Sunday, June 29, 2008

@#!$%^~! Camcorder

Let's just say our camcorder isn't getting any warm fuzzies from Pete and I lately. When we tried to play back some of our movies, it CRUNCHED up the tapes, making it impossible to play or even rewind. Mickey's end of school play where he's staring into space could be lost forever!

So we could be in the market for a new camcorder pretty soon. I'm a little stupified by all the choices out there. Does anyone have any tips on buying one? We probably don't want something fancy but I don't want to have to buy a new one in a year. And I'm confused on the recording devices: some of them use mini-CDs or something? Our current recorder uses those little fat cassettes that we have to insert into (horrors!) a VHS tape in order to play on our TV.

Pleeease, isn't there a better way? What kind of camcorder do you have? Would you buy it again? What do you like or not like about it? I know someone out there can enlighten me!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Taking my son to T-ball is a paying job

I filled in for Pete tonight at Mickey's last T-ball game (which isn't really a game since they're just learning fundamentals such as baselines are straight and not squiggly). Anyway, I told Mickey he would have to tell me what to do since I hadn't been there with him before, and he was very happy to give me instructions here and there.

I didn't expect the following bonuses, all while the very patient coach chirped his whistle and barked instructions to the team:

"Mom, the bases are the same color as cupcake batter."

"How did your hands get so big?"

"I'm glad Daddy's out of town so I get to spend time just with you. Then tomorrow I can spend time just with Daddy." (Yeah, that one just confused me.)

There was also the bonus of seeing true joy on my son's face for 45 minutes solid.

The bonus of seeing him tell another boy "good job."

The bonus of having him run and jump into my arms about six times.

The bonus of my very hectic week being forgotten for a while.

I believe Pete can call me to sub anytime.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Overheard: a thing or two to learn

This morning at Vacation Bible School there was a plea to the children to bring "Pennies from Heaven" to donate to our church's charity.

So I asked Mickey if he would like to gather some pennies to bring for donating. I got the following:

"Oh, yes, Mamma. I have lots of money I don't want. I have lots and lots and lots of coins that are getting old and I need to give them away. But I don't have a lot of pennies. I have some nickels and dimes I don't want..."

"Okay, that sounds good."

"I have some dollars but I need to keep them."

"Oh, why do you need to keep them?"

"Because Daddy might need them. I love Daddy..."

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

A sign I truly need to lighten up

For several years, I have been drooling over beautiful bonded leather photo album from a store who makes, uh, really beautiful bonded leather photo albums. And other beautiful things. Beautifully. Anyway, this particular beautiful item is designed specially for Christmas photos. There's a choice of deep red or rich green. Smoooooth leather...I can just feel it. And I can imagine it being in my family for fifty years and Mickey and Alex fighting over who gets it when I die.

But one thing, and one thing only, has kept me from pulling the trigger and buying it:

The front of the album is preprinted with the phrase "Christmas Thru the Years."


How hard would it have been to just add three teeny-weeny letters to spell it correctly? They tell me it's worth $75 and then they take a horrifying shortcut with "through"?! I can't do it, I just can't. I would truly need some sort of sedative every time I looked at it.

So I guess my priceless Christmas photos will have to live in a plain 'ol fifteen-dollar album from Target. Without any spelling errors whatsoever.

Maybe Mickey and Alex will find something else to fight over.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Finally from Alex, a pleasant surprise (you owed me, dude!)

Pretend I've made all my excuses for not posting.

Pretend I've already gotten a bazillion comments from you saying "it's okay," and "don't worry, we know you get busy." (Also pretend you remember how to post comments.)

Pretend I've already said I'll try to post more but this working 11-that-feels-like-eighty hours a week while trying to find my lost son is causing me to slip into bed exhausted every night but not too exhausted to read four and a half pages of Harry Potter IV before I fall asleep.

Pretend all that. Then read on:

Maybe one reason Alex felt so independent at Big Waterpark the other day was because we converted his crib into a toddler bed a week ago. At almost three years old, I figured he was approaching old enough. And also I finally located the crib hardware that I haven't seen in four+ years.

I was prepared for many late nights trying to keep him from utilizing the freedom we finally gave him. I was prepared to walk him back to his bed fifty or so times every night until he collapsed from the battle. I was prepared to threaten, cajole, reward and bribe him to stay in his bed (none of which actually worked with Mickey, by the way).

Turns out that preparation was for naught: the boy has yet to get out of bed one time.

Oh, he asked all right: about 30 seconds after we laid him down the first night we heard "Can I get out now?" Beyond that, and "I need my blanket" and "Can you close my door?" this has been the least stressful thing I have done as a parent so far.

And once again it has reminded me that my kids are, indeed, two different people.

Here we go with pics:

Just before the transformation.

You'd think there's only one step involved here.

Nope, breaking down a prison wall seems to take precision work.

And a two-year-old on your back.

Almost looks like a picture frame for sleeping!

Made it through the first night unscathed (until Mickey crawled over him in the morning to share a snooze).

Friday, June 20, 2008

Five minutes I never want to relive

Today I took Alex and Mickey to Big Waterpark near our house. We were having a great time: first time the boys have been this summer, we saw some friends there, great weather.

And then a black cloud formed over my head.

And I lost Alex for five agonizing minutes.

I don't know how long it was really. Long enough for me to ask four lifeguards and two inquiring moms to help me find him. Long enough for me to venture to two other pools dragging poor Mickey behind me (who had the nerve to ask if he could swim while I went to look for Alex).

And long enough for Mickey to wander over to the deposit pools of two large water slides, probably 50 yards and many obstacles away from me. A swimmer noticed he was alone and ushered him to a lifeguard. By the time I laid eyes on him his lifeguard entourage had grown to three.

Mickey broke away from me and ran to him; when I got there Alex looked up at me and says simply "hi, Mamma." I'd stopped gasping by then and I mustered "hi, Alex." The guy who looked like he was in charge of lost children and loster parents told me it was a good thing I had a lifejacket on him as a lot of kids his age wander the park without them. Thank you for making me begin gasping again...

I gathered him and Mickey up and we made our way back to the little pool and I tried to explain to Alex what he'd done. Didn't exactly have much impact; I got a big grin and "I wanna swim."

The silver lining to this black cloud? I was not rooted to the ground in fear. I did not panic. Okay, maybe there was a tad bit of hyperventilating, but instead of praying aloud and doing nothing I prayed to myself as I was asking people for help. Who, in my opinion, were answers to my prayers in themselves.

I always knew there was hope...

Oh, a couple of pics I took before Alex's joywalk. I believe he was plotting his escape here:

...and good-natured Mickey, who assessed the situation with his usual "...ooooh, this is not good..."

Monday, June 16, 2008

The test I failed

Saturday night Pete and I ventured to a little known first-run movie theater to see Indiana Jones. Little known, I say, because when we arrived at theatre #4 there were only four other people there, 10 minutes before showtime.

Pete announced he was going to the restroom before the movie started, so I settled our drinks and snacks and myself into a chair in the dim light. At that point I became aware of one of the other four people on her cell phone, obviously speaking to 911 (interesting how we refer to "911" like it's a person). I stood up and turned around to see another woman lying back in her chair, her husband hunched over her. The woman on the phone was with her husband, also.

The sick woman's husband was relaying information to the woman on the phone:

"She's unresponsive but awake. Lethargic."

At that point I didn't know what to do. A minuted ticked by: the woman on the phone continued to give instructions to the husband. "EMSA is on its way..." she said.

I think I turned back around to face the front again; still unsure what to do. There were two people helping her already and someone on the phone to 911. I have no medical experience whatsoever. I might be in the way. I might confuse the woman on the phone by asking if I could help. I might interrupt the relay of information to the husband.

So I did the only thing I could do without risking any of those things: I started praying. Aloud. And probably hyperventilating just a little. And wondering why Pete had chosen now to pitch a tent in the restroom.

Then I heard a voice say "Can I help?" I turned back around and saw a third person. "Yes," said the woman on the phone. "Get her on the floor on her back and elevate her head."

With the help of the other man, the husband lowered her to the floor. Said the woman on the phone: "Don't put your fingers or anything else in her mouth; she may bite you." Then the sick woman, now on the floor, began thrashing and tensing and moaning very loudly. I believe I started praying even more loudly at this point, my feet still rooted to the floor.

Then silence from the woman on the floor. The woman on the phone says "she probably can't breathe; you have to keep her calm." The new man says "breathe, you're okay, just breathe..."

About that time six or so emergency personnel barreled into the theatre and took over. I breathed a sigh of relief and the woman on the phone walked toward me with her husband. I could see she was sweating and shaking and I told her what an awesome thing she had just done. She said she'd offered to make the call when the woman's husband told her he didn't have a cell phone.

At that point Pete walked up behind me and I started talking a mile a minute..."she had a seizure, where were you, she wasn't breathing, I didn't know what to do..."

He nodded and said "I know, I know..." like he was familiar with people with seizures. "Who do you know who has seizures?" "No one," he says, "I was down there helping her."


Pete was the person who asked if he could help.

Pete was the person who helped lower her to the floor and held her head in his lap.

Pete was the person encouraging her to relax and breathe.

And I was the person whose feet were made of lead.

And I didn't recognize my own husband or his voice two rows away from me.

So the ambulance took the woman away and three minutes later I was oogling Harrison Ford in a Fedora. Life resumed pretty quickly (for us anyway).

Yet part of me sat bumfuzzled by what had just happened. What was it that kept me from offering my help to that woman, yet made it so easy for Pete to jump in the middle of the situation?

Later we talked about it and even laughed. Don't anyone have a medical emergency when Christine's you'll get is a prayer for someone else to help you.

I guess I always thought myself just the opposite type of person. The type to help when I'm needed, the type to take action when it's critical. I remember a recent story about a man who was hit by a car and while he lay in the street onlookers passed him by without helping. "That would never be me..." I said to myself.

Well, it was me. Embarrassingly, it was.

And the only thing I'm proud of right now is that I married someone who has the quality I wish I had.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Five Things

I know you really, really have better things to do than learn five (or 30?!) new things about me. But hey, since it's Friday you probably need something to pass the afternoon, so here ya go. Thanks to Straight Shooter for the diversion:

Five things I was doing ten years ago:
  1. Falling in love with Florida beaches.
  2. Making bad relationship choices.
  3. Buying my first house (NOT a bad choice).
  4. Perfecting my lightening quick Alt+tab to switch from web surfing to work.
  5. Blogging before blogging. On paper. Let me know if you'd like to check out a volume or two.
Five things on my to-do list today:
  1. Take the boys to have pictures taken in their patriotic T-shirts and Levi's shorts and no shoes.
  2. Savor the time they're both napping. And savor the time when they wake up and both climb onto my lap in my shrinking rocking chair.
  3. Blog.
  4. Water my new landscaping (pics in a future post) while praying nothing dies.
  5. Load Alex into the jogging stroller and walk around the neighborhood; no longer be jealous of neighbors' landscaping.

Five things I would do if I were a billionaire
  1. Set up a fund for working mothers with preschoolers so they could stay home at least until their kids are in school.
  2. Build my mother a lodge with sleeping rooms and a kitchen and a big room for gatherings so she could entertain her family comfortably. I guess that would be a hotel. Okay, build Mom a hotel.
  3. Take my family on a cruise once a year for the rest of our lives.
  4. Hire someone to clean my bathrooms and mop my floor.
  5. Reserve Disney World for a week. For my whole family and Pete's family. Then let me stay home and have the house to myself.
Five of my bad habits
  1. Rewarding with M&Ms, my kids AND myself.
  2. Gossiping, but you didn't hear it from me.
  3. Reading blogs when I should be blogging.
  4. Blogging when I should be cleaning house.
  5. Cleaning house, I should always be cleaning house.

Five places I have lived
  1. Muskogee
  2. Tahlequah
  3. Tulsa
  4. Upstairs
  5. Downstairs

Five jobs I've had
  1. Babysitter starting at about 12 years old. Although NOTHING could have prepared me for parenthood.
  2. Clerk in a golf pro shop.
  3. Christmas help at gigantic mall in town. Pure hell.
  4. Various writing jobs.
  5. Mom.
There ya' as I've told you before: wake up and get back to work!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

A powerful video

Jenny at One Thing, a beach-lovin' mom of 12 (TWELVE) unearthed this video about our continuous struggle to walk with The Lord in life. I'm not usually one to seek out this kind of drama and I had my doubts when I first started watching it.

And afterward I realized it is something I had to share.

(It's a little graphic so watch it yourself before you decide to let your kids see it.)

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Kohl's has FREE Water Watcher cards

I happened to be in Kohl's the other day...the nearest one is about 10 miles away so I really, really, really have to want to be there. The 30% off everything-even-sale-and-clearance coupon I got in the mail went a long way to make me feel that way.

Anyway, amid my shoppin frenzy I saw these. For FREE.

It's called a Water Watcher card. It's for owners of private pools and it's for that person who usually says "I'm watching them..." referring to a bunch of swimming kids. Then when that person gets up and moves away from the water he or she can pass the lanyard to someone else, so there's always someone to be a designated Watcher.

Summer is my favorite time of year but with a two and four year old who are not afraid of anything (yet) it would give me comfort to see one of these at the private pools we sometimes visit (don't worry, Grandma, I'm bringing you one).

So get to Kohl's before they run out and grab one for a friend even if you don't have a pool. Help ensure the safety of yours and other kids.

Oh, and for some good water safety information, go here.

That is all.

Monday, June 09, 2008

The new job and other stuff

Whew! What a week last week. Here I thought working two days a week wouldn't be so difficult; after all, many moms work 40 or 50 and they survive just fine. I worked at the boys' school a grand total of ten hours and let's just say I didn't quite plan for it. To cut to the chase: my Tylenol bottle's a little lighter but I'm going back for more because my class of 13 three-year-old's is so dang cute.

To add to the fun of starting a job, I figured what the heck: I'm going to have my first garage sale. Ever. And invite 8 or 9 friends to bring their stuff, too.

Pete had mercy on me and took the boys to Grandma and Grandpa's for the night so I could root through his stuff to see what to sell. I didn't make a fortune, far from it, but have quite a flip-flop tan to show for it.

Here are a few gems that found new and loving homes over the weekend (none of them were mine thankyouverymuch):

I guess the owner got his answer and no longer felt the need to keep the Evangecube.

Just as scary in person.

So was this.

Saw a few kids wander by this and just stare.

Something a little creepy about this display. Never found out what kind of animal that was.

Sadly, no one was Jonesin' Saturday.

And as a bonus, my friend G saw fit to break out her collection of wigs for the occasion. I understand this is somewhat of a habit with her, or maybe even an addiction? Lots. Of. People. Must. Dress. In. Wigs.

Here she is as an apparently normal and very cute mother of four beautiful and well-adjusted children. At least until they find her collection of wigs.

...and after her, uh, transformation into her alter-ego, Mrs. Kintner from Jaws.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

What I learned this week (without even trying)

(and "this week" meaning since I last posted which was, whaddya know...a week ago!)

1. I learned that winds of 75 miles an hour are enough to take out our electricity for a day and night. I also learned our friends were on vacation on the east coast and left their house unattended. With a heated pool in the backyard. Silly friends...

2. No school for a week and no planned activities for the kids add up to no blogging.

3. Lists posts are good because you don't have to link sentences, which requires concentration, which I have little of this morning.

4. ...because I'm starting a new job today! At the boys' school. I'm slightly nervous because a new job's a new job, even if it's the polar opposite of what I used to do. Which is write. (Pay no attention to the current illustration of that skill.)

5. My husband is the sweetest man on earth for letting me go here in July. I wonder if he realizes it's overnight. Three overnights. Shhh, don't tell him.