Friday, May 18, 2007

7 AM

I don't know if I'm sentimental, or if this is the kind of stuff that makes every mom's day complete.

Avery was sitting at the table eating cereal when Ben woke up. She heard the bedroom door open and without even seeing him she yelled, "Beeeeeean! I wuv you!" Only, he didn't hear it, because when he saw me he opened up his arms wide and yelled, "Surprise!"

Shouldn't we all be so sure of ourselves that merely waking up in the morning is the greatest gift we can think of to give? Not only did I get that from Ben, it came as a surprise as well!!

Avery's inflection was identical to mine with her emphatic and spontaneous "I love you". I can pronounce my "L's" so it was a little different, but it makes me feel like I'm doing something right when I hear her repeat something so sweet.

Also, Sketchy, anyone thoughtful enough to include a link to how to induce labor, deserves a full response to her question...
"Not Happy Bob" is from The Incredibles. Which, is just shy of worshipped in this house. Adults not excluded. Ben was getting all sorts of positive attention for answering every question with "I don't know, something amazing I guess" so Avery thought she'd up the competition.

When Bob gets pulled into his boss's office, his boss, with that really annoying voice (the Sicilian from Princess Bride) says, "Sit down Bob. I'm not happy Bob. Not happy." So, that was Avery's contribution to our incessant quoting of The Incredibles.

The funny thing is, Jay has tried to teach Ben to adapt his catch phrase to fit the situation. "What do you want for lunch Ben?" "I don't know, something delicious I guess" etc. Ben can't stray from the script. Avery, took no time changing "Bob" to "Mom" when her displeasure was aimed at me.

Ben's new quote as of yesterday, which seriously makes me guffaw every time is, "You sly dog, you got me monologuing!" Just see if you can resist the hilarity of a three year old saying the word "monologuing".

P.S. Even though Ben will be 4 in 4 days, I am not allowed to call him a 4 year old until he has a birthday. Per His Majesty's orders.
This absolutely charming pose of Ben's is reserved for special
occasions, like during Primary Sharing Time and in the middle of
the aisle at the grocery store when people innocently "try" to pass
by our cart. It's not for every day.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Open Letter Season

Dear Wal-Mart Greeter,

You are very sweet. And I appreciate the stickers and attention you gave to my children. When my daughter threw the sticker back at you and yelled, "Not happy Bob!" at you, believe me when I say it's not you, it's her.

But I have to say, my son, he's not quite 4. He's very young. And yes he was wearing a Spiderman shirt and knew all the characters of Spiderman 3 and even saw the movie the day after it opened---he still doesn't get it. That blank stare he gave you when you philosophized about the dual nature of man in relation to the Sandman---it was real. I'm sorry you were disappointed that the conversation with him fell so flat so suddenly. Ask him what color Venom is, and why, and that's more likely to get results.

Also, when you suggested as we were leaving that he "web you" and then froze in place until we could no longer see you---that was "totally awesome" and had both my kids giggling all the way to the car.

Not to be rude, but as much as I loved the attention you were giving my children, at nine months pregnant, my bladder is on a limited schedule and I really needed to get those pineapples and diapers and get home. Public bathrooms are digusting.

The Shopper Who's Quick Errand Turned Into Spiderman Philosophizing and Kegal Exercising

Dear Daughter,

I am on to you. I just need to verbalize it. I know you are smarter than me in so many ways, but I am on to you. When you tilt your head and reach out your arms and say, "I hug you mama, huuuuuuuug" I know darn well that you just want to get out of the boring and not as soft and squishy as me shopping cart. Sure I love your hugs, and you do follow through. But don't think I don't know what you are doing.

All My Love,
Your Mother Who's Manipulative Ways Came First

Dear Rebecca,

When I told you I had read that pineapple can induce labor and I thought I'd give it a try---naturally I assumed you would think as I had, that it was the INGESTION of pineapple that does the trick. My bad. But thanks for the hearty laugh.

Your Friend Who's Mouth Is Now Raw And None Closer To Labor

Dear Friend and/or Family Member That I Happen To Be Calling,

No, I'm not in labor. But I promise, you will be the FIRST to know when I am.


She Who Wishes It Even More Than You

Dear OB/GYN That I Have Been Seeing Regularly Since December,

Isn't being an OB that isn't on-call on the weekends kind of like an oxy-moron? Or totally ridiculous if nothing else? This is the kind of information that would have been helpful to me 6 MONTHS AGO. Part of seeing you regularly is to build a rapport and to feel comfortable in your care when you deliver my baby. Had I known that you don't do weekends, I might have gone elsewhere. Now I'm going have to break in some newbie with my bad jokes and unnaturally pleasant disposition while enduring a Uterine Rave if this baby decides on a weekend arrival.

Thanks A Lot,
Your Patient Who Probably Wouldn't Care As Much If Her Baby In-Utero Didn't Already Weigh 23 Pounds

Dear Angela,

Stop being such a baby, being pregnant can be hard, but having a newborn is even harder. Also, just because you haven't gained any weight in the last 6 weeks, it doesn't mean your diet of cheeseburgers and Ben and Jerry's is the answer. You can pretend, but soon enough it's gonna come back and bite you in the butt. Your very ample butt.

Stop yelling at your kids so much. It's not their fault that bending over to pick up the banana that's been dropped 5 times in 90 seconds makes you want to fall over and sleep for 3 hours. And you're the dumbhead that bought the ridiculously hard puzzle, you can't blame your child for wanting to put it together

Stop watching The Medium. It scares you. You always think you're tougher than some fictional show, but you aren't. So just stop it. It makes Thursday mornings hard on both of us.

Your children are every bit as hilarious and adorable as you think they are. But other people don't need to be told about it constantly. When Ben says, "awwwwwwwww, it's too haaaaaaaaard" when you tell him to put on some underwear, it really is funny---but only to us. And when Avery substitutes "Not HAPPY Bob" for a simple "no" it's pretty funny, but not alert-the-press funny like you think it is.


Dear Sara,
You can't come soon enough. Even though I have my own two redhaired kissables around here, I need a chubby one that can't tell me to stop kissing them. Rebekah will do.

Plus my garden tub and non-garden toilet really need to be cleaned.

You're Non-Demanding Sister

Dear Sonic Crushed Ice,

Will You Marry Me?

Pregnant And Parched In Texas

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

It Was Worth It In The End

I just sat on the floor for an hour putting together this puzzle with Benjamin. It was NOT an easy task. I was overly ambitious in purchasing it, but I was only thinking of Ben's future at Harvard Medical school. Every three-year-old should have a mother so conscientious.

There were at least 8 times I wanted to chuck a handful of solid blue edges across the room because none of them fit with another. The baby nailed my bladder 12 times. I turned it into a teaching moment and showed Ben exactly where the baby was nailing me. My back ached 10 minutes into it.

Avery woke up from her nap halfway through and kept kicking the puzzle because it was keeping the attention from her. Ben kept trying to shove scapulas where scapulas just
don't go and I cursed my motherly teach-my-child-in-fun-bonding-ways lapse no less than 17 times. In my head of course. It was bad enough that Ben was already repeating
everything Dr. Phil said. "Where does this go mom? Lady, you can take a hike if you don't like what I have to say! I know! I'll put it here!" His own flavor of afternoon talk-show tourette's.

Anyway, in the end, it was all worth it when Ben jumped around and clapped for what we'd accomplished and pointed at different parts on the puzzle saying, "I can totally feel that part inside me!"

But the cake for me was, "Fyoosh, I'm sho sweaty from all this puzzling!"
That's my boy.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Cleaning Habits of Jay and Angela

This afternoon I was trying to bribe Ben into cleaning up some of the stuff scattered about the living room. I wasn't really invested in getting him to work, so I wasn't really deterred by his lack of response, or polite offers of, "It's okay mom, you can do it."

After 10 minutes of my hardly noteworthy efforts, Jay picked up a flashlight and said, "Here Ben, I'll shine the light on what needs to be put away and you put it away." Ben jumped to it and within 10 minutes the living room was spotless and Ben had exclaimed NO LESS than FOUR TIMES, "This is the funnest game EVOH!"

This is all well and good---Jay making chores the funnest game evoh---I'm happy to be a part of such a family. I really thought Jay was a genius for coming up with this "game". Benjamin finding joy in cleaning up and reveling in the cleanliness, he gets from Jay. I cannot lie. I'm okay with that.

However, contrast it with what I found Avery doing shortly after, it's embarrassing what I'VE contributed to the gene pool.

Avery had been trotting around with a bag of cheese puffs. They're organic, by the way, right next to the organic candy bars in our cupboard. She happened to spill about half the bag, unbeknownst to any of us. I turned a corner and found her dealing with the situation all by herself. She was standing there, cleaning them up. "What a good girl," I thought.

My pride suddenly turned to embarrassment when I saw her, still standing, grab a cheese puff WITH HER TOES and raise her leg to drop it back into the bag, all without moving her upper body one bit. She couldn't be bothered to bend the six inches it takes for her to reach the ground. I know that this takes skill for a two year old; But it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out where she learned that technique.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Dr. Feel

The other day Ben came up to me and asked, "What does it mean to crush all your dreams?"

Whaaaaaa!? I think to myself, I need to crack down on the cartoons he's watching---he really doesn't need to be exposed to some hybrid-monstrous character who is clothed as a super-hero, saying such things into his precious, innocent ears.

"Where did you hear that phrase Ben?"

"Oh, Dr. Feel said it."

Well, if it's a television star psychologist he overheard it from, then that's fine.

I actually wanted to jump up off the couch today and kiss Dr. Phil. I've never really thought the middle-aged, married, bald, psychotherapist kind was my type, but my love for him was real today.

As an expression of my love, I would like to write him a love letter. You can read it if you want.

Dear Dr. Phil,

Do you mind if I just call you Phil? I first fell for your wit and charm and straight shootin' ways a couple of years ago. You had a guest on your show who was LDS. She was sort of an embarrassing representative. She was abusive to her children, one more than the others even. This was particularly distressing to me. She was just in general very unkind to her husband, but she had also cheated on him more than once. She had a Masters Degree, but didn't work, claimed her religion "didn't allow it." She had run her family into debt more than $60 thousand dollars in a fairly short period of time. I kept feeling embarrassed and a little angry that she behaved the way she did and then pulled out the religion card when you pressed her for some accountability for the family's financial distress.

I didn't know how shrewd you were. I was just a beginner. Imagine my shock when you whipped out our church leaders Proclamation on the Family and quoted it. You pointed out, not only did it not say "thou shalt not work" but you quoted it saying, "We warn that individuals who violate covenants of chastity, who abuse spouse or offspring, or who fail to fulfill family responsibilities will one day stand accountable before God." You called her on the carpet about using her religion as an excuse for having no accountability for finances, but certainly didn't adhere to her religion's clearly stated position on infidelity and abuse.

Phil, I have to say, you won me over that day.

Then when I'd watch your show now and then, I always got a big kick out of how you called stupid people stupid. And half the time, they wouldn't even know it. But us smart people, we knew.

One day I heard you talk about your wife, and wives in general. You stated that you believed one of the most important things you could do for your wife, is to give her the security, that when she walked into a room with 1,000 other women she knew without a doubt, no other woman in that room was treated better or more valued than she was.

I genuinely love that philosophy. I loved then that it was a way I could gauge how I felt as a wife. I am quite confident my husband provides that security for me, and he's got great cheekbones to boot. Sometimes I wish there were a few more chocolate covered strawberries in the equation, but I know I'm a lucky girl. It made me happy that you were putting that "expectation" out there for the world. The world needs more confident women who are loved by their husbands.

I confess, I haven't been able to watch your show much. Sometimes it's a little boring, other times, just bad timing. But today I got to watch. And you had a meth user on your show. He was strung out while on your show. I kept expecting you to say, "I can't work under these conditions" or something like that, but you didn't. You plowed ahead with this man who gave completely illogical, nonsensical responses to your questions.

When his wife mentioned his paranoia, you asked the man, "How are you feeling right now, are you feeling paranoid? Do you think I'm out to get you?" And he answered not really, but sorta, he'd like to "hope" you weren't since you invited them there and all, but yes, he was feeling a little paranoid. You leaned in, gently put a hand on his shoulder and said, "Let me clear something up for ya right now, I AM out to get you."

I whooped and hollered, and all nine months pregnant of me did a little couch jig. People need to be talked to honestly. There's too much pampering of ridiculousness in this world. In my humble opinion. You took it even a step further, in a way that truly amazed me. I got tears in my eyes. Yeah, it's a little embarrassing to get teary-eyed watching your show, but it's a risk I'm willing to take for you Phil. You explained that you weren't after the strung out meth user, you were after the man inside, the healthy, responsible, productive, loving man he used to be, that is inside, trying desperately to be freed.

Seriously, I wanted to kiss you.

Later when you told the lying addict that you knew she was lying because her lips were moving, I laughed and laughed.

I have to say, I'm always amazed at the angles you take. I think you'll be rude and cut them down, and you put on kid gloves. I think you'll be patient and understanding and you threaten to give them a good ol' fashion southern arse whoopin'. And somehow it always seems to be just right.

Oh, I could go on for ages, but---you're happily married, I'm happily married---there's really no point. However, in light of your well-known philosophy "You teach people how to treat you" I'd like to teach you to treat me to a Caribbean cruise, a personal trainer, and a whole new wardrobe. Let me know.

With Love,

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

His Brand of Sweet Nothings

Jay's in Illinois right now. We've been spoiled to have been together for 6 weeks straight, so I'm adjusting poorly to his absence. But yesterday I got to spend a good portion of the day with friends and distractions and someone else entertaining my children, so it was an easy day.

I got home last night after hanging out at my friends house and letting the kids run wild, in time to let them fall in to bed, exhausted.

I was delighted to find a message waiting for me on the phone from Jay.

It's not often I get romanced so when he leaves tender messages like this for me, I'm on top of the world for quite some time. You know the sweet things your husband can say, the kind that make your knees go weak. The kind that make you know, to the world you're just one girl, but to HIM, you are the whole world....

**"Hi Angela, this is Jay. Just callin' to say hi and check in and whatnot. I'm done for the day. You can call me anytime about anything and I'll. be. here.
I'm kind of missing you because I had a frustrating conversation dealing with _____________ and holy crap, I'm so glad I'm married to a normal person...."

Wouldn't you say he knows how to melt a girl's heart?

I think so.

**Disclaimer: Leaking his voicemail message to my blog could perhaps be a breech of some kind of marital confidence but Jay did know when he married a Smith, we will say or do anything for a laugh. It's the slogan on our family crest.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Every Vote Counts

Wow, you guys are amazing! I thought having lots of great ideas would be oh-so-helpful. Turns out, it’s just as hard as having no ideas. I STILL can’t decide.

So again, I’ll pass the buck.

Now, don’t anybody get offended (Breitmama, you KNOW you weren’t going to get picked, but you just couldn’t help yourself though, could you!?) if I don’t list your suggestion---it’s all about the bottom line here.

Carrot’s probably quite busy with her NEW BABY but I just want to acknowledge that for some reason, Hot Diggity made me laugh and Que Sera Sera is good, but it’s the title of a blog I already read. So sad. And she’s a really good writer, so I don’t want that kind of pressure on me….

No Cool---Fpeck Attacks made me think about referring to us as the Fpeck Family and for some reason, I felt like I was losing brain cells when I used that phrase. Heeeeeeeey, how about Pho Family?

Red. Beautiful. Is TOTALLY up my alley, but my husband laughed when he heard it. I’m vain, he’s not.

>l< This made me laugh too, but then I’d have to be something like >l< the Artist Formerly Known as Angela.

Okay S, et al. You gave me some good'ns.

Got A Minute is good. I’m afraid I ramble too much to keep that an honest blog title.
Three Cardinals and a Bluejay got my attention. If I have another redhead, I’ll want to change it to Three Cardinals, and Bluejay, and One Cardinal Sinner. Just to be honest and stuff.
Subjects of the Queen just scares me. You know, all that stuff about saying things out loud so they can be fulfilled?
Will blog for (Insert any kind of Ben and Jerry’s here) is definitely a front runner
Go Bears REALLY made me laugh.
I like Dishes? What Dishes!? But that just says too much about me up front, don’t you think?
Real Cool Story made me laugh too, but I think someone beat me to the punch. Someone with good ideas too….

TMM-- Apply Directly To the Forehead
I have to confess, I’m slow. I didn’t get it. But Jay did. And it made him laugh. And then when he explained to me, I laughed too.

Rebecca---Brilliant. See Breitmama's answer. :)

Sketchy---Stop Bugging Avee is a great idea! I love the idea of using stuff from signs. One of my favorite signs here in Texas is: “Humps Ahead”. Who calls speed bumps humps? Seriously!?

NCS---Yay? Is that like, “Jay” in Spanish? Because, if it is, I’ll TOTALLY do it.

Millie---But, but, but I AM hot. To quote Ben “Could you please turn on that sing that makes me not feel so hot and sticky, or else let me take off my clothes?” If I had a quarter for every time I’ve had to bite my tongue when I wanted to say that in public…..

Okay, Here are the final ones I won’t mind being identified as for the rest of my blog career. Or at least until a crazy stalker finds me….

Cookie Dough for Dinner
Apply Directly To the Forehead (okay, I’m torn about this one because it’s funny now with those completely annoying commercials, but will it be in 10 years when I’m a famous blogger, paying y’all royalties for my blog title?)
Will blog for (Insert any kind of Ben and Jerry’s here)
Three Cardinals and a Bluejay
Got A Minute
---I like this for it’s simplicity.

Oh yeah, and I forgot, not to influence you or anything, but I LOVE “Nobody Called Today” just for the image it conjures. I could just get on my blog and go ON and ON and ON and it will be okay because I will have WARNED you---nobody called today...

I could be persuaded by “Subjects of the Queen” but it is true, if this baby is a girl---that could be disastrous. Like a blog-coup or something equally heinous. Then again, if the baby is a boy, then it will probably be the most accurate description of our lives here.

Okay, I just got a new comment with a new idea that was too good to pass up. SPIT HAPPENS. What do you think? Showly makes me laugh! Thanks Julie!

So, give me your votes. If you don’t want to post it in comments, you can email it.

After this, could you come and fold some of my laundry, and my bathrooms really need cleaning…

p.s. Suzanne, I have a sister-in-law named Suzanne. So then my baby would be cursed with the title of "Little Suzanne" or even worse, "Big Suzanne" or "Red Suzanne" or sadly, "The Boy Suzanne".