Tuesday, May 15, 2012

We Were Swangin'

I was thinking last night as I was waiting to fall asleep about writing this post. I was mentally composing the first paragraph. I wrote and edited it in my head and I was really happy with what I was going to write. It had some nice turns of phrase and a punch of humor at the end. It was really quite good.

And then I went to sleep and forgot it. This is how most of my life goes. I have flashes of brilliance about many different things in those times between waking and sleeping and then they are gone--vaporous like a mist--and I can never grasp them again, even though they sit there, floating around the pond of my thoughts, but always just out of reach.

So instead of brilliance, I give you What We Did Over The Weekend. Like I might have written in third grade. What can I say? When you don't have brilliance, you go with what you've got. And what we've got is some swinging.

My beloved is not the best at giving gifts. Don't get me wrong. He's generous--probably to a fault--but he just doesn't really know how to go about buying a gift without asking specifically what I want. So for the most part, I always know what I'm going to get, which, you know, isn't really such an awful thing. In the early years of our marriage, this used to bother me a lot. I'd think "Well, jeez! Just be creative! I love creativity! Or barring that, listen to me and buy me something that you hear me talk about but know I would never get for myself." This only led to frustration on my part, because my beloved just is not wired that way. While there have been a few occasions where I've been surprised, for the most part it goes like this:

Beloved: What do you want for  (fill in the occasion)?
Me: I'm sure you can think of something. (Just to give him the chance.)
Beloved: No, really. What do you want for _________?
Me: ________, or________, or ________. But you don't have to do them all! Or any of them! Whatever! It's all good! And really, sweet cupcake honeybunches, you are all the gift I'll ever need.

I may have made that very last sentence up. Sorry if it made you hork in your Cheerios. The point is, it's become a fairly well-oiled operation: he asks, I demur, he asks again, I give him a list, he gives me something from the list, we are both happy. Just to switch it up now and again, I tell or show Maggie what I want, and then she lets Patrick know or goes shopping with him and then I can almost fool myself into being surprised.

It may be a little strange that my husband buys me a gift for Mother's Day, now that I stop and think about it. After all, I'm not his mother. Although sometimes when I'm putting away his laundry it can feel like I am. And my kids--well, my younger ones anyway--always give me a homemade gift, which always makes me all squishy-hearted and teary. I guess it started when the kids were little and wanted to shop for something for me and, being May, I almost always asked for something for the yard or garden. One year they got me some planters and the kids and I spent the day planting flowers. Now, if I said "Hey kids! Who wants to help me plant flowers?" all they would hear is "Hey kids! Who would like to go outside into the unairconditioned sunshine and toil like an unpaid peasant where your hands might get dirty and there might be bugs?" So this year, when my beloved noticed that Mother's Day was approaching, I had already planted a bug in Maggie's ear. Um...not literally.

I have always wanted a swing. Growing up, I lived in a big four-square house with a big front porch on a busy corner in a small town. My dad didn't build a porch swing until I was grown and moved away with kids of my own, so I never really enjoyed it but for short stretches when we visited. Our first home in Minneapolis,  had a screened back porch, but not enough room for a swing or a glider. Our next home in Indy, we built a deck and had lovely furniture and we built the kids a playscape, but I had no swing and there was no more room in the yard to put one. This house has a very nice patio in the back yard and after we moved our lovely outdoor furniture onto the patio, we had room left over. And this year, as I was walking around a home improvement store with Maggie, we spied the patio swings and I told her that that was what I would like to have for Mother's Day.

Being a bright and dutiful daughter, she mentioned it to her father, who then walked around for a good part of last week saying "I know just what you're getting for Mother's Day--and I thought of it all by myself!" This was said with a grin that implied the very opposite. I would just look at him and smile and  say "Of course you did! Just be sure to take Maggie with you, she knows the one I like."

My beloved, my sweet cupcake honeybunches (and this time, I might actually mean it) spent several hours on Saturday, assembling my new swing. It's a sweet ride. I sat in it and laid on it for most of the day on Sunday, reading and watching the birds and swinging with various of my offspring that would wander close enough for me to snag and pull onto the swing with me. I even took this picture of my motley crew of blessings on Mother's Day after church.

I cannot tell you just exactly how well this picture shows their individual personalities. I never did get one where they were all looking at me and smiling. But I love this picture nonetheless, because it's a perfect snapshot of our life.

A good, generous, and loving husband and four bright, funny, loving children--this mama is blessed. The swing? It's gravy, baby, smooth, swinging gravy.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012


Dear May,
I love your sunshine and your beautiful blooms and your preview of summer. But May, why are you always so busy? You are so full of things to do that I can hardly enjoy all the beauty you have to offer. Between school projects and celebrations and finals and field trips and baseball and talent shows and recitals and everything else, I'm having a hard time. That's okay though, May, because things could be worse. You could be February, the longest shortest month of the year.
Keep shining,
Busy Mom

Dear Fat,
This is an eviction notice. Please vacate the premises immediately. You have overstayed your welcome and during your stay have contributed nothing worthwhile. Your landlord is working hard to see that once you have left, you will not be allowed re-entry.
That is all.
The Management

P.S. Make sure you take the extra stores you have located in the boob area.

Dear Exercise,
I know you are good. I know you are working hard at repairing the damage I have done and I'm sure it's not an easy job. But, Exercise, why do you take so long? 390 minutes a week doesn't seem like much in the scheme of things, but when you consider that I have to spend about that long in the laundry room every week, well, you can see how I'm getting a little thrown off. You have become a priority for me, but I'm just not sure how to rearrange everything else around you and make sure everything gets done. I will continue to see that you get done. But would you do me a favor and show me some results already?
Thanks in advance,
Fitness Queen

P.S. Stop laughing.

Dear Dumb Dog,
I hesitate to say anything, because you have finally (sort of) mellowed out. You haven't escaped lately, you haven't run into any neighbors' yards and brought them knocking on our door to complain, and aside from the incident with the Pit Bull--which wasn't your fault, because really, who lets their 8 year old walk a Pit Bull?--you have left me with very little to complain about. Oh, there's dog hair. There's ALWAYS dog hair. It's like laundry. You think you're done with it, but really, it just never goes away. But you've done little to give me blog fodder, is what I'm saying.
You've developed this new little um...thing. It's about you shifting your bed around in the middle of the night. It's not that you're getting up and turning circles to get more comfortable. No, you are taking your large dog bed and dragging it around our bedroom to another spot. I assume this is a little like flipping a pillow over to get the cool side, but I have to say, my pillow flipping doesn't wake you up from a sound sleep. You're like the Princess and the Pea over there and it's starting to irritate me.
Not to mention that you drag your bed to weird places. Squeezed in the corner behind the chair? Halfway under our bed? Right in the path of the bathroom door? It's a little strange, is all. Now, I can do strange, but it would be delightful if you could just be a little more quiet while you are fluffing, plumping, dragging, pushing, and tossing your bed.
Your Alpha

Dear Jamesie-boy,
You were fabulous in the talent show! If someone had told me 9 years ago when you did some odd little dance wherein you looked like a body builder showing off his pecs and arms while simultaneously shaking his tushie and throwing out his lower jaw and furrowing his brows that I would watch you dance in a talent show, I would have asked them what they were drinking and if I could have some. You, my son, have some mad skillz, yo. Last year, I had no idea what dubstepping was. Now, thanks to watching you, not only do I know it, but I think it's really cool. Just don't ask me to do it. Dude, I can't even do The Robot and just about everybody can do The Robot.
I am proud of you for working with your buddy and coming up with a cool routine. I'm proud of you for practicing. Mostly, I'm proud of you for having the courage to get up on stage in front of a couple hundred people and dance. Well done, grasshopper.
Mom (who dances like Elaine Benes in Seinfeld.)

Dear SeannieBuck,
Dude, you're batting is tickling me pink this year. I'm not sure where you gathered your confidence from this year, but I want you to hang on to it because at some point this season, you will probably need it. Just know that while your bat is hot right now, it might not stay that way and that you are still a good ball player. You know what else? I'm proud of you for helping out the kid on your team that needs a little extra of everything. We've talked about it and I've told you that he's already got a hard fight just because he's not typical and that you should do anything you can to not make that fight harder. I've watched you and you are finding ways to encourage and befriend and that? Well, son if you never hit another ball this season, I'd say you did enough to have the best season yet.
Mom (who's not a pitcher, but a total belly-itcher.)

Dear Blog Reader,
Thanks for visiting here. Thanks for coming back. Thanks for not staying away even though I've been so sporadic in my posting lately because of a combination of busy-ness and feeling as if I really don't have much to say. I write for me, because I must. But I appreciate that you want to read my words. Thanks for your comments both here in the comments section and on Facebook. It really is nice to know that you are out there.
Bless you.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

What I Know

I know some things and it's mostly stuff that you won't give a hoot about, but I'm sharing them anyway.

I know that I never remember kitchen conversions so I have to keep a chart posted inside one of my kitchen cabinets.

I know that I am getting stronger because my trainer made me do some things yesterday that I wouldn't have been able to do a month ago.

I know that I look like this when I'm done with Zumba:

Well hello, Miss Sweaty McStinkerton! What have you been doing?

Sorry. I know that was scary. Hope I didn't make you spit your beverage all over your computer screen.

I know that Sean's last two games were rained out--one in the 4th inning and one before it started. So I also know that even though we've only had 2 games so far this season, we will already be having make up games.

I know that my husband is flying out on business this week. I know that it will be hot where he is. I know he is not looking forward to it. (But it's a dry heat! ;) )

I know that it's going to be in the 80's here this week and that means I will finally get to plant some flowers and get my garden going.

I know that Tilly gets nervous when I do Zumba and cowers in a corner.

I know that I still watch reruns of "Friends" and it still makes me laugh.

I know that Phoebe is still my favorite.

I know that my children have no idea how to replace a lid on the toothpaste tube.

Ditto with the toilet paper.

I know that I have no idea what I'm making for supper tonight.

I know that a trip to the grocery store is in my imminent future.

I know that a trip to the pet store to buy a net for the fish my kids have is also on the list.

I know that we used to have a net.

I know that I have no idea where it went.

I know that "Parks & Recreation" makes me snort.

I know that watching "Awake" with my daughter on Thursday nights is something I look forward to all week. (Oh Mr. Malfoy! Look at you with your American accent and your blue eyes and your weird problem with whether or not your are dreaming your realities!)

I know that I have some graduation gifts to find and I know that I don't really know what to get.

I know that my daughter has already filled in my beloved on what to get me for Mother's Day.

I know that my beloved is trying to act like it's his idea.

I know that watching Mary and Sean play "Double Fine Happy Action Theater" on the Kinect is hilarious.

I know that playing "Double Fine Happy Action Theater" myself is even more fun.

I know that "Double Fine Happy Action Theater" sounds like a horrible Chinese translation.

I know that someone found my blog by using the search term "Patty Prayer doll".

I know that it makes me happy to think that someone else out there had one.

I know that the idea that someone else tortured their own "brother Jon" makes me ecstatic.

I know that my children are all (okay, not Maggie. She knows she needs her sleep and polices herself well.) staying up too late because the daylight hours are getting longer and they are outside doing stuff.

I know that I have a hard time calling them in on time because I love that they are out doing stuff.

And also because I get distracted.

I know that one of my children (*cough*Mary*cough*) is a complete grouch pouch in the mornings if she doesn't get enough sleep.

I know that she is a bit of a hypochondriac.

I know that I was a bit of a hypochondriac at the same age.

I don't know how my mother put up with me.

I know I should quit writing this ridiculous post.

I know that I should go shower.

I know that I'm having a hard time quitting because I'm on a roll with all the things I know.

I know that you are happy this post is done and I also know that you didn't come away knowing any more than you did when you got here.