Be Happy Anyway

Be Happy Anyway
From Brave Girls Club

Sunday, November 30, 2008

A Week Later

It's been a week since my last post and not much has happened since then unless you count having a 5 day holiday, something. :-)

We had Thanksgiving at my Aunt Rose's house. My son somewhere along the line decided that she should be called Nanny, so when I refer to "Nanny" I neither 1) become independently wealthy and suddenly can afford an au pair, nor 2) found a long lost grandmother - that would be a wonderful miracle.

Nanny loves entertaining. Everything I ever learned about entertaining I learned from her. I remember that she had wonderful parties for no reason in her house where the kids were to be seen and not heard, and we would sneak crackers off of the hors d'ouerves table when no adults were looking. As I got older, I was the only kid out of the four cousins and me who enjoyed helping her set up for parties. My favorite party being Fourth of July where we would make baskets out of watermelons and fill them with all sorts of summer fruits - most of which I am now unfortunately allergic. She had tons of shish kabob, hot dogs, hamburgers, and grilled chicken. Tables would be festively decorated with red, white and blue, and everyone had a grand ole time. (It didn't hurt that it was also my father's birthday.)
Photo from Memorial Day

This year was no different as she insisted on having Thanksgiving at her house this year. We had turkey with all of the trimmings, and a beautifully set table - reminding me that this is her gift, her area of service - making people feel happy even when we would rather have gone out to eat at the Golden Corral.

What's your gift? What do you do to make this world a better place? Tell us about it, either here or on your own blog and link it back to here. We would love to hear about it.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Equal Air Time

Just so one child doesn't get more air time than the other.... Here is Cait's performance at Night of Giving at the local mall tonight - a school night. (Who thinks of these things?.) She is in the back row all the way to the right, or as she would say, "Stage Left, MOM!"

So dance lessons are paying off, Daddy. Now you know that it has been money well spent! :-) Just thought you would like to be able to take part in some of the fun.

For all of you counting, today was a "garden hose free day." Although I did have to chase a naked three year old from the back yard back into the house. At least the weather was not 45F. It was a balmy 70F today. That's Texas for you. If you don't like the weather, just wait 5 minutes. It will change.

Additionally, it got really quiet while I was waiting for this video to post...Why?

Wait for it comes......

Yes, Daddy. Your son is officially Emo, black eyeliner and all.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Daddy is in the Jellybeans

So It has been five weeks going on six since the kids have seen Daddy. He tries to call everyday, but sometimes forgets the time difference and calls me at 4:30 in the morning. He is always apologetic, but it doesn't negate the fact that I will now be up until 10 p.m. at night without sleep, making me a very cranky mommy. Today was no different.

4:30 a.m. the phone is ringing and I can't find it. My morning workout routine that I usually forgo on the weekends began with the requisite hurdles. Fortunately, my son stayed asleep so I didn't have to worry about getting him back to sleep or him playing his other favorite activity: Mommy's Stomach Makes an Awesome Trampoline.

Daddy finally called at 6:00 p.m. today and the following video is how the conversation went. (Please excuse my very deep voice...I lost it a week ago and it has not come back properly.)

After having his daddy explain to him why you don't go outside with a cold and turn the garden hose on and soak yourself when the weather is 45 degrees F, you may have noticed my son asking for the Jellybeans several times during the conversation. It took me listening to the video several times to realize that he was not asking to be taken to the candy store upon Daddy's return. He is asking to go be with Daddy in the Philippines. That made me smile.

So....Dear Daddy, you better bring back some of the all important souvenir jelly beans when you return from the Jellybeans or your son will be sorely disappointed. :-)
Mommy (aka The Human Trampoline)

Monday, November 17, 2008

My Morning Workout

I heard that laughter....I really do have a routine that I go through every morning. You, too, can follow these not-so-simple steps of the Mother of a Toddler Fitness Program.

Step One: Pectoral Butterfly: When the alarm goes off in the morning, lay on your back and reach out to the side with the arm closest to the nightstand and hit the snooze button. Squeeze chest muscle as you return your arm to the bed. Repeat every nine minutes as the alarm returns until you can't stand to hear the buzzing.

Step Two: Sit ups - Reps (1)

Step Three: Hurdles - Jump over laundry baskets of clean clothes on the way to the bathroom.

Step Four: Overhead Tricep Extensions: Blowdry back of hair from the top to tip.

Step Five: (Warning this is for only the strongest of people) Dress the Fighting Toddler Bent Over Row-Repeatedly reach for the arms and legs of your toddler while trying to dress them for daycare when they don't want to go. It usually will require several repetitions of putting his/her arm in the sleeve only to have him/her pull it out. Reach for the arm again that is securely under a 45 pound body. Repeat for the child's other arm and have fun as you complete this exercise with the child's legs for pants, socks and shoes. This is the portion of the workout will take a minimum of 10 minutes.

Step Six - Do not attempt in your three inch heels. Proper footwear will be required. Squat down, place said toddler on your shoulder like a sack-o-potatoes, stand slowly, don't forget to place your 10 pound purse on the other shoulder along with your computer bag and child's backpack. Walk slowly, carefully maneuvering the obstacle course called the front sidewalk. Place child down in front of his/her door to put other objects in the car. Turn around and begin your wind sprints down the sidewalk to catch the toddler before he/she runs in front of the bus driver speeding through the neighborhood while looking in the rear view mirror at the high school students torturing each other in the back of the bus. Tackle toddler and resume sack-o-potato method of carrying him/her to the car and buckle the seatbelt securely across the booster seat.

By this point you will need to check your heart rate You may need to walk a couple of laps around the car before getting in the car and sitting down.

Start the car and drive your toddler to daycare...Note to self: Consider canceling gym membership.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The Color Purple

This week at Color Combos Galore, they challenged us to use a combination that included purple and of all the colors in the combo (purple, green, white and gray,) purple was the one that most people felt the least comfortable using or said that they hardly ever use.

I love purple. I have ever since I was old enough to have a favorite color. My first bicycle was purple. I pledged a purple sorority. Even my first truck was purple. (I miss that truck.) I am even reminded at this moment of a time when I dyed my hair eggplant. My mother then introduced me as "almost her daughter."** Does that mean I wear it all the time? No. In fact I hardly ever do wear it only because it reminds me of a Paula Danziger book The Cat Ate My Gym Suit where the girl was overweight in junior high school, and she wore a purple pants suit (the 70s) to a school dance feeling like a grape.Purple is a hard color to wear, paint houses with or even scrapbook with because of the strong feelings the color can evoke. In school, classmates used to say things to each other like "hating each other with a purple passion." That's a lot of hate, isn't it? By using the color purple to express yourself artistically, maybe you are opening yourself up like a wound. Aren't many bruises and black eyes purple? Remember veterans who are injured in war are awarded the Purple Heart.

Unlike blue which will always be cool and red which always be hot, purple - a combination of the two - changes depending on where it is on the spectrum. Sometimes it will be a cool delicate or romantic hue like iris or a deeper richer hue like the favorite color of Cleopatra. Maybe it was her love for this color that lead purple to be thought of now when we think of royalty.

My Aunt Rose vividly remembers having red shoes and wearing them with purple socks and one of the nuns of the orphanage telling her, "The only taste you have, Rose, is in your mouth!" Funny that 30 something years later my cousin would graduate from Boston College whose school color was red and more specifically from dental school whose color on the cap and gown was purple. So, for his graduation party Aunt Rose had purple and red balloons.

And on that note, I leave you with one of my favorite poems:

With a red hat which doesn't go, and doesn't suit me.
And I shall spend my pension on brandy and summer gloves
And satin sandals, and say we've no money for butter.
I shall sit down on the pavement when I'm tired
And gobble up samples in shops and press alarm bells
And run my stick along the public railings
And make up for the sobriety of my youth.
I shall go out in my slippers in the rain
And pick the flowers in other people's gardens
And learn to spit

You can wear terrible shirts and grow more fat
And eat three pounds of sausages at a go
Or only bread and pickle for a week
And hoard pens and pencils and beermats and things in boxes

But now we must have clothes that keep us dry
And pay our rent and not swear in the street
And set a good example for the children.
We must have friends to dinner and read the papers.

But maybe I ought to practice a little now?
So people who know me are not too shocked and surprised
When suddenly I am old, and start to wear purple.

Taken from the book
When I Am An Old Woman I Shall Wear Purple
Editd by Sandra Martz
Papier Mache Press--Watsonville, California 1987

**Note to Cazjane: See what I mean about prim through and through?

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

A Little Word Play

I was on Color Combos Galore and they had my favorite color...purple as part of the challenge. I decided to participate, but couldn't decide what to design a page about. Then it hit me. Combine my penchant for purple with my voraciousness for vocabulary (sorry couldn't help myself.) The result is the following page.

Lewis Carroll coined the term portmanteau in Through the Looking Glass including the word galumph which was a combination of gallop and triumph. So what were the original words that formed these portmanteaux? Play along, just for fun of course by posting what you think the origins of these words are. Also, think of other portmanteaux that I couldn't fit into this page. Even better, coin your own.

Happy wordsmithing.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Ring, Ring - Dad Calling

I woke up this morning to the strangest thing...a phone call from my father. Yes, I was dreaming. The realness of the voice that came through that dream state phone, however, woke me out of my sleep. It was a series of strange events that can barely be remembered involving a Mary Kay conference, children running up and down the conference center aisles, my daredevil cousin driving us through culverts trying to outrun who-knows-what, a ship crashing into the overpass and Leonard Nimoy reaching for his Star Trek action figure before our vehicle disintegrated into pieces. How did those happenings bring me to my Mary Kay director's office making notes on sticky Post-Its where the phone rang? One would think that anyone of those bizarre things would have woken me, but it was that phone call that did the trick.

The phone call was a simple one..."Hi, it's Dad," and then he was gone. A day doesn't go by that I don't think of him out of either necessity or out of nostalgia, but I do think about him. The following are situations or reasons my father comes into the forefront of my mind:
  1. I have lost my good set of keys again.
  2. My front tire is low and needs to be aired up.
  3. This week I just had the first of many birthdays without him.
  4. I am planning a mini road trip to Abilene next weekend. (He was a big time driver.)
  5. I forgot my camera for Caitlin's first band concert. (He never would have forgotten.)
  6. Mom has started driving Dad's little pickup truck as her primary vehicle.
  7. I can't get my lawnmower started.
  8. The ushers at church don't usher they way he did.
  9. My iPhoto files are full of his pictures to North Carolina to see my brother.
  10. A woman approached me in the store this week and said, "You don't know me, but I worked with your father at the Pregnancy Center. We really miss him there." (The director for the center told me that she didn't get the mail for weeks because that was Dad's self-appointed job.)
  11. Tuesday, I ran into the secretary from the funeral home where my father helped other people through their grief.
When you see someone everyday, you don't think about what it will be like to not have them filling that niche in your life. It's like they are on vacation, but not coming back. Well, I wish he would come back because I need to mow my lawn.

Friday, November 7, 2008

This Never Would Have Crossed My Mind

When I get home from work in the evenings, I spend it cleaning up the usual mess that I find that the elves forgot to dispose of while I was out. Lately it consists of medicine droppers, granola wrappers and the like all left behind in the whirlwind known as the Mommy Exodus.
Yesterday I came home to a glass of water sitting on the lamp table by the couch. As I was about to dump it in the sink and place the glass in the dishwasher, I stopped to notice that the water looked kind of orange. This left me feeling perplexed. What beverage had I given my son that was orange tinted? I returned to the kitchen to find another glass that my daughter had kindly left on the counter for me to dispose of, and it too was tinted orange. Now, I am really confused. I set it down and started gathering the different medications that the pediatrician had prescribed to help my son get over the creeping crud that had overcome him this past week, and oddly enough, one was orange. Then it hit me....This three and a half year old is a mastermind. He had been holding his medicine in his mouth, waiting for me to walk away and when he pretended to drink the water, he was actually expelling the medicine into the water glass, hoping I wouldn't notice. Which, by the way, I didn't. I couldn't believe my eyes, so I asked him, "James, having you been spitting the orange medicine back into the water?" "Yes, mommy," was his nonchalant reply.

We are raising an evil genius. (Cue the organ music.)

Sunday, November 2, 2008

A Quiet Place

James was so fascinated by "mountains" when we drove out West, that he made drive toward them.

I pulled over to take pictures, and I guess people don't stop to admire the wonder of where they live, because an old man stopped to ask if I was okay. (Actually, that's not a bad thing since there is NO cell phone signal out there if one truly needed one.)

I just decided to enjoy the scenic view that my son found so amazing.

(PS - This is based on Pencil Lines Sketch #109 over here. My SIStv SISter SassySasha is the guest designer over there this week.
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