Wednesday, December 30, 2009

life according to a 4-year-old

After licking food off his fingers during a meal and doing the predictable thing:
A: Don't wipe your hands on your pants!
B: No, it's okay. It's just the wetness of the tongue.

B: Mom, whenever I take drinks, I feel happy. Whenever I don't, I don't feel happy. So I'm happy cuz I took two drinks to make me happier so I'm happy!
A: Sounds good to me!

B: Mom, I haven't played Star Wars LEGOs for a whole day.
A: It's been longer than that.

A: Who are your favorite people to talk to on the phone?
B: Chase. And all of my grandpas and grandpas.

HAHAHA! I meant my grandpas and grammies. All of them.

I'm so silly.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

no thanks to terra

Blake has this almost memorized. And he recites it - not to me, but to himself while playing, though he thinks the mom's name is "Lewis."

B: "Mom, I'll be the little boy, and you can be the mom who yells 'WHAT?' at me."
A: "Yep, that will be some real acting on my part."

Monday, December 28, 2009

it's quiet in the living room, peppermint coffee in hand

I was going to go get a peppermint latte today (gift card!) and see my chiropractor. He can't adjust my attitude (I've asked), but my back is always so much more friendly afterward that my attitude can't help but follow suit.

Instead, Reese dropped off the twins so she could go to Costco without them. Rather than create chaos and make me frazzled, it's actually really nice.

They are closed into Blake's room, playing with Hess trucks and blaring Black Eyed Peas. I went in to make sure that everything was okay, adjusted the volume, and was summarily told by Mason "Addie, go out, please."

Since Blake has the same ear for music that I do, I'm worried about the cussing in the lyrics: he'll definitely pick it up and possibly repeat it. A friend advised shopping for edited music, but I'm pretty sure I'd have to get it at Walmart.

I'd rather have a cussing kid.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

our superhero name: the amazing mac family

B: We're a Mac family and we're amazing.
I'm amazing because I do amazing things.

("Mac," as in "Macintosh," as in "Apple" - Rob's been teaching him phrases)
B: I hope Dad doesn't tell anyone that we're a Mac family.
A: Why not?
B: Because then they'll take all our secrets! You should tell Dad to NEVER tell that we're a Mac family. It's a SECRET. Got it?

S: How's married life treating you?
A: Well, I now have two boys in the house. It's been... interesting. An "Aim IN, not AT the toilet, please" kind of interesting.

A: I'm going to make you something for Christmas. And you might not like it, but I'm giving it to you anyway. Because I think you'll like it.
T: Oh no. It's not a Snuggie, is it?
A: What a great idea!


B: Dad, I love you. You're the bestest Dad in the whole wide world.
R: You're the bestest kid. I love you!
B: AMAZING. I'm amazing.
R: (sigh, with an accusing look at me) Oh. Right.

While in Billings recently, we were eating at McDonalds (with the best playland ever, though slightly claustrophobic for me). A little girl came up behind me, grabbed my leg, and proceeded to tug away, crying out "Mom! Mom! Let's go, let's go, let's go!"

I said, "Sweetie, I'm not your mom, but don't be scared! It's okay! Let's find her," and I looked around to point out her highly amused mother. Turning to Lane, I commented that I'm used to a much lower pitched voice attached to the person tugging on my leg.

A woman who was sixty-five if she was a day proceeded to grin broadly, wink at me, and say "Now why is that?"

I was confused until I realized that she probably hadn't seen my son. I think she meant my husband, but for the life of me, I can't think of why he'd be tugging on my leg, because that would mean we were doing it wrong.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

the bounty of christmas and three sets of lungs

I got to go to Billings last weekend to meet up with Steve for some grandpa/grandson bonding time. On the way back, I offered to bring my twin nephews with me to save Reese the drive. Because of the season and the cost of shipping, I also brought gifts from many families in Billings to families in Bozeman.
  • Gail gifts to me and Reese
  • Perrine gift to me
  • Myers gifts to Bedfords & Schuylers
  • Schuyler gifts to Schuylers
  • Morstad gifts to Bedfords
  • Pierce family gifts to Oberlys
  • My gifts to us - I took them to Billings to wrap them
Plus overnight bags for me, Blake, and the twins. If I had to, I was tallying up things to leave behind (the sleds, the pillows, Blake). My car was like Santa's rucksack: it magically expanded to fit EVERYTHING, and I still had room to see out the back window. Like a miracle.

The twins were cheek-to-jowl with Blake in the back seat, and it was kind of a trick (I mean, MIRACLE) to get them all to fit and buckled in. I got on the road at 3:20 with a coffee in my hand and, upon reaching the highway, with a cacophony of sound behind me. It went like this:


until I thought, "I'm going to have to club them like baby seals to get them to quiet down!"

By 3:30, Mason was asleep. By 3:51 (I was paying attention!), the other two were out as well. Most of the rest of the drive was spent in peace and quiet, and then I got to Bozeman, and it was like muzzles fell off the twins upon spying their house. "OH MY GOSH! THAT'S OUR HOUSE! WE THOUGHT WE'D NEVER SEE IT AGAIN!"

So I left the twins with their endlessly patient mother, put the muzzles on Blake, and went home.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

traditional anniversary gift: wool or copper - i'd opt for a lamb or new wiring

Were big Blake still alive, we'd be celebrating our seventh anniversary today. And as a side note, I wish I had a different way to differentiate between big and little B. "Big" and "little" are just so bland, and there's no "junior" involved because I don't like it, and "Daddy" just feels childish to type, though that's what me and Blakester call him: Daddy Blake. Any ideas?

Seven years seems so weird to me. I've only ever been a newlywed, and seven is so BIG. Seven years ago, I weighed twenty-five pounds less, was still five feet, seven inches tall, was smart but unendingly silly, and didn't have a digital camera. I've now gained weight (thanks, little B - also to blame: my terrible eating habits), have lost none of the silliness or smartness but have been touched by deep grief, which tends to color such things, and have the means to post my image everywhere online.

I wish I had more digital images of Blake. I could put them up in posts like this, to show how happy and handsome we were, especially for folks who've never met him. That boggles my mind: I have close and meaningful relationships with people who never met him. In fact, the two closest, most meaningful people in my life do not know the man whose life and death so profoundly shaped me and how I approach things.

I have learned these past five years not to anticipate the anniversaries or holidays (which, for me, are essentially one and the same). Dreading a day made me almost physically ill, and I would wake up to realize that it was just another day. It could be as hard or as easy as I made it. Of course, no dreading means that flashes of grief have hit me at random all month long. I think it's also got something to do with how much Rob is at work (and YES, I am grateful for his job, but sixty-five hours a week is a lot, and it's okay that it's hard on me), me having to work at home with a tow-headed distraction bent on preventing said work, and my general concern about finances - so grief might be a misnomer, but it certainly affects my Decembers.

Today has been good because it's not been overshadowed by being an anniversary. Tomorrow might be another story, but I will cross that bridge when I come to it. Until then, here's my beautiful family that alternately blesses me and makes me a little crazier:

I'm working on getting Rob to at least lift his eyebrows in photos - if he smiles his eyes disappear - because he perpetually looks pissed off. I learned the eyebrow trick in choir - you physically cannot smile - and Rob learned the no smile trick from his dad - who has the same eyes. Blake has not yet learned either trick, but has the art of being squirrely down pat. In a series of twelve, this is the best of all three of us (I, naturally, looked RAVISHING in each shot). Rob gets more and more angry-looking (with wilder hair), while Blake can't time the flash to coincide with "Cheese!" I have named their looks:

"You make me want to pull out my hair" and "Ch-"

"I loathe you" and "Squinty."

And Blake insisted I include a photo of this rascal. Note the five o'clock shadow and rascally expression? Even better: He has a light saber. This guy is up to NO GOOD.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

even nerds get the blues

Despite the melancholy of last night's post, I had a good day yesterday. Catharsis is good, if painful at times, and being introspective and thoughtful doesn't hurt so long as I don't live in my head too much. The day ended especially well, when I got a little weird and fixed Lane's phone for her.

I know she's figured out that I was renamed Hermione Granger, Reese was Bella Swan, and Mom was Anne of Green Gables, but I'm not sure she's discovered Dad yet.

He's Dumbledore.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

riddle me this

I hate December (this one especially - it has been tough, and not necessarily just for the reason that's most obvious), but I love Christmas (especially the smells and the decorations and what it means for my eternity).

We've been reading through the Jesus Storybook Bible with Blake at night, and I love it. I love the dialog, I love the way the story of redemption is called "God's Secret Rescue Plan," and how His love is the "wonderful, Never Stopping, Never Giving Up, Unbreaking, Always and Forever Love." I read these well known stories, made fresh and alive, to my son, and I weep for the joy of it... and for the pain. And Blake probably wonders why I am still crying, because I got the husband and daddy we were praying for, so really - what is the problem NOW, WOMAN?!

Today was a cathartic day, as I was able to attend the funeral for a woman who I've known since birth, or at least since I was cognizant of knowing someone. She died far too young (52), and the service was tenderly beautiful, honoring both her and the Lord. And I wept and wept and wept - but not for Marcia. I envy her. I wept for the sorrow being shouldered by her husband, daughter, grandkids, and friends. I wept for myself, missing Blake and being reminded of how lovely and terrible funerals are because death has been defeated but is still our enemy. I wept for the hope I have in Christ and for the longing I have for His tangible presence that is as yet unfulfilled. I wept when friends affirmed that I know grief too, that Blake's and my love was tangible and impacted others, and that time will continue to ease the ache (from another who knows crippling grief).

I did more crying today than I have in a long time, and it was good and it was hard and I really hate December.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

the tragedy of a warm home and a big television

I have all this stuff to say, but for one reason or another, my blog isn't the place to say it.

Aren't you proud of me, learning restraint and boundaries and stuff?!

Christmas hasn't totally taken me by surprise, but kind of. I have a very small number of gifts, all of which still need to be wrapped, because there's nothing quite as fun as messing with a child's head by displaying things that are clearly for them, but not to be touched. I haven't gotten to have that fun yet, which makes me think I clearly have my priorities askew by baking rather than wrapping.

I'm working from home with Blake here this month, which has been interesting, but in the sort of way that has me confessing sin more rather than drinking more. The good news is that in both a desire to exercise SOME discipline and a fear of what could happen if I didn't, I haven't been turning to beer or wine with dinner or before dinner or, heck, it's noon - how about lunch?

Instead, I find my nerves shredded beyond all reason, usually right when I need to be really productive with my job, which requires words and the ability to manipulate them. Blake's loving not going to preschool, except that he's bored all the time now. No, he doesn't want to go back, but is convinced he will die of the malaise of having nothing to do here at the house. It is SO SAD. His tragedy is epic in the extreme, but rather than mourn and grieve his imminent demise, he's glued to my side making sure that I will not, in fact, mourn or grieve once I've been given SOME SPACE.

Part of the problem is that it's been so stinking cold in Bozeman (-20 thank you very much!) that I've had my custom thermal blankets on the windows and the two honeycomb blinds drawn, so it's very much like a cave in the house. While I know this is helping it to stay warm without the heat running full blast and saving us a little coin, it is also driving both me and my boy batshit insane with cabin fever. Thankfully, it's warming up a bit, and I'm giving myself license to leave the house occasionally to see the sun and let Blake accidentally glom onto a stranger's side in Target for a little reprieve (except that really does alarm him - not like his imminent demise does, but in a way that keeps him that much closer to me the rest of the errand because he thinks I would leave him with a stranger forever and ever, and if I am going to leave him, can it please be with Stephie and Chase or maybe the Kelly family?). I've been trying to stay home to save myself from the temptation of buying a coffee I don't need or finding things at Target that I can't live without - trying to save money just works so much better from home! Also, who wants their sinus cavities to freeze upon contact with outside air?

The days that require more focus from me get more focus from Blake too - he gets to focus with a single-minded intent on the T.V. screen or the computer screen. At least he gets a ton of patch time, for it's one of the only ways I can justify using those one-eyed babysitters so heavily. His eye isn't getting better, unfortunately. I've seen, if anything, more noticeable crossing lately. Also, to combat the boredom, as soon as I hear that awful phrase, "I'm bored," he has a little jar full of things to do, and he MUST draw one out and do whatever it says. There are about eight fun things he'd love (Wii, read a book, play a game), and about twenty chores. I also drew up a chart showing his favorite toys/games and arranged it by which things he can do solo and which need permission first. Finally, he now has a chore chart, and when he completes all the tasks, he gets a set number of dollars. Clean his bathroom (AWESOME!), he gets two bucks. Vacuum all the corners in the house three times a week? One dollar. After his chore earnings combined with the small amount of cash he already had on hand, he had enough to buy himself a little Ironman figurine. He also rolled around in the dollars and rubbed his hands together greedily - why don't we have to be taught that sort of behavior?

He did, however, manage to sleep through last night without any accidents or bloody noses (he likes to use a down blanket to staunch the bleeding - makes for fun laundry, my new at-home hobby), so we are celebrating today. I'm having a coffee I don't need (homemade - I have the best source EVER, though she kind of judges me for foofying it up) and working, and Blake is having patch time with Star Wars Legos.

Also, I am NOT DOING LAUNDRY! Paaaaaaarty! Maybe I'll have a beer with lunch.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

smells like teen spirit... or christmas... yeah, more like christmas

Do this now:

In a small saucepan, combine the following:
  • cloves (whole or ground, whatever you have)
  • cinnamon (whole or ground, whatever you have)
  • lemon or orange (slices or extract, whatever you have)
  • nutmeg or allspice
Add a few cups of water and simmer all day long, adding more water as needed. My house is filled with the lovely warm scent, and it's just a pity you can't drink that stuff, because it smells amazing. However, depending on how many ground spices you have to use, it looks pretty revolting and is relatively easy to NOT put in your mouth.

Monday, December 7, 2009

addie crocker with a side of road rage

I have a temper. I know, it's a surprise, especially for those of you who grew up with me.

A temper? Addie? NO! Also, doesn't she have a Puritanical sensibility about cursing and isn't she a total slob?

Like most tempers, mine has gotten me in trouble. As an adult, this has more serious repercussions than simply apologizing to whomever I've hurt - and my temper rarely kicks in about people I know. It's more to do with abstracts: companies, work situations, idiotic drivers.

For example, I used to have a Twitter account. It wasn't something I used often, and I considered it more a conceit than anything else. Facebook has replaced my face-to-face relationships with many of my friends, and Twitter just opened up virtual relationships with strangers. It takes plenty long for me to flip through the photos of the people I actually know on FB - like I need to squander digital time on faceless tweeters!

Back in the day, Rob used to deliver appliances for Vann's (he now sells those same appliances!), and while his hours were supposed to be 8-4, they were often 8-whenever-the-hell-they-finally-got-done-with-all-the-deliveries-they'd-been-scheduled. It made planning evenings difficult... but we tried anyway! On one memorable day, he'd assured me he'd probably be done by 5:00, given the number of deliveries they had, so I planned to be somewhere at 6:00 while he stayed at home with B and a friend's boy.

At 6:00, I texted him to ask where he was and learned that he and his driver were both furious because things had taken longer than they should have, and that someone at the store had added one more delivery that day... of a product they didn't have on the truck yet. They were on their way back to the store (a full hour later than they'd planned to be working) to pick up this product, then deliver it out to Four Corners or Belgrade or wherever, and Rob didn't think he'd be done until 8:00, completely blowing my plans to celebrate a friend's birthday. He was annoyed, I was disappointed... and then I was livid. I was mad at the salesman who'd promised same-day delivery, mad at the delivery-scheduling personnel who didn't know when to say no, mad at Vann's in general for robbing us of our RobRob and foiling my plans for world domination again.

Needing an outlet, I naturally turned to Facebook and Twitter and vented my frustration:
I am grateful for R's job, but when whoever schedules calls the truck at 6:00 and adds one more delivery to a full day (that they still have to PICK UP from the store, no less), I want to scream. No wonder all the other delivery guys are single. A family man can't do this job for very long because they make it IMPOSSIBLE. And when I scream? I want it to be in the face of whoever it is at Vann's that can't get their poop in a group before 6:00 pm, for crying out loud.
That's what was on FB, and I can't double-check what I wrote on Twitter because, the very next day, I looked at my post again and thought "Perhaps what I need is a smaller online presence," then promptly deleted my account. Truth be told, I was horrified that I'd unleashed my temper where more than just my indulgent friends could see it (hi, indulgent friends!).

A few days later, Rob's boss asked him if his wife had a Twitter account and casually mentioned that they have a guy keeping an eye out for mentions of Vann's there, to make sure they catch any customer service worries before they go nuts. Rob laughed nervously and told him about my dismay at my tweet and subsequent blitzing of the account, which made his boss laugh for real and assure him that he wasn't in trouble, but that perhaps I should be reminded that while FB and my blog are relatively private, Twitter is not. He then let Rob know they cared about the fact that he had a family and would continue to figure things out (get their poop in a group, so to speak) about his schedule.

I baked the boss a cake, which is one of my best "I blew it, and this is how sorry I am. Please eat this to assuage my guilt and make your waistline (and forgiving spirit) expand," tactics. He thought that was even funnier.

After a second temper tantrum (for something unrelated), I asked Rob for ideas on how to not let my anger rip my whole face off. We came up with a temper journal. I can pour out whatever venom I might otherwise type, and by the time I'm done writing, my ire will have cooled. I have about a 30-minute blind rage, after which I can be wry and funny and sarcastic about whatever happened without being so mean. Since I write more slowly than I type and a journal can be burned, I can put whatever my vicious little heart desires on the pages without threatening livelihoods, relationships, or my sanity once cooled off, because while eating humble pie has never killed anyone, I tend to choke on it.

And my planned evening was salvaged: the guy Rob worked with called in and firmly told the store they were done for the day. I got to the birthday dinner late, but still enjoyed a pint of porter and a dessert with friends. Now Rob's the one planning deliveries, but I'm happy to say that his experience doing the heavy lifting has him careful with his expectations of the delivery crew, and I am still welcome to visit him in the store, especially when I come bearing baked goods.

Friday, December 4, 2009

i know it's lazy, but it makes for speedy posting

E: And I'm thinking, "You take your foot off the gas, and I'll take mine off the brake!"
A: Are you teaching Driver's Training?
E: No, I'm dating.

M: Well, let her have fun, YA BITCH!

(I told her I'd anonymize it, but it's not nearly as fun: Mom, you're one of my favorite people, even though you said this to me.)

A: (sneeze) Excuse me.
B: You're excused.
A: Thank you.
B: You sneezeded. Why did you say "Excuse me?"
A: Because I sneezed. It's polite. You're supposed to say "Bless you."
B: Oh, MOM.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

and we'd still owe thirty grand! what's not to love?

We got an offer on the house yesterday.

For $69,000.

Our gentle, kind, and godly realtor called Rob to say that while he was legally obligated to let us know of the offer, he absolutely HATES this kind of "bottom-feeder" who is trying to take advantage of the market's downturn in such a hardball kind of way. This sweet soul then told Rob firmly that he'd pass along any message, any message at all (wink, wink), that we cared to tell the bottom-feeder.

Herein lies the difference between Rob and I:

Rob's response: Haha! For that kind of offer, we'll give it to him for the lowdown price of $120K ($5K over our current asking price).


Saturday, November 28, 2009

i've been listening, and he likes egg nog

Grammie: We were fed, we were clothed – growing up, I didn’t know we were poor! Everyone else had about as much as we did, and the few folks we considered rich, well, it turned out one of them was running an illegal still and the others got their money through shady means too. But we weren’t hungry or naked – we really weren’t poor.

B: Ooh! I love these!
A: Those are measuring cups.
B: I love them. (sniffing deeply) They smell fresh.
Oh! I love these circle things!
A: Egg yolks?
B: Yeah. I love egg yolks.
A: You excited about the puffy pancake then?

B: Dad! Do you like noggin-egg?
R: What?
B: Noggin-egg! Because guess what?! MOM GOT SOME.

B: (giggling) Mom, your belly is jiggling.
A: (while exercising in a sports bra) Huh.
B: Can I touch it?
A: NO.

B: Those Lego men are having tea on their couches. (after taking my hand weights and creating a square with them, then sitting Lego men inside)

Friday, November 27, 2009

who would you sit down with?

It's the national day of listening, where you are supposed to grab a tape recorder and a friend or family member and ask them to tell you something about their lives, or ask them specific questions about something in their lives.

I wish I were near my Grammie. I think she's who I'd best like to hear from, if only because I know my mom has already done something like this and learned that Grammie grew up in a family who would use their bedsheets until they were threadbare down the center, then cut a line directly down the center, sew the two sides together in a new seam, and continue to use them until the sides were as threadbare as the rest.

We do not live in such a practically frugal world any more, and it would be nice to have a reminder of what it was like to really go without while still having everything you needed, to really use something up to the end of its purpose, and to get a glimpse of my Grammie as a little girl. My stories seem awfully dull in comparison!

I love you Grammie, and I plan on calling you (without a tape recorder - I'm sorry and you're welcome) later today to tell you in person!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

this one's for the lurkers

Hey, Aubyn? You know how you luuuuuhve how I comment on your blog all the time?




Anybody out there?!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

exactly how big of a crime is a false fire alarm?

One of the benefits of being stuck in town day in and day out is that I am always around (never gone) for all the fun things going on this time of year. Like Christmas parties for work and our growth group, a cookie exchange among friends, and the Christmas stroll downtown, to name a few.

Now to figure out how to ensure Vann's closes early so that Rob can actually join me at some of these things...

Monday, November 23, 2009

silence is golden, but also kind of boring

We are deep in the "paying dues" phase of life right now. We don't get to live like our parents - not terribly surprising, but terribly disappointing - and it's given Rob and I some good conversations in the last few days. We've covered how long it might take for the Spokane house to sell and what we should do if it's another month or more on the market. We've covered if and when we might move to Canada, since that might be the only way we're able to ensure I meet that side of his family, as well as what he'd do for a living up there. We've covered what marriage has cost Rob, our expectations for our future together, and how to manage his work schedule in a way that doesn't drive us both crazy.

For the house, my suggestion was to add a stripper pole and a beer cooler to appeal to those college guys looking for a place to invest in. Rob wisely pointed out that it was their parents we were trying to attract, since they are the ones who actually have money.

Ah. Guess the fancy dancing apparatus and keg-chilling device are off limits. FOR NOW.

We don't really have any wisdom about that house at the moment. If you're so inclined, we covet your prayers that it would sell soon and for our asking price. Paying two mortgages is very very uncomfortable, and we really do not want to rent it, simply because that pushes back a few other things we'd like to do sooner than later (buy a larger place in Bozeman and begin expanding our family).


There has been an inordinate amount of interest in the status of my uterus these days, and I'm perfectly content to tell you it's empty but for the Mirena that is very effective and dear to my heart. Yes, holding babies (especially girls) kind of makes my ovaries throb. Yes, I love babies (especially YOURS) and would enjoy more children. It ain't happening yet. But you know what's fun? Asking me about it and seeing what happens. That is evidently the new Bozeman (especially Bunko girl) hobby! SO FUN!

For the other stuff, well, I actually wrote and deleted a large chunk of words that, when reread, were just dull. We're hanging out a lot. Blake doesn't really know what to think of it when it's not a Dave Ramsey ("I LOVE DAVE RAMSEY!" -Blake) night or a growth group ("I LOVE THE MCKELLYS!" -Blake) night, but I'm having fun. I beat Rob at Scrabble a few days ago, Blake's been building castles and chariots out of Lincoln Logs and Legos, and I'm reading through the Harry Potter series. We are settling in and getting used to this new normal, this different phase.

And when I start to feel badly about all that I've cost Rob, he counters with this (paraphrased, because if I start walking around with a tape recorder, no one will want to hang out with me):
"Yes, when it comes to short-term freedoms to do what I want, take trips, buy what I want, and live just for me, getting married has cost me. But in the long-term, this is an investment for me. I'm investing in what I've wanted: a family. A future. It has been worth the cost. I love you both."
"Well, that is very good to hear."
"Are you crying again?"
"YEAH! SO?!"

Sunday, November 22, 2009

overheard at bunko and taken out of context

L: I had the nuts.
M: Oh, the nuts were GOOD.

M: You're easy. You know that, right?

N: Lick it, Addie!
L: That's what he said.

N: I don't know where the tip went!
A: That's what he said.

A: Go ahead, take the picture. You can't put it anywhere.
N: I can't put it anywhere? (camera flashes)

B: Wow, you have a fast grab!

Monday, November 16, 2009

that's what we said

B: I changed my mind. I don't want to be normal any more. I want to be silly because it makes you happy.
A: It DOES make me happy when you are silly!
B: Yeah. I'm your bestest kid.
A: Indeed.
B: So will you keep me forever?
A: Of course! What would I do with you if I decided not to keep you?
B: I guess I'd have to go live at the McKelly's house and be their kid.
A: But you want to be my kid, right? Now I'm worried...
B: Well...

R: You're... caustic today.
A: Yeah, well, I was all holy until I got home from the women's retreat. Then I was accosted by my family and it was like "WHY DON'T THEY WANT ME TO BE HOLY?!"

A school exercise wherein Blake dictated five things he's thankful for to a teacher, who copied them down.

I am thankful for:
1.) My mom making me breakfast.
2.) My clothes.
3.) My Grandpa and Grandma.
4.) My mom baking me treats.
5.) Food and my home.

I can't decide if I'm glad he's so grateful for the little things in life, or if I think he's going to grow up to be morbidly obese. Three out of five pertaining to food means...

He's definitely my child.

B: I'm the one who made all the music in that song.
A: What about me? I was singing too. Was I just making noise?
B: Yes. I was making music and you were making noise.

Friday, November 13, 2009

that's what he said

B: Mom, can we get two pets if we have a bigger house?
A: I suppose that could work...
B: I want a cat and a dog because I love dogs licking me.
A: Uh...

B: I want to be a girl.
L: Why?
B: I want to be like Daisy Duck.
L: No, you don't.

T: That song is about how Jesus loves us!
B: No it's not.
T; Yes, it's about how much Jesus loves us as his children.
A: And it makes my heart happy to hear you singing, buddy.
B: It makes my heart happy too.
It sounds like you're going to cry.
T: Well, you know, when your child says "It makes my heart happy," it makes you want to cry EVEN WHEN IT'S NOT YOUR CHILD.

Go ahead. Reread that after watching this and see if you don't cry about the fact that Blake was singing the chorus along with them. God is good, even when life doesn't always feel very good.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

is it too early for christmas music?

Rob and I went to bed at 11:30 last night to rain. We woke up this morning to about ten inches of fresh, heavy snow. I am ambivalent about snow. I like to ski, but I'm not rabid about it. I like sledding, but we need better options to really enjoy it. I like getting my cardio/weight workout by shoveling it, Blake loves to help shovel and play, and it's really lovely the way everything looks when covered with it.

However... We live in a college town, so many of the folks who live and drive here in the winter are either from a different part of the state or a different part of the country, AND they have wholly inappropriate cars for a foot of unplowed white fluff OR are completely unaware of how to drive in it. Worst case scenario: a combination of both!

I feared for my life this morning and truly regretted that Blake has to go to preschool so far from home. It was a mess! I'm not sure if the plows got out at all this morning, based on the conditions of the roads I used, or if it was just snowing THAT hard. There was clear evidence of the piled up snow and ruts throwing folks into the curb on Main Street. I had to stop too suddenly and had my anti-lock brakes engage, and I saw folks fishtailing all over the place. FREAKY!

So today, I am very very grateful for a garage I can park in (but sorry that there's not room for you, RobRob!), a schedule that's flexible so that I did not have to drive unsafely or worry about being ridiculously late, four-wheel drive and the knowledge to use it, and angels around us to protect us from all the other crazies drivers out there.

What a great day for puttering around the house, maybe going sledding, then warming up with hot chocolate! Maybe I should risk the distance and kidnap Blake from preschool to have a fun play day... I'd need to pick up a sled long enough for two first...

Oh, how snow days captivate my inner child. Guess I'm not THAT ambivalent now that Blake's grown up enough to be a playmate rather than simply someone I need to take care of.

Monday, November 9, 2009

some of the best news ever?


Also, because she doesn't really get into it (and Lane, advise if I'm stepping over my bounds here), they need to live in the house for two years to avoid capital gains taxes. After that, they can sell, pay off medical debt, and STILL have a little nest egg for a deposit on a different home.

Talk about your answered prayer! Oh yeah, AND Bing now has health insurance, AND Maddox gives kisses and is walking and putting things in the toilet/bathtub/trash, AND I love my family so much it HURTS ME.

I'm still a little baffled that Lane and Bing didn't take us up on our offer to let them buy the Spokane house on the cheap. Course, it's going to whoever actually wants it on the cheap, but someone has to want it first. Now let's all pray for that, okay? All those other prayers have been answered, so we can focus back on me.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

that's what she said

P (to his wife): "You can tell me to do something or tell me how to do something, but you can't do both."

M: You want the rest of my cake?
L: Are you sick?
M: Have we done this before?

L is desperately afraid of illness, probably because she always manages to catch everything, so I guess it's fair. If you offer her the last half of your dessert, she cannot accept until she's sure you do not have an infectious disease. Multiple times.

M: This cake is delicious! What's in it?
H: Oh, a lot of puddin', a lot of love, and a truffle!
A: That is going to be my recipe for everything from now on. Flank steak, beans and rice, you name it!

A: (after using it in a sentence a few times) I guess 'vibrate' is my favorite verb.


Saturday, November 7, 2009

that's what he said

A: How was preschool? Did they like your Superman costume?
B: Yes. And everyone liked touching my muscles.

Mom, you have fancy moves. Cuz you have mad skills.

ThankyouJesusforourfoodandblessitinourbodiesinJesus'nameAmen. Let's eat!

B: Mom, I love you. You're beautiful.
A: Thank you!
B: You're beautiful for a lon... for the whole day.

A: You are SO CUTE.
A: Fine. You are handsome. And funny.
A: Well, that is no good at all. Normal is boring.
A: I am not sure that is possible.

Mom, you play the drums and I will play guitar and be the singer. Can we please listen to Metallica? To the one that I love? Enter the Sandman?

T: You know what my favorite candy is of all time?
B: Uh, nope.
T: You're holding it in your hands. I love gummy bears. They are THE BEST.
B: And you know what else is good? Starburst!

A: Do you know who God's little lambs are?
B: Jesus!
A: Nope! You are. And I am. We're God's little lambs!
B: But maybe I can be a tiger and you can be a snake.

It's not funny.

Friday, November 6, 2009

adrenaline rush, sure, but i just need to put food on the table

I was excited about hunting again this year. Not because I like killing things, not because I enjoy "the chase," not because I particularly love wild game... but because it is a fairly inexpensive way to eat, and it would also entail large quantities of time with some of my favorite people.

I grew up around guns, and I have a healthy respect for them. I learned the hard way to ALWAYS pay attention to where your muzzle is pointed (got a backhand and a bloody nose for carelessly swinging it past someone one too many times), and I passed Hunter Safety and went out a few times with my dad for deer and antelope.

I am squeamish about blood and especially squeamish about wounded-but-not-dead animals. There was one time that Dad had to send me back to the truck to keep me from becoming hysterical at the prolonged suffering one poor shot of mine had caused. It wasn't more than five or ten minutes, but I was in agonies for this poor creature.

Still, a girl's gotta eat. With Rob and I still covering two mortgages and some financial wobbliness ahead, I figured that I couldn't pass up the chance to go out this year, even if Rob couldn't come because of his work schedule and residency restrictions. He had a lot of fun telling customers and co-workers that he'd sent his pretty little wife out to shoot something for our freezer, but he really really REALLY wished he could have come. Next year, sweetie!

In Bozeman, I'm surrounded by a largely split populace. There are the avid hunters (and their widows) who take the whole process very seriously, even if they are only it in for the population control and trophies. Then there are the imports, who consider hunting barbaric, even as they pick up organic grain-fed beef at the co-op.

I am neither of these, but I think it's funny that the fact that my antelope is organic doesn't sway the imports. Most folks like to think of meat as an abstract. They don't want a bloody muscle: they want prime rib, medium-rare. If anything, those who think about it a lot and find the process distasteful become vegetarians, like one of my sisters-in-law. She likes meat. She dislikes the process by which animals become meat... so she doesn't eat it. This is more honest to me than any of the shocked assemblage that can't believe a nice girl would find any pleasure in hunting and killing and gutting her own meal, even as they cheerfully grill out their organic burgers.

For the record, I actually do not gut my own kill. We never have time for that particular dance, so it's a self-fulfilling cycle. I am slow because I never practice, I never practice because I am too slow. Also, I am a bit squicky about parts of the process - as Blake said when watching, "Ow." - and I'll eat just as happily from an animal that dear old Dad gutted. The one thing I can gut is fish. I can totally handle that, which is great, because Blake dreams of having more rainbow trout fried in butter next summer.

Yep. It's confirmed: We're carnivores. I wouldn't have it any other way.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

family is a beautiful thing... or something

This one time, I went to Billings for a benefit held for Lane and Bing. Mostly Bing, because his heart is the one that's all screwed up and needs fixing or needs paying for the fixing, but since he married Lane, she comes with the package.

SO DO I. I would just like to point that out right now.

I would also like to point out that it's only Bing's physical heart that is scarred and broken. His metaphysical "heart and soul" kind of heart is one of the biggest, most tender, and sweetest ones I've ever encountered. He can still be mouthy, but that's his mouth. Not his heart.

Since I can also be rather mouthy (stop gasping - it is true - you will have to believe me), Bing and I have a lot of fun at each others' expense. He's great at playing the martyr, I'm great at shoving my feet in my mouth. It's a good time. You'd enjoy it!

At the benefit, also known as the Bing-efit, a few key things happened. First, I was enlisted by Bing's younger brother, Julian, to outbid any men for him in the bachelor auction. I cheerfully agreed and was sanguine about this until the first bachelor was bid up to something like $250. It was between a rather flamboyant gay man and a girl who appeared to be a sympathetic friend of this young bachelor. Turns out, to boost turn-out, the organizers of the event had posted the photos of the auctionees at the one gay bar in Billings.

Turn-out was boosted. And I tracked Julian down.

A: "Um, I didn't think you were serious... and if that last guy was any indication, I can't afford you!"
J: "Oh, don't worry, we can work something out."
A: "WHAT DO YOU MEAN BY THAT?! I love my husband and you live too far away to babysit!"
J: "Ha ha!"

Thankfully, he had other friends in the crowd who really wanted a date with him. Friends with lady bits, even! I was spared.

Second key thing: I punched Bing during some of our playful banter... right in the pacemaker.

Had he been thinking on his feet, he would have hit the ground and choked out "pace... maker!" before going into pretend convulsions. He wasn't thinking that fast and simply grimaced and pointed out the poor choice of location. I knew EXACTLY what had happened the moment my fist connected with him, and I have died a little inside each time I remember that event.

I think he's okay, but he DID have to bag a slightly retarded deer on our hunting trip. Poor guy.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

to blake, we were all just really cool elmer fudds

We made a rare splurge and got Monsters vs. Aliens. It came with a little featurette in 3-D, and Blake had a hard time with the double glasses. Rob, however, was LOVING IT.

What you can expect if you are Lego man in this household: being chained by your feet or stalked by the one pitiful army figure we have. The chained guy is attached to a "flyer." "He gets dragged behind because he was naughty."

The wound that wasn't. He was a wreck for a surprisingly few minutes, and I'm just relieved it didn't break the skin or smash up his face. Poor kid.

Happy faces, looking for things to shoot.

We warned Blake that he had to be VERY quiet when he got out of the truck, that we were sneaking up on antelope. He proceeded to declare very loudly that Bing let him borrow gloves! AREN'T THEY COOL?! Tom, the friend whose ranch we were on, wryly wondered who would loan Blake a muzzle.

WARNING TO THE SQUEAMISH AND/OR VEGETARIANS: Blood and guts and dead animals follow.

Saturday: The first kill of the trip. Bing snagged this guy in one clean shot. Because we were having trouble finding any bucks, Tom offered to wrangle up a slightly retarded one. The rack wasn't much to look at, but since it was meat they were after, not a trophy, the slightly-retarded-stop-to-stare-at-you deer won (lost?) the draw.

Sunday: We (me, Lane, and Dad) put the sneak on a group of antelope bedded down near a draw, belly-crawling in a shallow depression for a few dozen yards (no prickly pear, thank goodness, but there was some poop to avoid), hidden by some straggly sagebrush. Lane sat up and got the sentinel in her sights, took the shot, and tipped her right over. The doe never jumped, never stood, nothing. Our cover blown, the others started for the fence. I got one shot off (that I shouldn't have taken - they were moving, and I am lousy with a moving target), promptly getting Lane and Dad with muzzle blast due to the angle. Lane proceeded to enthusiastically gut her doe with a zeal that made me just a tiny bit uncomfortable. She's such a badass.

Blood diamond. Next time, she'll remember to take off the wedding ring first.

We'd gotten up on and spooked two more sets of antelope. Once, they caught our scent and took off like the devil himself was at their heels - understandable, I guess. They'd been hunted hard the past month, and the numbers were down before that anyway. I took one shot at a bedded down doe that missed. Dad made sure I wasn't beating myself up for two missed shots, but the truth was, I was just self-doubtful, not self-loathing. I'd not hunted in ten years. Maybe I was no longer a good shot? Maybe I should have practiced before going all out when the food was on the line? Maybe I should have gotten a deer tag? They hadn't been hunted much yet and would just stand and look at you as you lined one up in your scope, fifty yards away. And then, minutes before we were to arrive back at the ranch to pack up for home, Tom insisted on a detour. He promised it would only take ten minutes, he knew this draw very close to the house where antelope tended to gather, and if we approached it right, they'd never know where we were. So we belly-crawled up a hill (my arms are still protesting), and there they were.

100-150 yards downhill, they were lined up at the fence. Antelope are PERFECT on a fence line. They go underneath (rather than jump it), and they go single file. If you spook them, they hold still A LOT longer than usual, because they don't know where to go, and they don't want to split up. I drew a bead on a doe, took a few calming breaths, and squeezed the trigger.

She jumped, then fell. What you see there is the exit wound - on the other flank, I hit her EXACTLY where I'd aimed (just behind the front leg), restoring my faith in my old nickname: Addie Oakley.

After I took my shot, I handed Dad the gun and skootched back hard. They didn't know where we were, so the rest of the herd only ran a few dozen yards, then stopped to look around. They'd rather hold still than run in the wrong direction, toward whatever that loud sound was, and Dad took his shot...

A VERY nice buck. I'm sure I looked like an idiot, jumping around and whooping and hugging everyone. Lane and Bing were relieved that we'd gotten what we came for - since they had filled their tags, they were feeling badly that neither Dad or I had anything at that point, even offering me some of their meat. At the end of the ten-minute detour, we were gutting our game. It was MAGIC. Perfect. A euphoric end to a great weekend where I got precious time with my loved ones, Blake got precious time outside with Grammie, and I got to know Bing and Maddox a little better. Maddox now gives me kisses, and Bing has almost forgiven me for running off at the mouth and punching him in his pacemaker.

More on THAT in another post.

Monday, November 2, 2009

we're all just tuckered out

After a few sneaks that involved belly crawling over the ground, cow poop, prickly pear, what-have-you, I successfully shot a doe antelope yesterday.

My arms may never forgive me, since the crawling worked muscles that are declaring their dissatisfaction with me today, but I fared better than Dad, who persisted in finding the prickly pear and kneeling in it.

There's more to tell, but I am more than happy with my kill, more than happy with the meat coming our way, more than happy with the time spent with family and old friends... but right now I have to drag my sorry butt off to sip tea in bed while I read or do a crossword. Daylight savings time and kids are a non-working arrangement, kind of like deciding to put a cat in a bag. It doesn't really sound like a good idea, and you'll walk away bleeding regardless of if the cat is really in that bag or not.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

why run when you can do the work for me?

A while back, I sold the bike trailer that Blake and I had used a few times to a co-worker. Blake was now on a bike of his own (training wheels off next year? I am a VERY lazy biking teacher!), and I wanted to get it out of the garage.

Just got this from said co-worker. His friend's dog doesn't have any impairments, but, like the rest of us, LOVES wheeled travel when it's an option.

Monday, October 26, 2009

then i'm going to make a "jump to conclusions" mat and wear 37 pieces of flair to express myself

Ok, now what? Seriously. WHAT?

The day started off innocuously enough, and nothing major went awry, unlike yesterday. Rob and I were playing with Blake on the bed when we were all still waking up, and one playful push rolled the kid one too many times, right off the bed and into the small, metal, sharply cornered nightstand. It's a miracle he hit the back of his head and not his face. It's a miracle it didn't open up in a big mess of a bleeder. It's a miracle we haven't been called into the authorities for the plethora of new bruises on our careless and clumsy son who has unfortunately carelessly clumsy parents. But that was yesterday.

Today? Today, I have not discovered that any of my immediate family is in danger of disease, pestilence, or warfare. I have not lost a major body part or expensive dear item. It's just been an oddly offbeat day where lots of little things went wrong. So here are my boos (boo hoos?) for the Monday:
  • The weird pain in my back that makes it hard to move certain ways. Not sure how I got it, not sure how to fix it, made working out impossible, and I have to save the money I'd otherwise spend on the chiropractor on...
  • Fixing Blake's glasses. I got in to pick him up from gymnastics, and the teacher said, "He came without one of his lenses, right?" Um, NO. No, he did not. So the teachers and Blake dutifully walked the floor, trying in vain to find the small clear piece of plastic that had jumped out at some point during class. We don't have a back-up pair and will now be forced into buying one earlier than we'd planned, simply because any setback in our treatment of his amblyopia is a bad deal. We'll patch him constantly for as long as it takes to get the spare pair, then send his originals out to both update the prescription and get a new lens in there.
  • Trying to get three small children to nap when I only have two possible rooms to put them in. Blake skipped his nap in favor of the twins getting one, which means I'll now be skipping the Dave Ramsey class tonight in order to get him in bed at a reasonable hour because we'll both be endlessly grumpy at 10:00 pm if I don't. Turns out a four-year-old can't really sleep on the couch during the daytime with Mom in the corner on the computer. Who knew?!
  • Hoping to work efficiently and cleanly today, only to get kind of stuck on a small bit of administration stuff that took all my time, so I had to try (HAH!) to work while everyone was awake and playing.
That's about it. Like I said, nothing big. I babysat the twins today, so maybe the added ARGH factored in with the added noise and irregularity of the day. Can't really tell. What I liked about today (because I have to be fair):
  • Hearing Smith tell Mason, "My back hurts. Bad." Just like I'd told him mine did.
  • Hearing Blake tell me, "Just ignore it, Mom. Just ignore it," when the boys were tuning up over a toy and I was trying to talk them down off the ledge. Just like I'd told him when they had been intentionally teasing him in the "Yes, it is." / "No, it isn't" kind of way.
  • Having the same person who called me to account for my temper encourage me to control it in ways that are truly gentle and convicting and convincing.
  • Having the missing lens be on the side we'd have to patch anyway, so at least Blake can kind of see out of the eye that needs it most.
  • Griping about my day to my friend in "my way" and having her laugh and tell me how funny I am. Even when I'm a whiner, I can still laugh and get a laugh without it being a bitter one.
  • Rob's new job jitters were really awfully adorable this morning. I still have to call him (at work, since he's still without a cell) to see how it's going.
  • Deciding that I can maybe make it to the video portion of the Dave Ramsey lesson, then leave immediately thereafter to preserve both Blake's rest and my commitment as much as possible without too much sacrifice on either end.
  • Pumpkin butterscotch cookies with a cup of tea. Because at least it's not beer.
See how I'm learning?!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

sometimes being an editor is more in what you do NOT say or do

I have a rather thin skin at times. Criticize my parenting, and I can casually and effectively silence you by sharpening my tongue on your unwitting foolishness and think nothing of it. Pick at my personality, and I can shrug it off fairly easily, because I know me: I'm not for the faint of heart.

However, the author who mentioned - not to me directly, but in a forum attached to an article he wrote and therefore to the public - that his article was edited liberally and that he couldn't hear his "voice" as well as he'd intended had no idea that my dearest wish at that moment was to punch him hard in the neck.


Tuesday, October 20, 2009

keeping me wildly off-kilter and not sure how to respond

Get some popcorn. This is a long post, but I don't want to make it shorter because it's not as good a story!

Yesterday was a weird day. We slept in (Rob gets Mondays off, and I don't have to work until the afternoon), enjoyed a leisurely breakfast together, and proceeded to go about our business.

My business was doing the dishes and paint touch up. I have had white spots of spackle throughout the house for WELL over a year. I got around to filling nail holes, but, uh, not around to anything beyond that. The house looked like a teenager who'd left their acne medication on their face, then went out in public. It was still functional, but it wasn't pretty. And to think it took less than an hour for me to fix it... I'm embarrassed that I left our poor little place in such a state for so long!

Rob's business was finishing the repair work on our bathroom ceiling. When we first got married, we replaced the bathroom fan/light (original one was TERRIBLY noisy and awful), but the downside of bathroom fan replacement is that you always always always have to cut a new hole in the ceiling. They do not have any sort of standard so that replacing a fan/light is like replacing a switch cover. Because that would make sense and be easy. Thankfully, there was some leftover tape from the Spokane drywall work, and a small tub of mud was easily gotten. The only thing left was sanding and texturing yesterday, which is dusty, smelly work. Using spray texture is kind of like sniffing Magic Markers. Now all that's left is paint touch up, so the bathroom should be done in about a year, if my time table is any indicator.

Blake's business was singing the two phrases he knows from Enter Sandman while constructing grids and buildings of blocks, Lego guns, and Lincoln Log cabins.

We tidied up in the garage as well, figuring out where to put things so that it didn't feel so crowded, deciding what we could trash and what we'd sell. We're trying to complete our first baby step for the Dave Ramsey class we're attending: put $1000 cash in the bank. One of Dave's suggestions for how to do this is to sell so much stuff that the kids think they're next. Blake joined us and alternately found cool old toys in Rob's boxes or dodged between our legs in order to trip us up or pestered us to ride his bike in the garage because all the boxes, the ladder, and the various other things we'd pulled out seemed more like an obstacle course than a barrier to biking.

We found a nice coat of Rob's that I cautiously agreed to wash (rather than dry clean), in the hopes that it would remain the same size while becoming wearable again. He checked the pockets, I got the water ready, and we tossed both that coat and the one he'd worn while cleaning in the wash.

Side note: Rob applied for a sales position (formal title: Product Advisor) at Vann's in the hopes that he'd have a more regular hourly schedule, could avoid delivering in the Bozeman winter, and could bring our income above the poverty line so that we might one day be able to buy a house with a yard and maybe have more children... all while knowing we could feed them real food rather than teaching them how to graze (which would save us the cost of a lawn mower, but I think I'd rather have the mower than a family of goat-kids).

He made it to a second interview and was asked about his long-term plans. He'd been clear that delivery was simply a short-term path to provide for his family, but was by no means a career. However, he could see investing himself in "product advising" for a longer period of time, because it involves a few things he loves: people, electronics, and the puzzle of what will fit best with what a customer wants and can afford. This surprised me, mostly because I have always thought of my husband as a videographer, and one way or another, we were going to really try to make that work (regardless of how long he might have to put it off until video got going in Bozeman). I think it surprised him too, but he was genuinely excited about the prospect of getting the job, and it wasn't hard to back him up. His boss, D, was going to give him a call yesterday afternoon to let him know.

At 6:00, I realized we hadn't heard from D and asked Rob if we'd missed a call while out in the garage. He said he didn't think so, but couldn't find his phone to check. I called it, and when the call went straight to voicemail without me hearing the dulcet tones of Rob's ring for me ("sci-fi," which sounds like an old-school alien movie soundtrack), I asked him if he'd left it in his coat pocket.

OH, SHIT. In the pocket of the coat I'd thrown in the wash? I darted to the washing machine (not yet to the spin cycle) and grabbed through the water until, with a sinking heart, I felt the hard rectangle that indicated Rob's phone was now cleaner than mine, inside and out.

A mere week ago, Rob had updated his iPhone beyond what his cell carrier could service (because Apple and AT&T are an evil monopoly on that cool gadget and make it very difficult for non-AT&T users to have a working one). We thought he was royally screwed, until he figured out how to unlock it... and all was right with the world again. He had his favorite toy, it worked, and we didn't have to cough up for a new phone.

Well, now we do. It would have been better to wash MY phone, because I have a backup, and I'm the one who is so uptight about cleanliness. Rob emailed D and let him know the new number to call (mine) and was then promptly informed that he got the job.

Wait, what?!

HE GOT THE JOB! He starts next Monday! Praise the Lord for answered prayer!

We're still bummed about the iPhone, disproportionately so. Why is it that a short-term painful thing can outweigh a long-term big huge blessing? Ah, well. Evidently we can't be pleased. And we're in the market for a Cell-One-compatible phone, since, barring an act of God, we can't afford another iPhone because Apple (and everyone else) is awfully proud of the little buggers.

I don't know what the job will mean for our Thanksgiving and Christmas plans (we might be forced to stay so close to home that we don't actually leave it), nor when we'll make it to our next baby step (paying off all debt other than the mortgage), nor if anyone will ever buy the Spokane house that is showing well and reduced in price again...

But my husband has a job he thinks he can love... our son wants to be the lead singer and guitar player for a Metallica cover band and regularly tells us how much he loves us and how beautiful I am... the rest will fall into place eventually, right?

Thursday, October 15, 2009

that's what he said

(in regards to a question a cartoon bear asks the viewer)
R: Why didn't you help him?
B: Because I'm not in the T.V.

And he knows what to do.

A: Do you know how many hairs you have on your head?
B: Tons.
A: Jesus knows the EXACT number. Do you know how many that is?
B: Sixty-nine?
A: It’s probably more than sixty-nine.
B: Yeah. Seventy-nine.

B: You’re really good at that. (I was singing)
A: Thank you, Blake.
B: You’re also really beautiful.
A: Thank you, Blake, that’s very kind.

In case you hadn't noticed, my son's favorite number is sixty-nine. He wants sixty-nine brudders and sisters (owie!). He wants sixty-nine brownies for dessert. Any time he has to guess a number, that is the first one out of his mouth. I'm not sure why he's so fixated on it - it's certainly not something Rob and I joke slyly about (IT'S NOT!), so I'm guessing it's just one of the numbers they hit when counting at preschool that caught his fancy.

Also, to my great relief, he understands that the sixty-nine brudders and sisters he's requesting will not, in fact, be OLDER than he. I was worried he'd be disappointed when they started arriving too young to play Legos and Star Wars and Wolverine. I actually asked him whether he thought his brudders and sisters would be older or younger, and he thought a bit, then said they'd have to younger, because they have to be babies first.

Now how do I go about making two his favorite number?

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

for the twilight girls (and boys?)

MAN, this is good. Compellingly sums up (and names, which I wasn't quite able to do) my biggest beef with the Twilight series. READ IT!

Molly pointed me there, via a three-part series on mercy and her handsome hubby (HH). That's a good read too.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

that's what he said

A: I'm pretty cool.
B: No you're not.
B: You're amazing!

B: This isn't the way my mom does it. Can you please do it the way my mom does it?
R: Nope.

R: In spite of what I'd like to claim, we can control it. (regarding toots)

(upon waking from his nap)
B: Mom, can I have double snacks?
A: What does that mean?
B: That means two. (holding up two fingers in front of his sleepy eyes)

I made that awesome thing for you cuz you're fancy and have mad skills, like I do. And when you do fancy things, I will give you a prize!

A: Legos!
B: You get to play with me! But don't mix up what I built only for me. You can make your own awesome stuff, and I will help you built you something. Cuz I can built you something really hard. It's a lot harder than you might have guessed.
A: Welcome back from your nap.

Just cuz I'm a smart-thinkin' handsome kid!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

the weirdest part is where i didn't over-react

In early August, both Bozeman and Spokane had scorching record temperatures (it seems but a memory now that there is a rime of crusty snow and ice on the ground here), and we drove to Spokane for a friend's wedding. This was during the "DO NOT DRIVE" phase my CR-V eventually grew out of, with the help of several hundred dollars of repairs and a good spanking, so we drove the 4-Runner. This is the same 4-Runner that we agreed could wait to get the A/C juiced until next summer, mostly because my comfort is more important to our family, and we had spent all our money on my car, as it should be. This is also the same trip where I got a little frisky with a bee.

We sure know how to have a good time!

The wedding began at 7:00, the driving directions indicated that the event took place about an hour and a quarter from a certain exit on I-90, and I neglected to take all this into account when getting B and me ready to go. We left from Rob's folks' place at about 5:30, thinking we'd be a little early. By the time I reached the exit mentioned in the directions, it was 6:15. I had left fresh as a daisy, but in the heat, was quickly melting. I hadn't realized just how far everything was, so had not thought to bring a DVD player for Blake, who quickly grew bored out of his mind. And we drove. And drove. AND DROVE. Turns out this wedding isn't in Spokane at all. Not even really in the area. It was actually more in Pullman, Washington, which is easily two hours from Spokane proper.

I realized that Rob and I had driven near the wedding, but not close: it was like someone from Spokane coming to Bozeman to stay, only to realize the wedding itself is in Billings, except that Billings is connected to Bozeman via 75 mph interstate, and we were on a two-lane highway with maximum speeds of 65 mph, in a borrowed truck sans A/C that couldn't really pass anyone except on the downhill sections, because Rob had left early in his truck to video the "getting ready" parts of the wedding. As I came to this realization, I first got mad (I'm hot, sweaty, and clearly going to be very late, with a boy who is good-natured, but only SO interested in rolling wheat fields, and who is also prone to heat stroke)... MAD. Like, how dare she have a wedding so far away and not mention it?! Oh. Wait. She did mention it, kind of. Then I got sad. We were going to miss a large portion of the wedding we drove all this way to see. Then I got super-pragmatic. I found radio stations to jam out with Blake to, figured that fretting over the timing wasn't going to get us there any faster, and that we could enjoy ourselves once there, whenever the hell that would be.

We finally drove past a huge red barn set back from the road. It was clearly the scene, since I could see a confection of a wedding gown in white standing next to a man in black, in front of a host of people. It took a great deal of self-control to not honk wildly out of relief and acknowledgment. "YOU'RE GETTING MARRIED! I'M SO EXCITED AND NOT BEHAVING INAPPROPRIATELY AT ALL!!! WE'RE FINALLY HERE!"

As we found a parking space (not in view of the wedding itself), I opened the door of the truck to hear "May I be the first to present to you, Mister and Missus...." And I clapped and whistled and grabbed Blake, and we snuck over to blend in with the crowd. We had perfect timing! We got to enjoy the party without me having to wrangle Blake through a hot and sticky time of sitting still and being quiet, PLEASE don't ruin this lovely day for this lovely couple, and if you loved me you would HOLD STILL and WHISPER and maybe even STOP TOOTING.

Looking around, it was clear why the couple had chosen this location. A old barn, converted for events, was the centerpiece. In front, there was a large gazebo-like stage area with tiered grassy steps for placing folding chairs. Beyond the gazebo, a large hay field (and the highway, but it was far enough as to be a non-nuisance), and to the right of it, a koi pond and spacious lavendar garden. It was unequivocally gorgeous.

Blake gravitated immediately to the pond, where I heard a large splash. I darted over to instruct him that while he could toss the small pebbles from the path in the water, those big rocks were there on purpose. I then had to define the word "landscaping" and told him firmly of the consequences should he continue to rearrange it. He was blissfully absorbed, I got to visit with friends we never see, and the reception began in earnest. Despite arriving at 7:30, which is usually Blake's bedtime, I decided we'd stay until at least 9:00, just because it had taken so damn long to get there, and we were going to live it up!

At about 8:30, during the dimming of the day, I looked over from my conversation to the pond, where I noticed that Blake's nice shirt looked quite a bit darker than it ought, and that he was wiping water from his eyes. Walking over I saw he was saturated from head to foot, with a nervous boy of about eight or nine hovering near him.
"What happened?" I asked as I calmly removed his shoes and wrung out his socks.
"He tried to jump to that rock," said the boy, pointing to a flat stone about a foot from the side of the pond. "And he fell in. And he knocked over the statue," he finished, in a manner suspiciously helpful and relieved. He then ran off.
"Is that what happened, Blake?"
Eyes full of tears that never quite fell, Blake told me the whole story. Turns out this boy had stepped from bank to stone, then stepped back. Blake, wanting to be big too, tried it. Thing is, a step for a boy twice his age is a bit of a hop for him. And while he got to the stone just fine, he lost his balance. Trying to regain it, he flung his arms around the small statue of a boy fishing that was also on the stone... and they both went in. He told me he wasn't scared at all because of his swimming lessons, and that he'd gotten out, but that he was sorry about the statue and being all wet.

It was still very hot, so the wet wasn't a big concern. I thought I'd fish the statue out and set it back up, since the pond wasn't more than a few feet deep, but it was so dirty that I couldn't even SEE it. I decided I would just tell someone in charge that it hadn't been stolen, but was lying safely on the bottom of their nasty pond, while the bamboo fishing pole floated around on the surface. We borrowed a dry shirt for Blake, and his discipline was to stay at our table for the rest of the evening.

He was fed a steady stream of cake and sweets by our tablemates, passed out into a sugar coma on the (two-hour) drive home, and decided the night was a resounding success. I didn't hit a deer or get a ticket while driving unfamiliar roads in the dark at 11:00 p.m., so I guess I agree.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

that's what he said

B: Excuse me. I tooted a lot.
A: You tooted a lot?!
B: I am a tootin' rootin' machine.

B: And we can call Grammie Gee, and she can say, "I love Blake so much. Maybe I will buy him some candy because that would be a fun surprise and I love him." And then she will. And then she will visit us and I will hug her and she will tell me that she bought me candy because she loves me so much.

But she's not a present machine.

B: You can call me silly now cuz I don't want to be normal.

I was just kidding on being normal.

I was just kidding on ya.

M: (to me, while discussing cleaning products) What do you wash with vinegar?
B: (immediately stops playing to tell her, in complete seriousness) My mouf.

B: I like when you and Dad hug. Because it means you love each udder!

B: (while watching Goonies for the first time) Hey, Dad! This looks just like Pirates of the Carrot-Bein'!

B: Can I wear my glasses outside in the snow?
A: You bet! You want to see out there too, right?

only two things are certain in life

I think it's even more great that you and your dad do that together. Cherish the time you spend with your parents, as there will someday come a time when it will just be a memory, Addie.

A friend just wrote me this in response to me telling him about going antelope hunting with my dad. While I shudder away from the implications of such a sobering thought (and really, few do well with reminders of mortality), I appreciate the urgency it gives me to enjoy those I love as much as I can. The man who wrote this is well into his sixties, and I imagine he speaks as one with experience.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

once again, God makes a mockery of coincidences


I am sorry - I will try to avoid yelling this whole post, BUT I MIGHT NOT BE ABLE TO HELP IT! Lane and Bing won a house. A $400,000 donated house, raffled off by the St. Jude's Children's Hospital. They bought three of the hundred-dollar tickets, and they won. I am just gob-smacked.

Last night's Bing-efit was a resounding success, and we were all quite literally floating on the high of hundreds of folks chipping in to chip away at the overwhelming odds faced by the Perrine family. And then, on live television this afternoon, Lane's name was drawn from the raffle. They have toured the (very!) nice house that is so green, they are EARNING MONEY from the utility company, or at least have a negative balance. They've been interviewed by a local news station and both were able to testify to God's faithfulness. The interview and tour will air at the 10:00 pm Billings news. Once the interview is posted to Q2's website, I'll link to it.

In all my prayers for a blanket "provision" for my dear family, I never imagined God would work it out like this. As of right now, they don't have near enough furniture for it and are planning to host the family Thanksgiving dinner. And they are at a party with the St. Jude's folks and the builders and the other generous folks who made this happen - and the believers of the group all have goosebumps at how interconnected and unbelievable the circumstances are.

HOLY MOLY, GOD! You are weird and so so good. Praise you, Jesus!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

t and i agreed that we never ever exaggerate

We're in Billings for the Bing-efit! Come out and play tonight, if you cool enough to be in town and not in Dallas (MOLLY) or on the way back from Kenya (KELLIE).

Dad grilled New York strip last night, which makes me wonder why we do not spend more Friday nights here. Rob had to stay behind, which is sad (he is most sad over the steak, I think), because he's got to work today. He's now lead in-town driver and training the new guy. Woohoo! He also knows how to fix the dryer vent that's been disconnected for months now. WOOHOO!

The amount of lint blown clear - due to the newly connected dryer vent - that promptly lodged in our outside lint trap for me to pluck free triggered my gag reflex.

I had a bad attitude about packing, so we got out the door much later than intended. The worst part about packing is knowing that you're just going to have to unpack it all again very soon, so why bother? There was a mini-catastrophe on the way out when we realized that Blake's case of DVDs and CDs was missing. Still cannot find it, and few things drive me NUTTY INSANE more than misplacing something I should know where it is (see previous post about 30 Rock DVD and ask how I feel about being unable to locate my second garage door opener). It's one of the side effects of being slightly uptight and anal retentive.

Despite new cell towers sprinkled along the stretch of I-90 from Bozeman to Billings, I lost cell service twice. Granted, this is a vast improvement over the swathes of "no service" from a scant year or two ago, but I find it especially irritating to have calls dropped when I am within throwing distance of a tower. Sure, it's probably not owned by my carrier, but the least they could do if the carriers can't share is hide the tower behind an abnormally large pine tree or in a valley or under a bridge or in a grain silo.

I took my contacts out last night before I realized that I had neglected to pack my glasses and still needed to hit the grocery store. I thought I'd just rinse the acid that takes six hours to neutralize from the lenses, pop 'em back in, and hit the road. Instead, I near blinded myself in one eye. The cleaning fluid (ACID) doesn't rinse so easily, and my eye exploded in a spasm of pain and tears, instantly relocating all makeup from my eye to my cheek and puffing to the point that I almost needed a crowbar in order to scratch the offending acid-coated lens off my retina.

Then I drove around Billings at night while talking on my cell phone, drinking single malt Scotch, and searching under my seat for a new CD. I probably texted a few times and put my makeup back on too.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

summers: bake until golden, enjoy immediately, part 2

Some of the better photographic evidence of Blake's amblyopia (don't you dare call it lazy eye - either to annoy me or him - he will firmly correct you that his eye is NOT lazy). Within two weeks of seeing this, we were in the optometrist's chair.

Some of what the solution looks like! Blake now wears glasses (and if you look closely, you'll be able to tell from what sickening Disney franchise, also yes, he wears that shirt A LOT, thanks MOM). We also patch his left eye three times a day for twenty minutes while we read, do a puzzle, play a game, etc. The goal is to train his right eye to correctly see things at close range. When told of his amblyopia, Mom guessed that it must have come from the Morstads, since it clearly wasn't from our side of the family. She then spoke to Dad that night, who said with surprise, "Oh - I had that!" Surprise!

The results of giving away a living room couch and table set on Craigslist. This wiry man, no taller than me, managed to get ALL OF IT in the back of his little truck for he and his daughter to use. They were so sweet I wanted to give them the house too. He was like Superman, and I wish Blake could have seen it.

It was really something. He laughed that I must think him desperate to take pictures, and I assured him I was thrilled it was going to folks who so badly needed it, and the photos were because I was also so impressed.

Another double rainbow (you'll have to trust me) appeared as Terra and I left the Spokane house for the last time. She made me promise before we got there that I wouldn't dream up other improvements - that we'd get it to a point where I was okay walking away and trusting God for it to sell. We painted, cleaned, touched up, and I walked away under a double rainbow that I interpreted as God's promise to sell the house soon. Terra said something about a flood and blah blah blah.

Tomatoes! I grew these! And then we ate them. NOM NOM NOM. Even Blake likes a cherry tomato fresh from the vine.

My smoking hottie on the trail to the "M." That trail does NOT get any easier, unfortunately. We agreed that we are a leetle out of shape. Also, some turkeys vandalized the formerly pristine white "M." I hate when people act like asshats.

Monday, September 21, 2009

as seen on aubyn's heavy head

You Will Come To This

The Montana Brewing Co. is hosting Bing's Benefit. I know you will come and support this great idea! There will be food and drinks, music, a silent auction and a bachelor auction. But mostly I bet you are most excited about helping out my cousin [sister] and her family!!

I want to let you know how important this is to me. I love these guys and this is a chance for us to really do something. When Bing collapsed recently, we all asked, "What can we do? How can I help?" At the time, there wasn't much for us to do. But now we get the chance to follow up on our offers of support!

I know that my friends and family (and maybe to occasional blog creeper) are do-ers. We see a problem and attack it. Well, here is a problem. Let's do the damn thing. Let's get this done!

I stole this from Aubyn because she has good words. And, well, because this is important to me too. I'll be there, possibly only very briefly, but the chance to love on another and bind up his wounds is too precious to pass up.

If you are not in Billings, but wish to help, please contact me (comments or email), and I can get you pointed in the right direction.

summers: bake until golden, enjoy immediately

B (pitched very high): Hi, I'm Junior Asparagus!
A: It's okay to eat vegetables that don't talk, Mr. Veggie-Tales.

I know it's a lousy picture, but there's a house in Billings that has an ENORMOUS suit of armor strapped to its front. And it's just, well, too crazy not to share.

The ladies who lunch have babies. I got to meet a bunch of women (mother, aunt, sister, cousin) for lunch during a weekend in Billings. Blake snuggled up to me as I got proof Maddox and I have been in the same place at the same time. You know... other than when he entered the world.

Doesn't Superman wash YOUR windows intensely?

The height of irony. Me, the editor, whipped up this gem for my boss, who is aptly described on the shirt. Not surprisingly, Ryan hasn't yet worn it.

The pole dancer. We're so proud - he's going to put himself through college!

It's been the summer of double rainbows. This beauty appeared during the Myers family "camping" weekend at a cabin on the Stillwater.

One of a scant handful of photos of our weekend in Missoula. The Myers girls ditched husbands and sons and ran to Missoula for a free-spirited, hippy-dippy of a time where we burned incense and made tie-die dresses to wear at the farmer's market. Reality: Lane had shingles, Reese was stuffed up with prego nose, and I was as self-absorbed as usual. Mom did fine with us, proving her mettle. The thinking at the time was that we had no idea when we'd be able to do such a thing again, as Reese was due to pop within the month and by the time her kids were growed up enough to leave with Matt again...

Lane or I would be pregnant or have new babies of our own (both tests were negative, which is the currently desired outcome).

Smith (left) and Mason (right) both happy and jammied up as they clap eyes on their Momma again.

Soybean, who arrived a mere WEEK after our Missoula trip. Um, yeah, he was a little early, and we had impeccable timing for our fun in the 'Zoo!

Sweet Noahster, who took one look at me and wanted to be held. I will take it as proof of his good taste, though Hannah assures me it's hard to keep him out of friendly-but-strange arms at the supermarket. He goes cheerfully to anyone! I then dipped him in BBQ and gobbled him up.

Hamming it up before the talent show put on by the preschool he attends. The pretty blonde in front is his dear friend, Ellese.