Month: November 2009 (page 1 of 3)

You’re Right, Life is Totally Not Fair.

Poor Kid 1.

Let me back up. Kid 1 is not a whiner. She is not a complainer. She understands things, she does. But she’s still sad about not having a cell phone.
She doesn’t mention it above a couple times a month, so it’s not even obnoxious. More like “Hey, if I get a real job, can I get a phone?” (Did you catch that? She wants to “get” a phone, not “have” a phone. The difference is that she knows that she will be paying for it. Thing of beauty, that is.)
So you know how some kids will use the “everybody else” line? “Everybody else gets to go to the Midnight Movie on a school night” or “Everybody else gets to take Driver’s Ed this year” or “Everybody else has channels and a DVR” — You know this phrase? Well, I never actually hear the words “Everybody else has a cell phone” (because she knows it won’t crack my rock-hard resolve, but will probably end in mockery). But know what?
It’s true.
She is the only one of her friends without a phone.
If I were to list her five, her ten best buds at school, I think it would be true. She’s the only one. Now, this is not to say that I think she needs one. She doesn’t drive. There are telephones at school, and at every house that she may find herself in, and clearly, in the bags, pockets, or backpacks of all her friends. There are phones everywhere. This logic is infallible.
But.
It’s not just about her being able to call home, or receive texts, or check her facebook status during lunch break. The problem is, her friends won’t call her at home.
Because anybody might answer the phone. Anybody. Like… your Mom. Eww.
May I be clear once again? Kid 1’s friends rather like me. I’m Mama Becca. I’m the good cook, the one who knows all the lyrics to all the cheesy musicals. I’m the driver. I don’t mean to sound vain, here, but I’m the Cool Mom.
But they won’t call our house, because someone else (not Kid 1) might answer the phone.
This leads to sadness. Unfair sadness. Like not getting called about the sold-out show. Like not getting called about the Girls’ Night In. Like not getting called.
And what can I do? She’s right. It’s not fair.

Un-Apology

My Christmas Tree has been up for 2 weeks. Eleven or twelve years ago we bought a really pretty artificial tree. Yes, that can happen. We have certainly gotten our money’s worth from it, but I worry just a little that ten more years will mean all the poly-plastic needles have gone the way of the vacuum cleaner. But it’s holding on. Hanging tough.

It’s lit with all white lights (non-blinking, natch) and silver ornaments. Husband is a careful light putter-onner. I? Drape. He carefully wraps each branch so there are no visible cords. I? Want to see hundreds of tiny white lights. We worked together this year. The effect is lovely. Just don’t step too close.
Gifts are purchased/ordered/made/wrapped, and today, they go on display under the tree. I sort of can’t wait for this part. I love to see the pile. It’s not huge (partly because the Kids are growing out of the Big Gifts – like anything made by Little Tykes or Fisher Price, and we all know those things take some real estate under there) but it’s (*throat-clear*) color coordinated and matching.
So let it begin, really begin. Merry Christmas, friends!

Happy Birthday, Husband!

Today is Husband’s birthday. Husband, the loving, the talented, the hard-working, the early-rising, the studious, the gentle, the appreciative, the concerned, the love of my heart. Want to know what? I love birthdays. And want to know what else? I love presents. Mine, or anybody else’s. Buying gifts, planning gifts, making gifts, wrapping gifts… it all makes me really happy.

And also, I couldn’t wait until today to do the birthday present thing.
So we came home from Grandma and Grandpa’s house yesterday afternoon (it really was afternoon, even though it was almost dark) and busted out the presents. I had a good excuse, really, because Husband was threatening to put on the Netflix show of the moment, which happens to be Jurassic Park. It’s not that I don’t like Jurassic Park, it’s more like I just… hate it.
So we suggested presents, and after some new windshield wipers and some vanity shelving for the beautiful photos he takes and also Coldstone Ice Cream, which is available now in my very own market’s freezer, there was UP. You may recall that I liked this show every time I saw it in theaters. (I think 3 times. Maybe more.) Somehow, I liked it even more snuggled up in the basement with the fireplace going and the Kids all piled around each other. And not only because I could fall asleep for twenty minutes without getting that crunch in my neck when my unfortunate sleep patterns manifest themselves in a movie theater. I just really love the act of filling my home with something good. And this movie is good.
But, I have to say that if I had never seen it and I just read the back jacket copy, I would never have bought this DVD. Listen to this: “Carl Fredricksen, a retired balloon salesman, is part rascal, part dreamer who is ready for his last chance at high-flying excitement. Tying thousands of balloons to his house, Carl sets off to the lost world of his childhood dreams. Unbeknownst to Carl, Russell, an overeager 8-year-old Wilderness Explorer who has never ventured beyond his backyard, is in the wrong place at the wrong time – Carl’s front porch!” Yes, the exclamation point is theirs. The copy only gets worse after that. I mean, really? Really? You can make a movie THIS wonderful, and here’s what you say about it? It reminds me the importance of a great query letter. But this is not about writing, not really. This is about Husband, and birthdays, and days off school and work and post-holiday relaxing.
So Husband is a year older* and our fridge is full of a Honeybaked Ham that we totally did not bring to the Thanksgiving gathering yesterday (on purpose, because I’m selfish, not like Nathan – who just forgot to put everything that’s not pie in his car, I’m just saying) and we have three more days of nothing planned. That would be my idea of a vacation. All the Kids here, no work schedule, the house is already clean, no school, no plans. Except a photo shoot, because that’s what Husband really wants for his birthday – to take pictures without anyone moaning or melting in protest. I’ll let you know how that turns out. The pictures. And the moaning.
*not a year older than me. He’s three years older than me. Just so we’re straight on that.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Honestly, today it’s all about the white flour. I’m off to the kitchen to make Many Fine Rolls. Enjoy your day, won’t you?

Still Feeling Thankful

So today, I’m feeling really grateful for forgiveness. In the big ways, and also in the small ways. I’m thankful for God’s way of accepting my too-small offerings. His mercy. His generosity. His continuousness.

And I’m grateful for others who forgive my constant, stupid, small and huge offenses.
For instance, my adorable friend had a baby this week. In a fit of resourcefulness, I managed to leave my little valley to visit her and her perfect son in the hospital. We snuggled her baby, we laughed, we visited, and it was great. I, being the kind of girl I am, offered to bring her family dinner after she got home. Which would be last night. Last night. The night I did not remember to feed anyone who lives outside my own kitchen.
*Gulp*
I am an idiot. This is clear over and over, to anyone who knows me even a little bit. But I know that my friend’s family did not starve. At least I’m pretty sure, and I’ll call to make completely sure as soon as the sun is over the mountain. And then I’ll bring actual dinner, and she’ll forgive my stupidity, and everything will be okay (even if she never *quite* trusts me again to feed her children).
And I’m grateful.

Funny Thing

My friend Cindy just sent me this. If you’re a New Moon fan (or if you’re not, but know the story) this is a good way to spend five minutes laughing.

More Thanks

I’m grateful for my talents. I’m not talking about writing, don’t worry. I’m talking about home talents that make my life easier.

I’m grateful to know how to budget. If this were a superpower, I’d be Wonder Woman, stretching dollars all over the town. The most amazing facet of my superpower is determining the difference between a want and a need. No idea how this came about (because my Dad, bless his heart, needs Double Stuff Oreos and Lemon Drops. But only whenever he’s at the store. Or the gas station*) but I’m glad to have it.
I’m grateful to know how to cook. I love food. I love really good food above all. I dream about food. Japanese Soba noodles, last night. I’ve never actually eaten Japanese Soba noodles, but I read “Garlic and Sapphires” a few years ago, and that chapter absolutely hooked me. So in my dream, I was on a noodle quest. Don’t judge. Also I love white flour. I know that’s not chic. It’s not fashionable to like it, but hot, white, buttered starch is my kind of nirvana. Pardon me while I dream of pasta. Pretzels. Popcorn. Rice. Crusty, rich artisan bread.
Mmmm. Bread.
Okay, I’m back (she says, wiping drool from the keyboard). And while we’re on the subject of good things I can cook, I sort of dare you to name it. There are some things I choose not to make (anything deep-fried and Chinese – I do it, and I do it well, but I can’t eat it after I see how the oil reserve sinks. I’ll take my Sesame Chicken from Shoots or PF Chang’s.) But the only thing I’ve ever tried to make that totally flopped? Mozzarella sticks (we were newlyweds, and too poor to hit Denny’s to satisfy a craving. That was the last time I ever even craved mozzarella sticks. Just don’t even try to imagine the damage.) I love food, and I’m grateful that I can make myself whatever I want to eat.
I’m thankful to be able to prioritize the little things. One load of laundry every day makes me able to handle my life a lot easier than being a slave to Mr. Maytag all day every Thursday. Multi-tasking is a great blessing (ironing while I watch “Guys and Dolls” or painting my toenails while I read to the Kids or letting the Lysol disinfect the toilets while I reread “Guernsey” in the bathtub).
I’m thankful for a decent sense of organization. I’ve got several things to arrange and deal with, when I think about my 4 Kids on their 4 school schedules, plus practices and lessons, homework, chores, and music practicing, and sometimes the thought of it makes me roll up in a ball. You moms who work? I don’t know how you do it. I’m thankful that I stay home (that’s code for “run around for everyone else”) so I can keep myself and my family in order. Which brings me to:
I’m grateful for my newfound ability to say the word No. This came in my middle thirties. And it is a gift, let me tell you. I’d heard of it before, but I’d never dared try it. But now? I’m a No pro. Want a free sample?
Becca, can you…? NO.
Becca, would you like to…? No.
Pardon me, miss, could I have a moment of your time? NO.
Mom, may I please…? No.
Honey, could I…? No.
Becca, would you…? No.
Do you want to…? No.
Wait. Maybe I’ll rethink that last one.
*Oh, come on. He also taught me the fine art of exaggeration. He should be proud.

It’s Gratitude Week

Happy Thanksgiving Week!
Here at my blog, we’ll be jumping on the Grateful train* and talking about all manner of things to feel grateful about.
And what am I thankful for? Today, and increasingly over the years, I am grateful for my family. I have a really, really good Husband. He’s a kind, hard-working, funny, talented, handsome, generous guy. He hands over compliments like Halloween candy. He’d rather be at home, with us, than anywhere in the world. He uses his talents to make the world beautiful**.
And then there are the Kids. The healthy, happy, smart and adjusted Kids. They like each other. They love each other. They grow their talents and they are obedient and they are kind.

Kid 1, quiet and reserved in normal life, lights up like a sparkler when she’s on stage.

Kid 2 is self-motivated and hard-working, and makes lovely music.
Kid 3 keeps me laughing*** with her diva ways.
Kid 4, totally not a baby anymore by the way, shares his love, spreading his friendship all over the kindergarten and beyond.
This family, it’s my greatest blessing. I thank God every day for them, for their goodness and their sweetness.


*which, naturally, reminds me of my favorite scene from “Oh, Brother, Where Art Thou?” where the 3 convicts, still in ankle chains, leap onto the train car and then fall off. Priceless comedy.
**Kind of like these pictures.
***you know, when I’m not beating her