Monday, July 30, 2007

Vacation Bible School...

It's this week. I was initially worried about how things would go since we have taken the summer off of school. My little buddy used to have a serious separation issue so I wondered if I would have to deal with that again, but he did great.

The theme is some sort of "ranch" thing, and he has decided that it is "Cowboy School." Okay. Cowboy School it is!

We got there right when it started on the first night so most of the kids were already in the sanctuary. I hadn't previously signed him up so I had to take Miss G to the table and get him all checked in. I took him into the sanctuary to help him find a seat and expected that to be problematic since none of his friends from school were in there. He just found a spot by himself -- in a pew with other kids but not necessarily near them -- and hung out. They started to sing some songs and I watched as he just sat back and chilled out, taking it all in.

After I got him signed up, I went to tell him goodbye. All he said was "Mommy, I don't know this song." I said "Well, I bet if you listen you'll know it tomorrow when they sing it again." He said "Okay. Are you leaving now?" I said "Yes, we'll be back to pick you up later." He said "Okay. See you soon!"

Astounding. And pride swelling. And semi-heartbreaking. All at the same time.

Why is that I simultaneously want him to be so grown up and such a little guy at once? Bittersweet would be a good word here.

Anyway - it is so fun when he surprises me. I go to pick him up and not only is he now with the crowd, he has a huge orange bandana with his name on it around his neck and he is dancing around and singing at the top of his lungs. Usually in situations like these, he'll sit quietly and clap his hands but be too shy to sing, even though he's wild man at home when music is on. I loved seeing him confident enough to get in there and express himself in front of others like he does at home.

Then I got even another surprise. The pastor asked the group if anyone remembered any of the special stories they heard at VBS that night. Big pause. No hands. "shy" little guy jumps (literally) to his feet, waves both hands around and shouts "Oh, I know! I know!" I couldn't believe it, but what he said next was a really cool thing for me to hear him say.

"We heard stories JUST like the ones that Mommy reads me out of my special Bible story book before bed every night!"

I just about fell over. See - yeah, who wouldn't like their kid to make them sound like Supermom? Nice, right? Well, for me -- THAT day was anything but a Supermom day. More like Grumpymom. In general, it was a day where I didn't feel like a good mom at all. Yet, at the end of the day, there's my little guy jumping to his feet and waving his hands around to remind me (forget everyone else in the room) that I it all balances out and that I do manage to make him feel special in important ways. I'm sure I don't have to say that I got all teary - I'm sure that's a given.

The funny part about VBS though is that when it was over and he came to find Miss G and I towards the back, he greeted us with a "Howdy" and a "Yippee-ka-yay Partners!" It was so funny. When he found out that my hubby was working late, he started to cry and said "But I wanted to tell him Yippee-ka-yay, Partners!" So, after I strapped him into his carseat, I dialed the office and gave him my cell phone. When he greeted my hubby with it, there was a long pause, so it went something like this...


Sounded so funny on the phone. When I got the phone back after they were done chatting, my husband revealed that he had a mini-heart-attack when Mitchell said that. When I asked why he said "All I could think of was that line from Die Hard." I didn't know what he was talking about at first until he reminded me that Bruce Willis says "Yippee-ka-yay, mother...!"

I reminded him that it wouldn't come out that spicy. I believe he has learned "freakin" from good ol' Mom as he was struggling with his carseat buckle the other day and used it appropriately and in context. It is among my non-cussing, yet still apparently cussing words. (I see that as I don't at all like it coming out of my 4 year old's mouth.)

Uh, YEAH. Don't quite have that "perfect mom" thing down yet, do I?

Monday, July 23, 2007

8 Things You Probably Don't Know About Me...

Okay, Casey - I told you I would, right? Here ya go! Anyone else with a blog - have at it, I'm tagging you to be next!

1. I lived on Easter Place growing up and therefore thought that the Easter Bunny would always visit my house first.

2. Strangely, even though I believed this up to about -- oh -- 6 or 7 years old, I spilled the beans about the whole Santa thing to my friend when I was 3 years old. Yes, 3. My mom got a very irate call from his mother and I had to tell him that I was just teasing him to make him cry. I was a little verbally, um, advanced? for my age, I'm told. Shocking, yes?

3. I am PHOBIC about lightning.

4. My left foot is a half size bigger than my right foot.

5. I am a picker. And a popper. Of zits and things like that. Just ask my husband.

6. When I was 6 years old, right before we went on vacation to Disneyland, I developed a horrible skin rash after running through the sprinklers with my neighbor. The water was hitting the trees in his backyard and then coming down on us and apparently the trees had just been sprayed with something. My mom said it looked like I had some raging contagious illness and while we were at Disneyland people were awful to me. They would talk about "that nasty little girl" and tell their kids not to sit next to me or touch me and I guess it made me just bawl my eyes out. My amazing mom took me to the t-shirt store (this was the 70's so the rage of making your own t-shirt was big) and made me a yellow t-shirt that said "It's An Allergy" in big black letters on it and they washed it out in the sink for me so that I could wear it EVERY single day for the rest of the trip. I distinctly remember my mom putting a positive spin on it for me by saying that at least we'd have the pool all to ourselves. And we did!

My point in saying this is that I to this day I can still remember being horrible to a girl named Jill in kindergarten because she had a skin disease and then the next year I got my own. (Oh, that God!) Even as a 30-something woman, I wish I could find Jill and say I'm sorry.

7. I always wanted to be in a spelling bee but never was. Probably worked out for the best on that one.

8. My first car was a poop brown 1981 Toyota Carolla hatchback. I wrecked it two weeks to the day after I got my license.

How is that for a random list?? Can't wait to see some more!

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Things I don't want to forget...

I'm taking a break from my seemingly never-ending chore of "staging" the house to go on the market in order to make sure that I document some things I've been thinking about lately. These are little things that I so completely adore right now but are definitely not things I'd likely remember once the kids stop saying and doing them. I try to print my blog out every month or two and put it in my scrapbook stash, so I figure this is as good a place as any to preserve a little history.

*Disclaimer: If you're sick of gushy proud Mommy posts, you might just want to come back another day.*


Georgia, at nearly 17 months, has this awesome habit of standing on her head at completely random times. It can be in her crib, in the middle of the living room, at the park, in the kitchen, on the sidewalk, or even in the (ewww) bathroom. When she does it, she just comes to a screeching halt, bends herself in half, plants both hands on the ground, and then puts the top of her head on the ground. She usually stays that way for about 15-30 seconds, then gets up and resumes life. It reminds me of Tivo, actually. Like when you pause real-time TV and then just unpause it. I used to think she was gearing up to try doing somersaults like her big brother does all of the time, but lately when I've watched her, it's more like she just decides that the world might look sort of cool upside down at that very moment.


After he's done reading books and right before he falls asleep, Mitchell - at age 4 and a half , will lay on his back in his bed, put both feet on the wall, place his hands behind his head and stare at the poster next to the top of his bed that has 100 years worth of aircraft while he listens to music. I often just stand in the doorway and peek in - he doesn't know I'm there. I can't explain it adequately, but it is obvious to me that he is IN that poster. He is flying one of those planes. There is a wonderful, imaginative story being created in that little head of his. It is one of those precious moments in time (besides being peacefully asleep) where he has a look of complete innocence.


Georgia says "Mama" about 458,234 times each day. I'm estimating here. About 400,000 of them are actually questions, demands or statements. Some of the following are examples:

Says: "Mama!"
Means: "Can I have some freakin' milk over here please??"

Says: "Mama?"
Means: "What the heck is this thing?"

Says: "Mama?!"
Means: "How dare you leave my sight! Where in God's green earth are you, woman?!"

Says: "Mama."
Means: "I need a hug."

I love that she does this -- it makes me smile about 89% of the time, which is yet another estimate. The remaining 11% of the time I forget how much I'll miss it when she doesn't do it anymore and I take it for granted.


My husband is a Looney Tunes freak. He loves Looney Tunes, namely Daffy Duck. When we were dating I used to give him random Daffy stuff for gifts - a DD mug, some socks, ya know - nerdy stuff like that. Well, he has apparently created a mini-him in the form of Mitchell with regards to being an avid fan of the slapstick cartoon. One of Mitchell's favorite things in the whole world to do is to watch "Movie Tunes" with his Daddy.

Things have recently been taken to a new level.

When cleaning out the closet in Mitchell's room, Chris found the Looney Tunes talking clock that I bought for him. In hindsight, it was a solid purchase. Good "wow" factor, and here's the important part -- he lived in a town an hour and a half away from me -- the clock wouldn't be a problem. Fast forward 7 years and two kids later and the clock has come back to life. Chris promptly hung it in Mitchell's room and his biggest thrills of the day are on the hour when the clock brings the characters to life to say a particular phrase. He then sprints into wherever I am and imitates what he just heard announced on his clock. My favorite is his Yosemite Sam impression: "It's 1:00, ya mangy polecat!"

Incidentally, the carpet layers accidentally knocked the clock off of the wall and broke it, causing much heartache. I should have known Super Dad would find a way to fix it. He did, and all is well in the land of Movie Tunes.


When I'm driving, sometimes I will look at the kids in the rearview mirror and see that they are holding hands across the aisle, looking at each other and laughing. I cannot begin to describe what that does to me.


Mitchell's "5 Things" he was grateful for last night at bedtime:
1. Kix
2. His Thomas swimsuit
3. Chocolate milk
4. His toes
5. Doors


When I say goodnight prayers with Georgia before bedtime, she snuggles her DuckDuck by her head and lays down in my arms. I say the "Now I lay me down to sleep" prayer and at the end she pinches her fingers together, and touches her chest twice by her shoulder and says "Mee-men". That's her saying "Amen" and I about cry each and every night because it is so cute.


Georgia is in love with Mickey Mouse. If she hears the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse theme music, she will immediately start shouting "Maaaaaa" (mouse) at the top of her lungs and throw her arms in the air with every exclamation.


When Mitchell talks on the phone to Chris during workdays, his last question is always this: "Daddy, what time are you coming home to tackle with me?"


These are just everyday, random happenings in our house but I love and treasure each and every silly one. I just can't let myself forget them.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Not Buyin' It.

I went on a girls' trip a few months ago and one of my friends brought the dvd for "The Secret". I'd heard about it but didn't really know what it was all about so I was interested in watching it. As I watched, I was not nearly as energized by it as my friend was, who claims that it has truly changed things in her life, and for her husband as well. Fair warning -- if you loved it too, I'm about to somewhat rain on your parade. Nothing personal, this is just my reaction to it.

I guess for me, most of it was stuff I already knew or thought about. It's not that I didn't gain *anything* from it, it just didn't leave me as gung-ho and rah-rah as I expected it to, which is surprising, as this friend and I are usually very closely aligned with things like this and our reactions to them. For me, it struck me that the biggest and first part of the dvd (I don't know about the book) was all about money and personal financial gain. To me, that seemed to be the emphasis of where one should put their "positive energy into the universe" that it came back to YOU in the form of getting rich. Like the guy who said that he thought positive, whited out what he owed on one of his bills and replaced it with the number he'd like to have in his bank account, and (direct quote or close to it here) "checks just started coming in". Seriously...let's get real, people. Can we get the rest of that story, please? Did you invest more? Did you work overtime? I'm sorry - but people do not just start randomly sending you money in the mail unless you have recently picked up a 2nd job as a televangelist or something. And if they DO just start randomly sending you checks for no reason, then I'm off to Wally World for some white out.

I was really struck by the fact that they kept saying how "The Secret" can change the world. Make things better for everyone. Change lives. Well, then wouldn't it make sense that in the financial part that giving of your own time and money to others is one of the biggest ways to do that? I mean, if the whole premise is that positive energy attracts positive energy and brings good into your own life, how in the world could philanthropy be anything but a huge beacon of positive energy? Do you think it was mentioned once? Even once? Nope. I was really in awe over that one and it left me feeling like the only money message I got was a yucky, materialistic, selfish one. Nice.

My other issue was how they kept saying "The Universe." Now, I am a Christian and will tell anyone who wants to know about it and about where I am with my faith. By the way, I know that I have at least a few people checking in on my blog who are not Christians. Not that there's anything wrong with that. (Hee hee -- just a little Seinfeld in there for you. If you are not a Seinfeld fan, it was supposed to be a little humor. It's 5 am and I'm not completely awake yet, so just keep that in mind.) I do want you to know that I completely watched this with an open mind and expected to love it because on the drive up to the cabin, my friend told me that when the people said "The Universe", to her she took it as them saying "God" because that matched up with her. I really do have an open mind, but the other things they said kept me from thinking that they were meaning anything than what they were saying. At the same time, it was OBVIOUS that they hoped they could rope in people like my friend and were trying to peddle their wares to people of any and all religious perspectives.

Infomercial city.

Maybe, in hindsight, that was my big beef. It seemed like they just couldn't wait to energize you and convert you to their way of thinking and it was like one of those middle of the night (and we all know I've seen those!) Real Estate Riches infomercials. I mean, after all it had worked for them! They were rich, they had been healed from illness, they had attracted hot women into their lives! All you had to do was think positively, throw some positive energy out there into the ol' universe, and you were good to go. I smelled a reallllllllllllllllllllly long infomercial. As I said before, I did take away some good things and some things that I've actually been able to apply to my own life, but for the most was cheesy sales pitchy, dawg. (Ack. I'm tired.)

One man in particular really hit a nerve with me. He was some sort of physicist (okay, I can't even spell that word) and he sort of seemed to mock me and all that is at the core of my life. He said that "there is no big chalkboard in the sky" where God writes your name and what the future holds for you. (Meanwhile, they put up a cartoon chalkboard behind him and write his name on it with cartoon chalk while he's talking. It was like a slap to me.) He went on to say that you are in charge of your own destiny and you are the one who determines what happens in your life. Well, guess what. I think differently and apparently if he would get wind of that, my name would be written in cartoon on his cartoon chalkboard and a little cartoon Tara would be drawn below my name with a dunce hat.

I feel like the chalkboard is a really stupid analogy, first of all. Beyond that, I feel like I am responsible for both the good and bad decisions that I've made in my life, but I will tell you this much -- what one person calls "intuition" and "positive energy" (that would be him), another person (that would be me) calls "God" and "prayer". He can seriously bite my big ol' Christian butt. I guarantee you that when I was sitting in my big, white wedding dress one fine fall day in 1997 about to make what continues to be the absolute worst decision of my entire life by marrying the wrong person, it was not my "negative energy" that had me in a heap in the middle of the floor, ready to vomit, and unable to move 5 minutes before I had to walk down the aisle. It was not God's plan for me...that was CLEAR AS A BELL, but I did it anyway. My little chalkboard in the sky had my name on it, but not The Jerk's. That was my own doing. And guess what? It got undone a year later. It's called free will, and I had plenty of it on that day.

I guess I should get to the reason that 3 months later this is all still on my mind. I am in a Bible study with some women from my MOPS group and we are reading a book called God Moments and I feel like it is my version of "The Secret". It's like me yelling "In your face!" to Mr. Cartoon Chalkboard, although two things are blatantly evident: (a) he can't hear me and (b) he wouldn't care anyway.

In any case, I am so enjoying this book and this is energizing me. This is giving me hope. This is what my soul needed at a time where it seems I have stress coming at me from every angle. I am so glad that I'm reading it and know it will be one I re-read several times.

Oh, and a special thanks to Renee (I still can't figure out how to make your "e" have the accent mark, I'm sorry!) for helping me connect the two things a few weeks ago. When you said that this is like "The Secret", I about jumped out of my seat because it really, really is.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

What a guy.

My hubby. He constantly surprises me. (Oh, and it's 1:36 a.m., by the way - still a terrific sleeper over here!)

Tonight he ended up being a little bit later than he thought he would be in getting home from work. He called to let me know (let's hear it for nagging him enough to win that battle!!) and said it was because he was doing something for the kids. I asked what he was doing and he said he was writing them a letter about the 4th of July.

He calls it his "Christmas".

I guarantee this letter will make me cry when I read it. I married one of the biggest patriots that has ever lived. He is bold and proud of his patriotic streak to the point of being almost nerdy. We attend Memorial Day services at the local veterans' cemetary even though we haven't personally had any tragedy in that department...we're there simply to honor those who have fallen for our country. As I mentioned, he is ALL ABOUT the 4th of July. He's like a child on Christmas morning...he just absolutely adores the whole day. Today he left for work in his red, white and blue tie with a big American flag lapel pin. Tomorrow we will all be decked out in head to toe red, white and blue for Daddy.

I'm really looking forward to reading his letter. That part of him is one of the things I love best about my husband...he will NOT stand by and let his children take for granted the things that he feels are most important. They can obviously choose to feel differently when they grow up, but it won't be for lack of trying on his part. The thing is, he isn't forceful or pushy...but he makes his points and he makes them clear and obvious for the kids...what they should appreciate and why. It really is a neat thing, even if it makes me chuckle from time to time. If you've seen the movie, "The American President" it totally reminds me of when Michael Douglas is lecturing his daughter about The Constitution and he said "This is exciting stuff!" That would SO be my hubby.

I still have a memory in my head from when Mitchell was tiny...and I'm talking like 2 weeks old or something. I was making breakfast and I looked over at my boys. There was my husband, sitting at the table holding and reading to Mitchell...this tiny little thing just looking up at him with these big, dark eyes and his mouth drawn into a little "o". Know what he was reading to him? A book that held a collection of his favorite American documents. Peace treaties, The Constitution, speeches made by various political figures, etc. I just had to laugh because that was about the very last thing you'd ever catch me doing, yet there he was, completely joyful in the moment. He is itching for the day he gets to help with Social Studies homework!

Anyway -- I haven't even read it yet and I know that this letter is a family heirloom in the making. It's my husband in a nutshell and I love it.