Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Elvis and Batman (you know you see the link there!)

Hey y'all,

I thought I'd share how conversations at our house happen:

David:  So, I'd be Batman if I wasn't me.

Me:  You saw that on a shirt.

David: I did, but I'd still be Batman.

Me: I'd be Elvis.

David:  What?!  He's a dude. And he's not Batman.

Me:  Yeah. The whole dude thing throws me off a little, but I'd still totally be Elvis.  And I like him better than Batman. Who wears capes?

David:  Elvis.  Elvis wore capes.

Me:  Oh my god.  Elvis could totally have been Batman.

David: ...gives me that look...  You're going to make my brain hurt, aren't you?

Me:  Think about it!

David:  See, brain hurting.

Me:  I mean, when have you EVER seen Elvis and Batman together?

David:  I've never actually seen either of them in person and since Elvis is dead and all...

Me:  Please. Those Elvis sightings make total sense now.  Even Batman needs a break.

David:  Elvis isn't Batman.

Me:  I win. I get to be Elvis AND Batman. I'm ditching the cape, though.

David:  Goodnight. 

Saturday, September 20, 2014

The Last Weekend of Summer...A Pictorial

I ran in Sam's Club the other day to pick up some headphones my little girl wants for her birthday and as I'm perusing the aisles jam packed with things I absolutely do not need, there, on the last two rows, were Christmas decorations. Just no.  It's September and I refuse to skip Fall so retail stores can commercialize the snot out of Christmas. So, I'm celebrating that summer is still here and ushering in a fabulous Autumn season with a tribute to my equally fabulous summer. God willing, I'll see you next year Summer. I'll miss you...

The backyard swing and picnic table that we use for eating watermelon.

How my husband says I love you...he builds fairy doors on trees for me.

This fella came to visit me while I was playing in the garden one blistering hot August afternoon. And yes, sometimes I lug my camera in the garden with me. Don't judge.

I don't even know what's happening with my hair, but this is Oldest girl and me at my niece's college graduation this past June.

A fabulous strawberry drink we enjoyed in Cozumel this summer. I say "we" because it took three of us to drink it and we still left some in the bottom.  We sort of suck at being alcoholics.

Playa Palancar in Mexico...I miss you. 

My girls snorkeling in Cozumel. This picture does not do the water color justice. It's off the charts gorgeous and clear and fabulous. I kind of wondered what the heck happened to the beaches where I live. They're mostly gray sludge where your toes disappear the minute your feet hits the tip of the surf. 

Three of my girlfriends swinging on a porch when we were invited over for a summer BBQ.  Great times...

I hope your summer was spectacular!  PS...don't skip Fall! Everything pumpkin is coming...  :)

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

My Random Crazy Beautiful Life

Sometimes, sharing my life with five other people makes me crazy.

Four of those people were physically cut out of my body and I wanted them with all my heart and still, they can drive me bat-crap crazy.  I love my husband and basically he is like my right arm because I've known him since I was 13 and we even dated for a while in high school but he was crazy back then so we didn't get married for eleven more years. Sometimes, he's still crazy and sometimes I join him on the crazy train and then we're both crazy.  And sometimes, I'm crazy and he waves at me as the crazy train goes by because he absolutely refuses to join me on the ride. I'm grateful for that later. Usually.

The other day I screamed at my kids. They weren't really doing anything other than being kids, but I screamed at them anyway. My heart was heavy for the rest of the day until my fifteen year old came into my bedroom where it's possible that I was maybe hiding in shame and he hugged me for no reason other than because he loves me anyway, even when I'm not really doing the Mom thing all that well.  I keep reminding myself he learned that from me and David...to love people even when they're not being super loveable. Awesomesauce! 

Last Saturday, I needed to clean in the worst way because we had company coming over but cooking dinner was all I could manage, so my man swept the house and we basically shoved everything else under the beds because I just couldn't.  We still had a great time, though. I have cool friends like that. I think they probably went to the bathroom while they were here and I was thankful I didn't hear anyone scream from peeking behind the shower curtain at the experimental penicillin ring I had going on in the shower that day. I cleaned it a few days later and I may should have saved some of it for testing. 

Today, I took my oldest daughter to get her hair cut and I was scared she would hate it because she hacked most of it off but she insisted it's what she wanted and, frankly, it's her hair so I let her. Secretly, I was kind of thinking I'd let her have it cut and then she'd hate it and she'd learn all those lessons about listening to her mom.

 I was wrong and she was right. She looks cuter than cute. I didn't tell her, but I cried a little because she looks so grown up and I'm watching time steal my baby from me and I'm both sad and glad, all at the same time. She's kind of fabulous and mature and smart and sassy and I love it because I often think she's the type of woman that I always choose to be great friends with! But, she's also kind of fabulous and mature and smart and sassy and it scares me because she's growing up and I hope she wants to be my friend one day when SHE'S grown up.

We had lunch after the haircut and she told me all about how "cute" so-and-so is and I wanted to punch him in the face a little but then she flowed right into conversation about this REALLY cool cartoon (her words) and I felt a little better. I mean, how gone can she be if she still gets tickled over a cartoon, right?  RIGHT?!

My boys are now 20 and 15 and my girls will be 14 and 11 at the end of this month.  I'm thrilled that one day soon it'll be just David and me!! And I'm heart broken that one day soon...it'll be just David and me!!  I'm holding out for some grandbabies before we empty the house of our own, but if that's not my children's choice for their lives, then I hope they know their little pitter patters in the house made mine and their Daddy's heart sing and dance and cringe!!!  (God, please let them experience that so they will understand the fullness of my heart when I use those words!!!)

Sometimes, this life seems slow and plain and simple. Almost provincial.  Then, I'm caught up in the crazy roller coaster again, longing for time to slow, the clock to pause and I remember, I see, the beauty of every day moments that aren't every day at all.  They are THIS day and this day will never return. There will be no do-overs or re-dos of this specific moment and I'm infinitely, painfully, grateful for the five beautiful people that God has so graciously allowed me to share my life, my time, my love, with. 

It is crazy, but it's my crazy.  And I'm thankful.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Never Forget

Part of our home school today was watching 9/11: Stories in Fragments, a documentary on Netflix about fragments of 9/11 being displayed in the Smithsonian.  These memories are all my kids will ever fully remember of that Tuesday aside from seeing their Momma grieve every year. When we finished the documentary, I did what I have done for years:  Alone, I slid into my work chair, pulled up Youtube on the computer and watched live footage from 2001 and remembered. I don't want to forget. Ever.  

I watch the videos every year.  I don't know why I watch them with such intensity and I can't successfully verbalize what I feel when I see them. Being relatively prolific, that is an odd feeling for me. I watch people jump or fall to their death from the seemingly impossible heights of The Towers (they should be capitalized in my mind) and year after year my heart feels weighted, tears make tracks down my face, drip off my chin and I ask myself what must they have been enduring to choose to jump from those towering buildings of human achievement...surrounded by very real human evil. 

The towers represent both of those things in my mind, by the way. What great things man can achieve and construct when humans incline ourselves to the work of greatness! Equally, what horrors we humans can achieve when we bend ourselves toward the destruction of others!

I think of the families, the loved ones, of the passengers on those four, fuel charged planes. I think of the firemen, policemen, servicemen who died because someone needed help. I can only imagine what kind of person is willing to answer the call of service even if it means climbing 100 flights of stairs with 80lbs of gear strapped to their backs, knowing they are willfully going toward what others are fleeing. Who were those people? What did they enjoy? Did their lives resemble mine in any way?

Almost every one of the last 13 years since 9/11 2001, I have looked up a name or two of someone killed that day.  I don't look for anyone specific or even someone from a specific location.  I just want to read their name and remember, at least for that day, that they lived.

Like most Americans, I remember exactly where I was, what I was doing when the first plane slammed into the North Tower. I was talking on the phone to my friend, Candas, as the second plane made impact with the South Tower and we were both numb with emotions too foreign to process, yet. I remember hanging up with her and my phone ringing almost immediately. My brother on the other end of the line, in Utah, asked if I'd seen, if I understood. I don't remember hanging up with him, only that I sat, still, on our coffee table so I could be directly in front of the TV and the phone was beside me. 

What I remember most vividly though is screaming when I realized those weren't desks falling from the windows. I was holding my oldest daughter, only one at the time, and she jumped when I couldn't hold the sound back and then we were both crying. We were both frightened and scared and unsure of exactly what was happening.  I remember holding her until she fell asleep and laying her in her crib and then...just standing there looking at her. Thankful. And then I felt guilty for feeling thankful that it wasn't me, wasn't her, her daddy, her brothers or anyone we knew in downtown Manhattan with their lives crumbling along with the Twin Towers, or the Pentagon or in a field in Stonycreek, Pennsylvania.  And then I cried some more.

The slogan for 9/11 is "never forget" and I think it's a good one. I hope we never forget how our country came together back then, how we supported one another, how we cared.  I pray that we remember what it was like to cry for someone you didn't know, but ached for as though you did.  I remember speaking a little kinder, a little more specifically, for a week or so after September 11, 2001. We may never regain that sense of national community ever again, but I pray that we do. I pray for it today, right now, thirteen years after watching planes take down a marvel of human achievement because the most spectacular thing I've ever seen among so many people is what happened on 9/12, 2001.

 I pray that we really mean it when we say that we'll never forget and every time we remember 9/11 it breaks our hearts. It should. Hardened hearts allow nothing in, nothing out. Hardened hearts have no place for kindness, or forgiveness or love. Only broken hearts have space enough to allow others into themselves. This was the mystery, the beauty, of what happened on 9/12, 2001. Please God, don't let something so drastic need to happen for us to be heartbroken for one another again...

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Jennifer Lawrence is the Victim

The internet is all a buzz about those nude photos of Jennifer Lawrence and a few other celebrities whose pictures were STOLEN from their phones and then sold to websites to be plastered all over the web for the world to see.  I'm not going to get into a discussion about whether those women "should" have taken those photos. I'm not going to do that because, to me, that's like asking if the woman who was raped should have worn that short skirt. Just because I don't wear short skirts doesn't mean the woman who does deserves to be raped, people.

Do I take nude photos with my phone?  Not today.  But, I've sent my husband some racy stuff over the years that I wouldn't want anyone but my man to see. It was from MY phone to HIS phone. It was private. It was for us. Period.  If some thief steals my husband's phone, the onus is on the thief for being a thief, not me or my man for privately sharing with one another, whether anyone else likes what we shared or not! As a side note:  We've been asked more times than I can remember how we keep our almost 20 year relationship fresh. Someone just asked me last week how David and I have been able still be happy to see one another after "all this time". Well, there's one clue, peeps. He's my husband and I'm allowed to do whatever I want with him and vise versa. You don't have to like it, but I shouldn't be ashamed or fearful of being the victim of some pervert, either!!!

When did we, as a culture, begin to suggest that the victim should feel shame for being victimized? Was it when the raped became the "slut", while the rapist was simply a man unable to control himself? Was it when we began to blow up life sized pictures of women in their panties and plaster them across mall walls and pretend that was a form of feminism?  When did women begin to feel so small that they would tolerate, even be encouraged, to silently accept being barked at on the street by some man unable to form coherent sentences as a form of flattery?  When did women begin to think that keeping silent isn't, at least to some degree, equated with acceptance?  I refuse to accept that Jennifer Lawrence is to blame for this recent scandal that some schmuck has brought to her door.

This isn't just an invasion of someone's privacy, either.  This is basic sexual harrassment and those hackers are sex offenders.  They stole private nude photos of women and then sold them to websites to be posted without those women's permission.  Can you even imagine?! Why should SHE feel shame in that action?  Why is SHE being slyly degraded?  She didn't sell these pictures or pose for them with the intent of selling her body.  Jennifer Lawrence is a talented actress who should be remembered for being a talented actress.  THAT is all that she is selling to the world.  Now, she'll forever be associated with taking private photos of her own body that was, frankly, no one's business but her own. 

I'm disgusted by most of the comments I've read and most of the articles on the subject.  The commenters and blog authors keep getting sidetracked with whether her private life was acceptable to them personally.  They keep getting pulled into a moral discussion about someone's life whom they've never even met or had a conversation with.  The sideline bullies keep judging someone they don't know because Jennifer's actions wouldn't have been their actions, therefore, Jennifer Lawrence must deserve what she got.

And do you know what?  Most of these bullies and thief cheerleaders are WOMEN!!  I'm disgusted by it and appalled that any woman would support what happened to these women.  I'm disgusted that not one person has questioned why it's only women who had their phones hacked and their private photos posted for the world to view. Because we all know that there are plenty of narcissistic male celebrities who have some racy stuff on their phones but no one would judge them in the same light, so why bother?! And we fall for it every single time.

Here's to hoping that everyone reading this doesn't actually get what they deserve and here's to hoping none of us have our private lives unwillingly displayed for all the world to see and judge. I'm guessing most of us would be nothing more than the girl in the short skirt who was begging for it if people could see some of our more vulnerable moments in the privacy of our homes.

And to Jennifer Lawrence: I'm sorry some bully invaded your privacy and your safe space. I hope they get what they deserve for victimizing you and that you feel safe in the privacy of your own home sooner rather than later. 

Friday, August 29, 2014

Confessions of a Post-Teenager's Mom (with 3 more to go!!)

My oldest son just turned 20 and I'm pretty traumatized by the whole ordeal. Oh, knowing he's 20 isn't so bad, though I sometimes look at my boy and want to kick time for stealing him. I'm traumatized because he's no longer my teenager. My boy. My young man. Now, he's just flat out a man.

This was taken over a year ago.  ...sigh...

 I loved his teenage years. I loved watching him grow and mature and hearing his voice squeak through puberty and watching him go from my mushy, soft boy to my tall, very tall, furry young man. We had bumps, he made mistakes, I made mistakes and we learned together how to go from a mom and her boy to a mom and her young man. I learned how to stop telling him to do things and begin to ask him how he feels about things and what his thoughts are on the world and all it's beauty and junk.

 I learned that he's pretty smart and usually tries his very best to do his very best. I learned that, like me, he is a person with thoughts, feelings, and goals for his own life...apart from my own. And I learned that I do not understand parents who degrade their young people when they go through their teen years. (It's tough enough, right?!)

Ever hear a parent say, with a slight note of disgust and horror in their voice, "We're going through the teenage years" or something relatively close?  Everything in me cringes when I hear parents say those words in that tone of voice.  And I'll admit a small part of me wants to hug their teenager and apologize to them for their parents.

Human beings tend to rise to whatever expectations are placed on them and teens are no different.  If they're told they'll be nothing more than trouble by the very people who are supposed to love them most, then why do we parents act surprised when they become what we tell them they will become? So, while I do not have my offspring completely figured out just yet (thank you, God), here's some stuff I've learned:

1.  Don't tell your teenager or soon to be teenager that you're dreading their teenage years and don't ACT like you're dreading them.  (Actions actually do speak louder than words).

2.  Stop treating your young adult like they're seven. They aren't. (YAY!!!) Give them responsibility and expect them to succeed or learn.  They're going to grow up one day (sooner than you think) and they need to know how to make good choices. That doesn't happen by accident. Let them earn your trust and when they do...give them your trust!!!!

3.  DO tell them how proud you are of them when they make good choices. (and they WILL make plenty of great choices if they're given the opportunity!)

4.  Don't place them in situations outside their maturity level.  You're their parent, you should know their maturity level. Challenge them, don't overwhelm them.

5.  Listen to them.  LISTEN. TO. YOUR. TEENAGER.  They are not dumb. They are young. (And more often than not, chock full of pretty interesting stuff!)

6.  DON'T stop being their parent. You aren't their friend, at least not yet.  You're their parent and they need you now more than ever. You're the grown up. Period.

7.  Take the time to specifically do things with them even if they act like they don't want to do them. Yep. That's right. There were times my boy didn't really WANT to do what I was doing, but because I sort of forced him sometimes we talked, we laughed, we enjoyed life together.  And you know what...the other day I was going to Wal-Mart and he WANTED to go.  We had the best time...in Wallyworld, people.  That's due to the fact that I never stopped pulling him away from his room on occasion and actually spent time with him. THIS. Works.  (ps...this didn't happen in our house until my boy was almost 17, so don't think that because your 15 year old isn't doing this yet that it won't happen. It WILL happen. They disconnect and that's OK (the umbilical cord must be cut), but it's not OK all the time!!!)

8.  Let them fail.  Like us grown people, teenagers are going to fail.  Why do we treat them like it's the end of the world if they don't remain our sweet natured, goofy two year old whose every moment was documented and proclaimed cute?  They are becoming adults and adults fail all the time. Let them fail. Let them feel the consequences and then love them. (basically, the same way you want to be treated when you screw up)

9.  You're the parent and it's YOUR job to find common ground right now (I suspect this dynamic changes with time, but for right now, it's the parent's job to find common ground with their teen!).  Find it.

10. Let them know you're there. Say it. Live it. Say it again (even if you think they don't care!!!). Over and over when my boy was in the midst of teenage angst, I'd tell him, "I love you and I'm here."  "If you want to talk, I'm here for you and I won't judge."  "If you need me, I'll stop what I'm doing, OK?"  And sometimes he'd grunt weird sounds and barely look my way.  But other times, he'd hug me and say with a sweet smile, "Thanks, Mom." (and the sun came out and angels sang and rainbows glistened...not really, but my heart felt like they did)  And then, every once in a while he'd say..."Mom...?"  And everything stopped because my boy needed me. He knew I would be there and he came to me and I stopped what I was doing because my boy needed me.

11.  Tell them every opportunity you get (Go ahead and make up some opportunities....I did!!!) that you love them. Look them in the eye and say, "I love you" (To infinity and beyond...), even if they aren't being very lovable. Speak love and life into your young person!!!!!

 I'm not saying the teenage years aren't tough. They can be. We had our moments. We had some really bad moments, but we had some really, really, really fabulous moments, too. Our babies aren't babies anymore and that's tough. Their hormones are whacked out but, hey, sometimes ours are, too (there's a conversation starter!!). They're young men and women getting ready to find out the great, big world can be ugly and mean. We, as adults, know the world can tear our kids down and possibly even hurt them. Probably will hurt them.

But, here's the thing:  We, as adults, also know that our kids are loved. Deep down, gut wrenchingly loved! Forever and always. It's our job to make sure they know it, too and it's our job to stop acting like our young people are automatically going to be bad or make world shatteringly poor decisions simply because they are young. Don't buy the hype! Because if you do, your teenager may buy it, too.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Snackopoly: A Gaming Pictorial

My husband is a gamer.  He's a hard core game lover of all kinds.

 I hate games. I'm a hard core game hater of all kinds. I can tolerate Mrs. Pac Man. (I know...that is lamer than quoting Mean Girls, but it's the truth.)  

Anyway, my husband sometimes channels his love of games with the intense love he has for our children and they mesh over the dinette table I've shoved into the corner of our kitchen (because the dining room has a trestle farm table in it and they can't punch and noogie each other across it's vast distance).  

Yesterday, he brought home a weird version of Monopoly called "Snackopoly".  It's a Little Debbie version of Monopoly. (because we are crazy cool like that, ya'll).  

Welcome to our world:

Yes, that is a Little Debbie Nutty Bar (you're welcome)

A small glimpse of my man's Disney's tea glass in the background. That is ALWAYS how he rolls, ya'll. 

The Dough

I don't know.  It appears that David is equally clueless. Awesome.

Loki's attitude about game night. There wasn't any food, peasants. Why bother? 

I hope you enjoy your family nights as much as we do. I also hope they are filled with as much love and weirdness as ours.