Leave me.

Hooking up with Five Minute Friday today.

Today’s theme is:

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I take the dough and stretch it,

rest it gently in my hand,

push it to the board and lean in.

It is sweet and heavy and ready for baking.

Ready to rise and be slathered with butter and even, so lucky

homemade strawberry jam.

Which, when opened, has a deep perfume.

Mingled with the smell of baking bread

and smiles of my children,

My home smells like peace.

 

It is with this jam and honey and butter and bread

that I take leave of the day.

I sit down and leave the following:

the lurching start to the morning

the grey hairs coming in

the rushed cup of coffee spilled

and the words that spilled after it,

the sighs as I try to apply mascara and

good will to all mankind

as again we are late we are late we are late, let’s go.

Let’s just leave.

 

Now, with one bite, and a cup of hot cocoa,

we leave

And find, in this time

a sort of leavening, a rise of breath

a hope and a sweetness.

 

The sun moves past a curtain and I

Shut my eyes and thank You.

You helped me leave. The big leave.

The one where I walked out on my giant mess.

I just left.

 

And  then walked a bit. And looked back a bit. And

looked to You.

Knocked, and here You are.

 

So my boys and I

we share some bread and I wipe up the jam off the table, off noses,

off the cat. And we laugh.

And take leave of our senses and laughter rises,

light and fragrant.

This is all so very huge, remembering how I left and came back to You.

 

A slice of bread reminded me.

Thank You.

 

Strawberry-Jam-ShelliBourque

Shelli Bourque – An Invitation to Grace

 

 

The Wonderfulness That is Children

Did I ever mention to you that I have two kids?

Yep. I do.

 

I give you, Exhibit A:

photoBlonde: AKA, the 6 Year Old.

Short, blonde, rather squinty eyed. Tends to walk like Mick Jagger. Gets annoyed when told that.

Hobbies: long discussions about what is fair or not fair.

 

And exhibit B:

photo 3

Red: AKA the 4 year old.

Also known as: sidekick, “he did it,” accomplice, evil brother, nemesis, and Sparky.

Short, red headed, with angelic innocent expression and freckles. Has a future in the dramatic arts.

Hobbies: cat wrangling, eating, singing the same song over and over and over and over and over and over and over.

 

Oh and exhibit C:photo

AKA: the cat. Or Spicoli.  Or, The Dude.

White, furry, extremely mellow.

Hobbies: sleeping and being drug around a lot. Occasionally at the same time.

 

I show you these adorable pictures to tell you this:

They look all cute and stuff, right? Painting away at at their crafty little pumpkins, sweet toddler brows all furrowed with gnat-sized concentration. So preshus.

WELL, IT’S ALL AN ILLUSION, PEOPLE.

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Lately my children have been playing a fun game called:

I AM YOUR BROTHER. THEREFORE,  I WAS PUT HERE TO MAKE YOUR EXISTENCE MUCH HARDER THAN YOUR MOTHER EVER THOUGHT POSSIBLE OR NECESSARY.

They fight. They bicker about who has more juice, toothpaste, cookie apportionment, blankets, stuffed animals, brain cells, mothers who are not yelling. Etcetera.

And by etcetera I also mean: They fight over who is breathing the loudest in the car on the way home from Sam’s CLUB and stoppit just stoppit it’s too louuuuud I canna look out da window while you are doing all dat BREATHING over der.

They bicker about paper towels, flies, fly balls, purple spoons, immigration law, and who’s on first.

 

Yesterday, we called a meeting. It was either that or I was going to pack my things and head to Vegas. There’s no arguing there, I hear. Surely not. A lot of booze and gambling, but surely NO arguing. Right?

 

Anyhow.

I set them both down at our “family meeting” place on the stairwell.  I was on the offensive, and it was imperative go for the jugular from the start:

Momsie: “Boys, hold hands.”

Red and Blonde: “WAT?”

Momsie: “You heard me. Hold HANDS. NOW.”

Red: Starts emitting nervous, high pitched giggles as if he’s a squeaky toy and someone sat on him.

Blonde: Sits in stunned silence. This is very rare. We all relished it for a minute.

MOMSIE: ” I AM NOW SPEAKING IN ALL CAPS BETTER DO IT.”

Red and Blonde then limply hold hands as if their fingers were frosted with Ebola. Blonde made a few retching noises. It was all for show. I think.

I take a deep breath, and start in on Lecture #34556 entitled:

We Will All Love Each Other Because We’re Family So We Have To

Subtitle: I Will Make You Rue the Day.  If You Don’t Get Along, You Will Rue It. RUE it.

Sub -Subtitle: Look it up, minion. R. U. E.

 

Ten minutes in, both boys are scooching around on the stairs in an interpretive dance known as I will get as far away from you as possible, while still holding hands.  Red is still giggling like a nervous woodpecker.

And I draw the lecture in for my grand finale:

Momsie: “And so that’s why we don’t fight. Because, after all, WHAT WOULD JESUS DO? Hmmmmm?”

Blonde: yanks up Red’s offending hand – “I’ma pretty sure Jesus would NOT hold hands!”

Momsie: “Uh, Ok. Why not?”

Red: giggling so hard he puts his head between his knees for breath

Blonde “ACAUSE THERE IS NO WAY JESUS WOULD MAKE DEM ALL HOLD HANDS. IT’S SILLY. DIS IS JUST SILLY.

AND JESUS. IS. NOT. SILLY!”

 

He had a point. Not once does it mention “and lo, Jesus was silly” in the bible.

And in all my Mom wisdom, I sputtered: “Well, Jesus DOES baptize people! THAT’s in the bible! Would you prefer I just douse you in holy water each time you start to fuss at each other?”

Red starts to levitate off the stair he is giggling so hard.

I know. It’s times like these that parenting becomes so utterly frustrating that my ability to reason clearly and in a non-sacrilegious way becomes impossible. So, if you’re visiting one day and my boys start to argue? Don’t freak out if I squirt water on ‘em both, and thunder, “Be baptized with LOVE, both of you! Holy Spirit says CUT IT OUT!”

 

As for the cat? I haven’t seen him in a while. I wonder why?

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Baseball has been very good to me.

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It seems lately baseball has been kinda a thing around here.

Wanna know why?

(drumroll…)

WE ARE IN THE WORLD SERIES, YA’LL.

By “we” I mean MY team – The Royals.

 

I am in no way a sports person. I claim this early in the post, unless you start thinking I am going to be able to provide batting averages or any other sort of technical talk about the team. I cannot, alas. But I can comment on a few other things, like how I think this video is the cutest thing I have ever seen. And how I really think the pitcher for that other team could benefit from a hair cut. That’s as good as it gets.

But still, I really do love baseball.

Here’s why.

TOP TEN REASONS WHY BASEBALL HAS BEEN GOOD TO ME:

1. As a kid, tired and dirty, coming home from our farm, we would listen to the game. Fred White was on the radio. I would slide around the back of the station wagon, sticking to the vinyls seats, no seat belt and look out the window and be lulled by the sounds of the game. We were all quiet. Tired. It is a sound from my childhood.

2. Attending a game means cotton candy. If we attend we must have cotton candy.  It’s the law.  And yes, I realize it is air with sugar attached but it doesn’t matter. I love it. I got to introduce my boys to it when they attended their first Royals game this summer. The look on their faces was priceless, like I had been holding out on them all this time…

3. My boys’ first game. It rained the entire time. We had to leave finally, but not after we had become so wet my fingers were pruney. We ran to the car with puddles the size of the Grand Canyon. Somehow we survived, but for a minute there it felt like we were in our own Die Hard At the Royals Game movie. Awwwwsome.

4. And as for that first game – I can’t explain it. Watching the hubs lead the boys to their seats and show them the score card, like his mom did for him all those years ago… the hubs was in soggy, rain drenched heaven.  Made my heart smile.

5. Oh, and this picture:

Screenshot 2014-10-24 09.14.05

 

6. Watching my boys play IN a game. The first time Blonde got a hit at practice, he ran out and fielded the ball for the coach. Then ran to first. Very thorough.

7. Sitting with the other parents, watching the awesomeness that is toddler baseball, and just feeling joy. Simple, in-place, seated JOY.

8.  Did I mention we were in the World Series? Every game, we sit and watch the television together, and my boys scream (often at totally wrong moments, but still, they’re trying) and we watch. Together.

9.  And we eat hotdogs. You had to know that two of these numbers had to be dedicated to food, right? Hebrew National, you had me at hello.

10.  There are no teams with black uniforms. This stems from a particularly traumatizing football game against the Raiders where blonde decided to start shouting, “Get da black guys!  I don’t like the black guys! GET THEMMMMM!!!” This was unfortunate and so impossibly bad that my way of fixing it was simply to walk out of the room. Parenting win!

 

And so, I love baseball.  And if blonde’s fervor for the sport is any indication, I will be attending quite a few more games in my future, so loving it is good.  I am hoping he will get past hitting AND fielding his own balls at some point.

I am pairing up with Netflix Streamteam today to share two of my favorite baseball documentaries of all time:

 

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And:

 

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Both are excellent viewing!  Ken Burn’s documentary has numerous celebrity interviews weighing  in on how much they too love the game, and lots of history and rich background.

The Battered film (saucy language in the title and all) is my favorite, though. These guys are the real “Bad News Bears,” and their story is simply amazing. And rather hilarious.

I love them both so much they are on “repeat” in our Netflix cue. Along with eighteen million Thomas the Train episodes. What can I say? In this family, we like trains or baseball.  One-track minds. (Get it? YOU SEE WHAT I DID THERE? PUNDERFUL!!)

 

As for tonight? I will be watching a little game called: GAME THREE. WOOP!

 

GO ROYALS!

 

MLB: ALCS-Baltimore Orioles at Kansas City Royals

 

 

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Sure. You Go Ahead. Dance Like No One’s Watching, Kid.

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There comes a time when we mommies have to learn to take a back seat,  and let our little ones go out on their own and test their wings.

Uh. Yesterday was not that time.

Blonde and I have a deal. He dresses himself every morning.  It’s a simple plan:  He makes sure he has a shirt, underwear, socks, pants. Every morning. And really, it is foolproof because my boys don’t ever really have to match (that’s just crazy), and they wear the same sizes, practically. The uniform is the same, every day. T-shirt. Pants with no holes. Clean Spiderman undies. Nooooo problem.

Looking back now, I realize there was a simple flaw in my reasoning:

DO NOT EVER TRUST A 6 YEAR OLD WITH SIMPLE TASKS. THAT’S JUST CRAZY.

The six year old mind has the ability to problem solve about as well as Congress.  It starts out all, “I’m gonna get dressed! Let’s do this! And maybe figure out a way to solve the immigration problem! And, while I’m at it, lower taxes! But also help our schools! And Ebola! Help it!”

And, five minutes later: “Look,  let’s just pass a bill that makes something a state bird. And I got on pants with no holes. I’ll fix everything else tomorrow.”

What can we do? We voted Blonde into office six years ago.

 

I noticed a small issue when Blonde arrived downstairs but we were in full throttle, Days of Thunder, GET IN THE CAR GO GO GO, mode because, well alarm clocks are hard.

Blonde’s pants were a little… small. Just a notch.   I pulled them down a bit, adjusted his hoodie over them, voila!~ no problem! It’s basically how I dress every day anyhow.  Problem with small pants?  HOODIE IT UP,  YA’LL.  Hoodies cover a multitude of sins.  Hoodie don’t care.

 

The problem here was that my poor son had neglected to tell me that his school, for some unknown fashion faux- pas reason was anti-hoodie.

… And he just happened to have on a dirty white t-shirt underneath. One that was about the size to fit a Ken doll.  If Ken wanted to look rather weird and homeless.

So, when  I went to pick up the little guy, he came running out, all “Mommiiiiieeeee!”

And I was all:    If I leave now, no one will know that is my kid.

I mean, what would YOU do if a tiny Richard Simmons was running up to you, kinda willy nilly, with a flapping Spiderman backpack and a misguided dream in aerobics instruction? What made this moment even more interesting is that there seems to be a mathematical formula for embarrassing behavior with children:

C (child) + EB (embarrassing behavior) x MP (mom proximity) = EW (epic weirdness)/ H (horror)

Or something like that.

images37752DUT

Mommmmmmieeee!

 

 

Now, before you start emailing me, I did claim the kid. Crop top and miniscule boy leggings and all.  I gave him a big hug and kiss and we Jazzercized outta there as fast as we could go.  Blonde added a couple grapevine steps for added flair.  I put my dignity away as he step-ball-kicked it down the street. The kid was completely oblivious to the fact that he was a walking “fashion don’t” column.  I even detected a bit of a swagger in the vacuum-packed bottom of his  teeny jeggings.

Move along, tiny dancer.

 

Cropped Tops-1

Actual six year old is not pictured. This is a model. But see? Somewhere, crop tops are still cool!

 

 

 

Lesson learned. This was all proper motivation for me to clean out the closets and drawers.  All I have to do now is set out an outfit for wee Blonde.  I dunno… maybe something like… THIS:

 

imagesXNF0UFHN

VOILA! It’s a tiny hipster!

 

What?

 

It’s quite possible that I have nailed this parenting thing

I have figured it all out, the parenting gig.

It’s basically the hardest job I have ever had (next to back-up dancer for some guy named Steve, who played for about three people in a basement bar called O’Malleys, and yes, dad, if you’re reading this I am sorry. It seemed like a good idea at the time.)

You know, the more I think about it,  the whole back up dancer for an abysmally unsuccessful man with a pony tail and a dream was actually good experience for parenting, in some ways. But that’s a post for another day.

Are you ready for the key to perfect parenting?  Here it is:

The rule for being the best parent ever is:

GO AWAY.

 

Last weekend I packed up my bags and left them. All three of my cherubs (husband included in this mix) were all alone with some pizza and a lot of football for the whole weekend, while I attended a writers’ conference in Indiana, and tried to remember the days when I wore professional clothing on a regular basis.  And do you know something? IT WAS AWESOME.

Especially for the following reasons:

1. Writers are my peeps. True, we are a quirky, sometimes rather unbalanced lot, but we get each other.

2. Writers accept dark jeans as “professional clothing” so my tuckus has still not seen a nice pair of pants for, oh, some years now. Now, truthfully, my dark jeans had rhinestones all over the back pockets. I do like my rear end to sparkle.  And I did have a moment of trepidation when I realized my glittery bottom did not really shout “serious writer,” but I decided I was gonna speak my TRUTH, ya’ll, with a rear that would be a shining beacon for all to see.

3. In my presentation, I got to talk about myself. Yea!

4. People actually LISTENED to me talk about myself! ADDED BONUS. SO BEYOND MY EXPECTATIONS, I TELL YOU.

5. My hotel room.

Now, let me just interject here with a brief description of me walking into my hotel room:

Walking down hall with plastic key and rollie suitcase, all, “here I am, a writer, doing my writer thing, all grown up and somewhat professional in my dark jeans, just gonna freshen up in my hotel room-” (opens door, after some problems with the plastic key thingie, user error, of course)

“OH HOLY SNAP. THERE’S A KEURIG IN HERE.”

(I did some sort of weird shimmy twerking thing that would shame my entire family, but HOLY ROOM SERVICE, BATMAN, I AM ALL ALONE HERE FOR TWO DAYYYYYS.)

  • Big fluffy pillows that have been slept on my a majillion other people but I don’t care because mine now?  Check!
  • Big bed in which I will sleep, not sharing, just me, all alone, by myself, no mouth breathing toddlers or snoring husbands or weird cats, JUST MEEEEEEE?   Check!
  • A marathon of Say Yes to the Dress AND Dirty Dancing, in which I can program the remote to bounce back and forth between the two, with crazed Swayze, poofy wedding dress fervor as much as I like?  Say Yes to the Check!!!

 

Um. It is quite possible I had rather strong feelings about my hotel room.

 

After a good fifteen minutes of me just wandering around, fondling all the appliances like one of those stick model women on The Price is Right, I decided to, you know, actually go to the conference.

But ya’ll? For a moment there I seriously considered jumping on the bed, ordering 400$ worth of room service, and then, NEVER LEAVING THAT ROOM.

Like, everrrrrrr.

For all of you waiting in breathless anticipation: No, I am not still in that room. I did actually return home. It involved a lot of driving and grim resignation to the fact that I would again have to do my own laundry.  And ohhhh no, not just MY laundry, but the laundry of three boys and sometimes, it seems, additional toddlers from all over the neighborhood.  In the spectrum of life, I rate laundry just a scooch above how I feel about political ads.

 

But back I came, like a neurotic little boomerang, drawn always, back to these three:

 

LARRY:

photo (2)

MOE:

photo 5

Motherrrrrrr.

 

And CURLY,Screenshot 2014-04-15 13.58.10

Oh, and Shemp?

 

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yes, those are Spiderman underwear on my furry head. It’s a thing, evidently, in this family to wear undergarments on their heads. I want out.

 

As much as I gripe (the lawyer interjects here with actual statistics on how often griping occurs in my posts, along with moaning, whining, general malaise, and some bad singing of 80’s music, but who needs statistics when you have important things to say?) I did actually like returning home.

Here’s why:

THEY WERE ALL ASLEEP WHEN I GOT THERE, for starters.

Ok, ok, and seriously?  I love them. I really do. I loved that hotel room with a deep and passionate ardor, yes, but it didn’t hold a candle to the life I have here. Which, if I really allow myself to think about it, pretty much looks like the life of Consuela, my housekeeping lady, who cleaned up after me the whole time back at the hotel.

Call me Consuela, I still choose home.

But I’ll be back, hotel room, next year.  Wait for me, darling? We’ll have a lot of catching up to do.  I know there will be a conference in there somewhere too, but honestly?  You had me at hotel room.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Carriage

 

Linking up with Kate over at Five Minute Fridays -

The word for today:

 

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Three years ago:

Sent in an essay to Kansas Voices contest. Placed. Asked the hubs:

“So… you wanna pack up some stuff, drive three hours, and sit in the audience while I read my essay? It’ll be fun.”

Yes, of course my sweet dear.

 

Then, decided to write an article about my post partum depression. Revealed it all. Got published in magazine.

Told the hubs: “I think I want to be a writer.”

Yes, my darling. Go for it!

 

Then, went crazy.

Found out I was sick with a disease that told me I wasn’t sick. Kept at it for a long time.

Told my hubs: “I’m FINE. Leave me alone.”

No my sweet one. But I’m here. Always.

 

Then, got sober.

And went a little more crazy. Because, well, recovery at first is kinda like walking across the Grand Canyon.

On a swingy bridge.

In the wind.

With no tether.

And no idea where the bridge actually ends.

Told my hubs: “NO I just CAN’T. This is too hard. I’m SCARED. I don’t do SCARED. I want to go back.”

No my love. Keep going. I’m right behind you. I won’t let you fall. But you have to do the  walking.

 

Then, I wrote about it. For all the world to see.

And I said, “WOW. Would you look at this? Other people have been there too! Dirty laundry? Nah.”

No. None at all. Just my life. I support you. Go for it!

 

Then, I told him:

Um, I think I would like to try to speak at this conference. It’s like a majillion hours away. I’ll be gone all weekend. I think Red might be coming down with something. I’ll be a nervous wreck prior and all cranky and stressed. Hows that for you?

Of course. You go. Dreams are God-given. Pursue them.

But please, darling, after you have slept in that hotel room with those big fluffy pillows and that endless Food TV -

Please do come back?

 

My husband cares for me. Often, he carries me.

In doing so, he has allowed me to hop in my carriage and attend the ball.  His willingness and humor and affable spirit has been my carriage out of poor humor, depression even,  pain.

He is a prince.

I mean, just look at him:IMG_2288

Well, and: photo (2)

TOTAL PACKAGE, I TELL YOU.

 

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My morning on a scale of 1-10

 

I would rate it a Z.

On the scale of “bright-eyed, bushy-tailed: I would rate it a:

LemurMeditating

I hate everything.

 

Here’s how mornings go, in my head:

Get up. Walk around. Drink a healthy smoothie with green stuff. Read the bible. Journal. Bask in the whole “oh what a beautiful morning,” Lamentations 3:23-ness, of it all.

 

Here’s how this morning suffered and died at our house today:

Got up. Or tried to. When attempting to put one foot on the floor, something in my back went, “Uh HO! No way, old lady. Walking is hard. I’m putting you on shuffle.”

So, I shuffled about. No green stuff in the smoothie because I burnt the oatmeal. And yes, I know, the two don’t seem to relate, so let me explain: The wee ones insist that all the oatmeal is TOO HOT. It’s TOO HOT MOMMAH! It’s HOT LAVA I WILL NOT BE ABLE TO EAT THIS EVERRRR. IT WILL MELT MY FACE OFF.

Since listening to my children whine about porridge makes me start googling “full frontal lobotomy, what are the perks?” I prepared the oatmeal waaaaaay in advance for my sweet heat seeking cherubs.  Then I watched them sit there and chuff and blow all over it with moist abandon (mental note: do not eat leftovers) for, like, an hour.

By the time they had hyperventilated all over the oatmeal, I was on to making lunches. Something, like, oh I don’t know, THIS:

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I found it on Pinterest! Who knew?

I know, right? RIGHT?

So, then, I had a moment to myself, in which I:

Put hair in ponytail. Then realized it still looked so colossally bad that also added a baseball cap. Considered a burka because the baseball wasn’t really cutting it, but thought that might cause some confusion amongst my church going friends.

Added some moisturizer and some lip gloss. Except I used an under eye highlighter as my lip gloss, because, well, morning.

So I looked like THIS:

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Except she is a lot happier about it than I am.

And, you know, no decal hearts on my face. I coulda colored in some of my sun spots, but who has time for that insanity?

 

Okaaaaaay. So the boys are still staring down the oatmeal. They are in their underwear, and it’s five minutes till go time. Momsie decides to start barking orders like a crazed seal. Something like THIS:

Clear up!

Move out!

Pants! PANTS! PAAAANNNNNNTS. THEN SHOES.

Shirt! Turn it!

Ok, Spiderman in back.

MOVE MOVE MOVE.

COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE

KEYS?  KEYS ! KEYS !!!KEYYYSSSSSS!!!! Oh snap. Here in my hand.

 

Awesome! Car! Children dressed and IN car with shoes and backpacks. The heavens opened and sang, I tell you.

And then I realized I hadn’t put on pants.

 

Boom.

 

So…how was your morning?

My neighbors had a great start of the day, I’m sure.

 

God, grant me the serenity, to accept that I forgot, um pants.

Courage, to change that for future mornings.

And the wisdom to laugh at myself.

 

And thank you, dear sweet Jesus, that at least I was wearing my husband’s old rugby t-shirt. I wear these huge things to bed because I like to remember the 80’s whenever possible. Thank you, baggy 80’s fashion.

Coulda been worse. I coulda been wearing THIS:

 

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You’re welcome, neighbors.

 

 

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