Saturday, April 28, 2012

A Few Of My Favorite 4-letter Words . . .

Dinner time conversation is sometimes the best part of my day, and the other night's dinner talk was no different.

The topic was favorites.

We listed favorite movies and books.  We took turns guessing lines from our favorite movies, and then we moved on to favorite foods.  I was feeling a bit like Maria in the Sound of Music except instead of singing about favorites during a thunderstorm, we were laughing about our favorites over tater tots. Still, it was a moment, and I was feeling all warm and fuzzy and sentimental.  Naturally after we exhausted our favorite books and movies, the favorites conversation finally led to the topic of favorite words

Favorite words?

This former English teacher's heart was bursting at the thought of my kids picking out their own personal favorite words.  Words that were fun to say or just rolled off your tongue a certain way.  Words that were powerful or filled with emothion.  Just what was their favorite word?  Was it simple like pizza?  Was it crazy like Kathmandu?  Or was it one of my personal favorites like onomatopoeia?

I didn't have to wonder long, however, because Ellerie's cheery voice broke into my thought.

"Mommy!  I know what your favorite word is!"

She did? Had I told her about my favorite words before?  

"You do?"  I teased her.  "Well. . . what is it?"

She smiled confidently and then proudly stated, "Shit!"


Clearly it is time for this modern day Maria to break out the swear jar and say some Hail Mary's.

Friday, March 9, 2012

On Being Paralyzed

I am paralyzed.

No matter how hard I focus my brain, no matter how hard I will my fingers to type,  no matter how hard I try to breathe and relax, I still feel like I've got nothing.


I am a writer, and clearly, I am blocked.

I wish there was some sort of laxative that I could take that would make the words spill from my heart. I would even consider breaking my gas station cappuccino habit in order to buy the magic pill to unlock the phrases. That's how badly I need a fix.

Instead, I try to appease myself with the fact that this happens to everyone.


All writers at some time or another become stuck and mired with their wheels spinning.  All writers have to dig and fight their way out of the sand pit.  And even though I know this, and more importantly that I understand this,  I am not comforted. 

Because when it happens to you, and you are a writer, it sucks.


But today?

I am taking my first baby steps, and it feels fabulous.

I am walking . . . even if it is only one step at a time.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Not Your Average Christmas Letter . . .

Dear friends and family,

2011 . . . what a year!

It is hard for even me to believe that Paul and I now have a 10 year old, a 7 year old and a 4 year old.  The time is going by so quickly!  But this year, my friends, we have had glimpses into our future.  Yes.  That's right.  Based on this year's experiences, I think that I can accurately predict what each of our three kids will choose as his or her career!

For example, I think that we may have a future doctor in our midst.  What?  You don't believe me?  Well, based on his keen 7 year old observations of how women "poop out" babies, I'd say we have a future gynecologist on our hands.  And if it isn't gynecology, I'd put my money on an infectious disease doctor.  He does have an affinity for boogers, after all.

His sister, Abbie, however, will not follow her brother down the scientific path.  Nope.  Not this girl.  She tends to be more on the artsy side, and I predict that my girl will be the next Stacy London of What Not to Wear.  Yes, based on her accurate assessments of my gay-teenager haircut, I would say that a fashion critic is right up her alley.  Of course, I could be wrong, and instead I could have the next Dr. Ruth on my hands.  After all, she did think that skydivers were, in fact, having sex when they were jumping out of planes, and she did find out that her parents have had (gasp!) sex at least three times.  It will be fun to see what path she takes.

Ellerie's career path, however, is clearly more obvious.  She will, of course, be a performance artist.  What with getting naked in Lowe's and dealing with a shart in public, the girl is off to a great start! 

I am such a proud mama!

And when hubs and I are not bursting with pride, you can find us doing our normal married stuff.  Don't be surprised if you find Paul analyzing your eyes and waiting for the words that every man wants to hear.  And me?  Well, you can find me mooning the Target parking lot and attempting to keep my hot mama status.  If I am not there, then you can find me shooting the shit with grandma.

Just another crazy year, after all.


Annie and family

Obviously, this Christmas letter is meant to not only poke fun at me and my crew, but also to poke a little harmless fun at the standard Christmas letter in general. ( And, if you are new to the blogging format, the highlighted portions are backlinks to lead you to other crazy adventures.)  Please know that I am just sharing a bit of Christmas cheer and in no way mean any harm to any friends or family that do include a letter in their Christmas greeting.  We love you, and we love catching up too. :) ~Annie

Sunday, December 18, 2011

The Fat Man May Be Singing

Ethan has had a few rough days.

What with school ending for Christmas break and two weeks of days with no predictable routine stretching ahead of him, the poor boy has had some questionable behavior moments to say the least.

This evening friends of ours stopped by dressed as Santa and his elves.  The younger two kids, including Ethan, were mesmerized by the jolly fat man.  They proceeded to talk his ear off, and thankfully Santa was a good sport.  "I've been watching you all, and you kids have been very good!" he emphasized as he walked out my front door.

Ethan smiled politely, waved goodbye and said nothing.

Later though, he put in his two cents, "Santa must not be watching very well.  I mean,  how could he say I was good these past few days?!?"

True enough.

The gig may be up.

The fat man may be singing.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The Sharting, Part II

It all started last week in Kohl's.

"Mom?"  Ellerie asked in a whispered shriek.


"I farted, "  and then she paused, glanced around to see if anyone but me was listening, and continued, "but instead of a fart, I think a little poop came out!"

Nine dollars, a new pair of leggings, and a sponge bath for Ellerie in the department store restroom later, all was well.

Sharts happen, right?

Over the next few days, my family, including Ellerie, laughed at the thought of me, the germ-a-phobe, in a public restroom dealing with a naked and poopy 4 year old.  I, of course, laughed along with them.  Ellerie and I even did a reenactment of the crazy situation or "The Sharting" as it came to be known in family lore.

This weekend though I wasn't laughing when I had to deal with the stomach flu and Ethan. (Incidentally, it is times like these when I wonder if Mary ever had to clean up a pukey, poopy Jesus, and if she did, did she gag at the yucky smells like I do?)  Thankfully, this morning Ethan was finally ready to go back to school, and after getting ready, I encouraged Ethan to try to go to the bathroom one last time before going to school.

 He agreed and headed for the bathroom with the words, "I certainly don't want to be in 'The Sharting,  Part II' !"

Is it any wonder why I love that boy so?

Saturday, December 3, 2011

The "Is Santa Real" Conversation . . .

After my post yesterday, a few of my friends requested that I repost this conversation that I had with Abbie last year.

It was one of those moments that I didn't plan, but when it happened, I think I did OK.  I spoke from my heart and I have found that when speaking from my heart, I can never go wrong.

Merry Christmas.

What to Say When Your Kid Asks, "Is Santa Real?"  originally posted, 12/5/10

When Abs said yesterday, "Mom, I need to know the truth," I thought that she was talking about the truth about what I really put in my meatloaf (vegetables! HA!) , or some other little white lie that I tell to get through the day.

She was not.

Instead, Ab wanted to know the answer to THE holiday question of all questions. The BIG ONE. Virginia's question.

You know the one.

"Mom, I need to know the truth about Santa," Ab said with a stern face.

I stopped wiping up the counter, looked up to meet her eyes, and then answered, "Are you sure you can handle the truth? Are you ready?" I was clearly channeling Jack Nickelson in A Few Good Men.

She held my gaze and replied, " I'm ready mom."

And the moment was here, before I knew it, and I WAS NOT READY TO ANSWER.

So, I took a deep breath, threw the dishrag in the sink, and pulled up a stool next to Ab, and this is what I said:

Ab, you know that there was an actual man, St. Nicholas. He was a good man that made and gave toys to children in his village to celebrate Jesus' birthday. He placed the toys and treats in the children's stockings that they had hung by the fire to dry. By giving children gifts to celebrate Jesus' birth, St. Nick brought great joy to many families.

But, St. Nick was just a man, like you or like me, and eventually, he died.

The people in the town wanted to continue to feel that joy that St. Nick had brought to the village. So, they continued in his tradition. They gave gifts and placed them in stockings, just like he had done. St. Nick's spirit was alive in those people as they continued to feel the joy in giving to celebrate Jesus being born.

So, yes, Ab, Santa or St. Nick was just a man.

But, is he still alive?

My answer is yes, my girl.

Santa is ALIVE. He is alive in each and every one of us when we honor Jesus' birth by giving to each other. He is ALIVE when we gather as a family to decorate the tree. He is ALIVE when we sing Christmas carols. He is alive when our family treks across the frozen tundra to chop down a Christmas tree.

He is ALIVE when we think of others rather than ourselves.

SANTA is alive.

And, now that you know the secret, Santa is alive in you too.

Abbie had been quiet the whole time, and when I paused, I scanned her face to check her reaction.

"Well, what do you think baby?" I finally asked.

A slow smile inched across her face, and she replied in a half-whisper, "Cool."

I laughed and grabbed both of her hands in mine,

"Yep. It is pretty cool," I agreed.

We sat there holding hands for a moment, and then she broke our silence first and said, "Can I help with the presents?"

"Sure. You are part Santa now, so, yes, absolutely."

She smiled. "And the elf on the shelf? What about him?" she questioned.

"The job is yours if you want it, " I answered simply. Then I teased, " . . .Santa."

Her hands flew up to her face and her eyes sparkled. "I do! I do!"

And off she went, to plan and to be Santa.

It is just one more reason that I can't wait for Christmas this year.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Dear Santa . . .A Thank You

Dear Department Store Santa,

I could just kiss you!

Even though it was late and your shift was almost over, when my kids walked in the door you opened your arms, smiled wide, and said, "My babies!"

You even managed an eye-twinkle.


And when a ketchup covered Ellerie hugged you fiercely and declared, "I love you!", you hugged her right back with the same intensity . . . even though you quite probably became covered in ketchup too.

But my favorite part of the evening was when you noticed that my oldest, Abbie, was hanging back, standing in the shadows, away from you.  Clearly, she is in that in-between stage this year.  She knows the truth but she still wants to believe. So, when you motioned for her to come closer, and then smiled and called her by her name, her eyes became wide with wonder. She couldn't hide her smile despite the fact that she was trying to figure out how you, a department store Santa, could have possibly known her name.

Forget about the fact that she was wearing her cheerleader sweatshirt with Abbie embroidered on the pocket, Santa.

What you did?

That was true Christmas magic.

And as for me, Santa?

I will always believe.



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