Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Maybe I'm the One Who Needs Glasses

Today we were running a couple of errands before Miss Pink's 12:30 appointment with the eye doctor. I decided to stop by the library because they collect school supplies for underprivileged children and I had the supplies with me. I felt good because I had mailed the giveaway goodies to the winner in a timely fashion, and I had remembered to buy the supplies and turn them in before the due date. I was on a roll!

As I turned the wheel to park, I heard a sound that no one wants to hear, but that I know well: sssscccccrrrrraaaaappppe.

My first thought was, "No! I did not just hit a minivan while trying to park."

Yes. Yes, I did. CRAP. The van wasn't even over the line. This is gonna cost me.

I wrote a note and put it under the windshield wiper, went in and dropped off the supplies, and drove away saddened and disgusted at myself.

You see, I am terrible at parking and reversing a vehicle. I have only had one accident with another moving vehicle (when I was sixteen), but here is a list of all the stationary objects I've hit:
  • two different mailboxes
  • another car in a parking lot
  • the side of our garage
  • a post near a gas pump (I won't go back to that gas station)
  • a light pole at Target
  • a car stopped at a stoplight (I took my foot off the brake and rolled into her; no damage)
The other driver turned out to be a very nice man. Lucky for me, he's also a paint & body guy who can fix his car for about $100. We'll still have to pay more to have ours fixed, but it could have been worse. Of course, it could have been BETTER if this had never happened. If I had the money we've spent on my automotive mistakes, we could go on a very nice vacation. Or save it for our retirement, if we were actually going to be sensible. WHATEVER, you get the point.

I am also lucky that my husband is super-understanding. At this point, he knows that this is just part of being married to me. He says that builders call it "hidden costs"--money you don't know you're going to have to spend when you sign the contract, and then during the project, SURPRISE, there goes your profit. I hope I'm worth it!

Right after that I turned the car away from home. Instead of eating leftovers, I wanted to go to Chick-Fil-A. I ate a salad, but then I got a Coffee Caramel shake and then all was well again.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Defining Moment #1: Sometimes Love Isn't Enough

Some time ago, I saw a meme titled something like "Seven Windows into My Soul." I wanted to do that meme, but I needed a lot of thought to decide what my moments were (and if there were exactly seven) and once I'd thought about it, I decided to write a separate post for each one, because I am incapable of distilling each one down into a single paragraph. I have never been accused of being too succinct. I swear I will TRY to keep each moment to one post, otherwise we will have posts titled Moment 1a, 1b, etc. And that just seems too dorky even for me. I am not saying they'll be short posts, though, so consider yourself warned.

Without further ado, the first moment that changed my life. Dun-dun-dun!

I was sitting on the platform of our church during Sunday morning service when I knew that something had to change in my life. I knew it because I wasn't even paying attention to the worship service; I was too busy watching the back door to see if my ex-boyfriend would open it and enter the sanctuary to repent attend church as he had promised me he would. He was so late at that point that I knew he wasn't going to come. He wasn't going to keep his promise. And I knew that he'd probably already broken the other promises he'd made me--the ones like I'll love you forever and I don't drink anymore.

I also realized he wasn't at church because he had a hangover from partying with a "friend" from his hometown who just happened to be in town--a friend who was a cute girl. I wasn't invited to go out with them. How blind was I? And why was I even hung up about whether an ex-boyfriend was coming to church with me?

J. and I had dated for a year and a half (a long time in teenage years, am I right?) We were both sophomores in college when we met. He came to church (there's a lot of church in this story) and made small talk, then started telling me things about myself and my family that only someone who knew me--or a stalker--would know. Just as I started to get alarmed, he revealed that his pastor in the town where he went to college had told him about me. I forgave him and he asked me out.

I should mention that I was very flattered that he was even interested in me. J. had a lot going for him. He was very good-looking (more on that later; it ended up being a problem); smart--he was attending college instead of the last two years of high school in a specialized program for advanced math & science students; and wealthy--his dad is a doctor. But mostly it was the looks that got me. His dad is from India and his mother was Dutch and Indonesian, giving him caramel-colored skin, jet-black curls, and big hazel eyes. Yeah, I thought he was hot. So I said yes.

We were the very sappy couple everyone loves to hate because they can't stop making puppy dog eyes at each other. For me, the physical infatuation was part of it, plus he was witty enough to make me laugh a lot, but the more I got to know J., the more I felt that he needed someone like me. To HEAL his deep emotional WOUNDS, dontcha know. The love of a good woman and all that.

He HAD been through a lot. His parents were divorced when he was little, and his dad was a busy doctor who didn't spend much time with his son. His mother, who was a pilot, died in a plane crash. Then his dad remarried, and while J. didn't hate his stepmother, his parents' marriage was shaky. They fought a lot, and didn't mind fighting in front of us (on my first visit, even) or the two younger kids. And his parents didn't make any secret of the fact that they didn't think we should be so serious about each other. After all, J. had about 10 more years of college before he could fulfill his dad's plan for his life of becoming a doctor, and I was seemingly be in the way. I resented that, because at the time I was planning to go for a Ph.D. myself. Why was I assumed to be the one wanting to quit school and get married just because I was the girl? I may have been in love, but I wasn't stupid--I was nineteen years old: not exactly desperate to get married.

Anyway, his parents' worry came across that they didn't like ME rather than the situation. Or maybe they actually didn't like me. This was a first because I was used to parents loving me and guys ignoring me. Many a mother has said to me, "Let me introduce you to my son" while I was all, "No, that would be the KISS OF DEATH." I was the Ultimate Good Girl and most teenage guys aren't all that interested in pursuing someone so innocent, someone their MOTHER wants them to date, unless they are trying to corrupt such a girl.

So things went along, and we were still crazy for each other...until J. graduated from the Brilliant Nerd college program and chose a school to finish his education at, two hours away from my college. Honestly, it would have been easier if he'd gone to Harvard. This way, we saw each other once on most weekends, meeting in Dallas to go out on a date and then spend an hour making out in his car parked in his aunt's driveway. That doesn't sound so bad, but as the semester progressed, J. realized that the tiny liberal arts college known for its academic rigor was kicking his butt. He never liked to study because he wasn't used to having to. Me, I studied my butt off. I got better grades than he did, which he said was because I took easier classes. I should have told him off for denigrating me, but I agreed with him. I knew I'd suck at organic chemistry.

J. got meaner as time progressed. He started putting me down like his father did to his stepmom. I was "stupid" if I couldn't do something the way he wanted me to. He criticized my hair, my clothes, my taste in music. At the time I couldn't recognize the classic signs of emotional abuse. He didn't try to separate me from my friends and family as some guys do, thank goodness--but they did see that something was wrong and I couldn't see that. I had my own doubts, mostly having to do with J's tendency to talk about his female lab partners and dormmates and how much they seemed to want him, but I pushed aside my doubts. After all, this was True Love. A guy who looked like a charming prince had to be one, right? (Answer: yes, if being a prince includes having an out-of-control ego.)

J. transferred to my university after that semester. If being apart had strained our relationship, being together made it really fall apart. J. decided we needed to break up, but--here's the really original part--we could still be friends. We had meant too much to each other to let go completely, was the idea. In practice, this meant that he could still rely on me for emotional support when his daddy was mean to him, and he had access to my very thorough lecture notes, but he was free to See Other People and Party All Night and I don't know what all.

You know, he was nineteen and I don't blame him for wanting to sow his wild oats. The unfair part was that he wanted to have me on a string waiting for him. He knew how much I cared about him, and he deliberately strung me along. In a casual conversation, he'd turn those green eyes on me and say, "I could see myself marrying you in a few years." (What I'd say now: "But first you've got a few hoochie mamas to nail? No, thanks!" What I did then: Sigh, melt, think, "He does love me after all!") We even made out a few times, because he knew I couldn't resist. I was still under his spell.

Until that day in church. I knew as clearly as if it had been indelibly stamped on my brain that I was going to have to break it off with J. for good. I say that I knew I had to--well, I knew God was giving me a choice, because there is always a choice. It's just that it was an unthinkable choice for me. It was like hearing, "You can eat this liver, which is yucky and you don't like it but at least it's edible, or you have to drink poison." A no-brainer, but still no fun at all.

The choice was that I had to break away from J. or else I was not going to fulfill God's plan for my life. I knew I wouldn't stop being a Christian or anything, but if I stayed with J, I was not going to be the person I was meant to become, and God would become much less important in my life, and oh yeah, there was that little thing about how J. was so addicted to conflict that he would FIND things to fight with me about for the rest of our lives. And I was NOT stupid, no matter what he said! All the pieces fell into place while I was sitting in front of 400 people, and I started to cry, because I knew which choice I was going to make.

I called him that evening and said, "I'm coming over." I hung up before he could respond. I don't remember anything I said after I walked in except, "I can't take this anymore. I don't want us to see each other until I'm over you. Don't even call me."

I could see by the look on his face that he couldn't believe what was happening. Girls were not supposed to break up with him; it was supposed to be the other way around. He tried to argue with me; he even cried. Underneath my numb exterior, my heart was aching that I was hurting someone I had once loved so much, but enough was enough. He'd thought he owned me, and he'd pushed me too far.

He honored my wishes and we didn't see each other again for a long time even though it is a small campus. I spent the next year living in an apartment, away from my parents' home for the first time, burying my heartbreak in schoolwork. I forced myself to go out with other human beings once a week. I survived, but I was very lonely. I couldn't listen to the radio: happy songs made me cry because we had once been happy, and sad songs made me cry for obvious reasons.

Months passed and a guy friend told me that J. was saying he was going to get me back, no problem. That's when I got over being brokenhearted and got pissed off instead. Oh, really? What part of "I don't want to see you anymore" do you not understand?

He wanted to meet me for lunch; I knew what was coming. Meanly, I refused to order anything, not wanting him to buy anything for me. That should have warned him, but he plunged into his speech: "I miss you...I want to have the feelings back when we were together...I I I."

Note to guys: when you're begging a girl to take you back, tell her how wonderful she is, not how good you want her to make you feel.

I said no, J., we can't go backwards. I don't feel that way anymore. I'm over you.

And suddenly I realized I was. I was free. I walked into the sunlight without looking back to see which direction he was headed.

Winner of the Summer Skincare Giveaway!

This is so exciting for me. I had to wait until I got back from a doctor's appointment before I could pick the winner via a random number generator, but now the results can be announced.

Random Integer Generator

Here are your random numbers:


Timestamp: 2008-07-28 18:48:10 UTC

Commenter #4 is Wani of Wani's World. Congratulations, girl! I'm sending you an email right now so you can let me know where to send the prize.

Thanks to everyone who commented and please know that this is not the last giveaway I'll have here on Hairline Fracture. Maybe next time I'll give away a book--that's something I have plenty of extras!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Week in Review, 7/20--7/26

1. Last Sunday night, all four of us ate as much cold, delicious watermelon as we could hold. I don't think it's necessary to explain why this was a good thing, except to my friend Leann, who doesn't like any kind of melon. Yes, she is sane in every other way.

2. I went for a follow-up visit to my new psychiatrist and told her the anxiety had disappeared again since we upped my dosage. She was happy for me, and I don't have to go back for three months.

3. I saw Mamma Mia! with my friends (which is the way you should see it; it's REALLY a chick flick). I wasn't expecting it to be all that good--but I figured it has Pierce Brosnan and Colin Firth in it, so who cares? The plot does have holes big enough to drive a truck through, but the plot is not really the point. I bought the Broadway soundtrack on iTunes yesterday, and have been singing the songs (and, regrettably, dancing) ever since.

4. On Saturday night, a friend called and asked if both of my kids could come over and play with hers. That meant Justin and I could go on an impromptu date. Stunned, we responded with our usual lack of originality and went to the bookstore, got a frappucino, and browsed through many magazines. It may be boring, but it makes us happy.

1. The psychiatrist is good, but her office staff doesn't have their act together. They've had to reschedule me twice because of errors on their end (good thing I'm not suicidal!), they never know what my copay should be, and the woman wrote down the wrong time for the appointment on my card thirty seconds after we agreed on a time and hasn't called me back when I left a message about it. None of it, even put together, is enough to make me change doctors, but I expected better from a clinic at a hospital with a medical school.

2. It's adorable when your child starts saying "Please" and "Thank you" on her own. It is not so adorable when that same child becomes the Manners Police and every time you wait on her hand and foot, she says an inaudible thank you and when you forget to respond, she barks, "I SAID thank you!" Next manners lesson: graciousness does not include screaming at your benefactor.

3. Honey-drizzled freshly baked croissants taste heavenly, but they are OF THE DEVIL. So are fries.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

And Get Off My Lawn!

Yesterday I dragged myself went to Pilates at my gym. I was a few minutes late and as I settled into the routine, I noticed something was different.

The class is normally a mix of 30-to-40-something women and some senior citizens (many of whom can put me to shame with their flexibility). Yesterday there was an addition: about six or seven students (high school or early college), at least half of them guys.

Now, I don't have anything against men in the Pilates class. Some of the seniors are men, and occasionally we get a guy around my age. But these guys were disruptive. The girls with them were a little better, but since the guys were trying to get a reaction from the girls, there was a lot of giggling. Giggling, and loud groans, and complaining about how HARD the exercises were (c'mon, dude, man up!) and dropping weights, and whispered asides that made the others COMPLETELY lose it, and so on. The teacher was practically shouting to be heard over the Enya CD. And I was all, This is NOT COOL. LET ME LOSE MYSELF IN ENYA AND THE PAIN IN MY CORE MUSCLES. I go there to focus on exercising, not to listen to all this dang noise.

While I was grumbling in my head, I suddenly thought, as I often do these days, How did I get so old?

Because I was about one step away from shaking my cane at them and threatening to call their parents.

They still have the arrogance of youth, which makes them think they are the most interesting people in the room, so it doesn't matter if they disturb others. I suppose it may not entirely be an age thing, since there are middle-aged people who talk loudly in movies or on cell phones where all are forced to hear about their colonoscopy or whatever, but I definitely think it is a maturity thing. There are times when you should not share with the whole class, and they haven't figured that out yet. You don't have to be the center of attention at all times, whether you are by yourself or in the coolest group of friends ever.

Consideration of others: try it sometime, kids. Especially if you plan to come back to my class next week. If you don't, you may get beaten to death with a cane. Or smothered with a yoga mat. Don't say I didn't warn you.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

WFMW: Summer Glow and A Giveaway!

I've mentioned that I'm naturally pale. In fact, the only way I can tan is if I burn first, and since I have no interest in getting skin cancer, I decided to accept my white, white, Whitey McWhiterson skin. But oh, how envious I was when I saw other people's tans in the summer. When I was a teenager, I used a self-tanner, and even though I exfoliated and rubbed it in carefully, I turned out as orange as a traffic cone.

I still thought that was better than being ghostly.

In more recent years, a Mystic tan intrigued me, but I knew I couldn’t afford to keep paying for those. And last year, I tried a moisturizer with tanning lotion mixed in. I chose the one marked fair skin, because that seemed obvious. I woke up excited to see my skin and…nothing had happened. I looked exactly the same—the same color as my off-white sheets.

I kept using it for a while, then gave up. Then this year I read a column by Amalah over at the Advice Smackdown in which she said the same thing happened to her, but she was braver than I and tried the one for medium skin tones, and it worked.

Lo and behold, the miracle of a summer glow has happened to me as well.

DO NOT ask me to post pictures. At least not tonight; I really need to repaint my toenails. Just take my word for it: I am not unnaturally dark; I just have a very light golden color. When I wear shorts and skirts, I keep looking down to admire my legs. The other good thing is that you don’t have to do anything difficult to prepare. I shave my legs, and sometimes use an exfoliating scrub, but the scrub isn’t absolutely necessary. Rub the lotion in as evenly as you can, but it won’t leave streaks like a self-tanner. If you already HAVE medium skin, I think they have a darker version as well.

Okay, I was going to tell you about the bronzer I got to add some color to my face, but I need to do it quickly so I have time to get to the giveaway!

The bronzer is Sally Hansen Natural Beauty (by Carmindy of What Not to Wear, who I adore) Sun Glow Powder bronzer. I use a large brush and go lightly over the parts of my face the sun would naturally touch, if it didn’t burn me to a crisp: my cheekbones, forehead, nose, and chin. I love it, and isn’t it pretty, with that flower?

On to the First-Ever Hairline Fracture Giveaway! I wish I had one of those bronzers to give away, but I don’t. I do, however, have several skin products for you to try!

Included in this fabulous prize package: first, a tube of Eucerin Everyday Protection body lotion with SPF 15. Did you know even your hands can get sun-damaged? Next, a smaller tube of Aveeno facial sunblock, SPF 55. Then a compact of Neutrogena Mineral Sheers Powder Foundation in Buff—that sounds light and non-greasy for your face in hot weather. Finally, a packet of Jergens Natural Glow Express moisturizer in Medium. It’s not the same brand I used, but I bet it will work just fine.

To enter, just leave a comment on this post before Sunday at midnight CST. I’ll choose the winner randomly and post the results on Monday. Please make sure you include an email address—either linked to your profile or in the comment itself; if I can’t contact the winner, I’ll choose someone else. Oh, and I can only ship to the US and Canada...sorry if that leaves you out. Thanks for reading and making my life so much more interesting!

For more ideas that work, go to Rocks in My Dryer.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Pet Peeves

1. The term “gentlemen’s club” used for a strip club. I don’t have a problem with calling them “men’s clubs”—actually, I’ve never seen that term used; why not?—but I wouldn’t call the men who frequent that type of place “gentlemen.”

2. People who say “myself” instead of “I” or “me” because they think it’s fancier. Example: “Roger and myself would like to go to the gentlemen’s club, but we can’t, because our wives might find out.” In this case, you should say, “Roger and I.” You wouldn’t say, “Myself would like to go.” Okay, then.

If you have anything that bugs you (it doesn’t even have to be grammar-related), post it in the comments and I will read it and probably say, “That bugs myself, too!”

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Week in Review, 7/13--7/19

This week’s review will be all about our trip. The only down side was that we couldn’t stay longer! Thanks to my dad’s generosity, we stayed at the Hyatt Hill Country Resort in San Antonio. It’s a very cool place with a golf course and a kid-friendly water park on site, which both got glowing reviews from Dad, Justin, and the kiddos (the kids didn’t play golf, although that is on my dad’s list of things to teach his grandchildren one day). There are also other amenities we didn’t take advantage of, like a spa and a kids’ day camp (campers must be potty trained). All of us got to do something we like: golf, swim, shop. We also went to Sea World, which you might remember had me feeling nervous because theme parks are NOT my parents’ thing. I think the last time they went to one might have been when we went to Disney World when I was about ten. But people will do stuff for their grandkids that would normally have them running away screaming, and they enjoyed the kids’ reactions to the sights.

The drive (about four hours) is not bad at all, so we weren’t too exhausted when we got home yesterday. Justin has to work today because the grand opening for the new multi-use building at our church is tomorrow, and he has a few things to fix before everyone tours the place. I’ve been doing laundry and gradually unpacking. When Mr. Blue wakes up, we’ll have to go to the grocery store—I’m thinking grilled hot dogs for dinner. Just the little ordinary things that make up this life. The vacations and celebrations are like diamonds that occur among our days—made more beautiful by the strand of simple beads they punctuate.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Being the Mom

When I was a kid, my mom always went into an organizing frenzy before we left on a trip. She supervised everyone's packing so we wouldn't leave anything important at home--like underwear. She packed every over-the-counter medication we owned in ziploc bags. (When we tease her about being a traveling pharmacy, she always reminds us of a time when she had a medicine we needed.) She also did something I didn't understand at all at the time: she cleaned the house. Well, it being my mom's house, it was clean to start with, but she gave the house a once-over before we left: did the dishes, made the beds, and vacuumed.

I thought she was crazy. All of this took up precious time when we could be closer to our destination: a motel with cable and a pool. Why not just leave the house the way it was and take care of cleaning it when we got back?

Also, in the middle of the frenzy, Mom would be noticeably tense. We had to be careful what we said to her, or she'd bite our heads off. I didn't understand this, either. We were going on a VACATION. What was there to be mad about?

Now, twenty-something years later, I would like to apologize to my mother for not understanding how she felt. I understand now. This afternoon I yelled at the kids numerous times for continuing to get out more toys when I had just cleaned up. I vacuumed and ran the dishwasher. Tomorrow I will break out the ziploc bags. I have become my mother.

And really, that's not such a bad thing.
I'll be back on Friday. Until I "talk" to y'all, have a great week!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Week in Review, 7/6--7/12

Good vibes
1. Remember the builder who we didn’t think was going to pay us and I thought I might have to pray him into submission? He paid up, no complaints. Turns out his phone broke while Justin’s partner was talking to him—he didn’t hang up and refuse to take any more calls, as it seemed at the time. Now that I say that, it sounds suspicious. You notice he didn’t call back on a different phone and ask when he could pay. Oh well. He paid, no one’s mad at each other, and we have money. All’s well.

2. Miss Pink has been waiting all week to buy me a present. Justin was finally able to take her today. He paid for it, but it’s sweet that she wanted to pick it out. They went to Target, where you can’t go wrong shopping for me. She wanted a necklace but didn’t find anything she liked, so she picked a set of bracelets, some gold, some green (I told her green is my favorite color, so now she thinks I need a lot more green things.) She kept saying, “Look, there are three of these,” which I didn’t think anything about except Justin was mouthing something at me behind her back. When she left the room, he said, “She wants one of those, but I told her not to ask, to wait until you offered it to her.” So I asked her if she wanted one, and she said yes, very fast.

Mixed feelings
1. I’m starting to get nervous about going to San Antonio next week. It’s a fairly short trip, four hours from here, and we will only be gone three days. My parents are going, which will be fun, but I hope the kids don’t wear them out too much. I hope the kids don’t wear US out too much. (I wasn’t aware of how much bigger Sea World is than the last time I went, which was around 1991.) Also, you moms know what I mean when I say that traveling with young kids isn’t really a VACATION for the parents. It’s important to make family memories, and all that, but it’s not really relaxing because you do everything you normally do to take care of the kids, but in a strange place, with screwed-up naptimes and lots of junk food. Oh well, Justin and I went on a mini-vacation last year. It’s time for our first real family vacation (other than visiting family.) I bet it will be lots of fun—I shouldn’t worry so much when I’m getting to go on a trip!

Friday, July 11, 2008

My Perfect Day

What would my perfect day be like? Well, first of all the kids would have spent the night with someone (don't you love how nonspecific I am with where my beloved babies would be?) so Mr. Blue wouldn't wake me up asking for a waffle. Therefore, I'd sleep in and wake up when I was darn good and ready. I'd eat a toasted bagel and drink some orange juice while reading. Then I'd pick out a great outfit (one that might even be dry clean only!) and head out for the day.

My first stop would be to a nail salon to get the pedicure I've been promising myself but haven't had time to get. Then I'd visit my hair salon for a shampoo and blowout because nothing makes me feel better about myself than great hair. Next I'd hit the stores for some shopping! Nordstrom would have a mix-up in their inventory so that their prices would be lower than they ever have been before, AND I'd mysteriously have extra money in my account. Amazingly, the same thing would happen at Ann Taylor Loft and Sephora.

By that time, I'd be ready for lunch. I'd meet a friend at a nice place. I'm not picky which restaurant we visited, as long as chicken nuggets are not on the menu.

Finally, I'd grab a frappucino and sit down with a pile of books and magazines at a bookstore. Before long, it would be time to go home and take a nap. When I woke up, refreshed, I'd get ready for a romantic dinner with my husband. We might spend some time at home first. ;-)

When we got back, my kiddos would meet us, already bathed and ready for bed. (I don't know who the angel was who volunteered to keep them this long, but hey, this is my fantasy--it doesn't need to be realistic!) We'd get in some quality family cuddle time before lullabies and prayers. As I closed my eyes, I'd thank God for a wonderful day.

As far as I can see, the only problem with this scenario is that my perfect day would take more than 24 hours. If only because I need a LOT of time to shop. And sleep.

Yesterday was my birthday, and although I didn't get to do all of the things on this list, I did get my hair cut and styled (a coincidence; I didn't plan to go on my birthday), and my mom kept the kids so I could spend some of my birthday money without saying, "Come over here right now or I'm going to strap you in this cart!" And I got some really cute stuff I needed. We ate lunch at Sonic, not a bistro, and I didn't go to a bookstore or out for dinner. But I did get a nap and spent a relaxing evening with my family, and that's close enough to perfect for me.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Mr. Blue, Stand-Up Comedian

So often it seems I’m jotting down something funny Miss Pink has said so I can blog about it. Now Mr. Blue is starting to make more jokes and tease us—he knows what he’s doing and it makes me and Justin just lose it, even when we’re trying to tell him no. When Mr. Blue knows something’s funny, he says, “Dat funny--I wanna laugh!” And then he does—even his eyes laugh.

At my parent’s house around lunchtime:

Mr. Blue: Mama, I want a cookie.

Me: No, you need to eat lunch first.

Mr. B, without pausing even one second: Doughnuts?

My dad, who gives all little children money: Here’s something for you! (He gives them each a five dollar bill.)

Justin: Wow, Miss Pink, that’s five dollars! (Miss Pink is appropriately impressed.)

Mr. Blue, holding his money in one hand and reaching for Papa’s billfold with the other: I want it all!

Justin and Mr. Blue are roughhousing on our bed. This game consists of Mr. Blue standing on his dad and purposely falling off and landing flat on his stomach—or his head.

Justin: You’re a rough tough boy! Are you a rough tough boy?

Mr. Blue: No, I not. I just wanna hurt myself! (falls off)

You know, I just noticed that every one of these anecdotes involves my son expressing in no uncertain terms something he wants. We’ll have to teach him subtlety and manners (not to mention nutrition) but there’s nothing wrong with knowing what you want and going for it. Well, except for hurting yourself on purpose.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Week in Review, 6/30--7/5: Now with Gratuitous Links!

1. I already wrote about our Independence Day, but it was definitely a highlight of the week.

2. Miss Pink moved up a level in gymnastics. She is the youngest and smallest in her class, but she is GOOD, y’all. I am not just being a boastful parent—the teacher wanted her to try out for the pre-competition team, but we are going to wait at least a year before doing something that takes so much time (and I have a fear of being a pushy sports parent). So now she is going to work on some more challenging skills, just for less time a week than the team does.

You know those massive ropes that hang from the ceiling in a gym, that kids are supposed to climb? Didn’t those strike fear into your heart in middle school? Miss P’s class was supposed to work on climbing those. For the newer ones, the teacher put her fists under their feet so they could push off her hands to climb higher. But they had to hold on with their feet and pull themselves up with their arms. Miss Pink was a natural—she scooted right up that rope like a monkey on both tries. I was so proud of her! I will try to remember to bring my camera so you can see her at the top.

3. My birthday is next week and we have been celebrating early! My special dessert was the brownie sundaes yesterday, and my parents took me to Pei Wei for lunch after church and gave me some birthday money. Gift money or money from unexpected jobs is the only money I feel non-guilty about spending on myself. I already bought a dress from Target yesterday, and I love it.

4. Justin and I finally watched a movie: Lars and the Real Girl. When I first heard it was about a guy who pretends a blow-up doll (yes, that kind of doll) is his girlfriend, I thought it might be creepy, but instead it’s sweet, sad, and funny all at the same time. Highly recommended.

1. Leaving my new copy of The New Yorker on a desk-thing at the gym and finding it gone after I got finished lifting weights. I wouldn’t care except that there was a new story by Alice Munro in it that I hadn’t read yet. I looked around in the trash cans, everywhere magazines get laid out for borrowing, and at everyone who was working out. Stupid me. Just because no one at my gym looks like they would read The New Yorker, someone must.

Later in the week I found out the story is online. I am once again thankful for the power of the Internet.

2. Justin had some trouble with a builder who doesn't want to pay him. That's stressful. So please send your prayers and good money-receiving thoughts to him (Justin, not the jerk builder!) I told Juck I would pray that the guy (who is filthy rich; it's infuriating that he doesn't want to pay for the cabinets HE ordered) would feel so guilty that he wouldn't be able to sleep until he paid up. I don't think that's too much to ask God, do you? I mean, it's not like I'm asking that he be attacked by locusts or get boils all over his body. Although if he doesn't pay by next month, all bets are off.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Suffering From a Food Hangover But Otherwise Fine

We had a wonderful Fourth of July. Miss Pink had been waiting for it for months, literally; she calls it "America Day" or just "July" when she can't remember the Fourth part. She had her red-white-and-blue outfit laid out since Sunday, when my mom had given it to her. (And then spent most of the day back in her pink pajamas, which just goes to show you can't predict your children's whims.)

We started the day by getting up at the normal time and driving over to m
y parents' house, where my mom had breakfast for us, consisting of sausage balls (ground sausage, cheese, and Bisquick mixed together and baked) and cream gravy, monkey bread (bread dough soaked in butter, cinnamon, and sugar before baking), and as the lone concession to our arteries, fresh fruit. I drank a Diet Dr. Pepper. I'm sure that helped. *rolling eyes at self*

After we hauled ourselves up from the table, we got ready for the neighborhood parade. Anyone can be in it, so there were a lot of kids on bikes, decorated strollers, dogs, and a few vehicles flying flags. Our kids rode bikes. I was surprised that Mr. Blue rode his bike the whole way--about five or six long blocks--without making my dad carry his bike or him. I shouldn't have been surprised, since Mr. Blue can ride his bike in circles for a long time--he'd probably do it for hours, if we'd let him. Both kids loved being in the parade. It will definitely continue to be our tradition.

Justin and I rode in our 1930 Model A Ford, which used to belong to his late uncle. You get so much attention when you're in an antique car. I was starting to feel like a movie star, with all the comments, waves, and cameras directed our way. Then I got over it, but it was still fun.

Then about four we had the BEST meal ever. I am sorry that you missed it. I'm sure your meal was very nice, but really, it COULD NOT have been as good as this was. (I'm kidding, really was exceptional.) Baby back ribs, cooked by my brother until they were so tender they FELL into your mouth as soon as your lips touched them, grilled chicken (very good but the ribs were the star), fresh corn on the cob, perfect baked beans topped by bacon because we needed more pork fat (ha), a just-tangy-enough marinated bean salad, and rolls. Then later in case we were not in a coma already, we had decadent chocolate brownies with ice cream and hot fudge sauce. We eschewed the whipped cream, feeling it would be "too much." Then we sat on the couch like knots on a log, except the kids, who had of course eaten much less than us gluttonous adults.

Finally, after my dad, the best grandpa ever, played with the kids in the heat for a LONG time, we came back to our house in time for the fireworks show our town does. We can see it from our front yard, so it's perfect to escape the crowd and preventing kids from getting lost and all that. Mr. Blue didn't know what fireworks are, so he was a little worried about the "fire" part, but once he saw that they weren't going to hurt him, he thought they were great. And I think they were just as wonderful to Miss P as she'd hoped they'd be.

Happy (belated) birthday, America. Thank you for giving us the freedom to enjoy the day the way we did.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Juck and Ali Plus Two

The kids like to watch Jon & Kate Plus 8, a show on TLC that chronicles the life of a couple who had twins, then decided to try one more time and had sextuplets. (Gack! The very thought makes my uterus try to turn inside out.)

Whenever we watch it, I am very thankful that: a) I do not have eight children;

b) I am not a neat freak who has trouble letting her kids get a tiny bit dirty every so often;

c) that I am not a neat freak with eight children, because HOW CAN SHE EVEN KEEP THAT PART OF HER PERSONALITY? Me, I had two kids and boom, my cleanliness standards plummeted from “neat and tidy except for excess paperwork on the desk” to “sticky substances possible on any given surface.”

Nothing against Kate, but I'd rather my kids get to paint and eat ice cream and make mud pies. I think that’s a pretty good tradeoff.
I'm sure if I had as many clothes to wash as she does, I'd feel differently, but for now, bring on the stain remover!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

WFMW: Five Ingredients or Less

I thought this week’s WFMW challenge—to post recipe(s) that have five ingredients or less—would be easy for me! I love to cook, but I’m all about simple and easy—and simple and easy are not so easy when you have an ingredients list a mile long. For one thing, I’d probably forget half of the things at the store. (Does that happen to anyone else? You start to cook and realize you’re out of spaghetti or sour cream or what have you? Argh, that drives me crazy!) But it turns out most of my recipes have more than five ingredients, unless we’re talking something grilled. And my chicken pot pie doesn’t sound good in this heat. However, I did come up with a few things.

Glazed Pork Chops

Okay, so I’m kind of cheating here, because I add a couple of extra ingredients (if cooking spray is even an ingredient). But the original recipe was in Taste of Home’s Quick Cooking in the “Give Me Five Or Fewer” section. And I’m betting you have most of these in your cupboard already.

  • 4 boneless pork chops
  • Cooking spray or a little olive oil
  • 1/3 c. plus 1 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar, divided
  • 3 Tbsp. soy sauce
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 ½ tsp. cornstarch
  • 1 Tbsp. honey or to taste

In a nonstick skillet coated with spray over medium heat, brown pork chops on both sides. In a bowl, combine 1/3 c. vinegar, soy sauce, and garlic and pour over chops. Cover and simmer for 8-10 minutes or until the chops are no longer pink. Add honey to taste. In a bowl, combine cornstarch and 1 Tbsp. vinegar; stir until smooth. Add to skillet and bring to a boil; cook and stir for 1 minute or until thickened.

Cucumber Salad

I serve this with down-home food like meatloaf, or hamburger steaks with gravy. Why? Because my mother does, and she’s a Southern cook extraordinaire. Hush up and eat it.

(And I just realized this has six ingredients. Can I NOT cook with less than six? We’ll just pretend salt and pepper don’t count.)

  • 2 medium cucumbers, peeled and sliced
  • 1/3 c. onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/3 c. white vinegar
  • 2/3 c. water
  • 3 packets Splenda or Equal, or sugar to taste if you don’t like chemicals ;-)
  • Pinch of salt and pepper

Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Lemonade Pie

This is one of my favorite summer desserts. It tastes refreshing and rich at the same time. Mmmm, I wish I had some now.

  • 1 graham cracker pie crust
  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk
  • 6 oz. frozen lemonade concentrate
  • 8 oz. Cool Whip (the light kind is fine)
  • Yellow food coloring (optional)

In a large bowl, mix lemonade concentrate and sweetened condensed milk. Add Cool Whip and food coloring, if desired, and mix thoroughly. Spread into pie crust and chill several hours before serving.

There you have it: three simple, yummy recipes. Now, don’t try to serve them all at the same meal. They don’t really go together, and I think they might be a little tart combined (I guess you know what flavor I like!) Let me know if you enjoy them!

For more 5-ingredients-or-less recipes, check out Rocks In My Dryer.

New SITS Contest

Those saucy girls over at The Secret Is In the Sauce are having weekly contests this summer. There are some seriously great prizes. Last week was a bounce house, and here's what they're offering this week:

Is that cute or what? It's a Brighton purse that retails for $175. Until a couple of weeks ago, I'd never even heard of Brighton, but I like this bag a lot. It's so summery and cheerful!

So if you'd like a chance to win it, write your own post about the contest, and head over to SITS to link to it in the comments in this post. Good luck! (If you win, can I borrow it? I'll totally let you borrow it if I do! Then we can French-braid each other's hair and be BFFs! Like, OMG!)

Question of the Day

From Miss Pink, while we were driving:

"What if it rained fish?"

I shivered and put my hand up as if to protect myself from a torrent of goldfish. How do kids think of these things?