Saturday, August 28, 2010

There's a sucker born every minute

Apparently, I was the one for my minute. I know this about myself. I really do, and I try to put safeguards in place so as not to be suckered, but, far too often, people slip through the cracks in my well-oiled armor.

Case in point: Friday night. Steve and I went on a date! I know, right? A real, live date with no kids in tow. It was pretty awesome. As we were leaving, Lily-Grace said, "I didn't know it was your anniversary." That is how often this happens. So, we went out to eat at this wonderful little Thai place, and then we thought maybe we'd go see a movie, but we'd missed all the 7 o'clock movies, and we'd have to put a second mortgage on the house to afford the babysitting if we went to a late show, so we opted for our old stand-by: go to the bookstore. Because we are nerds. We really are, and we're fine with that. In Midland, we'd go to Barnes & Noble, but in Abilene, they don't have one, so we went to Books A Million, which is a store in the mall.

So, we went our separate ways and perused the books and magazines, and about 8:45, we thought we'd head out into the mall to look around before it closed at 9. I guess it's pretty safe for the budget to only allow yourself 15 minutes to shop. So, Steve headed to Best Buy, and I just decided to walk around and look (I just realized that we spent a good part of our date going our separate ways...hmmm) So, I'm walking around, and usually I have one eye on alert for the people with the perfumes and lotions and samples and all that stuff just looking for a sucker like me to walk by. You know, I don't know what to say, except maybe it was getting late, and the shock of just being out without the kids had let my guard down, I don't know, but I was completely caught off guard by the little Israeli guy with the lotion! I know! Don't you know what I'm talking about?? The Dead Sea products where they suck you in with their exotic accents and massage your hands with sweet-smelling lotion and don't let go until you buy something so outrageously expensive that you are mentally flagellating yourself all the way to the car - yep, that's what I'm talking about.

Well, they guy calls out, "M'am? Would you like a free sample?"
"Oh crap!" Warning! Warning! The bells go off in my head. I pick up speed and keep walking, but I make the terminal mistake of looking back apologetically. At which point he calls out, "Can I just ask you one question?"
And I reply, quite rudely I might add, "No!" and keep walking.
And he actually hangs his head in shame and defeat, and I crack like the pussy willow I really am. So, I slowly head back, assuring him that I am NOT going to buy one thing. I think those were the exact words I said, and I even added that I had to meet someone right away, and I didn't have much time. He assures me that is just fine, and then pulls out that sweet-smelling lotion and begins to massage it into my hands and rubs a little buffer thing on my ugly nails to show me how shiny they can be, and I know I am a goner. Seriously, I really think they are trained to grab a hold of your hand and not let go until you have agreed to purchase something.
At one point my phone rings, and the guy (I even found out his name, Jed) is forced to let go of my hand so I can answer. It is Steve and when I tell him where I am, he calls out jeeringly, "Suuuckeerrrr." Oh shut up. He's worse than I am. He shows up and does absolutely nothing to help. I bet when Jed got a look at Steve his eyes lit up and dollar signs went off in his head, because that boy is more of a sucker than I'll ever be.

So, Jed goes back to the oiling and lotioning, and telling me what a good price he's going to give me. And at one point, I even hold up 4 fingers, and say, "Four. We have four kids."
And poor Jed gets all excited because he thinks I have just said I'll have 4 kits. When I have to explain, no 4 children, who we have to feed and clothe. He acts shocked and says he has never heard of such a thing, and says he will just give me his card. Gosh! If I knew it was going to be that easy, I'd have pulled out pictures long ago. But then he says, "Well, what do you like the best?" Why can't I just shut-up? Why do I have to answer? I say the buffer, and because Jed is such a nice guy, he is going to give us the whole set for just the price of the buffer - can you believe it? Suffice it to say, I now have shiny fingernails.

I think I will have to use the buffer to shine up my sucker armor. It obviously has some gaping holes.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010


So, you know our new house is right across from this great park, right? Well, when we were still in the looking phase of house-buying, Steve was in love with this house, but I wasn't so sure. He was pointing out all the benefits of the house, especially the great park where he would "go all the time to throw the ball around with the boys." And, then when he wasn't sure I would go for it, he said in exasperation, "Alayna! There is a prairie dog town right across the street!" And I looked at him in amazement and said, "Well, why didn't you say so? Let's go sign the contract!" (For those of you who know me well, you'll know it was said with much sarcasm.) And when we finally did buy the house I told him he was going to have to sign a contract promising to play outside with the kids at least 3 nights a week, and he agreed.

Well, this morning, we wake up, and it finally has a coolness to the air, and the first beginning signs that fall may actually come, and we won't be stuck in perpetual summer (the kid's first day of school was a record-breaking 104 degrees!) And so, tonight I got out the contract I made him sign in blood and suggested we all go over for a rousing round of kickball. It took some convincing, but when you've signed in blood, you've signed in blood.

It was the first time the little ones have ever played kickball. That, in and of itself, is reason to play - guaranteed laughs! Here are a few highlights of the night:
Lily's first time at bat (kick?) she let the ball go right past her, but turned around and kicked it behind home plate. That is a great way to insure you get to first base. I highly recommend it!

Joey's first time at bat - he kicked it - it went a few feet, he followed it and kicked it again, and again - he had a great soccer run going. And since Levi was in hot pursuit, he just kept on kicking and running. At that point, Levi felt he was completely justified in tackling him to the ground or else "he would've run right into the prairie dog town!"
Joey continued to struggle with the idea of only kicking the ball once. He just doesn't want to get out, and so if he thought Levi might get the ball, he wanted to kick it again. Or, at one point, since Levi was getting close, he just picked the ball up and ran with it all the way to first base. That completely guarantees you won't get hit with it, right? You know, whatever works. When you are the baby, you can get away with most anything since everyone else thinks you are cute and funny. He knows how to work it.

I am proud to say that my team took an early lead of 8-1. Steve divided up the teams of me, Levi, and Lily-Grace against him, Sam, and Joey. Generally, Levi automatically picks being on Dad's team since he must win at any cost (I can't believe he doesn't respect my kickball skills!) and so, to make it more fair, the team with Levi gets Joey, and so I usually have the 2 middle kids. I have to say, winning was nice. Except for Sam crying that it was so unfair that we had all the good players and wah wah wah!

But all the crying was for nothing since when I announced it would be the last inning, Levi decided to let them catch up to us so as to make the game last longer. In his grand plan, he would let them almost catch up, and get them out right right at the last second so we could still win. Unfortunately, things don't always end up the way you plan! They ended up tying with us, and oh the agony when extra innings were not allowed! Hopefully, he learned the valuable lesson to crush people while you have the chance!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

I'm Still Here!

Hello, my faithful friends who still check on my blog, even though I haven't written in months! This is one of the many things I would like to get better at! This has been a crazy few months of transition, and we are still in it! We have moved to a new town, Abilene. We have bought our first house:

I love it! I have loved re-decorating, and changing the rooms to be more "us." I'll have to post some pics of that sometime soon.

Steve is the pastor at a new church so there are tons of new people to get to know, and old friends to grieve. There are new joys and new challenges.

The kids have started a new school and made some new friends (Praise God!) I realized when we went to Meet the Teacher that this is the 4th school in 4 years they have been to. Next year will be the first time in 4 years that they will get their class list and might actually know some people in their class. Lily-Grace started Kindergarten this year. Joey just turned 4. For the first time, I don't feel like a "young parent." I feel "seasoned." I hope it is nicely seasoned and not overdone.

Our house is right across from a park with an awesome walking track. The other day I saw two young moms pushing double strollers around with an infant and a 2 year old, and I was instantly transported back to my time in Crowell - walking the roads in town with my friend Crystal and our boys about the same ages. I felt a lump in my throat, and I had to suppress a strong desire to run out and grab the moms, and tell them to savor it - savor the time because it is gone so fast! At the time, I don't remember savoring it. It wasn't nostalgic at all - it was a 2 year old trying to climb out of the stroller and a baby crying, and trying to soothe him with his pacifier, and Oh my gosh! Did my milk just let down and will it leak through my shirt? All the while trying to carry on a conversation with Crystal in a desperate attempt to have a conversation with another adult. It didn't feel special or like something to savor. But now I realize it was.

So, last night as it was bedtime, and I was tired, and sooo ready for them to go to bed, and Lily and Joey started singing a made-up song that went on forever and was really just a stall tactic to put off bedtime a few more minutes, I just sat back and listened...and savored. In just a few years there will be no more sweet-smelling heads to kiss at bedtime and read a story to and sing a song with. So, I savored.

Time is moving quickly and there is much transition right now - I am going back to work full-time at our church's preschool. Teaching 2 year olds. Pray for me. I am trying to be more organized and exercise and get up early and go to bed before midnight. This is a struggle for me. But I constantly have stories in my head that need to be written, and so I will try to find the time for that as well. It helps me to savor.