Tuesday, November 30, 2010

What is it about mornings?

So Jules drops off Alex this morning and two minutes later, knocks on the door again. She stands there looking at me for a minute and then says, "Nevermind." She was going to ask for a diaper wipe because she sat in Alex's juice in the car, but then realizes the damage is too extensive and she'll have to go home and change. As she turns around to leave, I see an enormous wet spot. I figure it is an omen for the morning.

I go to wake up Gunder, who has had Too Much Thanksgiving. (See the Berenstain Bears Too Much Birthday.) He is still trying to recover from the freedom and unabashed joy of vacation from school and he is losing the battle. He has a hard time getting up, and my gentle prodding and kisses on his cheeks aren't doing it. I realize I'm not going to be able to bribe him every day, like I did yesterday, with a new toy if he'll just get moving and be a big boy. I'll go broke, and have one extremely spoiled kid. Well, more spoiled, anyway.

The clock is ticking, so I finally drag him downstairs with a blanket where he sits on the couch, rolled up in a ball. He migrates to the heater vent and I try to muscle him into his clothes. He screams that they're too cold to put on, and I feel an aneurysm coming on because the heat is blasting me in the face and I'm ready to Vesuvius. I ponder on the fact that I should have started waking him up about two hours earlier.

I get myself dressed, and looking at the cold and snow outside, decide to put on my snazzy new black boots. The only problem is that the teenage girls have informed me that I need to tuck my pants into them. I have told them that all my jeans are boot cut, that I don't wear skinny jeans, a fact for which they should thank me daily. They tell me to peg the boot cuts. I've already done the pegging. It was in the 80s when I was on the cutting edge of fashion.

With a shrug, I peg the pants. It looks...passable. I've cooled off, now that I'm no longer standing in the heater vent's direct line of fire, and realize I need a sweater. I throw on the Mrs. Weasley sweater Nina makes fun of, and a baseball cap because my hair is atrocious. I avoid the scarf, which I love, but generally makes me gag in the morning. (Thank you, Grandma Campbell, for the lovely genes.)

Gunder doesn't want his usual apple or Gogurt for breakfast, and Alex suggests cinnamon toast, to which Gunder reluctantly agrees. By now, it's five minutes away from departure and Gunder is still missing socks and shoes. I make the toast and throw it at the boys, stuff Gunder's feet into his socks and shoes, turn around to grab the coats only to realize that Gunder has kicked off his shoes because his feet "feel weird."

I sit on the couch with an inhuman growl and tell him it's just the socks bunching up. He tears up a little and says he's sorry, and I look at his puffy, bloodshot eyes and my heart breaks. I want to tell him he never has to go to school again, that I'll homeschool him and that no woman in the world will ever love him more than his mother. Instead, I kiss him, rub his face a little, and then shove his feet back into the shoes. I tell him that when he walks, he won't notice the socks. (Which we all know is a lie.)

We get out to the car, and it's, oh, 9 degrees outside. Yesterday, Mark cleaned off my car and warmed it up for me before he left for work. Today there's no new snow, and I'm sure he figured I could manage the warming up part by myself. He didn't take into account the fact that I, also, have had Too Much Thanksgiving.

Gunder shivers as he tries to buckle himself in while I get Alex into his carseat. Alex tells me he's hot, and I tell him he isn't. He insists he's hot, and I look at his red cheeks, realizing he probably is. The kid has an inner furnace like no other. Being hot makes him livid. By now, Gunder is shivering so much he's getting a good workout. He has zero body fat.

We pick up Jonas, and I put him and the carseat into the way back by Gunder, because the three of them don't like being squished together in the middle row. Check that. GUNDER doesn't like being squished in the middle row. As I buckle Jonas in, the fumes from the exhaust make their way into the car, and the boys all begin to gag. I tell them to stop it. At least it's warm.

My snazzy new boots are useless against the cold. They are content being just snazzy.

Gunder's mood improves as we get underway. Jonas tells him jokes and Alex is singing some ditty about farm animals. The line at the school is about 20 miles long. I tell the boys to sit tight and we make our way to the drop off point in front of the school. Rather than slow traffic further, I tell the boys to get ready to unbuckle and climb over the seat to the middle row, where they can open the door themselves and get out. They laugh themselves silly, which escalates to cackling and then maniacal screaming as they flail about, arms, legs and backpacks everywhere.

They stumble and fall out of the car, with Alex calling for Gunder to tell him goodbye. Gunder tries to slam the door, but a Huggies diaper wipe container is in the way. He throws the container back in while I yell at him to tell Alex goodbye. He shuts the door with a quick, "Goodbye, Alex!" and he and Jonas walk to the door together like the cool 6 and 7 year-olds they are.

On the way home, Alex drops his toy car and has a meltdown, wanting me to get it for him RIGHT NOW. I pull into the Conoco drive-up window and order a 44 oz decaff Diet Coke, cursing the fact that I have a psychological addiction to a cold beverage. I am grateful, however, that it is void of calories, otherwise I would be as wide as a barn door. At least I've kicked the caffeine, which makes my heart a-fib. My sister who works at the hospital tells me it's not actually a-fibbing, it's PVCs, which does me no good because all I can visualize with that are white plastic pipes.

We finally make it home, and when we get inside, Alex proves he has assimilated himself well by following in the fine Allen tradition of FREAKING OUT if something isn't working well. He can't get his coat off, and I did mention he hates being hot? He also has a spot on his pants which makes me nervous because he's been battling some nasty diarrhea the last few days.

All because Julie sat in the juice. ;-)

Monday, November 22, 2010

Some things you CAN take with you...

This week, I am grateful for books. Well ok, I’m always grateful for books. I am, without a doubt, a nerd of the first order, but as I know a lot of other people who love to read and writ--and I do hold them in high esteem--I figure I’m in good nerd company.

The reason it’s coming to mind so readily now, however, is because of a quote by Richard G. Scott that I came across a few days ago: “After this life, you will be restored to that which you have here allowed yourself to become.” This is wonderful—after we end our journey here, we will be restored to what we’ve worked on. Basically, it sounds to me like we get to pick up where we left off.

I’ve often heard the quote that runs something along the lines of “you can’t take it with you when you go,” and I’ve always taken that as two-fold. One, the physical trappings here on earth don’t amount to much when we’re dead, and two, since all I can take with me when I go is what I’ve managed to put into my head, I’d better stuff it as full as possible.

Enter real life. Life has a way of intruding on the best of intentions, and the time slips by more quickly every day. I tell myself I’m going to learn about this or that, make a study of some author I’ve been meaning to get to, and it just doesn’t seem to happen. But as much as I do love books, there are lessons to be learned from those real-life experiences that suck up all of our time. I figure if I can somehow sandwich in book time with living, I should be good to go.

This is such a fun time of year, and it’s a blessing, really, to take the time to actually count our blessings and be grateful for what we have. My list this year could probably stretch on for pages, and I think, in fact, that that’s exactly what I’ll do. I’m going to make a list of every little thing I am thankful for and see how long the list stretches.

I challenge you to do the same! Have a wonderful, wonderful Thanksgiving holiday.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010


My new cover! I have permission to spread it far and wide. This is my tenth novel, Isabelle Webb, The Pharaoh's Daughter. The release date is January, 2011, and for readers who were mad that there was so much time between this one, and Legend of the Jewel, you'll be happy to know that I'm working on the third and final book as we speak. I have no clue what the title is- for now I'm calling it Isabelle Webb, Crazy in Greece. :-)

So excited!