Love

I’m Married to Snow White

The hubs is an animal whisperer.  Not a horse whisperer or a dog whisperer but an all animal whisper.  Creatures great and small seem to seek him out and trust him.  They come close to him, look him in the eyes, allow him to touch them, even pick them up, or rub up against him.  I mean wild as well as domestic animals.  I have seen dogs, cats, hedgehogs, rabbits, chipmunks, ferrets, fish, horses, giraffes, monkeys, birds, elephants and even penguins come to the hubs.  It is absolutely amazing to witness!

A couple of weeks ago while I was working my afternoon to late evening shift at work, the hubs and B went on a nature walk in the woods across the street from us.  They took pictures of animal tracks, sketched mushrooms and trees they saw and enjoyed being able to walk far enough into the woods to not see the suburbia in which we live.  After they had been exploring the woods for about 20 minutes, they heard rustling near by.

The hubs signaled for B to stop moving and be quiet.  They listened.  In less than a minute, 3 deer appeared and walked right up to the hubs.  There are kids in these woods on a regular basis, playing “war” games and shooting paintball guns at each other.  Deer are pretty skittish animals.  So why would they walk right up to humans?  Because they were seeking the animal whisperer, of course!

Being 9 yrs old, B could not keep quiet for long and exclaimed in excitement over the closeness of the deer.  That scared them off.  Being the wise man that he is, the hubs decided that he and B should go home and leave the deer in peace.  When I called home during my dinner break to say good night to B, he told me all about their adventure in the woods.  He was so excited, but I was not surprised at what had happened.

It was close to midnight when I turned down the alley behind our house on my way home from work that night.  I was tired but I still kept an eye out on the ground for the rabbits that tend to dart around the alley at night.  As I approached our garage, I saw a flash of movement to my right and slammed on the breaks as a deer walked in front of my car to stand in front of the hubs’ garage door and look back at me.  After a couple of seconds, I decided to proceed on, slowly, and open my side of the garage.  The noise, along with me getting closer, finally caused the deer to step aside and then finally run down the alley and towards the woods.  I am convinced that deer was hovering around our house, looking for the hubs.

I am still wondering what she sought from him?

Our Weekend

Here we are at Disney On Ice.  We all look ridiculous and psycho and imperfect and I wasn’t going to post this picture because, honestly, I didn’t like that I squished my face back into my neck and I look all doubled-chinned.  But, this is us!  We are ridiculous and psycho and imperfect and we wouldn’t have each other any other way.

 

I had a wonderful weekend with my 2 favorite people in the world!  We went to Disney on Ice, built with LEGOS, snuggled, ate, watched movies, listened to music, danced and laughed.  Oh, how we laughed!  We should have our own reality show b/c we are hysterical and the only one who would show their situation up in here is the 9 year old.

Saturday morning, B said to me, “I asked Daddy what the difference is between a vegan and a virgin.”  I froze for several seconds until I could get my eyes to blink again and looked at the hubs.  He smiled and nodded at me.  “What did you say,” I asked the hubs.  “I answered him,” he said.  “And what did daddy tell you?”  “Well,” said B, “I already knew what a vegan was.  I just didn’t know what a virgin was.”  “What’s a vegan,” I asked.  “Someone who doesn’t eat meat or dairy.”  I was impressed with his answer and afraid of the next one.  But I asked anyway, “What’s a virgin?”  “I don’t remember,” B replied.  I look over at the hubs, he grins, gives me a thumbs up, wiggles his fingers like he’s typing and points at the computer.  “Come on, get it up on your blog!  That’s good stuff, right there!”  B never remembers what the hubs says but everything I say goes in B’s ears and out his mouth.

Saturday and Sunday nights the hubs and I stayed up way too late, having heart-to-heart talks.  We haven’t had one is sooooo long since I’m working now and it was sooooo nice.  He told me that after 17 years he has finally gotten something through his head: I don’t like nor want things; I want memories.  And he realized B is the same way.  So, I will not be receiving anymore gifts from Best Buy or Advance Auto Parts.  Phew.  My 40th birthday is coming up and I am now completely relaxed and unworried about what he’s going to give me.  Because I was not relaxed and I was worried before our talk this weekend.  It’s nice to know an old dog can learn new tricks.  Even after 17 years.

If you like piña coladas, and getting caught in the rain…

I just worked 5 nights straight and have the next 2 nights off.  You’d think I’d be dragging myself in the door and falling into bed.  But for some reason, when I have the next day off, I am wired when I get home.  I’m excited that I get to spend the whole next day with my guys.  And the juices were flowing with ideas for my blog during the car ride home, so I’m going to take advantage of this energy and get some things down.  However, my blog idea – in the title – is going to have to wait b/c once I came home, I found things to warm my heart so I have to talk about those first.


I expressed to the hubs last week that when I come home from work and check on B, it takes all of my willpower not to crawl into bed with him or carry him back to our bed with me.  I miss him!  And kids are always at their most precious when they are asleep.  He recently switched from the bottom bunk back to the top bunk, so I can’t even  hug or kiss his sleeping form now.  I walked into our bedroom tonight and found this:

 

The hubs is sleeping in B’s room and B is in our room!  All warm and angelic-looking and ripe for snuggling!  My man is so good to me.  But wait, there’s more.  I snapped this picture with the camera that sits on my nightstand.  Ever other night when I come home my 2 cats (brother and sister) are asleep, wrapped around each other in all kinds of different positions.  So I’m snapping pictures of them at night and plan to publish a Kitty Sutra book.  (Thankfully they were keeping it rated G tonight since B was in the bed.)

As hard as it was to not crawl into bed with these guys, I came downstairs to blog before I forgot my ideas.  I uploaded the pictures expecting to find just the above pic and those of the cats on the camera but found a surprise.  Pictures of the dinner I left for the boys on Valentine’s Day while I was at work.  B had specifically asked for broccoli and cheese soup, with ham, in a bread bowl for dinner.  I made a pot of soup, carved out the bread bowl (could not find anything in-between dinner roll and round loaf for a family of 8, so I went with the loaf) and left it for the hubs to assemble for dinner.  He took pictures of the finished product!  Because that’s what I do when I want to post a recipe on my blog.  The bread bowl filled with soup with 2 spoons in it in portrait mode.  Another one in landscape mode.  And another one with a plate of butter and a butter knife next to the bread bowl of soup.  *sniff, sniff*  I’m all vaclempt! Tawk amongst yaselves!  I’ll give you a topic – The Civil War was not civil nor a war.  (Any Mike Meyer fans out there?)

OK, I’ve pulled myself together and can now move on to the title of the blog…

On the way home from work Tuesday, Valentine’s Day, and tonight, I heard the song Escape (The Piña Colada Song) by Rupert Holmes.  I love that song!  My favorite line is, “Oh. It’s you.”  LOL!  It’s one of those great songs that crosses barriers.  No matter the age, color, religion, sexual orientation, ethnicity or gender of people in any given bar or club in this country, you play that song and everyone’s going to sing along.

When I was younger (I actually remember that song hitting the air waves when it was released) I had a completely different view of the song.  Although it was catchy and I could not help but sing along, I hated the story line.  It’s about infidelity.  And, for some reason, I never focused on her infidelity, only his.  I had the ignorant viewpoint that she must have been forced to seek comfort and attention elsewhere whereas he was just a pig, if solely for the reason that he called his partner his “old lady”.  Ugh!  I hate that description!

Well, I’m all grown up now, and fully understand what the reality of staying together with the same person for 17 years is all about.  However, neither one of us refers to the other as “my old man” or “my old lady”.  I actually waggled my pointer finger in the air while typing that last sentence.  hehehe.  Tonight this song gave me an idea for couples who may be stuck in a rut.  Both parties write a personal ad, place it in the paper (or online) and the other person has to guess which ad was written by their partner.  So that feelings are not hurt and the spirit is kept fun (instead of causing arguments) the ads (at least the 1st ones) should be somewhat easy to guess.  Start with at least 1 thing your partner will recognize as you with a few things they may not know.  They’ll find you but also learn something new about you.  I think it can be an enrichment activity that is done several times, at least 5, to get to know each other all over again.  Remind him or her what turns you on and what doesn’t.  Tell them about something new you are into or want to try.  I think it would be fun and I can’t wait to share my idea with the hubs in the morning!

The Rest of Our New England Trip in August

Sorry I’ve left you hanging on the rest of our trip to New England last month.  I took notes while on the trip in on of those 6″x 9″, top-spiraled notebooks so I would remember what I wanted to blog about.  However, I had not been able to find the book again for the past week to continue my story.  We must have at least a hundred of these books around the house!  I don’t know where they come from!  I don’t buy them.  I found my notes in the 6th notebook I looked through tonight.  *sigh*  Anywho, I’m just glad I found it and when I’m done tonight, I need to put in a place where the hubs can’t include it in his “straightening up”.

I love how sparsely settled Vermont is compared to where I live.  Just mountains and valleys of green that go on and on.  The view kept me so occupied during the drive.  I never get tired of seeing the shadows of the clouds on the mountains nor the trees growing out of the rock faces where the roads were carved out of mountains.  Those trees are a wonderful example of perseverance!  When I was a kid, we would drive up to Vermont at least twice a year and I’ve missed it.

On the afternoon of August 19th, we went to The Vermont Country Store, one of the very few places I actually go willing to shop.  I wanted to buy everyone on my Christmas list presents there.  In the morning we were hanging at the rec room of my Nana’s apartment complex, playing board games and doing laundry, when a storm rolled in.  The thunder is amazing to hear, rolling down from the mountain tops and echoing back up.  What a beautiful symphony of nature.  There was a piano in the rec room and B wanted to try it.  He does not play; we don’t even have a piano.  My ILs have a small, electric one and B loves to sit for a bit every time we visit them in Baltimore.  He tries to teach himself parts of songs by ear, like Row, Row, Row Your Boat.  He sat down at that upright, in the rec room, in the middle of a storm in Southern Vermont and his fingers just flew over those keys.  He wasn’t playing a known piece; he was creating his own.  It was an absolutely beautiful concerto!  He played hard and soft, high and low, cords and notes.  What a concert between his playing, the steady rhythm of the falling rain and the echos of thunder.  I was so mesmorized, I didn’t even think to get out my camera and record his playing until he was done.  I am so upset at myself for that!  One of the other residents was heading out for a walk when the storm hit and ducked into the rec room to wait it out.  She also felt blessed to hear this spontaneous creation of B’s that day.

We headed down to Massachusetts on Saturday morning to attend my cousin’s wedding that afternoon.  It was a beautiful ceremony with the most poignant vows.  When an officiant says the standard, “for better or worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health” to a bride and groom, most of us have no idea what worse, poorer or sickness could possible be waiting for us and plenty of us are not equipped to deal with it.  But this minister had realistic and direct vows that couples nowadays could use and truly live by, “I will love you even when you drive me crazy; I will respect you even when we argue”.

The wedding was an interracial marriage and there was no bride side or groom side for sitting.  We all mingled throughout the seats.  There was a vase with a hole in the middle that the couple went to during the ceremony.  The minister held a bottle of white sand, the bride a bottle of light green sand and the groom a bottle of black sand.  The minister poured half of his sand in the bottom and the bride and groom then poured in their own sands, sometimes together, sometimes taking turns, until their bottles were empty.  Then the minister poured the rest of his white sand on top.  The white sand represented God, the foundation and roof of their union.  Sometimes a layer of green sand was thicker, sometimes the black, symbolizing when one will be strong and the other will lean on the 1st.  It was a lovely vase to display in their home as a daily reminder.

The reception was fabulous!  We were still eating dinner, the DJ was playing some music in the background and B asked if he could go visit my parents who were assigned to another table.  Their table happened to be right in front of the DJ and when he got there, the song changed to one he really liked.  The wall behind the head table was mirrored and my boy justloves watching himself in a mirror.  Forgetting that the room was full of people, he turned to the mirror, got into his zone and just danced.  Table by table, people started turning to watch him and the videographer came up behind him, filming, but he was completely unaware.  He was in his happy place.  When the song ended and the place erupted in applause, he finally noticed his audience; and he was hooked.  I don’t think I got him to sit down for the rest of the night.

By the end of the night, the DJ was ready to hire B as his partner because he said B could get a crowd going and keep it going.  B and one of his 10 yr old female cousins, H, were selected to get the whole place on the dance floor.  H was shy and did not want to dance in front of everyone, but B told her not to worry, he would lead.  And lead he did!  It was awesome!  After a minute, the DJ stopped the music and that was the cue for B & H to go grab a new partner from the tables.  Every time the music stopped, if you were on the dance floor you had to run and pull someone new onto the dance floor, too.  It was crazy fun.  We also did the Soul Train dance line!  I’d never done that before and it was so awesome!  It was such a proud night for me.  When so many people from both families told me what a great dancer B was, I knew my baby really had a gift.  And he had such confidence.  On the way back to the hotel he just beamed.  As I tucked him into bed he said sleepily, “Mama, my objective was to dance with the bride tonight and I danced with her three times.”  You sure did, baby.  You sure did.

Who cares about the royal wedding? I DO!

First off, I need to tell 2 quotes Ben said recently:

“Freedom and Jesus is all that you need.”

“Mom, could you please TRY to say shoot instead of shit?”

Now, onto the wedding…This post is looooong overdue but I have been crazy busy over the past few weeks. And the royal wedding haters are going to pissy to see this post b/c they don’t want to hear anything about the wedding. And I want to address those haters. As much as I wanted to see the wedding itself, I was not interested in the daily countdowns and speculation on who’s wearing what and who is or is not invited, etc. But some people do. Just like I don’t care to hear about sports news or which famous person wore a particular outfit better or the 300 days of the year that most people complain about the weather. And the great thing is we don’t HAVE to listen to, see nor read about the stuff we don’t like. And it was interesting to discover people who said, “Who cares about the royal wedding?” and “I don’t care about the royal wedding!” beforehand, actually watched some of it and commented on it. hehehe

When I was 9 years old, I got up in the middle of the night in my grandparents’ house in Vermont and watched Charles and Diana get married with my mom and my nana. I was a little girl who wanted to grow up and get married and have 13 children. I believed in fairy tales and wanted to see a prince marry his princess. Five years later, I was up in the middle of the night, again, to watch Andrew and Fergie wed. I was 14, had frizzy hair and was nervous about starting high school in a month, especially since the freshman class was 4 times as large as my eight grade class. Sarah Ferguson was completely different than Diana. She was outspoken, clumsy at times and did not have Diana’s fashion sense. I loved her! It gave hope to sometimes-clumsy, outspoken and fashion sense-deficient girls everywhere. :o)

I remember where I was, what I was doing and who I was with when coverage of Diana’s accident broke on the TV, and cried at the announcement of her death. I was so sad that she died as she was finally gaining some personal happiness. And sad for those boys left behind. It was exciting to see happiness in the family last month.

I watched ABC’s coverage and Diane Sawyer said it was estimated that 1/3 of the world was watching the wedding. Regardless of what is on TV, that many people, around the WORLD, watching the same thing is impressive. Barbara Walters and I had something in common – this was the 3rd royal wedding we have both “covered” ;o) and I agreed with her – wake up the kids and have them enjoy this with you. I think it was awesome that London turned a park into a free campsite for wedding watchers. Not something I would expect from the English. But it is wonderful that they got how important this wedding was to people everywhere. We all needed to see a happy occasion, to get some hope and escape from our own realities for a bit, just like going to the movies b/c you need to see a happy ending. I though the quote from Winston Churchill in regards to the queen’s wedding in 1947 was very relavent now, too: “This joyous event is a splash of color on the hard road we have to travel.” And who doesn’t like weddings? A chance to dress up and party with free food! And cake!

The guests were so close to each other filing in, I am sure plenty of them got wacked with hats repeatedly and some of the hats must have prevented guests behind them from seeing.

I loved that both William and Kate were excitedly nervous. When the 2nd officiant came out, the one with the big hat and the white beard, I heard in my head, “Mawwidge. Mawwidge is what bwings us togeddar, today.”

I loved the roaring cheers of the people outside watching the jumbotrons! And the sea of people going down the road to the palace behind the procession to watch the balcony scene was unreal.

It was fascinating how William and Kate mirror each other and William really does have so many mannerisms of his mother.

They showed footage of previous royal couples on the famous balcony. In 1973, Princess Anne looked like Princess Leia from Star Wars. The same dress and hair! Google it!

The kiss. I didn’t think it was the big deal that the press made of it. I get that they kissed twice, which had not been done before. But it was sterile, and I was hoping for more feeling. I think William should have taken Kate in his arms for the kiss, or they at least should have turned towards each other instead of just the turned heads. That would have put some feeling into their simple kiss.

I don’t think either one of them slept much the night before the wedding. Both of them appeared to be spacing out and even trying to keep their eyelids open during the sermon. Poor things.

I think Kate’s dress could have been better or more modern, but I think she did the best she could within the required parameters. She and Pippa looked beautiful!

Please Start Writing Obituaries

I am an avid reader of obituaries in my local paper and I have a love/hate relationship with them. I cannot stop myself from reading them. Every week when the paper arrives, I open to the obit section hoping that, THIS time, I am going to read something that will make me smile through my tears. Most weeks, however, I am just saddened. But those rare occasions that make me smile are so worth weeding through the rest. So, I have to speak up about this issue, because everybody deserves a great obituary.

There are so many great things about obituaries. The lovely, full names, some of which have not been used in decades or generations. The number of years this soul lived here on Earth. Anything over 80 gets an automatic smile and no tears from me, because I tell myself, “they lived a good, long life”. But I don’t really know whether they did or not. Some can accomplish their life’s purpose in a few years while others may coast through decades, expecting to have plenty of time until time is no more for them. But I still hope, so I read on to see what this stranger’s life was like. I rarely find out.

What I do know about 99.9% of the souls written about in the obituaries is the name of every relative who preceded them in death and every relative left behind. I understand the main purpose in this part – you might not know the full name of this soul but you may find that your friend/neighbor/co-worker’s loved one has past away and you can now offer them some comfort or take a burden off them for a while. I don’t begrudge such lists but I am angry for the departed soul when such lists are the ONLY details we receive. Everyone deserves more than that.

Each one of us has a life or many lives. We experience joy, disappointment, accomplishment, heartache. We have dreams, goals, setbacks, comebacks, fights for what is right or what we believe in. Some of us make a difference in the life of another, some in the lives of many. And everyone of us deserves to have our story told in the paper at least once in our lives, even if it is only in our obituary.

My “smiling through tears” moments have come when I read about her prize-winning pie that everyone looked forward to at the church social. His volunteer work as Santa visiting a shelter. The business he started as a teenager, worked for 40 years and passed onto his son. Service to our country and countrymen as soldier, sailor, nurse, riveter, bandage wrapper, teacher, spiritual leader, greeter, usher, parent, foster parent, ice cream maker, singer, bringer of sunshine and smiles to everyone they met. Doing something when no one had ever done it before, whether it was landing on the moon, standing up to the bullies of the world or hugging the outcast in town. I’m proud of my fellow citizens, I rejoice in their lives, their happiness and their achievements when I read these things. It gives me hope for humanity, that there is better in my neighbors than the indifference and rudeness I see in the living.

But when you have to write an obituary, you can’t always think of these wonderful things. You are grieving; in shock; just want to draw the curtains to the world, curl up and drown in your loss. But you have things to do and people to notify and with every call you make it gets worse. Something is released to the local paper to assist with announcing this soul’s passing to those who cared about him or her. You’ve done the best you could under the circumstances. So let’s change the circumstances.

Everyone, please start writing obituaries. Now. When you don’t HAVE to. Write one for your parents, spouse, best friend, yourself. Get in the habit of reminding yourself about this person’s life – THEIR life, THEIR story. If you don’t know it, ask them. One of the greatest gifts you can give someone is to listen to their story. Remember it; write it down; save it, so that when the Holy Spirit comes to usher your loved one into the presence of the Lord* you will have this loving honor to them already taken care of. You’ll read it and remember their good, long life. It will help you and the others who have been left behind. It will honor those who have moved on. It will touch the lives of strangers reading about them in the local obituaries by giving them hope.

*Paraphrasing a description I read in one of my favorite obituaries.

What Love Means To 4-8 Year Olds

I received this as a forwarded email at the beginning of the year and just now read it. It is so wonderful, I wanted to share.

Slow down for three minutes to read this. It is so worth it. Touching words from the mouth of babes. A group of professional people posed this question to a group of 4 to 8 year-olds, ‘What does love mean?’ The answers they got were broader and deeper than anyone could have imagined. See what you think:

“When my grandmother got arthritis, she couldn’t bend over and paint her toenails anymore. So my grandfather does it for her all the time, even when his hands got arthritis too. That’s love.”
Rebecca- age 8

“When someone loves you, the way they say your name is different. You just know that your name is safe in their mouth.”
Billy – age 4

“Love is when a girl puts on perfume and a boy puts on shaving cologne and they go out and smell each other.”
Karl – age 5

“Love is when you go out to eat and give somebody most of your French fries without making them give you any of theirs.”
Chrissy – age 6

“Love is what makes you smile when you’re tired.”
Terri – age 4

“Love is when my mommy makes coffee for my daddy and she takes a sip before giving it to him, to make sure the taste is OK.”
Danny – age 7

“Love is when you kiss all the time. Then when you get tired of kissing, you still want to be together and you talk more. My Mommy and Daddy are like that. They look gross when they kiss.”
Emily – age 8

“Love is what’s in the room with you at Christmas if you stop opening presents and listen.”
Bobby – age 7

“If you want to learn to love better, you should start with a friend who you hate.”
Nikka – age 6

“Love is when you tell a guy you like his shirt, then he wears it everyday.”
Noelle – age 7

“Love is like a little old woman and a little old man who are still friends even after they know each other so well.”
Tommy – age 6

“During my piano recital, I was on a stage and I was scared. I looked at all the people watching me and saw my daddy waving and smiling. He was the only one doing that. I wasn’t scared anymore.”
Cindy – age 8

“My mommy loves me more than anybody. You don’t see anyone else kissing me to sleep at night.”
Clare – age 6

“Love is when Mommy gives Daddy the best piece of chicken.”
Elaine – age 5

“Love is when Mommy sees Daddy smelly and sweaty and still says he is handsomer than Robert Redford.”
Chris – age 7

“Love is when your puppy licks your face even after you left him alone all day.”
Mary Ann – age 4

“When you love somebody, your eyelashes go up and down and little stars come out of you.”
Karen – age 7

“Love is when Mommy sees Daddy on the toilet and she doesn’t think it’s gross.”
Mark – age 6

“You really shouldn’t say ‘I love you’ unless you mean it. But if you mean it, you should say it a lot. People forget.”
Jessica – age 8

A four year old child whose next door neighbor was an elderly gentleman who had recently lost his wife. Upon seeing the man cry, the little boy went into the old gentleman’s yard, climbed onto his lap, and just sat there. When his Mother asked what he had said to the neighbor, the little boy said, “Nothing, I just helped him cry.”

I decided to ask my own 8 year old B what love means and this was his answer: “Love means the truth. And huggy things and kissy things and squishy things.” He then climbed into my lap and hugged me. “See,” he asked. “This is love.”

Ask your own children and see what they say.

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