Sunday, August 24, 2008

coffee break

friday was errands day. we went to the library. returned some books, checked out some books. (i am currently in love with llama llama mad at mama. also, i am so excited that we'll be getting scholastic book order forms from preschool each month. i miss them! when looking over our first one, which we received on "meet the teacher" day, i immediately noticed llama llama and his little pouty lip. so, i was glad to see the library had a copy.)

and, as always, timmy is in love with the little plastic coffee service at the table in the children's library. we sat and had a cup o' joe or two before we left and when it was time to go, timmy asked me so sincerely why he doesn't have a coffee pot at home. since wal mart was our next stop, i decided we'd look for one.

i know it exists because the library has one, but i could not find a regular, plain ol' plastic coffee/tea pot and cups! however, we did find one blue one amid the mountains of pink. it was a cinderella tea service. timmy fell instantly in love. so we bought it. and timmy interrupted his important work as a police officer, a firefighter, an ice road trucker and a dishwasher to have many relaxing coffee breaks, complete with plastic chocolate chip cookies and "dog food" (pecans, walnuts & raisins) in his "dog dish" (a plastic gold-panning pan). and he always made some for me, too. quite the gentleman, that boy.

please note the camouflage shorts, rifle, wal mart smiley-face sticker and look of satisfaction.

tim did not instantly fall in love. in fact, he offered to return it to wal mart while timmy napped and find a camping coffee pot and cups instead. he smugly asked timmy's opinion: did he want this cinderella coffee pot . . . or a camping coffee pot and camping mugs just. like. daddy's? timmy chose cinderella. no hesitation. poor tim. but the rifle's gotta count for something, right?

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

pre-formal education angst

two days from now is the official "meet the teacher" day at timmy's new preschool. yikes! we've already met his teacher, miss brooke, earlier in the summer, but this official meeting marks the end of his toddlerhood and the beginning of his preschoolhood (is that a word?)

i haven't even gotten over the end of his babyhood yet and now he's starting his formal education. look at him - does he look like he should be leaving his mommy for 3 hours twice a week already?  

well, after he helped me make bierocks sunday, i admit i may have been ready for 3 hours of timmylessness. but only so i could clean my kitchen. i swear!

note: my sister-in-law, taryn, is to blame for the end of my baby's toddlerhood. my 4yo nephew, ethan, needs preschool this year so he'll be ready for kindergarten next year. oh, he's smart as a whip and already knows a lot of things, but he has trouble with transitions. and since our school district just went to all-day kindergarten (don't even get me started on that mess!), he really needs the help . . . but, back to the  point: stinkin' taryn! since ethan stays with me while his mom and dad are working . . . well, it didn't seem fair to take ethan to preschool and not let timmy go, too. stinkin' taryn.

i've had this undefined dread about preschool for a couple months now. even as i type this, it's not yet defined (although my hope is it will be by post's end). i am not so much worried about him being away from me for the first time (except for 3 days of vbs this summer, during which he did just fine) because he is not a clingy, needy boy. i am sad for me, of course, but that's not it, either. he is polite and respectful and he gets along well with other children, but he's not timid, so i'm not worried he be a bully or be bullied. 

no, i think it's . . . i'm worried about whether he will learn there. he's done just fine here at home with me. he knows, by sight and verbally, all the letters of the alphabet and all the sounds each letter makes. he can identify which letter "makes the beginning/middle/ending sound" of most words. we accomplished this through playing with foam bathtub letters and just talking about words and letters throughout the normal course of our day. we learn about animals and airplanes and money and books and history and . . . we just learn. as we go about our regular activities, while we're in the car. that's how kids learn at home, right?

but this preschool . . . it seems a little . . . weird. i wouldn't have chosen it (stinkin' taryn). the parents' manual doesn't mention much about regular school-type topics. they don't do worksheets. they don't practice writing or cutting paper with scissors. instead, there is a lot of information about avoiding gender stereotyping and about "cultural inclusiveness" and self-esteem. is this what school is about now? if not, why is this what preschool is about?

i want timmy to learn to read and write. i want him to learn proper grammar. and math. and history. government. literature. science. critical thinking skills. maybe a foreign language or two. you know. the things i learned in school and the things that will help him succeed in college and adult life. self-esteem, et al? let us handle that at home.

i swear, if i had more than one child at home now, i would seriously consider homeschooling. our neighbors when andrew and tori were little homeschooled their kids and they turned out well-educated, well-mannered and well-adjusted.

but, all this (admittedly, self-created) drama may turn out to be no big deal. because timmy's birthday is in february, he won't be eligible for kindergarten for two more years. next year, when ethan is already in kindergarten and timmy's good and crunchy (i picture the preschool administration wearing birkenstocks and pookah shell necklaces - i sure hope that is just my imagination!), i can send timmy to a more traditional preschool. but at least i feel better now that i've droned on and on about my worries. thank you, bloggy-blog!

Monday, August 18, 2008

designing my life

i signed up for cathy zielske's design your life class at big picture scrapbooking! i'm nervous and excited. i'm alternately filled with doubt and squealing with anticipation.

when cz first announced the class, i really, really wanted to do it. but then i talked myself out of it. the money. the commitment. my lack of scrap-esteem. and then i just forgot all about it. until my sista-girl moon asked if i was taking the class.

tim's all for the class, especially since i don't have to go anywhere to take it. back when i was still a full-time wage earner and working so much my family rarely caught sight of me, it was tim who requested i get a hobby in the hopes i'd gain some balance. now . . . if i had my old paycheck, i might be as obsessed with my hobby as i once was with my work, lol!

but, speaking of my current obsessions . . . i've got to record this little timmy story before i forget:

over this summer, we've developed a new habit. maybe not a great one, but a fun one. we eat dinner on our bed while watching "ice road truckers" on the history channel. last week, tim bought timmy some "ice road ice cream dots" for dessert. last night tim was working and timmy and i had bierocks. but i digress.

timmy asked me yesterday while we were eating, "are you married to daddy?" i acknowledged it and he said, "i want to marry you, too." i know every little boy wants to marry his mommy at about this age, but it still melted my heart. ah, i love that little guy!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

the kind of day (week) i'm having

i finished my 12-of-12 layout for august. and a couple hours later i removed it from the scanner to put it into the album and i read it. oh, boy. i got the date right! but, my journaling sounds like it was written by an esl student. i flipped two pictures around. i left the end of one sentence off. i misspelled many words.

but you know what? it is, as written, an accurate portrayal of my day. my real life. one day many years from now, my descendents will read this page and know their grandfather and great-uncle drove me crazy on august 12, 2008. and that my house was a mess.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008


yesterday, i used my entire harvest of tomatoes (upside-down tomatoes, remember?). to make blt's. for one meal. my tumbling tom produced five grape-tomato sized tomatoes and three cherry-tomato sized tomatoes. my two early girl plants have produced the five big (well, comparatively - they're bigger than the tumbling toms . . . a little bigger than golf balls, a little smaller than tennis balls) tomatoes, plus the three still green on the vine. 

ah, the fruit of my labors:

my entire summer harvest

i don't know why they look so spotty here - they were deLISH! and although it might sound like a big waste of time to nurture three tomato plants all summer in exchange for such a paltry harvest, i'm still happy. my herbs (in the tops of the hanging baskets) really did well! they're so pretty growing, particularly the oregano (which i have decided i do not like to cook with as much as with dried). the tomatoes might have needed a deeper basket. more room for roots might have meant more tomatoes.

i will beg tim to put in (and care for) a "real" garden next year in the back yard, but i think i'll continue to grow herbs in hanging baskets each year. maybe i'll even try to bring them inside somehow for the winter, even though my kitchen garden experiment from last winter failed miserably. (my mom, ever my unconditional cheerleader, says the problem was probably the seeds.)

other highlights of the day yesterday . . . i was able to sit in a lawn chair outside. sitting at all is an accomplishment, but in the slouchy lawn chair? oh, yeah. my little guy was desperate for some outside time!

he and ethan hunted for buried treasure (chuck e. cheese coins) in the gravel pile, went to "the dump" with many loads of "garbage" (leaves and sidewalk chalk) in the dump trucks and discovered a new species (three caterpillars i found eating my italian parsley leaves!). why, oh, why did i not take even ONE photograph of the day's activities? what a shame.

but i'm making up for it today, because today is the 12th of august. 12-of-12, baby! documenting my everyday life. the life i'd better get back to right now, since timmy has NO clean underwear and both boys are starving . . .

Sunday, August 10, 2008

sweet nothings

i like to know the stories of how couples met and fell in love, but i think the stories behind pet names are even more interesting.

tim, my wonderful husband who has had a happyccino waiting for me when i woke up each of the past two mornings, mostly calls me sweetie. (i secretly believe that's a left-over from his wild and woolly teen years, when it may have been somewhat difficult to remember each girl's exact name.) but he also calls me his little flintstone feet girl. (i have very tiny feet, but they're wide and my toes are short.) lovely, no?

he also calls me his jolly green giant because i always think i'm much taller than i am, especially in comparison to him. (i'm almost 5'5" and he's 6'2". but it feels like we're almost the same height.)

when i was still a working woman, i wore my hair short. andrea, my stylist at the time, did whatever the heck she wanted with my hair - i had no say, but neither had i the time to worry about it. once, she cut it SO short and put SO much goop on it that when tim saw it, he began calling me his little chemo girl. mildly offensive, but what could i do?

tim has also been known to tilt the lampshades in the living room and close the miniblinds behind the sheers a little bit (i keep them closed at night and all the way up in the daytime) so that i will fix them when i walk through. again and again. and he thinks it's funny to call me his little ocd girl. nice.

rod and vicki call each other "babe." that's it. no imagination, i say. but at least it's nicer than "old lady," which is what lonnie calls sandra.

tori told me yesterday that her boyfriend todd calls her his little black-footed pachyderm. what the?! alas, there is a reasonable explanation. todd can never remember where he parked his car at the mall or a restaurant, but tori never forgets (it is said elephants never forget). tori has had a life-long aversion to wearing shoes. her friends from school called her "hobbit" because of it. and, as she explained, her feet often are filthy by the end of the day (thus, she is black-footed). he also calls her his baby elephant. now that i know the story, i think both are sweet.

tim and i used to, when we were young and carefree and had time to shop together, make up life stories for strangers in the store. part of the fun was imagining what their pet names for each other were. it's just this moment i realized we don't do that anymore. when i see him tomorrow, i'm going to convince him to take me to lunch (at fiesta, of course) and then i'm going to inquire as to whether he'd like to imagine our neighbor's pet names. i will report back.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

where to begin?

last night was the first time i'd been upright in days. cleaning the stupid bedroom closets and doing the dumb laundry pulled a stinkin' muscle in my back. i've never injured my back before, but let me tell you - i will never again make a nasty (albeit under my breath) comment about someone whose back "went out."

by friday afternoon, though, i was up and showering and dressing for my youngest brother's wedding. the one i missed going to chicago for. (which was the right decision, dang it.) i hardly know the bride, but i like what i do know. and of course i love josh. and all my brothers were groomsmen. a chance to see my brothers (particularly lonnie) in tuxes comes along only once a decade or so. oh! funny story that should live in our family's history forever: when ethan saw karissa (the bride) in her flowing white gown, he whispered in awe to taryn, "mommy . . . is that . . . God?" love that kid.

please note i included for your viewing pleasure not only the wedding party, but also the seats in front of where i was precariously perched, as well as the shoulder, hand and lovely blue hair of a grandmother. i'm here to serve.

i could barely walk and sitting upright was SO hard. even though i'd doped up on my two pills and some extra tylenol in preparation for the event. also, i was shaky. very shaky. causing all my snapshots to be blurry, among other problems. i've never, ever used illegal drugs. or legal drugs illegally. or even legal drugs ill-advisedly. i use drugs of any kind very sparingly and cautiously because you just never know. you know? but i imagine that head-covered-with-wet-towel-and-eyes-straining-to-see-through-vaseline-curtains-while-room-is-spinning feeling must be what it feels like to be high. and why would anyone ever do that to themselves on purpose?? aaaaaaaanyway, back to the point: i was stiff, sore and shaky. and today when i looked at my sd card, i was way disappointed in the low-quality and often strange shots i took.

but not all the strangeness was my own. my brothers were directly responsible for much of it. for example, the ol' "captain morgan" shot was choreographed by lonnie. and who was i to deny him?

and how about this one, entitled "stoics." tom suggested it, and i think it works (even overexposed and somewhat blurry).

Monday, August 4, 2008

a wild hair

by the end, the hair on my head will most certainly be a little wild (it is humid, as well as 104 degrees today, which results in corkscrews and general frizziness), but what i really mean is that i've got a crazy obsessive idea in my head that i cannot stop myself from acting upon. you know - a wild hair.

you see, my bedroom is a pit. and i can. not. tolerate. it! not one moment longer. i dreamed last night that i got a new bedroom. beautiful hardwoods with a gorgeous wool berber rug and nothing visible save my sparsely-yet-comfortably-clad bed. and then i woke up and tripped over tim's book on the way to the bathroom. i need (need!) a calm, serene, orderly, clean bedroom. my husband? not so much.

my husband . . . oh, it raises my blood pressure just to think about it . . . is a pack-rat. he loves stuff. he loves multiples of his stuff. he loves his stuff and their multiples to remain accessible to him in any area of the house. when he and i met, we were like long-lost soulmates. it took a few years for our few differences to become obvious. and this thing with stuff? it's a big one.

used to be, it was just tim's closet and dresser drawers that were chaotic and scary. i'd bravely venture in twice a year or so to clean and organize them. not because he asked me to, no. huh-uh. he would prefer i stay out of his things. no, the pressure would just build within me until i felt i could no longer survive unless i cleaned, sorted and organized his areas. then, ever so slowly, the madness began taking over our home. our lives. i may be exaggerating. but if i am, it is to such an infinitesimal degree that it may as well be the whole unvarnished truth.

anyway, i gradually got more and more discouraged and finally gave up. and now, my room is horrible.

i should note that tim fully intends to hang up every shirt, to put every tie in the tie holder, to put every pair of boots and shoes away on his shoe shelves in his closet, to put every ball cap away in his ball cap holders, to throw away the (insane amount of) pocket stuff he arrives home with each day. but he never gets around to it. then, he begins to think of the piles as storage devices in their own right. he really, truly cannot understand why i get so upset about it.

but today? today i can conquer anything! i have a wild hair on my side! i've already got two bags of clothes to send to goodwill. i had to stop to feed the kids lunch and put them down for a nap . . . and take a manic-typing break because i was close to passing out from heat exhaustion (have i ever mentioned our house is old and so is our heating and air conditioning unit? and that our really big bedroom has ONE really small vent? yeah. we freeze in our room in winter and boil in summer.) but now i'm cool and still possess my wild hair.

i'm off! please pray for me. and if i do not emerge before nightfall, please send help.

Friday, August 1, 2008

what is this "blog" of which you speak?

as i go about my day and do the things i do, i frequently think, "oo! i should blog about that!" then, when i finally get a chance to get online (not often, since it's 100+ degrees every day and i do NOT want my hot laptop on my already hot lap outside), i read all the blogs in my ever-growing list. and those posts remind me of some story and i think, "oo! i should blog about that!"

but when i finally navigate over to my page, all those ideas seem so dumb. and boring. boring is a horrible thing to be; boring to oneself is even worse! but i don't want to be fake, either. what if i develop alzheimer's and my journals and blog are the only memories i have? i don't want to "remember" something untrue. (although . . . if i weren't going to know any better, maybe i should start planting exciting tales to entertain my elderly self . . . something to think about, at least.)

so, boring wins. timmy and i and taryn, ethan and new baby michael went to lunch today. timmy ate FIVE broiled flounder filets and most of my rice pilaf (which was much more delicious than his rice pilaf, as it turns out), as well as all the tomatoes and cucumbers from my salad. ethan ate a bunch of clam strips and not a veggie in site. what those two eat is very important to us, because they're both skinny. boring, but true.

also: michael (whom i call "mr yakimoto" now and whom i fully intend, against his mother's wishes, to call "mikey" later on) is so stinkin' cute! he's a crabby little old man in a tiny baby body. he has taryn's eyebrows. on her, they're just regular ol' eyebrows, but on him? SO adorable! especially when he's mad - his eyes squish closed, his forehead wrinkles up and his eyebrows stick straight out. a nephew is not like one's own child - not at all! - but his grouchy little eyebrows still make my heart jump a little in my chest.

here are a couple pics of him at two days old.

one with daddy:

and one with mommy

see those eyebrows?