Thursday, June 28, 2007

Goodbye to a Wonderful Generation

The kids and I just returned from the funeral of my great uncle, the only male left of the thirteen children born to his mother. There are two aunts left to that group of siblings and their state of mind tells me it won't be long until we bid them goodbye as well.

It was very sad for me to say goodbye to Uncle Ronald. He was a quirky guy who never married, never had any children of his own. When I was growing up, I remember that he would come over to my Grandparents house at least three times a week at 5:00, the time my Grandmother always had dinner on the table. (He was my Grandfather's brother.) He'd pull into the driveway and she'd say something to the effect of, "There's Ronald! Always showing up right at dinner time!" He'd come in and act genuinely surprised that he'd shown up just in time for dinner and then take his place at the table. After we were done with the meal, he'd fall asleep on the couch for a few minutes and then head out to another family member's house just in time to catch dinner with them.

Many in our family spoke of his quirky behavior as an annoyance but I thought he hung the moon. Once, he came over and picked me up from my grandparent's house and took me to dinner and the circus. He acted as if it meant nothing to him but that he merely did it out of some obligation to be nice to me. I knew better. Under that tough exterior was a man who made sure I had every single Shirt Tales stuffed animal from Hardee's kid's meals once he saw how happy the one I got the night of the circus made me. He'd show up with one hiding behind his back that he knew I didn't have and when he'd pull it out and be met with my squeals and hugs, he'd shrug me off and like I was making a big deal out of nothing. But then I'd catch his grin and know in my heart that I'd made his day by being so grateful.

As I got older, he was known to be old and grouchy to the kids in our extended family. I loved him even so. In high school, he needed a place to stay and my parents took him in. I can't remember the circumstances but I swear to this day I think he was just lonely and the chaos of a house full of people was a comfort to him. He lived with my parents off and on throughout the years and even when not living there, he was a constant at the dinner table. He'd amuse all of us with stories about his life and the many, many dirty jokes he told.

He taught me all kinds of things. Some, I'm inclined not to share because it would make me blush. A sampling of things that I think I can share? He used to tell me to say, "One smart fella, he felt smart. Two smart fellas, they both felt smart. Three smart fellas, they all felt smart." Every.single.time. I'd mess it up. Still do. You have no idea how hard it was to type that without messing it up. Let me know how you do.

The big one that remained a joke between us until the day he died was a song he taught me. He would sing it with me and I loved it. The chorus went like this,
"If You See Kay, tell her I love her."
I would belt that out and no one ever said a word. Until. I was in high school and at a youth meeting. I started singing that song to myself and my pastor's wife was appalled. I still didn't get it. She explained and I called him the second I got home. You don't get it either? Just keep singing it until you do.

This whole thing has brought about so much emotion for me. My husband's grandfather is in poor health right now. He's in his late 80's and one of the most loving yet strong people I've ever known. My own Grandmother had open heart surgery last week and is already home and defying all odds given by the doctors. We lost my husband's father this past year in a horrible accident. I feel that a generation I love so dearly is dying.

I was the only child in our family for so long that I was a mini-adult and would rather have spent my time with grown-ups than kids. To this day, I'd rather sit in a room chatting with people born generations ahead of me than to sit with my own peers. I'm sad that I'm losing them. When they are all gone, who will be the hard workers, the ones who know what it's like to work so hard and with such loyalty for your entire lives and not care that you'll never be wealthy because of it? When they are all gone, who will wear suits and ties to church? Who will be willing to pass down the legacy of what a real family is to my kids? Who will tell stories, with tears in their eyes, of what it's like to fall in love and marry so young yet stay with the one person you have adored for so long until the day God parts you? Who? Is my generation ready to step up? I hope so because I want my kids to experience the relationships that I've cherished so much from the generation that seems to be leaving me behind. I want them to know the stories about where our family came from and how they struggled to get to where we are now. I need them to know.

Goodbye Uncle Ronald, and if you see Kay, tell her I love her.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Works for me Wednesday: Getting kids to clean

This week's WFMW came to me in a moment of genius yesterday. I was cleaning like a mad woman and needed to mop the dining room. As I pulled out the chairs from the dining room table, I realized that there was dust on the unused ones and crumbs on those we use regularly. Nice. Yeah, I've never claimed to be Merry Maids.
Anyway, clue to lightbulb over my head! Ding! I got two damp dish rags and handed one to each kid and said "Let's clean, guys!" They groaned until they realized that it didn't involve picking up toys. They happily took their wet rags and cleaned the chairs for me. THEN! They went around the house and did a little light dusting with those rags, without me even asking! I'll be doing this trick more often!

Head over the Shannon's place for more ideas that will work for you!

Monday, June 18, 2007

Help Wanted

Little People Classified

WANTED! Person must be willing to:

mop floors,
wipe little noses and butts,
kiss countless boo-boos,
act as referee for WWE wrestling (except the wrestlers are smaller with less muscles....and meaner),
watch countless hours of Handy Manny and other various Spanish speaking cartoon characters,
yell at the dog,
tame the people jumping from furniture,
play ball (sometimes with no warning until the aforementioned ball hits you in the head), drink lots of coffee,
endure LOTS AND LOTS of laundry,
read 7, 685 books,
water flowers,
cook meals,
coax little people into eating said meals,
clean up after people after they don't eat said meals,
yell at the dog,
wipe more noses and butts,
check on neighbor who just gave birth to beautiful baby girl,
DON'T eat chocolate,
DON'T yell (it scares the little people),
replace batteries in 456 noisy toys that all decided to stop working on the same day

Salary: More kisses and hugs than you can imagine from two of the cutest little people you've ever laid eyes on, snuggles and smiles from those same LP, Kisses from the most Handsome Big Daddy on the planet, sloppy licks from a cute puppy, occasionally a nap when the LP decide they're tired.

Sound like a job you're interested in? Well, too bad! It's taken. This is my job and I'm rather fond of it. Also, this is a list of things I need to do today so I'd best be off! Anything you want to add that's included in your job description?

Thursday, June 14, 2007

That's How I Roll

Have you seen these? They are my nemesis. Heelys. Tonight as I was strolling through Target, a boy big enough to walk without the help of wheels whizzed past me, almost knocking me over, all without glancing back. I watched him glide up the aisle in front of me, doing the same to every other shopper he passed. He was clearly on a mission. From Satan.
These shoes are the most ridiculous things I've ever seen. Would he have been allowed to whiz up and down the aisles on a skateboard? NO way! I agree, it has less to do with shoes than with manners in many cases but can someone give me a valid reason that kids need to have wheels embedded into their sneakers? Is this a plot by Sonic to train all of today's youth to work as car hops? I think I'll stop one of the whippersnappers in Target next time and place an order for an extra long cheese coney and see what happens.
Our church has banned Heelys inside of the building. I guess there were lots of accidents with kids either falling or running others down and the youth department just decided enough was enough. I'm ever so thankful.
I hope they are a fad that passes like Jellies and Jams and doesn't make a come back when my kids are old enough for them. Of course, I may change my mind when my kids are old enough to bring me a strawberry slush.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

I've been Tagged!

I've officially been tagged for a first time being tagged. Thanks Crystal! I did that one earlier but not because I was tagged, I just invited myself to play along :) I don't know who to tag since I don't have a regular reader group yet so leave a comment and let me know if you play along!

"What were you doing ten years ago?"
I was beginning summer break from my first year in seminary and starting an job as youth intern for First Baptist.

"What were you doing one year ago?"
Getting to know our semi-new area and exploring with the kids. Also, planning Sister's Third Birthday party. The party that was so much fun for everyone except birthday girl.

"5 snacks you enjoy"
1. 100 calorie Oreo crisps
2. Smart one Mississippi Mud Pie
3. Hostess 100 Cal chocolate cupcakes
4. Edy's sugarfree fruit bars
5. DARK CHOCOLATE anything

"5 songs to which you know all the lyrics" (Warning: This is a mostly embarrassing list for me.)
1. It Takes Two - Rob Base
2. Ice Ice Baby - Vanilla Ice
3. Chicken Fried - Zac Brown
4. Jackson - Johnny Cash
5. Table for Two - Caedmon's Call

"5 things you would do if you were a millionaire"
1. Buy a house near my family.
2. Build new house for my parents
3. Save & Invest
4. Travel
5. Eat more Godiva

"5 bad habits"
1. cracking my knuckles
2. Lack of exercise
3. talking too much, seriously, no pause in conversations around me, I have to fill them
4. Sometimes I get stuck in that "Glass half empty" attitude and I'd like to avoid that
5. Not paying attention

"5 things you enjoy doing"
1. Reading
2. Cooking
3. Shopping
4. Internet stuff: blogging and reading blogs
5. Cuddling with Big Daddy

"5 things you would never wear again"
1. Jams (PLEASE tell me you know what I'm talking about)
2. Bikini (You're welcome)
3. MC Hammer pants (What? Oh, don't even act like you didn't wear them)
4. Leg warmers
5. prom dress (Ditto Crystal!)

"5 favorite toys"
1. Canon Rebel
2. Bread machine (Is this sad?)
3. laptop
4. FC Twin (Don't know what that is? Let's just say, it's a little piece of retro heaven. Check it!
5. GPS. Yeah, I know. I'd be constantly lost without it.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Works for Me Wednesday: Sunburn Help

Let's start out with the facts. I'm pale and covered in freckles. In my lifetime, I've had more horrible sunburns than I care to admit. Recently, while a good friend was visiting, we went to the beach. Let's just say my sunscreen applier skipped a spot or twelve. I came home a little fried in a few blotchy spots. Yeah, it's pretty.

Anyway, back to the part that helps you. Should you find yourself in the sunburn category, run, do not walk, to the store and get a tub of Noxema. Slather that stuff on and feel the soothing goodness. It will take the burn right out of that sunburn and make life more pleasant almost immediately. Continue to apply as long as you need to. For me, I just cake it up and don't even bother rubbing it in. If you are that burnt, you won't be up to leaving the house or walking the runway any time soon, anyway. Noxema has become Big Daddy's new Neosporin, he thinks it cures everything. In the post below where I listed all of the complaints of the day from our family, he recommended Noxema for every single one of them. Is that weird?

It works for me! Run on over to Shannon's place to find more helpful tips!

Eight Things About Me Meme

I've seen this Meme floating around a bit in some of the blogs that I read and figured I'd try it out. My very first Meme! Object is to post 8 things about myself...should be easy, right? I think I know me pretty well.

1. I'm a little OCD about towel folding. Both the procedure and the storage thereafter. They must be folded a certain way and then color coordinated in the linen closet, lined up just right. Big Daddy doesn't really fold the same way I do so I end up re-folding every.single.time he helps with the laundry.

2. I don't know how to swim. At all. I kind of sort of can swim a little bit under water but not really. This poses an issue only when I'm around more water than the bathtub can hold. I don't watch movies in which people will be drowning. Big Daddy was a competitive swimmer back in the day and Looooooves the water. He's tried to teach me but with all the flailing and screaming, it's better to just let me be.

3. I'm the oldest of four kids. Translation? I'm pretty bossy and opinionated. I tend to always be the one who makes decisions in group settings. In the past couple of years, I've tried to back off of this so as not to come across so bossy but it doesn't work. Friends and family still leave to decisions to me. I've been told that it's because when I ask others to do the decision making, I do it in such a way that it sounds like I already have my mind made up what the end result should be.

4. I love chocolate. Any form. Well, except white chocolate but that doesn't really count because it's not really chocolate.

5. I love my job. I'm a wife and a mommy and that's really all I've ever wanted to be. I used to sit through my classes in college and daydream about it. I'd glean as much as I could from the classes I deemed pertinent to my future dream job and let much of the rest pass into one ear and out the other.

6. I'm a pretty good cook. I love to cook. I love to experiment with food. I love to EAT food...which leads me to...

7. I'm currently enrolled in Weight Watchers. I've got some pounds to lose. I'm working at it and slowly but surely, it's coming off. I've been bad for a week or so due to vacation but I'm back on track!

8. My husband is my best friend in the whole world. I love him more than chocolate. That's saying a lot. We've been married for over 7 years and I love him more now than I ever dreamed possible. I have so much respect for what he does and who he is. Being in the military right now isn't the easiest job but he does it with everything in him. He's a great guy.

See now, that wasn't that hard. Except I mentioned Big Daddy a lot so it was almost a meme about him. I'm just feeling pretty blessed today with the family I have so it's hard not to mention them. If you read, do this meme and let me know so I can read it! It's actually a challenge to come up with 8 whole things about myself!

Sunday, June 10, 2007

In Which Everyone Has a Complaint Today

Got anything you need to complain about today? Want to tell me all about your tummy ache? Your stubbed toe? Want to tell me how unfair it is that such a pretty, law abiding citizen as Paris Hilton has been sent back to jail? Go ahead! It's that kind of day at the Little People House.

I've had some sort of tummy thing for a couple of days now. It's really fun. Really. It's the type that has you running to the bathroom one minute sure you're not going to get there fast enough only to discover when you get there that you rushed for nothing. Then, the next time, you won't rush and you'll need to. Going up stairs makes you dizzy. Eating anything, no matter how small or good for you will have you doubled over in pain. Feeling nauseous is like second nature.

Stop right where you are. Don't even say aloud what's in your head. Is she pregnant? I was doing all the math in my head with a furrowed brow up until this morning when Sister woke up with the same problem. Thankyouverymuch.

Brother happens to be getting his two year molars at the same time that Sister and I have our issues. Poor little guy just gets pink cheeks and chews on his hands and gets upset at the slightest things. He's been such a trooper but it's painful to look at those gums. I think we're nearing the end of that, though.

The worst part is Sister's ailments. I'd rather myself get a double dose of the tummy icks than for her to feel the slightest twinge. Lest you think I'm being all sweet and protective, let me explain. It's just that when she has any sort of pain in any remote part of her anatomy, she can't function. Just can't. She will lay around and cry. Literally. Can't bear to walk herself anywhere because everyone knows that with a tummy ache, your legs don't work properly. Duh. So, we get a lot of whining. AND. She has the most acute senses during these times of major illness. Yes Sirree. She can suddenly feel and find every single little scratch, bruise and freckle on her body and OH HOW IT ACHES. She needs Tylenol. She needs Orajel. She needs LOVE for crying out loud. Bless her heart, some may say she gets this from her Daddy, but you didn't hear that from me.

Hopefully, tomorrow will be a new day and the ailments will have subsided. Either that or I'll be needing a medicinal concoction of my own. And, I'm not talking about Tylenol.

Friday, June 1, 2007

A Voice of Her Own

A few weeks ago at the Preschool End of Year Picnic, Sister's teacher asked if I could encourage her to say her name in the End of Year Program. Apparently, at the end of the program, each child walks to the microphone and says their first and last name before getting their diploma. In practice, she did it the first two days but for the last practice, she wouldn't say it. Sister is pretty shy at school but she's come so far since she started in the fall. She has two little girlfriends in her class. One is way more shy than Sister and the other is not at all a shy girl. The two days that Sister sat next to B, the non-shy girl, she said her name and the day she sat next to H, her shy friend, she wouldn't say it. Neither did H. I suggested that she be sat next to B more often for practice so that her outgoing nature would possibly influence Sister. The teacher agreed and we had a talk with Sister.

The next school day, Sister was so excited when we picked her up. She had said her name at practice!! Teacher had given her a note to bring home saying how proud she was that she had been able to do it. Every day following (yeah, I think it's quite a lot of practicing, too!) she said it. Still, I was unsure she was going to say it in front of eleventy thousand parents on actual program night. We talked about it on the way to the school and she assured us that she would say it. Even practiced in the car.

At every other program this year, she freezes when it's time to perform in front of all of those people. With cameras.

On stage during their song, she didn't freeze! She played her little blow up guitar and did some of the hand motions. I was proud. As she came up to her turn to get her diploma, I was holding my breath. The other kids in her class said their names and it was so cute when it came out a little jumbled and shaky (they are only three, after all.) Sister approaches the mic and someone said her name. Perfectly clear and loud. For a second, I didn't recognize that voice on the loudspeaker. It was, grown up. I stared at the little sweet blonde baby walking down those steps with tears in my eyes. She said her name. She said her name and she said it loudly and proudly and with more confidence than I knew she had. I was so proud. And, at the same time, so sad. It hadn't occurred to me before that moment that she was such a big girl whose grasp on mommy's leg just got a little looser.