Sunday, July 29, 2012

Coming Home

Last Thursday night, after one speeding ticket and two days in a minivan with my Mother-in-law and three children, I arrived at my childhood home for my annual three week-ish visit.  The ultimate highlight of my year. 

There is truly nothing like coming home.

You can find a post from last year's Indiana happiness here

Every time I come back I feel flooded with relief that there are green trees all over the place, grass, and even a hill here and there.  There are countless familiar places, filled with memories of every moment of years that made me, me. 

I feel comfortable, confident and courageous. 

Fine, I don't really feel courageous, but I just liked the idea of another 'c' word in that string.  I could feel courageous, I just haven't been faced with a courage worthy situation yet.  I'll keep you updated though.

I love this place.

On Friday, I drove less than five minutes to meet my best friend since first grade's brand new baby girl.  There is something profoundly awesome about that.  I wish I had it more often.

I love that I am writing from my childhood room.  This is where I have played with baby dolls, perfected the rolling of my jeans, Aqua Netted my hair, and cried over boyfriends.  This is where I spent the night before I started the scary journey through middle school, the night before I left for college, the night before I studied abroad, and the night before my wedding. 

This place is filled with my monumental joys and my heartaches, which I cherish.

I used to pray and pray that Alex would want to move here.  I begged God to change Alex's heart so he could see how much I miss it, how much I want to be here, and that my feelings, my desperation would be enough. 

In ten years it has never happened though, never even a moment of pretend consideration. 

It isn't happening.  It's not my way.

A few years ago I made peace with it and figured there is a reason I'm not here.  There is something I need to do in Texas, or not do here. But I'd be lying though if I said that peace is a constant sense of calm and not a knock down fight within myself, particularly when I am here.

It's difficult.  I want to be here. 

Two quick, non-emotional items that I can't resist sharing with you all...

First, you'll notice I haven't written since I arrived.  My lack of writing is due to the lack of Internet at my parents' house post 10 pm, when I finally have an opportunity to write.  My Mother turns off their wi-fi every night because she believes that some boys that live behind here will surely jump on her Internet connection and immediately start sorting through all the porn the world wide web has to offer. 

She is against that.

Second, I used a telephone book today. 

There isn't really anything more to this information than that, but I found it really strange and needed to tell someone.  Sidenote:  It still works!

Alright, who wants to offer my husband some insanely awesome position of employment in the Indianapolis area?  Email me.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Let's Blame This On Kris Calder AND The Entire Mayan Population

These look innocent enough, right?

Just a pair of shorts? 

Yeah right.

Let's start at the beginning.

After a purchase of some clothing in May, I challenged myself to not spend any money on clothes during the month of June.  I honestly have too much, I don't need anything, and it would be a good financial move.

I also banned myself from Target because I think that overall I spend about $300 less a month if I simply don't go to that store. More than making me feel badly, that fact makes me really wish I just owned a Target. 

I wonder how much that would cost?

I was doing really well fulfilling my promise to myself.  I hadn't even thought about cheating, until I was strolling through my Facebook feed and landed on one of my more fashionable friends, Kris Calder's, photos from her girl's weekend. She and her friend had both shown up for the weekend wearing the same pair of shorts, the exact ones pictured above.

I felt as though they were speaking to me.

They weren't really all that kind though, which is strange because Kris is really nice.  I don't know her friend though so maybe she was really mean and making Kris say mean things through the photo.

Here's what I heard.

1. "Don't we look really good in these shorts?  We are very fashionable and trendy and hip. You don't have shorts like this, do you Leslie?"

They were right.  They did. They are.  No, no I don't.

2. "We are going to have such a good time this weekend without any children!  You are not!"

I knew it.

3. "Wasn't it spring break of 1994 when you last had a good looking pair of drawstring shorts?"

Yes, yes it was!  How did they have this accurate information?

It was obviously a really weird moment. But now I needed those adorable shorts.

I was a grown woman stalking my friends on a social networking website and feeling envious of their activities and style.
Then I took the pathetic up a notch. 

It was June 30, but the boys had been invited to birthday parties and instead of holding on to my rule, I went to Target to "buy presents."  The truth is that I had heard those shorts were there. They lived at Target and I could probably have them.

I walked in and not only were they really there, but they were right in front...and on sale. I was pretty sure either God wanted me to have the shorts or was giving me the chance to do the right thing and stick to the promise I had made to myself.  It might have been a test.

I've never been a really good test taker.  If anyone should know that it would be God, right?

Crap, I was failing my test.

BUT...I mean, if you think about it, if it had been February instead of June, the month would have been over.  It wasn't my fault June had 30 days instead of 28.  I didn't make the calendar.  The Mayans or Greeks or someone did.

(Side note:  Please never, ever use this blog for factual information you might find in encyclopedias if they still existed or on the History channel.  I'm just making this up as I go because I think it feels good to pretend to have information rather than having to figure it out.  It's fun, you should do it.)

Also, much like I don't control the days of the month, I have little control over Target's product placement and sale selections.  I have heard Target is a mean marketing machine, and my brain probably could not resist the location/discount tactics being thrown at it, particularly with a child in tow.  It's my weak intelligence from years of struggling with dinner selections, flip flop locations, poop, and things that are supposed to be fun but come in a zillion pieces and are left EVERYWHERE in my house.  How was I supposed to resist this? 

Come to think of it, these shorts were a pattern I think I once saw on a blanket in Mexico when I was on spring break in 1988.  I probably was confused and thought it was a blanket with a very intricate tribal pattern, most likely from the Mayans (bastards!)  I was cold, AND I had just been telling Alex that I thought we needed to include more art in our home.  A beautiful, hand woven wall rug/pair of shorts totally counts as art.

How do you fight?

So I bought them.  I wear them essentially all the time and it's likely the people that see me most often, like the employees at the local grocery store and my next door neighbor, think I own nothing but this one pair of amazing shorts.  They probably are posting photos of me on their Facebook pages. 

I also lamely alternate a white tee with a necklace and a black tank with big earrings because that's what I saw Kris and her cool friend doing.

Do I really have no will power AND no personal sense of style?

As disappointed as I am in myself, and the Mayans, these shorts look better and feel better than I ever dreamed they would when I first started stalking Kris Calder's photo.  The look super short in the photo but the beauty is that they aren't and they aren't the slightest bit tight, just glorious. 

I've even inspired many women to purchase them themselves, it's like I'm spreading culture and joy through a $15-$20 pair of cotton shorts.

I might have failed in my promise to myself, but I totally scored with the shorts.  Currently it all feels worth it.  If you have seen these and not purchased them, you are either a much, much stronger person than I am, or you are completely immune to the power of the Mayan people. 

Here's the link here to the shorts so you can order them ASAP. 

Be warned, they come in three other patterns too.

I'm sorry for trying to lead you down my path of weakness.  Maybe I'm part Mayan?

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

If You Ever Wonder What Your Six Year Old Would Think of The Bachelorette, Please Read On - PYHO

I think it's important that you know how good of a Mom I am.  The evidence is everywhere.

I sneak spinach in to their smoothies, I explain the dangers of strangers in a scary enough but not too scary manner,  I make them aware of the complicated nature of The Bachelorette, I read them books, I praise them when I can muster it...the usual stuff.


They seriously don't even taste the spinach.  If you serve it in a colored cup they won't even tell it's changed their smoothie from berry red to brown.

Oh, you weren't talking about the spinach?

Are you not explaining the Bachelorette to your kids?

My reasons are complex.

For some reason, Alex didn't feel like watching The Bachelorette last night, it was as if he didn't even care if Emily found true love.  He didn't even mention a fear of Arie being cut.  I sometimes question his heart. He wanted to watch Sons of Anarchy, which sounded nice once I started watching that Jax character, but he's no Arie.

This morning was pretty straight forward with swimming lessons and a witch doctor appointment.  I haven't felt well all day, probably from anticipation of watching all the Fantasy Suite dates, but I decided it would be a good idea to take my three children out for a sit down's all part of the good Mom role.

Obviously, my children enjoyed it immensely. 
"You are SUCH a good Mom!"

As an exhausted Mom, feeling borderline sick, I feel it was a bad choice.

By the time we got home I was ready for everyone to be in rest time so I could take care of the important things I needed to do as a stay at home mom like stenciling and cooking and cleaning my bejeweled flip flops.

Oh, and I really was dying to watch The Bachelorette.

I started the show, and was met with much intervention from my kids.  I was determined to press on though, in spite of my children's obvious apathy toward my happiness. I was tired from the morning and unlike Alex, my heart is concerned for Emily's final pick.

It seems that Aiden was  hanging around more than I thought though.  It's possible he saw multiple clips of The Bachelorette.

Don't judge me Mom.
Now, before you are concerned that he was viewing a scandalous hot tub scene, Emily was looking for a family show and did not actually fulfill the traditional "fantasy suite" night.  I'm sure some were disappointed, but I found it all the more amusing...and sort of handy since my six year old apparently was paying attention.

Here are some of the questions Aiden had for me regarding this show....they seem valid.

1. Where are those people going in the helicopter?

2.  Are they married?

3. Where did that food come from?  Are they at a restaurant?

4. What are those people doing on a boat?

5.  Is that guy different than the helicopter guy?

6.  Why do they kiss so much?

7.  Why are they so "crazy" about each other?

8.  Is she holding hands with that guy now?

9.  Why is she crying?

10. Why is she crying and holding flowers now?

After so much pausing and explaining, I finally gave Aiden an overview of the show so he could feel informed and probably be more successful in life.

Here's was my explanation:

That lady gets to put on a lot of fun clothes and an obscene amount of makeup to do fun things with a lot of different guys.  Then she gives flowers to the ones she likes the most, usually including some guys that no one with a partial brain would enjoy the company of for longer than half of one of the cocktail parties they have to attend every week.  The ones she doesn't like as much don't get flowers and have to go home and are usually really mad and immature because every one thinks they are awesome, but it turns out the more you think that, the less awesome you really are.  At the end she finds just one guy that she thinks she really loves and says she is going to marry, but she probably won't because life isn't as good when we don't travel by helicopter and have to make your own food. 

He'll still get a flower though.

And this is why people's Moms probably pick the best person to marry.  Remember that.

He looked at me like I'm insane, told me that was weird, and went to watch Yogi Bear.

He's pretty wise. 

He would be such a good Bachelor.

Linking up to Shell's Pour Your Heart Out!  Check out her blog here.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Seven (Don't Worry, This is Much Different Than That Brad Pitt Movie, It's Just a List.)

It's been a long holiday weekend.  Alex has been off work since the Fourth and honestly, it's starting to freak me out a little bit to have a husband around so much. 

Freaked out in a good way of course.

Being that I'm freaked out though, here's seven quick things, because that's when my brain shut down from all the excitement of having extra help around here.

1. I checked Wuthering Heights out of the library last week in hopes that I could read it and counteract some of the intellectually toxic novels I have been reading.  I've even been practicing my English accent and watching extra episodes of Downton Abbey so that I could more accurately understand the story.

Unfortunately, I'm only on page 7. I've been on page 7 since the first night I tried to read and fell immediately asleep.  I can't stop reading the 14th, yes 14th, don't judge me, book in the ridiculous Stephanie Plum series about a female bounty hunter. 

Maybe my brain is permanently damaged?

2.  As a result of an undetermined incident of trauma, Stella has chipped one of her front teeth.  She now has a snarl tooth and will now be mistaken for a child without parents who care about buying her tiny character covered toothbrushes and toothpaste that tastes like candy. 

Or, people might think she does meth. 

Probably meth.  She totally could be doing meth behind my back.

3. Alex and I had our first major parenting mistake tonight when we tried to watch Jumanji for Family Sunday Night Movie Time. 

(This time does not actually exist on a regular basis though capitalizing Family Sunday Night Movie Time makes you think it could.  I'm so deceptive!  My apologies.)

This movie is freaky and weird and terrified my boys.  Stella mostly giggled and tried on every one's shoes so I assume she is mentally tougher than they are, most likely as a result of her new drug problem. 

I'm not entirely opposed to scaring my children, but their fear meant that they couldn't go to sleep until 9:00, over an hour after they should have been in bed due to their state of exhaustion. Anything that prolongs bedtime will forever be banished from my house. 

I would like to formally declare Jumanji pure evil. 

4. Having Fourth of July in the middle of the week meant for a short work week for Alex and some serious quality time as a family, which I think is supposed to be a really good thing.

Unfortunately, I spent all Thursday feeling confused about the fact that it wasn't Monday and was forced to keep reminding myself that there would sadly not be any new Bachelorette on TV for another FIVE torturous days.  Holidays are deceptive and mean like that.  No one wants to be misled  and disappointed about the Bachelorette. 

Go Arie!

5. Stella, Aiden, Alex and I all slept in this morning until 9:00.  This is pure insanity and I don't even know how to explain it.  I can only assume that there is some high level of carbon monoxide in our house and we almost died. 

I also assume Cole is immune to the negative affects of carbon monoxide poisoning since he was up at 7, which totally makes sense. 

6. Alex and I just finished watching the second season of Downton Abbey, because we're raw like that. Being completely at a loss, we watched the first episode of Sons of Anarchy, since that seemed like a good follow up to PBS English television. 

We're digging it.  We relate, we understand, and we might be sporting more leather if you see us in the next few weeks, try to be supportive.

7.  My paychecks are rolling in from my new gig at Noonday.

Unfortunately, they are also rolling out since I have to be around stuff like this all day.

How do I see this and not purchase it?  I might have a daughter on meth, surely I deserve cool earrings made from remnants of ammunition that look fantastic with essentially everything I put on, including my minivan? 

I bet they look great with leather too. 

I'm such a badass now.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

I've Surely Been Saved For Good...Soak Up The Wisdom Folks

There are one, maybe two, things I do that I do which drive Alex bananas. 

Maybe three. 

Four tops.

One of those things is my love for Starbucks.  It isn't that he doesn't like Starbucks, he isn't insane, it's that he doesn't like paying $4 for a drink on a regular basis. 

He's so uptight sometimes.

I think he doesn't understand that long ago, Starbucks was started to be the neighborhood gathering place.  A place where you could feel comfortable and see your friends and pay obsence amounts for coffee and tea. 

Who wouldn't want to support and be a part of that?

Unfortunately, we've currently paid $8.3 billion on summer camps and such to keep me sane with my children out of school, and the budget does not want Starbucks to be part of my life.  I usually order a venti (that's the BIG one for anyone that doesn't speak Italian or Starbucks as fluently as I do.) This drink costs approximately $4 and thus means I have no business purchasing it on a regular basis.

I'm not sure if you've heard or not, but it's really freakin' hot here in Texas though.  It's very unpleasant to be functioning out in the world, what with all the dripping sweat and cranky emotions due to being on the verge of passing out.  So, when the temperature is hiking up to the triple digits, there are fewer beverages more satisfying than a Starbucks Peach Green Tea Lemonade.

(FYI, not just anyone can go asking for the peach part of this drink I've found, but here in Austin we have peach bits floating in our green tea and it's delicious.  Try to supress your jealousy.)

So, last Friday,  I dropped Aiden at art camp, I stared at Cole and Stella and decided to go to the park to perspire.  I immediately started thinking about swinging by the Bucks and conspiring about where I could located a guilt-free $4. 

Then, I started thinking about how I shouldn't be spending money on tea.

Then I said, I screw it.  I need and deserve a giant over-priced tea.

I turned in to my Starbucks drive-thru as I set out for the park. 

Immediately after I placed my order, I heard a loud gun-shot.

Gun shot people.

I immediately knew that Alex had spotted me in the Starbucks drive-thru and had fired upon me. Surely he had snapped.  He was having visions of budget discussions and calculating the cost of two to three $4 drinks a week, 52 weeks a year, multiplied by a lifetime of till death do us part. 

Due to the regular gun fire in their lives, Stella and Cole didn't even blink.

(Mom, fear not, they have never been around gunfire....that I know of.)

I quickly did a look around and didn't see Alex, but I did notice the orange tire indicator on my dash. 

Oh......apparently the sound of your tire exploding is a lot like the sound of your husband shooting at you because he can't stand the fact that you love delicious, cancer preventing - I hear, $4 tea.

I immediately pulled out of the drive through line and in to a parking spot.  I got out of the car and saw this.

This isn't how it usually looks, right?

Despite my fear about having to confess another trip to Starbucks, I immediately called Alex to come rescue me.  Let's be honest, my father taught me how to change a tire when I was 16, but I don't remember anything about how to do it on a 1991 Honda Preluede, no way I was trying on my Sienna.

Isn't this why I got married and put up with someone being annoyed at my Starbucks obsession?

I also immediately walked over to the drive-thru window to get my iced green tea.  Clearly I was going to be stuck for a while, no way was I giving up my drink. 

Alex arrived and got right to work on the tire.


Good thing Cole was there to help.

While waiting for the work to be done, I did what any good woman would do and found a nice cozy spot in which to sit in the grass and wait for the manual labor to be finished. 

A nice cozy spot...where all the fire ants in the world live.

I immediately screamed and stuck my hands up and around areas where you shouldn't put your hands in public.  I jumped in the open-doored minivan and took off my ant-filled shorts to try to get them off of me.

Just so you know, fire ants are really mean and extremely persistent.  They stuck and crawled all around in my business.  Biting all manner of my business and attaching themselves to my clothes. Who would have thought that creatures that are allowed to live at Starbucks are so mad?

Also?  Fire ants freakin' hurt.

I will never again tell one of my children to buck up when bitten by a fire ant.  I will drop anything and everything to get them to Benedryll and bowls of their favorite ice cream and/or Starbucks beverage.

As I was killing ants and cursing my pain and my inability to EVER wear pretty underwear when I am half dressed in a Starbucks parking lot, I suddenly realized that all of this was set up to happen to save my life.  I had been chosen to live, surely for something profoundly great.

If I weren't addicted to Starbucks' overpriced teas, comfortable neglecting my husband's budgetary requests, and living somewhere that feels like we spend all day walking around in a hot attic, I wouldn't have pulled over on the way to the park to be sitting in a drive-thru when my tire blew.

Instead I would have been driving 70 mph on a four lane highway and then I would have crashed and surely died. 

I'm just grateful that we've all learned a lesson around here.

Pay a lot for your tea and your life will be spared, but not without pain...since God has allowed those evil fire ants to live.

Oh, and always wear pretty underwear.  You never know when you'll be in your panties in a parking lot.