Tuesday, August 30, 2011

For Nedra

My babies are now about the same age that my older kids were when I started this blog. And I'm remembering why I had to start it. They are so unintentionally funny.

These two, because they've got older siblings, just want to be grown up. They want to act like the big kids and talk like the big kids.

Thus, H walks around constantly saying "Seriously?!" just like his big sister. Except it comes out "Theriouthly?!"

Today in the car:

They asked for the windows down and I obliged. They rode the whole way home from Target with their arms out the windows, saying "This is SO Wiccan!" (Uh, that would be their version of "This is so wicked!") "So freakin' Wiccan!"

Once again, I am so proud of my parenting abilities.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

First Game, First Goals

C & H had their first soccer game today. Pre-K herdball to be sure.

But they got it. The benefit of spending the last four years getting hauled to sibling soccer games is that you understand a little bit about the game before your parents throw you out there for their own entertainment.

I'm not saying they're MLS-ready or anything but it was pretty great. And they each scored a goal!

Here are the goals in all of their spectacular glory...

Sunday, June 19, 2011


Today is Father's Day. Yesterday, we lost my grandpa. This Wednesday would have been his 84th birthday.

His obituary says that he was born in 1927, served in the Navy from 1944 to 1946, married my grandmother in 1952, had seven kids and worked at the same place for over 30 years before retiring in 1989.

All of this is true.

But standard obits (true confession: I'm an obituary reader) leave out all the good stuff.

Like he was a good son and brother and fiercely loyal friend over decades.

His Navy stint? Came after he dropped out of high school to enlist at barely 17. He went to the Pacific theater of World War II and returned home nine months after V-J day, re-enrolled in high school and finished.

He lived for over twenty years in the house next door to his in-laws. And that house held seven kids, two adults in three bedrooms and one bathroom.

The obit leaves out the fact that he worked very hard as a welder and in the maintenance department at the same foundry that his father worked at before him. And that he took a big black lunch box with him to work every day, packed by my grandmother.

The paper doesn't mention that he became a grandfather at the young age of 44 but he already had a head of curly gray hair. And that his first grandchild was me.

Casual newspaper readers won't learn that he was a strict father but a push-over grandfather.

They won't know that he liked to tease little girls with a glimmer of fun in his eyes. Or that he made preschoolers giggle for decades by the mere (and admittedly strange) act of popping out his dentures unexpectedly.

Will the people who attend his funeral know that he made dozens of children smile by accepting their smooches and then convulsing into a full body shake and exclaiming, "Oooh, THAT was good!"? Or that his eyes sparkled when he did that?

Will they remember which spot at the kitchen table was his? Will they recall the kind of cigarettes he smoked (back before he wised up and quit)? Or what his ashtray looked like?

Will they remember his pickup truck? His RV? His bountiful tomato garden? His big, rough hands that welded, woodworked, fixed cars and snuggled babies? Or the beef jerky and summer sausage that he liked to make? I'm terrified that I will forget.

What else does the obituary miss?

The phrase "survived by his wife" doesn't begin to convey the sixty years that my grandparents spent by each other's sides. Caring for each other and their children and their siblings and their parents. My grandpa wasn't a perfect man. Like most of us, he could be a pain in the backside on occasion (aren't we all?). But he was, I think, I hope, a good husband. I know he was a good father and grandfather. A good man.

Sure the obituary mentions my grandfather's children, grandchildren and great grandchildren and their spouses. But it doesn't explain the intense value that those fifty or so people place on family - because that's what he taught us by living his life as he did.

Family above all else. Family first and always.

I am so very lucky to have had my grandfather in my life for 39 and a half years. That he was around as I grew up, when I graduated and when I married. I am so happy that my children knew him (and that one shares his name). And I will forever hold in my heart the knowledge that he loved me, he liked me and was proud of who I became. The obituary doesn't say that either.

I love you, Grandpa. I miss you already. I am so happy you suffer and struggle no longer but the void you left is enormous and impossible to fill. My heart is broken.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

JB = Justin Bieber

A not-so-subtle hint left on my desk yesterday morning.

I bought her what she wanted - and a few non-Biebs songs too. Because nobody needs an iPod full of the Bieber. (I also removed the profanity-laden Ben Folds song I uploaded a week ago by accident. Whoops.)

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Love This.

Just so you know in plenty of time before the Royal Wedding. Which I will be setting the alarm to watch. Preferably with my 8-year-old daughter so I can pass along my unnatural obsession with the Royal Family.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Lessons for 9-Year-Olds at KU

My older kids discovered YouTube a few weeks ago. Or, I guess, they discovered that they could search YouTube and watch cartoons, movie parodies, bloopers and music videos.

I've been trying to keep an eye and ear out for inappropriate videos, which are, of course, abundant on YouTube. Apparently, I haven't been doing too good of a job.

This past Saturday, we took the kids and some out-of-town friends to Lawrence for the afternoon. It was a beautiful day after weeks of bitter cold and snow. We were excited to get out of the house and enjoy a brisk, sunny walk down Massachusetts Street and then through campus.

We sat down to eat lunch at Free State Brewery on Mass and G - my 9-year-old - started to tell my friend about this funny show he had been watching on YouTube.

"It's about this Jamaican Spongebob. He's called Spongebong Hemppants."

"WHAT?!" (That was me.)

"Spongebong Hemppants. He's really funny."

"No. You cannot watch that any more. It is inappropriate for children." (Me again.)


"Because it is actually about drugs." (At this point, I cannot believe I'm having this conversation with my third-grader.) "And those kinds of drugs aren't good. Really bad news."

By this point, his second-grade sister has tuned into the conversation. She reinforced the concept of "drugs are bad" so I know it's something they've talked about in school.

G responded, "Okay."

And then immediately followed up with, "So, is hash a drug?"

Somehow, Lawrence (home of the University of Kansas) seems like the appropriate place for my kid to learn about hash, no?

Sunday, January 30, 2011

What If...

Scene: Sunday night. Mother putting away clean laundry in oldest son's bedroom at bedtime. Son brushing his teeth, then putting on pajamas.


Son: Mom, what if you were a spy?

Mother: How do you know I'm not?

(Brief silence while son ponders the possibility.)

Son: Well, you're not agile or flexible enough.

Mother (trying not to laugh out loud): How do you know? A good spy hides her special skills.

(Another brief silence while son again ponders the possibility.)

Son: Do a backbend.

(Brief silence while mother remembers a time she could do a backbend.)

Mother: Gotta keep some secrets to myself...Good night, small friend.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Mistaken Identity

The caption says this is Stewie from Family Guy. I'm pretty sure this is my youngest child.