Monday, April 30, 2012

My American Dream

I don't want to jinx anything by divulging wishes...but I don't think it will hurt anything by telling you that for the last 10 years of my life, anytime there was an eyelash to blow off a finger, a shooting star, or birthday candles to blow out, I have made the same wish.  I know you're probably very curious as to what a gal could wish for night after night, year after year. But seriously, I don't think I can tell you.

What's that? You'll be my best friend if I tell you? Hmmm. Tempting. But, since I seem to actually be getting my wish...what's the saying...don't mess with a good thing.

What's that? You just have to know? And you promise to send me real mail if I'll just give you one single clue? Oh, I feel so cheap! But OK.

Here's your clue:

This weekend our little family went to the beach. We have our own beach umbrella now. (The only significance being that this mean we aren't tourists anymore.)  Anyway, I sat under that very colorful umbrella with Bear Cub at my feet. My Chef and The Taz were in the ocean hopping over waves. I didn't have one panic attack that my children were going to get ripped away; forever in the clutches of the sea.  Upon departure, no one cried or fought or told me I was mean. 

When we returned home, The Taz ran outside to find that our new neighbor is also her classmate. They played in the adjoining backyards with bubble makers and pots of dirt for over an hour. My Chef and I took turns keeping an eye on them while burgers were flipped on the grill.  I didn't have one panic attack that a gator was going to climb out of the pond to chomp on my babies fat thighs. When it was time, I yelled out the backdoor "RYLEEEEE. DINNER'S READY"   (It was my first time. And it was everything I had hoped for.)

Our day was filled with moments that movie makers use for their closing scenes. Everyone is happy. The sun is shining.  People are laughing and eating and going about their lives like it one big carefree vacation.  And while that is way more specific than my wish, it's exactly what I've always asked for.

Friday, April 27, 2012

My Preschooler is 13

I was gone last week for exactly 4 days. A delicious respite in the very exotic Southern regions of the Midwest.  Kansas may not seem exotic to you...but I was child-free, so I may as well have been in Southern France. 

Upon my return, I noticed that my sweet and beautiful preschooler (read: Wild Tazmanian) had skipped the next 9 years of her life and was now a moody, irrational, dramatic teenager. Some of you may wonder if there is a difference between a 4 year old and a 13 year old by that definition. It's a fine line. But I could tell by the comments she has made to me since my return.

Her: "Mom, do you like hip hop? I do."  (bobbing her head to a country song)

Me: "Rylee, your teacher told me you did a really good job at school today."
Her: "Awkwaaaaard!" (giggles and scurries off)

Me: "Rylee, if you're mad, you need to tell me why instead of just spitting and walking off"
Her: "BOOoooring."  (pouts and turns her nose in the air, rolling her eyes)

Her: (looking in the bathroom mirror) "Momma, you were right. I AM beautiful" (tosses hair)

And she's rubbing off on the wee-est one.

Maggie: "You're a good momma." (Patting my shoulder)
Me: "Oh thank you. You're a good Maggie."
Maggie: "You're so lucky." (rubbing my arm looking at me with doe eyes)

Monday, April 23, 2012

You there, don't you worry

Hey, you there. Yes you, staring at a tiny crack in the wall wondering if it's going to spread. Wondering if you should try to fix it yourself, or have it fixed. You there, wondering how long it will take and how much it will cost to have all the little cracks, and aging appliances brought up to par and if it will make any difference the day the house goes on the market. Should it even go on the market? Don't you worry.

You there, wondering What's Next? Wondering if you'll be brave enough to live without an alarm clock and a schedule. Wondering what it will be like to not run yourself to exhaustion 5 days a week. Wondering if you know how to slow down. And stop looking at your 401k statement with a crinkle in your brow. It is what it is. Same with everything financial. Don't you worry.

I know what you're thinking. Hundreds of miles from family. Tied to city where your beloved is buried. Afraid of being intrusive. Afraid of leaving the home you've filled with life and love and memories. A city that knows you and your story and let's you be you.

Don't you worry. I've got it all figured out. (Yeah, yeah, I know I've said that before. But keep listening.) This life of our isn't about making a plan to stay self reliant. It's about loving one another. That's the bottom line. I imagine having a conversation with God and trying to explain to him that we didn't want to fall into a life where we ended up irritating each other, so we let each other live out our lives distant and polite. I'd rather fight with you here and there than have that conversation. That's for sure.

The house with the old furnace? It doesn't matter what you decide. If you sell it, we'll pack up the scars we made there, because we've earned them. And we'll sit and listen and write down our favorite memories on our hearts. But we'll leave the anxiety and the wintertime crickets for the new occupants. We'll move your things into a home that has room for overnight guests and new memories based on old traditions (and a low maintenance lawn).  Whatever you decide, know you don't have to make the choices alone. Know that wherever you live, you reside in our hearts and taking care of family is what we do.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The Irish Afro

My mother is the youngest of ten. I am the youngest of 36 first cousins on her side of the family.  Being from a family of this size is a blessing and a curse. A blessing because there is strength in numbers. Because if you need someone to quit a job for you, there's an aunt you can call for that. Because you can go anywhere in the Midwest and have a place to stay for the night.  Because laughter is best shared with a chorus. And because comfort, when you really need it, comes abundantly.

On the curse side is all the suffering. It never seems to end. The knowledge that your favorites are only yours for a little while, before God wants them more. Begging God to let you have them for a little bit longer and not to be in any pain while they're still within grasp. Watching heartaches over and over, being powerless to stop it.

We still carry on the genes and spirit of those who've gone before us. Round chins, the gift of story telling and a propensity for having a drink in each hand - to name a few. But my favorite of all - The Irish Afro - not just a tell tale sign that you hail from the Nixon Clan who still have ties in Ireland, but an attitude and presence.  What, pray tell, is The Irish Afro? Let me show you:

The Irish Afro is shameless and tameless

Yet, culturally refined at times

And wild. Always so wild.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Rorschach Potty Training

We have officially potty trained Bear Cub. Somehow in the process though, we have managed to turn every successful Number Two into a Rorschach test.

"Wook Momma. It's a snake."

Other notable "sightings" have included:

a tomato
an ice cream cone
a sea shell
a rock
The Three bears (a big one, a smaller one, and a wittle one)
and finally
a whale

I don't know what it means. And I don't really care, as long as I don't have to buy diapers! Whoo Hoo!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Post Lent Post

Looking back on this Lenten Season I realized that I found myself thinking more about my blessings by writing letters to my friends and family, than I have in the past by giving something up. 

I wrote to people I haven't spoken to in years. I spent time thinking about how those people affected my life.  It so easy to use hindsight to see why our paths crossed.

I wrote to people that were sick and then I took stock in prayer.

I wrote to people who were broken hearted and found myself wrapped in hope.

I wrote about the weather and about grandparents visiting and doctor appointments and anxieties and was grateful for the outlet.

I wrote about funny memories and felt joy.

All that being said...I only wrote about 25 out of my 40 letters. I don't really like to give excuses because I always have that  "Jesus died for you and you can't quit drinking diet pop for a month?" mentality.  So instead of going on about how I was too busy packing for our move (only down the street) to write letters, I am just going to finish another 15 letters.  I have 15 people slated out, but if you'd like one (or another one) just give a shout out.  I love sending real mail just about as much as I love getting it, so if I end up with another 40 more...well the more the merrier.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Egg Hunt

A handful of families on our street did our own little Easter Egg Hunt this past weekend.  Five families. All kids under 6. This is definitely the way to go. We usually avoid big community egg hunts. Mainly, because you have to wait around for what seems like an hour with antsy, un-entertained children for a "hunt" that lasts less than 10 minutes because your kid comes to you crying about someone who got the purple egg and no they don't care that there are five yellow eggs right at their feet.

Pre-game Entertainment:
Make The Mommas Nervous

Game Day Rules Review:
No pushing, no shoving, no cussing.
Once you've found ten eggs, return to the gazebo.


On Three:

Enjoying the Spoils.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Missing Ingredient

My Chef, one of the most patient people I know, made cookies with the girls on Sunday. They turned out pretty good...only I think there was something missing....

Ah yes. Hair Nets. That's what we needed.