Scotch tape isn't a toy, danced and had a tickle war. He's cuddled me and I've kissed his head more times than I can count. Now he's prancing around with a stuffed puppy--the very first stuffed animal he owned because The Rock Star picked it out before his baby brother was ever born--and a flashlight which he's managed to turn on and is now using as a phone.

And I love him, this son who almost wasn't. And my heart is content.

It seems so exceptional
The things just work out after all
It's just another ordinary miracle today
-Sarah McLachlan

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The Bug: Part 2

It wasn't long ago that I told you about our temporary pet, Moses, the female praying mantis. As it turns out, we kept her for several days and then released her into our backyard. She was eating crickets like no body's business. Unfortunately, when a praying mantis drops a carcass, it won't return to it so we had several stinky cricket parts smelling up the cage she was in. It was pretty gross so we sent her off into our yard. The day that we let her go, she wouldn't stay put in the yard. She jumped onto The Rock Star's shoulder and he carried her around that way for the better part of the afternoon.

Today, while on a walk, I spotted another praying mantis in the middle of the road. This one was green so I know it wasn't Moses. I picked her (yes, another female) up and put her on the stroller. I figured death by sedan wouldn't be terribly pleasant and that she could live in our backyard as well. Turns out that this mantis was a great deal less friendly than Moses. As I pushed the stroller toward our house she pranced and hopped all around the stroller, keeping my boys thoroughly entertained.


She leaped straight onto The Little Buddy's face. The same Little Buddy who is terrified of a tiny house fly now had a large praying mantis nearly spanning the width of his face. And it was as though he was being killed. He writhed and flung his arms around and tried to grab the praying mantis and it was a disaster. If it hadn't been so sad I would have laughed aloud as I sprinted to the side of stroller and saw a bug covering the eyes, nose and mouth of my youngest child. But, as there was about to be bug carnage coupled with a scene that will likely have my son on the couch of some psychiatrist someday blaming everything on a praying mantis, I didn't laugh. I removed the bug, pulled the toddler from the stroller, and pushed it home with one hand as I held my shaking son in the other arm.

We did release the mantis into the yard. Whether she'll survive the squeezing she received from the baby remains to be seen.

Sunday, September 26, 2010


I love retreat highs.

Spent this weekend with almost 30 other women and had an absolutely amazing time.

Drew nearer to the Lord.

Made a decision or two.

Dealt with a few issues. One of them being my own.

Did a craft.

Ate way too much sugar food.

Slept way too little.

Laughed way too hard during a game of Telestrations. For real. The eight players were all in tears. My stomach muscles may never be the same.

Led worship (I know, right?) and lost my voice.

Came home on a high.

Which is making me really excited about what God's gonna do in thirteen days.

Thirteen. Eek!

Thursday, September 23, 2010


It's pretty incredible watching God work with a deadline.

I slept like a baby last night and didn't have even one nightmare where I was standing in front of a bunch of women with nothing to say. There wasn't a single dream where suddenly I realized that I was naked except for the microphone. Not a thought about suddenly breaking into an Irish jig in hopes that they'd be distracted enough to think that my presentation was somehow brilliant. I did have a dream where I was taking a course at a college I'd never been to and couldn't figure out where to park and missed the class and it ended up being the day of the final. I think that might have had something to do with this whole retreat thing but I'm pretending it didn't.

God is already working. His hands are moving over this.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

What Have I Gotten Myself Into?

I just agreed to speak at a women's retreat.

It's in 16 days.

I've got nothing.

Because I've already told a large portion of my story to the same people.

I almost said no. No, I can't do this. No, I can't prepare two sessions in two weeks when I took 8 months to prepare the four I did last year. No, I can't figure out anything new to say.

But I can. God answered.

So I'm going to ignore the knot in my stomach, the feelings of doubt, the rapidly beating heart. And I'll have faith that He's got something really good to say to those women and that he can somehow use me to say it.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

So Good

Confession: I could eat an entire bag of Lay's Kettle Cooked Sea Salt & Cracked Pepper chips.

You wouldn't want to smell my breath when I was finished but that's neither here nor there. The point is that I could.

Thankfully, I have a smidgen of self control.

Monday, September 20, 2010

The Bug

We used to call Garrett The Bug. Still do sometimes. But that isn't what this post is about.

See, I don't know why I ever thought I'd have a daughter.

Today, as I entered the house from the garage I noticed a bug on the handle of our snow shovel. I sent The Rock Star to grab his "bug catching" net. Together we captured the creature and deposited it into the dead snake's old cage. I thought it would be fun educational to observe a praying mantis for awhile.

I asked The Rock Star what we should call it and he gave me his standard answer, "Cheesy." It's true. Without any parental prompting, he'd name everything Cheesy. I don't know where he gets this love for cheese. Certainly his father and I would never desire to sit down and eat an entire block of cheese. We definitely don't like cheese in just about any form. We don't view cheese as one of the most perfect creations...

In any event, I encouraged him to choose something else. Something, maybe, from the Bible, since this is a pious insect. "How about Jesus?" he asked. But it seemed wrong to refer to a bug as Jesus so I asked him to head back to the drawing board. "Moses!" He smiled.

"Moses is a good name for a praying mantis." I told him. Unfortunately, after further research, I'm about 99% sure that our particular mantis is a female. I think we're just going to have a girl named Moses. And why is it that the first thing we ever have around here that's a chick also happens to be a winged insect?

So we spent some time gathering sticks and such from our backyard to make Moses a little more comfortable. We also searched high and low for bugs but only succeeded in finding a roly-poly and two earwigs. Our resident mantis seemed completely uninterested. The Husband had a meeting this morning so I asked him to bring home some crickets.

Let me tell you. Those crickets were, apparently, like fine dining for Moses because she really went to town on them. Is still going to town on them. Is ripping off their heads with gusto and slurping out their insides. And The Rock Star and I are watching. Observing. Learning about nature. Moses is watching us with those eyes and I'd be lying if I didn't feel like, maybe, tonight I should sleep with one of mine open.

And I'm wondering why I ever thought I might have a daughter. Because, yeah, I can get dressed up and have a tea party and play Barbies with the best of them but I can also catch snakes and watch praying mantises rip the heads off of crickets. There's one thing I know for sure. God gave me boys for a reason. So we'll watch this mantis for awhile. Then we'll either keep her until she dies early into the fall season or we'll let her go. Either way their will probably be tears. So I'll use my estrogen and hold my little man tight. You see, aside from setting up bug habitats, I'm also good at hugs.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Dirt Eater

The Little Buddy eats dirt. Excessively.

It's becoming a problem. It started with a little sand at the beach. Now it's fistfuls of dirt, sand, mud, anything he can get his hands on. Sometimes it's attached to grass. It makes for several awesome diapers a day that smell like a decaying carcass. We can't get him to stop. He's like a moth to a flame, a dog to a bone, Lennon to Yoko.

Today I asked him what was in his mouth. He promptly spat mud onto his shirt. I told him, again, that we do not eat dirt. I swabbed his mouth, wiped it out, washed it. He cried. So what did he do when we finished that high time? He walked down the stairs, turned the corner, went out the open back door and promptly thrust another fistful right in.

I called the pediatrician. Well, first I tried to call my mom but she's on vacation and didn't answer. Then I looked it up online. I'd heard of something called Pica. Naturally, I googled it. Then I called the pediatrician. I promised the nurse that I'm not crazy. I told her I had another son--an older son--and I'd never called and asked if the amount of dirt he was eating was excessive and no longer an age appropriate behavior. After talking to the nurse it was confirmed that, at this point, Matthew has a mild form of Pica.

But, apparently, they don't worry about it until it's been going on for over a month. The Little Buddy has only been obsessed with consuming dirt for about a week. I'm supposed to encourage positive eating habits. "Yeah, Little Buddy! You ate a banana! Good for you!" And I'm supposed to discourage the dirt eating. "Boo, Little Buddy. You ate dirt. Not cool!" (Which I've been doing and it's been zero percent effective. He just looks at me like I have no idea what I'm missing.) Obviously we're not supposed to let him eat the dirt. If this is still going on in a few weeks we'll have to have a blood panel done to make sure he's not missing some important mineral. That sounds like fun. Matthew wails like a nearly dead wildebeest amidst a pack of lions when he gets an injection. I'm sure that holding him on my lap while he has a blood drawn would be a regular picnic.

The silver lining of all this is that he's eating dirt. Some people with Pica eat feces.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

82 Hats

Lately, blogging has been a bloody challenge. (That's not to say that murder or bloodshed has occurred. I just figure that if my son is going to start talking like a Brit, I should join him. You know, throw in some English colloquialisms every now and then. For fun, like.)


Funny things are happening on a daily basis. God is refining me on a daily basis. I'm screwing up on a daily basis. These are the things a blog is made of. Er, at least, my blog is made of. But I feel like I have 82 extravagant hats on my head and I'm trying to balance them. After all, if they all toppled off I'd have to start all over again and some of them would be ruined and it would be a giant pain.

When I finish cleaning or pressing or properly storing my hats I have to watch an episode of 24 because, well, I'm a complete addict. And it isn't just me. No. My parents are addicts, too. My brother and his wife, count them in. That's right guys, if I'm going down I'm taking all of you with me. So the other night The Husband and I reached the point in the series where the writers all went on strike and the result was Redemption because by the time they all negotiated their terms there wasn't enough time left for 24 episodes. We started off this crazy addiction on a Netflix gift certificate from our Associate Pastor and his family and, as we settled into the couch to watch the film, we realized that Redemption isn't available to watch on Netflix. You have to order it. And wait to have it sent to you. And we needed a fix. Pronto. So at 9:45 at night The Husband located the nearest Blockbuster and sprinted over to bring home a copy of our drug. It was disgusting. It was as though we'd suddenly realized that our dealer didn't have the right stuff so we found another supplier. We're druggies. Is there a program for this? 24Anon?

A few days ago Troy went upstairs to find The Rock Star surrounded by toys that were engaged in some heavy drama. Action figures were strewn about and bad guys had overtaken a pirate ship. "Why doesn't that guy go help them?" The Husband asked.

G: Because, he's already dead.*
T: Oh. Well what about that guy?
G: He can't. If he goes near the pirate ship it will BOOM him.
T: Sounds like they need to call Jack Bauer.

Aside from inviting Jack Bauer into our home I've started rehearsing for the church Christmas play which I'm writing, managing and directing and, oh yeah, playing the role of Elderly Mary. I mean, she's not supposed to be ancient but when you have a 29-year-old playing a teenager it's bound to be interesting. She's got 80+ lines but who's counting, really? I've started working with youth which I'm super excited about because it means I get to hang out with teenagers which I've really missed since quitting my teaching job to move out here. It also means that some of the youth I hang out with actually have more estrogen than testosterone and don't spend the bulk of their time pretending that action figures are dead. We just started up our Women's Bible Study on Wednesday mornings so I get to spend time with Beth Moore which is amazing. I mean, you know, she's on the other side of a screen and can't see or hear me but I don't really care. She's Beth Moore and I'll take her how I can get her. I pretend we're BFF. What she doesn't know can't hurt her. I'm currently on the worship team rotation. This means that on Sunday mornings you can find me squawking out something that hopefully resembles a note that's somewhere in the vicinity of where it's supposed to be. Although I refuse to make any promises. Our Women's Retreat is next weekend. I'm kind of in charge. I still need to remember not to forget a music stand and a pillow and about a million other tiny details. And even though The Rock Star is only in school three days a week I still feel like I'm already a slave to his schedule. Preschool and Jack Bauer. A fearsome duo.

There's more. I can't think of it all right now. I've got dinner on the brain. Sometimes blogging is interrupted by the sheer necessity of cleaning the toilets. Sometimes I start and am stopped by a toddler that refuses to stop eating dirt. Sometimes I'm halfway through when I remember that I forgot to do something and someone's life is hanging in the balance. (Oh, no. Wait. That's not me. That's Jack again.) So I'm left wondering how WOTH moms (Working Outside the Home) do it? How do you balance ministry and work and parenting without causing spontaneous combustion?

I've been making it through my days with Hawaiian chocolate covered macadamia nuts brought to us by a member of the congregation. I ate the last one today so I'm either going to need to figure something else out or someone is going to have to fly to Hawaii and get me some more.

P.S. Dear Associate Pastor, if your wife tells you to read this and you start panicking and thinking that it was a horrible idea to let me start working with Youth because I have way too much going on, please take a deep breath and remember that I'm surrounded by testosterone and I really need a youthful estrogen fix (and how many people can say that and mean it?) and there's the whole bit that God called me to be involved in that ministry. Oh and, also, the women's retreat will be over soon enough. :-)
Oh. And. And. And. If you remain unconvinced let me assure you that I can always stop watching 24.

Wait. No. No, I can't. But who gave us the Netflix gift certificate. Yeah...that's what I thought.

*Really? REALLY? I didn't teach him these things. I didn't tell him that all of his action figures should die and that a common stick can be turned into a gun. Troy didn't teach these things either. This is built in. I promise.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Crackin' Me Up

As you all know, The Rock Star didn't say much until he was two and then we had verbal word vomit exploding from his mouth with wild abandon. And while that may be a visual you'd rather not have had it's important for you to understand what an insane talker this kid is now.

He never really shuts up. Unless he's asleep. Even then he sometimes mumbles things. Some of the words he says are hilarious. Like when someone asks him how something happened and he replies, "It's a mystery."

Just now I asked him if he was going to return to the room to watch the rest of the movie I'd put on and he replied, "Well, mom, as I was saying, I'd like a snack, please."

What? As I was saying? Who says that? Lawyers, maybe. The British?

Monday, September 13, 2010


It's no mystery that I wasn't really looking forward to turning 29. If you know me, have spent time with me, gave birth to me, what you have you, you probably heard me exhale loudly anytime anyone mentioned that my birthday was coming. It was the first time that I really wasn't looking forward to it. Not that the alternative, being death, is a good option, but I just didn't want to have my last birthday with a two at the beginning of it. I'm hoping I got all the complaining out of my system this year and that next year the big three oh will just happen without any pomp, circumstance, or loud sighing on my part.

So last Wednesday rolled around and it wasn't the terrible thing that I thought it might be. I took The Rock Star to his first day of his second year of preschool and then went out for coffee with some other preschool moms. Later that night my family took me out for dinner. And that's when it happened.

G: (to the waitress) Hey. Do you know my name?
Her: No. What's your name?
G: Garrett.
Her: What a nice name.
G: It's mommy's birthday!
Her: Oh. Well, happy birthday.
Me: Thank you.

Of course, about five minutes later, the entire restaurant staff serenaded me with a birthday song and then bestowed a dessert upon me. Well, not upon me--that's probably wouldn't have been any fun since it was covered in chocolate sauce. More like in front of me. For all the attention I don't mind having on myself, for all the stage appearances, for all the times that I'm like, "laugh at my funny joke!" you really should know that there's an introvert lying dormant inside. And she gets really embarrassed when people in restaurants sing to her.

But it was worth it because a certain four-year-old was grinning from ear to ear and was immeasurably proud of himself when, after they finished, I ruffled his hair, hugged him, and told him that he was the culprit behind their singing. After they'd filed away and both my sons were eyeing my dessert like it was their birthday, The Rock Star asked, "Mommy? How many are you?"

Me: Old.
G: But, how many?
Me: 29.
G: (pause) So you're gonna die soon, huh?

Saturday, September 11, 2010


Apparently, when you turn 29, you receive your AARP magazine in the mail two days later.

So it was sent to the wrong address but still.

Friday, September 10, 2010


Little Buddy,

Every monthly post starts with something about how the time has flown. Each milestone seems impossible given the fact that you're still supposed to be tiny and covered in hair and shrieking at me like your world was just turned upside down and it's all my fault. Well, at least the third part still holds true. You're nothing if not consistent. I'm sorry this particular update is so late but we were in San Diego when you hit this year and a half milestone. A YEAR AND A HALF? I refuse to believe it. A couple days ago I turned 29 and at the moment I'm refusing to acknowledge any future birthdays. I think I'll just wrap you right into this ban on getting any older. You're 18 months. Forever.

Except that if you stopped getting older than I'd perpetually have a toddler who insists on rubbing his food in his hair, who urinates in a freshly filled bathtub, and who is deathly afraid of flies. But, on the flip side, I'd get to keep you bite sized forever. I'd be greeted every morning with a giant grin and a, "Hi!" And I'd have the constant joy of watching you discovering things.

We cut your hair. It was the second time daddy attempted it with his clippers and, for some unknown reason, we couldn't find the size we'd used last time. I told him just to use the next down and when he was finished we could not stop laughing. It was the least amount of hair we'd ever seen you with. But Oh. My. Goodness. I always thought you had a cute head, cute back of the neck, cute ears. Now that there is virtually no hair distracting me I can put my full attention on just how perfectly shaped your head is. I can kiss the back of your neck with wild abandon--and I do. And you giggle. Hysterically.

You've lightened up a little on the stranger danger and I think I speak for everyone who knows you when I say, "THANK YOU!" Because good heavens it was getting annoying. You still prefer my arms and you'll still cry if I try to leave you somewhere for five seconds but you get over it much more quickly. We call these coping skills.

In August we spent a lot of time at the pool. Your brother has turned himself into a little fish and you think that because he's learning how to swim all by himself that means you can too. Wrong. Son, you simply can't let go of the side of the pool and expect to not sink. And is it too much to ask that you develop a healthy fear of the water. A cautionary fear? Something? Because I promise that sinking is not synonymous with swimming and sinking is exactly what would happen if I ever granted your wish to, "AHBALALABHA!" which you scream into my face and which I'm sure means, "LET GO OF ME NOW!"

You run. You jump. You climb. You say about 10 words, sign a few more, babble exhaustively, play Peek-a-Boo, and are having a love affair with your toothbrush. No joke. If you see a toothbrush--anyone's toothbrush--you have to have one right that second. When it's actually time I say, "Lay down so I can brush your teeth." You drop onto your bum and then flop onto your back in no time. Of course, taking it away at the end is a real treat for everyone. I think it would be permanently affixed to your hand if you had your way. Actually, that isn't such a bad idea as it might help with the incessant thumb sucking.

Each night I creep into your room and take a moment to watch you sleep. I'm having trouble comprehending how big you look in your crib. Huge. Grown up.

But still so small. Still tiny enough to fit easily on my hip. Still my baby. I'm so glad you learn and grow and discover--just don't be in too big of a hurry, kay?


Thursday, September 9, 2010

Matthew and the Great Poopy Road Trip Caper: Part Two

Morning came early on Tuesday and we grabbed McDonald's to go and hit the road. I was behind the wheel and north of Vegas I began to smell something. Something funky. Something not quite right. Something, I hoped, that had come out of a cow or a fertilizer truck or the carcass of a dead animal on the side of the road. Something, however, that smelled like it probably came from the posterior of my son.

"Can you sniff around back there and make sure that's him, before I pull off?" I asked as we neared an area that had gas stations. Troy buried his head in the car seat, returned to his seat, and declared, "I only smell hash browns." Now, I could write an entire post--heck, I could write an entire series--on my husband's lack of smelling ability so I should have investigated for myself. Literally, there have been times when Troy is bouncing The Little Buddy on his lap in a separate room and I ask how he can't smell him since, by then, the scent will have drifted from wherever they are into my own nostrils. It's a problem. Or a gift. Depending on which one of us you are.

So, for some unknown reason I took his hash brownie word for it and continued on. The Husband nestled into the crooks and crannies of the passenger seat and fell asleep. Maybe The Little Buddy shifted or twisted or turned but something made that smell intensify and it wasn't long before I knew we were in for another bad diaper change.

Trouble was, there was no good place to stop. Sure, I could have pulled over and changed him in the dirt on the side of the road but that hardly seemed like a good idea. We trudged on. And, with every mile the smell got worse until, finally, I glanced in the rear view mirror and saw my oldest son riding with a finger up each nostril. "What's wrong, dude?" I asked him even though, clearly, I knew the answer.

"It smells like gross, stinky, dying, diareara in here." (And, diareara is not a typo it just happens to be that only my four-year-old can make diarrhea a cute word. Also, he is not dramatic at all.) For effect or clarification, I'll never know, he added, "Matthew did it."

For some reason I suddenly became irrationally irritated. Not with the fact that Matthew had clearly eaten too much fruit on our camping trip but with Troy's inability to smell it. Indeed, I was ticked at my husband's nose. And I wasn't mad that he hadn't smelled it to begin with because, truthfully, at that point I actually thought we may have passed a fertilizer truck. I was mad because our toddler was sitting in sewage, our four-year-old was riding with his fingers crammed up his nose and I had long ago resorted to only breathing out of my mouth. Yet, somehow, The Husband slept. I'm worried that someday our house will catch fire and he'll sleep right through the smell of smoke.

Finally, we crept up upon the town of Mesquite and swung right. Once off the freeway I went in search of a gas station. As the car slowed, my husband woke up. Sure, a decrease in speed will wake him but the smell of rotten bowels apparently works as a sleep aid. "Why are we stopping?" he mumbled groggily.

I blame the road trip, the close quarters, my own tiredness for the bite that came out with my voice, "You don't smell that?" I hissed. He breathed. Deeply.

Then he gagged out, "Now I do!"

I'd learned my lesson the day before so I did not sling The Little Buddy onto my hip. Instead, I held his hand and we walked in to the gas station. I was halfway through when I realized that tiny bits of poop were falling from his body and plopping themselves onto the floor. Momentarily I was immobilized. I couldn't very well just leave feces in the middle of the floor for anyone buying a bag of chips to step in but I also couldn't start cleaning it up while it was still falling from the child. I needed to cut the poop off at the source. So I left the chunks.

I just left them, like little miniature cow pies. Like tiny landmines. I'm a bad person. I entered the restroom and realized that, once again, there was no changing table. My think bubble had a lot of symbols in it. Followed by an exclamation mark. Thankfully, this bathroom was cleaner than the previous one and I didn't feel like quite as bad of a mother lying my child down on it.

I surveyed the damage. Matthew's right leg looked like he'd dipped it into a cesspool or a porta-potty or the hole at a dump station. Again, he found this experience to be hilarious and, as he happily wiggled his legs he coated his feet, his sandals, his whole body, it seemed. The floor smeared with poop.

About twenty wipes later I had him mostly cleaned and was about to start on the spot where I'd changed him when I heard Troy call out from beyond the door. "Here is a change of clothes. What else can I do to help?" I went to him.

He was standing on one of the Matthew pies. "We need to clean the floor," I motioned to where he was standing, "that's Matthew's poop." He took a step back--into another pie, I might add--looked horrified, picked up his flip flop to examine it, and turned on his heels. The Rock Star, who was with him, thought this was all very funny.

As I cleaned the floor of the bathroom, washed my hands, rinsed The Little Buddy's pants out, cleaned the sink because half the poop from his shorts was in chunks too big to go down the drain, and put the pooper into his new outfit, Troy followed--and cleaned--a fecal trail from the bathroom door all the way out to the car, and Garrett announced to anyone within ear shot that the tiny brown lumps were, in fact, his brother's poops.

We got back on the road 25 minutes later. We saved five minutes since we hadn't had to unpack the entire car this time. I informed Troy that I was scheduling a consultation for his nasal malfunctions--an empty threat, really. I apologized for being snappy. He apologized for his nose. And the miles passed under the wheels of our car.

"Why do I keep smelling poop?" I finally asked.

"I don't know," he replied.

"Do you smell it?" I questioned as though suddenly, yes, he'd start smelling things.

He simply looked at me. We continued on.

"WHY do I smell poop? Did he poop again?" I put my head back against the seat and moved my hands up the steering wheel so that both were side by side at the top. And that's when I noticed the brown smear painted across the back of my left hand. Somehow I'd missed that when I'd vigorously washed them back at the gas station.

So I ask you, which story sounds worse to you?

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Matthew and the Great Poopy Road Trip Caper: Part One

The Husband and I have a difference of opinion.

He says that the first was worse. I say it was the second. We both have our reasons.

The Rock Star had a doozy of a diaper on an airplane once. The Little Buddy has had his fair share of yicky poop but never one that rivaled his brother's mile high incident.

Matthew's father hasn't been able to make it out to Utah so we decided to stop and see him on Monday on our way home. We'd managed to get all our camping gear packed up that morning and were headed north. Slowly, from the backseat, an unpleasant smell wafted silently into my nostrils. We pulled off at a gas station. The Husband started filling our tank. I undid The Little Buddy's car seat straps and plopped him onto my hip. The Rock Star followed us into the station. As I waited for the man behind the counter to get me the key I felt it.

My hip was warm and squishy. I glanced down. Fecal matter was smeared across my shirt as though finger painted by a toddler. Sighing deeply, I closed my eyes for a few moments. Then I reached my hand out for the key and made way to the bathroom. It wasn't exceptionally clean and there was no changing table. I had to settle for laying my precious second born on the rather icky floor but, as he was already covered in poo, I figured it probably wouldn't be any worse. I pulled his basketball style shorts off. They looked like they were reversible. If, you know, someone wanted blue for one day and hot, sticky, poop for the next. The smell was overwhelming and The Rock Star stood a few feet away groaning and gasping and carrying on like he was going to fall over dead from the putrid stench. His antics had his little brother in hysterics and poop flung in all directions as Matthew laughed and twisted and flailed as he watched Garrett dry heaving. As I worked through wipe upon wipe upon wipe I heard Troy's voice outside. "Is everything okay in there?"

My own voice was edgy, shaky, even. "No." I moaned. "There is poop everywhere. You're going to have to get Matthew and me new clothes." Silence. I, myself, was particularly upset about this twist of fate because I'd thought long and hard about which outfits we'd wear so that we would look nice enough for our visit while still being comfortable enough to drive to the Nevada stateline that night. Troy was particularly upset because of where the clothes were.

We had camp gear and toys and food and blankets and pack 'n plays (well, just one of those), and books everywhere. Everything fit just exactly into the back of our car like a perfectly completed puzzle. On the bottom were our suitcases.

By the time I exited the gas station with my son, who was now wearing only a diaper and shoes, Troy had unpacked most of the car. Our tent bag was set beside the gas pump. Sleeping bags were lying on the ground, a bag of Dudley's bread was balanced on the bumper. It was as if we'd decided to set up camp in the Arco parking lot.

Troy repacked our car while I put The Little Buddy in his new outfit and changed my own. We sealed the poop clothes into a plastic bag where they would remain, festering in the sunny car, for a day and a half until I could get home to wash them. A half hour after we stopped we were back on the road.

Troy says this road trip blow out was worse than the next day's.

I disagree.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

CA Times

There's been shopping and visiting and eating Pat & Oscar's breadsticks. We've been to Point Loma to see professors, including but not limited to my friend and roommate from college who decided to get a doctorate and then get hired by our alma mater. We've seen all my grandparents, all my aunts and uncles, and all my cousins. We've seen my nieces and nephew and their parents. The sun has shined. I've visited with friends. California is, perhaps, the best way to end a summer. On Friday we leave to go camping for the weekend and on Monday we'll leave from the campground to return home.

I'll have to write about picking my cousin up from the high school and watching as The Rock Star soaked in what it was like to, "be inside high school." I'll have to write about the waves of nostalgia I feel when I step foot onto 3900 Lomaland Drive and see the ghosts of my friends' faces in the nameless crowds of eager freshman just starting their collegiate careers. I'll have to write about how my parents 12-year-old golden retriever just wandered down the hall to find me and how I wonder how many wanders she has left. But for now the time has come to get my toddler up from his nap. The time has come to savor his sleepy little body as he folds it into my own. When I visit people and places it seems that time stands still. I am catapulted back to high school, or college, or another time in another place. But when he sighs a breath of contentment on my chest as sleep paves way to energy and life, I am, simply, mama.

And as much as a long for a day spent in a time when I was young and I didn't ever have to leave California, mama is who I was always meant to be. Mama is where my heart is.

Except earlier today when I wasn't sure which son would kill the other first and I stood in between trying to be the parent. Yeah. Except that.