Thursday, May 22, 2014

Double Header

Last year, Cael was beyond excited to begin his first year of parks and rec t-ball, and I was just as enthusiastic about showing off his surprising level of skill rather than exhibiting his strangeness for once.

Cael, ready for the ball in May 2013.

The month flew by quickly, filled with practices and games and hours of trying desperately to entertain Graham, and before we knew it, it was time to sign up for t-ball once again.

A little persuading later, and Graham was allowed to join the same league as Cael despite being 8 days short of the age cut-off, but a little bit of backyard practice over the last few weeks vastly improved his technique.

 So did holding the bat right side up.

With the baby coming very soon, this arrangement allowed both boys to be on the same team, thus eliminating the need for both Joel and I to attend practices twice each week.  This also eliminated the need to run from one field to another, scolding boys or signing waivers in the event that they do inappropriate things with balls, bats, helmets, teammates and/or any other accessories that may accompany this or any sport my children may play.  (Is that legally binding?)

For once, however, things went really smoothly, and the boys both fell effortlessly into their traditional roles, Graham picking flowers and smiling kindly at everyone rather than watching the ball...

...and Cael taking every available opportunity to share his awesomeness with the world.

Here's to another summer of baseball and barbecues with two (soon three!) very active boys, and hopefully not sending my six year-old to t-ball in an NRA hat anymore. 

Hey, we all have dreams.

(Baby Foreman will be making his arrival sometime in the next two weeks, depending on the results up upcoming ultrasounds!  I will be updating as much as possible, but bear with me as we become a family of five!  Thanks so much for your patience!)

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Ism of the Week

"Graham, are you glad I bought the Frozen music to play in the car?"
"Yeah, it's my favorite movie."

"Which song is your favorite?"

"Let it Go.  It's the best one."

"My favorite is 'Love is an Open Door', but we can sing 'Let it Go' too!"

"I like 'Let it Go', Mom.  But you are NOT Elsa.  Can we play something else?"

"Wow, okay... do you want "For the First Time in Forever?"

"You're not Anna either."

Silence it is.  I guess he hasn't realized who pays the iTunes bill...

Monday, May 19, 2014

Running Away with the Circus

This the time of year when it feels like everything is ending.  With the school year drawing to a close, our schedules are filled with graduation parties, celebratory picnics, concerts and performances.  So many, in fact, that I completely neglected to share Cael's recent accomplishment-- one that seemed especially fitting given my son's unique temperament.

In our town, it is a long standing tradition that the Kindergarten class put on a "circus" each May, with all of the kids playing different roles, and from the first mention of the event, Cael had strong opinions about who he should play. 

"There are going to be tigers and tiger tamers and body builders and dogs on bikes and acrobats and clowns and snakes and other stuff!  Oh, and ring misters!"

"Ring misters?"

"Yeah, like a man with rings.  It's a circus thing, Mom."

Needless to say, his limited understanding might have kept him from being a ring "mister", but he was very excited when he came home with the news that he would be a body builder.

"I'm a body builder, Mom.  Probably because of my big muscles!"

"Wow, that's cool!  I'm sure they did that because you're so strong."

"Yeah, but there are other kids that are body builders and they don't seem very strong.  I don't get it."

I didn't even go there.  Opening the door to the PC world of equal Kindergarten opportunities would also mean explaining why there were girls serving as ring "misters", so we refocused our energy on preparing for the show.

Or at least that was my intention.  Pregnancy brain, however, made me forget nearly every reminder of what to send for him and when, so when the day came for the first performance, Cael's body builder costume was made all the more unique with the addition of his brother's dramatically undersized white t-shirt that showed off his belly and his equally oversized new black shorts.  I promised him I'd pick up a larger white shirt before the nighttime performance, but Cael was happy to show off his body builder abs while "bending steel". 

It always works so nicely when the kids embrace my shortcomings.

When Cael emerged for the opening parade, we were struck first by the dramatic improvement of a well-fitting shirt, but second by the way his prosthetic (balloon) biceps had shifted from his arms to his neck and shoulders, causing him to look less like a body builder and more like a hunchback.

Or maybe a teenager perpetually shrugging. 

Finally, it was time for the show, and we spent an hour or so watching all of the area Kindergarteners play their first role and act out really cute routines.

Cael's portion of the program was predictably fun-- lots of bicep curls, sit-ups and general Kindergarten awesomeness, accompanied by the song "I Like to Move It", which all of the children think originated with the movie Madagascar, but I knew was a song by Reel 2 Real back in the 90's, which made me feel hopelessly old in addition to hopelessly irritating, bothering the parents and students around me by squirming to get a good shot and being generally disruptive with my gigantic camera.

What I was struck with most, however, was the quantity of children-- all five K classes were represented, and the sheer volume of adorable was possibly enough to impregnate the women in the audience. 

Lucky for me, I already had that covered.

For his part, Graham alternated between well-behaved and pouty, as he wanted desperately to join the dancers and tigers and snakes (oh my!) on the stage.  By the time the performance was all done, however, he had realized that he will get to take part in his own circus in two short years, and was staking his claim on the best roles.

"Mommy, Cael told me I shouldn't be a dog on a bike because I still use my training wheels.  And he said my nose isn't big enough to be an elephant.  I thought I had a big nose!"

"I think your nose is perfect.  And I think the teachers will help you choose what to be when the time comes."


Ten bucks says he's a ring "mister".  Anyone want in on that?  Step right up...

Monday, May 12, 2014

Waiting For the Other Shoe to Drop

Happy Mother's Day to all of the amazing, hardworking moms out there!  I hope that yesterday brought you calm, rest, and a 6am wake-up call to break up an argument about paper airplanes.

I mean, I want good things for you, but I don't want to be the only one in this predicament.  

All jokes aside, I had a very nice day.  We went out for a great lunch, I received flowers and nice cards from all of my boys, two iTunes gift cards and a big ottoman for the baby's room that I had been eyeing for over a month.  And most memorably, I got to rip apart my house searching for one of my favorite sandals.  I chose to pretend they'd simply sent me on a an adventurous scavenger hunt with a great massage at the end as a reward, rather than accept that after hours of searching, I'd somehow lost one shoe since Saturday.

These Teva sandals have been my favorites for over a year now, and after falling in love with the black pair, I returned to the shoe store to purchase a pair in brown as well.  A few weeks ago when the weather finally turned warm enough to ward off boots (and my belly got big enough that I couldn't touch the floor in any position) I dug out the flip flops and kept them close within reach.  

As I was preparing to leave the house yesterday for my Mother's Day lunch, I first noticed that my right brown sandal was missing and presumed hidden.  Throughout my brief six years of motherhood, I have learned that if something cannot be found within ten minutes and in a reasonable location, it has certainly been stolen, possibly dunked in toilet water, and stashed in a cranny so remote that no robber, metal detector or psychic could find it.  Should you happen upon the hoard unexpectedly, you'd be likely to find seven to ten earring backs, your original driver's license (which you have since replaced), a handful of pennies, and MY SHOE.

I asked the boys if they'd done anything with it.  They said no, but I knew one of them had, so I promised amazing treats for anyone who could provide information regarding the whereabouts of my favorite shoe.  Cael looked in one bench for fifteen minutes while Graham repeatedly brought me the one shoe I still had in possession and stomped his feet when I wouldn't reward him for his efforts.

And, after three hours of looking, I gave up, propped my shoe-less right foot up on my new ottoman, and accepted that it was gone.  It must have been tossed in a trash can that I had emptied, or picked up with dirty laundry and was tumbling in the dryer.  I was even open to the possibility that the dog had carried it outside and used it as a shovel to dig a tunnel to freedom in the mud under the fence despite his lack of opposable thumbs.  

Anything was possible.  That was, until I saw this.

In the mesh zipper compartment of the piano keyboard case I'd propped against my bedroom closet door, was one strappy, brown flip flop.  And when I questioned the suspects, it became pretty clear who was at fault.

Graham wasn't very concerned.

Oscar hadn't done any digging.

But someone looked a little suspicious. 

"I guess I did do it.  But you have it now!  You're welcome, Mom!"

Apparently I should be grateful for my last and most original Mother's Day gift, but I'm still trying to muster up those emotions.  Now it's time to question Cael about all of the missing socks and call off the psychic...

Wednesday, May 7, 2014


The Red Dahlia

By Mary Foreman - In a small, suburban Iowa town whose idyllic cornfields roll gently over the fertile countryside, lurks an unexpected and vicious perpetrator.  He has mastered his disguise and hides, unsuspected, within the home of an Iowa family, until such time as he can reveal himself and unleash a holy torrent of chaos upon the land.

It may sound like an apocalyptic Stephen King novel, but this perpetrator is very real, as real as the havoc he leaves in his wake, and within his family he is known as the Red Dahlia. 

Named for the infamous "Black Dahlia" mystery of 1947, the "Red" Dahlia is better known as Graham Foreman, a mild-mannered child of only four, often seen sporting a grape jelly Glasgow smile and a twinkle in his eye that suggests his young mind knows more mischief than his unassuming visage would suggest. 

The depth and depravity of that mischief may never be revealed, but for his parents, a series of unexplained and anonymous crimes point to the Red Dahlia and the sticky jam clues inadvertently left in his haste to destroy.   

At this point, no concrete evidence exists to convict him, a fact that troubles this small Midwestern community and confirms the ineffectiveness of our justice system.  So to those who rely on that system for the safety of themselves and their own homes (and the expensive, water-sensitive items within) the case of the Red Dahlia continues to lie cold in the annals of history with the other forgotten mysteries of the 20th and 21st centuries.

 Seriously, everything is sticky, as are the legal and emotional trials to come in the Foreman family.


Mary Foreman is a tired and shockingly pregnant housewife in eastern Iowa.  Her blog, "It Is What It Is" used to draw heavy traffic from those looking to read her sarcastic banter, but as of late has dropped significantly as the author has chosen sleep or laundry over the strong pull of writing.  Visit Facebook, Pinterest or your local obstetrician's office for further examples of her work.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Fear Factor

It is amazing how much your perspective changes when you have children.  Not in a grandiose "now I am a parent" kind of way, but in the tiny details that remind us daily of our responsibilities. 

For example, I always used to love thunderstorms.  Still do, if I am alone, but whereas I once would stand outside and watch the clouds roll in, I now hover over my boys and the mobile weather report to make sure no impending tornado threatens us.  I am not able to trust the integrity of my own home because I am much too distracted by the fear that they will be hurt.

In fact, fear seems to be the biggest change in my perspective since becoming a mother.  Things that never worried me before, like driving in snow or innocent bug bites, drive my mind to the worst case scenario.  But nothing, nothing-- is more fearful for parents than what has been scaring the bejeezus out of me for weeks.

Stuffed animals that turn on by themselves.

This issue was not part of my reality before having children, but now I am constantly on guard for the disembodied voices of my kids' toys that only seem to "come to life" at night and when no one has touched or moved them.

The most frequent offender in my home is Sulley, better known as James P. Sullivan, the record holder for scares at Monsters, Incorporated.  This being's entire existence is dedicated to making humans pee their pants in fear, and I now know why he is the best at his job.

Sulley's manic laugh fills the air in my basement randomly at night when I am working on the computer, and his beady eyes peer right into my soul.  He is almost certainly studying me and cataloging my darkest fears, adding hot air balloons and bees to my new found anxieties about storms and winter driving.

I could remove his batteries, I suppose.  But in the light of day, Sulley's menacing smiling face makes my kids smile, and Graham especially would be negatively impacted by his premature demise.

From now on, I guess I will just avoid the basement after sunset.  Or maybe Sulley will conveniently find himself outside during a severe thunderstorm, just to teach him a lesson.

Not that there's anything to fear...