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).