Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Power struggle

Every night, Shane takes control of the clicker. It doesn't quite seem fair. So this evening I tried some Jedi mind trick on him.

Me: "Tonight we're watching American Idol."

Him: "I'm not watching that."

Me: "Yes, you are."

Him: "I can't stand that show."

Me: "Then you read your book, and I'll watch American Idol. Win, win."

He looks over at the remote control on my couch and makes a lunge for it. I block. He grabs my arms. I bump him with my hips. Then I clock him in the face (accidentally) with my elbow. He grunts. We're both laughing because neither one wants to give in. And he's in pain.

Me: "I'm going to take you out."

Him: "No you're not. You don't even exercise."

We struggle some more ... and I say struggle because we're both laughing so hard.

Him: "Erin! Come get Mommy! Hold her down."

Wuss.

(Wondering if that is an appropriate term for a Christian to use ... hmm.)

Monday, March 29, 2010

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Beginning yoga

A friend of mine has mentioned yoga to me on several occasions. Recently, her specific plug for Rodney Yee hit home enough for me to check it out, especially when she said he had a program just for backs. Curious, I went to his site and checked out his stuff. Minutes later, my shopping cart had the back dvd and yoga for beginners. I eagerly checked our mailbox daily. The dvd's arrived yesterday.

I decided to preview the beginner video this afternoon during a lull in the day. My friend Denise was over and we sat watching the video's detailed instructions of what to do and what not to do. Very helpful. Rodney gives great cues and, like my friend who'd recommended them said, has a very soothing voice. So soothing, that when I looked over at Denise, she was asleep on the couch. A glance back at Shane, and he was asleep on the other couch. With kiddos playing happily in the other room, I stretched out on the floor, closed my eyes and imagined that I was on a beach in Hawaii. And soon I was asleep too.

Yes, yoga is quite relaxing.

Friday, March 26, 2010

May I take your order?

7:02 and a chirpy girl greets, "It's morning, Mama!"

We head downstairs to Lanie's world--the quiet house is hers in the early morning as she entertains herself with coloring books and reading.

"Would you please fix me a muffin, a bowl of Cinnamon Crunch with milk, a vitamin and orange juice, please?" She always uses double pleases.

"I want a vitamin and Ben Cereal (Cracklin' Oat Bran) and Clifford Crunch," Erin adds. She likes to mix it up, like her dad. "Then you can cuddle me on the couch."

I haven't even rubbed my eyes yet. Or turned on the coffee pot.

Double entendre

Three hours. Page turning, underscoring, scribbling notes on scrap paper. Looking for themes. Searching for answers. Somehow, a part of my everyday finds its way into the mix. And thankfully so.

Tap-tap-typing. Cut. Paste. Cut. Moving copy around like a puzzle.

Reading.
Tweaking.
Preview.

Publish.

Ahh.

Writing over at 66 Books today.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Three

Never imagined I'd ever say to one of my kids, "Do not lick the cat's foot."

Erin tried not to look me in the eye. Lately, besides pretending she's a cat, she also likes to lick stuff, like friends' arms or cat's feet.

"Rudy steps in her potty box with those feet. You're licking poopie feet," I tell her.

She processes information. Looks disturbed. Walks towards me for a hug.

***

At bedtime, I get Erin settled in bed with kisses and hugs. We have a play group tomorrow at our house, and I prep her on etiquette. After reviewing how to share and take turns, I ask, "What do you say when the playdate is over and your friends are leaving?"

"Poop!" she grins.

I shake my head.

"Toot!" she tries.

"Goodbye," I tell her. Giggles.

***

Today the girls decorated two cupcakes and two cookies each. Lanie explains to the host that she is giving one very special flower cupcake to her dad.

"That's so nice," the lady responds, then turns toward Erin, "Who are you giving yours to?"

"I not sharing with anyone!" she says adamantly.

***

Took a Sunday drive with the family. Drove past lots of beautiful farms and hidden communities. Lanie started a conversation, "If a girl and a boy are brother and sister, can they marry each other?"

"No," I told her. "You can't marry people in your family."

"If a girl and a boy are friends who aren't brother and sister, they can get married, right?"

"Yes," I said.

"Well," Erin announced, "I going to marry Daddy."

Sweet three.

Monday, March 22, 2010

One thousand gifts (557-581)

557. A good hair cut.
558. Chalk drawings.
559. Juicy, ripe mangoes.
560. Bright nail polish and a manicure.
561. Cashews.
562. Clean water.
563. Neighborhood walk with a friend.
564. Blue skies.
565. Birthday parties.
566. Running.
567. Friends.
568. Spring weather.
569. Lanie's thankful day of 22 things.
570. A squirrel in our yard. The first time ever.
571. Turning on the moon and lighting the stars. A goodnight story to Erin about all the things a mommy has to do before going to bed. And thankful for the smile it brought to her face.
572. The last sweet sip in a cup of coffee.
573. Friends who stop by just because.
574. Thyme for my garden.
575. And rosemary.
576. Impromptu dinner with guests. And the firepit roasted marshmallows afterward.
577. Lisa.
578. Chrisi.
579. Christy.
580. Reggie.
581. Beckie.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Friendship garden

I'm such a sap, really. I'm getting the garden bed ready for this year's crop. I enjoyed gardening so much last year that I want to put up a second bed and do even more this time around. I have absolutely no gardening background. In fact, I killed off all the seedlings I started last year nearly moments after they sprouted. With the exception of lettuces, I plan on getting all plants established.

I was looking at the garden bed after the massive snow had melted off, and was surprised to see that some plants were coming back. One was the sage I hardly used last year because a tomato plant had practically grown over it. The other was an oregano plant my friend Betty Lou had given me from her garden. So special that she was just over the other day to spend time with me and the kids. At the garden, she told me about her experience growing oregano and I felt so very lucky that plant had survived.

Another friend stopped by Saturday with massive amounts of thyme from her garden. I shared some with two other friends and still had a hefty chunk to plant in mine. It was so fragrant and healthy, and best of all, given by someone I am lucky to know.

Today, during an impromptu playdate, one of the women I had given some thyme to shared some rosemary from her garden. I'm such a sap, but when I look out my kitchen window at this garden bed, I won't be seeing just a bunch of herbs--it's so much more meaningful to think of these people and their gifts of friendship in my life. A daily reminder of how lucky I am.

Counting blessings.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Spring fever

It has been lovely outside these past few days. I am so glad to have left behind some to-do's in order to enjoy easing into spring. Plenty of sidewalk chalk, scootering, swinging, taking walks. Enjoying bird song and breezes. Anticipating iced tea and flip flops.

Yesterday, Lanie invented a game of tag where I get to chase the kids and when I catch them, "lock them up" in the playset, whereby they escape down the slide and I get to chase them again. They loved this. I did too. Lanie is a bullet, but slowed down a couple of times to let me catch her. Great interval training. Who needs a gym! Lanie says she's in training for the co-op's field day race.

Today they wanted to do it all over again. This time, Lanie didn't slow down and I was not about to lose face in front of a potential audience of weekenders. So I kicked it up a level and I caught her. I really feel it in my thighs. What a workout!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Writer's block

Sitting in front of a computer screen, being taunted by a blinking cursor at 10:46 the night before a post is due is not a good thing.

I got up and made a cup of sleepy tea. Probably not a very good idea, but I was cold.

Went back to computer and stared.

Back to the kitchen to remove tea bag and sip at tea, having hair-pulling conversation in my head over freedom and why it seems to elude me.

Went back to computer screen and stared.

Got up and made Shane's lunch. Thought about why he never takes a banana when I pack it for him, and packed one for him anyway. Curious to see if he'll actually take it tomorrow.

Went back to computer and stared.

And stared.

Decided to write a non-related post on writer's block and wasted almost ten minutes. I suspect I will regret the lost time in the morning when I might wish Erin had a snooze button on her head. Or at least take an occasional nap.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Indulgent

Lanie did a presentation at school today on the history of chocolate. And we bought Hershey kisses for the occasion--think education. She decided to hand out two kisses to each child. And then we, mostly me, polished off the rest of the bag--over the course of two days, before you start making judgments.

Please tell me a serving size is 30 pieces.


Great spring weather. Erin and Lanie outside in milder temps.


Chalk talk; Erin scootering; my mini me.


Erin outside in winter looking in; Lanie warming up rosie cheeks; sisters.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Dinner tonight

I grilled up chicken last night to carry us through a few days. Tonight I used some to make a chicken salad slightly reminiscent of Panera's apple chicken salad. Even the man liked it.

I used:

mixed greens
grilled chicken
a handful or two of chopped pecans
a good amount of Feta cheese
a handful or two of crisp apple chips (the red delicious kind; I recommend adding after tossing with dressing to maintain crispiness.)
one tomato, sliced
chopped red onion to taste

Dressing:

1 tablespoon apple juice concentrate (I used a no-sugar added variety)
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon white balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/3 cup olive oil

Mix dressing ingredients in a jar and shake. Pour over salad contents. Top with apple chips.

Erin wrestles with eternity

Lanie read John 8 as part of her Bible time and reading exercise today. The topic of death comes up; Erin and Lanie then start to have a discussion about it.

Erin listed the things you can no longer do once you die: listen to music, play with friends, rest on the couch, do school with Mommy, eat, or sit on that "thingy" (the lounger in the school room).

After a few minutes of quiet as she played, she continued, "Or go in a tent. Or color. Or close the curtains. Or swing."

Silence. Then, "Or make stuff. Or sleep in bed. Or do some glue (crafts). Or play games. Or have fresh air. Or read books. Or talk, write or see Kaelyn and Becca. You cannot do anything if you get dead."

Lanie goes on to tell Erin that she'll die one day. Everyone will. Erin sings along with background music, her Veggietales CD, "In my bed so quietly, I rest in knowing God loves me." I felt tears. My own.

Erin picked back up, "Or pet cats, Mom. Or swim in a pool."

I decide to intervene and mention all the good things about heaven: how we'll all be there; there is music and singing and happiness and all kinds of good things.

And she surprised me with this, "Are you going to get chocolate in heaven? Maybe we can drive and get some."

My mini me.

Monday, March 15, 2010

One thousand gifts (539-556)

539. Seeing hopscotch squares from a child's perspective.
540. GMO (girls morning out) with friends at Panera.
541. Getting to sleep in on Sunday from springing forward, thanks to my Good Guy hanging out with the kiddos.
542. Good nights of sleep.
543. Milder temperatures.
544. Lettuce seeds for planting.
545. Lanie's lists of thanks. Her journal is filling fast with her daily thanks, love notes and pictures. What a keepsake.
546. Lanie's sweet lisp while missing two front teeth.
547. A quiet GNO (girls night out) with friends while kids slept. Great company (and delicious food).
548. Return of oregano and sage in my garden.
549. Lanie's daily piano practicing.
550. Legos.
551. Leftovers.
552. Love of two sisters for each other, Lanie and Erin. (Lanie, generously giving to Erin from a birthday party goody bag; Erin selecting her church craft just for Lanie; the imaginative play between them.)
553. Home.
554. Books to read.
555. Singing with my kids.
556. Good coffee.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Going on twenty

When I pack Shane's lunch, I put his sandwich in the fridge and leave the lunch bag out on the counter with a lunch-size bag of chips and a piece of fruit. It's his job to remember to grab the sandwich and take it with him in the morning. Lately, he has forgotten to do this, taking only fruit and chips.

I hate making the call in the morning to tell him he has forgotten it because I know how it bugs him to have to go out and get something to eat. Today, when I saw his sandwich in the fridge, I sent him an email. (Honestly, there was a part of me that wanted to take a picture of the inside of the fridge and have him look for the item that didn't belong. And then another shot of me taking a mock bite out of his sandwich. We play like that.)

When he came home tonight, he said to me, "What was up with your email today?"

"What are you talking about?" I asked.

It read:

Subject: 4real?

Dude. You totally left your sandwich in the fridge this morning. I'm so serious.


"It was like a twenty-year-old wrote it," he said. "What, did you forget you're forty?"

That was a good laugh.

The brighter side

I didn't plan it. I went to bed after midnight only to get back out after 2 a.m. from a terrible battle of insomnia. I read some of a book. I scooted around the internet. I did some talking out loud. I tried to go back to sleep at 3:30. Was awake to kiss Shane goodbye. I think it was nearly five when I fell asleep.

The girls were up at 7 a.m. Lanie was tap-tapping on my shoulder at 7:02.

"I'll be down in a minute," I told her, while trying to find a way to slip away from Erin without waking her. But it didn't work. Erin climbed all over me and cuddled. Lanie came back in the room.

"I didn't get to sleep until after four this morning," I mentioned. Lanie looked at me blankly. "I got about three hours of sleep." Nothing. So much for sympathy. Erin continued to cuddle.

"That's ok, Mama. I cuddle you," she said. And then, "Eww. Your breath smells stinky."

On the brighter side, I think last night's rains got rid of the remaining snow in the yard. A totally unrelated highpoint, if that, but I'll take it.

Let the day begin.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Little girl

The other night before getting the kids settled into bed, Lanie climbed into my arms. She's changed so much, and at seven, is given to fits of full-out silly. Her smile, evolving as baby teeth come out to make room for permanent. One top front tooth lost last week. Another working its way out, and there's no break from her looking for opportunities to show me how she many directions she can bend it.

"I like to freak you out," she said. Mission accomplished.

But holding her the other night, I thought of how she had just been a little baby, and I could get her to fall asleep simply by running my finger between her eyes and down to the tip of her nose. I traced the line of memory and smiled at her.

"I love you, Mom," she told me. And then surprised me with, "You are so beautiful." She reached out and played with my hair, touched my face.

When I look in the mirror, I see grays battling for more territory on my head. I see frown lines that make-up doesn't cover up. I see skin that looks older and eyes that look tired. I am shocked by the quick changes I've seen just in the past three years when I look at photographs. But she looks at me and sees something else. Someone else.

"When I grow up," she said, "I want to be a mom."

That little baby tooth fell out at after snack yesterday while she was at school. She was so excited, showed me the tooth holder necklace she could keep it in. I opened the container.

"I remember when you first got that tooth," I told her.

"I couldn't wait for it to come out. But," she says slightly disappointed, "I thought that would mean I'd get to be a lot bigger." To me, it's like she has grown up overnight. But to her, she still feels like a little girl.

Monday, March 8, 2010

One thousand gifts (523-538)

523. A break from headaches.
524. Chocolate snacks from a playdate friend.
525. Girls morning out at Panera on Saturday. Weekly book club.
526. Walking around the lake with the family on Sunday. Lanie scootered the whole way: 2 1/2 miles!
527. A fun dinner out, sitting next to my big girl, sharing a Mile-high Mud Pie in celebration for her great attitude and progress in school.
528. Geese in snow.
529. Bottles of cold water.
530. A parking space near the trail when it seemed the whole county showed up to enjoy milder temps.
531. A dedicated group writing on 66 Books.
532. Buds on trees.
533. Melting snow.
534. Easter goods in the stores.
535. Excitement for spring.
536. Nutella.
537. A friend who calls to see if we're ok.
538. Being ok.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Life with girls

Fashion:

"Mom, is this princess crown mine or Erin's?"

Thoughtfulness:

I'm always the chilly one in the house and from fall to spring, I wear a fleece jacket around. Erin comes to me this morning and says, "Take off your jacket, Mama, and I warm you up on the couch!"

And even coffee:

Shane on coffee, "Hazelnut ... Butter Toffee ... where are the man flavors?"

Monday, March 1, 2010

One thousand gifts (512-522)

512. For knowing Chuck Sr., who passed away on Feb. 26 from emphysema. A very dear man, nearly 80, who loved his wife and family deeply. Thankful for tears over a man who was gentle, friendly and kind. That he loved so well during his life and was loved back.
513. Snickers bar in the freezer and Tylenol.
514. Some time to get my scrapbooking together. Two and a half years behind, but making progress.
515. March. Beginning a Saturday morning study at Panera over coffee. And Sunday bike rides.
516. My bike. I bought it fifteen or so years ago, and it was cheap and it creaks and groans, but I put a lot of good miles on it. Hoping to add more this year.
517. M&Ms, sunglasses and David Crowder.
518. Good drinking water.
519. Farmland.
520. Snow flurries, hazelnut coffee and a piano serenade on a Sunday morning.
521. Winning! Looking forward to it, Amy! So very kind of you to do a giveaway.
522. Glimpses of grass under snow.