January 30, 2012

The Power of Suggestion

I find it amazing the way the mind works. It's fascinating how your brain makes certain connections that forever link the way you view things. Like how a song can instantly take you back to your senior year in high school. Or how the smell of freshly baked chocolate chip cookies can transport you home and into your mother's kitchen. I used to make decorative lamps and sell them. One crafting season, I was making a bunch of coffee themed lamps that had real coffee beans on them. I was listening to my usual work CD--Hootie and the Blowfish--while putting the lamps together. The funny thing is, the next time I listened to that CD, I smelled coffee.

Sometimes our brain is affected not by those connections, but by the power of suggestion. When I was young, I can remember sitting in the breakfast nook eating dinner (it seems contrary, doesn't it?) while my Aunt was visiting. We were eating French bread and she casually commented that she never ate the crust; she didn't like it. I suddenly realized that I didn't like crust either. To this day, I do not eat the crunchy crust on my French bread. I give it to MC because I don't like it.

Having to deal with picky kids over the years, I have honestly found myself wishing that peer pressure and the power of suggestion would work on my kids. "Everyone else is eating it, why don't you?" Sadly, my kids are selective in the areas in which they will allow themselves to be influenced. The exception to this is Bubba. (But really, isn't he the exception to everything?) It's not that he'll allow himself to be influenced more readily, but that he rarely lets anything influence him. Except when it comes to food. The kid survives on two basic food groups--cheese and tomato based foods. He won't eat tomatoes or spaghetti (It has little green things in it and I serve it over pasta. *Shudder*), but he can't get enough pizza, ketchup, tomato soup and cheese. This is the kid who invented the cheese and ketchup sandwich. I've tried it. It's gross. On the rare occasion we can get him to try something new. Our best odds for this are to let him eat in front of the TV where there's a chance he will get distracted and not pay attention to what he's putting in his mouth but, like I said, it's rare.

I believe that Bubba looks for any and all reasons to cross food off his "acceptable" list. If he can find any excuse why a food should be considered suspect, he will forever hold his tongue and refuse to eat it--even if he previously enjoyed said food. This happened with bacon. He was finally eating a meat that wasn't breaded chicken--until Howdy had to go and spoil it all. He mentioned to the other 2 minions that they were eating pig. That was it. No more bacon for Bubba. I could've gladly smacked Howdy upside the head for that one (Much in the same way I imagine my mom wanted to smack my Aunt after her French bread comment). But then I did the same thing. I had a pitcher of blue Kool Aid and offered some to Bubba as a substitute to soda. Thinking I was funny, I said, "You could just pretend you're drinking Smurfs!" He proceeded to gag--an act he has down to an art--and claimed to be so grossed out that he would never touch blue Kool Aid again.

The latest incident happened just this morning. Bubba does not like mint. He won't eat mint ice cream, mint candy, mint cookies or even candy canes. When I share my gum, he always gets left out because I chew mint gum. I have no idea how it came to be a morning topic, but it was brought to Bubba's attention that the toothpaste he's used for the last 5 or 6 years is--you got it--MINT. "What?! That's sick! Mint toothpaste? Who would do that? Yuck! I'll never use that toothpaste again!"

Are you kidding me? Now you don't want to brush your teeth? This is where I draw the line. You want to live on cheese pizza? Fine. You want to drink your tomato soup through a straw? I can accommodate that. But I refuse to let any kid of mine leave the house without brushing and I am NOT buying a different toothpaste for the kid who won't admit that mint toothpaste is more than acceptable.

I guess I should just be happy that he hasn't figured out exactly where his scrambled eggs come from.

January 27, 2012

Flashback Friday--The Things I Do For Attention

My history of bad luck isn't confined to disasters. Some of the more...interesting moments of my life just fall under the category of  "It could only happen to me". These are the things that, really, could only happen to me. That's just the way my luck falls. Today's Flashback is one of these incidents.

When you are pregnant, you joke around with your friends about what would happen if your water broke in the middle of Walmart or while you were walking the mall or attending a PTA meeting. You go through the possible scenarios and it always ends with, "Wouldn't that be embarrassing?" But you always let out a nervous little sigh of relief because you just know that those kinds of things never really happen. Right? Right??

When I was pregnant with Bubba, my stomach looked like I had swallowed a watermelon and got it lodged perpendicular from my spine. I was huge. But only in the front. I still had a waist and you'd be hard pressed from looking at my backside to tell that I was pregnant. I got a lot of "How many babies are actually in there?" comments and I once had a guy pass me on the sidewalk, do a double take when he saw my belly and then shout to his wife to come and "take a look at this!" I am amazed at the sensitivity level of some people.

Anyways, one Sunday MC and I were in church. I was past my due date but nothing had been happening on the labor front so it was just business as usual. In fact, the night before we had attended a hockey game with friends. During service, Howdy was getting antsy so I reached into the diaper bag for his bowl of Cheerios. Maneuvering around that big ol' belly wasn't easy and I ended up spilling the Cheerios all over the inside of the bag. With a frustrated sigh I bent down to clean up the mess. As I leaned down, I simultaneously felt and heard a distinct pop. I sat back up quickly, wondering if what I thought had just happened had actually happened. My suspicions were quickly confirmed--my water had just broke. I leaned over and told MC what was going on and we debated about what to do. We didn't want to make a scene, which rushing out in the middle of service was sure to do. We also weren't sure what kind of mess I might make if I stood up. I mean, what if my sitting was acting as a dam and holding back the flood, you know? Even if I could be sure that I wasn't going to be like some sitcom character and gush all over the place, I knew that labor was coming on. Did I really have enough time to sit through the sermon?

We came up with a plan. Luckily our song leader that morning was a man who was very fond of making everyone stand for 3 or 4 songs in a row. When everyone stood up for the first song, we'd quietly sneak out the back and head to the hospital. That was great, in theory, but there were a few monkey wrenches thrown into this plan. First of all, when he finally got up to lead singing, he told everyone they could remain sitting. Yeah, thanks for that. Second, we had Howdy and didn't want to take him to the hospital. Papa had planned to take him when the time came. Grandma was going to the hospital with us but Papa likes to keep a good 3 mile buffer zone between himself and hospitals so he was more than willing to take on the task as babysitter. As it happened, Papa and Grandma were at church with us that day. On the front row.

Let me take a moment and just tell you something about my mom. (I love you, mother, you know that, right?) She gets a little excited sometimes. And subtle has never been a word in our family's vocabulary. So we tried to send a whispered message up to her that it was TIME. By this point, a friend of mine who'd been sitting behind us had caught on and was (very quietly) on her way to grab us some towels from the baptistry. As soon as she arrived with my makeshift robe, we were outta there. But only after we got that message to Grandma. We knew the instant she got it because she just about got whiplash turning around to find us. There were quite a few "OH! OH!"s exclaimed at a higher than normal volume and then she was standing up and trying to make her way to us. It took but a second for everyone to follow her line of vision to where I was currently trying to heave my body up off the chair and get wrapped up in towels so that no one could see my wet clothes. Yeah, the jig was up at that point. No one in my family will ever win the stealth awards. We gave up trying to ease out the door and just went with it. We handed Howdy off to my parents and then MC loaded me up in the car and we took off.

It turned out I wasn't carrying a mini Sumo wrestler or even a surprise set of twins. Just a normal 7lb baby. I was, however, carrying an abnormal amount of amniotic fluid. Once I hit the car, the flood started and it didn't stop for even a moment until I got into my hospital room. I would not have wanted to be maintenance that day. I drained all the way across the emergency room, down every hall and in the elevator. I left a puddle trail throughout the entire hospital. My car didn't fare much better and neither did my clothes. It turns out when that stuff dries, it crystallizes--my clothes and shoes ended up in the trash.

I'd always thought that church would've been one of the worst places to have your water break but it wasn't so bad. I mean, how many places would've had towels on hand? And my story has lived on in infamy. It's now a cautionary tale told at baby showers...whether I'm there or not.

But the best part? About a year and a half after delivering my Bubba, I was at church one Sunday and I introduced myself to a young couple that were visiting. The wife looked at me and said, "I remember you! You were the one whose water broke in the middle of service!" Ahh, at least I'm memorable!

January 25, 2012


Have you ever had the "shoe" conversation with your husband/boyfriend/significant other? You know, the one that starts with him looking in your closet and then, turning to you with a look of utter confusion and bewilderment on his face, he asks, "Why does anyone need 17 pairs of black shoes?" That, of course, is when you state the obvious--that some of those are regular shoes (meant to be worn with pants or jeans) and some of those shoes are heels. Then you go on to explain to the sweet, but clueless, man the difference between closed toe, peep toe and open toe shoes; how strappy and slingback mean different things; and that, despite how good the four inch heels make your calves look, some occasions just really call for the two inch heel. Just as you segue into a defense of wearing the heels that have the pointy toe, even though they hurt your feet, because they look absolutely perfect with that outfit, you make eye contact with your Beloved only to become alarmed at the look on his face. His eyes are wide and glazed over and he's mumbling quietly to himself. As you lean in, you hear something that sounds suspiciously like, "You lost me at heels."

I'm quite familiar with that deer-in-the-headlights, comatose look that says, "While I appreciate you trying to explain that to me, it's really not necessary considering I haven't understood a word you've said and I am now hearing the voice of Charlie Brown's teacher coming out of your mouth." That was the look on my face for the majority of the 8 hours I spent at Howdy's first chess tournament last weekend. Don't get me wrong. I love Howdy and am happy to support him in anything he gets fired up about. But I just DON'T. GET. CHESS. For me, chess ranks right up there with Acquire, Settlers of Catan, and Monopoly. They're all games that require forethought and strategy. They're what I call "guy games". You build and plot and create your empire so you can break through your opponent's defenses and rule the world. Total guy stuff. I don't have the slightest interest in any of it and I really don't understand the first thing about chess. I used to look at a chessboard and think, "Ooh, look at the pretty pieces. Hey, is that a pony? I wanna be the pony!" Now I look at a chessboard and think of Twilight. My kids, however, think chess is great (even Sassy, the poor kid). They've challenged me to chess matches but I've had to politely decline. I told them I only knew a little bit about the game and then proceeded to tell them exactly what that little bit was. They all laughed at me. It turns out the object of chess is NOT to capture your opponent's Queen but to capture the King. Huh.

The extent of my chess knowledge can fit on the end of a pencil but chess club is the sum total of my son's junior high social life so we all trooped over to an area school to watch him compete. Howdy vetoed my plans to make posters with his name on them and I was not allowed to make up any chess cheers either. Not only that, but it turns out that the only ones allowed in the room while the kids are competing are the moderators. The parents have to watch through the glass wall. What? How am I supposed to know what's going on? Luckily, depending on which table Howdy was assigned to, I was able to get an occasional glimpse of his matches. But, to be honest, it didn't really mean anything. Anytime he or his opponent made a move, I had to ask MC, "Was that good? Did he just take that boy's Crook? Oh, Rook? Whatever. Did he just lose a horsey one? Does that mean he's in trouble? When he gets to the other end of the board, does he get to say 'King me'? What? Wrong game? Oh. Wait. They're shaking hands. What does that mean? Did he lose? Is he upset? I can't read his expression. I can't take the suspense! For the love of chocolate, will someone please tell me what just happened?" It went on like this through 5 matches. How do you support your kid when you can't watch, you can't cheer and you don't even understand why he's moving his piece halfway across the board. Is that even legal? Can they call traveling on that?

All the non-cheering got a little dull after awhile. It was more exciting when the match was over and Howdy would explain the different openings and moves they used. Chess moves have great names. Howdy learned something at the beginning of the year called the Fried Liver move, and just before the tournament he went online to learn the Leningrad Dutch opening. So once the match was over, Howdy would launch into a play by play about how he opened with the Purple People Eater but then his opponent moved his WD-40 and stole his Prawn or Pawn or whatever it was (at least, that's what I heard). As fascinating as the replays were, by the time the 6th hour rolled around, I was getting a little antsy. So during his final match when Howdy glanced up to where his dad and I were watching him from an upstairs balcony, MC and I managed a quick, football stadium wave just to liven things up a bit. Howdy broke eye contact quickly, no doubt relieved that no one else saw his parents trying to kill him through humiliation. When MC and I realized that we had done it, we had actually done the wave in full view of our son, we high-fived it and bust out laughing at our brilliance.

Howdy ended up winning 2 out of his 5 matches. He was complimented on playing very well, even holding his own against the high school kid who ended up taking first overall. But since I know this was just the first of many tournaments to come, I am currently working on a way to smuggle in pom poms.

January 23, 2012

Slumber Party!

Sassy recently hosted a sleepover. It wasn't for any special reason, it was just one of those spontaneous playdates that sort of grew and grew until the next thing I knew I had agreed to her having 2 friends spend the night.

Sleepovers are still a relatively new concept for Sassy and acting as a hostess to other girls isn't something she has mastered, but the girls seemed to enjoy themselves. The evening consisted of dressing up, playing with Play Doh and Barbies, watching movies and eating lots of snacks. Of course, it wouldn't be a kids' sleepover without a disaster or two. Not to worry--we had a bottle of nail polish spill on the carpet of our rental house. Which Sassy then tried to clean up with a washcloth soaked in nail polish remover. Disaster? Check.

Sassy may not have yet mastered all the social graces that are needed when hosting a function but she seems to have one vital fact ingrained on her psyche (It must be somehow in her genes because it definitely isn't something I taught her). It's a lesson that her friend, "B", knew well (even though it was "B"'s first sleepover) but that "T" apparently hadn't yet learned (unfortunately for her). The most important rule of a sleepover is: NEVER be the first one to fall asleep! "T" learned this the hard way when she woke in the morning to find she was now sporting a pink marker mustache (thankfully drawn with dry erase marker and therefore easily washed off before her mother saw it).

Growing up I took part in countless sleepovers and we all knew that rule. The girl who fell asleep before anyone else might as well have painted a target on herself because it just became open season on the party pooper. Retribution took many forms, a favorite being the bra in the freezer. To properly freeze a bra, you first soak it in water and then you toss it in the freezer, not to be disturbed until the morning. While I have been the perpetrator behind this trick, I have managed to escape being on the receiving end. The trick is to stuff your bra way down into your pillowcase after you take it off. That, or just sleep in it. Other party pooper punishments included the aforementioned face painting as well as the fingers-in-a-bowl-of-warm-water trick. The idea is that by putting the girl's fingers in warm water, she'll feel the need to pee and then wet her sleeping bag. (I know. Nice, huh?) I can attest to the fact that this particular trick does not work on me. I have never wet my sleeping bag, in spite of the efforts of my friends.

If never being the first to fall asleep is the first rule of sleepovers, then the second rule would have to be this: Giggle, gossip, pillow fight, have fun, but don't be so loud that your friend's dad has to come out and yell at you while wearing nothing but his tighty whiteys. Getting yelled at is never fun, but when it comes from your friend's father who is old (and in his underwear no less), it is downright scary. And for the hostess, having her dad flash his barely concealed dangly bits in front of her friends is an event so humiliating as to haunt her forever.

The third rule of sleepovers is: You reap what you sow. If you do manage to freeze a friend's bra, chances are it will come back to you at some point and you will find your own undergarments stiff and frigid. I learned this lesson in high school. One of the girls in my sleepover group had a driver's license and a car. The gang piled in said car and went to the home of our dear friend, "J", who had been unable to attend. We parked on the street and then, under the cover of darkness, I was the first to creep up her driveway...only to come face to face with a large ball of brown fur. The dog's name was something like "Lucy" or "Lucky" and since I was the only one who had remembered the name, I had been assigned the job of keeping her occupied and silent while the rest of the crew proceeded to T.P. "J"'s house. It wasn't too many weeks after that night that my family and I woke to find that "J" had called on the same group of friends and retaliated. Our yard, trees and cars were liberally covered in Charmin's finest. It was, quite possibly, the best T.P. job in the history of ever. My parents were far from impressed, however, and that was the end of my T.P.ing days.

The fourth rule of sleepovers is: There isn't supposed to be any actual sleeping. Whether you stay up all night watching movies or playing M.A.S.H. and dreaming about marrying Justin Bieber (or, as it had been in my case, Kirk Cameron), the idea is to stay up as late as possible. Sure, the next morning everyone will have matching sets of luggage under their eyes and be as cheerful as a horde of rabid wolverines but hey--you stayed up until 4am! Woo hoo!

The fifth rule of sleepovers is: No matter how nice your friends are, no matter how much they help, after they leave, the room will look like a cyclone hit it. You'd be better off roping Caution tape across the doorway and declaring the area a toxic waste dump than attempting to clean it. Popcorn is a magical thing that can find its way into every crack and crevice and somehow evade the heartiest vacuum attempts. Potato chips, when broken, turn into deadly shards that stealthily await the arrival of unsuspecting bare feet. Socks somehow manage to wedge themselves into the window blinds, and it's better to not even ask about the lipstick prints on the closet door. The only way to truly get rid of all the party evidence is with a can of gasoline and a Zippo.

While Sassy is just now entering the world of sleepovers and total room annhilation, I have no doubt that after a few more sleepovers she will start to pick up on all the rules. I will make a vow here and now to be sure that if her dad or I ever have to yell at the girls to be quiet, we will put on a robe first.

January 13, 2012

Flashback Friday--Baby It's Cold Outside

I got an estimate on fixing some of the problems with Suzy and was informed that it would cost a small fortune to get her running right again. Big surprise there. It was to be expected after all. I am a serial auto mutilator. I go through cars faster than most people go through cellphones. I have shoes that I've owned longer than I've owned any one particular car. Heck, I have underwear that outlasts my cars. But, again, it's not my fault. I blame it all on Murphy.

For most of my life, my dad has worked from home doing paint and body work on cars and has long been active at car shows and race tracks. Given all that, he has had an assortment of cars throughout the years. Most were just utility vehicles used to shuttle us girls back and forth to school, activities and friends' houses--vehicles to get my daddy to the paint supply store or over to check on his mom. But some of those cars were there just for the joy of owning the car. They may not have been practical as a family car but they sure were nice to drive and usually even nicer to look at.

I didn't get my driver's license until I was 18, but my career in car abuse began long before I was ever old enough to get behind the wheel or have my own car. The first auto injury I can remember inflicting happened in the 5th grade. At the time, my daddy had one of his "nice to look at" cars. It was a 1965 Chevy Impala. Convertible. It was blue with a black top. A convertible isn't all that practical in WA given that you can only take the top down for about 2 days out of the year but that didn't matter. It was a beautiful car.

I remember one cold winter morning, we were rushing off to school--my mom driving us in the Impala. I happen to have a really bad habit, one my mom has spent precious time and oxygen scolding me about. I have a habit of slamming doors shut. I can't say exactly why I feel the need to shut doors with such force. Maybe I figure if I slam it shut, I guarantee I won't have to come back and do it again. Maybe it's an after thought as I'm already rushing off to something else. Who knows? The point is, I'm hard on a door.

This particular morning was a see-your-own-breath kind of morning--it was cold. We pulled up in front of the school in the pristine blue Impala. My younger sister scrambled out first and took off for her class. I tumbled out next, poked my head in the car to say goodbye to my mom and then reached for the door. I gave it a good swing just as my mom's fateful words carried across the bench seat to my ears. "Don't slam the---"

What happened next was a phenomenon that up to this point I wasn't aware could even occur. It turns out that if tempered glass gets cold enough and is then hit with enough force, it breaks. When that door shut, the passenger window just shattered and thousands of graules of glass went flying. I just stood there slack-jawed, shocked at the fact that I had just destroyed the window of my dad's car.
Then, standing amidst a puddle of broken, frozen glass, I broke into tears. My mom was kind enough to not lecture me at that point, she just urged me to get to class before I was late.

I was still crying when I got to class but, after dumping all my guilt and fear on my teacher, I was soon able to calm down enough to participate in class. The thing about guilt is that sometimes it can eat away at you better than any punishment. I worried all day about what my dad was going to say to me. What was going to happen to me for breaking my daddy's car window? Was I going to have to pay for it? Would I be forever subject to a lecture on why we NEVER slam doors? Were my parents right now sitting at home conjuring up a punishment worthy of my crime?

It was with utter dread that I stepped off the bus that afternoon and walked into the house to face my parents. I think they saw the sheer terror on my face and took pity on me. I did get a lecture but that was it. I apologized up and down and I don't doubt that (at the time) I swore I would never again slam another door as long as I lived.

That lasted until I actually had to close one. I'm still slamming them to this day. Sorry mom!

January 12, 2012

I Am Mrs. Heffley

I have been shunned. Having kids, especially one approaching the teen years, I knew it was inevitable but that doesn't make it any more pleasant. See, Howdy's 13th birthday is quickly approaching. He doesn't have much of a social life, has never invited any kids over. Most of his free time is spent at Chess Club. He goes to school early 4 days a week and stays after 2 afternoons a week just to hang out with his fellow Chess enthusiasts. It just so happens that his birthday falls on an afternoon Chess day. I got the brilliant idea of bringing a cake and some snacks to school and sharing his birthday with his classmates. I wasn't going to sing to the kid or embarass him by making everyone wear party hats or anything but I was still a little unsure if it was a great idea like I thought. MC suggested I seek wise council on the matter and so I did what I always do when faced with indecision and a need for sound advice--I posted on FB. The overwhelming response was to just talk to Howdy about it and see what he wanted. The kind of takes the surprise out of the whole thing but it's his day and I don't want to do anything to permanently scar him or make him a social pariah for the rest of his middle school career.

I took the advice and asked Howdy if he'd like me to bring a cake to Chess club. If not a cake, maybe some sodas and chips? I made it clear that I didn't want to do anything to embarrass him and that, if he wanted, I could even bring the cake up to the school and drop it off (After all, I am a cool, understanding mom who knows that parents aren't always welcome. Although as I said that I was silently begging that he wouldn't take me up on that offer since I didn't really mean it). He thought about it for a moment and then decided that he supposed it would be alright for me to drop off some sodas--no cake-for the kids to enjoy but I had to drop it off early and not stay.

What?! Seriously? I'm not allowed to stay to help my own kid celebrate his birthday? I mean, I know kids don't think their parents are cool and middle schoolers don't choose to hang out with their parents but...but...but I'm FUN!

I will admit, I have my moments, but I try to limit them to the privacy of our own home where I know his friends won't see me. Have you seen any of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid movies? Mrs. Heffley is the Wimpy Kid's (Greg) mom. She likes to think she's in tune with her kids and is very interested in their lives. In the second movie, she embarrasses Greg by asking if a particular girl is his girlfriend, even commenting, "She's super cute!" I will admit to having an almost identical conversation with Howdy in my attempt to keep the communication lines open. But I don't say those things where his friends can overhear. I don't shout, "I love you, sweetie!" when I drop him off to school, I don't hug him in public, I don't make him a lunch that has a little napkin note in it like I do for the other two. I bought him a new belt even though his other one was perfectly fine because I wanted him to feel "cool" at his new school. We compare books and enjoy some of the same movies and music. He tells me all about the things that happen at school. In the evenings, we play games, wrestle and goof off. When I was out of town, he found excuses to stay on the phone with me. To paraphrase Sally Field, "He likes me! He really likes me!"

But in the end, I am still just a mom. And his mom at that. It might be okay to think your friends' parents are cool, but never your own. I know that one firsthand. All my friends thought my parents were the coolest but I didn't. They were simply...my parents. So while it might be okay for Howdy to enjoy a movie, engage in a sock fight, or share the latest middle school happenings with me, our time together is limited to the home. It breaks my heart because, in my mind, he is still my chunky-cheeked baby. I know he's only a few inches shorter than me now and he's sprouting wild monkey hair and pimples, but he's still my little man. I'm not ready for him to have a life that doesn't include me.

January 6, 2012

Flashback Friday--The Honeymoon

It's Friday again, time for me to share with you another moment of my disaster-prone life. Today's episode takes place on my honeymoon. For those of you that don't know, MC and I got married twice. While living in TX and planning our wedding in WA, it soon became apparent that most of MC's family would miss out on the event because it was just too expensive to fly up there for a weekend. So we decided to have a small ceremony here first. MC's brother, Coach, was getting married on July 15th and all the family and extended family (aunts, uncles, cousins, etc) were going to be in town for the big event. At the time it seemed like a great idea to just ride on their coattails and plan ours for the very next day while everyone was still in town. 16 years later I look back and think maybe it wasn't the most considerate thing seeing as how we were stealing some of their thunder--not to mention they delayed their honeymoon so they could not only attend our wedding but also be in it. So for Coach and his wife--thank you so much! It's always meant so much to me that you were willing to share that weekend.

We had our small little wedding ceremony on a Sunday afternoon. The whole event cost us $300 and that included a dress for me, a suit for MC, fill-in-the-blank invites I bought at Hallmark and flowers I had done at the local florist. Our wedding cake was a gift from MC's older brother, ManU, and his wife and we borrowed pieces from Coach's wedding to decorate the auditorium. It was perfect.

We were broke when we got married and didn't have money for a honeymoon either in TX or in WA. No big deal. I was still new to TX and had never ventured into Dallas so we decided to spend a day or so exploring the Big D and its funky West End. After a night at a Motel 6 we found on the side of the highway, we loaded up our little Blazer and headed out. We parked at the Aquarium and then spent the day watching movies and people, eating, shopping and just enjoying each other.

Eventually we decided to head back to our house, excited to do so as husband and wife. We headed back to the Blazer, MC going straight for the driver side and me for the passenger side. When I got to the truck, I saw a big pile of glass on the ground and for a moment I was sad for whoever's window had been busted. It took me a moment after looking up to realize that it was OUR window. Someone had busted out the passenger side window. While we had been having fun and enjoying our thrown-together honeymoon, someone had broke into the Blazer.

Did I mention that we had already checked out of our hotel and so all of our things had been loaded into the truck? All of our clothes, toiletries, toothbrushes, even our pillows--gone. MC's tape collection and car tools--gone. We also had in there our video camera with the only copy of our wedding video as well as all our wedding gifts--all gone. We took our gifts to the hotel with the intention of opening them there but after watching the wedding video we ended up getting, um...a little preoccupied and never got to it. We don't even know what was in the presents. (So if you never got a thank you note for that wedding gift you bought us over 16 years ago, now you know why. Oh, and thank you.) Anything that had any kind of value (and even stuff that didn't) was stolen.

Yes, I cried.

It didn't help that Blazers don't have trunks. Between having all of our stuff piled on the seats (we had tinted windows but that really doesn't help), parking in an open lot, and the "Just Married" writing all over the windows, it was like we had a big neon sign pointed right at our truck saying, "Steal Me!"...and they did. We did call the police and report it but there wasn't anything they could do. They didn't even come out. And with us being broke young marrieds, we didn't have insurance to cover a break in. All we could do was mourn our loss and take it as an expensive lesson in how NOT to protect your things.

MC, being the man he is, did manage to pull me away from my tears, even if only for a moment. We finally got into the Blazer to drive home and as we were pulling out of the parking lot, he asks, "Honey, call you roll up your window?" I reached over to the button and started to do just that. Hello? I have no window! I turn around to glare at him but he was already laughing it up. It took me quite some time before I could see the humor in that but he has never hesitated to bring it up as an example of just how funny he really is.

January 3, 2012

Ring in the New Year

Ah, January. A new year, a fresh start, a clean slate. The time when people everywhere take stock of their lives and make vows to change that which they are not pleased with. It's time for the New Year's Resolution. I have to be honest with you, I haven't been the greatest at resolutions. It's not that I'm bad at keeping them, I just don't generally make them to begin with. But a new year means a new me, right?

What would a new year be without a resolution be to lose weight and get in shape? While I have been blessed with my daddy's great metabolism, I have had 3 kids, survive on processed foods and the most exercise I get is rolling the trash can to the curb. Where I would love to see six pack abs there is currently a sizeable lump of bread dough taking up residence. Areas of my body that I never gave much thought to before are now feeling a bit...looser. (How exactly do you tone up a neck anyway?) I've always been proud of the little bit of muscle I had in my biceps thanks to hauling around Bubba but now I'm noticing those same arms have a little extra wave to the backsides of them. I admit that I'm not the newest kid on the block anymore but I refuse to grow old gracefully.

So I shall exercise! And eat right! Bring on the healthy foods and the 5k runs because this girl is going to have a bikini ready body this summer! (Not that I would actually go out in public in one but I would like to know that I could.) To start with, I will go running. Well, I guess power walking is a better start considering I get winded running out to the car. And the kids are going back to school so I will have to do it before they get up or after they leave. They get up at 6:15 so I would have to get up at, what? 5am? 5:15? Since we've been on break, I don't think I've been up before 9am and the only time I've ever intentionally got up to go walking was when I had my mom movitating me to join her and she is now 3000 miles away. I guess I can try walking while the kids are in school--after I make sure the laundry and dishes are done and I have no errands to run or phone calls to make...and I've caught up on Facebook...and I have nothing to blog about.

That covers my exercise program, now I have to tackle the healthy eating. The key for me is to cut out all the carbs and white flour and sugar. That leaves...um, vegetables. Except I don't like any vegetables that actually have any nutritional value. My dinner plate tends to be of a yellow hue--chicken, starch, bread, corn. Without starches, breads or vegetables, I suppose I can eat more fruit. So after cutting out all the fatty, empty-calorie foods that I eat, as well as all the foods that are healthy but make me gag, I am left with, um, chicken breasts and fruit. Yay.

OK, my resolution is to eat only chicken breasts and fruit--giving up my Ben & Jerry's, Dr. Pepper, peanut M&Ms, mashed potatoes with country gravy, pizza, CiCi's cinnamon rolls--wash it all down with bottled water--because TX water is nasty--and get up at 5am to go walk...by myself. Wow. I can see why these resolutions never last past February.

New resolution. This year, I resolve to eat less take out and invest in Spanx.