Wednesday, April 28, 2010

You Showed Me!

I can't remember why Brandt was mad, but here's the conversation:

Brandt:  I'm mad at you mom!

Me:  It's dinner time. Come eat.

Brandt:  I'm NOT eating!

Me:  Fine. Come watch the rest of us eat, because it's dinnertime and you will sit with us.

Brandt:  [arms crossed, sending daggers my way, stomps to the table] I'm NOT . . .

Then he saw what was on his plate. He threw me a furious look and tried again.

Brandt:  I'm ONLY eating my fish, and my broccoli, and drinking my drink. That's ALL I'm eating!

Me:  Okay, Brandt. You win. You just eat that.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

A Trip to the ER

"Stop running!"

[I swear that's my mantra these days--in more ways than one, but I digress.] That's what I yelled right before the BOOM! Then came the crying.

"London pushed me!" Brandt was on the floor wailing and pointing back toward the room. London was hiding.

I picked up the one and started scolding the other. Then I saw it.

Blood POURING down Brandt's face. I swooned. A moment of shock. I forced myself to think past the blood dripping on the carpet. And I admit it, I panicked. The word 'hyperventilate' comes to mind.

I sent an accusing look at London (I know, I know, bad parenting, but in the moment . . . well, yeah), and rushed Brandt to the bathroom. I pressed a wad of toilet paper on the faucet of blood. "Hold this and don't move!" I ordered.

I grabbed my phone book and called my good friend: "So, Brandt-split-his-head-open,-and-I-need-to-take-him-to-get-stitched.-Somewhere.-I-don't-know-where-yet,-but-could-you . . . " I think I said it all in one breath.

Can I just say, thank goodness for good friends! She helped me find the address for the hospital, and kept the other two so I could keep my sanity.

To sum up, Brandt got seven stitches . . . and I'm sure a scar to match his other one. He was a brave little boy who didn't wiggle, and didn't cry at all while the doctor worked. The doctor was in awe: "I don't think I've ever seen a child sit so still for stitches before."

Yup, this is my child who I had to carry screaming out of the store because he COULDN'T get a flu shot.

And now, I have finally joined the rank and file of true parents, having dealt with my first trip to the emergency room.

P.S. Dana, I didn't think about taking a 'Before' picture till it was too late. Rats.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

A Visit from Friends

When I first moved to KC, I went for walks all the time because I didn't know anyone, and didn't have much else to do (I know! Imagine that! Boy, 1 kid sure seems easy now . . . but I digress). That is how I met my amazingly wonderful friend Dana and her little boy, Nate, who was just London's age (they were 9-months old at the time). She had just moved to KC, too

Five years later, we both ended up moving. You can imagine the heartbreak . . . life-long friends, separated pre-maturely. Okay, a tad dramatic, but you get the idea. I was just as sad.

Fast-forward a year, and YAY! Dana and Nate came for a weekend visit. It was just like old times! Nate and London gave each other a HUGE hug at the airport and never stopped talking over each other.

Nate got right back into being annoyed by his surrogate little brother, and Brandt was right there, tagging after the big boys.

We took a trip downtown (via the metro)

 to see the famed Cherry Blossoms. And wouldn't you know it, they'd bloomed and gone. (So these are the regular old blossoms from the trees on our street).

We took a quick look-see in the American History Museum, caught a snippet of the Cherry Blossom parade,

and meandered past the White House (Everyone was all agog because Bo--the first dog--was running around). Yeah, yeah, this isn't the White House, but it was too crowded to take a picture.

We ate street vendor hot dogs. Can I just mention that my bun crunched? I'm quite certain, that it was NOT toasted. But if it were anything less, it wouldn't be the full experience, would it?

When we got home, my darling husband watched the kids, and Dana and I escaped to the Lego store and B&N. And we HAD to make a visit to Dunkin' Donuts. Neither of us has ever had them. Word of advice: 8:00 PM is the wrong time of day to get donuts. My donut crunched, too. Seriously, twice in a day? The cosmos must be trying to tell me something.

Anyway, it was a FABULOSO visit! We miss them terribly already (London hasn't stopped asking when we're going to visit them). There's nothing like spending time with a good friend. Thank you for coming, Dana and Nate!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

My Happy News!

So I entered the Eleventy-one Celebration Writing Contest over at Laurel's Leaves (I'm a sucker for a good contest), and can you believe it? I won Grand Prize!

Woo hoo!!

I'm seriously honored (and humbled) to have won the Grand Prize, especially after reading the runner-up entries. The contest asked for a dialogue-driven scene or story which showed an instance of negotiation and persuasion, "like the post-party scene in Fellowship of the Ring in which Gandalf convinces Bilbo to leave the ring of power in the Shire."

Laurel is posting my excerpt on her site, along with her comments. She is excellent at what she does and her comments have been extremely insightful ---well worth the time to check it out. I've been learning a lot from her. Thank you, Laurel, for holding such a fun contest and for giving my writer's ego a gi-normous boost!

Without further ado, here's my winning excerpt from "The Other Prince":

Briann studied Bob for a moment before speaking. "Do you think you'll be appointed?"

Bob shook his head. "I don't know. Before, I would have said yes—you know my father. But with war looming? Even he can't be that blind. I'm hopeless on a horse and even worse with a sword. He must realize

Briann flipped over a bucket and sat. "Well, what do you hope happens?"

Bob appreciated that she hadn't just agreed with him about being so terrible. "I can't go to war," he said. "Not and live to see my sixteenth birthday."

"So you don't want to be captain," Briann said.

"I didn't say that," Bob hedged. "We both know how much I hate cavalry drills and sword fighting class, but wouldn't it be great to shut everyone up . . ."

"Like Friederick," Briann teased.

Bob scowled. "Yes! Like Friederick. Prove I can do it—to them and to me. And just once, I'd like to earn my father's good opinion."

"Then do it," Briann said simply.

Bob laughed. "Like it's that easy."

"It is!" Briann stood. "You could do as well as anyone if you decided to. I'm certain of it."

"Yeah?" Bob asked skeptically. "Have you found some magic charm that will transform me into a warrior? Or maybe a magic sword! That would work." Though Bob knew it was impossible, he couldn't help picturing
himself, the noble warrior, atop his steed. Crowds pressed forward to get a glimpse of the noble Prince Robert William II.

"Right, with the ban on magic." Briann rolled her eyes. "Just this once, be serious."

Bob sighed. "I'm sorry, but we both know it's hopeless. I'm hopeless."

Briann cleared her throat. "I could teach you."

"You'd only be my, like, twenty-seventh teacher," Bob huffed. "I've tried learning, Briann. I have! It's just no use."

Briann stood tall, hands on her hips. Anger flashed from her eyes. Bob noticed her right eye twitch ever so slightly. From years of experience, Bob knew that meant trouble. "You've never tried to learn from me. I'm better than any of those 'experts' they hire to teach. But fine! Be like that. Keep your pride. Just don't complain to me about feeling helpless." She turned to leave with an icy, disdainful look. "See you at supper."

Stunned, Bob watched Briann march towards the doors. What had just happened? "Wait! Briann! You really think I can learn?"

Briann paused and coolly examined him. "Don't be a ninny. I wouldn't offer if I didn't think you could do it."

Bob stared at Briann, astonished. She believed in him. And she really wanted to help. "Won't you get teased for trying to teach the 'hopeless prince'?"

Briann softened at Bob's tone. "If I cared what they thought, I wouldn't even be able to teach you because I'd never have learned. Besides, friends help each other."

Bob met her gaze. He felt his feet lifting off the ground. She was so beautiful, so kind, so funny, so talented, . . . and so engaged to his brother. He came back to reality with a thud.

Still, he smiled and stuck out his hand. "How could I refuse that?"

Briann took his hand, clearly pleased. "You've got yourself a teacher then!"

Friday, April 9, 2010

Road Trip!

We've been meaning to go since Rob and Tiff moved there nearly 4 years ago, but with crazy schedules, newborn children, etc. and all that, it hasn't happened. I kept waiting till I could go with my dear husband (since it is his brother after all), but Rob and Tiff move next month, and the realization hit me it would never happen.

So with London's Spring Break last week, I braved the roads alone. 11.5 hours of driving with me and three kids. Yes, I am brave. ;)

We had a blast! This picture really captures it. Brandt with his boundless energy and refusal to be contained.

We got to try award-winning Chicago-style pizza. Can I say, yum? YUMMM! (And alas, I took no pictures) The crust is a little like pie crust, and the toppings and cheese go in next with the sauce, and a sprinkling of parmesan on top. So talk about cheese! Thick, gooey, yummy, fattening layers of it. If your mouth isn't watering, it should be. Seriously, don't miss this if you go to Chicago.

Speaking of cheese . . . London found and conquered the moon. Chicago is certainly a city of possibilities.

We also went to the Aquarium (thanks Jason and Diana!). The boys (and I) loved it. I'd never seen a shark up close. Or dolphins. While I'd seen penguins, it was still fun to watch them up close. Actually, in both the dolphin and penguin habitats, there were people working (cleaning windows for the penguins, and who-knows-what scuba diving for the dolphins). So of course, London and Brandt, instead of saying, "Wow! look at those dolphins/penguins." They were saying "Mom look! I saw a person!" Too funny.

When Brandt noticed the snake, he backed away. It was HUGE.

The boys had a blast climbing on and attacking Uncle Rob, and he was great to put up with it. Brandt cried when it was time to go home. Poor kid. Khyah, too, loved Aunt Tiff and Uncle Rob. And I must say, it was nice to have people to pass her off to (not that I don't LOVE holding her, of course, but breaks are nice).

On the way home, we took a detour through Decatur, IN to see Aunt Claudia and Uncle Ed (even if it was only for a couple of hours). The boys thought their house was the bomb! (And it is, too). So much fun. I think the lego room still calls to them in their dreams. Some day.

Yes, we were all a little wiped out by the time we got home. Thanks everyone for letting us invade and share a little of our craziness. :)

Thursday, April 8, 2010


Okay, I realize the license plates blog deserves a response (just in case anyone couldn't figure them all out). I know, I know, it wasn't you. But for those other people . . .

1. NANAVAN3: Nana Van (and the 3 could be a lot of things). What a devoted grandma.

2. OLD BATS: Yes, rather obvious. This person obviously had a good sense of humor.

3. SG1GRL: My husband tells me this is "Star Gate 1 Girl". This was his favorite. Initially he told me he saw a license plate that said SCIFIGRL, which would have been much more interesting in my opinion, but hey, to each their own. Star Gate was never my thing, but we happen to own the movie. Enough explanation.

4. SNOMNKY: Snow Monkey. It was on a 4-wheel drive vehicle with a ski rack.

5. ADHDx5: ADHD times 5. Poor them. It was on the back of a mini-van and the license plate was one dedicated to Autism. Not that the 2 are necessarily related, of course, but it is interesting.

6. WSHPNIN: Rick thought it was Worshiping, at first, but I corrected him: What's Happenin'? I think this is my favorite of the ones I listed.

7. SVLIVS: This took me a minute, but duh, then it hit. Save Lives. Maybe a doctor? Or an EMT? Or a fireman? So many options.

8. SPRTOY: At first I thought it was Sports Toy, but I now think it's Spare Toy. But I could be wrong. It was on the back of a sporty little car. I can only imagine what their first car was. :)

9. VCLST: Vocalist. Let me guess . . . you sing?

10. GUDTGO: Good to Go. I like that. Simple. Upbeat. Makes me smile.

10.2 GWPROF: So we are in the DC area. George Washington Professor. He must be pretty proud of his job.

Bonus: STRNMY: Astronomy. My dad loves that stuff. I don't even know how many telescopes he owns. It is pretty cool having your own personal tour guide to the universe.

I saw a few more that I enjoyed. Many I couldn't figure out. A lot of people use their names or a nickname. It gives just a glimpse into their lives: TXN4LYF (guess where they're from); OCN SEA (think they like large bodies of water?); UCANBME (a healthy dose of self-confidence there); LVHATS (they had a bunch of hats sitting in the back window); LV CHOC (this is my friend, but I think it's great); 85ROLLS (And yes, it was on a Rolls Royce). Innocent little tid-bits about strangers. I still haven't come up with one for me. If I think of it, I'll share.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

The Circus!

We splurged and took the kids to the circus tonight: Ringling Brothers, Barnum and Bailey Circus. Overpriced junk toys, overpriced food, lots of elephants, and magic galore. We had a blast!

London loved the Boom! of the human canons. Brandt was excited about the horseys and zebras. Rick liked the clowns. Khyah enjoyed watching the people behind us. And I loved watching my boys get so excited about everything. I wasn't sure how they'd do, if they'd make it through the show, but they did. And they're already asking to go back. Actually, Brandt didn't want to leave. Cried the whole way home: "Turn around daddy! Go back!" (Seriously.)

I confess though, I spent a good portion of the show wondering what would inspire a person to join the circus. I mean, sure, it's exciting, and everybody loves the circus, but how do you even go about joining? I bet for some, it's a family thing, but they can't all have inherited the circus gene, right?

If I were to join, I'd want to be the person who got to ride the elephants. It was really cool, they trained the elephants to lift up the rider with their front leg to help them mount. Awesome blossom.

So, would you ever join the circus? And what would you do there? Clown? Sheet-gymnasticker? Tiger trainer? Dancer? An invisible handler (the ones who wear all black as they bring stuff on stage)? Swing acrobat? A pooper scooper? So many options!