Monday, May 30, 2011

I'm going to live! Hooray!

Checking in! Thanks for all the laughs, thoughts and prayers. So far we know that my ankle is not broken. I have a splint and crutches for the time being. When I get home, I'll see some doctors to see if I have torn ligaments, tendons or just a bad sprain.

For those of my friends who have know me for a lifetime, this IS my bad ankle. Poop. For those of you who don't know my medical history, I had my ankle reconstructed when I was 12-years-old. If I was bound to take out an ankle on vacation, you KNOW it would be that one, right?

Anyhoo, as much fun as a football-team-worth of morphin is in the moment, it has a tendency to make you feel horrible as it wears off. Double-poop. So, I'm off to let my awesome family wait on me hand and foot a little longer. (And, speaking of them... I'll put my family up against any family for BRINGING IT when the chips are down. You have never seen a family rally in the moment like mine did today. I really, really love you guys. Thank you for the ice, for the support, for keeping the kids calm and entertained, for running errands... well, for everything.)

As always, I'll keep you up to date with all the over-sharing I can!!

Guess What?

We're on vacation. I fell. While walking. Awesome. My ankle? *SNAP* I'm in an ambulance. Blogging. Awesome. Pain drugs? Good. I'll keep in touch...

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Driving While Dumb

I turned right at the intersection. Just your average, everyday right turn. But, I clipped the curb with my back right tire - because I'm a dork to the dumb-ass degree.*

As I continued down the road, I thought, "Is the car making a weird noise?" just as I noticed my right rear tire indicator light had come on. Great.

I pulled into the first parking lot I saw. I got out, walked around the back of the car and, sure enough, my back right tire was as flat as flat could be.

As I raise my eyes to heaven wondering how in the world I was going to take care of this (because, let's face it, while me changing a tire is theoretically possible, there is very little chance it would end well if actually implemented... and because I just know Shawn told me he was driving out of town for a meeting all day today - I have really got to start paying more attention...), my eyes lit upon the sign for the parking lot in which I stood. Well hello, Firestone. It has never been so good to see you. Please forgive the 27 other times I've driven past you and never noticed how beautiful you were.

It. was. awesome.

Never mind that I had to wait an hour - it was still awesome. Never mind that a Bosley Hair Solutions infomercial played for half the time I sat there - still awesome. And, never mind that it was followed by an episode of the Steve Wilkos Show - still didn't stop being awesome. (But, y'all? If you are in any way trashy enough to be on the Steve Wilkos Show? You need to stop being that way. And, start being another way. Immediately.) Never mind that I "cut the sidewall" of my tire and had to spend $129 for a new tire. Well, that part kinda raised the "suck" factor.

But, overall? Awesome.

*How glad am I that I wasn't on my mobile phone? That would have been embarrassing.

Monday, May 23, 2011

What did you do after your Apocalypse plans fell through?

So. The apocalypse was lame. In the absence of meeting the Lord, we had to filled our weekend with other activities.

Shawn went camping (like in a tent with a cot!) with a bunch of dads and about 35 kids. I'm sorry. Shall I repeat that for you? THIRTY-FIVE kids.

Elizabeth and I got our toenails done, went to the kids' museum, and ate dinner on the couch while we watched a movie. We win.

The boys came home from camping on Sunday and Spencer was covered in... wait for it... camouflage face paint. I'm sorry. Did you go camping or all lord-of-the-flies?!

Spence and Shawn took three hour naps. (Imagine! They didn't sleep well in the wilderness? That's surprising.) And then we went to a baseball game with Shawn's parents.

The game was fun, but we sat in the sun and the kids got to bed two hours past their normal bedtime.

Needless to say, my children are worn smooth out. I was really counting on them getting to catch up on their rest after Armageddon. But, I guess I'm going to have to come up with a new game plan.

So, what did you do after your Apocalypse plans fell through?

Friday, May 20, 2011

Because of the Way He Makes Me Feel

It’s been said that we love a person because of the way they make us feel about ourselves. If that is true, here’s why I love Shawn: 

I feel smart… because of the way he talks to me, understands me and communicates with me. 
I feel pretty… because of the way he looks at me and rarely lets me pass without touching me. 
I feel funny… because we make each other laugh. 
I feel capable… because he forces me to recognize my own strengths and stand on my own two feet. 
I feel confident… because he’s my even-keel. He always reigns me back in if I start to whirl off into the stratosphere, get inappropriate, over-zealous or over-emotional. I know if Shawn says it’s okay, I’m okay. 
I feel needed… because of the way he asks my opinions, seeks out my advice, and appreciates the way I care for and love our family. 
I feel protected… because… well, just try to say something inappropriate to me, or hurt my feelings. You’ll see why. 
I feel spoiled… because he works so hard to provide a beautiful life for his family. And, he still takes me out on date-nights to “buy [me] a new dress.” 
I feel blessed… because this man I love more than life itself has been recreated in two other perfect (to us!) little creatures. I watch him work at being the best, hands-on dad he can be. I watch him put the kids’ wishes above his own. I watch him schedule parent/teacher conferences instead of business meetings. I watch him drag himself around when he is at the edge of exhaustion; I watch him hurry home from work and business trips because the kids have one more activity, one more assignment, one more bedtime. But, he does it. Because he knows that being a good dad is not a passive activity. 
I feel loved… because he’s sensitive to how I feel. He listens to me. He talks to me. He communicates with me. He cares about the things that upset me and the things that bring me joy. He has chosen to. love. me. 
I feel amazed… that one man can be so honest, hard-working, honorable, God-fearing, faithful, kind, generous, sensitive and loving. 
I feel happy… because I’m married to him. 
I feel undeserving… of the lifetime ahead of us that we have to live. But, I feel grateful. Oh, so grateful.

You could call me codependent. You could say my happiness is too contingent upon Shawn. You would be right. The life we have experienced together over these past 17 years, the ups and the downs, the blessings and the tragedies, have made him an intertwined piece of my soul. I don’t know where I begin and he ends. And I pray I never have to find out. 

Happy Birthday, Shawn. I love you.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

I Don't Want Anyone to Die Because of Me

20/20 scared the bejeezus out of me with their episode on Distracted Driving (it's toward the end of the episode). I've been feeling a little cocky about all of this Distracted Driving business because I don't text and drive (most of the time). But, it turns out, there's not a darn thing to hang your hat on about that. The simple fact of having a telephone conversation while driving - hands-free or not - is diverting the brain power you need to pay attention. And, then there's the eating... the makeup application... the radio adjustments... the car's navigation controls... the childcare...

5,500 people were killed in 2009 because of distracted drivers. 448,000 were injured.

Y'all? That's a lot. Yeah, yeah. Statistically speaking, it's probably not a very impressive number. But, if you think that each one of them didn't. have. to. happen, it's a little more shocking.

Like the Drunk Driving campaigns of the 80s and 90s, it going to have to be peer pressure that gets us to change our behaviors. That's why the organization FocusDriven has been founded. Go ahead. Poke around their website. Let your heart break over the biographies of their Board of Directors. Let your heart sink over the "Ripple Effect" map that shows victims from each state. And let your stomach knot as you realize just how distracted all those phone conversations have made you over the years.
But, just in case "safe driving" wasn't enough to convince me, I considered who my most common passengers are. I owe it to my kids to focus. They are far more important to me than that next telephone conversation. For that matter, your kids, in the car next to me, are more important than that call. Your mother is more important... Your husband... Your best friend... And, until lately, I've been hurtling 2 tons of machine down the road at them with half of my brain power.

Will you join me? Put your phone out of reach the moment you get in the car. Believe me, it is a hard habit to break. But, if we don't start, who will?

Monday, May 16, 2011

How to Work Through Bad News with Your Child

We received an email from Spence's first grade teacher outlining the activities for the last week and a half of school. The email ended with this:
"Finally, it is with deepest sorrow that I have to tell you that Tiny passed away sometime during these past few days. He parted peacefully in his little blue home. He was found by Ms. B, Mr. B, and SeƱora C at 3:35 on Monday, May 16. The funeral was held immediately to help preserve the odor of the classroom. Tiny was a great hamster, and a beloved member of Ms. B's first grade classroom. His remaining family includes Ms. B, F.B., J.B., K.B-R., K.B., P.C., S.E., B.I., T.H., Spencer Johnson, M.M., G.S., and E.W."
It was a cute, little, obituary-type way of telling us that the class hamster had died. My initial reaction was joy that it had waited until after we kept him to die. Then I thought I had better talk to Spence and see how he felt about it.

We sat down to dinner and I said, "Hey. I'm sorry Tiny died."

Spencer said, "Tiny didn't die."

My mind quickly replayed the email I had just read and I realized that it said, "He was found... at 3:35 on Monday, May 16." Then my mind yelled at me, "It is Monday, May 16!" And, then my mind shrieked at me, "You picked Spence up from school at 3:00! He. doesn't. know. yet!"

Ummm... Well... Son? I have something to tell you.

Thankfully, he wasn't too concerned. Maybe because Tiny was a biter. Maybe because he was more fascinated by the fact that dead things stink. Maybe because he had been prepared for this inevitability beforehand - he said, "Eh. Hamsters don't usually live more than a year." I don't know who gave him this shortened hamster life-expectancy, but if it was Ms. B, God bless her.

But, wait a minute... It's awfully convenient that Ms. B doesn't have to find anyone to take custody of the hamster over the summer now. It's almost like she knew Tiny's life expectance wasn't more than a year...


R.I.P. Tiny.

Friday, May 13, 2011

My Daughter Keeps Getting Her Clock Cleaned

The Pre-K had a program Wednesday. They sang songs on which they had been working for months and months. Really quite darling (as long as one of the performers was your kid)…

Unfortunately for Lulu, though, the event took a turn for the traumatic when she got hit by the little boy next to her. (Why did that just make me think of Urban CowboyBud: What happened to your face? Sissy: Got hit. There’s something wrong in my head.)

I have reviewed the video footage (believe me, have I reviewed the footage!) and have come to the conclusion that no malice was intended. Elizabeth got a little, shall we say, effusive with her hand motions and whacked the boy next to her. And, his expression is… joy. Or at least excitement. Like, “Game on! She hit me, now I hit her.” And, that’s what he did. And she started to sob. And then wail. And the whole while she stood completely rooted to her spot – even though I kept giving her the third-base-coach-motion-to-bring-it-on-home while mouthing, “It’s okay. Come here!”

Now I’m not sure if The Bear Went Over The Mountain ends with the brownie-eating bear being sent to his room – but, it did on Wednesday. The teacher/director saw her crying and called her over. Lulu regaled her, loudly, with a recap of the drama. The most offensive thing to Elizabeth was that she had “said I was sorry! But, he hit me.”

And, then she sat with me for the rest of the program.

She rejoined her class for the group picture at the end and walked back down to her classroom with them - none the worse for wear.

As, I walked down to the classroom to say goodbye, I passed the boy and his father. His dad told me that he had already made his son apologize. Everything is fine. Everyone is friends.

And, then… Thursday. I picked her up from school and there was an “Accident Report” in her box. Uh Oh.

It read,

Explanation: Lizzie [Ed note: How much do I love it that Lulu has somehow convinced her Religion Teacher that she goes by “Lizzie”? I asked her about it and she said, “Yeah. I told her that. I like her to call me Lizzie.” Do you want us all to call you Lizzie? "No." Okay then.] was standing behind two classmates who were fighting over carrying the class cross. During their tug-of-war, before either of us could get to them, one let go and the cross flew backwards, hitting Lizzie on the nose.
Treatment: Lizzie was immediately taken to the office for ice, hugs, and tissues. She went back to class.
Child’s Reaction: Lizzie was very upset, especially when her nose bled briefly, but she soon recovered and went happily back to class.”

So, to be clear, she was hit in the face with a cross? I think I’ve heard of some fundamentalist churches like this! Damn! And, I should say she was "very upset" when her nose bled - I found blood splatter on her shoe this morning.

But, you know? Show me a room full of four- and five-year-olds that aren’t occasionally going to hurt each other accidentally and I’ll show you a room where sedatives are being used. Anyway, the accident report is much less shocking than the words with which Elizabeth greeted me at pick-up: “The boys hit me in the face with a stick and my nose bled.” I’m sorry. Come again?

And, finally, who could possibly argue with the treatment she was given? Ice, HUGS, and tissues. What wouldn’t that fix?!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

There's a Cake in Your Car

Some of our friends moved on to our street. Their house is still being remodeled even though it was supposed to be finished months ago. But, that's okay. Who doesn't like to look at a porta-potty on their driveway every day?

So, I thought they could use a "Welcome to the Neighborhood/Try Not to Lose Your Minds" cake. And, I a) must really like these people and/or b) must really feel sorry for these people because I decided to share "the" banana cake with them.
Licking the Bowl
I told y'all it was good.

The kids grabbed their scooters, Shawn grabbed the cake and we headed down the street. We got there just in time to discover... they weren't home. *cue sad clown music*

Elizabeth pressed her face to their door and tried to will them to be home. Spencer took the opportunity to practice scooter daredevil tricks on their driveway. And, Shawn and I stood there looking at each other.

Finally, Shawn walked over to their car parked in the drive.

I said, "What are you doing?"

"Seeing if their car's unlocked."

It was.

"What are you going to do?! Call them and say, 'There's a cake in your car'?!"

"That's exactly what I'm going to do."

And, that's exactly what he did.

I saw the dad at school drop-off this morning. He said he was going to keep leaving the car unlocked  just so he could see what else showed up in his backseat.

So, there you have it. That's how the Johnsons roll. Welcome to the neighborhood! There's a cake in your car.

Sunday, May 08, 2011

Before I was a Mom

Before I was a Mom;
I made and ate hot meals,
I had unstained clothing,
I brushed my hair every day,
I had quiet conversations on the phone,
I slept as late as I wanted and I slept all night long.

Before I was a Mom;
I cleaned my house each day,
I never tripped over toys or forgot lullabies,
I didn't worry whether or not my plants were poisonous,
I had never been puked on,
pooped on,
spit on,
chewed on,
peed on,
or pinched by tiny fingers.

Before I was a Mom;
I never thought about immunizations,
I never held a screaming child so the doctors could give shots,
I never looked into teary eyes and cried,
I never felt my heart break into pieces when I couldn't stop the hurt,
I never got gloriously happy over a simple grin.

Before I was a Mom;
I never held a sleeping baby just because I didn't want to put it down,
I never sat up late hours of the night watching a baby sleep,
I never got up in the middle of the night to make sure everything was okay,
I didn't know how special it could feel to feed a hungry baby.

Before I was a Mom;
I had complete control of my mind,
my thoughts
and my body,
I didn't know the feeling of having my heart outside of my body,
I didn't know that having something so small
could make me feel so important,
I had never known the warmth,
the joy,
the love,
the heartache,
the wonderment,
or the satisfaction
of being a mom.

Before I was a Mom;
I never knew that something so small could effect my life so much,
I never knew that I could love someone so much,
I never knew I would love being a Mom,
I didn't know the bond between a Mother and her child,
I didn't know I was capable of feeling so much
Before I was a Mom.

Happy Mother's Day.

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

I Just Say What Everyone Else Is Thinking

My friend told me to come to the "Hard Core" class with her at the new gym I joined. Hard Core is an hour of 30 second, 1 minute and 2 minute intervals of exercises that, as far as I could tell, are designed to make you cry. Or puke. Or both.

We were doing Scissor Legs (while holding a dumbbell in the air - because regular scissor legs are for quitters) and the girl next to me called the instructor over. She told him, "My lower back hurts when I do these."

Now, my friend Springer would have warned this man to approach the area near me with extreme caution, kinda like a new dog - you should let it sniff your hand first. Unfortunately for this unsuspecting instructor, Springer wasn't anywhere to be found. He walked in blind. And he answered her with:

"It's because right now your hips are too tight. And what we're working on is opening them up."

I stopped scissor-kicking and said, "Why do you sound so much like my husband right now?"

This poor, poor, unwitting straight-man and his 2% body fat stopped talking while his mouth fell open and all the women within earshot started laughing. He blushed. And he walked away.

Poor guy never saw me coming.

To his credit, he regained his composure (after he tattled on me to the other instructor) and said, "So, is that how it's gonna be, Ali?"

I responded with, "Yes. It's nice to meet you."

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Updates on Spanish, Exercise and Fascinators

There's not much to report around here.

In fact, there's so little going on that I took my obsession with the royal wedding to a whole new level and put a fascinator on my head.
Yeah. This is me taking a picture of myself and my
fascinator in the bathroom mirror. Don't judge me.
I like my fascinator. But, my sister probably said it best when she responded with, "London - yes. Amarillo - no." *sad*

I took a week off of Spanish. But, I'm back at it now. It's making me learn past and future tenses and it's just hard! *Imagine me stomping my feet and whining* I'm pretty sure that I almost told the Spanish-speaking housekeeper that I was going to "sell" her instead of "pay" her, too. I'm guessing she might not come back after that. Some people don't like human trafficking.

I've also begun acting like English is my second language. The greeter at Wal-Mart told me to "come back soon," and I had to think of the proper response because I knew it wasn't, "You, too." I asked the checker at Hobby Lobby, "Where is framing?" because I couldn't think of the pleasantries that should surround that statement.

In other news: I joined a gym. Even sweet Shawn agreed that I was probably asking more of my pants on Sunday then they were able to give. Sad. I guess I can't pretend that carpool pickup is exercise anymore. I haven't "officially" exercised now for four months. That's a third of a year. I should be ashamed. But, really. I hate exercise so much, I'm not.

However, getting out of shape has made my joints hurt. This is the beauty of my aging body: If my muscles aren't strong, my joints do all the work and they hurt. If I get up from sitting too long, I walk just like my 66-year-old dad. (Sorry, Dad, but it's true. My gross heels look like yours, too. Thanks for the DNA.) My hip hurts so badly at the moment that I think I had better get a Life Alert button. There's a chance I might fall and not be able to get up.

But, wait. Maybe I'll ditch exercise altogether and get a scooter! A scooter and a Life Alert button. And a fascinator. I'd be the hottest 37-year-old on the block!


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