Thursday, June 30, 2011

Setting Off On An Adventure

We're going on a road trip.

A pretty long one, considering we've got a four-year-old and a two-year-old. When all is said and done, we'll have logged well over 2,000 miles. We might be insane. People do stuff like this all the time. It's true. But usually they have a recreational vehicle. We are armed with our tent. Two tents, actually. A regular sized tent and a condo with poles and a rain fly. I endured a much longer road trip when I was nine and my brother was seven. But nine and seven seems so much older than two and four. I think the doctor would say no if I asked for a sedative. For me. It sure would be nice to tell Troy to wake me when we get there.

We're armed with toys, music, and snacks. I packed several chapter books that I can read to the boys as we drive. We do have the DVD player but we probably won't let them watch more than two or three movies over the course of the estimated 37 hour drive. There are way too many things to look at out the window. Nevada cacti, trees in Northern California and Southern Oregon, the Columbia River, dirt, weird truck stops, road signs.

View Larger Map
Zoom out to see the full extent of our travels.

We'll be in Tahoe for four days and on the Oregon coast for three. Other than that, the majority of our time will be spent going to one place or another. The boys will spend the better part of five days with all of their cousins--a feat that hasn't happened since Garrett was a baby and Matthew was nearly two years away from being born. We have many surprises planned along the way. We're staying in a KOA camping cabin at one point and a teepee at another. We're taking the boys to the Enchanted Forest in Oregon, something Garrett has been begging us to take him back to ever since we went more than two years ago.

I'll be spending the next couple of days packing up some odds and ends and then we'll be off.

Please pray for us.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Bed Friends

While I was on my trip, before the groping, choking or poking occurred, I said goodnight to my boys. It was Tuesday night.

"Goodnight, Mommy," The Rock Star said, "Have fun with your silly, old, bed friends."

I laughed out loud. "My what?" I asked.

"Your silly, old, bed friends."

I can't tell you how much I disagree with the old part. As for bed friends, well, I don't know that I would have come up with quite the same synonym for roommates.

Monday, June 27, 2011

A Groping, a Choking, and a Chop Stick Poking: Part 4

As if having your butt molested and choking on chicken wasn't enough, the weird day continued. After our lunch, we did some shopping at a mall built into the city block. As we were walking down the street, a homeless man approached us. He carried chop sticks in his hand.

We were walking shoulder to shoulder and I was closest to the street. As he neared us he asked if we had change. We told him that we did not. He continued walking and I assumed that he'd pass by.

He did not.

He turned toward me as I walked by. Somewhat suddenly, he stuck his chop sticks out and began pinching and poking me in the arm. At this point, I threw my arms up in the air, completely flabbergasted by the fact that I'd awoken in another universe that morning. Side note: I think we need to use the word flabbergasted more often. "Seriously? You have got to be kidding me!"

"Did he touch you with them?" One of my friends asked.

"Yes! He grabbed me like I was a piece of orange chicken."

I'd never before had someone arrested. I'd never before choked in the middle of a restaurant. I'd certainly never before been poked and prodded by a homeless man's chop sticks. Who knew that a day in Pasadena would hold so many firsts for me?

Sunday, June 26, 2011

A Groping, a Choking, and a Chop Stick Poking: Part Three

A Choking

We moved to a different location and scratched our idea of The Huntington (we did it the next day instead). After settling in our new room, we headed out for a late lunch and some shopping. It didn't take us long to land on The Cheesecake Factory. As we ate our delicious meal, I got into telling a very animated story. I think, maybe, hands were involved. Hands are usually involved when I get really into recounting a tale.

I had taken notice of the fact that my meal was disappearing more slowly than the others so I shoveled a bite into my mouth, quickly chewed, and swallowed. Apparently the second step was executed extremely poorly. A wad of angel hair pasta and chicken lodged about halfway down my throat.

Years of competitive swimming led to fairly decent breath control on my part. I can hold lungs full of air for quite awhile before experiencing discomfort. This piece of information, while great where swimming, snorkeling, or, say, showing off to my husband are concerned, is not particularly beneficial when lunch is stuck in the throat. I felt like I had plenty of time to remedy the situation. I can hold my breath for a long time. I thought. I got this.

I swallowed. Again. And again. And again. It didn't move. My attempt only succeeded in making slightly odd, squeaky, noises which hopefully only I heard. "Are you okay?" one of them asked. I nodded, believing I was going to save my own life soon enough. I continued attempting to swallow it. When I didn't feel it moving at all, I did a stupid thing.

"It's stuck," I said.

This short sentence effectively drained my lungs of the oxygen I was holding inside. As they deflated, it didn't take long for that burning sensation to take hold. At that point I became concerned. I thought about how long I'd been trying to swallow and figured it had been close to a minute. It may not have actually been that long but I was reaching the point where something was going to need to be done. I knew I hadn't taken a deep breath just before I'd swallowed so I figured I had even less time to decide what to do. Passing out in the middle of The Cheesecake Factory on my first day of successfully fighting crime did not seem like the ideal option. I grabbed my glass of water, stuck the straw in my mouth, sealed my lips around it and sucked. Instantly, the consumed water flooded straight out of my nose.

That's when I realized that this was a really unfortunate situation. That's when I felt the panic begin to rise.

Sylvia* pushed her chair back. "Do you need the Heimlich?"

There's a big difference between what one needs and what one wants. Did I need the Heimlich maneuver performed on me? Probably. Did I want it done in the middle of a restaurant? Probably not. I actually thought about attempting to communicate to her that we needed to go to the bathroom to perform this maneuver but I quickly realized that my chest was burning so badly I probably wasn't going to be able to nonchalantly traipse to the restroom.

I had one trick left in my bag. I tried to barf. Just as if I was hanging my head over a toilet bowl, I wretched. Up, up, up came the wad. I grabbed a napkin and deposited my chicken and pasta into it. Briefly, I pondered the enormity of the bite and wondered what in the world I'd been thinking. Thankfully, the rest of my stomach contents didn't come up with it. What did happen was that saliva seemed to pour out with the lump of food. I still can't figure that one out.

Sitting there, with my face somewhat buried in my napkin, I began to laugh uncontrollably. This was laced with intermittent coughing and I temporarily could not stop. I finally managed to exclaim, "I'm laughing because this is so ridiculous." I meant the day in general. I'd never called the police before. I'd never choked that badly on my lunch. Laughing seemed like the only thing worth doing in that moment.

I looked around. Not a single, solitary, person had seemed to notice. People continued chatting and munching their own lunch. It seemed that only my friends had noticed my scene and, thankfully, they'd offered to save my life.

*Not her real name

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Part Two

A Groping: Part Two

I put my pants, which were now the shade of a nice marble ice cream, into a tub full of cold water and then I was finally able to eat my waffle. We sat around and discussed what we should do. Rehashing the events, we decided that we definitely were not going to stay at the same hotel that night. If The Groper was willing to inappropriately touch our derrieres in the breakfast room, certainly he would have the capability to find out which room we were in, grab a key, and come right in to have his way with us.

It should be mentioned at this point that the man at the front desk that morning seemed slightly strange. A little off. So, as we discussed checking out and explaining what had happened, none of us really wanted to tell the whole story to him. We thought about waiting until someone else was working. We talked about calling the police so that this employee would understand that what he'd done was, by no means, acceptable. We discussed a whole range of possibilities. At some point I somewhat jokingly suggested that I call my dad and ask him how best to handle this situation. You know, on account of the fact that he works in law enforcement. Kate* replied, "You know, I had thought about doing that."

When my dad didn't answer his cell phone, I called my mom to get his work number. After very briefly explaining the ordeal she replied, "You need to leave that hotel!" Assuring her that we would, she gave me the number. I was unable to reach my dad right away so I left a message. Just as I was finishing, he called me back. After I'd briefed him on what had happened and asked what he thought the best course of action was for us getting out of the hotel he replied, "You need to call the police." We went back and forth on this issue and eventually it became clear that we needed to make sure this man did not do this--or worse--to future guests.

I got off the phone with him and Kate called the front desk to see if we could obtain The Groper's name. After a bit of discussion about why we wanted it (information we weren't willing to share yet), he told us that it was Alfredo.

I called the police. I've called my dad's work many times over the course of my life but this was actually the first time I'd ever called the police to respond to something.

As we waited for an officer to show up, our phone rang. Kate answered. It was the front desk, inquiring, once again, as to why we'd needed Alfredo's name. Kate explained, once more, that we would come down and talk to him about this later.

About an hour after we made the call, an officer knocked on our door. We explained, in great detail, the events of the morning. I was fully prepared to say things like, "I realize that this is very minor but it was unacceptable." and, "My dad insisted that this was a situation in which the police needed to be involved." I never had to say either of those things. Our officer never gave us the impression that we'd taken him away from his busy day of fighting crime to report a silly butt touching. Instead he told us that we'd been victims of a minor sexual assault and that Alfredo absolutely had to be informed that this was highly inappropriate. Our options were to press charges which would warrant his immediate arrest or have the officer give him a stern talking to. We decided on the latter and asked if, once the tongue lashing had occurred, he would escort us to the office as we checked out since we had no desire to encounter Alfredo again. He agreed to that and informed us that if Alfredo was a registered sex offender, he would have to arrest him. We were certainly okay with that happening.

Another cop showed up and the two of them questioned Alfredo in full view of our room. We had the sheer curtain pulled and, occasionally, we watched what was happening. Several times during the questioning, Alfredo looked up at our window. This concerned me on account of the fact that it seemed like he knew which room the three of us were in. At one point, our officer disappeared and Alfredo was left with the other one. Then Alfredo used his phone.

And then, as I was across the room packing up my suitcase, Sylvia jumped up out of her chair and yelled, "They're cuffing him! There's a third cop and they're cuffing him!" The three of us nearly maimed each other as we flew to the window. Alfredo had never seemed agitated while he was being questioned. He never got animated or loud or abrasive. We assumed, at this point, that he must have been a registered sex offender.

A fourth squad car showed up.

The day, which was already surreal and insane, now seemed to come straight from an episode of The Twilight Zone. We were in Pasadena to hang out and have some fun and now Alfredo the Groper was being arrested.

When our officer returned to our room he asked if we'd seen all the commotion and if we could positively ID the guy. We did and then I asked what had happened. He'd denied that he'd done anything. "It was crowded," he'd said. No, it really wasn't. "If anything like that did happen, it was a complete accident." Sorry, pal, after the second time it became apparent to me that there was no way the light finger tip caressing could possibly have been accidental.

Our answer as to how he suddenly got arrested: Video Surveillance.

The breakfast room had cameras. Our officer only got as far as Sylvia's initial groping. He never even watched my double whammy. He said it was very evident. He said it was predatory. He said it was enough for him to believe that he needed to arrest Alfredo on the spot. The manager fired him immediately. Then the officer told us that Alfredo's wife was also employed at the hotel and was currently working. We felt incredibly bad for her. Not only did her husband lose his job and get arrested on the same day. He also touched a couple of women. A couple of women that weren't her.

When we left our room, after being holed up in it for about three hours, we were the center of attention and received stares by all the housekeepers as we walked by. As we walked toward the office, the sergeant who'd arrived fourth, commended us on calling in. She told us that too often people either call anonymously or don't report it at all. She said that we'd done everything right. I credited my dad.

The hotel manager, who happened to be the same somewhat creepy guy that we hadn't particularly wanted to share the story with, gave us our first night's stay for free and said that the second night was on him as well. We politely declined. We didn't want to stay there with all the commotion we'd caused among the staff and figured it would just be easier on everyone if we made our exit.

Later, in our new hotel room, as we went over the details of the day, Sylvia said something about, "Pulling an Alfredo." We decided, then and there, that this would be our new catch phrase. We used it in many different contexts during our time together. I wondered, out loud, how I'd write about that particular detail since I didn't think I should put his name on my blog. As it turns out, Alfredo wasn't his name at all. We're still not sure why we were told that was his name but, in any case, I texted my friends a picture of a pasta box from the grocery store yesterday.

"He'll always be Alfredo to me," it read.

And I won't ever look at an Italian menu the same way again.

"Alfredo" confessed after being taken away in a squad car.

After living together throughout our undergraduate collegiate experience, there were few things the three of us hadn't done together. Fighting crime was one of them.

Check that off the list.

*Not their real names.

Friday, June 24, 2011

A Groping, a Choking, and a Chop Stick Poking

A Groping: Part One

Many moons and several worlds ago, I was a college freshman. To quickly sum up two semesters, my roommate and I did not hit it off. We clashed. It was a banging clang that I have not experienced before or since with any personality. It seemed like a match made in the fiery pit of Hell.

But it was God's match.

Not with her, no. We didn't run off into the sunset, holding hands and skipping through the dandelions. But down the hall, in the very back corner, God had placed another pair of college freshman. They'd known each other for years and, over the course of that first semester, I became good friends with them. They allowed me to sleep in their room when I didn't want to be in my own. I became their honorary roommate, sleeping on their couch perhaps more frequently than I slept in my own bed. The next year we all lived together, officially. And the rest is a lesson in history.

Sylvia*, Kate* and I have our own lives. We're all married. We all live in different places. Sylvia has a daughter. I have two sons. They both have jobs. I don't. A year ago we decided that this summer we needed to have some kind of girls extravaganza.

We were able to find two days that worked for everyone--no small feat, believe me--and the three of us descended upon Pasadena, CA on Tuesday afternoon. We had dinner and talked late into the night. In some ways, it felt just like a night from eight or ten years ago. The only thing that changed was the subject matter. Husbands, children, jobs.

We woke up on Wednesday morning with plans to head off to the Huntington Library. Once we were all dressed and ready to start our day, we walked down to the continental breakfast. After browsing the options, we all decided to make waffles. As Kate made hers, I made hot chocolate. I was very excited about it because I'd added a squirt of french vanilla creamer. It was going to be good. My taste buds were eagerly awaiting. Kate's waffle finished and she went to the table. Sylvia started hers. I stood at the counter, waiting to make my own.

A male employee was going in and out of the room checking on things. He seemed nice enough. He was smiley and friendly. And then, just like that, he was too friendly. Way. Too. Friendly. As I stood, waiting my turn, he walked past. Suddenly, beginning at one hip, he ran his hand across my butt, ending at the opposite hip. I tensed. My brain began to process. Could it have possibly been an accident? Was there any way that someone could accidentally grope a butt for that long? I walked up to Sylvia. "Maybe it was an accident but I think..."

"No. It happened to me, too."

"What? The guy..."

"Touched my butt? Yeah."

We were suddenly so uncomfortable with the idea that this employee was going around touching tooshies that we kind of started to express our concern by soft, awkward, chuckling. I went over to Kate, "Did that guy touch your butt?"

"WHAT?" She was appalled. I went back to Sylvia.

"Kate is horrified." Sylvia finished preparing her waffle and walked over to our table. As I waited for my waffle to be done I kept my butt firmly planted against the counter. When the waffle was finished, I turned to remove it from the iron. I saw him coming. I saw him reach out and I felt the same unfamiliar hand drag across my posterior. I bristled. Suddenly I had found myself smack dab in the middle of This is NOT okay! At this point I was pretty shaken because, well, if this guy is willing to do this in the hospitality room in the middle of broad daylight, what's he willing to do when it's dark and no one is around. I went back to the table, dropped my plate on it and said, "He did it again." Then my unsteady arm whacked my hot chocolate with the shot of french vanilla creamer. It flew up in the air, sailed forward, and dumped all over my white capris. As everyone gasped and jumped up, I blurted out, "That's how worked up I am about all this." A man in a yellow shirt asked if I was burned and began to help. And, of course, Smiley Groper ran to my rescue.

As I assured everyone involved that I was alright (and as I lamented the loss of one of my favorite pairs of capris) I backed up into a corner to protect my butt from further inappropriate touching. As everyone else tried to clean up the mess, I stood against the wall. The Groper asked me, repeatedly, if I was alright. As far as the hot chocolate goes, yes. As far as you go, no. I excused myself to go change my pants.

When I got up to what I thought was our room, there was a Do Not Disturb sign. I decided that maybe I was confused with all the spilling and unwanted touching. Still covered in hot cocoa, I went back down to the breakfast room to ask my friends what our room number was.


"But there's a Do Not Disturb sign on the door."

I'd missed the conversation where Kate had said she was putting it there so that housekeeping didn't start cleaning our room while we were at breakfast. Armed with this new piece of information, I walked back to the elevator. As I got on I saw The Groper coming toward me. I frantically pushed the button and, I kid you not, just like in the movies, he dove onto the elevator with me just as the door was closing. I stared at the ground. His shoes were covered in paint.

"Are you okay?" He asked.

"I'm fine," I said as firmly and unmoved as I could muster.

"Are you sure?"

"YES. I'm sure." I exclaimed with a tone that clearly said Leave me alone you total creep.

"What's your name?" He asked.

I raised my eyes and locked them with his. And, like a total idiot, I flatly said, "Lori."

"Lori," he repeated it like it was a fine wine, rolling it over his tongue as though he'd never heard it before. Then he smiled. The door opened and I dashed out. Then I stopped abruptly, wanting him to go first. Thankfully, he went right when I needed to go left. I quickly went to the room, changed my clothes, and dashed down to my friends.

"He followed me onto the elevator."

Concern spread across their faces. Quickly, we went back up to our room. There's a PhD, a Master's and several Bachelor's degrees among us, certainly we could figure out how best to handle this situation.

--To Be Continued

*Names have been changed to protect the innocent. My friends have been renamed after Kate Chopin and Sylvia Plath, two of my favorite authors. No, I do not like one friend better than the other. No, I do not expect one of my friends to stick her head into an oven.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Taking Off

I used airline miles.

And I'm going to the LA area to have two fun filled days with my college roommates, one of which is turning thirty today.

Troy--with help from our good friend, Christy--is going to hold down the fort. I'll be back on Thursday and I'm hoping that I'm relaxed, well-rested, and overflowing with girl talk, delicious food and good stories.

I'll miss my guys. I always do. But when you live in a house filled with testosterone, an estrogen fix is sometimes very necessary.

Let us all pray for an uneventful flight, unlike that one time I went to New York and the crazy lady was screaming at her daughter to kiss the plane in order to save us all.

Monday, June 20, 2011

What I Believe

I thought I'd post, occasionally, about what I believe. Here is the first installment.

My faith is everything.

I believe that "...God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him will not perish, but will have eternal life." John 3:16

I believe that "The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord." Romans 6:23

I believe the words of Jesus when he said, "I am the way, the truth and the life. No man comes to the Father but by me." John 14:6

I believe that "...while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." Romans 5:8

I believe that "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast." Ephesians 2:8-9

I believe "That if you confess with your mouth, 'Jesus is Lord,' and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved." Romans 10:9

I believe in believer's baptism. Baptize means "to plunge, submerge, immerse." In the Bible, baptism always follows a declaration of faith by the individual and always involves being submerged in the water. Once a person becomes a follower of the Lord, then baptism follows. I was baptized as a baby, in a denomination that practices infant baptism. Later, we began to fellowship with a denomination that practices believer's baptism. As a teenager, my youth pastor immersed me under the salty waters of the Pacific Ocean. By that time I had accepted the Lord as my personal Savior. By that time I was prepared to make a public confession of my faith. I also do not believe that water baptism can save our souls. The only thing that can save us is the blood of Jesus Christ.

My boys have both been dedicated to the Lord. Troy and I promised to raise them in the Truth. We promised to teach them the ways of God. My oldest son has received the Lord as his personal Savior. When he can fully comprehend baptism, he will experience it. I eagerly pray that a day will come when my younger son accepts the free gift of salvation and, later, is baptized.

If you want to know more about a personal relationship with Christ, please ask me. Nothing makes me happier than seeing another individual receive the gift of eternal life. Two nights ago, my very good friend made a commitment to follow Christ. The angels are rejoicing. I am rejoicing. This is what I believe...

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Moses and Daniel


We have two.

The Rock Star named them Moses and Daniel. Moses is appropriate given the whole plague of frogs thing. And Daniel, apparently, is Garrett's favorite character in the Bible. Well, next to Jesus but even Garrett had the good sense not to name a toad after our Savior.

It all started when toads showed up at Troy's softball game, courtesy of a couple from our church who now live in Wyoming. Apparently they have an infestation of toads. They're home for a visit and they brought a bunch of these creatures back with them. At one point during the game, my son came to me with big, bright, eyes. "Tyler says I can take them home!"

Sweet, adorable boy who once occupied my womb, say what?

Oh yeah. I heard him right.

When the game was over I talked to Troy. You know, figuring that he would say no. He told me it was up to me. No. It was up to him. No. It was up to me. You see where this was going. Our major concern was that we're leaving soon for a road trip. Garrett's solution to this, "They can sit next to me in the car!"

"How will we get them home tonight?"

His answer, "I can put them in my pockets!"

I looked at my friend, Abi. "It's become evident to me that I'm raising one of the Little Rascals."

Troy and I went back and forth. I finally broke the news to my precious son, the one I was now imagining in overalls with no shirt, a toad in his pocket and a club house with a He Man Woman Haters sign on the door. "No." I whispered gently.

I expected a fit. He didn't throw a tantrum. Instead, his eyes welled up with tears, his spirit fell and his lower lip began to quiver and I realized that this was one of those "pick your battles" moments. I could crush him and possibly deal a blow that he would remember into adulthood. "Once, when I was four, my mom wouldn't let me have toads." Or I could acquiesce.

I struck a compromise. We'll own pet toads for approximately two weeks. The plan, after that, is to release them into our garden.

Moses and Daniel are currently living in our butterfly habitat (boy has that thing come in handy!) where they've consumed crickets, sat in a dish of water, and played hide and seek in the weeds. Occasionally we get them out and let them hop around--being sure, of course, to keep them away from our cat because I really don't want amphibian carnage strewn about.

It really is another opportunity for my sons to see God's creations up close. It's also another opportunity for me to realize, as I'm grabbing crickets with my bare hands and getting urinated on by toads, that I should have seen my all boy world coming. I should have seen it coming from a mile away.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

There Comes A Time

There comes a time.

There comes a time in every little boy's life.

There comes a time in every little boy's life that his mother mutters, "What have I done?"

There's comes a time in every little boy's life. Right? Please tell me I'm not the only one.

In the summer, we keep The Little Buddy's hair pretty short. He likes it that way--seriously, he asks for hair cuts--because he doesn't particularly like us combing through his thick, curly, hair. I use ethnic hair products that make it easier but he still just isn't a fan. He hates to sit still and he has better things to do than primp. He was in need of a haircut so I got out our clippers and I cut it.
(Before. Hamming it up for the camera.)
(After. Swimming in the pool.)

He likes it. When I finished his hair, I held him up to a mirror. He rubbed his head. "Mah hayah. I yike it!" (My hair. I like it.) He's obviously not the one this story is about.

We also decided to give The Rock Star a buzz so that, when we go camping in two weeks, he can just roll out of his bed sleeping bag and go about the day. The Rock Star had a cute, often spiked in the front, hair cut.
For the life of me I can't find a really good example of that spikage but there he is with hair. Anyway. Which is something. Something he used to have. Oh what have I done to my child?

A week ago I buzzed The Rock Star's head as well. It was shorter but it didn't look drastically different. In fact, it was such an unimpressive buzz that he still woke up with bed head. He still jumped out of bed and required a little water sprayed on it to make it go where his mother wanted it.

Last night we went to Troy's softball game. There were toads there. More on them later. Oh will there ever be more on them later. Because, well, I'm the proud new, temporary, owner of two toads who eat crickets with wild abandon and with lightning speed. We've explained to Garrett that in a couple of weeks they will become "yard pets" and if they choose to actually stay in the yard, all the better. I digress. The point is the hair. Don't mind the strange look he's making. Just mind the hair. Decent buzz cut. Kid looks alright.
But again with the bed head thing. It was totally defeating the purpose. That purpose was that he could roll out of his sleeping bag and go about his day. No water required. No having to jump into Lake Tahoe or the Oregon coast to properly wet down his mind-of-its-own hair.

So this morning I told him we needed to go one shorter. And, here is the thing. I'm still pretty convinced that we only went one shorter.

Straight down the middle. That's what I did. And then I audibly gasped. "What have I done?" I considered walking away from the project and leaving him with a reverse mohawk. But I didn't. I closed my eyes, dug deep, and continued to practically shave my baby, my firstborn, my whole heart, bald.

Please understand. The lighting in the pictures makes it look even worse. But only a little worse. It really is, just about, as bad as it looks. Of course, I didn't tell him that. I told him it looked great. I told him I'd rub his head for the next two weeks until it doesn't feel spiky anymore. (I've always been a sucker for a buzzed head--just ask my brother.) I told him to go surprise his daddy. Then I watched his daddy's face. "Wow Buddy! You got your hair cut!" Then he looked at me with enormous eyes and deep concern.

Later, his friend came to the door. "You got a haircut!" he exclaimed.

Garrett followed with a big grin and a sweet, "Yep!" Oh, Son. I'm glad I was able to veil my horrid mistake and not make you feel self conscious. When you're old enough to understand the catastrophe, I grant you permission to chastise me for this event.

Because there isn't going to be any bed head tomorrow. Of that, I am sure.

I just can't believe I did this.

It's all my fault.

There comes a time.

There comes a time in every little boy's life.


Thursday, June 16, 2011

That One Movie...

When we went to see Soul Surfer we did it with the idea that we might let Garrett see it. We had our parental filter on, deciding whether it would be alright for him to see. When it was over Troy said no. Something about how Jaws traumatized him for life and he didn't want the two second shark scene to terrify our boy. That seemed reasonable enough to me.

Last night I told The Rock Star that I was going out with some ladies. I didn't tell him what we were doing but later on in the evening I said something to Troy about "the movie" and Garrett immediately howled.

"You're going to the movies? Can I come?"

I explained that I was going with a bunch of women and that we weren't sure he was old enough to see it.

"It's about a surfer girl who lives in Hawaii," I said.

Nonchalantly he replied, "Is that the one where the girl gets her arm bit off by a shark?"

Turns out that when I was watching an interview with Bethany Hamilton and I thought he was watching something on television, he was actually listening to the interview as it played quietly on the computer. In it, she mentioned surfing that Halloween morning and she talked about the ensuing loss of limb. Apparently, it didn't bother my son at all.

So at some point we'll probably let him see it. It's such an incredible story of faith and overcoming adversity and how we can do all things through Christ who gives us strength. But maybe I'll still fast forward through the accident sequence so that he doesn't stop loving the beach.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Soul Surfer

Last week, Troy and I went to see Soul Surfer for his birthday. The boys stayed with here because my mom and dad were visiting. And can I just take a moment to say, "God bless grandparents!" If you live in close proximity to your parents, do not take them for granted for two seconds. I can't tell you how often I think, "If only my parents lived here." There was a time when we lived by all four of our parents. Those were the days.


It's not like I think the film is going to win any Oscars. It's not going to get the year's Best Picture or anything like that, but it's one of those movies that just kind of sticks to you. We talked about it all night. And then it went to the dollar theater and I knew that I needed to go see it again.

I love that it portrays Christians in such a way that we don't look like complete quacks. I love that there is a Holy Bible and "Blessed Be Your Name" and a World Vision trip. I love the island of Kauai.

I was supposed to go see it on Monday but I ended up on an important phone call concerning the protection of my family and missed it. But I get to go back tonight. I'll leave the theater wishing I was a surfer, wishing I lived in Hawaii, wishing I could swim in warm water every day.

Wishing for everything about that lifestyle. Shark attacks notwithstanding.

When it comes to shark attacks, I'd much rather live by the Great Salt Lake.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011


I was born without confrontation skills.

I'd really rather crawl into a hole and die than get into a conflict with someone. As I grow and change, I'm trying to develop biblical skills for dealing with differing opinions, or hurts, or arguments. But still, conflict makes me want to pull the covers up over my head.

Unless my family is concerned.

I'll fight 1,000 battles in its defense.

The primitive mama animal instinct bubbles up from somewhere in the depths of me, wraps its fingers tightly around my heart, and I find that I'll fight any fight with anyone.

I can't go into detail at the moment, but we're being called to protect this thing the Lord has built through us. And while I find myself exhausted from the sheer weight of it, I find that inside of me is a resolve I don't think I knew I had.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Excessive Poop

The Little Buddy pooped 13 times in 3 days.

That's what happens when one eats copious amounts of fruit and black beans.

Then he got the worst diaper rash either of my children has ever had. His brown bottom was red. And puffy. And bumpy. And if I so much as got a baby wipe within two feet of him, he recoiled. We took to using the bathtub, a wash cloth, and large volumes of diaper ointment. He walked as though he'd been riding a horse for days.

He's better now. It was a sad state of affairs for about a day.

Friday, June 10, 2011


Not quite five.

That's when my oldest, my son, the one I carried in my womb for nine long months, turns on a dime and decides he's crushing. That's when he gets a twinkle in his eye and a silly grin on his face. That's when he says that maybe he won't marry me after all. Maybe he'll marry her.

Danica Bananica.

I'd change her name to protect her innocence but then it wouldn't rhyme with Bananica and what would be the fun in that.

Tonight is preschool graduation although, technically, they have another week left of school and, even more technically, my son isn't going to kindergarten next year. We've long since decided to give him a third year of preschool. Of course, he met Miss Bananica at school. Darn that academy.

Like a complete ignoramus, I failed to realize that he was talking about this girl frequently. Danica said this. Danica did that. Danica brought a Barbie for show and tell. My teachers call Danica "Danica Bananica". Finally, on a whim and fully expecting a recoiling shout of, "NO! Ew. Gross," I asked my beloved firstborn the now dreaded question.

"Do you like Danica?" He stumbled for just a step, recovered, looked into my eyes and replied.



My parents were here and my dad, like any good grandpa, egged him on. I'm pretty certain that it culminated in Garrett saying something about how she's beautiful. And nice. I can't be sure because I'm attempting to block it out of my mind.

Today, when I picked him up from school, he had a confession.

"I told Danica that I like her and I gave her a hug." I smiled at my precious boy.

"Did you give her a kiss?" I asked.

He contorted his face into a hysterical concoction of appalled meets snips and snails and puppy dog tails. "Ew. No!"

"Good," I sighed a breath of sweet relief. "She wouldn't like that very much."

Miss Bananica is already five. She's going to kindergarten in the fall. Their romance will be over by next Friday. But a day will come when my sweet son will kiss the girl and the girl will like it.

This won't be happening for at least another twenty years. If I have any say in the matter.

Thursday, June 9, 2011


I'm tired.

And, yeah, I threw a surprise 40th birthday party this past weekend, lost my voice, have all kinds of post nasal drip, am waiting to go back to the doctor to have a thing looked at and I'm having to choose, very deliberately, not to freak out, and feel like my calendar is just a list of one thing after another but I'm generally not one to get down because of any of that stuff. Well, with the exception of the thing which, at this point, really just has me more perplexed than anything.

But I'm tired of a lot of things.

I'm tired of the wind. I hate wind. Unless it's a soft trade wind blowing across my back as I sip a cool drink under a palm tree in Hawaii. Or other such similar circumstances not involving Hawaii but involving blazing temperatures somewhere else instead. So, you know, not really similar circumstances at all.

I'm extremely tired of it really not being warm. My definition of comfortable temperatures is no less than 75 and no more than 85. I deal with under 75 but I don't like to deal with it in a bathing suit and I'd really like to be in a bathing suit by now. On the side of the pool. With the smell of sunscreen drifting past. I deal with over 85 but I hate running my air conditioning because I have Borderline Tight Wad Disorder.

I'm tired of wondering if Matthew's father really will visit at the end of the summer like he says he will or whether it will be another situation where we plan for his visit and then he suddenly can't come. Just thinking of it makes me want to take a sleeping pill.

I'm tired of this.

And that.

And that other thing.

But I'm so thankful for so many things. It might not be as warm as I'd like but there isn't snow on the ground. It might be really windy here on occasion but my house hasn't been destroyed by a tornado. It might be difficult trying to plan for Matthew's father but we're no longer in the middle of a contested adoption. And I might be tired now but we're going to Lake Tahoe in less than a month and I can't think of anything more refreshing than that. At the core of who I am, I have everything I ever wanted. When I think on that, really think on it, then I stop feeling like I need a nap.

And who would I be kidding anyway? I haven't napped since I was two.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Moratorium Lifted


Made visible by light shining through from behind.

There was a time when I tried to be honest and permeable when I wrote. It was a time when I said what I needed to say, believing that people understood that they held my heart in their hands, believing that by letting others catch a glimpse into what this life was like, I might make a difference, however small. The discovery came as a shock to me. People who disagreed with me in huge ways were also paying attention. People were reading who knew that by holding my heart in their hands they could do intense cardiac damage. Many times, over the past year and a half, I've wondered why it bothered me so much. I knew the details. They didn't. I had all the information. They didn't. I knew me. They didn't.

I became blocked. If I couldn't convey my heart through words, there was no point in writing about anything except funny things my children say, bipolar Utah weather, and barf. When I've allowed myself to write anything about adoption, I've feared that I'll receive uninformed and accusatory responses, that I'll end up on yet another website slamming my family for stealing someone's child, that the details will be falsified.

I've had people ask me how we talk about adoption with our sons, how we plan to forge ahead as a transracial family and how we honor Matthew's birth parents. The truth is that I want to share some of that here, from time to time. I don't want to be afraid of slanderous comments.

We take one day at a time. We are constantly having to change our approach. I think this will always be the case. Matthew will always be growing, changing, needing more, needing less, expressing himself in different ways. And it will always be, first and foremost, about him. His mother and his father will likewise grow and change and express themselves in different ways. Troy will change. Garrett will change. I will change.

I'm praying my way through this, trying, always, to do right by Matthew. We try to think about what is in his best interest right now and what might be in his best interest twenty years from now.

If you've adopted, are considering adoption, or are just plain curious about something, feel free to ask. I'm really trying to lift the moratorium on writing about the details of open adoption.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Happy Birthday, Troy!

When I first met Troy, I had a boyfriend. Troy and I became good friends. Good friends with a big, fat age difference. Later, the boyfriend became a fiance. Troy and my friendship continued. Throughout the summer of 2002, my relationship with He Who Shall Not Be Named began to fizzle. I realized that there was the idea of someone out there who would be everything I was looking for in a husband and that the yo-yo I was dating wasn't it. I saw, in Troy, everything I wanted. Of course, Troy was much older, much wiser, and, you know, all grown up. So it wasn't Troy that I was looking for. I just knew it wasn't He Who Shall Not Be Named.

When I broke off the engagement he asked me if there was someone else. Like a total idiotic moron I said, "No. But there is the idea of someone. There is the idea of someone who will be everything I'm looking for."

He asked, "Like who?"

Like an even bigger idiotic moron I said, "Like Troy."

Who, for the record, The Ex knew.

As it turned out, Troy liked me. He didn't seem to mind that I was all, like, a baby and still in a cradle and stuff. He came to a show I directed and we went out to dinner afterward. He asked me to date him, officially.

I needed to consider this for a moment. See, I can do quick math as long as it's basic. I knew that if we dated and if we got married there would come a time when I'd be 29 and I'd be married to a 40-year-old.

That time has come.

For the next three months my 40-year-old husband will have a wife in her twenties. What a lucky guy. ;-)

Happy Birthday, Troy. I love you with all of my heart. Thank you for providing for us, for loving me and our boys and, above all, our Lord and Savior. You are my everything and I hope we get to share another 50 years together.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Do You Mean Fudge?

My parents flew in yesterday.

We all hiked up to Timpanogos Cave today. I took a trillion pictures so there will be more on this to come.

We'd also decided to get ice cream afterward.

On the hike back down The Rock Star was talking about what kind of ice cream he wanted. "...and I want hot pudge on it."

"Hot what?" I asked, not thinking I'd heard him right.

"Hot pudge," he said.

Well, I guess that gives new meaning to the phrase A moment on the lips, a lifetime on the hips.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Potty Progress

I forgot how often little tiny people go potty. Today Matthew used the toilet about 12 times and only had one wet diaper. That diaper was barely wet. Really. I thought it was dry. After sticking my nose within an inch of it and sniffing I changed my mind. And if you think that's too much information, well, you'd be right. He also had a poopy diaper. I didn't stick my nose in that one.

Typically, he runs into the bathroom, lifts up the toilet lid and then waits for someone to come take his diaper off. When he really needs to go, he runs to find someone older than him. Then he pounds on his diaper and yells, "HAVE POT!"

I really hope I never get pulled over by a cop while Matthew simultaneously needs to use the bathroom. Because. Seriously. They'll do a narcotics sweep of my car and my child's unmentionables.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Potty Training

Potty training The Rock Star was easy. I tried, for about a minute, to train him around two. He was uninterested, confused, and generally unready. When he was two and a half we found out that we were adding to our family. I started getting out baby stuff. I started stocking up on diapers. I started talking about how the baby would be really little. The baby would wear diapers. Babies wear diapers. The Rock Star potty trained himself in about two seconds. And *gasp* he was dry at night. I take no credit. He did it all on his own.

But poop was another issue entirely. He was inexplicably terrified of pooping on the toilet. On his third birthday I took away the Pull Ups. Armed with a bunch of presents my mom had sent as incentive, we persevered through nasty loads in his underwear, through a serious bout of constipation that culminated in hysterical sobbing on the potty, through about a week of fecal hell. Once he actually managed to go on the toilet, he received a Grandma Gift and the rest was history.

About a month ago I asked Matthew if he wanted to go potty on the toilet. He nodded emphatically. Nothing happened. From time to time I'd ask him. He'd hop up and strain and grunt and nothing would happen. I wasn't pushing it. He's still really young and he's only very recently become verbal.

But he started going. On the potty.

Three days ago he went three times. (Of course, there were still lots of wet diapers.)

Two days ago he went three times. (Of course, there were still lots of wet diapers.)

He's been telling me that he has to go. And then actually going!

Yesterday he went three times.

At the end of the day the boys were in the bath together. I walked across the hall to grab their jammies. I heard the toilet lid and assumed it was Garrett. A couple moments later Garrett called out, "Matthew went potty!"

"He did?" I called out. Just then a naked, wet toddler wandered into the bedroom. "Did you go potty?" He nodded.

He followed me into the bathroom. The lid was up, the toilet seat was soaking wet and floating in the water was more than potty. The Little Buddy had left a little deposit. My two-and a-quarter-year-old got himself out of the tub, climbed up on the toilet and went poop. No fuss. No screaming. I didn't even know it was happening!

When I got him up from his nap yesterday he had left a major stink in his diaper for me. "You know, you can go poop on the potty too!" I'd explained. Apparently this was news to him and he needed to test my information.

I am not crazy. I know that he'll probably regress and I'll be worrying about whether or not he's going to head to kindergarten with diapers. But last night I was definitely proud of my little pooper.

Motherhood. There's no where I'd rather be than down here in the toilets trenches.