Tuesday, June 24, 2008

happyccino is my only friend

i sometimes suffer insomnia. for weeks, out of the blue, i wake up many times during the night. so annoying! and i'm a little sleepy the next day, but nothing too traumatic.

but those other times. ah, jeez. i have trouble falling asleep until the wee hours of the night. i watch tv for a while, i read for a while. then i give up and lie there in the dark trying to bore myself to sleep.

and hey - if it happened only once in a while, i wouldn't complain. well, ok, maybe just a little. but i wouldn't need my friend, my love, the english toffee cappuccino tim brings me when he comes home from work in the morning following my night of sleeplessness. my happyccino.

i try to stay away from caffeine normally. but, oh, the sweet nectar of wakefulness. when i need you, you're there for me with no questions. steaming away my sluggishness. fortifying my foggy mind with your frothy faithfulness. calming me with creamy caffeination. and surely my trembling appendages are your way of ensuring my body burns off the extra calories you provide? oh, how i love thee.

plus, isn't that cup fabulous? i am inspired by the color combination and the gentle waves and that bold font on the horizontal strip. i'm not kidding. i'm going to translate this cup into a scrapbook page. maybe about happyccino.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

my babies! they're adults!

andrew was my first baby. my chubby bubby. for seventeen years, my chubby chickie tori was the baby of the family. (note: andrew was most certainly chubby. tori? not so much. she was a scrawny thing like timmy. but we still called her chubby chickie.)

i can't believe they're adults. twenty-one and twenty. and that they live regular ol' adult lives in chicago. so far away! i miss my babies. and i can't post any pictures of them. my stinkin' desktop needs to go into the shop and i don't have any on my laptop.

on the bright side . . . i can listen to whatever music i want in the car. what? no i can't! timmy is a little dictator when it comes to his music machine cd. but my house smells a lot less like stinky socks and there are no stray dishes in the family room. i suppose it's true everything's a trade-off.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

highway safety, or the incident

one time? on the way to sears in the mall? we needed to merge into the right-hand lane and our turn was fast approaching on an insanely busy street.

at this point in time, tim hadn't too many years of city driving under his belt yet, having mostly experienced the wide-open, can-see-for-miles highways of western kansas. so stop-and-go traffic wasn't his thing. gas pedal? oh, yeah. but followed immediately with the brake? what nonsense!

so, we're lurching along when we notice our immediate need to be in the other lane. in front of us was a huge city bus. behind us? a tour bus. beside us in our lane of choice? a large dump truck and just the tiniest of open space behind it with another city bus fast approaching.

my mario andretti took milliseconds to decide, shouted, "hang on, family!" hit the brakes to swerve into that minuscule (and getting "minusculer" by the second) spot and instantaneously stomped the gas to shoot onto the frontage road as that same spot closed again with the city bus now bumper to bumper with the dump truck.

it all happened so quickly. at the first swerve, i looked back at the kids (who were, oh . . . 7 and 8 years old?). andrew's eyes were wide with horror and his mouth hung open. tori's balled fists pressed against her eyes. my only thought? 'my children!' but nobody made a sound.

tim moseyed into a parking spot at sear's, turned off the ignition, laughed nervously and inquired, "everybody ok?" andrew and i were still stunned (the hysteria came much later), but tori's small sad voice floated up from the back seat, "i never knew how much i love my family until just now."

this story became known as "the incident." it was the first in a long line of incidents at which we can now laugh.

apparently, observation is not my forte

my friend cruz emailed me that she'd just discovered the ends of her aluminum foil box had tabs to press in to prevent the roll from jumping out of the box when used. i'd never heard such a thing.

i looked in my drawer and sure enough! my plastic wrap, my foil - every one of them has offered me a very simple way to avoid the less-than-Christlike attitude resulting from my roll jumping right out of the box at the most inopportune time.

sometimes i get a little . . . oh, i don't know . . . judgmental? . . . about people in my life. i think i'm pretty successful at not behaving or speaking in a judgmental way, but having those thoughts is wrong. i'll be well-served by remember what an idiot i can be, and this picture will certainly remind me.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

i need more sleep and fewer pounds

just messing around this afternoon while tim and timmy are running errands. found a website that uses face recognition software on a photo you upload to determine your celebrity look-alikes. being curious (and bored), i snapped a quick self-portrait.

and, of the ten look-alikes, i most resembled . . .

a bunch of fat old asian men.

plus kathy bates.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

alcohol + big mouth = jail

tim came home from work this morning a little scraped up. i sometimes dread hearing the answer to, "how was your day/night, honey?" because i worry. worrying is what i do best.

and i've seen firsthand how danger can come out of nowhere on the job. when andrew and tori were teenagers going out with their friends on the weekends (and before timmy), i'd occasionally ride along with tim for a few hours. i never got out of the car and if the need for an arrest arose, another officer would take me home, generally. but i did see a few scary things.

and once, after a dinner out on tim's night off, we encountered a seemingly drunk driver - or who maybe, we thought, was having a diabetic emergency? - who drove wicked-fast and super-slow and weaved (wove?) violently from lane to lane to lane, even kicking up gravel from the opposite shoulder. tim called for an officer and got out to explain the situation when the stop was made. suddenly, tim reached in and pulled the driver out through his window and onto the ground. before we (andrew and tori and i) could take our next breaths, the driver was cuffed and being held against his car hood. (note to the young and/or stupid: seriously? do not reach toward a weapon "just to let the officer know it's there" as this could result in your demise.) this night, everyone went home safely, but it so easily could have ended tragically.

but this morning? tim's hand suffered a few scrapes and scratches from tackling a guy who ran. after running his mouth non-stop. i believe alcohol was involved, as is so often the case. always patient and slow to be provoked, i've noticed tim's even more reluctant to engage in physical altercations as he ages, but sometimes cannot avoid it. and so i worry. and pray. and thank God he grew up a "fightin' sumbitch" as was common in his neck o' the woods. i take comfort in knowing he can throw a beat-down when necessary to preserve life and limb.

oh, and happy father's day, tim. i love you!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

tt's on the telephone

my boy loves the linen closet. always has. starting when he was just a year and a half old, he's gone to the linen closet's second shelf to sing, throw tantrums, drive (he's an "ice road trucker" this week) or, like today, have long phone conversations to avoid putting on sleepie-time undies and nappie-time clothes.

please witness today's conversation with his sister "tt" [tori]. he's asking (and i quote), "tt, what day was it you came to our home to visit after going to outback steakhouse after we picked you up at the airport, but it wasn't the airport in sugarcago [chicago, where tori lives and we visit] but it was near my home when we drove to the airport and there was a really big sculpture at the airport and we saw an airplane in the sky and we thought you might be driving it? was it dark? i think it was dark." i opened the door and took his picture just as he finished his question/monologue:

he got a little cold, so he asked me to please close the door while he was talking. he told tt our little secret: "i peepeed on some berries on the evergreen tree at mcdonald's today." (please forgive me, mcdonald's. we forgot to bring our potty seat and he simply refuses to enter your disgustingly filthy restroom.)

when i opened the door again, he looked like this:

above, you see him asking me "mommy? could you please cover up my toes with this towel so i can cozy up here and nap?"

and then he spit when i told him it was time for nappie in his bed. those toddler moods can turn on a dime, i tell ya.

Friday, June 13, 2008

june's 12-of-12

i finished my june 12-of-12 page today. not on june 30th, but today. go me! something i've noticed these past three months i've been doing the 12-of-12 thing? i forget to take pictures around mid-day. i guess i forget often throughout the day. see below? no pictures of meals. oh, we did have meals - at the table, talking about our day. just no proof. until next month, when i will accomplish my goal of remembering to take pictures all day!

3rd month in a row with wrong date i RAWK!
i love the shot of timmy peeing on a tree in the back yard. twenty years ago when andrew was potty training, i would never have allowed such a thing. now? who cares? i'm just thrilled he's keeping peepees out of his undies! when we travel - even to the grocery store - we have a potty seat in the cargo area. no peepees on trees in public. that you know of.

next year, i'm copying sara's layout, as seen on susan's 12-of-12 blog. but you know what? the simplicity of slapping it all down on a sheet of cardstock and being done with it is very freeing. i suffer from low scrap-esteem and foiled perfectionism, so i finish very few pages, even though i have journal page after page of ideas and even sketches. i just feel more successful and want to start and complete more pages after this. after doing last month's 12-of-12 page, i completed two more within a couple days.

if i never do another page other than these 12-of-12s, my family will still have an accurate record of our daily lives. and that's really the point, isn't it?

Thursday, June 12, 2008

the burning bed

domestic violence is a serious problem and not something about which to joke. no. having said that, i would like to report that my husband once threw me from a golf cart.

the day dawned peacefully and developed into a real stunner, sunny and mild. perfect for golf. normally, tim golfed alone or with guy friends. on this fateful day, however, i decided to go along, provided we use a cart. i don't play, but i like to be outside, and golf is usually a time of pleasant banter and catching up with each other.

i obliviously sipped my large iced tea with lemon and browsed through a magazine as tim's mood darkened hole after hole. his swing was off, slicing to the left, and his score suffered.

things went from bad to worse at the 5th hole. tim stomped, cursing, to the cart and gunned it. my now empty cup tumbled out, tim aimed a few choice words back toward it and i pleaded, "tim! go back! we can't just leave it on the ground!" no sooner were the words spoken than tim whipped a wicked u-turn accompanied by the most splendid of curses.

it all happened in super-slow-mo except for my thoughts, which raced at the speed of light. my inner voice calmly informed me, 'you are now exiting the golf cart. there is a slight chance you may be mangled and broken under those tires. you must save yourself.' so, of course i used every bit of strength my (at that time) quite nicely toned thigh muscles could muster and launched myself up, out and twisting free of the vehicle.

fortunately, the cart's position at the top of a hill aided me in my escape. i landed, hard, and rolled to the bottom of the hill, magazine still gripped and unwrinkled in my hand. my paralyzation (and possible death) worried me not as i gazed upward in awe of the beautiful contrast between the impossibly blue sky and the glossy leaves of the tree under which i'd come to rest.

tim's laughing (laughing!) face came floating into focus above me. his mouth seemed to be moving and seconds later the sound came to me: "sweetie, are you alright? are you hurt?" indignation and realization of my inability to breathe battled for prominence in my still-tumbling brain. the fog slowly cleared. no, i would not die today! i would live, if only to seek revenge.

tim laughed as he carried me back up the hill to the cart, kissing that spot on the bridge of my nose and apologizing profusely the entire way. he laughed while examining my extremities for injury, finding only a mildly stiff and uncomfortable ankle. he laughed as my dad approached (we'd passed him - played through?- on the last hole). he did not laugh as he explained the incident to my dad.

although tim's swing did not improve throughout the afternoon, i've never seen him - before or since - in such a good mood or so attentive. if memory serves, tim cooked every meal for a week after "the incident."

family talk

i love hearing children mispronounce words. some of our best "family words" come from our kids' verbal mistakes. we like to get ice cream cones from "bwawm" (brahm's) and shop at "wow-mowt" (wal mart) thanks to tori's inability to pronounce her r's. we like to drink "moke" (milk) and eat "oat-moe" (oatmeal) for breakfast, in large part due to andrew's first speech attempts.

now that i think about it, we often call tori "toe-wee" (we often just shorten it to "toe") and andrew "and-woo" - or more recently, "ee-new" and "an-voo," timmy's two earliest names for him. sadly, since the first two are grown and gone, timmy has no teeny-child nicknames. i guess the other cops do call him "shep." good as it gets.

timmy was born conversing like a forty-year-old. our opportunities to add to our family's private language are now few and far between. there's "eh-ho!" (hello, until he was 18mo). "kempimals" (chemicals), said like so: "mommy, when i grow bigger, may i please help you clean the window with your blue kempimals?"

i know each child is unique, but it does make me a little teeny bit sad that we didn't have much baby talk from timmy. oh, he says puh-lenty of funny things, but it's just not the same as baby talk. so, to cheer myself up, here's a picture of timmy lounging and enjoying watching daddy trim tree branches in the back yard. please note the scrawny legs, the handsome undies and that ultra-manly hibiscus tattoo. he and daddy tried for lightning bolts from the machine, but you take what you get (daddy's is a rose, heehee).

Monday, June 9, 2008

i spit on your plans!

spitting is gross. disgusting. abhorent. and my boy does it.

so does my husband. as part of a horrible habit called "chewing." yuck. the mere thought turns my stomach.

but timmy. he spits when angry. he spits when he doesn't want to do what he's been asked/told to do. he spits when he's put in the time-out chair. he spits. he spits!

nothing has worked to stop it, although we've been trying for months, since before any actual spittle was projected. back when, try as he might, he could only produce the sound without the spray. i tried googling "how to stop toddler spitting." hah! worthless! "try to understand that your toddler has a limited vocabulary and may be spitting to communicate his frustration." what drivel. no pun intended.

timmy's verbal skills are quite advanced. for example, as he readies himself to spit, he may say something very like, "mommy, i prefer to play outside. i do not want to come in the house. i decide to stay outside! *spit!*" of course, there are days timmy prefers efficiency and simply shouts, "No! *spit!*" so, no. he does not spit as his only way to express himself. he spits as an additional and unacceptable way to express himself.

time-outs do not work. not only does he frequently spit on the way to time-out for some other unrelated offense, but he spits when time-out is over and then when it's over again. marathon time-outs. time-out-o-rama. timmy was like a spitting junkie, unable to resist the filthy urge, even though the cost was pretty stinkin' high, in toddler terms.

vicki suggested vinegar on his tongue each time he spit. nope, he'd like that. dish soap, too. and lemon juice. her final suggestion: hot sauce. i just couldn't do it. even if it were effective, and i could force myself to squirt a drop of chalula on his tongue once, i know i could never consistently do it for the week or so it takes for me to win any battle of the wills.

my mom's idea? throw a small amount of very cold water in his face when he spits. then go about my usual business with no more attention to the matter. well, i was willing to try anything to both stop the spitting and avoid the hot sauce remedy.

saturday. d-day. when the need for time-out presented, i first poured some water (maybe two tablespoons?) from the fridge into a cup and sat it down around the corner from timmy and the offense. as i held his hand and began walking toward the time-out chair, he launched a loogie. i quickly reached around the corner for the cup and tossed the water into his face, stating, "you may not spit." he gasped and stared. i placed him on the time-out chair and walked away.

he later told tori on the phone, "i spit at mommy and she put water on my face." tori, having been apprised of the plan the night before, simply said, "oh, i bet you didn't like that much, did you," and then changed the subject.

the whole weekend? maybe five water-splashes. so far today? one. and just 3 1/2 hours until bedtime.

do i smell succeeeeeeesssssss?

Friday, June 6, 2008

the conversational stylings of the 3-year-old

i'm mildly upset that i keep forgetting to write some of the funny things timmy says into my journal. and then i forget altogether. yet every time, i think this time i will remember. and i don't.

yesterday was a veritable treasure trove of humorous toddler talk.

1. timmy's "sleepie-time undies" (pull-ups) were moist when i retrieved him from his bed after nappie. he oh-so-patiently-and-tolerantly explained, "that's ok, mommy. sometimes these things happen when we nap." (kids always, always mimic their parents' speech. i like it when he mimics my patient moments much better than when he mimics me heaving a big sigh.)

i launched into my usual "timmy, when you feel peepees coming, what do you do?" which should have been enthusiastically answered with, "i say, 'peepees are coming!' and then i put them in the potty seat!'" but instead i hear, "i say, 'God? please change my undies. aaayyy-men.'"

2. our electricity was out for hours and hours yesterday. inexplicably, before the bad weather hit! we were set to make pizzas for supper, but the dough just kept a-risin' and a-risin' and no electricity with which to heat the oven. we hungered. oh, how we hungered.

timmy pathetically whimpered, "i'm sick. i don't feel well. i have a tummy-egg." not sure i heard right, i asked, "what, my honey? are you starving?" to which he replied, "yes. i am starving so i have a tummy-egg." i love it! so, off to burger king we went.

3. vicki went with us to burger king. burger king is just outside walmart's parking lot. i'd taken timmy and ethan to walmart that morning, where we spotted a container of donut holes. timmy had no idea what they were, of course, but ethan knew! i thought why not. i bought some and we ate them at snacktime.

all this is background to say - as we waited in the burger king drive-thru lane, seeing wal mart reminded timmy of the morning's snack and he told aunt vicki, "we ate donut heads for snackie this morning! i love donut heads!"

Thursday, June 5, 2008

the great tomato experiment of '08

i am generally the cautious, logical type. but that doesn't prevent me getting a wild hair every once in a while. and growing tomatoes upside down? doesn't get much wilder than that. for me, anyway. (note: this is a lie. i am always coming up with one scheme or another. ideas just come to me. sometimes in the shower. frequently in a dream. more on this at a later date. just know for now that i really am a cautious, logical person, but creativity occasionally explodes directly from my brain and right onto tim's to-do list.)

my mom grew a garden every year when i was a kid. tim's mom, too. they enjoyed the whole "working the earth" thing, sure, but their gardens' primary purpose was to feed their families. fresh produce during the summer and monster canning sessions to "put up" peas, tomatoes, green beans, etc. for the winter.

i, however, do not till the earth. i do not toil under the summer sun. i am quite certain i could operate a lawnmower, but i am just as certain that i would not. (this is not to say i never go outside. i spend the majority of my day outside. but only because timmy is an outside kind of guy.)

i did try to grow tomatoes and peppers in decorative barrels last year. actually, no. i didn't try. i grew. but the harvest was paltry due to the scarcity of direct sunlight in our yard. delicious but paltry. and i tried to grow an herb garden in my kitchen this winter and spring. i lavished love and attention and an appropriate daily amount of grow light upon my seeds until they became spindly adolescents who never, ever matured until i eventually lost interest after months of care and passive aggressively forgot to water them so they wilted and then dried up and so they remain to this day, a sad, crispy testament to my gardening skills.

monday during naptime, i read blogs. i came upon oh my stinkin heck's upside down tomatoes post. i was smitten. i vowed that i, too, would grow tomatoes upside down.

the abridged version (as if brevity is my forte) is this: i bought metal hanging planters (learned from others' mistakes and ascertained there was a hole in the center bottom) with coconut fiber liners . i cut a slit in the bottom of each liner large enough to easily pass my tomato plant's root ball through, from under the bottom of the planter to the inside of the liner. then i pulled the coconut fibers around the slit to kind of mesh it all back together around the stem of the tomato plant so no soil would fall through. filled the planter with potting soil and planted herbs in the top of the basket. then i hung them on hooks on my front porch, watered them and took some pictures.

pretty girl tomato & delicious herbs

see how the tomato plant is poking through the bottom of the planter? upside down? see how the basket is not hanging in a strictly vertical orientation? it was really, really, windy! so windy that at one point, timmy (who, with ethan, was working alongside me with the plastic herb pots and some driveway gravel, planting a bindweed vine and another weed i'd pulled from the shrubs in front of the porch) screamed out, "oh, no! i have soil in my eyes! call the fire department and the garbage men!"

loves me some rosemary & chives

see the pretty rosemary and those sassy chives? this one's got an "early girl" tomato plant. i used two early girls and one "tumbling tom." up top, we've got the rosemary and chives. another has oregano and chives and the third (the first picture above) has flat leaf parsley, sweet basil and cilantro. yumster!


see my sleepy husband? he works nights. but that didn't stop me from waking him up so he could marvel at my mad gardening skilz. hmm, now that i really look, he doesn't seem as in awe as i thought he'd be. in fact, he seems a bit puzzled, no?

*edited to add: whoowee! i didn't realize i could click on tim's picture above and up would pop the original size photo. i can see my reflection in his eyes! how cool is that?! note to self: next time, photoshop about 30lbs off my reflection.

Sunday, June 1, 2008


i miss my mother-in-law rosie. she's been gone seven years now. seven years!

in her later years, she mostly stayed home, but she had a steady stream of visitors even then. she was sensitive and caring. always eager to share in someone else's sorrow or celebrate their success.

tim tells stories of her from when he was a kid. she took her four boys and the other neighborhood kids fishing. she let her boys drive on country roads. she taught them to crochet. (rosie was the state fair champion in crochet for 20 years or so. beautiful baby clothes, bedspreads, pillows. she even did a huge rendition of the lord's supper in filet crochet!)

all rosie's grandchildren loved her and she loved them like crazy. she didn't buy them things or take them to exotic places. no, she developed real relationships with each of them. she had a way of listening - really listening - so they opened their hearts and shared their hopes and fears with her. she was the only stability in the lives of a few of them during some hard times. she made a lasting impression on each one.

sometimes i feel cheated that timmy never got to meet her. i know she would have absolutely fallen in love with him. her baby's baby. i can only imagine the special relationship they would have had. tim and i occasionally discuss what it would have been like. we imagine rosie would have spent weeks at a time with us (2 1/2 hours from her home). we imagine timmy learning to crochet and having long conversations about his little world.

we will see her again in heaven, i know. until then, we will tell timmy stories and show him pictures of his grandma rosie. we will remember her for him and for us.

we love you, rosie!