Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Happy Birthday, Daddy!

It's a week of special events here in the Foreman household.  Monday brought us Adler's 6 month "birthday" and his first experience with food, today is Joel's 32nd birthday, Thursday is Thanksgiving, and Friday we wallow around in pajamas because our pants no longer fit.

But for today, we celebrate Daddy.

While eating breakfast this morning, I asked the boys to describe their Dad and I kept track of their observations.  In a related note, my children should never be eyewitnesses to any crime, ever.  Not for the sake of their innocence, but because they would like identify a squirrel as the perpetrator.  Maybe a mailbox.  Bottom line, they're full of it.

-  Daddy likes baseball and root beer.

-  He works in a box. 

-  He wears a big beard.  (November is almost over!)

-  He thinks the Cubs smell like poop.

-  He always finishes dinner first.

-  He is a popsicle.  (Who knows?)

-  He speaks French.  (No he doesn't.)

-  He spills ice cream.

-  He has, like, 5,000 red shirts.  (Does anyone?)

-  He likes music and music sounds.  (Really, both?)

-  He drives a white truck.

-  He only eats cookies from HyVee.

-  He is 32.  Or 33.  Is it 33?  Or Graham- what if Daddy was like 200 years old and Mommy was only 31 and he was so old he couldn't walk and she had to pull him around in a sled?  That would be fun.  I'd get on his sled too.  But not during the summer because sleds don't work on the grass.

-  He wrestles us and reads to us.

-  He loves Mommy, and he loves us too.

I thought I might have better luck with a video, but their "boyness" won out in the end, as it always does.

So Happy Birthday, Daddy!  We love you and wish you much better than buttcracks.  When you're done in your box, there will be cake waiting.

Try not to spill the ice cream.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Adding to the Classics

Recently Cael came home from school reciting a new rhyme he'd picked up.

"Mommy and Daddy sitting in a tree..."

I knew this one, of course.  But after a couple of days of really weird couplings (Graham and cereal, Daddy and Oscar, Mommy and the toilet)  I noticed that this rhyme was longer than the one I knew.

First come love, then comes marriage
Then comes a baby in a baby carriage.
And that's not all, that's not all!
Soon that baby's drinking alcohol!

Huh?  Has this always been a part of the poem, or have seven year-olds gotten even more jaded since I was a kid?  At first I thought I was headed for another sit-down discussion about alcohol use and minors, but when it became clear he didn't really even understand what alcohol is (and does) I pulled the plug on my lecture about the delinquencies of my future love child with the toilet.  I then remembered that even the Happy Birthday song has received the same treatment, with Cael tacking "Ooh la la, Pizza Hut", on the end and assuring me that this is way all the kids are singing it. 

After failing to create an appropriate response for over ten minutes, I looked to another famous phrase:

If you can't beat 'em, join 'em.

So here's my prose for today, plus a little something extra for the new generation.

Roses are red, violets are blue.
Sugar is sweet, and so are you.
Unless I've said "no" to Pokemon cards,

And then you're just plain rude.

Ring around the rosies,
Pockets full of posies,
Ashes, ashes, 
We all fall down!
You knock your brother on the floor
And cry when he won't play any more.

You are my sunshine, my only sunshine.
You make me happy when skies are grey.
You never know dear, how much I love you.
Please don't take my sunshine away.
Because when it's rainy and you're cooped up in the house the two of you do nothing but fight and make big messes that you refuse to pick up and I feel like I need a good stiff drink but I can't have one because I am nursing a baby that won't sleep for more than 25 minutes at a time and during those 25 minutes I just want to pee alone but you choose that very moment to demand a band-aid for an invisible ouchie or a snack because the one you had 10 minutes before wasn't good enough and you think I didn't see you take 4 pieces of candy from the Halloween stash and I'm really ready for everyone to go to bed.

Step aside, Shel Silverstein.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Maturing Christmas

I am that person you hate- well, most of you that is.  I'm the one that would start playing Christmas music in October, my tree fully lit.  I'd have worked my way through Elf, Polar Express and Frozen with (or without) the kids.  I would have polished off two cartons of eggnog by the first week of November.  But I haven't done these things (except the eggnog part) because I have one of those "opposites attract" marriages, and my husband CANNOT move on to Christmas until Thanksgiving has been fully digested. 

See what I did there?

But even Joel can't prevent the itch inside me to get the gifts all planned out and purchased in advance.  Any mother worth her salt knows that if the gifts aren't relatively even, Christmas afternoon will be less of a celebration and more of a grudge match.  With tinsel.

It should be said that my kids are lucky.  Even though I flat out refuse to purchase an "Elf on the Shelf" (an offense that ranks me somewhere below asparagus on Cael's list) we are able to provide a Christmas for them like the ones of my childhood-- lots of food, lots of gifts, lots of family.  Lots of batteries.  At least two garbage sacks of crinkled wrapping paper and tape wads.  Likely dog vomit from eating Santa's cookies during the night.  Probably a late bedtime.  But no "Elf of the Shelf".

So my kids are lucky.

With most of the boys' gifts purchased, we analyzed the Amazon shopping cart and realized that with their maturing interests, the money we allocated didn't stretch as far, and there would be significantly fewer things to open come Christmas morning.  I know that this is okay, but I also don't want them to be disappointed on the happiest day of their year.  (The happiest day of my year being the first day back to school.  Silence!)  Instead of cranking out several more gifts each, Joel suggested we try to find one really large joint gift that would make a big impression under the tree.  I liked that idea and got to work doing some online research and shopping, but hit an unexpected snag with each search.

First I searched for "big gifts", which provided little more than photo after photo of big gifts.  Not so helpful.

Next I tried "large gifts", which yielded the first real suggestion, a pair of gigantic red panties from the website www.greatbigstuff.com.  Interesting, I suppose, but still not what I had in mind for my five or seven year-old.

Toys.  That was the key-- I wasn't specifying the type of item I needed.  Now I was on to something.  I typed "really big toys" into Yahoo's search engine and hit "go".

Oh.  Holy.  Night.

Here's a free holiday tip-- before searching for "really big toys" make sure your SafeSearch filter is ON.  Mine wasn't.  As memorable as I hope this Christmas will turn out to be for my children, I don't think it will involve anything made of sparkly purple latex. 

I was horrified and quickly made sure the filter was on to prevent a similar catastrophe the next time Cael decides to type something innocuous like "rabbits" or "back door" on the computer.  I said a little prayer that Santa isn't really watching all the time and walked away. 

Maybe I'll have to buy the Elf after all.  Either way, I still have some time.  There's another holiday coming up, right?

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

A November Prayer

Dear God,

In this month of thanks, I want to begin by thanking you for all of the amazing blessings in my life. 

Thank you for this home-- much nicer than I ever hoped for and after a forced renovation is starting to have some style and to feel like something I've crafted myself; a reflection of our family.  Everything except those pairs of Graham's underpants I found crammed behind the entertainment center. 

Thank you for my sweet big boys who, despite a burgeoning problem with de-pantsing each other in public, surprise me and warm my heart every day.  Cael has such a quirky sense of humor and makes me laugh every day.  Graham is quick to remind me how much he loves me and how he thinks I'm beautiful even when I have no makeup on and no one has told me that I have chunks of egg in my hair.

Thank you for my littlest one.  So many years went by without the idea of him, and now that he is here I cannot imagine my life and our family without him and his digestive pyrotechnics.  My love for him is just as explosive (but probably less smelly).

But what's on my heart today is my husband.  Thank you for providing me with someone who works tirelessly to provide for me.  Thank you for encouraging him to teach our children about You and how to be smart, respectful men.

But God... please put a stop to this No Shave November thing!

Last year, what began as No Shave November ended with my husband, six months of beard and mustache growth, a handful of little girls' multicolored rubber hair bands, and TOTAL EMBARRASSMENT. 

Lord, I pretended not to notice when he quietly shaved his goatee on November 1st.

I looked the other way when his razor sat unused for a week. 

I shook my head when Cael and Graham sang a song about butt-cheeks for 17 minutes straight yesterday.  (That may have been unrelated, but I'm not counting it out.)

But without the impending birth of another child to use as leverage, I fear this may be the impetus for my husband to begin transitioning into a Duck Dynasty sub-character. 

Just so you are aware, (as I'm sure you already are) I have explored the possibility that I am being smited in some way for my bad decisions if the past.

Is this happening because I had bangs in fifth grade?  (I know that was wrong.)

Is this happening because I would not allow our boys to be named Crosby?  (I still won't apologize for that.)

Whatever the reason, I ask for your forgiveness and pray that, after November 30th, You will move Joel's heart (and hands) to shave his face.  I think even Jesus might have liked smooth skin for Christmas.


PS- Is there such a thing as "Dazzling Diamonds for your wife December??"

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Rated-G Halloween

It feels as though Mother Nature flipped the seasonal switch as we set our clocks back.  All of the corn and bean fields have been harvested, leaving behind brown dirt to match gray skies that scream "November".  Where did fall go? 

I think we scared it off.  These two are pretty fearsome.

They didn't think so, of course.  It wasn't until about halfway through trick-or-treating in near arctic tempuratures that Cael made an observation I was hoping would never come.

"Wait, Mom-- am I supposed to dress scary on Halloween?  My costume isn't scary.  It's never been scary!"

Great.  Goodbye pumpkin, monkey, garden gnome, train conductor, Iron Man, doctor and baseball player.  Now I get to usher in a parade of partially decomposed pumpkins, monkeys, garden gnomes, train conductors, Iron Men, doctors and baseball players.  Or maybe I'll get lucky and he will simply waste his money on the iconic mask from "Scream" that at least 25 other elementary school kids donned last Friday night despite being way too young to understand the reference.  I hope I never have to have that conversation.

"You see Cael, 'Scream' was a blockbuster film that seamlessly bridged the gap between the horror genre and mainstream films.  It also shocked viewers to see Drew Barrymore, a high profile actress, killed off in the beginning of the movie before there was any opportunity for character development.  The mask with the characteristic dropped-jaw was worn by the killer who, in a somewhat expected move, turns out to be one of their own.  Special mention goes to 'I Know What You Did Last Summer', a similar movie that had the unfortunate luck of entering theaters shortly after 'Scream' and not being able to live up to the hype despite prominently featuring Jennifer Love Hewitt's large chest."

In reality, I simply changed the subject.  When Cael mentioned wanting to be a zombie next year, I discussed the merits of Crunch bars with Graham.  When he pondered how to transform himself into a giant sword, I pretended to tie my shoe.  And when Cael finally settled on being a "dead cloud", I pretty much did nothing, because that's not even a thing.  In fact, I'd kind of like to see him try.

We rushed through the candy heist as quickly as possible and came home to eat some dinner and begin the painful process of rationing the Halloween candy while I finished carving our pumpkins.  Just last year we spent several days planning our jack-o-lanterns, slowly crafting them to ensure accuracy, and then toasting the seeds for a well-rounded and festive Halloween experience. 

Then I had a baby.  This year the pumpkins didn't get done until after trick-or-treating was over and the porch light was off.  I know they still had a good time, so I tried not to beat myself up about it, but I've always worked to create memorable experiences for the kids and I hate when I fall short.  I can only imagine how late they would have been done if I had four kids instead of three. 

Now THAT'S a scary thought.

Here's to the end of an era.  At least there will still be peanut butter cups.