Thursday, June 30, 2011

New Record

24 page views yesterday! That's four more than my previous highest views-per-day. How awesome is that?! (It doesn't take much to make me happy!)

Kinda Phoning It In Today -OR- My Kids Are Hilarious

I was going to start a new feature here yesterday, but I ended up being pretty busy most of the day. So I'll start it next Wednesday. Today I'm just kinda phoning it in, recycling facebook posts as blog material. Partly because I'm trying to remind myself constantly to keep updating over here, but also partly because my kids are awesome, and I'd like to share some of their awesomeness with you today. (And for those of you who have already seen these because you're my facebook friend: Sorry. But I promise I'll have something new up soon!)

*While taking turns jumping into the pool:
Ben: One Mississippi, Two Mississippi, Three Mississippi, JUMP!
Olette: One Mississippi, Two Minnesota, Three Coca-Cola, JUMP!

*Olette is avoiding picking up the toys in her room:
Me: You need to go finish cleaning your room.
Olette: I've decided you can just take away some of my toys again.
Me: Well, if I take them away again, you're not getting them back. I'll throw them out or give them away.
Olette: **astounded silence** (It didn't take her long to get everything picked up!)

*About to jump in the pool with no floaties for the first time:
Olette: Big-girl city, here I come!

*Adding a laugh to a near-daily exchange:
Me: Time to turn off the Xbox.
Ben: I don't want to!
Me: Tough.
Ben: Fine!
Me: Excuse me? Ahem, excuse me? Excuse me, Benjamin?
Olette: (in a fake deep voice) Yes, Ma'am!

*About dinner:
Ben: What's for dinner?
Me: Chicken.
Ben: What kind?
Me: Baked.
Ben: What parts?
Me: Not that it matters, but thighs.
Ben: Oh. Thighs are ok. Breasts are my favorite, though. I like breasts. Breasts are the best. They're big. That's why they're my favorite. I just love breasts...
(You should have seen his face once I explained to him why I was trying so hard not to laugh...)

*Overheard while they were playing in Ben's room:
Olette: mumble, mumble, mumble... (the door was closed, I didn't catch what she said)
Ben: Olette, no! We agreed, we're going with MY story line!
(I cracked up-- he sounded just like I used to when I would play with my younger sister!)

*It's not a full or legal name anymore:
Olette: Mommy, what's your in-trouble name?
Me: Huh?
Olette: You know, like Jocelyn Olette is my in-trouble name? What's your in-trouble name?

*And for my finale, What it's like to be sick when you're the mom:
Ben: Mom, you said you would make some kool-aid this morning and you never did!
Me: Ben, I broke into a sweat just vacuuming the living room. I'm sick. I'm not on top of things right now. Think you could cut me just a little slack today?
Ben: But I cut you some slack this morning! I made sister's breakfast, remember?

Monday, June 27, 2011

My Excuse Doesn't Have Any Legs To Stand On

I had planned on a nice blog post today, carefully typed out between finishing loads of laundry and mopping floors. Guess how many of those things happened today? One, if you count pulling clothes out of the dryer, putting a new load in the dryer, and putting more clothes in the washer. (It's just occurred to me that I left the basket of clean clothes in the garage, sitting next to the dryer. So technically I didn't even do that one job all the way through...)

I really, really did plan on today being a nice, productive Monday. But... things kinda got in the way. It all started when I was gathering up dirty clothes from our closet and I saw what I thought was a shoelace, or the drawstring to a pair of my Hubby's gym shorts. But actually, it was this:
Not a shoelace. Or the drawstring to a pair of gym shorts.

So, I had to come up with a snake-removal method. Step one was to call my Hubby. I'm not sure where I thought this would get me, as 1.) he was at work, and busy, and 2.) he's terrified of snakes. **Digression: I am a bug-o-phobe. To the point where I can't just smush a spider because, Dear God, what if it jumps on me before I can land the shoe on it?! Also, I can't smush beetles because, Oh Dear God, the sound! The icky, crunchy, sick, unholy bug-smushing sound! So when it comes to the occasional spider or cockroach, I always get my Hubby-- my knight in shining, bug-smushing armor-- to take care of them for me. My Hubby, on the other hand, is terrified of snakes. To the point where it's not even funny to throw a rubber one toward him because, good grief, are you trying to give him a heart attack? Basically, he feels about snakes the way I feel about bugs. And I feel about snakes the way he feels about bugs (they're a nuisance, but not terrifying). I often assure him that, since he's such an awesome bug-get-rid-of-er, if a snake ever gets in the house, I totally have his back. Of course, it never occurred to me that I would actually have to do that. Also, I totally forgot about it until after I got off the phone with him. End Digression**

So I was on my own. I had to remove the snake with only my own wits, a pair of kitchen tongs, and a pitcher.
I'm pretty sure this is how the professionals do it.

Luckily, Little Mister Snake Baby was either very tired, very weak, or just couldn't be bothered to care, and I was able to scoop him right up with my tongs and dump him into the pitcher. After that, it was just short walk out of the closet, up the hallway, through the livingroom, out the back door, and across the yard to dump Little Mister Snake Baby over the fence and into the cornfield where, presumably, he'd be a much happier Snake Baby.

And after an adventure like that, I just couldn't bring myself down to complete such mundane tasks as housekeeping. (The new Netflix dvd that came in the mail shortly after that may have played a part in my slackerhood, too. But let's just blame it all on the snake adventure-- that's way cooler!)

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Monday, June 20, 2011

Bumps And Bruises And Living Life To The Fullest

Olette has two skinned knees and a nasty bruise on her side. The bruise she got from running through the house and trying to go through the coffee table instead of around it. The skinned knees? Goodness knows-- she gets new bumps, scrapes, and scratches on those knees just about every day.

Ben has two skinned knees, and the one of the nastiest skinned elbows I've seen in a while. I'm not sure how one of the skinned knees happened (in my parental defense, neither is he), but the other, and the skinned elbow, came from his most recent bicycle wreck. And the bicycle wrecks happen most often during bicycle races.

So why doesn't Ben stop racing on his bicycle? And why doesn't Olette slow down and watch where she's going when she runs through the house? Well, probably for the same reason that, when I was little, I kept climbing trees (even though I still have a scar from the time I fell out of one and sliced my leg open when my shoelace got tangled in the chain link fence under the tree), racing on bicycles or rollerblades (I really can't count the number of spills I took doing that... and we won't even mention the brief rollerblades = ice skates "figure skating" phase I went through during the '94 Winter Olympics... turns out, asphalt = NOT ice), and, well, quite honestly in my case, just trying to put one foot in front of the other (I've never been very graceful).

At some point, we become cautious. We don't rush headlong into things the way we used to. We slow down to make sure doors are open before we attempt to charge through them (or risk becoming the subject of a viral video when we don't). We look before we leap. We assess the amount of risk involved before speeding around a tight curve, leaning over almost all the way to the ground on our bicycles (cough, Ben, cough). But you know what those 20-years-ago versions of us would probably call ourselves if we ran into each other? Boring.

We might have been covered in bumps and bruises and scrapes and scratches and cuts, but we were squeezing every little bit of living out of every single day. And, while I can't escape all the pressures and responsibilities of being a grown-up, I hope I never, ever forget how to live like my kids do: like the various accumulated boo-boos and ow-ies  are trophies-- proud proof that I wasn't just sitting on the benches. It's been a long time since I've gone out and gotten some good bumps and bruises of my own.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Odd Correlation

Last week, the Hubby had an awful cold and after all that, he was nice enough to give it to me. Sweet, right? Unfortunately, it turns out that the more snot builds up inside my head, the less my creative juices flow. So, sorry for the lack of posts last week. Hopefully this week will be better!

Monday, June 13, 2011

I'm Official!

I just finished my first ever paid writing gig! Granted, it was from family, but still! I edited, I drafted, I consulted, I re-drafted, and I typed! I just thought I would share. I'm a little bit stoked. If money wasn't so tight right now, I'd totally frame that $20 bill!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Life's A Beach

The night before last, I had a dream about an old friend. Nothing in particular happened; we were just talking, hanging out, doing all the things we used to do, going to the all the places we used to go. It was the kind of dream where I woke up smiling, but also feeling a little pang of remembrance for how easy life used to be-- and how much we took that for granted. And it was in that frame of mind that I went to the beach yesterday.

It wasn't a particularly special day. My mother-in-law happened to have the day off, and she wanted to take the kids and me to the beach with her. We left early and got breakfast on our way down, and even stopped at the new Krispy Kreme and picked up some hot, fresh doughnuts. We went to my favorite the-kids-are-with-me beach (it has a shorter boardwalk and less of a hike through the sand than most of the other public beaches around here), set up a blanket and an umbrella, and enjoyed ourselves for a few hours.

It wasn't a particularly special day. Not by any measurable standard. But, after the dream I'd had the night before, I was in a slightly sentimental, sappy mood. I love the beach. I'm especially partial to my beach, the beautiful stretch of white and emerald that runs along the Northern Gulf Coast. But I am incandescently happy on any beach. And, in my sappy, sentimental frame of mind yesterday, I took a mental trip down memory lane that had me smiling all day long.

I remembered things like the time I got the worst jellyfish sting of my life (in retrospect, it could have been a man-o-war instead of a jellyfish, but at the time I wasn't too concerned with zoology). A friend and I were floating on an inflatable raft, drifting along and minding our own business when a man, who will forever be referred to as "that creepy dude," swam up to us and started chatting us up. He tried finding out where we lived, tried inviting us to his cabin at the State Park, and just wouldn't take the "we're not really interested in talking to you" hint. Just when I reached the point where I was praying that this guy would take the hint and disappear, along floated a fool-proof get-out-of-this-conversation free pass! My arm felt like it was on fire (as did my hand when I started trying to pull the tentacle off of it), but, after assuring him that we did not need him to give us a ride to the hospital, that creepy dude finally backed off.

I remembered digging through the seats of a friend's car to find enough change so we could stop at Burger King on our way home. And the time another friend and I found a random pair of underwear on the jetty by Perdido Pass. And going to the beach with my mom and my siblings when we were little-- eating bologna and cheese sandwiches, followed up by cold slices of watermelon. We would start by having a seed-spitting contest, and it would inevitably devolve into a see-how-many-seeds-stick-when-we-spit-them-at-each-other contest. I remember the time my mom took my best friend and me to the beach-- she thought it would be a good idea to watch Jaws the night before. I wasn't worried about sharks, but the idea that there could be dismembered body parts floating around had me totally freaked out! I thought about shell-hunting after tropical storms and minor hurricanes-- the best time for shell-hunting, because all kinds of things wash up. I had my 12th birthday party at the beach. And I remembered the day I met my sister and her family at the beach with my kids and a friend and her daughter and we saw the man we will forever refer to as "Speedo Claus." (Is there really an explanation necessary?)

I cannot remember a single time I went to the beach and came home unhappy. Exhausted, yes. But never upset. It's my favorite place in the world, and it seems so fitting that so many of my favorite memories happened there. And I love knowing that every time I go, I get to make some new ones.

These pictures are mine and belong to me, and are not meant to be used by anyone other than me, for any purpose whatsoever.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Things To Come

We went to the beach today, and I'm working on a blog post about it. However, after spending the first half of the day at the beach and the second half of the day cleaning house and grocery shopping, I'm about to fall asleep right now! So I'm going to put off finishing it until tomorrow. I just thought I'd let you know. (I'm trying not to let too many days go by without posting at least a little something. I'm trying to make it into an every day-- or at least every other day-- habit!)

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Do People Like Me?!

I was just checking my blog stats and it turns out I had 20 page views today! I'm excited, because that's the most I've ever had! How cool am I? (Yeah, I'm aware that 20 people is next to no one compared to the vast size of cyber-space, and that some of my favorite bloggers get hundreds and thousands of page views a day. Still, I'm stoked!)

(And yes, I did just devote an entire blog post just to sharing that information.)

I Need A Manicure

I've always been a nail-biter. Try as I might (though to be fair, I haven't put too much effort into trying) I cannot remember a time when I didn't chew on my fingernails. As I got older, I got better at stopping myself, but all it took was a few stressful moments and all of my previous effort was wasted.

Most recently, I managed to have lovely, well-maintained, regularly self-manicured fingernails about two years ago. For several months, I was able to avoid biting my fingernails. And then whole barrels of crazy rolled their way into our lives. It started with a Christmas vacation  trip to Minnesota. Exactly one week before we left (the point at which I was beginning to give up hope of ever finding a suitable winter jacket for Olette), I chewed down every last fingernail. After that, I all but gave up. There was always something going on, and my fingernails were there, ready and willing to be sacrificed in the name of my mental health.

Fast forward to now. Somehow having our house (even with all the bill-juggling, cutting back, and scraping by we're having to do until I find a job), has convinced my fingers and teeth that my neurosis is no longer necessary. It's a good feeling. Call me crazy, but it's almost like my subconscious is telling me not to worry-- now that things are starting to fall into place, they're not going to stop until they all end up where they belong. (I promise I'm not crazy or superstitious. I just find it odd that I've managed to accomplish some minor self-improvement with absolutely no effort on my part. It happens so rarely that I might as well ascribe some portent to it.)

Sunday, June 5, 2011

I Haven't Posted In A While

It's been over 100 degrees outside almost every day this week (yesterday it got up to 105), and it hasn't rained here in a month. I think the heat may be frying the "creativity" portion of my brain. 

On the bright side, I planted some tomatoes a couple weeks ago and I've managed to remember to water them every day. Not killing them would be a major victory for me.