Thursday, January 31, 2008

Why Children Should Not Be Allowed To Play With Markers!

I am going to make this post short and sweet! I was catching up on some reading (other blogs) and I noticed it became eerily quiet in my home. Quick..get up! Check on Cole!...Something is wrong...too quiet! I guess this picture says it all...

I won't be leaving a sharpie on the counter anymore!!!

Friday, January 25, 2008

Meet Billy!

Meet Billy! Our family pet . Four feet of synthetic rubber something. If you are me, it is four feet of terror just waiting to happen!

Chase acquired "Billy" several years ago much to my chagrin. Chase's grandparents (my mom and dad) bought him this realistic looking creature from the NC Zoo in Asheboro. (I cannot remember what terrible thing I did to my parents that warranted such a prize.) I won't go into great detail about the exact tone and language used when this rubber-like reptile entered our home. Let's just say that I was not happy! But...(and I have to throw in the but), Chase was ecstatic! He could not have been happier! The look on his face was...well... okay, he batted his big blue eyes at me twice.... and Billy was part of the family! ( Chase must have given my parents "the look" too!)
I vividly remember speaking with my dear husband about our newly acquired pet. I remember making it very clear that I did not want to play with Billy, or hold Billy, or have anything to do with Billy. Billy was to be the boys' toy. I also remember emphasising my distaste for any and all snakes. (Real or not) The last thing I remember saying about Billy was, "Please, no scaring me with that snake!"

For those of you who know my husband, you probably knew his father. For those of you that did not know Amos, let me just say, he was the "King of Teasing". Not teasing for the sake of teasing, but teasing until you cried and screamed "Uncle" teasing! My husband and first born inherited this trait.

I quietly watched as my son carried Billy everywhere. I allowed him to wear him as ornate jewelry around his neck. I even think I let him sleep with the long, black thing. Mostly Billy was quiet and stayed out of my way. The day came when Chase became keenly aware of my fear of snakes. Suddenly, Billy showed up in the oddest of places: in the cupboards, curled up around the base of a flower pot, on top of the toy box. The day my biggest fear became reality was when I was sorting laundry and Billy was found among the "darks". I thought for certain the paramedics would have to be called and the "paddles" would have to be used to bring my heart back to a normal arrhythmia. Somehow I survived the ordeal without intervention. Billy survived too. I do not recall seeing Billy for some time. (years even) One day, without warning, Billy showed his ugly face! I was pruning some bushes outside. Visions of what may lie under these shrubs were already swirling around in my head. Visions that came to fruition as I moved on to the Flowering Magnolia Tree. There, hanging from the limb I was about to cut , was a four foot long, black, Billy! I could hear my heart beat outside my chest. Again, I was certain that all the CPR, "paddles", and nitroglycerin tablets were not going to save me. Heart Attack! Stroke! Laughter! Laughter? Chase was on the ground...laughing hysterically! Not funny! I was looking for the nearest shovel, hoe, or sharp object with which to dissect the long, rubber reptile. Billy got lucky. Billy disappeared.

I have not seen Billy for a very long time. I have had time to recuperate from all the trauma he caused. A few weeks ago, Cole found Billy in one of Chase's drawers. (Obviously, one I do not put clothes in). I really thought I had recycled Billy to Goodwill. I thought wrong! I also thought that my sweet Cole would have no interest in a very long, very realistic looking, very black, snake. Wrong again! He likes him! He too likes to adorn his neck with Billy. I choose to ignore it all. I hope Billy soon will be forgotten and he can end up in the bottom of a box headed to the nearest donation site. A nice tax deduction I think!

Not so fast! Billy reared his ugly head again today! This is what I saw when I opened the freezer to thaw out something for dinner.

Not funny! Not funny at all! Now all the men in my family have "gotten me " with this stinkin' snake! Cole said he was just trying to freeze Billy. I think he was trying to freeze my blood flow. Well, they have all had a good laugh at my expense. Mommy will have the last laugh though! (I am thinking of boxes. Nicely wrapped . Pretty ribbon. With "pieces" of Billy in each one!) I am only kidding, but I have a feeling we may have seen the last of Billy!

Sunday, January 20, 2008

It's the little things...

Sorry about the delay on a new post, but it has been a very busy week that included : 2 days of 9 week testing, 1 School Project, 2 basketball games, 3 dance classes, 1 Scout Project, 1 Boy Scout Merit Badge Class, 1 Achievement Night Activity, 2 Birthday Parties, and 1 eye doctor appointment that led to my 11 year-old now wearing contacts! Whew!

In the midst of all the craziness of the week.... I had time to reflect on a couple of little things that happened. Little things that it turns out...provided BIG rewards!

It all began on Sunday. We had wonderful lessons and talks at church. I went home feeling much better about myself than when I came. This is not only because of the great messages presented, but because for the first time since I can remember, I sat on the pew through the entire meeting. I never had to get up with a fussy child, or take someone to the bathroom, or run up and down the halls chasing an out -of- control toddler. I know it seems like a ridiculously simple thing... but I have almost forgotten how nice it is to sit through church and not be the loudest, most disruptive pew in the chapel. I will gladly relinquish that title.

Because the week has been busy and we have lived in the car ...Claire has not had as much "alone" time in her room. By this I mean she has not had time to "destroy" her room. The clothes are still hanging on the hangers in her closet. The socks are still in the sock drawer. The leotards are still in the leotard drawer. The baby dolls, pocketbooks, Cd's, and books are still miraculously in the same place I put them. For those of you who know my Claire, you know that neat and orderly are not words I use to describe her. She has lots of wonderful qualities, but clean and tidy she is not! Again, a simple thing.... but not having to clean, straighten, refold, and rehang everything has been a joy I cannot describe!

Probably the biggest "little thing" happened this morning. When I woke up this morning my clock said 8:00 am. When I got out of the bed it was 8:30 am. Huge thing to me!!! I can't remember when I have been able to sleep past 7:00am. My children don't believe in sleep. They don't believe in naps, or quiet time, or resting, or even sleeping in there own bed until they are about eight. For almost twelve years now I have been sleep walking. I am not like those whom I gave birth to or married . I looove sleep. I loooove naps, and quiet time and sleeping in my own bed. I enjoy being able to go to bed and not get up until I am ready to get up. That never happens in my house. Until today. We all slept in. (Well, Claire was up earlier, but she quietly entertained herself until the rest of us were up.) Cole had crawled into our bed in the middle of the night and had made himself quite comfortable in a "take up the whole bed, put his feet in my face" kind of way. Chad had relocated himself to the couch. ( We have been playing musical beds for the past 12 years too!) Just the fact that I was unaware that Cole was in my bed until he was squished up beside me is a monumental occasion! It was a few weeks ago that he was still calling out to us in the middle of the night, "Help! Help! Get me out of here!" Last nights arrival to our room was much less dramatic. I also survived the usual heart palpitations, high blood pressure, and anxiety that come from hearing your child scream out in the middle of deep, REM sleep. Injuries were also avoided that can sometimes be sustained. These are usually due to jumping up quickly and running blindly down a dark hall to rescue a small child in need of immediate assistance. I feel like a new woman today! Is it possible we could be entering a new phase that could include more mornings like this one? I don't think I am ready to count on that just yet, but today I am grateful for the almost eight hours of uninterrupted sleep I received.

*Sitting through an entire church service.
*Having a child's room stay clean and straight for more than 5 minutes.
*Getting 8+ hours of uninterrupted sleep.
*Sleeping in 'til 8:30.
Such little things... but ones that make such a big difference!

Sunday, January 13, 2008

I am Blogger- hear me roar!

Well, here I am in the blogging world. A place I never thought I would be. After much reservation, I decided this would be a good format to keep everyone "in the know'" about our family and the crazy things that happen in our daily lives. I always say I am going to keep a journal. I even commit to doing a better job documenting what my children say and do, but somehow that all gets forgotten between spills and errands. I hope that if nothing else this will be a place to share with you those moments that might easily have been forgotten by the next day.

Unlike my brother, Kevin, I do not have a vast vocabulary or a DR. in front of my name. I will never be able to write a dissertation on anything, let alone one as impressive as his a few years back. There is not a chance in heck I will have anything published or quoted in a famous magazine or newspaper like my brothers and sister. I will definitely not stand before thousands and give an acceptance speech as did my sweet sister. I cannot write songs like my father, nor can I sing. I do not have the gift of music that flows in the blood of the men in my family. (I cannot play anything except the radio, and it usually plays things like, "Wheels on the Bus".) I cannot multi-task like my mother. Nor will I ever be able to organize, label, and bleach everything quite the way she can. But, I can Blog! This may well be the hidden talent in my DNA! So this is for you family... I know you are proud!!!

As most of you know, I am at home with my kids. I hate the term "stay-at-home" mom because it is such an inaccurate portrayal of what I really do. I think" on- the -go-cook it-clean it-wipe it-dry it-make it-decorate it-wrap it-add it-balance it- pay it-mail it- write it - fix it- hang it-kiss it- put a band aid on it-fold it-wash it-list it-buy it-phone it-sort it-reserve it-take a picture of it" mom is a much better description of my chosen career path. Oh, and if my life is not fulfilling enough with my own three, I teach a Creative Movement class once a week at my son's preschool. For those three hours a week you may also add: "move it-groove it-run it- hop it-shoot it-STOP IT-jump it- twist it-bend it-toss it- shake it-but don't break it or dislocate it" to my title.

Chad and I celebrated our 17 year wedding anniversary in Cancun, Mexico this past spring. What a trip of a lifetime! Chad is still in the Automotive industry. (Which is the real reason we were in Cancun!) He loves the car business. He has done a little of everything in his 16 years in the biz. He has been a salesman as well as working in Used cars, New cars, and Finance. He is currently the BMW manager. In addition to running his showroom he finds other people that like to work hard and put in long hours and hires them. He then trains them each morning in his "Chadomotive"class. I think he secretly wishes he could clone himself so he could have dependable, hard-working, die-hard car guys like himself all over the dealership! He has also been known to impersonate Elvis on occasion. (that is a whole different blog!). We are grateful that his job has afforded me the chance to "stay home" (did I mention I Hate that term?) with our children. They are our top priority. When Chad is not at work, He can usually be found on the water or in the woods. By on the water, I mean in a boat, on the water, trying to catch fish. By in the woods, I mean in a tree stand, in a tree, trying to slay some innocent creature of the forest by hovering some 15- 20 feet above it-to launch the surprise attack! (Where is the fun in that?) I simply don't like the sport. I am not a fan of hunting , nor am I a fan of fishing. (Again, a topic I shall save for a future blog!) It is truly a wonder my husband and I got together-huh? ( Yet another topic... this is going to be a breeze!) In all of his spare time, he serves as a counselor in our ward Bishopric . He is also the best father to our three children. They adore him. He has been known to do extra special things like "skipping" school to go fishing on a gorgeous day, or picking up one lucky little girl from school in a convertible to take her out for lunch and shopping on her birthday, or going for hamburgers and ice cream after a traumatic doctor visit. He loves his family and they love him!

Enough about us, and on to the more important members of this clan. Chase is 11. He will soon be 12. It really does seem impossible to believe. I know everyone says it, but it truly seems like just yesterday that he was born. I am so proud of the young man he has become. I thought the day would never come that he would sleep through the night, or go to school. Those days came and went almost undocumented. ( Except for the shrieks of delight heard round the world when he finally slept through the night!) Sometime in the last year, perhaps two, a lot changed. My high energy, never sleeping, never stop moving, never stop spilling, reptile chasing child became someone I actually like. (BTW: Never name your child an action verb like Chase. Perhaps Sit or Sleep would work, but not Chase. I was always saying, " Chase, Don't Chase your sister", "Don't Chase the dog", "Don't Chase the cars", and," please don't Chase your mother!") He is a good kid. He is a huge help to me at home. He is very thoughtful of others, especially me. ( I hope this trait sticks and he will make some lucky girl a great catch one day!) He is an excellent student. He strives for perfection in everything he does. (can't imagine where that came from?) My messy toddler has turned into an organized, surface neat, tween. How did that happen? He loves sports, especially baseball and basketball. He played a lot of baseball this spring and summer and even tried a new position: catcher. It proved to be a great fit for Chase, and he did a fabulous job behind the plate. He enjoys going to see the Indians play here in town. Because he has a terrific aunt, (who happens to be the General Manager), he even got to be the bat boy a few times over the summer. (She is now the Favorite Aunt- who could compete with that?) Chase is a huge Atlanta Braves fan too. He can give you all the stats. Chipper Jones is his favorite player. He knows a lot about him too. Chase and his Dad took a "road trip" to Atlanta last summer and took in a couple of games. What's not to love? Chase's other love is Duke Basketball. He is obsessed with it. He watches it, reads about it, googles it, tracks it, wears it, talks about it, and secretly fantasizes about playing it. Thanks to some great friends and coaches, Chase has been able to go to Cameron Indoor Stadium and watch the Blue Devils play on the hardwood. A dream come true! He just started the Basketball season last week with our local rec. department . He was excited to play in an After Christmas Tournament . His team took first place! He plays with a talented group of boys and coaches. He is looking forward to the season ahead.

My "little Claire Bear" is now 8 going on 15. She is still the "princess" of the house and does not let us forget it! She is a lot of fun to be around and provides us lots of entertainment. (Whether we want it or not!) She carries her mothers former title of "Drama Queen". She loves to dance, and dance she can! Her Dad says she got her talent from him.... I am not so sure. I will say she got her looks from him- no denying that! Her favorite things revolve around her busy social life. She has lots of friends and enjoys spending time with them (especially when they involve sleepovers!) She takes three dance classes a week, and attends Achievement Night twice a month at church. She is anxious to begin piano lessons, but we are still scratching our heads on how to schedule one more thing. Maybe if her mother had not disliked the piano so much when she was a girl, she could teach Claire. Warning: If you are Claire's grandparents on her mothers side please sit down before reading this next statement. My biggest regret is that I never gave piano a chance. I wish I had stuck with it. Warning: Claire's grandparents on her mothers side please LAY down before reading this next statement. I wish I could play the piano, I mean really play the piano and someone would be able to recognize the song I was playing!!! Claire's grandparents on her mothers side may now pick themselves off the floor! Okay, back to Claire. She truly is an angel underneath all that glue and glitter and crumpled papers, and piles of clothes on the floor, and Cd's strewn about- whose child did I say she was? She has the biggest heart I know and one day when all her "drama" and "energy" are directed in the right way- she is simply going to be amazing! She is already an amazing student and loves to learn new things. At eight , she already knows much more than I about this techno world we live in. I often seek her advice about how to use the computer or the digital camera. To show you how different things are now, let me share with you Claire's Christmas list for 2007: 1. Hot Pink Laptop 2. Digital Camera 3. Cell phone 4. I pod 5. Hannah Montana, and High School Musical Cd's 6. Webkinz(several). When I first looked at it, I thought I had picked up a High School Students' list, not my eight year old. Poor Santa did opt for a pink mp3 player, and some Cd's. My parents got her a kid friendly version of a Digital Camera, oh and her very first Vera Bradley bag! She did receive a couple of the Webkinz pets too! The rest can wait 5, 10 years! What happened to baby dolls, barbies and Polly pockets? They grow up way too fast!

Last, but certainly not least is my Cole man! I love me some Cole... some days more than others. He is one great big blur of energy. If I could bottle it, my family would be financially secure for generations! If I could power my house, and run my Yukon XL on it....we could save a fortune. He is so much fun though. We can't imagine life without him in it. Though we can imagine grocery shopping without him, and long road trips -minus Cole. Is that bad? No, it is the truth! He is a sponge right now and soaks up anything and everything he can. He is such a fast learner and amazes me with his ability to navigate the computer and play his Cd's. He has even taught me how to use the photo option on my cell phone. I am sure my brother, Kenny, is laughing right now because he knows how "non- techy" I am. (Actually, he is probably NOT laughing because he would never read this whole blog... too long!) Cole is like his brother and loves a ball. He was simply born with some gene that allows you to know exactly what to do with each one without being told. Give him a basketball and he dribbles and shoots it. Give him a football and he knows to throw it. Give him a soccer ball and he knows to kick it in the goal. Give him a baseball and he knows to pitch it. "Pitch it me, Chase!" No one here plays golf, and yet he knows what to do with a golf ball too. The downside to having a good throw is that most adamant objects become balls, and can be thrown. The smaller the space, the harder the throw! Thus, the reason that a juice cup became a ball and my duel screen car TV became a single screen on a drive to New Bern last spring! Cole is like his sister in that he loves to entertain and perform- no matter where. (Point of reference- my brothers wedding rehearsal dinner in August- Cole stood on the stairs while we ate and belted his rendition of "We will Rock You" by Queen. ) A proud moment for a mother. Gotta love him. Gotta love Laura! ( Kenny's wife). She didn't seem frazzled by it at all. It was as if every day she is entertained by a small three year old singing "We Will Rock You" to all of her closest family and friends in a formal restaurant setting. Thanks for not being a run-away-bride the next day!

Thanks for checking in on our not-so normal-kinda -crazy-in- a- weird- kinda-way family. That means you know us and love us anyway! If you are reading this it also means I figured out how to let you know where to find me on this blog. That could be the most impressive part of all! Love to all, Wendi