Monday, August 30, 2010

Summer, Fading

Summer's End

Today and tomorrow are our last days at the pool. We've been nearly every other day, and I'm sure my dermatologist is glad to hear we are almost done with it.

Yes, we use sunscreen. Every time.

No, we don't use 50 SPF or full-body sun suits, because...


We like to live on the edge, I guess.


Sunday, August 29, 2010

You Say it's Your Birthday?


It's my birthday too, yeah.


Top Ten Reasons I'm Glad to be 42:
  1. I'm still here, baby. 
  2. I have an amazing family. They made beignets for me this morning.
  3. My friends are the best.
  4. It's twice as much as 21, so I'm now twice as legal as I used to be.
  5. People are a lot more impressed when I say I am training for a 5K than they were when I was 30.
  6. I didn't have a Magical Unicorn Toe when I was 21.
  7. If you Google "Magical Unicorn Toe," I'm the first listing.
  8. I am still less than half the age of my grandparents, who are still living, which means I'm not yet middle aged and won't be for another five or six years.
  9. My car insurance is at an all time low.
  10. Another year older is another year to learn something I didn't know before. Like how to not end sentences in a preposition. Dang.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Save the Drama for Your Mama

1.5 Miles

This was today - the day when I was proven to be correct about something. The day when "I know you can" became "You did it!"

It was a good day.

My boys ran 1.5 miles with me - 20 minutes of non-stop action. No...we aren't fast...just persistent...tortoises, not hares...

Up until this time (they've been following the couch to 5K program along with me, but were a few weeks behind...) the most they've ever run at one stretch was 8 minutes on Wednesday. There has been a lot of verbal coaching along the way - most of it consisting of things like:

  • Keep your breathing steady and quiet - all that noise is wasting energy!
  • Keep your shoulders still and your chest up - all that extra movement is wasting energy!
  • Find a focus point - calm your mind - all that tension is wasting energy!
  • Save the drama for later - all those histrionics are wasting energy!

Do you sense a theme here?

And today - after 5 solid weeks of dragging them to the track and begging them not to stop and pleading with them to just listen and do what I tell them and they'll make it and that they can do it because if I can do it they can do it and come on for pete's sake, just quit crying (ha) and you're not going to throw up, but if you do, make sure you get it in the grass and you can do it you can do it if you put your mind to it...

They did it.

Way to go, guys. Mama's so proud of you both.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

I Am Not Even Kidding, People.


I am in the market for a sound-dampening device that renders the space immediately surrounding me completely silent.

I am willing to pay top dollar.

Or even top dollar-fifty.

Monday, August 23, 2010



Nine years old. I can't believe it.

Nine years since he captured my heart, 
entering the world backwards and loudly and in a completely unexpected way.

Eight years since he learned to walk. 

Seven years since he decided to talk. 

Six years since he learned to use the toilet. 

Five years since he went to preschool and learned to read. 

Four years since he went to kindergarten and realized he is smarter than I am. 

Three years since he learned to ride a bike with no training wheels. 

Two years since he figured out how to turn a flip into the pool. 

One year since he discovered the power of making other people laugh.

To me, though...when I watch him sleeping, or catch a glimpse of him out of the corner of my eye, or when he grabs my hand as we walk across a busy street...

Joshua at one

He still looks like this...oatmeal and all...

Friday, August 20, 2010

What? It's Homemade? WTH?


So. In the last week I have:
  1. made whole wheat pizza crust
  2. made whole wheat bread
  3. made half whole wheat tortillas
  4. made beer bread
And in doing such, I've discovered a few things:
  1. I like baking (and eating) homemade bread
  2. Dr. SmartyPants likes eating homemade bread
  3. Joshua likes eating homemade bread
  4. BEER bread? Yeah - 'nuf said.
  5. Don't overcook the tortillas.
  6. Derek does NOT like anything that I make from scratch. If it doesn't come in a bag or a box from the grocery store, it doesn't taste good. Especially if it is "organic." Please understand that he says it just that way - with the air quotes, as if I said, "Hey Derek! Come here and eat this poop I found in the back yard! It's "organic!"
I've also discovered that if I reheat the pizza on the homemade whole wheat pizza crust for lunch the next day, it suddenly tastes just dandy to Derek, and he'll eat every last bite, because he totally forgot it was homemade.

Ha! Suckah...

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

I Don't Mean to Brag. Oh Wait. Yes...Yes I Do.


Do you see that bread up there?

That gorgeous, artisan whole wheat loaf of yummy deliciousness?

I made it.

With my own two hands. And a mixer up to the point where it got too gooey and I cast it aside and plunged my own two hands into the goop.

Now. Those who know me know how out of character this whole process is.
A: I did not use a mix.
B: I did not pay someone else to do it.
C: It involved the oven.
4: My hands got gooey stuff on them, and
E: I actually enjoyed the process.
I am not sure what has happened to me.

The recipe I used was from the back of the flour bag, but I found it here, if you're in the mood for a yummy home made bread. It is NOT a dinner roll recipe, despite what the photo might lead you to believe, BUT as I don't bake much outside the occasional birthday cake (from a mix) or lemon poppy seed muffins (from a mix) or brownies (from a mix), I didn't have a loaf pan.

I didn't actually realize I didn't have a loaf pan until I was midway through the first rise and I went to look for my loaf pan and remembered it was in Tennessee, and then I panicked, and then I improvised. I just cut the dough into 8 pieces and rolled it up into balls and slapped it into a round cake pan and made mini loaves.

And then this morning, I cut a mini roll-like loaf into 5 teeny slices and added butter and cinnamon sugar and broiled it and promptly died of glee.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Park it Here.


My gym teacher in the 8th grade was named Ms. Park.

I had a weird habit of saying everyone's names backward in my head back then. In fact, I still do it.


Hi.  My name is Nhaid Nosnhoj Tto.

I used to ride in the backseat of the car and point out helpful things like "Hey Mom... Mom... Mom."

"What, dear."

"Did you know that Ford spelled backward is Drof? That's weird. Drof. D.R.O.F"

Mom...whispering, "you're weird."

"What Mom?"

"Oh, nothing, sweetie. That's very interesting. Let's play the quiet game."

So, anyway. Back to Ms. Park...

See... what happens when I play this little mental game is that IN MY MIND that becomes the person's name.

So her name was Sm. Krap.

Which meant that every time I walked in gym class, I snickered and said, "some crap," under my breath.

Which could explain why I was always used as the demonstration target for Dodgeball...

"JOHNSON! Go stand on the Cougar in the middle of the gym. I want to show the rest of the class the "No Hit Zones."

I still flinch every time I see a ball coming toward me.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

It's Official


I am the world's most boring human.

I just put Dr. SmartyPants to sleep, telling him about my plan for the next couple of weeks' menus. And how frugal I'm going to be.

With my menu planning.

Using my Gmail calendar.

I almost put myself to sleep.

I'm going to go read a book about carbon fiber nanotechnological advancements in aerospace engineering so I can keep him awake next time we have a moment to talk.

Or I can share with him the next year's curriculum ideas and how I'm going to organize all of it by color.


Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Avert Your Eyes

Avert Your Eyes

I adore this photo of Joshua. It just, well, it looks just like him. This is the real Joshua - the goofball kid that makes stupid jokes and then laughs at them whether anyone joins in or not. He's such a little comedian.
The running thing is still going - ankles are still holding out. My boys have slacked off and I had to get them back on track (literally! on track!) today. It's exhausting being the cheerleader sometimes.

"Come on! You can do it! Just one more minute!"

Combine that with the fact that I'm also the coach...

"Head up! Don't slump! Faster! Go Go Go!"

And also one of the athletes trudging alongside them, and it makes for one tired mama. The only way I can figure out to make it work is to do my run (so I can run at my ideal pace) AND theirs (so I can motivate them to not give up), which is great for my fitness level, but not always great for my attitude.

"Why would you do that?" I can hear some of you asking...

Well - here's the thing.  I have one child who is a natural born runner. He runs with ease, looks comfortable doing it, can run farther and faster than my other one.  But he struggles with motivation..."why am I doing this again?"

The other child struggles a bit with gross motor control - he slumps and shuffles and drags his feet. He gets cramps and pains and has a harder time breathing. He would honestly rather sit on a couch all day long every single day and stare at a wall than participate in most forms of exercise.

Like getting up and walking to the bathroom. Or breathing regularly.

BUT. Sitting on a couch all day and not moving is not really an option in this family. Not anymore, anyway. We (Dr. SmartyPants and I) have been guilty of couch potato-itis over the past decade. We've been watching our health slowly deteriorate into a post-40 haze of remember-whens, and we're just not going to continue down that slippery-slope.

So, yes - maybe on Friday I'll get up and go for my run early in the morning and then come home and drag my reluctant children out of the bed to go for theirs before it gets too hot...maybe I'll shuffle run alongside them for an extra 30 minutes of activity...maybe that's a little nuts...

But I'm operating on the belief that good habits will be forming in their little brains, that the satisfaction of a job well done will win out over the pull of the sofa, and that good triumphs over evil.

Okay. That last one may not fit there, but I felt the need for three points.

For now?

Now I think I need a nap.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

TFR and the Leftovers

Raikki Romeo Looks Up

Well, since I talked about Chico yesterday, I feel like I have to spend a little time on Raikki today. Sweet, sweet Raikki...the polar opposite of Chico.  Where Chico growls, Raikki whimpers. Where Chico charges, Raikki ducks and covers. Where Chico snaps, Raikki slobbers.

And slobbers.

And then he might drool.

Anyhow - Raikki had a bit of surgery whilst we were in Knoxville. We waited until we could go to our vet there, because they are awesome, as I may have mentioned yesterday. We also waited because the cost for the particular surgery that he needed was twice as expensive at the vet here in Arlington.


Just to remove a couple of things. You know. Yes. Those.

So. The boys were curious about the surgery, given the nature of it. They know just enough about reproduction to understand that it takes a male and a female, a sperm and an egg, but they understand it from more of a fish perspective...the female lays some eggs, the male swims over it and deposits the sperm - there's no contact between the two.

They also understand that mammals carry their young in their bellies, and therefore things must work differently between fish and mammals.

After we dropped Raikki off at the vet for his surgery, as we were driving home, Derek pipes up from the back seat.

"Hey Mom." (because every sentence that proceeds from his mouth must be prefaced by that phrase, regardless of whether there is anyone else in the car or room at that particular time.)

"Yes?" (because if I don't say "yes," he will just say "hey mom" again until I answer.)

"How does removing Raikki's testicles prevent him from making puppies?"

*hands gripping steering wheel a little more tightly* "Well, honey - you know that to make babies, you need an egg and sperm, right? Testicles are the sperm factory, so if he doesn't have any, he can't make any sperm."

"Oh. Okay."

*hands relax briefly*

"Hey Mom?"

*stomach clenches, hands grip* "Yes?"

"I know you need an egg and a sperm and all that, but how do the egg and the sperm get together?"

*panic. hyperventilate. slow down. remember to drive.* "Well, son. That's a bigger conversation than we can have in the car. We'll talk about it with your dad when he gets home, okay?"


*pass out. wake up. continue to drive home.*

"Hey Mom?" (this time it's Joshua.)

"Yes?" (the same rules apply.)

"I have a new name for Raikki." (remember his acronym fascination?)

"What's that?"

"TFR. Get it? Testicle Free Raikki!" (much laughter ensues, including from me.)

Later that afternoon, we headed back to the vet to pick him up, and the boys were rather fascinated with how things looked different.

"Hey guys - we'll have to be really careful with Raikki and make sure his stitches don't get pulled or anything."

"Stitches? Where does he have stitches?" (Derek again.)

"OH. Right." (as it dawns on him.) "In his leftovers..."

Monday, August 09, 2010

Adventures in Parenting, of a sort...


So, the boys and I spent two solid weeks at our house in Knoxville, battling spiders and weeds and overgrown crepe myrtles and wasps. We had the Orkin Man come out for an extra visit, and he found a couple of nests on the fort and killed them. He looked under the deck and said we were all clear. Dr. SmartyPants did a check when he arrived as well, because I was getting two or three (or more) wasps in the house daily. He looked under the same deck and found two nests to kill, plus one under the bay window next to the deck.

Ahem. So, anyway...

One evening, we were getting ready to have dinner with some friends, and Dr. SmartyPants let the dogs out to do their doggie bidness before we crated them. Chico, the grouchy grumpypants chihuahua ducked under our deck just long enough to enrage the wasps that had take up residence there - he came running back out with five or six following him.

We got him in the house and examined him - I found one big red lump on top of his head, but he seemed okay. I gave him a benadryl, loaded up his Kong with peanut butter and he hopped in his crate.

While I was helping Joshua find his shoes, the Smarty called me over to have a look at Senor Chico. He was standing in the crate, licking the peanut butter out of his Kong, but his feet were all pointing in different directions, and he was listing to the left.

I opened the crate and called him out and he kind of stumbled out and fell into my lap. His tongue and gums were almost white and his eyes were twitching. I called the vet and they told us to bring him in right away. (note to my Knoxville peeps - the vet tech at Cedar Bluff Animal Clinic was waiting at the front door for me - she grabbed him and headed back to start treatment immediately - fantastic people there...)

Poor guy had gone into anaphylactic shock! After an intense hour of serious veterinary care, including fluids, steroids and more benadryl, they let him come home with us. We had to watch him overnight pretty carefully, just in case the symptoms came back.

The vet found and removed four or five stingers, including one INSIDE HIS EYELID.

That's five wasp stings for a 10 pound dog.

He's doing fine now - I had started to worry, because he was being really nice to everyone, including Raikki.

But His Grumpiness has with extra venom.

Dear Orkin Man...

You're fired.