“All the Women Who Independent”

Do you know my daughter? If you’ve read my blog long, you KNOW her.

She’s something of a riot.

I’m grateful for her, you know. TRULY grateful. Last night, as I knelt by my bedside and said my evening prayers, they went something like this:

Thursday night, I started feeling not-so-good. I sipped a little Sprite and tried to shrug it off. A few hours later, I was well beyond sipping Sprite… I was guzzling Pepto. I spent a fitful night wandering between the bathroom and my bed, willing sleep to come.
That said: I did not get out of bed on Thursday until 3 pm. That means that from 7 am to 3 pm, my children took care of themselves while I slipped in and out of a sleep that felt heavily medicated (sadly, I didn’t have any medicine strong enough to produce the sleep I slept; consequently, the sleep I received MUST have come directly from angels… probably the same ones who watched over my flock while I slept).
I can sort of remember my children singing to me.
I remember them coming in my room to raid their stockings.
I remember the girl instructing the boy on just how much egg nog was appropriate to drink at once.

And that’s about it.
I hunched over and made my way around the house around noon, handed the girl 4 slices of whole wheat bread (healthy!), a butter knife, and a full container of Nutella (thereby nullifying the whole “healthy” theme I was going for).
“Look,” I drawled out, “See? Put the chocolate on the bread. Fold it. Sandwich.”
“Sandwich!” My daughter cried out and proceeded to make ninety of them.

She also took out my trash (so well as a little girl can, anyway).
She also did my laundry.
Upon further inspection (which I finally got around to today), I found that she had emptied not only half of that Sam’s Club size box of Ozy-clean into the washer… but that she had emptied the bowl I had near the washer that was FULL of our homemade laundry detergent. Best of all? She put some in the dryer.
Thorough she is.

My husband discovered the detergent in the dryer, and when he did he let out a sentence the likes of which went something like this, “WHAT THE? OH MAN! IT’S IN THE DRYER!”
The girl, who happened to be sitting next to me at the time, muttered, “I just said I was sorry about it. I didn’t know you only need ONE scoop…”
And so we can’t be mad.

We can’t be mad about the plate she shattered as she reached for peanut butter because Nutella only lasts for so long.
I wasn’t mad. I really wasn’t.

As I was curled up in a ball on the floor Thursday night (when most of the “laundry” got done), my daughter asked me to follow her into my bedroom where I had put the bird for the day while I babysat my niece and nephew.

I went into my room to find the boy cutting a paper into small pieces and FEEDING them to the small bird who -no less guilty -had a wedge of paper in his little bitty beak.
I hollered out something like, “DANNY! DANNY! DANNY!” because I know that paper isn’t good for birds, and my daughter BURST into tears.
The thing is: I was so wrapped up in the paper/bird situation that I didn’t even notice that my daughter had MADE decorations for her bird’s cage.
Well she had.
And she thought I was MAD about it.

“I just did the decorations and you are mad and IT’S ALL MY FAULT!!!!”

I wasn’t mad! I wasn’t! It took me thirty minutes to try and explain myself which was nearly impossible given that I was crying myself on account of
1) making my daughter cry and
2) feeling like I wanted to die.

I’ve recovered almost completely. So far, no one else has gotten sick. The house? That’s a horse of a different color. I’ve spent today cleaning and cleaning and cleaning, stopping only to sit on the couch and read Ben Franklin’s Autobiography (a gem among books).
But my trash-taking out, sandwich-making, laundry-doing, decoration-making daughter?
I’ve watched her during the last two days as she’s used up half the bird seen in a successful attempt to train her little bird to EAT OUT OF HER HAND.
She did this without any help from us. No one told my daughter how to train her bird to eat out of her hand, but come to think of it… she doesn’t need any instruction in that area.
She’s had me eating out of her hand for ages.


image from deadline.com

Do you know this guy’s name?
Of course you do. PLEASE don’t tell my daughter what his real name is. I’m getting such a kick out of her talking about “Frickin’ Stein.”

Thanks in advance.

How To Overcome Fears

The snake incident really affected my daughter.  She’s been asking questions about it ever since.  It didn’t help that last night she snuggled up to me as I watched a movie before bed and just happened to come in RIGHT when the main character was bit in the hand by a rattlesnake.

She’s terrified.

“I’m scared about snakes,” she told me yesterday.
“Sometimes we’re scared of things because we don’t know enough about them,” I explained, “If we learn more about snakes we’ll be less afraid of them and more smart about them.”
“Okay,” she nodded.
“So… what do you want to learn about snakes?” I asked.
“How to hide from them,” she replied.

Come to think of it… that just might be the best thing I could ever teach my child about snakes.

The Girly

For about a month now, my girl has been begging to get her hair cut. I sort of hoped she’d forget about it because I was in LOVE with her long hair, but she wouldn’t let it go.
“Did you call Julie, Mom?”
“Did you call Julie, Mom?”
“Did you call Julie, Mom?”

She asked and asked and asked. Julie, it must be known if not already inferred, is our family hair lady. We love Julie.
Julie has dum-dums.

We finally set up an appointment, and Lacy eagerly awaited the day. The morning of, I wrapped my arms around her and said, “Guess what today is?”
“HAIR DAY!” I squealed.
“I DON’T WANT TO GET MY HAIR CUT!” She wailed back.

I talked her down, telling her that Julie would never do anything that Lacy wouldn’t like.
“Just sit in her special chair and tell her exactly what you want,” I said.
“Okay,” she replied.
Also: I promised her ice cream when the hair dressing was done.

Once there, Lacy sat in the chair.
“Tell Julie what you want,” I coaxed her.
“I just don’t know all the words to say it,” she shyly replied.

So here’s what we came up with:

I took a bunch of pictures in the salon, but my phone won’t email them to me (selfish, selfish).

I do miss her long hair, but she got what she asked for and she’s mostly happy. The night after it was cut, she did confess that she wanted to “turn it back” but it’s since grown on her. She feels like a big girl with a big girl haircut.

On Monday, I was running through my cleaning routine. After getting the house mostly clean (vacuumed, mopped, all that), I set to getting my one big project done. For this Monday, I decided to clean out the fridge. The boy was napping. The girl was playing outside.
It was perfect timing.
I cleaned half of the fridge and took the trash out before finishing to avoid a huge triple-bagging fiasco.
You know what I’m talking about, right? That huge, ugly bag of trash at the end of fridge cleaning that you have to bag at least three times… please tell me I’m not the only one.

As I walked out of the door and tossed the trash into the plastic trash bins, Lacy ran to my side.
“Mom, can you play outside with me?”
“I would love to, sweetie. Really, I would. But I have to finish cleaning out the fridge.”
“But Mom! We could pick up leaves… and look at clouds…”
“Okay, let me hurry and finish the fridge.”
“Thanks, Mom.”

And I went back in the house to finish furiously dumping food out of my fridge. I didn’t bother wiping it clean on account of my cloud-watching date, but my daughter did manage to put herself right outside my window.
“MOM!” She called, “ARE YOU HURRYING?!”
“YES!” I called back.

My girl has always held the outdoors in high esteem… even when she was a colicky baby, screaming in my arms, she would quiet right down the minute I took her outside and let the sunshine stream all over her red little face.

Enjoying it with her will ALWAYS take precedence over a perfectly clean fridge. It’s mold free, okay? That’s as good as it’s going to get for now.

“Slumber” Party

When I was a little girl, my favorite weekend of the year was the weekend my father took my brothers to Fathers and Sons outing.  When they left, it was just ME and my MOM.  Well, for five years, anyway.  After that there was a pretty little red-headed sister to go with.

Anyway, one year in particular always stood out to me.  It was by far and away the most special.  Mom invited her friend Tammy over.  Her friend Tammy had a daughter named Lindsay, and Lindsay and I were great friends.  Mom told me that we were going to… watch “Cinderella” and eat cookie dough!  I should have liked to DIE from the excitement of it all.  Mom set fancy place mats on the floor in front of the TV, put cookie dough on a glass plate, and then let me relish everything girly.  It. Was. Spectacular.

Yesterday, I braved the city alone.  Alone plus my kids, I mean. Remember my last trip?  The one where my kids ate gum from under the tables and yelled out “Doggy Doo Doo!” in the middle of a food court?  Well, yesterday was MUCHmuchmuchmuch better.  We had a good time, all in all.  I came home and put most of my groceries away.  I usually put them ALL away right when I get home, but after a day in the city with my kids -even a good day -I’m exhausted.  I was so glad I bought a rotisserie chicken for dinner right up until the moment I opened the back hatch of my car and it fell out, popped open like a plastic Easter egg and absolutely rolled in my gravel driveway.  You can bet I brought it right in the house and rinsed the snot out of it.  And then? We ate it.  There’s nothing wrong with a little grit in your diet, right?  My husband pulled me up next to him on the couch to show me the latest and greatest phones.  I’m up for an upgrade and there’s nothing he loves better than new techie toys.  It wasn’t but 10 minutes into his clicking on pictures of phones that I realized something: I didn’t care about phones.  I just wanted to watch a television show and completely zone out.  So I told him that -nicely, of course.  He understood, helped me get the kids to bed, and then he went to bed himself after turning all of the lights off in the house.  I was left alone with the comforting glow of the television.

Until my daughter came out.

“Mom, my movie is over.”
“Okay, run and go potty and then go to bed.”
Off she went.
“Mom,” she came back a few minutes later, “Can I have a drink?”
“Not at night, baby.”
“A snack?”
“There’s grapes in the fridge.”
Off she went.

It was getting ridiculously late. I watched the clock pass 1 am -I knew I was staying up way too late, but it just felt SO good to sit and think of NOTHING and have NO ONE need me.
“Mom,” I looked up to see my daughter standing in front of me in the darkness, “I just have a sleepover for us in my room. You might come. I have blankets and a pillow for us and dolls for me and for you.”
Ummmmm… adorable.
Could YOU tell her that it was 1:15 in the morning and there’s no such thing as sleepovers for 4 year olds at 1 AM?! I couldn’t. I absolutely could not. I snagged her, had her watch the end of my TV show with me, and then I made my way into her room where a party awaited.

Blankets, pillows, and dolls as promised. The movie of choice? Cinderella.
She handed me a small bunch of grapes and directed me to a small wooden box where I could put the stems.
The dolls had been primped accordingly.

So we HAD to be dressed to match:

As Cinderella played on her television screen, she informed me that at slumber parties… you PLAY.
“We might just play and then put our toys away like Daddy says to.”
We played dolls until they all got fevers. Then we played doctors using a night eye mask (the white silky kind) as a doctor’s face mask (because it works better for that anyway). Around 2, I explained to her that while slumber parties are great fun, I still had to get up with the boy sleeping on the bed next to us.
She wasn’t having it.
But she finally gave in.
And guess what? I’ve been up for over and hour and she’s still sleeping soundly on her floor. Trenton is actually using her as a big pillow and she’s dead to the world.
The special thing about my daughter -er, ONE of the special things -is that if she takes even the slightest bit of a nap, she won’t sleep at night.
And yes, she slept in the car on the drive home from the city.

Someone please come bolster me up today. I’ve got groceries to put away, toys to go through (we were given an entire SLEW of toys from Aunt Lilly last night. TWO BINS of Polly Pockets. She couldn’t be happier!), a kitchen to clean (my son climbed on the counter yesterday and helped himself to powdered sugar, butter, and dry spaghetti noodles. Yum?).
And a few phone calls.
And errands.
“And then there’s the mending and the sewing and the laundry…”


But I’m tired!  The priceless slumber party has taken my motivation from me.  But it was MORE than totally worth it.  Not to brag or anything (but of course I mean to)… my daughter is the coolest.Photobucket


From the Files

I have a slew of pictures that I’ve been wanting to blog about, but things kept coming up.  Today is finally THEIR day.  Read on, completely aware that they are unrelated.
I love signs like this, found in my small town post office:
I love the penned-in reply, but I especially love how it says (at my house). You just don’t get homey stuff like that in the suburbs.

My daughter clipped and painted her own nails, and then she made this face:
Her faces just get me. Where does she come up with them? Heaven only knows. Heaven and Lacy.

My Grandpa Max gave me some squash seeds. I planted all of 2 of them, fully expecting my black thumb to slaughter them both. But they both grew to astronomical sizes until one finally BEAT the other one to death.
And guess what I have to show for it?
One squash. But, BOY was it worth having over 1/3 of our garden overrun. Over ran? I don’t know. I cooked that squash up (it is orange on the inside) and made it into one of the tastiest butternut squash pies I’ve ever had.
I saved the seeds. If you’d like one, let me know. It only takes one. Truuuust me.

The girl got her hair tangled up in a comb in a very bad way.
It was wrapped around the base! Of course the thought occurred to me to cut her hair, but it would have jutted out from a bald spot (she’d already ripped some hair out) in a weird spot on her hair (I can’t help but think of Rachael Green… “we had to cut it… and it was uneven for weeks!!!”). So we weaseled it outta there.

A few weeks ago, someone put a frog in the front pocket of my son’s church shirt:
My son, it must be known, hates creepy crawlies of any kind. His sister loves them and catches them with her bare hands (I can’t count the Mason Jars in my house filled with bugs), but the boy? He’d rather eat lima beans than hold a frog. But he didn’t mind it in his pocket. In fact, he loved it. He paraded around Grandma’s house, showing everyone his pocket-frog.
But then.
Oh, the screams! The horrors! A jumping FROG!

He couldn’t stand it. It wasn’t until the frog was safely outside that order was restored to my son. It turns out some little boys actually aren’t made of frogs and snails and puppy dog tails. SOME boys are made of Marvel.

All he wants is action figures. Iron man, The Hulk… he loves them. I picked up a bunch of tiny action figurines (army man sized) and ended up caught in a series of battles that lasted 30 minutes (of which I didn’t get to win once).
Iron Man trumps all.

And this made me laugh:
Does anyone else look at this and think “Nimbus 2000″?

Monsters are Real and Very Scary

At night, we do scripture reading. Lately, we’ve been streaming New Testament scripture stories on youtube. They’re the same stories I enjoyed as a kid -only these have been made into videos. As soon as we watch a few clips and discuss them, the kids always beg to watch Julian Smith videos.

I had NO idea what that video would be about -needless to say it scared the diapers off my kids.
“I want to watch monsters again,” my daughter said, shaking.
“No,” I said.
“I don’t like monsters,” she said, “We can watch it again. We can. But I don’t want to. I don’t want to watch it.”
“It wasn’t a monster. Someone just played dress-up and dressed like a monster to be silly,” I said.
“But I don’t want to be a monster for Halloween!” She cried out.
“What do you want to be?”
“Snow White!”
“What color is her dress?” I asked.
“I don’t know!” She crumpled into a ball.
“Blue and yellow… it will be so fun to make.” I said.
“NO! We just -we just…” her lip began quivering, “We just needa BUY it at Wal-Mart!”
“But think how much fun it would be to make!”
“OR I could be a monster…” she said.

At this point, I realized that she was beyond tired.

“I could be a grey bunny monster and I could say ‘rwar!’ and scare every body!” She smiled.
“Yeah, what would grandpa say?”
“He would just say ‘AHHHHHH!’ like that.”
I turned to Trent and asked him what he wanted to be.
“I don’t like munnsters,” He said, “I wanna be Iron Man for Halloween.”
I turned back to Lacy.
“I don’t want to be a monster!” She cried. “I don’t LIKE Halloween! I think I will be sick. My head…” she put her hand on her forehead, “My head is getting so warm.”
“No, it’s not.” I chuckled, “But that’s fine. You don’t have to go to the big Halloween party.”
“Party?” She took her hand down from her forehead.
“Yeah, there’s a bunch of GAMES and KIDS and CAKE… and then after the party we go trick or treating and we knock of everyone’s houses and they give us candy. So much candy! But you can stay home with Daddy and rest in bed because you’re sick. I’ll just take Trent to the party with candy and then we’ll go trick or treating without you.”
She thought about that for a minute and then she said…
“I can be a pink monster…”
“That would be so fun!” I gushed.
“But then I would be so scary…” her voice started quivering and building higher and higher as she spoke, “And then I would knock and then every one would run away because they would be so scared and I wouldn’t get any CANDY!”
And the dam in her eyes broke.
Tears spilled everywhere. She got up from the couch and fled into her room to fling herself on her bed (Belle style). Once there she sobbed.
And sobbed.
Oh, the HORROR of being such a SCARY PINK MONSTER that you SCARE EVERYONE and then you WON’T GET ANY CANDY!
It’s too much.
It’s too much.

Let’s just skip the whole idea this year, shall we?

Clean Carpets and Kiddos

My husband loves to clean the carpet. He does. I mean, he won’t admit it. He won’t come out and say, “Is it time to clean the carpets yet? I’m DYING! I can’t wait!”
But he does get a certain thrill over running the cleaner over our always-less-than-spotless brown shag (stylin’!) carpet. The past two nights, he’s done a different section.
If everything goes as planned, the carpet will be cleaned back to working order by Friday. This is no real hazard, but it is a pain in the b’hind.
We won’t even talk about my kitchen suffice to say: I can not get in it.
Today I’ve claimed my southwestern print (stylin’) love seat as my own little Island of Elba. I’m going to do laundry all day because -frankly -that’s all I can do. It will all be worth it in the end. Clean carpet makes everyone feel better.
I’d just finish the job myself, but I’d hate to take away the pleasure of cleaning from my husband. And I mean that in ALL seriousness.
The kids are handling it well. They don’t mind messes so much.

Speaking of my kids, I forgot to tell you about the time I tried to teach the girl how to rhyme. It was Saturday. We were parking our car downtown, and the kids were on the brink of losing their composure. They were hyper and loud… so I started spouting off rhymes.
Lacy doesn’t know what it means to rhyme, and what better time to teach than when you’re in two-lane crowded traffic in the middle of summer with pedestrians walking so close to your car that you have to constantly apply the break while doing your best to parallel park?
“We are parking!” I said, brightly. “Bark rhymes with park. Bark, park! Lark rhymes with park. Lark, park! There’s a dog. Log rhymes with dog. Log, dog! bog, dog!”
“Mom, dumb!” came her chipper reply, “Mom rhymes with dumb!”
Keep in mind that she is NOT a snarky teenager. But I imagine she’ll make for a great snark someday.

Last night, I ran an errand and came home to find that Lacy had gotten into my essential oils. She snuck them into a hiding place and then dumped the better part of my lavender oil out. I asked her about what had happened -why she had done it (“I just wanted to smell pretty like you!”) and after we worked out all the details, I asked her what she should have done instead.
“Asked,” she said, crying.
I told her the oils cost money, and that she would have to pay for what she wasted. Her eyes grew the size of dinner plates.
“ALL MY MONEY?!” She asked.
“You’ll have to use your money,” I nodded.
She dropped her head into her hands and sobbed. It absolutely broke my heart. It really did. Isn’t that the worst part about parenting? I wanted to take away her tears -wipe them clean. I wanted to tell her it was totally fine that she snuck my expensive essential oils (that were a gift) and used them without asking permission.

But I also knew she needed to be taught or else she’d keep doing it (it’s been a real problem for the past few months). Oh, she cried. And cried, and cried.
I gave her a hug and went into my bedroom where my husband was watching Prison Break on his iPod. He plucked his head phones from his ears and we both listened…
“ALL MY MONIES!” Came the sobs from her room, “They’re just going to take it ALL!”
That night as I was eating dinner (alone. Not sure why), my son came in, pointed his finger and said, “You! Don’t take! Lacy’s money!”
I put him in his place, “Don’t you ever talk to your mama like that.”
And he took off.
Thank goodness, because I about died laughing. Little protective thing. I also lightly tugged at the back of his head earlier that day when he repeatedly disobeyed my requests to STAY OFF THE WET CARPET.
He ran into his room and cried and cried -more from emotional hurt than physical. A few minutes later, he emerged with his finger pointed.
“Don’t ebber touch my head aGAIN!” He ordered.
“Don’t ever get on my carpet again,” I replied.

And that’s how we roll.

Isn’t that the sweetest pile of money you’ve ever seen -all wadded up?
She confessed to me as she handed it over that she felt so much better inside -not yucky anymore.
(Here’s the kids watching the rain last evening:)
I’m glad I could take some of the hurt away. She’s already started earning her money back, by the way. She’s washed her kitchen… and sung for me.
There’s really nothing sweeter than listening to her sing the theme song from Veggie Tales The Ballad of Little Joe.

Birthday Drive-In

My husband is really big on birthdays.  The first birthday we ever spent together was my 19th birthday (!!!  19!?  I was just a kid!).  His gifts to me were so perfectly planned -so sentimental.  He gave me “Hidalgo,” the movie we saw on our first date.  He gave me “Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World” because I had RAVED about it and to make matters better… he gave me the soundtrack!  He gave me a pink fleece blanket, a carton of cotton candy (pink, which he ate), picture frames to fill our soon-to-be-ours apartment, and he also gave me a brand new pair of RED shoes because he knew how much I loved the red shoes I wore nearly every day.  When he saw a new shiny pair, he thought of me and he bought them.

It was so darn sweet, I could hardly stand it.  Every year -RIGHT when I wake up, he has a birthday gift wrapped and waiting for me.

WELL, this year I got one of the best gifts EVER!  He sent me to a three-day retreat with my Mom in Utah.  Kid free!  Amazing classes!  New haircut and color!  And I couldn’t be more grateful… but the retreat was August 1-3rd… and my birthday is the 16th.  That meant I woke up on the 16th with no present.  Which was fine.  I knew I had already gotten my rather expensive gift (we saved for a year), and I was fine.

The night of the 15th, my husband asked “What are your plans tomorrow?”
I told him the truth, “I have to go through all of our clothes and get rid of what we don’t need. I’m donating them to the clothing exchange going on this week.”
“Oh,” he said, “Cool.”
And then we went to bed.

The next morning, after a birthday kiss, he went to work. I set to washing all of the kids’ clothes. All day long I was under a pile of laundry. I received facebook birthday messages and answered them all right back because -let’s face it -I was sitting on the couch under a literal mountain of laundry.

But it was okay. I mean, really. Is laundry what I wanted to do on my birthday? Not really, but it wasn’t bad. I streamed chick flicks and I enjoyed reading all of my sweet facebook messages.
As the day went on, my daughter’s behavior got progressively worse.
She broke one of my Willow Tree figurines -the one given to me by an Aunt as a graduation gift.
Worse: she lied about it -tried to blame her brother.
She’s also in a correcting phase. As in: every time I do something wrong, she lets me know.
“You’re not wearing your seat belt.”
“We don’t do that Mom.”
I listened to her correction all day long and tried to SMILE about it. Because it was my BIRTHDAY and we’re SUPPOSED to be HAPPY ABOUT IT. After her brother went down for a nap, she asked me for some ice cream.
I dished her out some, putting a spoonful of ice cream in my mouth as I did.
“Mom, where did we get the ice cream?” She asked as I was forking it into my mouth.
“Hannah,” I replied, my mouth full.
“Mom, we don’t talk with our mouths full,” she chimed.
I gritted down on that ice cream and replied, “That’s right. We don’t.”

After a thorough lecture from her father last night about sneaking food into her room, she snuck a pile of chocolate animal crackers into her room, spilled them, stepped on them and then LAUGHED in my face when I spanked her. And when I got after her for laughing, she laughed at me again. Three times.

But I shook it off. My husband would be coming home soon. My sister had offered to take the kids for a while that night… it would all be okay.
Then I got a text from my husband telling me he might not be able to make it home in time to go out.

At that point, I threw caution to the wind and busted out the bag of cookie dough I had frozen a few weeks earlier. I sat on top of my clean laundry and ATE cookie dough. And I liked it.

I had tentatively planned a creative date. I always plan creatively when we don’t have much cash, you know. We’re at the end of our pay period, and I thought it might be fun to hit up Red Box, buy a few snacks, and take my lap top out somewhere and watch a movie… create our own little drive in, so to speak. Just the thought made me sing, “Stranded at the Drive-in” without stopping for, oh… four hours. give or take.

Word came at 7:30 that my husband was on his way home. He would make it home a little late but JUST in time for us to go out. I was emotionally drained. I was tired of laundry. BUT IT WAS MY BIRTHDAY and I WAS HAPPY. I got ready. I teased my hair and sprayed perfume on and applied lip stick. I fed my kids (I wasn’t hungry on account of the cookie dough) and when my husband got home, I had the car fully loaded and I WAS READY TO GET THE FRACK OUTTA THERE!

After dropping the kids off, I remarked, “I’m so tired. Let’s just go rent a movie, grab some take out and go home to watch the movie.”
“Um,” he started with some trepidation, “I have to be to work early, so if we’re going to watch a movie we need to do it now.”
And that’s what did it.
I didn’t want to try and be happy anymore. I didn’t care if it was my birthday anymore. I didn’t want to watch a movie if we were going to be rushed. I didn’t want to grab take out or sit down because I wasn’t hungry.
You know what I wanted at that point?
My bed.

We drove into town to rent a movie. By then, my husband had figured out that I wasn’t exactly hyped up for a party. He asked me to please smile.
But I thought it would be cool to cry instead.
“Please can we just go home?” I pleaded, “It’s late. I don’t want to leave the kids forever. I don’t want food. Let’s just go home.”
“Okay,” he said, wrapping his arm around me.
We drove home, tears filled my eyes… it wouldn’t have been a huge problem except I was driving. We neared an exit, and my husband said, “Get off here. Turn around.”
“Please,” my heart sunk, “Please let’s just go home.”
“Pull off,” he said, gently, “I’ll drive now. Let’s go back into town for a few snacks and then I promise we’ll just go home.”
“Okay,” I nodded, the promise of HOME ringing in my heart.

As we pulled into the parking lot, he turned the car off.
“I’ll be right back,” he said.
“I’m coming with you,” I replied.
There was a reason for it, you know. There was a reason I braved the late night crowd at Safeway with tear-stained eyes. I knew that if I left my husband alone he would buy me flowers.
I didn’t want flowers.
Feel free to judge me for what I’m about to say. I judge me.
Growing up, my Dad always ordered flowers for my mother. I used to sit and stare at them on the kitchen table. They were the most wonderful arrangements I’d ever seen, and they were a symbol… I just knew -every time I looked at those arrangements -that my Dad really, truly loved my mother. My husband has always been a stickler for flowers. He makes sure I have them for every possible occasion that you SHOULD have flowers. Valentines, Mother’s Day, anniversaries, birthdays…
He’s sentimental and sweet, really. An amazing man!
That’s why I never had the heart to tell him that what I really wanted… was those expensive arrangements in custom vases with cards sticking out of them.
Can you blame me for not wanting to tell him?! I HATED myself for it! I blame my father! He SPOILED the whole idea for me! (I jest, Papa. I jest.)
Danny has always been so sweet about getting me flowers. Always roses.
I finally had the courage to tell him that I don’t care for roses, and it pained me to the core. How many women out there would kill to have a husband like mine that brought them roses whenever occasion permitted? I know this! That’s why I felt like I jerk telling him the truth. Ever since then, he’s brought me beautiful bouquets of daisies, sunflowers (my favorite), lilies… he’s wonderful.
But last night, I didn’t want a Safeway bouquet. I wanted to cry and I wanted my bed and I knew that if I went with him into the store, he wouldn’t buy me any flowers.
Don’t I sound like the worst person on earth right now? Yes, I do. I know I do. I despise myself.
“Pick out some ice cream,” he said to me in the freezer section, “And I’ll be right back.”
“No,” I said softly, grabbing his arm, “Just stay.”
“No,” he said, less softly and pulled away, “I’ll be right back.”
“Danny, don’t get me flowers.”
“I wanted to get them earlier! I’m promise -I just didn’t have the time and I -”
“I don’t want them,” I admitted, quietly.
“But I always get them,” his shoulders dropped.
“I know,” I nodded, wanting to slap myself for what I was about to say, “I just don’t want them unless they’re… ordered.”
“Did I spoil you with your Valentine’s bouquet?” He smiled (for the first time in our married life, he ordered me a bouquet for Valentine’s Day -a dozen beautiful red roses, and despite the fact that roses aren’t my favorite, I was over the moon. Swoonin’. Smitten. Done for. Absolutely done for.
“I’ve actually always been this way,” I said, carefully.
“Always?” The poor beautiful man looked like I had just taken a mallet to his heart.
“Why didn’t you tell me?” He asked, honestly wanting to know.
“Because you’ve always been the sweetest man in the world,” I wrapped my arms around him in the middle of the freezer section, “And I didn’t want to admit to myself let alone to you that I’m a high maintenance jerk.”
Much to my relief, he laughed.
And we went home without flowers.

We picked out Ben & Jerry’s ice cream for each other, and then we snagged some IBC cream soda and brownies.
Seven years ago, we took some IBC cream soda and Little Debbie Brownies out by a baseball field at night, we parked the car, watched a wildfire burn on a nearby mountain, drank our cream soda and ate our brownies… and in all actuality we FELL ASLEEP. But we didn’t stay there all night.
The cops woke us up.

In memorandum, we bought our cream soda and brownies (I thought we had bought IBC root beer that night, but Danny reminded me it was really IBC cream soda. See what I mean? The man is GOLD). And then my husband took the wheel.

He drove us out to my family’s land west of town. He unloaded our car which hasn’t exactly been completely cleaned up from our camping trip, he put the seats down:
Within a matter of minutes, we had our own mini drive in. (Check out that “Rango” preview!)
The movie didn’t work all that well on account of it’s being scratched all to heck, but it didn’t matter.
I shifted in my seat and suddenly music started playing.
From under my seat.
One of Lacy’s toys had fallen behind the seat -a Disney Princess “CD” player. It sang and sang and sang… and we laughed harder with every song.
I tried my hardest not to move, but it was impossible. If I didn’t move, I couldn’t have any brownies! I also couldn’t resist singing “Grease.”
I secretly wanted to say, “Meant something to you! You think I’m going to stay here with you in this? this sin wagon? You can take this piece of tin!” and throw my ring at him while I bailed out of the car and ran through Grandpa’s field.
I hoped he would yell, “You can’t just walk out of a drive in!” after me, but I was child locked in my own car.
So I just sat there instead. like a normal person.

In the end, after I had a brownie and a cream soda and a few bites of rich ice cream and a few laughs over “Dinner with Shmucks” I was right as rain.
My husband is a miracle worker -a magical man. A wizard.

As packed up and drove off, my husband hummed “Little Mermaid” songs, thanks to my daughter’s toy.
We picked the kids up two hours after we dropped them off, and I tried to get a good picture of them.
I failed.

And please tell me I’m not the only one who gets excited to see their birth date on stuff. And yes, I still get a rush when I see my birth date on the milk jug. right under “exp.”


Remember our little bird?
It escaped so many times that I stopped trying to catch it. Instead, I just enjoyed watching it hop around our floor. It scavenged for food and shrieked at me anytime I got anywhere near it. It was sort of sweet, really. And it made me feel less guilty for not vacuuming. I mean, if I HAD vacuumed, it wouldn’t have any food. Right?

I named him, you know. I know you shouldn’t name wild pets with broken wings since the odds of survival are minuscule, but I named him against my better judgement. Given my recent addiction (and recovery) to “Prison Break,” I named the bird Scofield in honor of Scofield the Escape King and his ravishing good looks:

(on a side note, the man who plays Scofield actually has a degree in English Lit. AND he sings. Whaddastud.)

Well, I opened Scofield’s box to check on him, and he was dying. I took him in my gloved hands, walked him outside and sat him on the grass.
Except he couldn’t sit.
Lacy stood by my side as we watched him take his last breath.
I said, “Okay, the birdie just died.”
She said, “Oh.”
It was quiet for a minute, and then she burst into tears.

I gently pulled the bird’s wings out and let her see that one was perfect and one was broken.
“If the birdie had stayed alive, it would be hurting because of it’s broken wing, see?” I pointed to it.
“But, but… I just want him with ME!” She sobbed.
I hugged her and let her cry. I explained to her that Heavenly Father could make the birdie all better and that Heaven was a much better place to be. She nodded, took the bird in her hands, said, “I’m sorry but you have to go to Heaven now.”
She handed the bird back, and I told her to go wash her hands.
She sprinted inside. I took care of the bird by placing him back in his box for the moment, rounded up the boy who had run rampant in the yard, and then went inside.
I went into the kids’ bathroom to find Lacy sitting on the vanity with her feet in the sink, water running on them. She was SOBBING.
I took her in my arms and let her cry, and then I told her a short story about when I was a girl.

I had a green parakeet that I loved. His name was Aladdin and I took really care of him. He played with me every day -he would sit on my shoulder for hours. Once when I was sick, he wouldn’t get off my shoulder. He stayed right with me until I felt better. Only then would he go into his cage. One day, a cat got him and he died.

As I spoke, Lacy’s wet eyes got bigger and bigger.
“He died?” She asked.
“Yeah,” I nodded, “I was really sad.”
“You were?”
“Yep. But now Aladdin is up in Heaven and he’s playing with YOUR bird. Heaven has lots of fun stuff for birds. What do birds love?” I asked.
“Toys.” She said.
“Heaven is FULL of toys for birds,” I said.
“Oh,” she dried her tears, “I need to write my bird a note.”
It was a great note.
She read it to me and I wrote down what she said:
Then she drew a picture of a bird with one perfect wing and one broken wing:
As I made dinner, she sat on the counter and cradled her bird.
“I’m sorry you have to go to Heaven now,” she would say, over and over. Trenton asked if he could hold the bird.
“No, Trent,” she said, “He is just SO dead.”

And when Daddy came home, the tears were gone. She was at peace with her birdie’s death. Daddy helped her bury the bird she had wrapped lovingly in two paper towels.
Right here:

That night it was perfect weather. We ate some tilapia, zucchini (which Lacy insists are called “bikini”), and crookneck squash. I love this time of year.
Maybe that’s why I chose to be born when I did. Only four more days until I’m 26!