Friday, April 29, 2011

The Post Where I Prove I'm a Hypocrite

I am not celebrity obsessed. I wouldn't go around tracking down the every move of the lady down the street. Why in the world would I care about the every move of a person just because their chosen career is acting or singing? I can admire them for the entertainment they provide. I can love their work. But, go to their house and be their BFF? Only as much as I'd want to go to your house and be your BFF - meaning, if I got to know you; and we hit it off; and you didn't pick your nose when you talked; and you didn't make fun of my hair or my clothes or judge me for my long, rambling run-on sentences; and you didn't have a cat at your house that clawed my leg... things like that.

Now, granted. I have been lured in when the media gives me the illusion that I do know these people. But, I don't relish Charlie Sheen's spiraling, out-of-control meltdown anymore than I would relish the alcoholic-induced breakdown of the soccer mom at school. Nor do I need a front-row seat to the tragedy.

I just see these people as people.

All of that to say: I have not been obsessed with the Royal Wedding. I mean, I knew every. single. media outlet would show me what her dress looked like, and how many attendants they had, and any other necessary highlight I would need to be privy to; and many, many that I wouldn't. I have not been seeking out the Royal Wedding "deets." I mean, really. They're just two young adults getting married. A special day. For them.

I was absolutely not going to set my alarm clock for 4:00am CST to see the pre-wedding coverage and the 5:00am CST wedding. No sir. I did that once in 1981, the summer after first grade, and even then I remember thinking, "Why are these people getting married so early?!" (Time zones. It's a tricky concept when you're 7...)

Then. Today.

5:00am CST:
"Mommy, I had an accident."

5:08am CST
I get everyone snuggled back into bed and I think, "Huh. They're getting married right now."

5:09am CST
I walk downstairs, past the TV and I think, "I'll just turn it on for a second. Just to see her dress."

I've been watching wedding coverage for five hours now.

Y'all! They kissed twice!! Unprecedented! And that dress! And, Kate is so gracious and graceful. And, they seem so in love with their quiet communications, spoken and unspoken. And, did you see how exquisite her sister looked as her attendant?

I even gave Shawn a little dissertation on the surname of the Royal family this morning. He was fascinated, I can assure you. (Cliffs Notes: They don't officially have one. How cool is that?! But, when you're the Royal Family, I guess people pretty much know who you are.)

So, later tonight at 7pm CST Piers Morgan will be doing a complete two-hour wrap-up on CNN. Awesome. I'm there, Piers. I mean, seriously!

♥ Will and Kate! Does anyone know where I can buy a set of commemorative dishes?

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Yes! That CAN be my next tweet

OK. So, I don't think I've made much of a secret of the fact that I just can't get into Twitter. I can't. Unless I'm staring at it 24/7, I feel like I'm missing everything that's going on. And, I don't like trying to figure out what people have responded to me about which tweet. It's just all so very exhausting. Facebook puts it all so neatly in its own little comment thread, with pretty little notices to tell you who commented about what. So pretty. So OCD. I don't care if it means I'm not young and hip. I'm a Facebook girl.

But, I do feel Twitter guilt. Like, if I just tried harder, I could make my relationship with Twitter work. (Wait. Am I in an abusive relationship with Twitter?!) So, when I saw the link to "Yes. That can be my next tweet." I was sold. Please, all-knowing website, tell me what to tweet. Then Twitter won't feel so used by me just putting links to my blog posts up there.

It told me this:
Ahhh. shucks. thanks so much! AND being scolded. by my car. i've opened the house. i hate that!
(Ummm. Should this all be one tweet? If so, I hope I've learned my lesson about opening the house to the self-righteous car. But, then. It looks like I have. And, I wonder what I'm so humbly thankful for? Not the car. That's for sure.)

So, that can't be right. I tried again:
Well that's a Snowman That Keep Me Up at the radio. hope you should move.
(This isn't getting any better. Now it seems English has become my second language.)

The what a warning. sorry. my car make me it's more fun with me it's more fun with the full face = the.
(And, now I've suffered a full break with reality. Or a stroke. But, at least it seems to be "fun." But, the car again. Why does Twitter want to keep talking about my car? It's a five-year-old Hond Pilot, Twitter. Let it go.)

And, finally:
Oh. My compulsion is 11 days before Halloween. Is this "twitter" thing EVER on?! Who Taught Her - The Johnsons.
(I believe that about sums it up. But, might I warn everyone to steer clear of me on October 20th. Compulsions are not to be taken lightly, people.)

Or this:
Well. I don't know which direction to talk about it up here?! wait. there's PIZZA.
(That's always my reaction to pizza.)

Anyway. What were we talking about? Did someone say, "pizza?"

Monday, April 25, 2011

Wedding Weekend Update

I must check in with you all. Although, my head is so deeply buried in the 900 page epic Pillars of the Earth, I'm now just desperate to finish it so I can go back to being a productive member of society. My Kindle tells me I'm 70% through it. So, that means, what? I only have 270 more pages to go? Great. See you next month.


I'm completely overwhelmed by how many of you have told Shawn or me that you've been thinking of us and that you prayed for a peaceful weekend. Truly, I just don't have the words to express my gratitude.

And, I'm happy to report that absolutely nothing blog-worthy happened this weekend other than a beautiful bride married a handsome groom. I adore my new sister-in-law. Heather is beautiful, smart, gracious and funny. Well done, Mike.
And, that bump of Heather's? That's Carter! I'm way more excited about him than I am about Heather - and I'm really excited about Heather! He should make his debut mid-July.

Other than that, we had some great times visiting with family and making new friends. The Easter Bunny had been to every house we went to yesterday, so I'm pretty sure my kids are going to start insisting we travel on Easter - just so they can stock up on the loot!

So, that's it. Thanks again for all the thoughts and prayers. Throw a few more up for Mike and Heather's new marriage and their life together. Like I told Mike: I am a better person because of the person with whom I chose to spend my life. I pray the same blessing for them.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

The Differences are Gifts from God

The weekly school newsletter arrived. Our chaplain described the services planned for this Holy Week before Easter. The Maundy Thursday service was to include the eighth graders washing the feet of the younger children who wished to participate.

I sent this email to the chaplain and Spencer's teacher:

April 14, 2011
Hi Mother J* and AB*,
I was reading through the Holy Week services that are planned for next week. What wonderful things you have planned for the kids, Mother J!
I just wanted to give you both a quick note about Spencer. He was born with fused bones in his feet and webbed toes. It doesn't affect his mobility at all, and we rarely think of or notice it at our house - he even wears flip flops with pride. But, it does make his feet look different. The couple of times in his life he's ever even mentioned it, we just tell him his feet are that way because that's exactly how God wanted them to be made and we think they're even better than everybody else's feet because they're 100% unique.
Shawn and I wish he could go through his whole life as confident and unconcerned about his feet as he is today. But, we're not naive enough to believe that being "different" doesn't get to be an issue the older kids get; or that another child's reaction to his feet won't hurt him someday.
So, just in case he chooses to participate in the feet washing during the Maundy Thursday service, I felt better making you both aware. Thanks for listening to this overly sensitive mom. :) -ali

Spencer's teacher and I received this response:

Dear Ali, Thank you for this information. I agree that being given special gifts by God is a blessing, but I also know that children can be unaware of how hurtful they can be if someone’s blessing is different from theirs. A, I can easily take Spencer to a station for foot washing where the older child is sensitive and understanding. I will be “floating“ that morning and will be aware of when and if Spencer gets up to have his feet washed. I will stand in your section of the nave until your children have had their feet washed.
Ali, thank you for contacting us. You’re a precious Mama.
Much love,

Touched? Wouldn't even begin to describe it. When I sent her a thanks, I told her I had tears in my eyes. That wasn't the truth. They were rolling down my face.

The tears?

They were partly for the frustration that we do live in a world where kids can be cruel to each other; and I can't protect my child from it; and to learn to get along in this great big ol' world, he's going to have to learn to endure the injustices of it. I will be able to do nothing more than sit on the sidelines while my heart breaks.

But, mostly? The tears were overwhelming gratitude for the reminder that there are angels that surround my children and love them when I'm not there.

*Names have been abbreviated to protect the angels. ;)

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

These Women Are CRAZY

Not really. But, some of them read this blog and I thought I would freak 'em out for a second. Don't worry, girls, I rarely tell everything I know. You can pay me later...

So, I'm back from hanging out with Shawn's mom and aunts, and one cousin. Y'all, I'm hard pressed to come up with any reason to let twelve human beings come out of your body. But, when I see these eight sisters in one place; and how much they love each other; and how much they laugh... well, then? Then, I can understand. The love is multiplied exponentially. And the laughter? Let's just say I really wish I could bank some of that laughter.

Now, I'm getting the family ready to go to Corpus on Friday. I've begun moving on auto-pilot. I get up in the morning and get the kids to school because there is just no other option. I buy the things we need to pack for the trip because it needs to be done.

And, I'm so tired. I'm physically tired, but I'm also more tired of family drama than I could ever begin to put into words. My ex-brother-in-law will be at my brother's wedding of about 30 guests. And, to say that situation continues to be filled with drama would be the understatement of the year.

So, Shawn and I keep putting one foot in front of the other. We smile and laugh (instead of cry). We pray (instead of worrying how it will all play out). The Johnsons will do our damnedest to do what God would have us do in every situation. We'll look at our nieces' and our kids' faces if we start to lose our focus.

And, we pray. We pray. We pray.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

How Do You Spell "Narcissism"?

It's weird to link to a post that links to me, right? I don't care. Deal with it.

Wow. Cool, huh?

Now I'll admit, I never tire of you all telling me you like this blog, or that I make you laugh. (Seriously. NEVER tire of it. Don't stop. Why aren't you complimenting me right now?!) But, a complete stranger? Devoting an entire post to liking my blog?

Some call it Stalking. I call it Love.

And he's from the UK. He spells "humour" with an "ou"! I'm totally building bridges. I'm my own little World Peace ambassador. Shut up that we're already peaceful with the UK. (I can't hear you! lalalalalalalala!) I'm saving the world. One blog post at a time.

Sadly, Adam got in touch with me to tell me that, no matter how he tried, he could never comment on my blog. Oh, the horror! Someone wants to say something nice to me and I'm missing it?! This must be rectified. If any of the rest of you, dear readers, are having the same problem, I. am. so. sorry. As, my first act of diplomatic importance, I shall try to get this fixed post-haste. (That sounds like the fancy-talk an ambassador would use, right?)

I hope this doesn't create an international incident. The pressure. You know? It is true what they say: With great power comes great responsibility. I wonder how Oprah handles it?

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Stop the World. I'd Like to Get Off, Please.

I'm going to El Paso with my Mother-in-law on Friday... for business, not pleasure (as in, "getting down to business" helping to organize her late mom's house).

In order to use free airline passes, our flight leaves Friday at six forty in the morning. Since I feel fairly certain that no pilot could possibly operate a 42 ton plane that early in the morning (Seriously. People are awake, dressed and functioning that early in the morning?! How is that humanly possible?!), I should probably bid you adieu right now. There is no way we can survive taking off and landing before God is even awake.

We get back on Monday and Shawn, the kids and I turn around and leave again on Friday to go to Corpus Christi for my little brother's wedding. I'm not sure how the boy I still think of as five-years-old could possibly be getting married... But, I haven't gotten any calls from CPS about underage marriages in the family, so maybe I'm a few years off on his age.

Regardless to say, the next few weeks will be a little busy. I'm going to be singing an extra loud "Hallelujah!" come Easter Sunday when The Johnsons are back on a plane headed home to resume "life as usual."

I'll try to keep in touch. But, just in case... miss me!

Monday, April 11, 2011

A Picture's Worth a Thousand Words (in Therapy)

My childhood pictures keep appearing on Facebook (Brandy!). And, it has led me to a couple of conclusions about my girlhood.

#1. Evidently, the only way anyone could get a young me to look at the camera was by yelling, "Alison! BOO!"
It looks like it made my older sister, Brandy, a little nervous, too.
My mom on the other hand... quite pleased about people startling her toddler.
I actually added the next one to Facebook myself, with the comment,
"Holy $#!t! Do you see Grandma?!"
And, also?
#2. Someone should have stepped in and stopped all the neckwear!
WTH, people?! "Chippendale Dancer" and "Late Night at the Office" are not really "looks" we should be trying to achieve for our pre-teen daughters.
For all of the brilliant comments the following little beauty elicited, click here.

Forget the kids. This time I'm throwing the coins in my own therapy fund.

Thursday, April 07, 2011

An Epic Quest for Car Keys

"Does anyone see Mommy's keys?"

"No." "I don't!"

"Well. Let's go out to the car and see if Mommy left them there. Surely, Mommy didn't leave them there."

"What? Why wouldn't you leave them there?"

"Because that would mean I locked them in the car and that would be bad. Then Daddy would have to leave work and go home for the spare key and drive all the way to bring it to us...

There are the keys."

Locked in the car.

Spencer: "Mom, the top window is open; we can climb in there."

Sure enough. The sunroof was open.

"Spence? Can you climb in there and open the car?"


He got one foot on the front wheel and one knee on the hood and he froze. And, I mean, froze. I was behind him trying to help him up and he almost knocked me over coming back down off that car.

"Come on, Spence, you can do it! I won't let you fall."

One more attempt. One more "flight response."

It is moments like this that convince me this cautious boy is an old soul. I mean, what seven-year-old doesn't dream of the day that he is given permission to climb up the car and through the sunroof?

Mine. That's which one.

I looked at Lulu. I considered that for about half a millisecond before concluding that that would just compound the problem. I was pretty sure that she wouldn't know how to unlock the doors; and then the keys and my daughter would be locked in the car. And, as my sister pointed out, it probably would have ended much worse than that. She probably would have started the car and driven off yelling, "See ya, suckas!"

So. That left me.

As quickly as I could, I put a foot on the front wheel, a knee on the hood, and tried to get my foot up to the roof so I could completely bypass the windshield (because that's all I needed - to go through the windshield). This pretty much resulted in me doing the splits over the windshield of the car. I hoisted myself up. Then, holding the edge of the sunroof, I swung my feet under me and into the opening so I could go in feet first  (because that's also all I needed - my feet kicking out the top of my sunroof while I gracelessly flopped into my car).

But, then I was in. I got the keys. I opened the driver's-side door. And, the car alarm went off.

Did I mention that all of this happened in front of the kids' school? At pickup.

I'm waiting to hear the word around school that the new family is a bunch of car-climbing hillbillies.

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Español es Dificil

... and I only wrote that title because I don't know how to say, "Learning Spanish is freakin' hard" in Spanish.

First off, I was wrong. There are five CDs for the Rosetta Stone Spanish course. There are four units in the first CD, so I'm assuming there are four units in each CD. That's twenty units (if only I were as good at Spanish as I am at multiplication...). I'm in the fourth unit. Ouch. I walk away from my lessons looking at Shawn like I suffer from PTSD and murmuring, "What have I done?!"

And, I still can't speak it. Except to my kids... who don't know anything more than remedial Spanish. So, I tell them I'm right, and they answer, "uno, dos, tres, quatro, cinco, seis!"

I also walk around my everyday life thinking things like, "Desayuno! That's 'breakfast'! Is that 'breakfast'? I don't know. I think that's 'breakfast.'"

I looked enviously at Elizabeth's Pre-K worksheet the other day. It said "Circle the things that are above..." and "Circle the things that are below..." I thought, "I could totally do a Spanish Pre-K worksheet." Unfortunately, I don't think anyone is going to handle me like a four-year-old when I try to converse with them in Spanish. So unfair. Those four-year-old Spanish kids don't know how good they've got it.

I'm not giving up on you, Rosetta Stone. I still believe your claims that you can teach me Spanish by the end of the twentieth unit. But, at the moment, you could call me skeptical.  Pretty much, if I went to a Spanish-speaking country right now, I would be committed to an insane asylum because I would just walk around yelling words like "breakfast!" and "bicycle!" and "sixty!"

Monday, April 04, 2011

God Doesn't Like Vacations

And, here's how I know: If He did, life wouldn't be so chaotic upon return. It's like you have to pay for vacation by returning to a home that has completely fallen apart in your absence.

Case in point: the last load of laundry in the dryer that has been "fluffed" about 17 times since it went in last Wednesday.

To be fair, this could have less to do with God's feelings on vacations and more to do with "getting plugged in" to our new town. (I'm suspicious that this might be the case, since I tried to make a dinner date with some of our new friends and the first available date we could find was a Thursday in three weeks.)

Whatever the reason, this is what last week looked like:

Monday and Tuesday were deceptively calm. I took lunch to Spencer for making a 100 on his spelling test while we were gone. We got Lulu's hair cut in the "bob" she has been requesting. (Shawn has been requesting it, too, to be honest. I don't think he could bare to brush one more tangle out of his precious baby girl's head. :) Shawn had business dinners so I had to get the kids to bed by myself. (I really think he just does that so I'll appreciate him more... Ass.)

Wednesday began that elusive laundry. And, then...

Thursday my mom came to town. The kids had Fine Arts Night at their school. We saw their art displayed; Spence's class sang. (Well done. So proud. Got to bed late.)

Friday I tootled on down the highway a couple of hours for a friend's birthday lunch. I got home; took Lulu for a "girls' date" (that means we went to The Discovery Center and walked around the park) while I waited to pick Spence up from a birthday party. We took the kids for pizza for Family Date Night. (Got to bed late.)

The next day (Saturday) we awoke to hit the road back down the highway for a wedding. Came home the same day. (Got to bed late.)

We woke for church on Sunday, came home for some Sunday naps (hallelujah!), worked on Spencer's Flat Stanley project, and raced out the door - again - to get to my in-laws' church for a gospel quartet concert to which they had invited us (leaving the Flat Stanley supplies exploded around the floor and living room).

Last night, as we put the kids to bed (late again), stepping over piles of their toys, shoes, and clothes that hadn't made it to the laundry hamper, Shawn looked around and said, "Well, at least the upstair and the downstairs match."

Elizabeth was showing signs of wear this morning. But, I just kicked everyone out the door to work and school. Now I'm looking around at this house/mess/dump sight and wondering what it takes to get declared a Disaster Zone - I'm not so much interested in the federal funding as I am in the volunteer labor and National Guard forces.

Oh well, I guess I better get started. I need to go fluff the laundry in the dryer one more time.


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