When your daily activities are in concert with your highest priorities, you have a credible claim to inner peace. – Hyrum Smith


A New Career

Sometimes I daydream about what my life will be like once the kids have grown. What skills am I building today that might one day translate into a paycheck?

I have considered the following careers based upon my experiences as a mommy:

Forensic scientist:
I examined the shrunken, nearly petrified Cheerio. It was located under the car seat of a 21 month old female. It is known that the family has not purchased Cheerios in the last 4 trips to Costco. Given the background information and current state of the cereal, I have determined that said Cheerio is 2-3 months of age, likely served dry.

Treasure hunter:
Donning gloves for the 4th time in 2 days, I began my search anew. If the treasure didn't appear soon, more drastic measures were in order. Ah-ha! Finally - the booty from the booty! The penny was discovered! Crisis avoided.

Medical examiner:
Excrement is bright red in color, and yet it does not appear to be bloody. Upon gathering a detailed diet history from the patient's parents, I have determined red food coloring from a friend's birthday cake is to blame.

Flowers everywhere. The vase is broken. Two eye-witnesses - both suspects. Unfortunately, one's language is unintelligible and the other is a known liar. Pool of water near younger suspect. However, given her recent potty-training blunders, this could be urine. Will contact forensic scientist to confirm.

Self-explanatory if you've been reading my blog for any length of time or if you have children.

There are more: taxi driver, short order cook, maid, teacher, slave (well now I'm just exaggerating...a little).

Who knew that parenting a child would provide you with such a rich and varied set of skills? Perhaps they should offer it as a highschool class. No, wait. I have a great idea! Perhaps highschool kids could earn credits by coming over and watching my kids! This has merit! Eureka!


It's MY turn!

Why is it that young children are so fixated upon order and taking turns? Everything at our house is now dictated by turn-taking. Parker articulates his concerns about the order of things quite clearly, while Maddie simply shrieks if she feels she has been slighted.

Here are some every day examples:

Parker begins to cry because he is told it's bedtime. Moments later Maddie begins to cry when she realizes her sippy cup only contains water (and not the apple juice she's been jonesing for). Parker erupts: "NO MADDIE! You're not the person who is sad! I am the person who is sad right now!"

We are climbing the back steps to go into the house. Parker is in front. I attempt to go around him so I can unlock the door and unload armfuls of groceries. Parker sticks his arms out to prevent me from passing. "No Mommy! I am in front. It's my turn to go up first!"

There is only one usable child-sized watering can remaining. (One has a slow leak on the base and the other died a cruel death under the tire of our van.) I explain to the kids we are going to take turns. Maddie has a turn, then I tell her it is Parker's turn and reach for the can. Screaming, "NOOOO!" she throws the can across the yard. When Parker runs after it, her eyes widen as she realizes she just voluntarily relinquished her prized possession. She propels her tiny body in his general direction with all the grace of running penguin, inevitably falling face first and bursting into tears.

Maddie is crying about something (who even knows anymore). Parker takes up his guitar and begins strumming. He softly sings "Silent Night" to her. She stops crying and turns her head to listen. Caught up in the sweetness of the moment, I join in the singing. Immediately the serenade ends. "No Mommy! I am singing to Maddie. It's not your turn to sing yet!"

In writing this entry, I realize that I, in fact, am the one to blame for the turn-taking-obsession. How many times have I pried a newly-snatched toy out of Parker's hand and explained it was not yet his turn? If I had a quarter for every time I forced my kids to take turns with each other and with their friends, I might be able to hire a cleaning person, and maybe my floors wouldn't be sticky, and maybe there wouldn't be crumbs in Parker's bed, and maybe the dust bunnies under my bed would finally be shot and killed (or at least swiffered to death)...I digress.

I suppose my point is, I am just reaping what I've sown. Maybe next time I'll be a little more careful about what I plant.


A Star Hero

It had been a long day. A good day, but a long one. I had a headache and just wanted to get home and put the kids to bed.

"mama?" came a small voice from the backseat.


"Mama?" A little louder.

"Yes, Maddie?"

"MAMA!" "Mommy!" Now both children where yelling.

"What is it, Maddie?!" I turned to see them smiling.

Parker had heard the edge in my voice. (It would have been hard to miss.)

"We're just cheering for you, mama."

"Cheering for me?"Check Spelling

"Yeah, 'cause you're a star hero!"

Hmmm. Funny, it didn't sound much like cheering. In fact, it strongly resembled the demanding wail they so often employ to elicit attention. Oh well. If he says it's a cheer, I'll take the compliment. It's not every day someone calls me a "star hero"!


Angel of Mercy

Today (with the help of Grandma) we found a new, wonderful park. It's really more of a path than a park, but it is beautiful! It winds through Anchorage, over bridges, under trees, through fields. We took Parker's bike and Maddie's stroller, and they had a blast! Parker asked, "Mommy, why is my hair wet?" He's never worked up a sweat like that in his life. We had walked/biked for over an hour and a half.

Next it was on to Aldi. For those of you who are unfamiliar with this store, it is a food store with no frills. Kind of like a mini-Sam's Club. Bring your own grocery bags, pay with cash or debit. I hadn't been to one in years, since they weren't generally located in the cities where we had been living. We still don't live close (about a 20 minute drive), but I decided to check it out with the kids anyway. I was pleasantly surprised by the very low prices.

When we finished, the kids were exhausted. I let Parker put his $.89 bag of mini-marshmallows on the conveyor belt. He was so excited. Then it happened. My darn debit card wouldn't work! It's not the first time. I know my PIN, but for some reason, my Wells Fargo card refuses to work as a debit card except at bank ATMs. I paid what money I had (only $20 in cash) and started removing non essentials. Bye-bye marshmallows. Hello melt-down.

Of course the cashier had to call the manager to verify the changed amount. The line grew behind me. How do such small lungs produce such incredible volume?

I trudged outside, one screaming child, one whining baby, loaded down with groceries. As I was strapping Parker into his seat, the manager came rushing out of the store, clutching the bag of mini-marshmallows.

"You didn't have to do -"

"I've been there," she said.

Wow. Thank you, angel of mercy. Thank God for compassionate people. She made our day.


Van Stank

Our van has a particular odor. I like to call it "stank." To say that it "stinks" doesn't adequately capture the true nature of this home-grown funk.

In Seattle, where the weather was often cool, I would only get occasional whiffs. However, once we moved to the humid South, there was no denying it's presence. I tried to blame it on the cross country move, as we had accidentally left two sippy cups of milk and two wet diapers in the back while it made the two week trip to our new home. Whew!

I removed the offending items, Febreezed the whole thing, and left the windows down for days. But it was still there...the Stank.

I used every cleaning product imaginable on the carpets. I assumed the odor was emitting from there, since that is where milk, juice and everything else is spilled all the time. Then I realized I could peel some of the carpet back. What I found below was beyond disgusting.

There is some kind of padding beneath the carpet that looks like the unfortunate love child of dryer lint and a ball of colored yarn. I think it is supposed to be mostly gray. Ours was green, yellow, gray, black and wet. It reeked. I figure it has probably been wet for a few years, growing mold and heaven knows what else. Things simply don't dry out in the Seattle climate, and this mess hadn't dried out in the humid weeks we'd been home either.

I tried not to vomit, figuring that would only make the mess worse, and got to work. Bleach and Kentucky sunshine - a magical combination.

I think the Stank is gone. Of course, I also have a sinus infection that prevents me from smelling anything. Aaron tells me it doesn't smell "bad" anymore. Of course, that doesn't mean it smells good, either. I trust my husband, but just to be sure, I've been watching his face when he gets in to drive on weekends. He doesn't grimace anymore. I'll take that as a good sign.