Thursday, May 31, 2007

Don't try this at home - these are trained professionals

If you are a parent of young children it is possible that they have been indoctrinated with the enticing benefits of a new drinkable yogurt called Danimals Extreme. Drew informed us of this new product the other day when he asked if I would get some at the store. "It's so cool," he said, "because when you eat it, it feels like fruit is being splashed ALL OVER YOU!!" (as seen on TV)

And since I am a cool mom who is willing to buy artificially colored sugar that has been thickened with a little yogurt so as to advertise in the name of calcium and other nutrients, I got some when I was at the store the other day. After Cory got home from work, Drew grabbed a cold one from the fridge and took a drink. At the same time, Cory had been reaching for a bag of fruit and found an irresistible opportunity to reach down (not very far) into his twelve-year-old version of himself and simultaneously smeared fruit all over Drew's cheek.

Drew looked violated and unimpressed.

"What?" Cory asked. "Didn't the commercial say that would happen?"
"Daaaddy!" He protested. "That's not funny!"
Quick to appear repentant, Cory grabbed a Danimals, handed Drew the bag of fruit and sat down. "Okay," he said. "You're turn."
[Enter sinister grin on Drew's face]
Cory took a drink and without a moment's hesitation Drew threw his first punch, and the only adult in the room (that would be me by the way) was left to observe the pelting of strawberries and blueberries at her husband's head.

And THAT, my friends, is why we propogate that an ideal world consists of a mom AND and a dad in the home. Because eventually one of them is going to lob fruit at their children, and the other one needs to be available to take notes.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Proud to be an American

I saw this for the first time today and had to share. For all of those serving this country, whether it be here or abroad, this is the outcome we are all wishing for you today. Click here, and grab some Kleenex. Happy Memorial Day.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

You Give Love A Bad Name

Is it a sign of poor parenting if your son walks around singing this Bon Jovi song? Ever since we watched an American Idol contestant sing his version during the competition a couple of weeks ago, Drew has had it stuck in his head. Since then he has been heard belting it out while cleaning his room, playing Game Cube, and getting ready for church. Granted, his 7-year-old interpretation insists that the words are "shot through the heart, and YOU'RE TOO LAME" because he swears it makes more sense. Either way, somebody's giving love a bad name.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Garden of the Gods

I spent a day down in Colorado Springs gathering pictures for a Photo Scavenger Hunt for a youth activity that's coming up so I thought I'd share. Here are some pictures from Garden of the Gods - take note of the crazy man about 2/3 of the way up in this first picture!



Thursday, May 24, 2007

Camp

Samantha left for 5th grade camp yesterday. Last night when I was going through Drew's homework, I found this note. Looks like I'm not the only one who thinks this is a bad idea.



Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Failure To Launch

I am one of those people who don’t find certain modern technologies to be more convenient. When I go into a bathroom with automatic faucets and flushing toilets, I feel like I am auditioning to be a traffic cop. Because most of the time my 5’10” frame is not enough to signal the water to launch, the paper to dispense or the toilet to flush. So I find myself waving my hands all around as if the invention is yelling commands, “Higher! Lower! Almost, just a little more to the right…perfect!” Water finally comes out of the faucet, but then I have to change positions to reach for the soap and bam! the water stops and the game starts all over. And would you like to know just a little too much information about me that will show just how dedicated I am to making others feel better about themselves? Here it goes: I DID NOT KNOW, until about 2 years ago, that automatic toilets have a button you can push if they don’t happen to launch automatically. Think about that. Are you connecting the dots? Let’s just say that my Hip Hop class at the gym came in handy during those times. And let me also say that traffic cops would have to be very skilled to motion traffic with THAT.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Top 10 Signs You Are About To Have A Redneck Moment

10. While your parents are visiting, you decide to take on a large home improvement project

9. With 40 minutes to spare before picking your children up from school, you and your mom decide that you have ample time to choose, purchase, load and unload a shower that is roughly the size of Montana

8. When the cashier pages for additional muscles to help with the loading portion, a kid that resembles your 8th grade crush appears

7. When your 8th grade crush realizes the task for which he has been paged, his eyes get big and his ego doesn’t hesitate to ask for more help

6. So then your 9th grade crush shows up

5. After putting down all the seats and filling the interior of the car, your 9th grade crush announces that they will need to tie down the rest

4. He comes back with dental floss

3. When finished, they caution you to take the corners really slow on your way home

2. Five minutes into the 10-minute drive home your mother says, “Hey Kris? I think you need to pull over.”

1. And by the time we secure our cargo that was put together by Boy Scout dropouts, it is time to pick up the kids from school. And with many distractions to follow during the rest of the day, we decide to wait until tomorrow to unload. I make a mental note to drive my dad’s car to take the kids to school in the morning. And then when I went out this morning I realized that I should have shared my mental note with my father because he was long gone, probably already into deep conversation with a guy named “Wylie” in the plumbing department at Home Depot. And so I took the kids to school without seatbelts, in the front seat with an airbag, told them to shield themselves with their backpacks, and drove Montana through the school drop-off.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Happy Mother's Day

"My mother tried to kill me when I was a baby. She denied it. She said she thought the plastic bag would keep me fresh."
–Bob Monkhouse

"Always end the name of your child with a vowel, so that when you yell the name will carry."
– Bill Cosby

The first day home from surgery, Drew and I sat at breakfast and he seemed upset. [Note: The fact that he was sitting up anywhere eating regular food was a major deal – he has recovered a thousand times better than last time and might I add, he has refused any and all remedies for pain. This might actually speak more to his disdain for medicine than his threshold for pain, but still! Anyway, back to the story.]
“What’s the matter buddy?”
His bottom lip started to quiver as he began to cry and then managed to say, “I want my daddy and my sissy.”
With Cory back at work and Samantha at school, it seemed apparent that the rest of us had moved on with our regular routines but he was still in need of everyone’s company.
“Would you like to call Daddy at work and talk to him?”
He managed a silent nod. Cory wasn’t in his office, so Drew had to leave a message: “Hi Daddy, I just wanted to call because…well…I just missed you. Bye.” A very short time later the phone rang to return Drew’s call, and they talked for a few minutes. He seemed to feel better afterward, and we moved on with our day.

So yesterday it came as no surprise that Drew made another request to call Cory at work. Again he had to leave a message, and again Cory called back within minutes. I handed Drew the phone and then walked to the other side of the room to continue getting ready for our morning. “Hi Daddy. I just wanted to call because…well…I need some more ideas for Mother’s Day. I mean I usually get flowers, but I was thinkin’ maybe some clothes, or some rings, or a necklace or something. Do you have any other ideas?”

I raised my eyebrows and peered over my shoulder at the boy on the other side of the room, discussing presents for me with his dad. He sat on the bed and was quiet while Cory took his turn in the conversation, and Drew responded with an occasional “OK”. I continued to stare in silent admiration of my two boys as they carried on. Then I could tell the conversation was about to conclude as I heard Drew respond, “I love you too Daddy.”

Looks like Mother’s Day came a little early for me this year. Though I have to say the idea of jewelry sounds intriguing.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Just another day at the hospital

It is 3:30 in the morning and I wish I could explain why I am unable to sleep, because my body would really love that. Drew had his 2nd surgery in 9 months today and it has been a really long day. For those unaware of his condition, I will explain while also trying to be brief. It began with an abnormal result from a school hearing test and escalated to visits with the Pediatrician followed by more tests and a CT Scan at the hands of a Pediatric ENT. We discovered that Drew had what is called a congenital cholesteatoma, a benign growth within his ear that required a mandatory surgery to remove it. That was back in August, when the 2-3 hour scheduled operation took nearly 6 hours. We knew that we would be coming back for a 2nd surgery within 6-9 months to make sure it had not grown back, which they tend to do. Hence today’s surgery.

There’s nothing quite as difficult as seeing your child miserable, and so round 1 of this surgery took a significant toll on my emotional resources. I have to say that round 2 (today) was a little better since the sights and sounds of that environment were a little more familiar. Still, there’s nothing quite like a Children’s Hospital to make you realize how good you have it. One observation: I floundered a bit when trying to find my way to the cafeteria while other parents seemed to breeze through the hallways, pushing their kids in their wheelchairs and navigating a place that was all too familiar. Another observation: As a parent I have been known to point out en exciting thing or two from the car window such as, “Hey look! Hot air balloons!” or, “Check it out guys! A purple car with painted flames!” So I was humbled a little today as I watched a couple wheel their son to the window and with similar animation exclaim, “Look! Trees!”

But the action that took place in our waiting area trumped it all, and teetered on the edges of both uncomfortable and touching. It was impossible not to notice the huge black pastor who sat across from us reading his Bible and balancing a footlong wooden cross on his shoulder. He seemed to be counseling a woman who sat next to him, and I tried to respect as much privacy as exists in a large waiting room. But with James Earl Jones voice quality, I was unable to avoid hearing what this man had to say and soon learned that a member of his congregation, a YOUNG member of his congregation, had been hit by a train that morning and they were in the process of amputating one of the boys limbs. Oy. I heard him counsel another woman who appeared, with a small golden cross dangling from the corner of her glasses, not to talk to the press. Then slowly but surely, more and more members of this congregation started to show up to offer support. Each time a new member arrived, the pastor greeted them with a hug and began to cry into their shoulder.

Touching.

Soon after a small gathering had assembled, this pastor asked another woman to lead them in prayer, offering her counsel before doing so. (At least I think that’s what he was doing, but I was pretty busy giving them their privacy. Heh.) But not until he set up the “altar” (he put the cross on the coffee table and laid the open scriptures in front of it) did the prayer begin. They all held hands, and chanted their prayer out loud.

Uncomfortable.

The doctor came out to give them an update, and I gasped a little in horror when he mentioned “getting [the boy] back on his feet”. I turned to Cory and said, “Oh my gosh, did he just say that?” Cory explained that they had been talking about a prosthetic leg, and then I felt better. I guess I had missed that part when I was busy giving them their privacy. Anyway, by the time we left an entire section of this waiting room was holding only members from this congregation who came to offer prayer and support. Again, I was touched by the love and concern they seemed to have for one another.

At the end of the day we got the best case scenario outcome that we had hoped for with Drew – no more cholesteatoma grew back, which means they were able to implant the prosthesis of inner ear bones that had to be removed the first time, stitch him up and call it good. We were very happy. Drew is home and we are taking good care of him. Now I just have to worry about the NO PHYSICAL ACTIVITY he is supposed to endure for the next six weeks. Have I mentioned his love of all things lightsabers? Keep the prayers comin’, it's not over yet.

Saturday, May 5, 2007

Music To My Ears?

I’m all for my children spreading their wings and learning new skills, and that’s why I have been so supportive of Samantha’s interest in taking up flute lessons. But allow me to define “supportive” in the world of Kristy, because when I say supportive what I mean is “here’s your money, now make my daughter into a flute playing genius – I’ll be over here reading a magazine.” But as we arrived at Samantha’s first lesson and I began to settle down on the comfy living room couch, her teacher motioned me to a different room with the both of them and proceeded to explain her “Suzuki method” of teaching. (Author’s note: Is there anybody else out there who thinks people just make this stuff up? Because it’s my personal theory that if you take any kind of Asian word and tack on “method” at the end that suddenly we believe we are learning a more enlightened way. Add onto that a little indoor fountain and I might be praying to you before long.) Pretty soon I was raising my hands in the air and learning to spit rice from the end of my tongue off her front porch.

But this is the beauty of Samantha. You know how most parents have to nag and nag their children minute after doggone minute to PRACTICE PRACTICE PRACTICE!!!?? Not Samantha. She is taking off like a rocket and practicing all the time. But that is why I find myself in my current dilemma and have to ask, how many times am I required to listen to “Hot Cross Buns” and “Go Tell Aunt Rhodie” before I start moving my things into the basement? And not only is she playing ALL THE TIME but she has taken it upon herself to teach Drew whatever she is learning on his recorder. Have mercy. One thing's for sure, I definitely have some choice words for Aunt Rhodie.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Match Day

Nine months is a REALLY long time to be pregnant. But two years? That’s excruciating. Just ask my friend Ginger. She and her family have been in the process of adopting a baby girl from China for the last two years, and when she began the process had no idea that it would take this long. In fact, nobody did. In the Chinese adoption world you don’t choose your baby, you simply state your parameters and then see what happens. There are no guarantees, but the one thing that Ginger knew was that they would be receiving a girl. It has been months (years!) of paperwork, interviews, visits from Social Services, applications, referral letters, fees, delays, more fees and even more delays. Eventually the referrals are sent from China to the agency and the glorious event of what they call “Match Day” happens. It is the day when you show up at the agency and finally get to see the nature of the cherub you will be bringing home. It is the day when the countless hours of preparation, anxiety, and disappointment finally start to make sense.

And for Ginger and her family, today was Match Day. I was privileged enough to be invited, and I have been speechless about the experience all day because there are no words. It was like Christmas, Disneyland, winning the lottery, flying kites and eating ice cream all at the same time…only better. We walked in, they sat down, the worker held the file in front of them and asked, “Are you ready?” Ginger was shaking, her husband sat calmly by her side and her kids stood by with eager anticipation:


Finally she opened the file and it revealed this picture:

Many tears began to pour as hugs were exchanged and joy permeated the room.



The kids exclaimed, “That’s my SISTER!” They immersed themselves in the pictures and the information they have been desperate to know since the very beginning of this process. It turns out that their baby has a hearty appetite, sleeps well, and her favorite toy is a colorful rattle. She has been living in an orphanage since mid-October, and they will travel to China in the next two months to go get her.

But that whole Christmas Disneyland thing? That was just the beginning. As Ginger and Tim began to take care of logistic responsibilities of signing more paperwork, it allowed the rest of us to observe other families who were coming in to do the very same thing. I observed one couple walk in hand in hand, carrying a camera and an anxious disposition who seated themselves not far away. Their worker sat down with them when my friend Ganelle (Ginger’s sister) saw an opportunity for the gluttony of observation and asked if they wanted her to take pictures. They cheerfully agreed as if Ganelle was somehow doing them a favor. Which I guess she was, but seriously? It’s really a win/win. They opened the file and instantly shot their hands up to their face as if to shelter the emotions that lay underneath. They looked at each other and then hugged…and then sobbed. This was their first child. Ganelle tried to snap away while wiping away tears, and I tried unsuccessfully not to pay too much attention while shedding my own tears over people I didn’t know.

This went on for over an hour, after which all the new moms walked around holding their pictures and held an ad-hoc show-and-tell. “Look at those cheeks!” everyone commented about Ginger’s baby girl. “Wow, check out all that hair!” we observed about another. I’m telling you, if I am ever having a bad day I will attend Match Day at the Chinese Adoption agency. It was emotional candy, and now I just can’t wait to meet this little girl for real. Too bad Ginger's not very excited:

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

It's that time already

Some might say it’s just a piece of paper. But this is no ordinary piece of paper. This is the permission slip I have been dreading all year, the one that officially revokes any young and cool mom status I have left and launches me into the pit of despair otherwise known as the mother of a child who is now old enough to attend sex-education class. The Dr. Seuss book “Oh The Places You’ll Go!” comes to mind and makes me think that perhaps there should be an adolescent version with a title that says something like, “Oh The Places You Should Really Avoid.” Seriously, I have no need in my life for this unsolicited rite of passage.

It’s not that I’m a prude, because I’ve already had frank discussions with my child on this subject. [Insert applause here.] It’s just that I still haven't quite recovered from my own experience from junior high, and the thought of my daughter being subjected to the likes of a Chuey Garcia (that really was his first name) making rude comments and passing around his disturbing drawings in Science class makes me want to flee and build a compound in Idaho. Aren’t we both too young for this? No wait, don’t answer that.