Tuesday, August 30, 2011

TheThree Bears

Curly, tell me about this picture you drew.

Oh, that's The Three Bears.

Where's Goldilocks?

No, not those three bears. These three bears saw some persons walking on a trail so they are showing their really sharp teeth to scare them away.

Why does this little bear only have a head?
He's the baby bear. They told him to hided by a rock until they made the people get scared and run away. He's holding up a flag so they know he's nice.

That's smart of him. So these are the mom and dad bears?

Yeah. This one's the mom and this one's the dad.
Why are the dad's eyes so BIG?

Well, he got a little scared of the hikers on the trail so the mom bear had to scare them herself. That's why she has red in her mouth.

The End.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Crazy Stuff

picture found here
Some days I have thoughts that are completely irrational.

Like last Wednesday morning when I was getting ready to go running and I noticed a pair of white socks in the back of my drawer. I started to put them on and then I thought, what if I am in some sort of accident and they can't identify me? Allen would see my socks and say, "No, that's not my wife. She never wears white socks." Then I would be like Amelia Earhart, mysteriously gone forever with no explanation. So I put on some brown striped socks instead.

Once when I was washing the dishes I realized that I was washing all of the spoons first and I worried that the forks and knives might get jealous. So I washed them in a pattern: fork, knife, fork, knife, until all I had left were one fork, one knife and two spoons. I washed the spoons last to make amends with the forks and knives. I think we ended on good terms.

Sometimes when I come to a red light I move my mouth so it looks like I'm talking to someone in the backseat in case the person in the car next to me is watching. I'll even throw in a fake laugh so it looks like we're having a really great conversation. I do this because I don't want the complete stranger in the car next to me to look over and think that I'm boring, just sitting there waiting for the light to change.

I have decided that irrational thoughts make life much more exciting.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Nineteen And Counting

Monday was our 19th anniversary. Allen and I decided to go out for dinner and to see a musical to celebrate. Good times! The kids had never done anything for our anniversary in the past, but when we got home on Monday night we saw this on our garage:

Glow sticks! I love the creativity. Upon closer inspection, we realized there was more to it:

Oodles of notes from the kids! The next morning I went out to get a better look.

What an awesome idea. We loved reading every single one. They ranged from profound:

to family jokes and stories:

Some were clever:

And some were painfully honest:

Of course there was a Star Wars reference:

(ElemenoB has a thing for Han Solo)

And some cute artwork:

But my favorites were the messages of love:

It doesn't get much better than that.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Back To School

Holy mac and cheese! Where did the summer go?

The first day of school crept up on us and started yesterday. Crazy, crazy, crazy. I hope all their teachers enjoy every minute with my awesome kids because I am going to miss them like crazy at home. Crazy!!

I hope ElemenoB's teachers see past her quiet smile and get to know the side of her that drips with sarcasm and quick, witty comebacks. I want them to appreciate her mysterious love for Australia and her artistic abilities.

I hope Thumbelina's teachers will not only see a silly girl who likes to be overly expressive. I want them to appreciate how she accurately fits movie quotes into every conversation and bursts out in song on a whim. I hope they get to see the Thumbelina whose creativity is amazing.

I hope All-a-Boy's teachers can see past the smarty-pants kid who talks non-stop. I want them to really appreciate his vocabulary choices and the eye-roll that means he's secretly pleased. I hope they get to know the kid who is a natural leader and loyal friend. I hope they discover how much fun he can be.

I hope Cowgirl gets to be comfortable enough in her new class that her teacher can see past the quiet girl who wants to blend in and discover the outgoing, funny girl who wants to be noticed. I want her teacher to appreciate her sweetness and quirkiness, enjoy her clever side and recognize those certain looks she'll give to express her moods.

I want Princess' teacher to see past the nervous, shy person she can be and to recognize her craziness. I hope her teacher discovers what incredible expression she reads with. I want her to be so comfortable in her class that she will laugh out loud and smile with her teeth - even though she often tries to hide them.
(Her typical smile)

(Her real smile)

I really hope Hubba's teacher can look past his typical 6-year-old appreciation of bodily noises and his precociousness and see the kid who is ready to discover the world. I want his teacher to know of his love for learning and his desire to be friends with everyone. I hope she discovers his amazing arsenal of Star Wars vocabulary and hears his sweet singing voice.

I hope that, as my kids arrive home each afternoon, I will remember to take the time to talk to them about all of their school-time adventures. To sit and help each one with their homework and discover what they have learned. I want to appreciate all that their teachers have taught them while they have been away from home.

The first day of a new school year. Already.

Holy mac and cheese.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Leaving The Nest

Coolister is getting ready to move out next week.

I have mixed feelings about it, but I won't bore you with my crazy roller coaster of emotions.

As he was packing his life up into suitcases and boxes I came down to his room to check in on him. I started to tell him that some of the things he had packed into storage boxes were unnecessary things he wouldn't care about. (I was told recently that this is called Helicopter Mom Syndrome. I prefer to call it 'intervention with love' - but I'm trying to quit. Really.)

There were some plastic flags torn from the finish chute at various races (I'll put those in my running journal), notes and schedules from some classes in high school (I can pass those along to some friends who are taking those classes), plastic dollar store trophies won in contests (But don't you think they're funny, Mom?), an intricate snowflake cut from printer paper (My friend David mailed that to me. It is NOT going in the trash!) and so on.

At one point he showed me a letter and pointed out that it was a note I had written him. He mentioned that he could tell me all about what it said without even opening it up and that he kept things like that because they meant something to him. My heart softened a bit.

He pulled out a thank you card and told me it was one I left on his bed a few years back.

And then he pulled out the bottom drawer of his dresser, gathered something hidden beneath it into his arms and turned to show me this:

Every lunch bag I had given him during his sophomore year of high school.

You should make these into a book or something, Mom - these were the best jokes, ever!

Do you think I should have thrown these away?

Maybe not.

I realized in that moment that he and I have something in common. We are both overly sentimental and hang on to silly objects that hold happy memories for us.

My oldest boy, who I always see so much of his father in, has a part of me in there, too.

I left the room and let him finish packing.

On his own.

Monday, August 15, 2011

I So Totally Rock, Dude!

Last week I started swimming lessons. This is a huge thing for me because I have never in my life learned to swim. I knew it would be embarrassing but I decided to swallow my pride and go for it. If I'm going to do the TriathaMom then I want to be as ready as I can be.

The first day of swim lessons I approached the check-in table and waited in line behind a few moms with their kids in tow. When I reached the table the lady asked if I had signed a waiver yet.

I told her I hadn't and she asked me, "What's the name?"


"Is she here with you?"

"Um... I am Gerberta."

"Oh... well, what is your child's name?"

"Well, I have a bunch of kids but none of them are taking lessons. I'm here for me. I'm signed up for adult lessons."

"Oooooooh! Okay!" *nervous laughter* "Well, you don't need to sign a waiver since you're over 18. Go ahead and go in."

"Thanks. But, ummm... how do I know where to find my teacher?" (Did I really just ask that?)

"Just ask at the table inside by the pool. They'll tell you where you need to be."

So, into the pool area I went. When I checked in at the poolside table the gal there told me, "Okay, Gerberta - your teacher is Sharon. You'll be in the Turtle class."

"I'll be what?!"

"If you just go wait under the turtle sign then your teacher will come and find you."

"I will do that. Thanks."

Seriously. Just like all of the cute little swimsuit-clad kiddos who were there for their swim lessons, I got to stand beneath a picture of a water creature and wait for my teacher. So, there I stood - next to the Nemo and Jellyfish classes of anxious 5 to 7 year olds - waiting for swim lessons to start. It was awesome.

Would you like to hear what makes swim lessons even better? When I signed up I was told that I would likely be the only student in the class, but it turns out that I have a classmate. His name is Kevin, he is from Beijing, China and he is a second year accounting student at our local university. We have some awesome conversations before and after class.

Kevin: "So, you have your own children?"
Me: "Yes, I do."
Kevin: "So, how many children do you have?"
Me: "Ten."
Kevin: *eyes like saucers, jaw on the floor* ". . . . "

He decided to sign up for swim lessons because he usually runs for exercise, but lately he is getting too sweaty. Kevin is my equal in swimming skills - which means our poor teacher has quite the task before her. I guess that's why she had an assistant helping her out after two days with Kevin and I floundering and splashing about in the lap lanes. Now we're getting some serious one-on-one.

There are quite a few things I have learned in the last week. First of all, wearing goggles makes it so much easier to swim. Seriously! When Sharon suggested goggles to me, I thought she was crazy. How in the world could wearing goggles help me swim better? But they totally do!

Also, I never would have guessed it, but I am a PRO at floating! The back float makes me laugh every time because of that feeling of complete weightlessness. The front float freaks me out because I feel like I'm playing dead.

The most important thing I have learned, though, is that I will NOT die if I swim with my face in the water. And when I need to breathe while swimming it's like barely lifting my face out of the water to deeply inhale the scent of my wet armpit. (That's what Sharon's assistant told me. I love her.)

So, one week of lessons down, one week to go, and I'm pleased to announce that the Turtle class is coming along ...swimmingly.

Give me some fin.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Pretty Witty

Not only does my cousin, Raylene, have amazing hairdresser skills - she also makes me smile.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

What's Good For The Goose

The training for this TriathaMom is totally kicking my trash! The other morning I was feeling completely frustrated that I can not run farther than half of a block. I kept thinking, "Why do I need to stop and rest so much?"

And then I looked out into the field.

Along the typical 2-mile route where I run there are quite a few hay fields. As I approached one I noticed there was something out there. The closer I got the clearer they became - a flock of geese. Not just one or two, but a whole field full of them. I had never seen anything like it before. I snapped a picture of them with my phone camera.

Can you see all of those dark brown shapes? Geese! It was awesome.

As I continued to shuffle down the street I started to think about those geese. What were they doing? Migrating? Out for a morning flight together? I had no idea. But this thought came to me:

I couldn't even walk 7 months ago and now I'm complaining about needing to walk when I want to be running? If geese, who are born to fly, have to stop and rest sometimes - then it's perfectly fine for me to do the same.

So, how's my training going? Amazing.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Seven Is A Lucky Number

They are almost the same size!

It has been just over 7 months now since I broke my leg. Initially, the doctor told me that it would take about 6 months before I'd feel back to normal - but apparently he was just kidding. Actually, to be fair, I am doing immensely better than I was 7 months ago. I can walk. I can drive. I can carry my baby up and down stairs. I can do pretty much everything I need to in order to function. My scars are looking much less frankenstein-ish.

But so far, I still can't run farther than half a block. (And, honestly, calling it running is a bit of a stretch.)

Well, well, well. I don't like that voice in my head that tells me I can't do things. So when my friend Jenny wrote on her blog about an upcoming triathlon called TriathaMom and encouraged beginners to give it a shot, I started to think. And that darn voice in my head started to shoot me down every time. It went something like this:

Wow. A triathlon. I wonder if I could do that?

Are you kidding me? You can't run! You haven't ridden a bike in ages! And let's not even get started on the swimming part.

Yeah, I guess. But I looked into this triathlon and it said you could walk the swimming part if you had to because it's in an indoor pool. I can walk in a swimming pool, right?

Wouldn't you feel silly? I mean, walking when everyone around you is swimming? And what about the whole bike thing? You don't even own a bike!

Well, that's true. But ElemenoB does. I could borrow hers. And this triathlon is so low-key that I could just walk the bike if I had to.

Walk a bike for 12 miles? What are you, crazy?!

That does seem kind of crazy, doesn't it. But walking the 5K isn't too crazy.

If you want to just walk the whole thing, what's the point?! Why do it?

Because I like to prove to myself that I can do hard things. That's why. And I don't want to walk every event - but I could if I had to. I would just want to finish. That would be accomplishment enough for me.

So go away, voice in my head. You lose.

You see where this gets me? Now I have to do it. I can't let that negative voice in my head be right. I want to work towards something. I don't want this gimpy leg to control my life. I am going to do this thing. I'm going to run and bike and even put on a swimsuit and get in a pool. I'm going to work like crazy to whip myself into shape to the point where I can at least finish this thing.

TriathaMom? Here I come.