December 31, 2008

Just Another Day in Paradise

If there's one thing you can count on living in Western Washington, it's the rain. We did have a white Christmas, which is rare, but since then the rain has washed all the snow away. It makes me sad. The kids can go outside and play in the sun, the cold or the snow, but not the rain. So cabin fever is starting to set in. I don't help this matter much because if left on my own, I would never leave the house. That's not really acceptable when you have 3 kids.

In a short lived burst of energy and determination, I decided to set my alarm so that I could actually get up in the morning and get something accomplished. Ha ha ha! I am so funny. So yesterday as I lay in bed listening to the radio since I couldn't remember how to turn it off, I heard the DJ announce that you could get into the Pacific Science Center for only 94 cents. Perfect! It normally costs $11 to get in and we don't get to go very often because of that. So I told the kids to hurry up and get ready and we were going. Yeah, easier said than done. I also had the brilliant idea of inviting other kids to join us. That entailed many phone calls and arrangements. To make a long story short (if I'm even capable of that), we arrived in Seattle 3 hours later.

Most of the kids' friends are out of town for the holidays and my niece and nephew couldn't come with us so it was the 4 of us and a little 4 year-old boy named D. The Pacific Science Center is so much fun. It's right next the Space Needle which is the center of lots of fun and activity in Seattle. I've now been there probably 4 or 5 times, usually on kids' field trips with school. There is never enough time to see and do everything. In all the times I've been there, I've still never seen it all.

We spent about 4 1/2 hours out there and had lots of fun. The kids were all very good and I didn't lose anybody! We saw the animatronic dinosaurs, all the nasty insects, the naked mole rats and reptiles. We even stopped and watched the planetarium show. It's really cool. You go into a room with a big domed ceiling and they turn off the lights so that you can look up and see all the stars projected above.

They have a great butterfly house there that I always make the kids go to. You would think that kids would love to see real live butterflies but then again, we're talking about my children. It's about 85 degrees in there and butterflies are flying everywhere. You have to watch where you step and sometimes they even land on you. I could stay in there for hours. But my kids jumped every time one came anywhere near them. They were constantly asking, "Are there any butterflies on me?" Not out of hope and excitement, they were just really scared that one of the butterflies might actually touch them. Ewww! They were always ducking down and sideways, wrinkling their noses at the thought. But like most things, it was really just the boys doing this. Sassy wasn't nearly as freaked out. To make it even better, I went through almost a whole roll of film in there (yes some people still use film) just to find out that I had it loaded wrong and I made them all walk through it again so I could get pictures! Hee hee.

Part of what's cool about going there is that it's fun AND educational. I've been sneaking this past my kids for all this time but Bubba finally started catching on. There's one section that has all these displays that light up and make noise and have lots of buttons and levers to push, again-all educational. Bubba was waiting for his turn on one and I suggested that while he was waiting he could try another one. Whenever you pushed one of the buttons, it would like up one of the systems of the body-the nervous system, the skeletal system, etc. He got mad after trying it out and yelled at me,"But then I'm learning something!" He said it with such disgust. I guess the cat's out of the bag.

In spite of that, we all had a great time and the kids were all really good. Even D, bless his heart, who skipped his nap so he could go. But driving home from Seattle at night, in rush hour traffic, exhaustion started to hit me. I didn't have a problem driving, but I could feel my lack of sleep catching up with me. When we got home, I let the kids play on the Wii and I tried my best to stay awake until bedtime. Apparently though, my muddled brain forgot to set the last timer for the kids and they ended up playing until after bedtime.

With MC gone, I haven't been sleeping and it had caught up with me. I knew that if I went to bed by myself, I would just end up reading all night again and I'd be even worse off. So I had this great idea to let the kids climb into bed with me. That would actually be fun! Yeah, my brain is definitely fried. First of all, the four of us in a queen size bed is an awfully tight fit. Second, Howdy and Sassy were so excited that they didn't fall asleep until after 10pm. I'm not exactly sure what time I finally fell asleep but it didn't last long. Howdy and Sassy have a tendency to talk or shout in their sleep. Two of my children, I won't name names as to save them from humiliation, apparently spend all night passing gas. Howdy woke up crying from a nightmare, which also woke up Sassy. She went right back to sleep but it took awhile to console him. I woke up at one point wishing I could have taken a picture. I was on my side almost hanging off the edge of the bed. Howdy had snuggled as close to me as possible and thrown his arm over my neck. Bubba was hanging off the other side of the bed. Sassy was in between the boys but at the other end of the bed. And both the dogs were sprawled out among us. Needless to say, I woke up this morning completely exhausted and looking forward to a nap.



December 29, 2008

My Heart is in Texas

(Before you begin, I should warn you that I'm feeling especially long-winded!)
MC is in Texas right now visiting his family. It was kind of a last-minute decision. We had a free ticket voucher from being bumped off another flight earlier this year and Hubby was thinking about seeing his family. His mom has been really sick for the last couple of years, she has COPD. She was a chronic smoker and her lungs are pretty much hardening up and not working. We spent 3 weeks with his family last Christmas and we knew we couldn't all go this time. Things worked out though and now he is there, spending 10 days visiting with his brothers, sister, family and friends. It's a long time for him to be gone, but I would never say no to a chance of him getting to see everyone.

But that leaves me here, missing him. I don't sleep when he's gone. Last night (this morning?) I went to sleep at 4:30am. I haven't been to bed before 1:30am since he left on Christmas day. It just doesn't seem right without him here. There are a lot of nights that I go to sleep before him, but he's usually in the same room on the computer. When he's gone, I just sit in bed and read until I can't focus my eyes anymore and then I fall asleep. My kids, however, don't have the same problem and are more than happy to help me wake up in the morning. So I turn on "auto pilot" and start the day.

Because he is all I can think about, this entry is about my husband. I must forwarn you that we are one of those sappy, corny, mushy couples that make you want to be sick. I love every minute of it.

I have a passion for marriage relationships. To me, there is nothing sadder than to see someone in an unhappy marriage. Your spouse is supposed to be your best friend and will be there with you until you die. Who would want to spend a lifetime with someone they aren't happy with?
But, I'll be good to you and not get on my soapbox about marriage today.

When you're growing up, you get this image of what marriage will be like. You think you know what your husband will look like, what your relationship will be, how your life is going to go. Never in my wildest dreams did I come close. I don't necessarily believe that there is just one person on earth that I could've married and been happy with. However, I believe without a doubt that God chose the two of us to be together. I always thought I would like being married, but I never dreamed that I would be with someone who was so perfect for me.

MC and I have been married for 13 1/2 years. It's gone by so fast. We have 3 children, a house, 2 dogs and MC runs his own business. We're very busy with life in general. But even so, I sometimes feel like we're still newlyweds. I still look at him in awe at the fact that I get to wake up everyday with him. I look forward to spending time with him, even if it's just sitting next to him on the couch while we both work on separate projects.


He is my absolute best friend. If everyone else on earth disappeared, he is the one person I would want to be with. He spurs me on to be a better person. He encourages me to learn more, do more. Now, don't get me wrong, I'm still lazy and a procrastinator, but he makes me want to get past that. He is constantly teaching me new things and I love to hear his point of view.

We are not the same people that we were when we got married. I'm quite a bit...curvier for one. MC is as well and is now losing his hair. (He's probably going to kill me for putting that in there.) He likes to joke that he's "twice the man" I married. But I still look at him and find him very sexy. (Yes, I'm going to get even more personal, watch out.)

You know all those corny movie lines from chick flicks? You know, the best lines in the movie that bring two people together that you only hear in the movies because nobody in real life actually talks that way? Lines like:
"You complete me."
"You make me want to be a better man."
"I wanted it to be you so badly."
I know what all those lines mean. I believe that God created the two of us to complement each other. He made us to complete each other. And yes, I am aware that I sound like a moony teenage girl that makes you want to gag. But looking at my husband and my family, I am always constantly aware of the power of God and that everything is in His control. There is no way that we would fit together like we do unless it was designed by Him.

MC tolerates me when I'm sure no one else would. He laughs at me pathetic jokes and plays along with my games. And he makes me laugh. If you know him, you know his particular brand of humor. Surprise, surprise, I find him hysterical! He always makes me laugh. He's helped me to become more of an optimist as opposed to a staunch pessimist. I don't consider myself a beautiful woman (at least not by the world's standards) but he makes me feel that way. And somehow, he's even made me better at math.

A few years ago, (I'm about to get very personal here so feel free to skip this part) I was always tired and run down. My kids were younger and required so much more of me physically, Bubba was not as well-behaved, and I was taking medication that caused chronic fatigue. The last thing I thought about was keeping my husband happy. I enjoy sex but as far as I was concerned, it was just one more thing on my to-do list, one that was easy to bump to the bottom of the list. In the back of my head was always the thought that if I wasn't taking care of MC, he might find someone who would. So, I did only what I had to do to keep that from happening. But then we went away for a vacation. It was the whole family but I got to spend all day every day with him. We had fun and just relaxed (well, except for the week everyone had the stomach flu). I remembered that I was actually attracted to this man. He still gives me butterflies in my tummy when he kisses me. He can give me a look from across the room that makes me melt. He makes me WANT to have sex. I know that sounds dumb, but I had said on many occasions that it was only for him and if I never had sex again, I would be just fine. I think I had just been putting everything else in my life higher on the priority list than I was putting him. 'Cause he wasn't going anywhere, right? Well, I was reminded that he was more important and that it's not just about keeping him from straying. That has been turned around and I have to admit that he now has more "headaches" than I do.

Things are not always rosy and perfect with us. I tend to have a short fuse with him when I'm stressed and trust me, you do NOT want me to go off my meds. But even if we get frustrated and I raise my voice (he, of course, is too laid back to ever get that worked up about anything), I still know that everything is fine. If I need something, I tell him and vice versa. I learned a long time ago that the saying about "if he loved me he would just know" doesn't cut it. 'Cause men are blind and just don't get it. It needs to be spelled out for them very clearly...in neon...every day.

I get sad when I see married couples who don't seem to have this same connection. How is it that we are so blessed? Why isn't every marriage this way? When the kids are gone and it's just the two of you left, what will your life be like?

I love my husband. I enjoy my husband. (Now, he may not enjoy me so much after he sees this, but I'll deal with that.) And I'm counting down the days until he comes home. Love you honey!

December 22, 2008

Snowfolk

We have snow. Actual snow. It's several inches deep and has stuck for a few days now. That may not seem like a big deal to those who are used to living in it but it's a bit unusual for WA. You see, we get snow. But it never sticks around for long. We can always count on the rain to wash it all away. But it's been here for a week now and it's enough that church was canceled this morning over concern about road conditions.

I love the snow. I love to watch it through the window or walk through it outside. It just makes everything seem so beautiful and clean. In the middle of a sometimes dreary winter, God gives us this magnificent gift. Even the bare trees and dormant gardens are given a new winter coat. Everything gets spruced up and shows off it's beauty. I don't even mind the cold. As I get older, I'm finding I'd rather be in the snow than in the rain.

The best thing about this weather? My kids have been begging everyday to be able to go out and play in it! This is HUGE! My kids do not play outside voluntarily. During the summer we spend alot of time outdoors at parks and beaches and hiking. But I have to make them go. Once they are there, they have a great time. But it's not as if they wake up each day asking when they can go and play in the sun. Now for the last week they have been outside almost everyday. This has got to be some kind of record. I can't keep up with all the laundry and shoe drying that is needed. They get up, eat, do their chores and then they spend the next 30 minutes asking, "Can we go out now? Are the clothes dry? How much longer will it be? Now? Now? NOW?" Who are these children?

I just saw on the forecast that it's supposed to rain on Wed, Thur and Fri. I'm so disappointed. At least we live close to Mt. Rainier so we can always play there in the snow. I'm going to miss watching through the window while they use our driveway as a sledding track and wear themselves out. And those rosy red cheeks are so cute. When it's almost time for them to come in, I throw clean clothes in the dryer so they can change right into toasty warm clothes. They're a little sluggish after all that exercise so they usually stick with a quiet activity like reading or playing with Legos. I can't remember the last time my house was so peaceful! Why does winter ever have to end?!

December 20, 2008

Dear Santa...

Dear Santa,

I've tried to be good this year. I've been watching what I eat (and it all looked pretty good), keeping the house clean (when we're having company), and playing with my children (I love the "quiet game"). I make sure to do the laundry after everyone's run out of underwear and the children are always bathed after they start to stink. I catch the dust bunnies when they escape from under the furniture, help the kids find their clean clothes from the laundry baskets and keep our videos rewound so the kids can entertain themselves easier. Not only do I keep up with all of this around the house, but I'm involved in philanthropic endeavors as well. I financially support the local thrift stores and dollar stores. I single-handedly keep my neighborhood Papa Murphy's and McDonald's thriving. In light of all this, I'm hoping that you might bring me something off my Christmas list this year. Here's what I would like:

A dishwasher specifically for pots and pans. I know that there are good lessons to be learned in working hard but I think I know them already and my time would be put to better use if I didn't have to wash them myself.

A toilet that catches all moisture that comes even close to it. Since my boys seem to have difficulty hitting the right target, this would make my bathroom so much more pleasant to walk into.

A camera that will hold the batteries in without using tape. And while you're at it, maybe you could get me one of those that you can look at the screen to shoot instead of looking through the tiny viewfinder. It's just that I'm getting older and my eyes would appreciate not having to strain to look at a half inch picture of something.

I would like a car that doesn't have vinyl seats. I appreciate that's it's easier to clean, but we are freezing off important bodies parts in the winter and frying those same parts in the summer.

I would also like to have a few extra ears. I know that 2 really should be enough and I don't mean to sound greedy. It's just that when I have all 3 kids hollering to be heard by me, having 3 different conversations while I'm trying to watch TV, it's very hard to concentrate. If I had more ears, I could listen to all of them and not miss anything on TV.

Finally, I would like a house that has no more "projects" to finish. I would like a bathroom with a working sink, a kitchen with cabinet doors and a full countertop, windows that aren't broken, rooms with plenty of light, and carpets that aren't stained.

I realize that I'm asking for a lot. But hopefully you could find it in your heart to get me at least one of the things on my list (I'm leaning toward the toilet thing). I will do my best to continue to be good. I'll keep you posted on my progress.

Merry Christmas,
Slacker Mom

December 16, 2008

Coal for Christmas

My children wholeheartedly believe in Santa Claus. I realize my oldest is almost 10, but when it comes to this particular question, I live by the "don't ask, don't tell" philosophy. They know that Santa brings toys to the good kids and they've heard about the coal for bad kids. However, I've never held this over their heads or threatened them with it. You know the "Santa's watching so you'd better behave or you'll get coal" trick? Yeah, it hasn't come up in my house. We have enough to deal with without adding that stress.

Last week we attended a Christmas party at the therapy center where Bubba goes for speech. And who did we get to stand in line to see? Santa himself. They were very excited to be able to tell him what they wanted for Christmas. Bubba was funny. He just kept saying, "But I have so much to tell him!" (Of course he wouldn't share any of it with me.) When we got up to the front of the line, Bubba started getting really agitated. He turned to me with tears in his eyes and said, "But I think I'm gonna be on his naughty list!" He was so worried, it broke my heart. He did manage to sit on Santa's lap and I didn't really give it another thought.

The next evening, however, Bubba came downstairs and told me that Howdy was really upset because HE thought he would be on Santa's naughty list. All I could think of was, "What have I done to my kids that makes them think they're so rotten?"

So I called up to Howdy from the bottom of the stairs (I'm too lazy to walk all the way up there myself). He looked over the railing at me with big tears in his eyes. So I went and sat with him in his room for awhile. First, I told him that he was a very good kid. No one is good 100% of the time, but as long as you're trying, that's all that matters. Then I shared a secret with him. I told him no kid has ever got coal from Santa. I told him it was just something us parents made up to get kids to behave themselves. I don't know if he believed me or not but he calmed down.

Here's my dilemma. When do I tell him the truth? MC wants to tell him now. He's worried about Howdy getting teased by other kids because he still believes. I figure as long as he believes, let him.

And this definitely won't be the Christmas to try to convince him that Santa doesn't exist. I don't think he would believe me. You see, this year we're buying the kids a Wii system. Up until just recently I've been very anti-video game and the kids know it. And as far as they've heard, we do not have enough money for one. So this is what they have all asked Santa for. Their lists were very short, basically the Wii and games to go with it. So when they wake up on Christmas morning and find that Wii under the tree, I think they just might keep believing in Santa a little longer.