Saturday, May 31, 2008

Summer Love

I know. I've disappeared for a week. It happened partly because it's our first week of summer, and we have just been enjoying life without a schedule. True to my word, we have just been doing what we want to do when we want to do it. Mostly that means we have spent a lot of time poolside.

Have I mentioned that I heart our pool? I mean, like, true, unadulterated love? Because I do. It makes my kids happy, and that makes me happy. And usually there is no bickering in the pool. That makes me even more happy. And as things start getting really hot here in the Valley of the Sun (they weren't kidding with that name) I feel inclined to kneel down and kiss the very deck of the pool, except that it would burn my lips 'cause that's how hot it gets here, so I don't. Instead I sit in my lounge chair with my book and a cold Coke Zero and feel really happy. That's kind of like the same thing.

Logan asked yesterday why I always wear my swimming suit and never get in the pool. Silly girl. I don't need to actually swim in it to really, really love our pool.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Happy Memorial Day!
What's on the to do list?
1. Sleep late.
2. Backyard project
3. BBQ

The general all-American holiday.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Things You Do Not Want To Hear

When your son comes in to wake you up in the morning and you ask, "Did you pee the bed?" And he answers, "Are you going to take away a toy?"

...Not the answer you were hoping for.

When you've been growing your hair out for what seems like eons and your hair dresser says, "You're almost there!" Meaning you are close to looking like you actually style your hair that way on purpose. Yeah, close, but no cigar.

...Not the response or look you were going for.

When you return from the three and a half hour 9:45 am hair appointment and your house looks like you haven't touched it because...well, you haven't, and the phone rings, and it's your mother in law who says, "Hi! I was just making sure you were expecting us today."

...Not the day to forget such important information.

When you're watching American Idol's season finale and Ryan Seacrest says, "And the new Am-ER-ican" (silence)...Stupid DVR.

...Not the ending you were looking for after a very long day.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

A Letter to My Employer

Dear Mr. Big Guy,

I'm fairly certain there has been a misunderstanding. When I applied for my job, I was under the impression that the majority of my work would be in a teaching capacity, but I now find that most of my duties involve waste management, to which the wet sheets this morning speak.

I was also under the impression that those under my management would be...well...more manageable. Most of the time they do not seem interested in achieving the outlined objectives. Again, I think there must be some kind of misunderstanding here because I am relatively sure that our four year old trainee has completed the potty portion of the training program so there should be no reason for him to inexplicably urinate on the carpet of his bedroom while dressing.

What I am getting at, sir, is that we are drowning in urine here, and I feel the situation is beyond the scope of my outlined job description, at least as I understand it. If I failed to read the small print carefully, which may have happened as I am distracted most of the time and am regularly functioning with only half of my brain, I would appreciate an updated adendum clearly stating how said situation can best be resolved. Your speed in this matter would be greatly appreciated.

Despondantly Yours,
Mommy on Edge

Monday, May 19, 2008

My Own Summer Reading Program

I'm currently putting together my summer reading list. Are you? So far I have:

Peace Like A River
The Scarlet Letter
The Ladies Auxillary
Big Stone Gap
Hard Times

Three classics--One American, two British. Three current. A pretty good mix of fiction so far, but...

If you could suggest one book for me to read, what would it be?

Rules of Rubbish

Has somebody changed the rules and forgotten to tell me? Are we now putting the stamp of approval on slobbery? That is the question that is always in my head after leaving a movie. Or a professional sports event. C'mon...I can't be the only one who's noticed it.

We walk into a lovely venue with the new padded reclining chairs and state of the art technology, spend an enjoyable couple of hours being entertained, and then leave it looking like the aftermath of a bad teen party. I can't really understand it. I mean we bring in the popcorn, the sodas, the hot dogs, the candy, what have you, and who says we can just leave it for someone else to clean up? It's just bad manners, isn't it?

Or maybe I just need to revamp my tired speech to my kids. Maybe now I need to say, "Hey! We don't just throw our trash on the floor and expect someone to pick it up...that is until you are a grown up in a public place. Then they have people to do that for you."

What's your take? Carry it out or leave it?

Thursday, May 15, 2008

The Day I Taught Mr. Wind a Lesson

We have these weird weather phenomenons in Arizona called microbursts. At least that's what people call them. I'm no meteorologist, but I do know they're kind of like a bad house guest. They barge in without much warning, blow stuff all over the place, rain on your parade a little bit, and just as suddenly are gone without so much as a "how you do?" Yesterday one of them sunk all four of my pool lounge chairs in the deep end of my swimming pool. See what I mean? Thoughtless.

Today when the weather picked up, I was on the phone with a friend and looked out the back window to see my pool umbrella blowing across the deck and lodging between the wall and the loungers. It looked as if it was ready to snap. I hung up quickly and ran outside with Griffin hard on my heels. The wind whipped my hair into my eyes and mouth and roared in my ears. I don't like wind. He's kind of rude.

I finally reached the umbrella and grabbed it without really thinking things through. Suddenly I found the open umbrella acting as a sort of parachute, dragging me backward toward the pool. Screaming and struggling for balance, I realized that it needed to be closed immediately. As I attempted to hold the weight of the umbrella with one hand, the wind shifted slightly and the metal bar hit me in the head. I think I might have cursed. Meanwhile, with my right hand, I grasped the handle and began to turn when the wind suddenly changed directions again and the umbrella crashed shut, the closing mechanism gashing both sides of my left thumb and cutting my pinkie finger. I don't think I cursed since it hurt so badly I couldn't breathe, let alone talk. Finally, with Griffin's help, I managed to get the dadgummed thing back in its stand without bleeding all over it too badly.

Later, after Neosporin and Band-aids had been applied, Griffin said, "Mom, the wind wants to say it's sorry for hurting you."

"Oh, really?" I countered, jokingly. "Well, you can go ahead and tell the wind that I'm not forgiving him because my hand is still hurting."

He surprised me when he quickly walked over to the sliding glass door, opened it, and yelled, "She doesn't forgive you!"

Ha! Take that Mister Wind! I'm not just somebody you can push around...well, on second thought I guess you can, but it doesn't mean I have to like it.

Get that Monkey Off My Back!

The story of the spider monkey came up in the comments a few days ago. Some have heard about it; most have not. Here's the deal: Mr. Wicke loves a good practical joke, and April Fool's Day is fast becoming one of his favorite holidays. (Can it actually be called a holiday? I don't know.)

Anyhow, if you are friends with or married to Mr. Wicke, you can be sure that one year you will have to endure his twisted sense of humor. Please do not hold me responsible. I only married him. This year's victims were our friends Angie and Chris. To read the full story according to Chris (as the jokee his perspective is better) go here.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

The Good News and the Bad News

No, boys. That isn't a lobster. You may want to duck out right now. For the rest of you who are still around: the chlomed (sp?) is working. In fact it is working so well that they can't do the insemination (moo--sorry that word always makes me think of cattle) this month because for someone like me who won't consent to selective reduction, 6 eggs is just too many. They or I am not interested in me birthing a litter.'s good to know that my ancient ovaries still have some get up and go in 'em; in fact the nurse said she has never seen this result on such a low dosage of chlomed. That's good news! means we wait another month. Bummer.

Worse...I've been on the couch all day with a heating pad. It feels like someone took an air compressor and blew up my lower abdomen. Ouch!

Ain't infertility fun?!

Monday, May 12, 2008

9 Years of Mother's Days: A Personal History

I have a long, sordid past with Mother's Day. Years 1-5 of our marriage I still loved the sentiment of the holiday. Not quite ready to be a mother anyway, it wasn't a holiday I yet applied to myself. I was content to allow my own mother that role and my thoughts on that day centered on her many, unrecorded sacrifices for me.

Something changed in year 6. Then in our late 20's, it was evident that we were lagging behind our peers in the progeny department. We had begun fielding questions like, "Are you EVER going to have a baby? When are you going to start a family? Do you guys even want kids?" The outside pressure mounted and inside the quiet walls of our marriage we had questions of our own, like, "What is wrong with us? Why isn't it happening? Have I done something wrong to make this happen? Will he/she still love me if we can't have kids?" Mother's Day became an uncomfortable reminder of what we felt was missing in our lives, but I was able to force a smile and endure.

My journal entry in year 7 is very revealing: "It is Mother's Day today. I woke up dreading it. It's kind of an awful reminder to those without children, and it's rather humiliating to see the pity in the eyes of other young mothers who give you a little extra enthusiasm as they tell you what a 'wonderful mother you'll be someday,' and then they hug you a little harder and longer than normal. The worst part is when the young women pass out the Mother's Day presents [at church]. Either they rush over to make sure you're not left out, or they look as if they don't know whether to give you one or not. Either way it is quite awful.

"I have not started my period this month, and I am haltingly hopeful. I have felt nauseous all week, but a pregnancy test showed a negative result. I dare not hope, but I can't help it. Hope springs eternal. I hate how I wait each month, listening desperately to my body, conscious of anything unusual. I don't really know what I'm looking for. It seems all of the symptoms of pregnancy are the symptoms of PMS--that's a nasty joke on women! I doubt that I am, but wouldn't it be marvelous?

"...I know [Thomas] is as impatient as I. He is wonderfully gentle with me. He loves me intensely and I am sure of nothing more than his eternal devotion. He is truly a man in all the goodness and strength which that word implies. He is 'as constant as the Northern star.' He is the only man I have given my entire trust and dependence to. I would so love to give him a child. If I can't...The thought brings tears to my eyes, and I can not think of it."

By year 8 we were in the midst of doctor's visits and unanswered questions. I had reached my breaking point. As I recorded in February of that year: "These last few months have been the most difficult of my life. There are two unfillable voids in my life: The loss of my father and my desire for children. The great emptiness I feel on both counts weighs heavily. I have gone through a myriad of emotions: sorrow, anger, disbelief, self-pity, humility , lack of faith, and then faith again. I try to fill my life with study, prayer, and good books to fill my spirit and inspire me to continue one step at a time trusting in the Lord. But my arms feel so empty. I can't describe it, but I had this visual image last night come to my mind: I'm surrounded by women, and we are bringing our offering to the Lord. Those around me raise their arms to heaven and I see one with an abundance of grain, another with wheat spilling over; it's a thing of beauty watching them offer up that which they have toiled over; that which has grown beautiful through their care, but which has also created glory in them. And I look to my own arms finding them empty. How did this happen? I want to hide them--those empty arms--and I fall on my face hoping that the Lord will be merciful.

"I can not see the Lord's will. I'm not even sure what to hope for because to hope seems frightening. But I declare that I trust in His plan for me--whatever that is. I will abide by it because I know the process will benefit me in the end. He is in the midst of creating my better self; and although I can not see the final product, I am beginning to see some refinement."

We skipped Mother's Day that year. I couldn't take it, so we got in the car and drove up into the mountains and spent the weekend in a little motel watching movies and reading. Trusting in the Lord or not, sometimes you just need break.

Little did I know, however, that His promised silver lining was just around the corner. That summer we began the adoption process and by the next Mother's Day I had this to say:

"Logan Darling, This year has been the first Mother's Day in many years where I've had something to celebrate. I had you my sweet, little darling sleeping in my arms and tears of gratitude in my eyes. I can't remember my life before you. It feels as if my life really began on the day you were born. Every part of my existence is wrapped up in you, and I love it! Logan, my love, there are no accidents. I believe in a divine plan. God is good. He is in control. He made us a family."

This year, as I tried to write an entry the only sentence I could write was: "Today I am just grateful." In the hectic drumbeat that is daily existence, when I have a moment to stop and contemplate the true joys of my life, my thoughts always center on my children. I know exactly how lucky I am. I know because I walked on the other side for a brief time. I am truly lucky and blessed to be a mother.

Yet, even as I write this, I realize that there are other women out there struggling through the sadness of lost dreams or seemingly unanswered prayers. I never pass a Mother's Day without thinking of them, the sisters of my heart. To them I would say, God has not forgotten you. He is in the midst of your sorrow, and he can create miracles out of painful circumstances. The story is long and His silver lining, in its vast and varied versions, is promised. Hold on.

Friday, May 9, 2008

A Proclamation

I am officially a dork. Not that that is news to those who really know me, but it is humiliating when the universe is bent on helping me recognize it. It seems as though I am presented daily with opportunities to display my dorkiness. Like today:

This morning was Breakfast with Mom and the annual Book Fair at Logan's elementary school. I am on my way out, almost stepping into the crosswalk, my arms loaded with books and my mind very much elsewhere, when an SUV pulls by. I hear someone yell, "Hey, beautiful!" It happens in a flash. I look up. The window is rolled down and someone I mistake for my friend Monique Decker is looking right at me waving furiously. The thing is, now--when I have time to consider it--my logical mind knows that Monique's kids do not attend Logan's school and there is no way she would be driving an SUV in the school parking lot this morning, but in that moment...well, I broke out in a huge smile and waved just as vigorously.

It was midwave when I realized she was waving to the diminuative Asian crossing guard standing only about four feet in front of me. Oh, how I wish subtlety was in my nature. Instead I just jump into life with both feet and think about it later. But it is good for a laugh. Like afterward in the parking lot I told a couple of my friends about it. Their reply? "Of course you did."

See? It doesn't surprise them anymore either. They know I'm a dork. But they also know I am able to laugh about it. Like when I pulled up at a light on my way home and heard a honk. I looked over and there was my friend with her window down, waving furiously and yelling, "Hey, beautiful!" Apparently the universe isn't the only one with a sense of humor.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

He Got Me

"Hey, Babe? I've downloaded some of the pictures from the camp trip if you want to see them."

I was poolside watching the kids swim. "The kids aren't ready to come in yet. Can I see them later?"

"Sure. Whenever."

Whenever came a couple of hours later. Mr. Wicke wasn't home when I passed the computer and noticed the slideshow all ready to go. I clicked play and this popped up:

Maybe that should have scared me...Yes, I think that would have been an understandable reaction. I don't know what kind of snake that is, but it's awfully close to my baby boy. However, I surprised myself. I didn't even blink.

"Wow. That's a big snake," I observed and clicked on.

Looking back on it I've concluded one thing: I have immense trust in Mr. Wicke. If he is taking a picture of our boy two inches away from a mammoth snake, then I naturally assume it must be some sort of non-venomous show serpent. I don't question his judgement. When our kids are with him, I know they are okay. Period. Because if he is anything, he is a good man and a good father...and also a real trickster!

A few slides later this popped up:

Then this: (and yes, they actually saw this when driving out of the camp area. Isn't the desert great?!)

See what he did there? Clever, Thomas. Clever. And I fell for it! Hook, line, and sinker.

Man! I can't believe I trusted that guy!

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

The Pocket Protector: Why Everyone Should Wear One

It was a night like almost every other: The family was seated around the table, enjoying a meal and trying to out-funny one another. Dad began to laugh over some comment that was made, and because he was just recovering from a cold, he also began to cough, which went unnoticed amid the entire hubbub that was the evening meal. He did get everyone’s attention, though, when he slumped over in his chair.

`Thinking it was another of his little jokes, mom nudged his arm and rolling her eyes said, “Oh, Dee...”

No response. “Dee?!” the panic beginning to rise in her voice as she shook him. Alarmed, she began to shout, “Somebody do something!”

I was too young to really understand what was going on and looked to Ken whose face was ashen. Curt was frozen in place, and I became sure that my dad had, in fact, died right there at the dinner table. The only one who seemed capable of any action was Ray who sprang to his feet and maneuvered behind our father. Dad was a big man and it was not easy for Ray to get his arms all the way around him to perform the Heimlich correctly, and Dad did not help as he was completely unconscious. With Dad’s head resting on his own chest, Ray heaved and squeezed as best he could. This action did not dislodge any food, but it did force a pen from Dad’s pocket protector to jab him furiously in the neck.

Immediately he came to with, “What the hell are you doing?!”

It was not the hero’s salutation that Ray had expected. More precisely, he was a little put out with the lack of appreciation. “I just saved your life!” he grunted. Ray may credit himself for Dad’s recovery that night, but I think Dad knew something all along: You just never know when a pocket protector will come in handy.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Why Every Boy Needs a Dad

So they can go places like this:

And do stuff like this:

And play with stuff like this:

And get stuffed and be as dirty and happy as this:

The End.

The Highs and Lows of Girl Time

The Low:
When Logan and I went to get our fingers and toes painted we sat in the waiting area "reading" a magazine. Well, I read. Logan gave advice. She opened to the first page which was a cosmetics ad with some fresh faced young celebrity. She got my attention and motioned to the page.

"Wow. Yeah. That's really pretty," I agreed.

She hesitated only a moment and then said, "You know, Mom. You should try this have a lot of lines."

"You think I have a lot of lines?"

"Yeah. A lot of lines around here," she said pointing to the area just below her eye.

I belly laughed right out loud. "You know what, honey? Those are called wrinkles, and there isn't any makeup out there that's going to help with that."


"Because I'm getting old."

The Highs:
Logan snuggling up next to me during the movie.

Our conversation after the movie which started with Logan's very grown up question: "So who was your favorite character, Mom?"

Logan wanting to sit right next to me during dinner.

Reading our fortunes after dinner.

Laughing together.

And then, at the end of the night, as we walked back to our car hand-in-hand, she said, "I love you, Mom. We should have lots more girlie-girl time."

And that made all the wrinkles worth it. I wouldn't trade one of them for the life I have now.

Friday, May 2, 2008

I Always Knew Men and Women Were Different, but I'm Still Always Surprised.

Griffin at the 2007 father and son camp out.

Tonight is girl's night out around here. Since Mr. Wicke and Griffin will be away on the father/son camp out, Logan and I are going to spend the afternoon and evening doing whatever she wants to do. So far that includes buying a watch so that "she can tell the time," but mostly it is because her friend Emily just got one. After that I think we'll get our toes and nails painted, go out to eat wherever Logan wants, and see a movie. Whatever we do, it's got to be good because she is a little put out that she can not go camping, too. She and I actually like camping, just not the way the boys do it.

I told her not to be envious because Mr. Wicke's idea of a "father/son camp out" is sleeping in the car and eating beans out of a can. Wanting my son to have a "real experience" I tried to convince him he needed a tent.

"Griff, wouldn't you rather sleep in a tent this year?" I asked over breakfast, eyeing Mr. Wicke mischievously. "Wouldn't it be fun to sleep in a tent?" Sometimes I love torturing Mr. Wicke.

With big happy eyes Griffin responded, "I want to pretend the car IS our tent!"

Mr. Wicke's face broke into a huge smile.

And as far as the food goes, it turns out Griffin only has one request. This morning Mr. Wicke asked, "Hey, Griff. What do you want to eat at our camp out?"

"We only eat marshmallows. Remember? Marshmallows and a FIRE!"

And that is why we are having girl's night. Because eating marshmallows until I'm sick, sleeping in a car, and coming home totally filthy is not my idea of good time, but I'll guarantee my son will be over the moon. Have fun, boys! Logan and I will be home, totally content being girly.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Bowl Me Over!

Most people, I think, are familiar with "the puke bowl." You know, a large bowl that you can thrust in front of a young child who doesn't know enough to get to the bathroom in time. This weekend we became very familiar with it during Griffin's bout with the flu. It was my particular friend until about 3 am, but then as Griffin's little stomach recovered, the bowl was forgotten. Well, not really forgotten--rinsed out and put next to the sink to be washed once the mother had recovered. I can't really be blamed for sleeping as long as possible the next morning, especially knowing what kind of day lay ahead.

Saturday's schedule was packed: There was 9 am dress rehearsal for a Stake Talent Show which I was involved in, an 11 am t-ball game, a 2pm bridal shower, and a 6:30 call time for the show, and somewhere in there we had to devote our attention to our yard which was in need of serious repair. The bowl that had served us so well was no longer the priority it once was. 'Tis the ying and yang of motherhood. What requires our attention at one moment is certainly diverting it from something else as equally important.

By the time I left for the show, our yard, front and back, looked pretty magnificent: Freshly mowed grass, edges trimmed, weeds pulled, roses deadheaded, garden tended, and a newly planted flower bed. The inside of my house, however, was a completely different story: Toys strewn everywhere, muddy footprints on the floor, and dishes piled high waiting to be done. "Ah, well," I sighed to myself. "It'll have to wait. Another day, another dollar."

When our family returned home at 9pm, the house hadn't cleaned itself but we decided to watch The Jazz Singer with our friends anyway. Since they have the luxury of older children, thus built-in babysitting, and we do not, our home tends to be the gathering place on night's like these. Gratefully, they are the kind of friends who don't judge me on the condition of my home, and I am the kind of friend who doesn't judge them for showing up in their pajamas.

"Hey," Shilo started as she walked in the kitchen carrying pasta and sauce in her arms. "I'm going to make some spaghetti, is that okay? I'm starving. Have you guys eaten?"

"No. Fantastic!"

"I also brought this cookie mix if anyone is interested."

"I'm in!"

"Me, too!" Thomas chimed.

"Let me get out this costume," I said. "I'll be right back."

When I came downstairs Angie and Chris had arrived, the pasta was on the stove, and Shilo was mixing the cookies furiously. My head cocked to one side.

"Um...where did you get that bowl?" I asked fearfully.

"I think Thomas got it out for me."

Thomas walked in at that moment. "Uh, Thomas did you get that bowl out?"


Shilo, still mixing, added, "Well, it was just sitting out on the counter, and I thought--NO!" The thought stopped her cold.

"Yeah. You're mixing the cookies in the puke bowl."

...But the spaghetti was delicious. Like I said, it's good they are the kind of friends who don't judge.