Plaidopus

Sometimes my husband is just plain embarrassing.

Example A: I am waging an all-out war on unwanted hair (thanks, Grandma) and spend an inordinate amount of time casually stroking my chin to make sure there are no coarse black hairs trying to emerge. I try to maintain two separate eyebrows and shave my armpits and legs regularly (well, at least in the summer I do.)

Blair, on the other hand, cultivates his errant hairs, coaxing the long eyebrow hair out of its nest so it can rest on the brim of his stocking cap. His goal is to one day join the two crazily long ear hairs he recently discovered with the power-of-Samson eyebrow hair into what he is sure would be a source of great power. He has become increasingly paranoid about the possibility of someone plucking his solid 2 inch eyebrow hair, probably because my sisters and mom keep attempting to pin him down and yank it out.

Example B: Blair arrived home this morning to remind me that a guy was coming to give us an estimate on water proofing our basement. I will still in work out clothes, hadn’t showered, and was just sort of grubby. Since I didn’t have time to shower or really make myself presentable, I simply changed into jeans and finger-combed my hair so that I at least didn’t look like the stereo-typical low-rent housewife.

Blair went ahead and changed his clothes as well, exchanging his poop-stained farm jeans and t-shirt for a pair of plaid pajama pants and a t-shirt. What a great first impression we must have made! Especially when you factor in Blair’s car sitting in the driveway: a rusted out 1985 Pontiac something or other. We are awesome.  But it gets better….

Blair and the sales rep ventured outside to look at the foundation of the house while I helped Bridget finish her lunch and get laid down for her nap. I glanced out the window and seriously almost died; Blair had added a plaid flannel jacket type thing to his ensemble and was walking around our yard in a plaid tuxedo. Honestly? Why not grab a plain sweatshirt of jacket? Why not put on jeans?

I love him dearly but sometimes he is just so painfully embarrassing… thankfully he is also adorable, smart and funny.

PS: Blair came up with plaidopus name when I called him out on the embarrassing outfit….gotta love him.

Weight Loss Epiphany

Good news everyone! I have found the key to weight loss! Read on for more information…

I’ve been contemplating recently exactly how I got to my current weight status; I like to ignore the obvious factors of eating too much and not working out enough and search for the entertaining answers that make me feel better about myself.  As Blair and I were reminiscing about a particularly memorable night out in college, I was hit by a major epiphany: it’s all about the shoes.

Allow me to explain in more detail. I was a very active child who spent at least an hour after school shooting baskets, sometimes with one or more of my oldest sister’s unsavory boy “friends.” I was a skinny kid with a very high metabolism and ate whatever my mother would allow. As I got older, I continued to be active in sports year round and continued to eat virtually anything I wanted at any time of the day or night.  Anyone remember the single serve Cheese Whiz things that you heated up for exactly 34 seconds? We could go through an entire package of those during a sleep over and think nothing of it; it was a more innocent time.

When I got to college, my activity level decreased somewhat since I didn’t have a coach yelling at me to run line drills every day but my weight didn’t increase all that much. The weight didn’t start creeping on until after I had kids but I am done blaming the kids for my tummy because I now realize that fashion is the real culprit. I didn’t put on weight in college because I was wearing shoes that each easily weighed 5 pounds. Want proof? Check out this photo.  (By the way, Heather, we need to discuss the fact that we are wearing matching shoes. I don’t remember why or how but it is slightly disturbing…) I would also like to point out that I would only wear boys’ jeans at this time in my life. Clearly I was a fashion icon.

How could I have gained weight while constantly lifting these monstrosities and the numerous pairs to follow? Sadly the shoes pictured here are not the heaviest pair I would own but I could not find photographic evidence. Let’s just say, they were my favorite shoes ever and to this day the most expensive pair of shoes I have ever owned. I loved them even after my future sister-in-law vomited on them and while my future husband ridiculed their density.  And it turns out, I had good reason to love them because they kept me in reasonably good shape!

I thought about trying to bring the days of giant Frankenstein shoes back into style but then I saw a woman wearing them and thanked the Lord that I am no longer stomping around on club feet and wished that she weren’t either.  I suppose I’m back to working out and eating right….but maybe I’ll work out in some shoes from my college days.

What are little boys made of?

I have been encouraged recently to blog about my childhood memories; in preparation I have been combing my brain for suitably embarrassing stories about my parents, sisters, and childhood friends. It’s like a treasure trove of humiliation and those blog posts will be arriving soon…with pictures…

But as I contemplated growing up with my sisters, I was struck by how similar the 3 of us are in so many ways and how some of those traits have been passed down to our own children. Then I spoke to my sister whose son is around the same age as my sons and, as we made fun of our kids, we realized how vastly different they are. Sure, they have similar features and incredible intelligence and charm in common but that’s about it. Allow me to elaborate.

 

The biggest difference between my sons and my nephew lies in getting dressed. My boys typically put on whatever is most comfortable; Gavin plots his outfit as others might plot a siege. Sam and Drew love to wear jerseys or t-shirts proclaiming their allegiance to a specific team. Gavin enjoys putting together an outfit that displays the color scheme of his dad or Sam’s favorite team but would rather not wear an actual team logo. Apparently this morning he put a black t-shirt under a shirt with purple ¾ length sleeves in a tribute to Sam’s Baltimore Ravens because “he likes Sam.” Adorable.

If I tell my kids to go put on church clothes, they will grudgingly pull on khaki pants and a polo or sweater. I will then have to help them find a shirt to put under the sweater that doesn’t hang to their knees or fix the collar of the polo. When Gavin is told to dress nicely, he might appear in a full suit (his wedding clothes), a sweater vest with matching oxford and pants, or the same ringer tee he has been wearing for 3 days because he loves it. You just never know what to expect from that kid.

We are going to a movie this weekend and I will tell my boys to wear jeans and a nice-er shirt. They can typically put together a not embarrassing ensemble from that vague description. My nephew responds better to these directions, “Go put on a James Diamond outfit” for occasions when he needs to look nice. If he needs to wear workout or work outside clothes, the direction is “Go put on a Carlos outfit.” Yep, he dresses according to Big Time Rush band members. I love it.

Bridget, Drew, Sam & Gavin as Big Time Rush

Now I don’t want you to get the impression that Gavin is a pretty boy who is only concerned about his clothing because he (sort of) likes to play sports. Baseball and soccer are on his approved list of activities and here are his reasons why:

I like soccer because I’m really fast.

I like to play t-ball because I’m like a professional baseball player. The team loses if I’m not there because I’m the best hitter on the team.

He actually is a great runner, very fast with a nice stride, but I’m not sure any scouts will be showing up at t-ball for a while. Please note that he coordinates outfits for ball games as well; it is very important that your shorts match your shirt when playing soccer. I’m just happy if my kids can find shorts that fit them. Ever see those kids whose shorts are just a tiny bit too short? We try to avoid that…

Gavin signed up to play football this year but didn’t make it through two practices before convincing his mom that he hated it enough to quit. Sam, on the other hand, counted down the days until his first football practice and came home every day more excited than I have ever seen him.  Drew has been asking for a month when spring soccer will start and wants to practice in the back yard every day.

I heard my very favorite ever Gavin story this morning but I’m not sure if his mother will want me to share it….I will post this and wait to hear from her with permission or restrictions on printing it. Let’s just say, Gavin really enjoys calling people on his phone while I have to practically bribe my boys to say hello when a grandparent or aunt calls to chat.

I’m fascinated by the differences between these boys who were raised by similar mothers. Is it the influence of their fathers? Is it that my boys have brothers while Gavin is an only child?

I suppose we could throw my oldest nephew into the mix to really spice things up. Thomas did not have a brother when he was young but is not an only child; are his 2 sisters the reason he has always been very concerned about his outfits as well? I doubt it; they are not nearly as concerned with proper sock alignment as Thomas and Gavin are.  The girls would attend weddings in whatever outfit we picked out for them….Thomas memorably refused to attend a wedding when he was younger than 5 because his pants didn’t fit right and my mom always buys me stupid pants and I’m not going to the wedding.

He easily falls into the Gavin side of the equation and the common denominator is the amount of time spent with Gavin’s mom.  It’s not that she encourages constant dressing up; in fact she would typically prefer to be in swishy pants and a hoodie. But when she does dress up, she really puts a lot of thought into it. Whether it is passed genetically from my mom, to her, and then to Gavin I don’t know but if it is modeled behavior, I’m worried about Bridget…. I may have to limit her contact with her least favorite aunt.

Drop and Give Me Five

Remember those New Year Resolutions? I made one that almost everyone in America probably made: to lose weight, live a healthier life, and then have everything else fall magically into place and be perfect. Well, that last part might be just me.

As I may have mentioned before, I am somewhat lazy but also very competitive so I am going to use the latter to overcome the former. I would prefer to have a trainer or coach but since that isn’t a possibility, I have devised a reward system for every 5 pounds I am able to lose. Here are my incentives to get off my butt, put down the snacks, and work the hell out already.

5 pounds: Blair has to hire a sitter and take me on a date. Yes, I will probably put those 5 lbs back on that night but so what?

10 pounds: Blair will put new trim around every door in our house. Holy crap, if this doesn’t make me work out, nothing will. I should make him sign a contract with a timeframe….

15 pounds: I get to take a solo trip to Barnes and Noble with $20 and no guilt. Hallelujah! PS: I will most likely spend more than $20.

20 pounds: Massage!! I have been practically begging for a professional massage for years, optimistically hoping that Blair will gift me one for my birthday, Christmas, our anniversary, something (!) to no avail. This seems like the next best method to get one.

25 pounds: I am deliberating on my reward for this epic event, any ideas?

Now, for even more motivation, does anyone want to challenge me to be the first to lose each 5 pounds? I need some competition!!

Yuck, Yuck, and Double Yuck

I have had a gross few days, not in a particularly stressful or busy way but in a literally gross way. Make me gag, run screaming like a child, and then gag again sort of way.

Friday: The kids woke up on time and were ready to go with plenty of time so Drew and Bridget colored a few pictures while Sam packed his lunch. I went to look at Drew’s masterpiece and noticed that he was kneeling about a foot away from dog poop and hadn’t noticed…awesome. Apparently our new puppy, Coby, had pooped during the night. Bridget had poop duty last week so she “helped” me clean it up.

After dropping the kids at school, we went to the farm for a few minutes, then played with Coby outside before bringing him in. Sometime between letting him in the house and putting my shoes away, the stupid dog vomited all over the carpet. A lot. It was gross and yucky and I had not put anyone on vomit duty so I got the joy of cleaning it up.

Later, Bridget, Coby and I walked to pick up the boys at school because they had requested that I bring him in to their classrooms. We went to Drew’s first grade classroom where all of the kids were very excited and everyone, including Coby, behaved very well.

Drew then walked with us down to Sam’s third grade classroom where the entire class engulfed us at the door. I greeted the teacher then scanned the crowd for Sam…couldn’t find him. He is little and polite so I scanned the group again but still no sign of him. Finally I made eye contact with his teacher, who was fighting her way through the students to get to the dog, and she informed me that Sam was in the nurse’s office. I sent Drew to check on him, made the kids sit at their desks, and we made the rounds. When Sam and Drew reentered the classroom, I noticed that Sam looked very pale but assumed he just didn’t feel good and told the teacher I would take him home a couple of minutes early.

Because I’m an awesome mom, we then stopped in the office so that Bridget could show the principal her dog and we visited for a few minutes before heading outside where I finally asked Sam what was wrong. “I just threw up in the nurse’s office.” Crap, another entry for Mom of the Year. Luckily, our neighbor was there and could drive him home while Bridget, Drew, Coby and I hurried, without running because we honestly can’t keep up with the dog at full speed, to help Sam when we got home.

We got him settled on the couch with an empty ice cream bucket and a cartoon and I attempted to finish up some platters of fruits and veggies for a Christmas party that night. I walked back to the living room to check on sicky and found him with his head buried in the bucket, quietly puking his little guts out. Ugh but thank goodness he made it in the bucket. I must tell you, however, that he needs to chew his food a little better. I took the bucket like a good mommy, stifled my gag reflex until I got out of the room, and went to clean it out. Sam chased me to the bathroom, tried to throw up in the toilet but didn’t have time to lift the seat. Yep, he puked all over my new Christmas toilet seat. And because he is Sam, he cried and apologized….poor thing. I got him cleaned up and settled on the rug in the bathroom because he didn’t want to move any further than that, then gagged and choked while cleaning everything up.

The poor little dude continued to throw up about every 10 minutes for the next few hours; every sip of water or Gatorade just came right back out but he was so thirsty that he kept begging for a drink. It was awful and there was absolutely nothing I could do to make him feel better; literal and figurative yuck.

Saturday: I spent the morning steam cleaning the floors, washing blankets, scrubbing surfaces, and chasing Sam with Clorox wipes. No puking on Saturday! Plus I got to visit 2 stores by myself and purchase some organizational supplies- yay!

Saturday evening, however, I had to conquer my fears out of love for my nieces and nephew and attempt to feed their disgusting and creepy lizards. Oh Lord. Sam and Drew wouldn’t even go out to the house with me so Bridget and I made our intrepid way out to the farm. Feeding the lizards required capturing live crickets of various sizes and releasing them into 3 separate tanks. No thank you. My niece Morgan also showed me how I could give her giant creepy lizard some special treats: either a squirmy, gag-inducing meal worm that is feed to the lizard with tweezers or a live cockroach that I could just pick up and put in the tank. Again, no thank you.

Instead, I made Blair come into the house, showed him what to do and stood back while he encouraged Bridget to help him. She is my daughter, unfortunately, and dropped the cricket bag and backed away quickly. Ooops. Blair was not impressed with any of us but the lizards were thankful he was there or they might have starved.

Sunday: No puking on Sunday! Bridget scared me a little during supper Sunday night by telling me her tummy hurt and not wanting to eat but she made it thought the night with no vomiting. I did, however, spend the evening cleaning up dog pee. He has really done pretty well but apparently this particular pee is magical and the smell of it has attached itself to the carpet in such a way that it cannot be removed without a spell of some sort. If only Hermione would come and wave her wand…instead I will continue to spray, scrub and curse.

Monday: No puking on Monday but I might have preferred it. Ick….here it comes, the grand finale…are you ready?

After our unabashedly lazy weekend, I decided to get some cleaning and organizing done in the basement. I asked the boys to pick up all of their Legos and Star Wars guys so Coby could safely be in the basement and started working. Suddenly Sam shouted, “Mom, Coby has something in his mouth!” Oh how I wish I had ignored him but I wanted to be a good dog owner and called Coby over and opened his mouth to see what treat he had found. It looked sort of like a piece of a Star Wars ship so I dug my fingers in and pulled it out only to realize that it was a small, dehydrated, and clearly long-dead mouse. Oh holy crap.

It is possible that my reaction was not entirely grown-up but I will let you be the judge. I screamed, dropped the mouse, flapped my hands around for a moment to magically disperse the yuckiness, then ran up the stairs, calling the dog after me. He snatched up the disgustingness and thankfully ran out the open door to the backyard to enjoy his treat in solitude. I scrubbed my hands clean for a couple of minutes while continuing to ignore the kids who were giggling and asking what was wrong. When I was finally able to speak coherently, Drew was very interested in the seeing the baby mouse; I regrettably informed him that it was probably in Coby’s belly. Yuck and double yuck.

2012 Resolutions

I realize I’m a couple of days late but I wanted to give these resolutions the proper amount of consideration….and I procrastinate…and I’m not making a resolution to fix it…

 

Drink more water. I feel better when I drink more water, I look better when I drink more water, and it typically means that I’m working out and eating healthier when I drink more water. Why do I have to make a resolution to drink more water? There might be something wrong with me.

 

I will no longer say, “That is my dream house/job/body/vacation.” Rather, I will say, “I’m working toward a home like this/getting paid to write nonsense/a healthy body/lots of trips to many places.” In addition, I will actually work toward those goals and will not just claim to be working toward them.

A dream is a far-fetched notion that you have no real hope of achieving, it is the utopian world that never really exists except in your imagination. If I can alter my thinking and strive toward attainable goals, with clear-cut steps to get there, I can achieve my “dreams” and live the life I want to live. Now that I have changed my internal monologue, I need to work out the details and craft a concrete plan that will allow me to conquer my goals. Stay tuned for further details as they become available!

 

I will do what feels good. This means I will work out, keep the house clean and organized, be productive even when I am tired and don’t want to. Why is it so hard to do the things that we know will make us feel better? Why do we procrastinate, rationalize, and make excuses to avoid things that might not be fun right now but that we know will give us a sense of accomplishment, joy and pride when we are finished? Why am I writing a blog right now when I should be working out or mopping the floor?

 

I will stop referring to my “Drew tummy.” Until such time as it is abolished, it shall be known as “the cheese tummy” because it is only fair to blame the true culprit.

 

Demonstrate patience. I learned an important lesson the other day, a lesson that everyone has heard a million times but I think you have to experience to really believe. Stop and count to 10 before reacting to a stressful situation. I had the benefit of ascending the stairs on my way to yell at some children just before Christmas which afforded me the time to reassess my strategy, contemplate the reasons for their behavior and the potential consequences of both their actions and my reaction. I was then able to calmly and respectfully ask them to play a little quieter;  they responded with respect and actually tried to do what I asked.

I will try to apply this theory to every interaction and maybe even before I call my mom in a fury over a perceived slight or ignore my husband because of something he did in my dream.

 

I will be the kind of friend I want to have. I will make time for my friends, I will listen unconditionally, I will always have a drink ready. And I will be that kind of friend to my husband, kids, and family as well.

 

What are your 2012 Resolutions?

 

New Beginnings, Old Memories

I am a bit of an impulse shopper, often picking things up and putting them in my shopping cart and then wondering why or how they got there when I get home. Blair, on the other hand, is a researcher and delayed-gratification type of guy. For instance, he has been talking about purchasing a nail gun for months but hasn’t found the perfect tool at the perfect price so he just hasn’t bought one yet. I would have purchased at least 3 and returned them in that amount of time….  I have discovered, however, that there is one thing that will cause Blair to be impulsive: love. Yep, if he is in love he will decide to go get a dog right now and bring it home right now even though we had decided not to bring it home for a couple of days.  We had to stop to buy food, a bed, toys and keep the poor thing chained up until he had time to fix the fence in the backyard. It was craziness but so far it is working out, Coby is a very sweet and somewhat lazy dog albeit with a few puppy tendencies that we are hoping he will outgrow.

 

It has been a couple of years since we had a dog and I had forgotten how much it changes a household. But before we start creating new memories with this new dog, I wanted to commemorate our first dog with some memories of his extreme naughtiness. I am not exaggerating: Jackson Miller Baxter Hansen was the naughtiest dog since dogs first became domesticated pets.  Jackson was born on the dairy farm that Blair worked at after college. His father was a renowned Border Collie, sought after for breeding and an amazing working cattle dog. His mother was a young, independent, and somewhat saucy Beagle who imparted much of her personality in our puppy.  Jackson inherited Glen’s herding tendencies and Rosie’s snotty independence; in case you are wondering, this is not a great combination. So, in no particular order, here are some of my favorite (?) memories of Jackson Miller.

 

He spent his first thunderstorm cuddled up next to me, whining so much if I moved away from him that I eventually just carried him around. He spent subsequent thunderstorms barking back at the thunder then cowering near the furniture.

 

During a weekend stay at the farm, he circled a tall tree stump for more than 3 hours barking at a squirrel he had trapped on the top. He was not welcomed back.

 

He was notorious for sneaking food out of the boys’ hands, sparking Drew’s fear and mistrust of dogs. Drew and Jackson both really loved snacks and therefore were not best friends.

 

We eventually tried a shock collar to limit Jackson’s barking. The first shock was just that, a shock, but each subsequent shock just pissed him off and made him bark more. We were convinced that he did not have pain sensors because he didn’t care if you smacked his nose for getting into the garbage, he just looked at you like an insolent teenager.

 

Jackson loved to eat anything but his favorites included used tissues, anything from the bathroom garbage can, and blankets. We had let him use Blair’s fleece Eagles blanket as a bed in our room but he just couldn’t help himself, he had to chew on it. At one point, he created a hole big enough to put his head through…then one leg…but that was it. He was stuck with his head and front leg on one side of the blanket and the rest of him on the other. We might have laughed for a long time before helping him escape.

 

He peed on my dad and sister every time he saw them because he was just so darn excited to see them. I’m not sure the feeling was mutual.

 

Jackson was a medium sized dog and a little bit fat as he got older but if there was a squirrel or rabbit that he needed to chase, he was remarkably agile. He could squeeze under any portion of the fence and once leaped over the 4ft wood portion of the fence. He also chewed himself a hole in the wooden gate so he wouldn’t have to jump it again.

 

He loved to snuggle in my knee pit but would get quite irritated if I was rude enough to move and hop down from the bed, then turn and look at me as if I had just run over him again. Yes, I ran over my puppy when he was 10 weeks old and fractured his pelvis. Thankfully, he recovered pretty well if you discount the snapping if you touched his left hind leg.

 

Jackson was a remarkably resilient dog who also survived eating rat poison at the farm with no ill effects other than those to my heart as I panicked while rushing home from work to see him. The next day, the vet office called and asked us to please come get him because he really wanted to play.

 

When we first moved back to Hudson, Jackson would go to the farm with Blair every morning and I would pick him up on my way home from work. I had permanent nose prints on every window in the Blazer and hair everywhere.  He preferred sitting in the passenger seat, regardless of who else might want to sit there. I once drove a neighbor lady to a grocery store about 20 minutes away with Jackson perched on her lap because she was in his seat.

 

 

It turns out, we should have always kept him in our sight while driving. One long drive home from Illinois found Jackson lying in the very back of the Blazer quietly for the entire trip; we should have been concerned but chalked it up to strangely good behavior. In actuality, he was busily eating an entire bright blue ice scraper, the kind that is long enough to reach the middle of an SUV windshield. He literally had bright blue chunks in his poop for years.

 

Wow, we sound like pretty terrible dog owners. Here’s hoping that Coby has better luck with us!