Thursday, July 31, 2008

Treat Yourself

Is there anything better on a hot summer night than licking a popsicle?

My boys sure don't think so!

What's your favorite summertime treat?

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Heavy heart

I have been thinking a lot about the heart these past few days: how much love a mommy's heart can hold for her unborn child, how much our hearts ache when a crisis strikes, and how we all search for friends who share their hearts with us. I am choosing to post these thoughts because my own heart has been consumed by the trials of another mother and her unborn baby's condition since Saturday. It doesn't matter that I have never met this mommy in person; I have shared silly puns with her, related to her stories of her three children, and smiled at her tremendous attitude through adversity. She has been courageous enough to continue sharing her heart through her blog, even though she is hospitalized and awaiting a miracle for her unborn baby. Since I originally found her blog last year through a prayer request of another favorite blog of mine, I thought it only fitting to do the only thing I can: ask that you consider including her in your own thoughts, prayers, and, of course, hearts.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Shameless Husband Plug

So, besides being the most wonderful husband on the face of the earth, my spouse is also a total movie buff who can remember more about a movie he saw twenty years ago than I can remember about my agenda yesterday. However, he's not just a great film source, he also is a writer by trade, and a darn good one at that (no bias; I promise). I could argue that one of the main qualities that attracted me to my husband was his prose. Yes, I know I am a dork (didn't you read this post?!?), but when my then-major-crush wrote me letter after letter with total grammatical correctness, I knew I had found my soulmate. No one that married me would use a preposition at the end of a sentence or commit a comma splice. So, why am I so profusely touting my husband's writing abilities and film knowledge?

Well, because my husband has been terribly supportive of my rather new extra-curricular activity of blogging, now I need to return the favor.

While most of you reading this are women, most of you also have husbands and children. And lots of husbands (and children) like to watch movies. And if you are anything like us, you don't have much time to waste on movies that are sub-par. My husband's new blog to the rescue! His blog is dedicated to fathers who like movies, but have very little time to watch. He reviews children's movies and also movies that go beyond the rating of "G" for parents. And while it is aimed at the father figure, anyone can enjoy this blog. He even makes a special point in each review to address whether kids and moms will like the film as well.

So, what are you still doing reading this? Hop on over to FilmFather and see for yourself. And leave a comment so he knows you were nice enough to visit while you're at it.

We now return to our regularly scheduled blog. :)

Saturday, July 19, 2008

I [still] do

I remember it like it was yesterday. I was sitting on the floor of my dorm room writing while three of my sorority sisters were chatting at the end of our junior year. Sensing my exclusion from the group, one of my friends asked in a semi-accusatory tone, "Kristin, what are you doing?!? Are you sending him a card?" I admitted I was, but we all knew I had a serious crush on him, and he was graduating from college, which is a big deal. The laughter ensued. I retorted in my best fake-serious voice, "Well, I will send him this card, and then he will have my address, and then he will write me a letter to thank me, and then I will write him back, and then we will stay in touch and start dating, and then we will get married and have children and live happily ever after." I smiled, proud of myself. And then, the real laughter ensued.

But you know what? I am still having the last laugh, because -- believe it or not -- that is exactly what happened.

And on our anniversary, eleven years after we said our vows, he is still my biggest crush, my best friend, my everything. And I feel so humbled that he still feels the same way about me.

And they lived happily ever after....

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Our Blog-Neglected Daughter

I'll bet some of you who have been reading my blog didn't even know we have a little girl. She arrived just months after we were married because I told my husband that we just had to adopt as soon as we found a place to live. She will be turning eleven years old in a few weeks, and she rarely backtalks, fights with her brothers, or complains about her dinner choices. She also has been a great sleeper and was potty-trained when she was only weeks old. Isn't she gorgeous (and fluffy)?

Her birthname is Bumpkin (we got her out in the country), but we have referred to her as "Boo Boo Kitty" (a' la Shirley from the sitcom Laverne and Shirley) ever since I can remember. She is a purebred Persian whose owners apparently didn't believe she was "show quality," so we lucked out and she moved in with us at about nine weeks old. She and I are the only girls in the house, and like me, she is very girly. We joke that she should be frolicking around the house in a tutu, except -- also like me -- she is a bit on the klutzy side for a cat. She weighs a mere six pounds, and my best guess is that two of those pounds are purely fur.

Like most Persians, she is a quiet kitty who only meows her sweet "mew" when she is happy or wanting a treat. She also has this amazing ability to "chirp" when she is scratched at the perfect angle under her chin, although this unique noise of affection is saved for special occasions. As a younger cat, she frequently ran down the stairs and then did a crab-like gallivant which finished in one final spectacular hop in front of us. We called it her gazelle impression, although, in all honesty, I have never seen a gazelle or any other animal put on such a performance. Lastly, Boo Boo frequently tells us that she loves us. Don't believe me? Well, I read the book 277 Secrets Your Cat Wants You to Know by Paulette Cooper and Paul Noble soon after we adopted our little girl, and I learned something I had never known about all the cats I loved growing up: Cats communicate their contentment, friendship, and love by blinking at another creature. It is a very slow, intentional, deliberate blink, so it is easy to see. I tried blinking at her immediately after reading that passage, and she blinked back! Now it has become habitual for us to blink at each other, and she blinks at my husband as well. (I once got a fearful cat down the steps of my dad's house by patiently blinking at her every so often. It sounds a bit silly, but it works!)

But as I said, Boo Boo will be eleven in a few weeks, and she is now a "senior cat" as our veterinarian informed us. And maybe her age is to blame for her forgetfulness, because she has been "forgetting" to go to the bathroom in her litter box and chooses to go on the carpeting in the hallway or on the carpeting in our master bedroom. (Sidenote: she has had blood and urine tests and has been declared totally healthy! So, this is a behavioral issue and thankfully not a health problem.) We have moved litter boxes to her chosen places, we have had our carpets professionally cleaned with animal deterrent, and my husband has used every cat product known to man (some more costly than others) to keep her from continuing this nasty habit to no avail. We finally gave in and paid for a prescription of anti-anxiety medication for her (the vet said this often helps), but she foamed at the mouth for several minutes after barely tasting it. We have since paid for another medication that can be inserted in her ears, but when my husband and I saw the rubber gloves and the child warnings, we became a bit skeptical.

Finally, if it isn't enough that our two-year-old human child is now in a clingy stage, for the past several months now, Boo Boo has chosen her perfect sleeping spot out of all five bedrooms and various other rooms: on top of my head on my pillow. Trust me; we have tried to move her. My wonderful husband has even attempted to put her on his head on his pillow. Nope. I tried the child sleep techniques like saying nothing and moving her out of my bed right away, and she simply does not tire of jumping back up (and at one point, she actually hissed, which I have only seen her do twice in her life). Anyway, I am more tired than usual. And my husband is more tired than usual of cleaning cat pee out of carpets.

But we do love our little Boo Boo dearly. She is our sweet, furry little daughter. However, if you know of any cat whisperers, please send them our way (or if you have any tricks, pass them along, too!). I guess we should look on the bright side: at least one of our sons isn't peeing on the carpet and sleeping on my head, right?!?

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Math Lesson

One five-year-old son...

PLUS one decorative glass stone...

MINUS logical thinking...

EQUALS one trip to the children's hospital...

PLUS several X-rays, which (thankfully)...

DIVIDE our worries, but...

MULTIPLY our bathroom chores.

And how did you spend your weekend?

UPDATE: Thanks for the concern, everyone. Peanut is, in fact, okay. He doesn't know why he swallowed the glass stone, but I doubt he will do that again. After complaining of a stomachache and passing on his dinner, he soon passed something else. We (and by "we," I mean "my husband") located the object and disposed of it (much to our son's chagrin who wanted to save it as a souvenir).

P.S. Don't forget to vote in my new survey.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008


Recently, Peanut was watching Chicken Little in the living room while I was in the kitchen. All of the sudden, I heard him say, "Eeeeeew! Gaa-ross!" Knowing we had both seen this film enough times to recite the lines and also knowing there was nothing remotely gross in it, I thought maybe something had gone awry in the other room. When I came in, this is what I saw:

I can't believe it is beginning already! Of course, I had to ask, "Why is that gross? They are animals!" to which he responded, "Eeeew! Kissing is gross!" I couldn't leave well enough alone, and I reminded him, "You kiss me all the time." Then I saw the little wheels in his head turning. Hmmm. Is anyone surprised that he isn't giving kisses as freely now? Good one, Mommy.

A few minutes later, he added, "I don't really like girls." I laughed and named some of his friends who are girls, and then I said, "And I'm a girl." He made a face, thought for a second, and then said, as he walked upstairs, "But you're not a real girl."

Sigh. My first baby is growing up!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Number your papers 1 through 10...

I realize that this is no fair, and that is precisely why I hesitated in posting it. But then I thought, well, wouldn't people expect me to earn a 100% on a spelling test? It's funny because, as you probably know, there are actually no spelling classes for English majors in college (or in graduate school, I can attest). But my students believe that I should spell every word perfectly, know every definition in the dictionary, and explain each word's part of speech without referring to the context of the sentence. When I tell them that there are no classes for those subjects, they are taken aback. "But how do you learn that stuff to be an English teacher?" they want to know. Well, kids, it's a little thing called responsibility. Before I was ever a teacher, spelling, vocabulary, and grammar (and reading, and writing, and music, and...) were all important to me, so, like most of you probably did, I took responsibility for my education and looked up the answers to my curious questions (and watched a whole lot of School House Rock). I know that is a ridiculous theory to accept, but when I was in school, we actually didn't blame our schools, our teachers, our parents, or our society for our intellectual gaps; we blamed (gasp!) ourselves. So, I guess I should be proud that I am a pretty good speller, because I have always been interested in correct spelling, especially since no one ever knew how to spell my first or last names correctly when I was growing up. I suppose that is why I became more conscious of the importance of accurate spelling when I often was referred to on papers, programs, and yearbooks as "Kristen," "Christine," "Christian," "Kristina," or my favorite--in the newspaper, no less--"Krisitian." Maybe instead of blaming my parents, I should thank them for my name because I became acutely aware of all of the spelling possibilities in the world as a result. Who knows; if they had named me Jane, maybe I would be walking through life with spelling apathy.

Disclaimer: I am quite aware that many people are not good spellers, and many of those "not-good spellers" are very intelligent people. I actually think that many people who don't spell well have extremely creative minds. Supposedly, Einstein was dyslexic and therefore had lots of spelling difficulties. My own dad, one of the smartest people I will ever meet, once sent me a care package which listed "chocklat" as one of the contents. So I hope my comments were read with the appropriate amount of sarcasm intended.

But Wait! There's more! Now, you know you want to take the above quiz and report your score back to us in the comments link. I promise that I will not: a) judge you, b) laugh at you, or c) put any red marks on your paper. And I also promise that, whatever your score, I have seen (much!) lower. Come on; it's fun!

Now, I have to climb down off of this metaphoric soap box and go do something watch "Conjunction Junction" for the millionth time. Sing it with me: "Conjunction junction, what's your function...."

P.S. Wanna know my two biggest spelling pet peeves as a teacher? 1) A lot. Two words, people! 2) Definitely. Most of my students spell it defanitely or definately. But they also confuse the spelling with defiantly. One of my scholars once wrote, "I am defiantly smarter than most kids my age." Hmmm...if you say so. :)