Friday, November 28, 2008

Giving Thanks

Grocery shopping with Jack is always an experience. He was in a great mood today what with his post-Thanksgiving glow compounded with the excitement of putting up our Christmas decorations. As we wandered the aisles, Jack chatted away. We strolled into the cracker aisle where he asked for Sponge Bob Cheese Its. I, in my own post-Thanksgiving/pre-Christmas excitement, smiled and tossed them into the cart. Then I heard a faint, "mwah, mwah, mwah." I looked down to see Jack looking up at me smacking his lips in a fake kiss. I leaned down and gave him the kiss he was gesturing for and then a few steps later, I heard him say, "Now that is true love!"

My heart melted a little bit and I had a flashback to many years ago. I was in my early twenties, well before I was even thinking about having children of my own. It was February and I was in the card aisle picking out some Valentine's Day cards. Further down the aisle there was a little boy, he was four or maybe five. He was looking wide-eyed at something. I can't remember what it was anymore, maybe a box of chocolates or a stuffed animal. Anyway, I remember looking at him for a second because he was all alone and I thought, Hmmm. I wonder where his mom is? It was right about that moment where she came around the corner with the cart and when he saw her, he got so excited and grabbed the thing (whatever it was) and yelled, "OOOH Mommy! I am going to get this for you for Valentine's Day because I love you soooooooooo much!!!!" And Oh.My.God it was at that moment, that very moment, where I had a maternal urge so strong that I swear I think my uterus contracted and from that moment on, I WANTED SONS. So when Jack kissed me and casually commented that this is true love, I gave thanks. Thanks for my son. And thanks for my daughter and my husband who complete my family unit. Right there, in the cracker aisle of the grocery store. I gave thanks.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Jack's crush part 2

Boy, this boy is one smitten kitten.

Kasey is a commonly uttered name around our house lately. From what I can gather, this crush has been a long time in the works. To Jack's credit, he set a goal and worked to achieve that goal. The goal was Kasey. Ultimately, he got the girl (as much as a 5 year old can "get" a girl). I think it's great, unless it's not reciprocated; then we've got ourselves a mini-stalker and that's just not any good for anyone.

I was unaware of the depths of Jack's utter devotion to Kasey until a recent conversation. Jack was staring out the window of the car looking pensive as we drove home from pre-school one day. "What are you thinking about, buddy?" I asked.

Jack: Uh, Mommy?
Me: Hmmmm?
Jack: When you like someone and um, when they like you back so much that you want to marry them, that's a crush right?
Me: Yes, that's pretty much it.
Jack (thinking for a minute): What happens if you like someone and they don't like you back? Is that still called a crush?
Me (joking): No, that's called a bummer.
Jack: Huh?
Me: Actually you will probably have a lot of crushes as you get older. Sometimes people will like you back and have a crush on you too. But sometimes, you might like someone and they may not like you back. That's a bummer but that's life.
Jack: Oh. Um, well it used to be like that with me and Kasey. When we were littler, I still liked Kasey but she liked the other Jack in our class.
Me (heart melting at the phrase "when we were littler"): Oh really?
Jack: Yeah, I liked Kasey but she liked the other Jack in my class.
Me: What changed her mind?
Jack: I don't know. But I think she needs someone bigger to be the dad and I'm bigger than the other Jack. So now we like each udder (he meant other but pronounced it as udder).
Me: So that's good, huh?

With that, Jack smiled and nodded and continued to look out the window.

And all was right in his little world.

Monday, November 24, 2008

The shortest wrestling show in history

I'm not sure who had the *brilliant* idea to go ahead with a wrestling segment on Showtime with Megan but things went bad...very bad.

I gave them the cue to begin (you can hear me yell "wrestle!") and then right from the get-go, Megan was getting a good old fashioned ass whipping. 15 seconds into the wrestling match, I fired my warning shot (you can hear me all stern with them). I think Jack thought I said, "Hey that's not rough enough" instead of what I actually said, "Hey, that's too rough" because he dialed it up a notch.

22 seconds in- wrestling show canceled and peace was once more restored in our homestead.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Keeping track of little treasures

Both my kids love stuff. What stuff you ask? Pretty much anything that could create a collection or could be reused for an arts and crafts project. When Megan was little, she used to collect sticks and rocks and walk around with them in her hand while we were at the park. Megan was also big into recycling materials for arts and crafts projects. Upon seeing a piece of string, she used to exclaim, "OOOhh, I *need* that!" I would respond with, "No you don't. It's a piece of string."

"Yes I do!" she would lament.

"What are you going to do with a piece of string???"

"I need it for crafts."

"Whatever." And then I would cave and let her keep it because seriously, who wants to argue with an artist about what materials she needs to create her masterpiece?

Jack on the other hand doesn't usually collect stuff for projects. He collects stuff just to uh, well...collect stuff, I guess. He takes all the little treasures he finds and creates what he calls "set ups". He finds a few little treasures and then he carries them around everywhere for about a week or so until something else catches his eye. Here is his latest set:

When Jack describes this latest set, he refers to the three aliens as "the dudes", the car as "the vehicle" and the crucifix as "Jesus on a stick". We (and by we, I mean Jack) misplaced the set the other day and so it was M.I.A. until this morning. Jack has been hounding me to find it. Bright and early this morning, Jack came into my room to wake me up. His first words to me were, "Uh, Mommy? Did you find my Jesus on a stick?"

Now that he had "the vehicle, the dudes and Jesus on a stick" in hand, the creation of the set up began. As Jack described the set up, he pointed out the Jesus on a stick and explained that he was up in the corner because, "He's up here suffering. People didn't believe Jesus so they put him on the stick to see him suffer. See him suffering up there?"

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Showtime with Megan featuring the strong man who works out at the circus

In this episode of Showtime with Megan, Megan provides a mock interview with The Strong Man (aka Jack). A few of my favorite moments include:

1) Megan forgetting the name of her show.
2) The fact that Megan wants to "give him an interview."
3) Apparently most strong men work out at Circuses????!!??
4) I love Jack's character voice and Megan's fake laugh.
5) When Jack is showing his "moves", he warns viewers, "Do NOT do at home. It will break your wall off."
6) Jack closing out the show with his sound effects.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Showtime with Megan (and Jack)

Here's what happens when I just wind them up and let them go (so-to-speak). Megan's first episode of Showtime With Megan. It's a very short intro but you can hear Jack interrupting from the background. In true Megan fashion, she's trying to direct the shots as well as star in them wearing her Bampa's glasses. She does do a nice job of a segue into the commercial. Don't be fooled by Jack trying to disguise his voice. That really is him as a spokesperson for the Weight Store. Like he says, "It's totally awesome- get weights, get fit!"

At this point, Jack changes from the star of the commercial, to the guest star on Showtime With Megan. They have a nice discussion about his artwork with Jack's voice trying to remain in character.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

He's going to the chapel and he's gonna get married.

Jack has himself a little crush. I was asking him about it tonight and he explained it to me. And although his explanation was extremely simple, it was right on the mark.

When asked about his crush on Kasey, he said the reason he wanted to get married to her was because she is one of his "best,best friends in the whole world!"

He told me Kasey also wants to marry him, too. I asked what he said to her and if I do say so myself, he was super polite. When you see his response, I dare any woman out there to say no to him.! He also mentioned that one of the things he likes best about her is that he's five and she's younger. So, he's on the prowl for a trophy wife already.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The silver lining to a day filled with otherwise awkward moments.

My day started with a work out and a trip to Starbucks. I am in Austin, TX this week for work and this morning, I casually walked out of Starbucks with my grande skim white chocolate mocha-no whipped cream (which I realize is *totally* contradictory that I get skim milk and no whipped cream but have chocolate in my coffee). There was a homeless woman sitting outside the Starbucks and when I walked out with my coffee, she went all freaky-deaky on me. She started screaming about how Starbucks is a government conspiracy and proceeded to follow me down the street. I kept on walking and didn't look back. I just kept thinking, Do NOT make eye contact. She WILL kill you. I just figured in my "professional" opinion (I do have a major in Sociology with about 15 hours towards a Master's degree in Psychology) that she was Schizophrenic.

My work day was relatively uneventful except for a minor awkward moment prior to a presentation I was giving. I made the comment that, "I realize that my presentation is the only thing standing between you and lunch." A word of advice- probably not the best move to point that out when prior to that moment, no one actually realized that I was the only thing standing between them and lunch.
In my defense, I wasn't on my "A" game because at that moment, I still had my mind on the fact that I had just flushed a visitor badge down the toilet. Oh, sorry. Let me back up for a moment. Prior to my presentation, I planned to do two things:
1) Stop off in the ladies room.
2) Stop by the front desk to drop off the visitor badge I was carrying.
So I wouldn't forget the badge, I put it in my pocket and didn't think anything of it. So I stopped in the bathroom, did my "business", and as I turned around to flush the toilet, plunk! The visitor badge flew out of my pocket and fell into the toilet. Now, don't get me wrong, I'm a loyal employee and all but sorry- no way I was going to stick my hand in there and retrieve the badge. So I thought, Maybe if I flush the toilet, the badge won't flush but the er... *liquid" will. As I stood for a second staring over the bowl, I convinced myself that it was a brilliant plan and then I could just reach in, grab the badge, wash my hands 15 times, and turn in the badge just like I had originally planned. So, I pushed down the lever- FLUSH- bye bye badge. Hmmm, wasn't quite sure what to do at that point other than to fully confess so I wandered up to the front desk.

"Hey," I said to the lady at the desk and tried to lean casually on the counter.

"Can I help you?" she said pleasantly.

"Uh, yeah, well- here's the thing, I was coming to turn in a visitor badge for someone (gulp) only I don't actually have it anymore. This is going to sound strange but I uh, actually flushed the badge down the toilet by mistake so um, (gulp)I won't be turning in the badge."

She looked at me for a moment and smirked and said, "How long did it take you to get up the courage to come and admit that?"

"Yeah, I know," I conceded. "I'm leaving today to go back to Chicago so I figured I would tell you now and it would be a long time before I'd ever have to look you in the face again."

Luckily for me, she was lovely about it.

As a side note- I have been buoyed by the fact that BlogHer 09 is in CHICAGO this summer! And I've been imagining what it might be like to attend BlogHer since last summer. I think I might just have to get over my aversion to socially awkward situations, get on my invisible glasses and head on downtown to (gulp) network!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

The filth threshold

I have what I call a "threshold for filth". I can handle a certain amount of clutter, dust, dirt etc. around my house but once it hits a certain threshold, I become a crazy woman. I start to clean the house without regard for what is going in the garbage. I've always been like that. Newspapers? Gone. Stacks of random paper? Gone. Magazines? See ya later! Sometimes it backfires. Once, when Jay and I lived in our apartment in Colorado, I threw away something that was important and Jay and I ended up sifting through our garbage in the dumpster in the parking lot like a couple of homeless people.

A few days ago, I cleaned up around our kitchen and threw a bunch of stuff in the garbage. I didn't think anything of it until Megan pointed it out. She was eating a piece of banana bread and started walking around with it. As she made her way to the bathroom, I stopped her. "Whoa, where are you going?" I asked. "Don't take food in the bathroom with you. That's disgusting."

"Okay," she responded and walked toward the garbage can. As she opened the lid and stood over the garbage eating her banana bread, I thought to myself, "What did I do in parenting my children to make it seem like eating over the garbage is an acceptable option to eating on the toilet???" Anyhoo... Megan looked down into the garbage and said, "Dad, look at this! Mom threw away a coupon for free ice cream!" As she pulled the coupon from the garbage and stood with the banana bread in one hand and the coupon in the other, I had flashbacks to the Seinfeld episode where George gets busted for eating the eclair from the garbage.

She handed the coupon to Jay who upon looking at it said, "Hey it's actually a whole menu for Jason's Deli.Your mom thew out a menu and a coupon for free ice cream!"

"Yeah!" Megan chimed in. Jay looked at me, smiled and said, "We should have our kids eat over the garbage more often!"


Thursday, November 6, 2008

Random kid thoughts

Me: Jack, do you know who our new President is?
Jack: Who?
Me: It's a man named Barack Obama
Jack: Bark Obamba????
Me: No, Barack Obama.
Jack: Oh. I know how it works to pick the President. Everyone like votes and if they vote no, then they shooted them.
Me: Uh, no. That's not how it works at all.
Jack: Well that was the old way how they did it.
Me: Uh, no.

Megan: A bunch of kids on the playground play Kickball.
Me: Really?
Megan: Yeah. Kickball should be a national sport you know, not just a game.
Me: Huh. You think so?

Megan: My eyes water a lot.
Me: Really?
Megan: Uh huh. I mean, they water A LOT!
Jack: Well Megan, that's because God maked you like that.


Tuesday, November 4, 2008

A wise woman once said...

Sometimes I wonder if I'm doing this right. "This" being the whole parenting thing. I sometimes wonder if I have the right answers and enough patience. I know in my heart that I have enough love. I once doubted that. When I was pregnant with Jack, I couldn't imagine loving another child as much as I loved Megan. I worried that I wouldn't love Jack as much- or worse, that I would start to love Megan less. I expressed this once to my mother-in-law and she explained it to me like this... "A new child is like another candle. The love you feel is like the flame and both candles will have a flame that burns just as bright." And she was right. She is right about a lot of things and I look to her for motherly advice when I feel like I just can't seem to get it right.

She has this uncanny ability to know what to say, when to say it and more importantly- when not to say it. I hear horror stories from others about their meddling MILs and I feel blessed that I've never once felt that way. From the beginning, she's accepted me- flaws and all. Actually, accepted isn't the right word. She's embraced me. When my mother died she was there- loving me, supporting me, helping me but never once trying to take the place of my mother and in doing that, over the years she's become a mother to me, not just a mother-in-law.

The whole Halloween fiasco had me reeling and questioning myself. Then, I opened my email and saw that my mother-in-law sent me this:

"It is difficult riding that line between being a nurturing caring mother who wants to guide and protect your little daughter through all trials and tribulations of life, to keep her safe from all hurts; yet free her to blossom into a beautiful young woman confident, wise, and able to meet the world in her full glory. You want her to be beautiful inside and out, you want her to be confident in herself yet empathetic to others, you want her to be independent yet socially accepted. You want so much for her and you understand all that is out their to challenge and hurt her and it matters so much to you what happens to her. You want to rush out and explain to anyone who doesn't understand that the reason why she did thus and such was because she was feeling sad, or overtired, or misunderstood. Really, you want everyone to think she is as special as you do and the fact that anyone might have the wrong impression of her cuts you to the quick....for she is your daughter, your creation, your piece of your heart.

You have so many hopes and dreams for her, you want her road paved with rose blossoms and honey dew, you want her prince charming to come riding in on a white horse and sweep her off her feet, you want all her friends to be perfect and all she does to be good and wise. You want the world to know that she is here and worthy and talented and yours.

And the harsh reality of life is that she is all these things, but she will meet the world on her own terms, influenced by you, but somehow sensing that this strong bond needs to be tested, pulled, twisted, and turned. She will challenge you, test you. She can give you a withering look or a sharp retort that tears you to shreds, she can hurt you as no one else can for she is your daughter, your magnum opus. You care what she does, what she thinks, and who she is. You care, you care, you care. You remember any and all mistakes and errors you made, and you want to spare her the bad, the sad, the ugly side of life.

But to become the person you know she is, she must go through all these things, and when she does, she will turn to you and you will hopefully be there for her. You won't be able to make it all better every time, but she will know that at least you will try. You will cry with her, and worry over her, and yell at her when she needs it for her own good because you don't want her to get hurt in any way. And she will mess up and you will still be there and you will love her and care, and care, and care.

And someday, this wonderful, lovely woman will enter a room and you will wonder when and how that metamorphosis slipped quietly by you. You will look at her and thank God that he gave you the opportunity to walk this way with her. You will see the beautiful person that she has become inside and out and your heart will swell with pride. You will hope that you have played some important role in her formation. And you will care and she will know you care.

It happened with my mother and I, it happened with my daughter and I, it probably happened with your mother and you, and so it goes. It is a process; sometimes painful, sometimes poignant, sometimes perfect.

Look in the mirror, you are all strong, confident, beautiful women. Your daughters and nieces will be the same. Enjoy the journey."

Thanks M. Love you.

Sunday, November 2, 2008