Tuesday, December 30, 2008
I have to confess that high school was not my favorite time of life. Sure, there were good times, but I was a typical teenage girl who lived amidst ridiculous teen angst. From body issues to self-esteem to the always present desire to "fit in," I was your very typical teenage girl. I'm not really proud of that, but it is what it is. How many of us wish that we could go back and tell our teen selves that none of that mattered? That in twelve years, no one would really care what you were like at 16? In the grand scheme of life, high school is so very small, but didn't it seem so big back then? So, admittedly, it was with a little trepidation that I went to the meet up last night. I just didn't know what to expect. But you know, it's amazing what a little maturity will do for a group of people. Of the twenty or so people that were there, I really only knew two of them. The others I remembered but can't say I had any sort of relationship with outside of the school walls. And yet we all sat there, talking like dear old friends, not judging or gossiping, but genuninely enjoying one another's company. I was pleasantly surprised. And I stayed much longer than I thought I would. I was amazed at how many people were doing really cool things. One guy works for the Grammy's, another lives and works in India. There were a couple of New York arcitecht's (I cannot figure out how to spell that word!) and a girl who was one of Bush's appointee's in his transportation department. There was an engineer who was in the process of building a robot and a writer for Hallmark. It was really fascinating to hear what everyone ended up doing with their lives.
I love Facebook for the way that it reconnects people like this. I love Facebook for the same reason that many people hate it. I love getting "friended" by people I went to high school with even if we were never actually friends in the first place. Perhaps it's a little voyeristic of me, but I like to see what people are up to. I like to see who's married and who's got kids. I like to catch a glimpse into the lives of these people that I knew so very long ago. I like to see if the class clown is still a goofball and what the guy I had a secret crush on is doing these days. And I am assuming that since they friended me, they want to do the same thing. They simply want to know who I've become. It's curiosity. It's the reunion without the awkward conversations. So, in general, I rarely ignore a friend invitation unless I just absolutely cannot remember the person. If I have no idea who you are the novelty of peeking into your life wears off. Do I communicate with all the people I am "friends" with? No. But, to me, that's not totally the point. I communciate with the people I want to communicate with and that's been a great joy. Today I am going to lunch with three girls that were dear friends back then and we just lost touch over the years. But now, thanks to Facebook, we will be enjoying one another's company. What a great thing! The others who I don't communicate with are just a satisfaction to my overwhelming curiosity.
So there you have it. Is it a little weird? Yes, I belive it is. But in the age of social media, where everyone's lives are playing out publicly, it's a new norm and I, personally, think it's a little fun.
Sunday, December 28, 2008
Thursday, December 25, 2008
I'm afraid I have a confession to make. I don't believe in you - or, at least I didn't until last night. But you, my roly-poly friend, were the originator of a Christmas miracle unlike one I've ever before seen and today, I say with full conviction - I believe.
Sure, Lee and I were the ones who actually bought the gifts. I may or may not have used psychology on my kids to manipulate them into asking you for gifts that I had already purchased for them. Lee and I happily munched on "your" cookies and gulped down the nice, cold milk last night before we went to bed. And, okay, I wanted it to look authentic, so yeah, I messed up the fireplace and wrote a phony "Thank You" to the kids. Just because I don't - er, didn't - believe doesn't mean they shouldn't experience the thrill of your myth right?
But then, the true magic happened. My kids, who have been a nightmare to put to bed for several months since they began sharing a room, were perfect last night. On any given night, dear Santa, they have been known to get out of bed 5 or 6 times and goof around for up to an hour. We've resorted to putting Tia in our own bed until she falls asleep just to protect our sanity. But last night? Perfection. Not a peep. They so anticipated your midnight visit to our home that they immediately shut their eyes and drifted off to sleep. And Lee and I sat in wondrous silence, unsure exactly what to do with ourselves.
And so, after last night, I do believe. I believe in you, Santa. But *ahem* I have a tiny request. Since it's still Christmas and all, I figured I could ask one small favor. Could we possibly tell them you're coming to our house every night? Could we take full advantage of your magical powers and bring a little holiday cheer into our home nightly around 8:00? That would really be great. If you would be willing to fly to St. Louis on a daily basis for us, we would be forever grateful and I will be your strongest advocate for the rest of my life.
Think about it...
A weary mom
P.S. We had a wonderful Christmas. Here are the gifts "you" got them. Tia loves her dollhouse and Sloan was thrilled with his excavator set. You did good, Santa!
The much anticipated excavator set that came with a million tiny pieces. Say it with me (and make sure your voice is laced with sarcasm) - awesome!
The family. Mommy is sitting at the picnic table while daddy grills her some grub and also pushes the twins on their swingset - they're a modernized family.
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
Monday, December 22, 2008
Landon hates Sloan's new outfit, though, along with the Star Trooper helmet that he got so everytime Sloan comes out with one of the masks on, Landon scampers as fast as his pudgy little legs will take him into the arms of the nearest adult and holds on for dear life with this look on his face:
Sweet Katya got a cheerleader costume and a wedding dress costume. She has no idea what a cheerleader is (which I'm fine with) and when she opened it, she pulled out the poms poms and held them up and said, "It's eyeballs!" Lee doesn't like the idea of his little girl playing the bride and refuses to call this a wedding dress - he calls it her princess dress. I can understand and respect that. It weirds me out a little too to have my little girl playing "wedding." Yikes!
I took the kids to the Dollar store and let them pick out their own presents for the grandparents this year. I tried to guide them toward the practical while still giving them the freedom to choose the gifts themselves. Sloan did a pretty good job picking things out. Tia tried, sweet thing, but was very insistent on giving her Papa a small ceramic Zebra and her Bebe a wildly tacky vase. It truly was the thought that counted...
On Saturday, Sloan had his russian school New Year party. Russians don't celebrate Christmas the same way we westerners do. Their big celebration is on New Years with the Slavic Christmas being observed on January 6 (Sveta, correct me if I'm wrong). They do have a Santa Claus figure called, Dyed Moros, or Father Ice - which is very appropriate for us given the ridiculous temperatures we are experiencing right now. Dyed Moros also has a granddaughter named Snyegurichka who helps deliver the presents. I love russians and the way that they party. They have so much fun and it's so carefree. The adults get into it as much as the kids and laugh and sing and dance around and just all around have a great time. And, where else would you have a man dressed as some sort of forest witch pull out an accordian and start dancing and singing? Oh, and Dyed Moros came out singing and dancing as well. It was awesome. I just love that culture. (Incidentally, Sveta, I think I need some schooling on who the little forest witch and her sidekicks are that seem to be trying to foil Dyed Moros's New Year plans. It's a little confusing.) Another fun tradition they have is the kids dress in costume for this New YEar's party. Again, I don't really know why, but Sloan was thrilled because he didn't have to take his Power Ranger costume off. You know, because nothing says holiday cheer like a blue Power Ranger (or Optimus Prime - it might be a Transformer costume, I'm not 100% sure...) Anyway, here's a picture of the whole crew, minus the accordian playing forest man:
Afterwards, my mom, my mother-in-law, Tia and I went to a tea party at the Ladies of Lucerne Tea House.
I've mentioned before my love for tea parties and I was so thrilled to take Tia to her first. She did alright. It's a lot to ask of a near three year old to sit properly around fine china and enjoy scones and finger sandwiches, but she did very well considering. This tea was geared toward kids too so they had gingerbread cookies and p,b&j sandwiches and hot chocolate. It was a fun little girly afternoon. Of course, before we left, Tia decided that she wanted to fix her hair...without asking me for help...which as we all know leads only to disaster. A half a jar of hair gel later she walked out looking like this:Needless to say a bath was necessary and after it was all said and done, she looked like this:She's my little doll. She's rotten, but she's a doll. Merry Christmas everyone! Have a blessed week.
Thursday, December 18, 2008
We sat down to watch them and had a jolly good time watching the first few months of Sloan's life once again. We both got a good chuckle at how young Lee looked. I know it was only five year ago, but it's still noticable. I mean, there's a big difference between 28 and 34. Lee looks like a baby. I, however, look as youthful today as I did then and that's the way it's gonna be, got it?
Of course we have just over three hours of videotape of Sloan's first nine months. I think we're approaching 45 minutes of videotape for Landon's first year - and he's not even in a lot of that video. Poor third baby. Watching these movies of our interaction with Sloan gave me great insight into why he is the way he is. Sloan is a typical first child, fun loving, meticulous and always needing someone to entertain him. To watch the videos, I see why. We made him that way! We coddled that sweet baby, always entertaining him, trying to make him laugh, talking to him and playing with him. Most of the video of his first couple of months, we are trying desperately to get a smile. Until about 6 months, Sloan was such a serious little guy and you had to practically move a mountain to get a smile. Either that or you had to make a gigantic fool of yourself, which we were doing in every frame of this video. Good grief, the poor kid just wanted to be left alone. Half the time he looked exhausted, but you know as a first time mom, I had to stick to the schedule and if it wasn't naptime, then by God he wasn't going down for a nap.
Then there's the video of him trying cereal for the first time. He hated it, but I kept shoving it into his wide open, screaming mouth, determined to get him to give it a try. Meanwhile I'm looking at the camera with this overwhelmed, bewildered look and saying, "I don't think he likes it!" Lee said I looked like Britney Spears - I think I should be insulted, and confused because... huh?
Anyway, thank God we've gotten better at this parenting thing. Not that we're experts by any means, but we have figured out a few tricks of the trade through trial and error - most of which occurred on Sloan. It's amazing that first children make it at all. How do any of us grow into well adjusted adults? But we have loosened up a whole lot. I'm no longer such a nap stickler - unless it's the afternoon nap, which is like gold for me. We aren't quite so anal about what "bad" words are - poor Sloan wasn't aloud to say anything for awhile. I let the kids have McDonalds, eat sweets and drink rum in the morning - just kidding! That's not true, they are only allowed to drink at night...
Oh and incidentally, I hereby publicly apologize to my husband for the fact that I apparently never showered that first year. In every video I'm wearing sweats and my hair appears to have swallowed a bucket of Crisco. Geesh.
The point is, we still learn something new every day and while I'm sure both Tia and Landon will also be products of our parenting mishaps, we have gotten a better handle on some things. How about you all? What are some things that you've learned through raising children?
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Monday, December 15, 2008
Thursday, December 11, 2008
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
He was terrified after that year and I just didn't have the heart to force him to sit on Santa's lap again. And because he was so scared, Tia was scared and freaked out if we even got near a guy in a big red suit. So, it's been several years. This year, however, Sloan is very into the idea of Santa. He's so concerned about our fireplace and tells us everyday to make sure and turn the fire off on Christmas Eve to make sure Santa doesn't get burned. And yesterday, when I told him that we were going to see Santa, he was thrilled. And, of course, Tia followed his lead and got excited too. They both leapt up on Santa's lap and told him what they wanted - Sloan an excavator set, Tia a dollhouse - then smiled bright for the picture. Poor sweet Landon, however, did not enjoy it as much as they did...
Monday, December 8, 2008
We came home, had hot chocolate, put the kids to bed and strung the lights, then Saturday morning let them help us put up the ornaments. One of the ornaments we hang on our tree each year is a time capsule that we got on our first Christmas in 2000. In it is a small scroll where Lee and I wrote the details of our first Christmas as a married couple. This is what it looks like:Inside it say: Our First Christmas it was - cold and icy in Dallas
We lived at - St. Charles at Stonebriar apartment complex in Frisco, TX
At that time the new was full of stories like - Presidential Election Controversy, crazy snow storms in the north, the Rams beat the Saints and sqeaked into the play-offs - then lost.
We shared lots of Christmas traditions like - opening stocking on Christmas Eve. Getting up at the crack of dawn (this is a family tradition of mine that Lee has grown to love over the course of the last eight years - it fills him with such joy to creep out of bed at 5:00 am)
We celebrated the season with special people like: Herb, Barbara and Zach Dec. 10; Richard, Candy, Brett and Jared on Christmas; Old Baylor friends on New Years
We got each other presents like: Lee got Kelli a Karaoke machine, Anna Karenina in russian and clothes; Kelli got Lee clothes, "Rich, Dad, Poor Dad," and an old LIFE magazine about JFK (that's so random - I don't know why I bought him that or where that magazine is now!)
Anyway, it's always fun to read that and remember Christmas 2000, our first together. And here are a few more of my favorite ornaments.
I have no idea where we got his ornament but it makes me laugh. It's a hula wearing Santa surfing on two dolphins and he kind of looks like he's making an obscene gesture. Of course, that only makes sense right? Bizarre.
My First Christmas ornament from 1978. In a few years I'm not sure that I'll like that one quite as much though - it's starting to make me feel old.
Thursday, December 4, 2008
Sloan at 17 months old and quite the ham.
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
Somewhere out there, I know there's a group of Star Wars addicts who are putting some voodoo intergalactic hex on me. Sorry, I just never really got it with those movies. Anyway, moving on. Sloan rounded the corner and held his sword up proudly.
"Mom," he announced, "I am Darth Vader."
"Oh," I murmered trying to sound impressed.
"Yeah, and Tia is my girlfriend. Her name is Melissa."
At this point I look up, my eyebrows raised, trying to figure out how in the world I should respond to this.
"Wow, Melissa huh?" I said.
"Yep, she's my girlfriend Melissa." Turning to Tia, he throws his arms out wide and she ducks slightly to avoid being whacked across the head with a light saber.
"Melissa," he exclaims loudly, "Bow down to me!"
Tia just stares at him.
"Bow down to me!" he repeats. And still Tia does not move.
"Tia, you're supposed to bow down to me. I'm Darth Vader."
"Uh-uh, Hol (Sloan)," Tia responds indignantly.
Turning to me Sloan throws his light saber down. "Mom, Tia is my girlfriend Melissa and she won't bow down to me."
Honestly, I had no response so I stood there silently for a minute before saying, "Okay, who wants a snack?"
I think it's time we showed him the movies...
Tuesday, December 2, 2008
Monday, December 1, 2008
Friday, November 28, 2008
We were driving home the other night after eating dinner out and Sloan piped up from the backseat:
S - "Dad, can we say fag?"
L (stifiling a laugh) - "No, son, that's not a word we need to say."
S - "Why? It's not a bad word. It's not f%#k. It's fag - you know- like bag. Fag."
(At this point Lee and I are having a hard time holding back the laughter. What are the odds that he would accidentally land on that word? Seriously! We went on to explain to him that that word didn't really mean anything and since it didn't mean anything he didn't need to say it. Honestly, that kid...To know the full story of how he knows the F-word, read here.)
Yesterday, we ate thanksgiving dinner at Lee's grandmother's retirement center. This is his grandmother on his dad's side. A couple of years ago, his granny on his mom's side passed away and we all miss her dearly, especially at Thanksgiving because she made such yummy pies and she just doted on the great-grandkids. As we walked down the hall to the dining room, we passed a little white haired lady walking with a cane. Sloan stopped and said hi, then proceeded to say this:
Sloan - "Hi. You look like granny. But you can't be granny because she's dead. But you look just like granny, but you're not granny because she's dead."
Lee and I walked up just as he said it a third time and tried to quickly brush it off saying, "Yeah granny passed away and we miss her, right?"
Sloan (nodding his head) - "Yeah, we miss granny but that's not granny because granny's dead."
At this point we decided that we really need to work on social graces with the boy.
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
While I was at a local store, I came across a small bottle of perfume. It was the first perfume I ever owned. My grandmother, Mimi, gave it to me when I was 12. Anybody else remember ex.cla.ma.tion! ? There was one tiny, battered little box on the table so I opened it up and sprayed a little on my wrist. With one sniff of that scent, I time warped back to 7th grade. We were still fairly new to town and I was self-concsious. I was stuck in that awful, gawky, Irish Setter stage of life, all knees, elbows and nose. I had yet to shave my legs and I wasn't allowed to wear make-up. I was in junior high, navigating my way through a whole new world of catty, petty hesaidshesaid. I had frizzy hair due to a bad perm (it was 1990 people) and oily skin thanks to the brand new hormones raging through my body.
Outwardly, I still hated the opposite sex, though I possessed secret crushes on a couple of the boys in my class. I would never admit to these crushes, though, because then I would absolutely die from humiliation. I was dramatic and silly. I was still a bit of a tomboy and got into the occasional fight with the neighbor boy. I gave him a black eye that year. Byt the next year, however, the boys had finally outgrown me and I grew smart enough to stop picking fights.
In seventh grade, I desperately wanted to fit in, but did not know how. Not being from St. Louis, I was an outsider trying to compete with people who'd known each other for years. When I began seventh grade, I was still very innocent. My parents did such a good job of protecting my brother and I that I did not know a lot of heartache or hurt. In seventh grade, however, I experienced death for the first time when my aunt died without explanation. In seventh grade, I also realized that sometimes life is tough and that there is pain that can be much deeper than the surface wounds I had always known. In seventh grae, I lost a bit of innocence due to painful and trying family circumstances that surrounded my aunt's death. But, in seventh grade, I also saw strength modeled with grace as my parents held our family together despite their own heartaches. In seventh grade, I knew true peace because it was modeled to me through my parents.
I learned a lot in seventh grade. I learned more as the years went on and innocence melted away. But nothing stands out more to me than seeing my parents lean on one another through the most disheartening of circumstances. And I am thankful for that model. It is that model that gave me the ability to say to my own husband on our wedding day that I will never, ever divorce him. Times may get tough - but I was shown that love can withstand. And that's what I learned in seventh grade.
Now I'm going to go take a shower because I still smell like that perfume and it's really not that great of a smell...
Monday, November 24, 2008
Sloan liked gluing stuff all over his bird house - mostly I think he enjoyed playing with the glue gun. We got to make three jars of the cookie mix so we'll be enjoying cookies for quite some time!