"If we ever forget that we're one nation under God, then we will be a nation gone under." - Ronald Reagan

Sunday, August 31, 2008

SOS: An Alternative

Okay, I haven't posted a Soap Opera Sunday in a couple weeks. This is mainly because a lot of my former romantic interests are now married and their wives/mothers/sisters/etc., read my blog. I don't want to embarrass anyone...but I might ask a couple of them for permission. ;)

So instead of hearing all my soapy goodness, go check out this blog: Dr Horrible's Sing-A-Long. Dr Horrible is a villain, who's not really a villain, who battles his arch-nemesis, Captain Hammer, who's not really a hero. It's funny and heart-wrenching. And there's singing! And Neil Patrick Harris! The show is about 42 minutes long and there are two commercial breaks (15 seconds and 30 seconds). I would give it a PG rating...there's a couple lines that might cause your kids to ask questions...

Go watch it when you have the time, try not to get the songs stuck in your head, and then tell me what you think!

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Grandkids can get away with it

When my parents and brother were visiting, the Boy couldn't help but notice something about my dad.

While sitting on Pop-pop's shoulder, the Boy proceeds to pat my dad's bald head and asks "Where did your hair go?"

I've been wondering that since I was a kid...

Friday, August 29, 2008

Foto Friday: A Memorial

We have suffered a loss recently. It's caused many a sleepless night around here and I feel like I can't get any closure until I've blogged about it. So here goes...

First, we need a little mood music. And whenever I think about our missing friend, this song runs through my mind...when I was a kid, we had this song on a record and I used to listen to it all the time:

You don't have to watch the video...just let the music play as you read through this and look at the pictures.

When I was pregnant with my first child, my sister-in-law gave me a stack of baby blankets. Among them, I had a favorite. It was large and white with little footprints stamped in blue, pink, green and yellow. And it was very, very soft. I wrapped both kids in it but it was the Boy who decided it was his. One day, before he was talking all that much, he called it his "Mee Mee" and that name stuck. That poor blanket has had more things dumped and dripped on it but trying to wash it takes a virtual act of Congress. The Boy can't seem to let it go. Anytime he feels the least bit pouty, he hunts down Mee Mee and snuggles up.

You know where this is going, don't you?

Remember how the Boy had an appointment with the eye doctor? Well, that was the last time we saw the Mee Mee. I've called the doctor's office - twice - but they don't have it. Mee Mee is lost! The Boy has moved on and adopted an unfinished blanket with a similar pattern that I was attempting to crochet but he doesn't need it as much as the Mee Mee. Maybe I'm the one that's not ready to let go...

So let's a walk down memory lane and see the Mee Mee as the Boy's constant companion:

We miss you, Mee Mee! Please come home...

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

When Target Fails

I love Target. Those big red carts and luscious aisles of stuff make my heart beat faster. I get doe-eyed just thinking about the place. I cover my notebook with "I heart Target" and "Mrs. Jessica Target" all the time. This is more than a crush, this is true love, people! So imagine the heartbreak when Target let me down. Devastating. Like when Edward left Bella in New Moon.

Let me explain.

Da Boo is short. This is my fault. I was always the shortest in my class. She is so short that I am frequently asked if she and the Boy are twins. No, they're two and half years apart! But because she is "vertically challenged," it was rather difficult to find a backpack that didn't hang down to her knees. I even tried the toddler backpacks but it had to be big enough to carry a full-sized folder home and none of those measured up. So I went to Target, because Target always has what I need.

But not this time.

Oh, sure, we found a backpack da Boo loved and immediately clasped to her bosom. It had all of her favorite things: flowers, hearts and poodles. And it was pink. Perfection in canvas form. But just when she declared this backpack to be the very best one she had ever, ever, ever seen, I noticed something. It was the flowers...their centers looked a little funny; not quite symmetrical. That's when I saw what they were: skulls. Seriously. Skulls. On a little girls' pink backpack. Apparently symbols of death are all the rage in grade school because I began to see the hidden skulls on all the other backpack designs. Wha...?

But it was too late. I knew that look in her eyes and unless I wanted a repeat of "Firestarter," I had better slink to the checkout and plunk down my money for those pink skulls. Sigh...

I tried to find a replacement. We even found a sparkly purple nylon backpack that almost had her won over but, alas...no poodles. So I did the next best thing: I got crafty. First, I used a black permanent marker and colored in all the skulls. While it looked better, the skulls were still slightly visible, even after three layers of marker. No problem. I had some glittery pinkish purple puff paint. Success! The flowers now had sparkly centers and were no longer omens of doom.

The finished product! She thought it was lots better than the original backpack and wanted to wear it to bed. That's the ultimate seal of approval here...if it makes it into my kids' bedtime horde.

But, Target? If you ever let me down like that again and make my daughter go giddy over skulls, I'm going to have to leave you. And really, neither of us wants that to happen.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Absence Makes The Heart Grow Fonder

Today was an historic day in the Cow household: Da Boo started kindergarten! I thought I would really feel the pregnancy hormones and be all weepy. Nope! Maybe it was because da Boo was so excited to be going...

Don't get me wrong. Last night, she was in tears, begging us to not send her to school but things changed this morning. She wanted her "very best friend" to ride to school with her the first day (I offered to drive) but he was pretty excited about riding the bus and turned down the invitation. So I called our neighbor who also had a daughter in da Boo's class. My neighbor is a veteran mother and had some wise advice for me. She suggested that instead of driving my daughter to school (and catering to her fears of the bus), that she ride the bus where she would already have friends and then I drive to the school and meet her when she gets off so I can walk her to class. Genius, I tell you! Genius! She gets the experience of riding the bus with the security of having Mom at school. Once she heard that the neighbor girl wanted Boo to sit next to her on the bus, my girl was all grins and excitement. Whew...

The short trek to the bus stop. Hrmmm...where have I seen this before?

Oh yes...three years ago, on the first day of our little neighborhood preschool. She hasn't gotten much taller since then. But if you look back at that top photo, you'll see the Boy and his best buddy running ahead of the kindergarteners. It was at this point that the Boy decided to void his bladder (although he had gone to the bathroom not twenty minutes before). So we had to hussle back home while Boo continued with her friend.

So dang cute! I made a deal with her: I got to pick her outfit one day and she could choose the next day. I called dibs on the first day. I'm a little nervous about what she might choose tomorrow...

This has got to be my favorite picture! She got on the bus all by herself (although she probably could have used a boost) and was all giggles with her friends.

The Boy and I trudged home. It was time for him to be a pirate. After that, I let him watch a tv show that da Boo doesn't like. Then we baked cookies for her after-school treat. He thought this was awesome.

And she's back! Somehow, my day was a little less full and silly without da Boo around. And the verdict? She loved kindergarten! Recess was her favorite part of the day (of course) and she was amazed as she reported "Mommy! None of the kids were mean to me!"

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Foto Friday #7

Okay, okay...so that should read "Foto Saturday" but it doesn't have the same cuteness so we'll just pretend that instead of slacking off, I actually did post this yesterday. Good? Good.

Friday I was too busy swooning and being all giddy. When you see the pictures, you'll understand. Or you'll just think I'm weird and need to get out more. Either way. But my first picture is of the Boy's new best friend, China. No, not the Olympic host country (although he is now fascinated with BMX bike racing). I'm talking about my parents' dog named China.

We spent Monday evening at my parents' "house" and the kids didn't want to do much else besides pet the dog. We tried a Family Home Evening. They were willing enough to sing with us but when it came to any organized activity, the Boy had to have at least one hand on China at all times. So da Boo taught the lesson. Well, really, she told the Lie Monster story and described the picture we made to go with it. Still, it was fun. And there were root beer floats and chocolate sodas so it was a lovely evening.

This next picture might need some explaining if you aren't as much of a nerd as I am. Remember these fabulous paintings? Well, they now hang in my living room and brighten my mood every time I see them. So when the Man told me that the artist, James Christensen, was having a show at the BYU Bookstore, I went! I drug the kids and my mom with me. They got to listen to me make goofy squealing noises because I was so excited, I was no longer capable of coherent speech. And?

This is James Christensen with da Boo! The Boy was at the end of his "well-behaved" time and was clinging to my leg, weeping, instead of posing with Mommy's favorite artist. Oh well. I still got a picture of him! Unfortunately, since I am operating on half a brain these days, I neglected to bring our books of his so he could sign them. Not all is lost! He has another show soon!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Looking at the Calendar

Chocolate Calendar quote for today:
"In some parts of the world
they eat bugs for supper.
Man, are you lucky."

While normally the Chocolate Calendar is beyond error, I have to disagree with this one. Obviously, the author has never eaten at my house, ever. Then again, after the horrible meals, there's usually some chocolate available to get the taste out of your mouth. Just don't ask me about the delicious chocolate mousse I made my parents for dessert tonight...with expired cream. Good thing there was ice cream in the freezer!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Quirks Suck

I have an odd quirk. Well, calling it a "quirk" is the nice way to put it. Most people would just say "paranoia." Every night, before I go to bed, I have to touch the kids. Usually, I tuck them back in from whatever position they've rolled to and that's enough. I like to be able to touch their face or smooth their hair. Sounds fairly normal, right? What makes it a quirk is what happens if I don't make contact: I have horrible nightmares about something happening to them. My dreams are usually weird anyway. Remember the nightmare I had when da Boo was a baby? Yeah, these are like that. I will wake up, trying desperately not to scream. Then I have to go and check on them...just in case. Maybe I've seen too many movies.

This actually started when I was a kid and had a hamster named Dude (because I am awesome at picking names). Every night I would pet my hamster good night and go to sleep. If I didn't pet him, I would have dreams that he was loose (and he frequently was) and that something bad happened to him (we also had a large dog...). Once I calmed down from the nightmare, I would reach into his cage and make sure he was still there.

And in many ways, kids are like hamsters...you have to feed them daily and they kinda make the room stink. Still, I thought I'd grow out of this, maybe find more stability. And yet, here are the nightmares. Had one just the other night when the Boy had rolled so far over that me and my big pregnant belly couldn't reach him inside the crib. All I could do was barely make contact with the heel of his foot and then fling his blanket back over him. It wasn't enough and I dreamt that he turned into that kid from Pet Sematary. Didn't get much sleep that night...darn quirks.

What is your quirk?

Friday, August 15, 2008

Foto Friday #6

Sorry about the lack of posts lately. My parents are visiting! They brought my youngest brother with them so we've been having fun. I've spent a lot of time referring wrestling matches pitting both kids against my brother.

My kids wear glasses. The reasons for their poor eyesight is different depending on the child (but I blame their father's genetics). The Boy has an eye that drifts. Don't you dare call it a lazy eye or his doctor will lecture you on how that term it not correct, blah, blah, blah. Anyway, his right eye drifts and tends to cross when he's not wearing his glasses or peers over the top of the frames instead of through the lenses. It hasn't gotten any better. Today, at his eye checkup, the doctor determined we would need to patch his eye for two to three hours a day. Knowing how the Boy - much like his father - does not like change, I tried to make it a little more fun. So for about three hours today, he looked like this:

He thought it was pretty cool and was actually disappointed when I told him it was time to take off the patch. The hat and vest were part of da Boo's Halloween costume from two years ago. There's even a sword so he was having a great time. Working with his sister and Pop Pop (aka: Grampa), they made a cardboard box into a pirate ship, complete with a Jolly Roger flag.

In other news, the Man is scheduled to return to London in several weeks. This was da Boo's response:

Too bad there isn't room in there for both of us! I'd love to go but since I will be getting "large with child" by then, we decided it was best to stay home this time. But there had better be a next time...

Monday, August 11, 2008

Hair Apparent

I never thought I was obsessed with my hair. In retrospect, it would seem that my life revolves around it. But that’s not quite it, either. More like my hair revolves around my life.

When I was a toddler, I had a head full of platinum blonde curls. I’ve got the pictures to prove it. As time went by, my hair grew, longer, darker and lost the curl. Since then, I’ve tried all sorts of chemicals, perms and special shampoos but that natural curl remains elusive.

As a kid, I wore my hair long and straight. Well, it was straight except during those fateful years when the “Crimper” came in vogue. A side ponytail never looked so good, I tell you. But long hair was not always fun. I did not know how to fix it. On the rare morning when my oldest sister was willing to help, I had cute hair. Otherwise…well, it’s best we not mention it. So if I couldn’t fix it, why wear it long? Simple reason: my mother made me. She was the one who cut our hair and would never hack it all off when I asked. In fact, she insisted my sister and I keep our hair long. She loved to brush and comb and curl and twist our locks. She said it was relaxing. It must have been relaxing for her because I can remember many an agonizing moment spent at my mother’s feet as, wielding a brush and bobby pins, she worked out her frustration. It might have been my dad she was mad at but my hair took the brunt of it.

High school and I rebelled, so my hair had to reflect that. I permed it. Had the latest in tiny little spiral twists all through my heavy locks. Finally, my morning routine was easier, except for those mornings when my hair was wet. I never knew hair took so long to dry! But if I didn’t show it some attention, it would get it’s revenge for my neglect by frizzing. And no teenage girl wants frizzy hair. Still my hair was a great source of pride; not when I tried to coax it into some ridiculous style, but because I had it. The cancer treatments that would have taken my hair were passed over by my doctors. I got to keep those crazy, wavy, brownish-blonde locks. As much as I whined about them, I couldn’t have been happier.

By the time I was in college, the platinum blonde was spent. Now my hair was deemed “dishwater blonde.” Dishwater? Dishwater? I never did like doing the dishes. But there was something else that happened then: a broken heart. If I couldn’t change the heartache then maybe there was something else I could change. All my memories with my former sweetheart were of a blonde me. I decided that if I wouldn’t be blonde again, then maybe I’d try something else. The box said Medium Brown #9. It wasn’t. More like Brownish-Red #88. And I spent the next two years with red hair, quite by mistake. Unfortunately, my head full of long red curls, my pale skin, penchant for dark lipstick and a mega-blockbuster movie about an ill-fated cruise ship all combined to earn me the nickname of Kate Winslet.

My red hair and me married. Not each other, of course. Don’t ask about my hair on my wedding day…but I will say that I wasn’t always crying from joy. It was only a matter of time before I straightened out the perm and found a professional stylist, who did indeed give me Medium Brown hair, even if it wasn’t #9.

When the kids came along, I did what all moms tend to do when there are chubby hands grasping at stray locks: I cut my hair short. Then I spent another two years trying to grow it back out. After so many years, I found my hair permed again. Going back to my roots – HAH! – I instructed my faithful stylist to give me back my youth in the form of blonde hair.

So it seems to have come full circle. Here I sit, older (much older), a little wiser, and with kids of my own, but still, proudly showing platinum blonde curls. I’ve grown up; I’ve grown out. And the hair is still very much a part of how I see myself. I still can’t style it to save my life but the good news is that I have a brush, bobby pins, and a little girl with long blonde hair.

What do you love/hate about your hair?

Saturday, August 9, 2008

SOS: First Kiss

So Brillig is giving us a theme for the Soap Opera Sundays. This month's theme happens to be First Kiss. Sounds fun!

I decided to write about my first kiss with the Man, mainly because it's a lot more interesting than my very first kiss. Shall we begin?

Remember what our First Date (Part One and Part Two) was like? Not exactly a fairytale beginning. But the second date was more fun and we made a connection. In fact, it was during this date that he decided that he liked me enough to hold my hand. I have a bit of a track record and I knew that according the "The Dating History of Jessica," that within two weeks of that initial hand holding, we would either kiss or fizzle. My money was on the smooching. In fact, I was so sure of it that I made a bet with a friend. In two weeks, the Man would kiss me or I had to take her out to dinner. And I could not just lay one on him. No, sir. That would be cheating. He had to make the move.

Why was it such a big deal that he be the one to kiss me? I mean, I was already stalking the boy, surely I could sneak a kiss whenever I wanted, right? Right. But that's what made it all the more important that he kiss first. And...he had never kissed a girl before. Kinda a big deal, dontcha think?

So, during the two weeks, I didn't stand next to him with my eyes closed and my lips puckered. No, I played it how I normally do, although I did keep up with the stalking. My roommates were being as supportive as possibe. One of them spontaneously burst out singing the tune from Little Mermaid "Kiss the Girl." They even decorated the window with those static stickers from the movie in hopes of getting in a subtle hint. One thing I've learned about the Man since then? Subtlety does NOT work. Big neon flashing signs are a better approach. It was even my birthday and I didn't get a birthday kiss. Hrmmmm...maybe I was losing my touch.

Before I knew it, my time period was quickly coming to a close. It was the last day of the bet, and it happened to be General Conference. In the grand BYU tradition, we invited guys over to watch Sunday morning's Conference session and have breakfast at our apartment. He came. He lingered for the afternoon session, too. No, this relationship was certainly not going to fizzle, but I might still lose the bet. Time to get into the game!

After Conference ended, he stayed and I went into action. Despite the presence of roommates and their "friends," I used all my feminine wiles, threw subtlety out the door and made my move. AND IT DIDN'T WORK!! I was stunned. Never had I failed at this before, but then again, he wasn't like the guys I dated in the past.

Later that evening, I was over at his place and for once, his roommates weren't there. It was fast approaching midnight and I would lose the bet. I conceded defeat. With only 15 minutes left (and a mountain of homework I had neglected in pursuit of him), I said goodnight and made to leave. But he asked me to stay.

Then it happened.

We were sitting close on the couch and he got that look. You know that look. I might have leaned in a little...

It was short but so very sweet.

So of course, I reeled him in for another kiss. No point in letting him get away now, right? It was rather perfect, really. I won the bet and got to kiss the most wonderful man I've ever known.

Now, if you will excuse me, this little trip down memory lane puts me in the mood for another kiss...anyone know where the Man is?

Friday, August 8, 2008

Foto Friday #5

Sorry it's taken me so long to post this...I got distracted by Rock Band. :)

Are you ready? Here is the ultrasound photo:

Hard to make things out, I know. So I made this one for you:

Look inside the circle and you will see Baby's profile. Sorry, I don't have a "money shot" for ya because the doctor couldn't get the baby to sit still. Note to self: that old wives' tale about drinking a big glass of orange juice one hour before the ultrasound for an active baby...isn't an old wives' tale after all. Baby was very active! Doc had a hard time looking at the face because Baby kept covering it with hands and wiggling. It was kinda cute to watch; kinda like playing peekaboo.

But I digress...I haven't told you the gender yet. Are you ready? Remember what you voted in the poll? Okay, here goes...

It's a GIRL!

I was convinced we were having a boy because this pregnancy was very similar to my son's. And both times before when I thought I knew the gender before the ultrasound, I was wrong. So call it reverse psychology or whatever. I'm glad I was wrong again. Hooray for girls!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

At Least It's Funny Now

Alternate Titles: "Things I'd Rather Not Do At 8 am" or "I'll Get Him Back For This When He Starts Dating"

Yesterday morning, the Man left for work around 8 am. I don't get up then. I get up when the starving moans from the kids wake me up, usually about 9 am. The Boy, however, was wide awake. Since potty training is going so well and he's in a pull-up in the morning, I don't worry too much about him. Minutes later, he seemed a little distraught, as he yelled from the bathroom.

Boy: I did a poopy.
Me: Where?
Boy: In da bafrum.
Me: Hooray (mumbled, half asleep).
Boy: Mommy, you come clean me?
Me: What?
Boy: I gotta poopy on my toe.
Me: WHAT??

The sight (and smell) that greets me when I rush into the kid's bathroom is not a pleasant one. Apparently, he didn't quite make it to the potty. He had pooped in his pull-up. Thinking he could handle the situation himself, he had removed it (schmearing it all down his legs) and then climbed on the potty to finish. Then, seeing the brown footprints on the floor and bathmat, he had moved the stool over to the sink and attempted to clean the floor by dumping cuploads of water mixed with handsoap on the floor.

After getting him cleaned up, I then am faced with cleaning the bathroom. When I finished, I had never been so ready for a shower in my life.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Can't Handle Surprises

So Friday is the day...the day we find out whether I'll be shopping for blue or pink. People have tried to persuade me to keep it a surprise. I already have one of each, they say, surely I can wait. Nope. Can't wait. Must know. NOW!

I love a good surprise, don't get me wrong. The Man and I try to keep our gifts to each other a secret. But I am notorious for asking questions, even just the "yes" and "no" kind and still being able to figure out my presents. The Man stopped answering my questions the year he finally had me stumped on my Christmas present, only to have me ask the right questions and figure it out on Christmas Eve. Now, he won't play my game. It's rather irritating. I can't handle not knowing!

And a baby? Well, that's just about the biggest surprise of all. No way can I wait it out another four months and have the big reveal at the hospital. I just don't have that kind of endurance. I would have gone to that place at the mall where they do the 3-D ultrasounds weeks ago if not for the fact that they recently closed.

Will my baby be a boy or a girl?

Friday, August 1, 2008

Foto Friday #4

For Family Home Evening on Monday, we gave our garden some much needed attention. We also harvested a healthy crop of weed grass. We neglected to plant tomatoes this year but the ones from last year took up our slack and sprouted anyway. Pumpkins were the same story. That's kinda cool! Saves us some work. Who am I kidding? I am not the gardener in the family.

Here are the kids planting some beans. The Boy seemed to miss the concept of "two beans per hole" and simply filled the hole with the seeds. Should make for some interesting sprouts.

Da Boo is an overly sensitive soul. She is rescuing a worm from the bean furrows. Of course, a few minutes later, this garden was hoed up for the pumpkins and squash...I didn't bother pointing that out to her.

While the Boy was all about saving the worms, too, he had a different method. He would place the worm gently in his bucket and then scoop dirt on top, soundly packing each layer. And when he was forbidden from digging more dirt out of the garden (since he had a tendency to toss it all at his sister), he resorted to just "stirring" the worm in his bucket with the shovel. Somehow, I don't think the worms considered this much of a rescue...

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