Thursday, April 30, 2009


I spent many hours writing poetry when I was little. As I got older, the poems got deeper and darker as I began to deal with more grown-up issues. But in elementary school, my poems were about rainbows and puppies and cute, girly things. And the rhymes were simple, one or two syllable words within the expected vocabulary range.

Jack also likes to write poetry. But, as I found out the other day when he brought home his completed "Poitry" book from school, he has added a whole other level of creativeness to his poetry that I did not have in mine:

It's a surprising likeness, don't you think?

Monday, April 27, 2009

Winning Isn't Everything But...

My husband coaches Jack's little league baseball team. The team has grown from 10 players to 15. Parents want their kids to be on this team. It is a fun team. John is a great coach that cares about the kids more than he cares about winning. He wants to see the kids try their best, respect their teammates, be safe, and have fun doing it. He says "Winning isn't everything, but trying to win is."

The kids won their first game. It was a definite confidence builder for the team and the coaches. Jack made a great play at second, catching a fly ball to rob a player of a hit. As the ball was heading toward him in the air, I had a Charlie Brown moment, picturing him dropping the ball and feeling like crud the rest of the game and night. But he didn't drop it. He caught it and got a big round of applause from the stands and his team.

After the game, I congratulated him on his catch.

"Yeah," he said. "My eyes were closed so I wasn't sure if I caught it."

I should tell John to remind the kids to keep their eyes open during the game.

So now that they've won a game, after a few seasons of playing together with most of the same players and winning only by forfeit, we'll see what they do with it. If John starts making the weak hitters in the line-up step into the pitches ala Mr. Buttermaker, we'll know he's lost sight of his motto.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

How Cool Was That?

Take a look at this list:

On Sunday into Monday, this list filled Angie’s blog roll with quiet encouragement to Keep Believing. The authors of these posts, the majority of whom have never met Angie, shared stories, support, prayers, tears, and most of all love on a day when Angie would be momentously reminded of the devastating loss she has suffered.

I wanted to thank all of these incredible people for participating in what I am aptly calling the Keep Believing Post Day. I think the results of what took place are immeasurably cool.

Angie said in her blog post on that day “They are sending me their love and thoughts and prayers and links. This whole blog world that has introduced me to a new kind of friendship - one that has been very one sided for the last 6 months-”.

I have let my blog reading taper off quite a bit. When I do read others’ blogs, I don’t often read the comments left by others. I just don’t have the time lately. But I read Angie’s every post. I read every comment. There is something comforting in them. There is something reassuring in the fact that the words typed in a family room in Illinois can spread across the world and move hearts and minds. There is something uplifting in the fact that one woman can cause such a connection in the lives of so many strangers. I wouldn’t call that one sided.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Keep Believing

Your birthday 6 days after. Your wedding anniversary 33 days after. An average day is filled with reminders as you struggle through the void. The milestones only make the day that much harder. But what the milestones also tell you is that you are surviving, each milestone a step forward through the year, and that each day you remembered to breath. And you continue to Keep Believing.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

The Future Snob

Jack has been a tad bit obsessed with money lately. He wants to know how much money I make a week, how much our house costs, how many bills we pay, how much money you need to be rich, etc., etc., etc.

When he asked how much money it took to be rich, I tried to explain to him that it didn't really matter how much money you had if your debt outweighed your cash.

"Yes," he said, "because you can be rich with love and with family and friends. You don't need a lot of money to be rich."

Not the point I was trying to make, but a good one nonetheless.

He decided he is going to be a billionaire when he grows up, so he can buy "one million Nintendo DSs."

I told him he only needed one.

He said he would be rich but, "would not be snotty like most rich people are." And, when he became rich, he would have to "wear one of those circle things around one eye." Unless he was a woman. Then he'd have to, "use those glasses that you have to look through while holding onto."

So, as far as Jack is concerned, all rich people look something like this:

or this:

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

It's a Long Story

When we spend the night at John's parents, I push the bed up against the wall so Luke doesn't roll right off onto the floor. I do this partly because Luke is an active sleeper. But, Luke has never fallen out of any bed he's slept in. So I think I also do this out of memory of sleeping at my grandma's once when I was little, and rolling out of the bed into the space between the bed and the wall only to awake in some eerie, claustrophobic-inducing cavern that I was convinced had trapped me and was filled with spiders waiting to eat me.

So when Luke called me at 3:00 am to come "snuggle" and I went into his room and saw that the very heavy bed was moved away from the wall, I asked him, "Why is the bed moved away from the wall?"

"It's a long story," he said.

It was three in the morning. How could there be a long story at three in the morning? And what was so urgent that Luke needed to move the bed away from the wall? And how was he strong enough to do it? And how did he do it without waking his brother who slept next to him in the same bed? And how did he do it without me hearing? And did he accomplish what he needed to by moving the bed?

And the answers to all of those questions would have indeed led to a very long story. And did I mention it was three in the morning? So my tiredness won out over my curiosity, and the long story of the bed remains a mystery.

Friday, April 10, 2009

The Beginning of Another Year

It’s hard to believe that a year has gone by. A year since my mom called to tell me my grandma had died in the night. We all thought she we would live forever, though we knew that was an impossibility. With some people, it just feels that way.

Time is a strange thing. It can be your enemy or your best friend, depending on what your needs are, what emotions you are having, what experience you are in at any particular moment. Who can explain it? Why does it seem that time stands still for seconds, minutes, hours, days when you are deep in grief and then suddenly, unexpectedly, you look back and the past weeks, months are a blur and a year has slipped by? Is that healing? Is that moving on? Or is that numbness?

I like to think it is dealing with the pain and moving on with life, because I know that is what loved ones would want and expect from us. And when I look back over the weeks and months, I know that I have been happy and living, and not numb or in pain. It is just the trickiness of time that makes me question it all.

We talked about getting together tonight as a family so no one felt alone on this day without her. “But why?” I wondered. Why mark a day that could not be changed, or taken back. Why mark the day where each day after was a little bit worse?

As I spoke with my mom on the phone about why we shouldn’t get together, how we were too busy and it wouldn’t make a difference, my phone clicked. Hers did too.

“What was that?" she asked.

“It must have been grandma,” I said. “She’s letting us know she’s all right. She’s with grandpa and they’re having a good time.”

We both laughed, and started another year without her.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

The Cost of Santa

With their birthdays coming up in May, the boys have been making out their gift wish lists. Jack has very little on his, but Luke wants almost every thing he sees advertised on television. He will be easy to buy for this year. The problem is once he gets something he thought he really, really, wanted, he typically tends to find out that it wasn't as cool or as fun as he thought it was going to be.

Take the D-Rex Pet. He saw the commercial for this toy before Christmas and fell in love with it. And that was the point. The commercials made it appear that this dinosaur would move and interact like a living, breathing creature. He asked Santa for this toy and was sure he would get it. Mom and Dad scoured sales at Toys R Us for weeks to find a deal, since we don't have a workshop like Santa and knew that Santa would not be bringing the D-Rex down the chimney.

As far as Luke is concerned, Santa came through for him. But, he quickly discovered that D-Rex required a lot of input from him. D-Rex didn't follow him around the house like a little puppy. It was a remote-controlled dinosaur, and albeit a pretty awesome one if you ask me, not what Luke was expecting. So it has sat, mostly unplayed with, like the RoboQuad he got the year before.

For his birthday, Luke is asking for the Spy Gear Spy Video Car. He saw a commercial, and the commercial showed all these fantastic things that the car can do. I suggested we find one and play with it first before he decides for sure that the car is what he wants.

"Because, you know, you always pick these really expensive things that look cool on commercials and then when you get them you don't like them that much."

"Like D-Rex Pet," he said.

"Yes, like D-Rex Pet," I said.

"But Santa brought me that so it didn't cost a thing."

Not that I don't want him to continue to believe in Santa, but it sure will save me money once he stops.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Sushi For Boys

Most boys are, whether it be by genetics or social conditioning, adventurous. Tell them they are about to embark on an exploration and they are on board. Tell them they are off on a mysterious journey and they are all in. Tell them they are needed for an uncommon challenge or experiment, and they are at your side before you get all of the words out of your mouth.

Living in a house of boys, I know this about them and can, at times and please don't hold this against me, use this to my advantage. So when we drew snack duty for the Cub Scout meeting on April Fool's Day, I saw the perfect opportunity to have a little fun with a group of boys. This is a group of boys that enjoy each other's company so much, and enjoy being boys together so much, that our Cub Scout meetings revolve around which tasks in the Wolf book include running, jumping, or exercising. Anything to avoid sitting for more than 10 minutes.

So when it came time for snacks, I asked, "You boys like adventure, right? You all like to try new things, right? Well tonight we are going to try sushi."

"And what is sushi?" asked the Den Leader who was in on the joke.

"Sushi is raw fish, rice and seaweed."

I almost lost a couple of them right there. One boy's mouth fell open and I believe he almost puked. I said, "Who likes Chinese food? So you should like the rice. Who likes fish or seafood? So the fish in the sushi will be good, it's just not cooked. Who likes vegetables? Who likes salad? That's really all seaweed is."

The Den Leader said, "You don't have to like it, but everyone has to try one bite."

I put my sushi on the table in the middle of the boys, and it took them a few minutes to figure out that my "sushi" was rice cereal treats wrapped in fruit roll-ups with a gummy worm inside. I got the idea here, and it was big success.

Unfortunately, I talked up real sushi so much my son Jack was really excited about trying it. He thinks he will really like it, and I agree that there are some rolls he will probably really enjoy. He won't quit talking about how he can't wait to eat sushi. Do you know how expensive sushi is? I guess the April Fool's joke is on me.