Monday, November 28, 2011

The Baby Turns 9

When she arrived 9 years ago, I knew she was our final curtain call. She was the Circus wrap-up. Everything felt complete once she joined us. We became a whole.

I held her tighter, lingered longer. I kissed her bare feet and soaked in her baby fresh smell. I tried to push it all down deep into my bones. I just didn't want to forget.

And now, the baby grows older. Our families' daily life moves at such a frenetic pace, I seem to have forgotten all that I wanted to remember back then. Time has ticked away. She no longer needs to be held or fed every 3 hours. She moves at her own pace.

But today, on her birthday, I look at her and realize that she may not need it, but I do. I still need to hold tight and linger longer. I need to soak in every once of her 9 year old self. Because this very moment, this very girl, makes me complete. She has made me whole.

Happy Birthday my vibrant Addie. Thank you for being a part of me.

Sunday, November 27, 2011


It's hard to describe a Thanksgiving with family. ALL my family. In the same city, at the same time. I can't remember the last time that happened. It's been a week filled with cousins and fun and memories. Cherished time.

I hope your holiday week has been just as full of memory-making as ours. Giving thanks just feels more powerful when the ones you love are all seated in your kitchen. Forever grateful.

Monday, November 21, 2011

What If

Have you ever considered what this holiday week would be like if the Pilgrims had fast food? Seriously, just think about it. What if the Indians had shown up and said, "Hey, we know a secret place. It's Indian name is Golden Arches. Put on your tall hats and bonnets and follow us. If you eat this food, you will never have to cook again." Just imagine a cornicopia full of big macs. The thought makes me tear up.

In every story version of the first Thanksgiving, I have never, ever read that all the pilgrim children stayed home from school for an entire week. When and how did this tradition start? Who was the first person that said, "I have a great idea. Let's plan a day where all you do is cook and clean dishes. And as an added bonus, let's cancel school so that all the children can stay at home to fight with their siblings and ignore their mother." Was there a point in time where that sounded like a good idea?

Every year I start a campaign to eat our Thanksgiving Feast at an all-you-can-eat buffet. I start early and campaign hard. And every year, my mom wrestles me to the ground and threatens my life. It's a fun little tradition. I think she finds great joy in scaring me. So, we cook.

I'm sure you're cooking too. And if you happen to be one of those people who get to go with the Indians to the Golden Arches, think of me. Please? If you close your eyes when you eat french fries, they taste just like turkey.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

A Small Peek

Do you remember when I mentioned that we were having family nightmare pictures taken? If you don't, you can read here.

Just thought I would offer you a little sneak peek:

And you have to wonder, what could Child #2 possibly be looking at? I honestly have no idea. But, I will say this-- at some point during the picture taking, Todd snuck off to pee in the woods. The Todd that used cheese for chapstick? Yes, that very one.

Sometimes, I really wish this family was normal.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Flaws And All

Before the Todd and I got married, my parents tried to warn him what life with me would be like. They were subtle about it. They would say, "Listen, you're a really nice guy, you don't have to do this. You really, really don't." I think my dad even held Todd's shoulders and looked him straight in the eye while explaining, "You can back out at any time, we'll understand."

Now, all these years later, Todd says that if only they had described how loud I am, and that children would make my voice even louder, he would have run for the hills. But now, well, he's stuck. Grin and bear it. Like Moses.

Just like my parents all those years ago, he has now turned to subtle explanations of his own. Last night he and my sister told me, "You're so condescending, it should be your first name." Todd even decided that my new nickname should be Condelisa. It has a certain ring to it, don't you think?

So, in light of my over-dramatized character trait, I have a condescending story. About Todd. Ready?

First off, have I ever mentioned Todd's obsession with chapstick? No? Well, it's a full blown obsession. I think if he had to choose between chapstick and his family, he'd need a day or two to think it over. It really is that bad. So anyhow, a few days ago, he forgot to take his 'tube 'o love' to work. No chapstick. All day. He nearly broke from the stress of it all.

But Todd, being a grown up with an MBA, found a solution. He noticed that the cheese on his lunch potatoes were greasy. Grease and chapstick must be closely related because he wiped the cheese on his lips. Oh yes. On. His. Lips. He said it worked like a charm.

I'm stopping now. So I won't be condescending.
I'll let you do that all on your own.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Thoughts On Freedom

I've tried to think about freedom these last few days. About veterans. It's hard to grasp the importance of something you don't have a direct connection to. I don't know many veterans and I've never had to fight for freedom. But they are valuable to me, these rights I only see violated in news clips. I recognize their significance and I'm grateful.

Addie sang in a program at school to honor veterans. It was patriotic and sweet. And I watched from my seat within a nice school in a free country. Sitting there, it was easy to cheer for freedom and liberty. It felt honorable even.

I may not know what it's like to live without freedom, but I do know what it feels like to have choices taken away from you. I may not know what death during war looks like, but I do know what it's like to have someone you love taken without your permission. So, when I think of patriotic liberty within the frame of what I can relate to, freedom becomes more tangible. Easier to hold and appreciate.

Maybe freedom would feel more free if we noticed it more often. Not just on a veteran's holiday once a year. Maybe it's power doesn't come from just the cost required to gain it, but in our collective gratitude in keeping it true. Not just veterans, not just soldiers, but all of us. Together.

Might we recognize our freedom. From the safety of our seat, in the audience of a free country. Look and see, and keep it true.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

I Believe

I'm a person who believes with full force. Once I have faith in something, it never wavers. I tend to believe so strongly, I try to manipulate persuade others to join me. My beliefs ooze out in every conversation. I just can't help it. I'm like a preacher spreading a message.

I have a tendency to rank my beliefs based on importance. Rankings can change given my current temperament. Although, Belief #1 rarely changes. It's just that true. Nothing else can knock it from that spot. It is this: Sugar can save the world. Mmm. Can you hear the words sing? That's truth you hear.

Nothing, and I mean nothing, can change attitudes or actions faster than sugar. Have you ever seen someone eating cake who was angry? I think not. Would your kids like you more if you let them dip their waffle in hot fudge? Definitely. What about terrorists? Could we soften their hearts with donuts? Don't you see- Sugar can save the world.

I also believe in silence. We can never have enough silence. I've tried to find a way to get my kids to stop talking. So far, no such luck.

Pills. I really, really believe in pills. They're like magic in a tiny coating. Everyone should be taking some. I should have been a pharmacist. Truly.

I believe in calling my sister when I'm having a bad day. Why? Because her's is always worse. Always. It cheers me right up. Yesterday, when I was not feeling well, I called her. Her 3 yr. old had just thrown up All. Over. Her. And as she stood up, with barf in her hair, someone rang the door bell. She answered it with throw up covering her clothes. See? Makes your day look brighter. Let me know if you're feeling blue and I'll give you her number.

I believe in Todd's ability to make me laugh. Just the other day, he described a time when he tried out for football. (I know, incredible, right?) He missed the day they handed out play books, so he had no idea what everyone was talking about in the huddle. And, he showed up to the first practice without all the pads on. True story. I laughed so hard I almost hyperventilated.

 My belief list goes on and on. But for now, these rank at the top. What about you? What do you believe? If sugar is involved, I will cry with pride.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Fluids And Rest

As the doctor handed me the prescription, he said, "Make sure you get plenty of rest and lots of fluids." I started to giggle. I couldn't help myself. Because, for real? Where exactly do you pick up some rest? I'm confused. Sick mom has never equaled rest. Sick mom simply means that her life is extra crappy until she feels better. Am I right?

For now, I'm drinking lots of fluids. Pepsi counts as a liquid, no? And I'm on the hunt for some rest. I even looked around Costco today to see if I can buy it in bulk. No such luck. If I find some, I'll spread the word. I promise.

Saturday, November 5, 2011


I've been looking for the Pause button. For at least a week now. Time and schedules and life have tumbled faster than I can keep pace. Days have drifted open and close, and every morning I still feel far behind. Life needs a Pause button, don't you think? Not a Stop or a Delete, but just a Pause.

Last night we drove 4 hours to sleep in a hotel and wake at the dawn to watch Sam run. The Region Meet held 25 teams from here, there and everywhere. We all huddled in the cold morning while our runners wore thin shorts and tank tops. They ran. We cheered. That's pretty much the routine.

Afterwards, we gathered to congratulate before we piled back into the car to reverse our 4 hour drive. And something miraculous happened. Life paused. All by itself.

Sister hugged sister, and smiled. The sight stood me still. I found my Pause within that moment. One that rarely occurs. Without my knowing it, Life found a way to clear the slate and hang a memory. It lasted mere seconds, but within that time, I found my breath again.

If you find yourself swimming through the busy and the crazy, look for your Pause. It may take time and careful attention, but today I learned that it's there. Right there, within reach. Look with your eyes and see with your heart. And then, take time to Pause.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

The Ween

I don't like trick or treating. There, I said it. I used to. Back when my kids held my hand and flew from house to house. That was fun.

Now, I find myself in the stage where Child #1 refuses to acknowledge she has a family, Child #2 thinks costumes are stupid but still wants candy and Child #3 will only wear bright lipstick and glasses while ignoring me on the treat route.

But here's where I hit the jackpot-- my sister's twins will still hold my hand. They still like me. So, last night, I grabbed two bumble bees, and hit the road. We walked slow along the treat streets and got bit by mosquitoes along the way. Every now and then I waved to my kids and they dutifully ignored me. It warmed my heart, so I ate more candy.

I hope you enjoyed your Ween. Maybe it was Hallo, or maybe it was sweet. Or maybe, you're just grateful it's over. My kind of Halloween. Now it's time to think about Christmas.