Wednesday, August 27, 2008

A Twist on a Fairy Tale

Keaton's class is reading The Three Bears, The Three Little Pigs, and Little Red Riding Hood in their current unit. On the way home today, he was telling me all about Little Red Riding Hood, which they read today, complete with different voices for Red and the Big Bad Wolf. "Stay on the path," he warned in his creepiest voice. It was SO cute. And you know I loved my child loving stories!

When there was a lull in his retelling of the story, I asked him, "What did Little Red Riding Hood do when she found the wolf?"

He took a deep breath and explained, "Well, that man came. I mean, she went and got that man. And that man got his gun and then PAM! He killed that wolf! And the he got his knife and cut him open. Yeah! Isn't that funny?"

Now, the Brothers Grimm version does have something like this occurring at the end because the grandmother who had been swallowed whole jumps out of the wolf's belly. I'm certain that's what they're reading at school. However, Keaton didn't care too much about why the wolf was cut open.

And I might be a little afraid that he thought it was so funny. I think I see therapy in our future.

Monday, August 25, 2008


Keaton has recently become obsessed with babies. Not only does he continue to talk about his imaginary sister, he's started asking Trey if we can have another baby. More specifically, he asked the other day, "Daddy, can we please go buy another baby because I not a baby anymore."

Tonight, he got 3 blankets out of the hall closet and rolled them into little balls. Then he carried them around the house introducing them as his babies. The white one is apparently his sister.

When he saw that I was taking his picture with his babies, he quickly started giving directions, "Take my picture with this one. It's smiling." And then he (and the little blanket baby, I suppose) struck a pose for me.

He told me all about these little ones, including how they like to run fast. "See?" he explained as he held the blankets and ran laps around the couches as fast as his little legs would carry him.

At some point he asked me to hold one of the babies, so I did. Two or three minutes later he was running laps with one of the others when he stopped dead in his tracks. Appalled, he gasped, "Did you throw that baby on the ground?" I told him I didn't and held up my little bundle of joy (haha). Apparently he couldn't see the baby from where he was standing, and when he learned that the blessed infant was safe and sound he let out a grateful sigh.

The babies also like to ride in choo-choo trains and in Pop's Polaris. Keaton said I could ride in the choo-choo with them, but I would have to stay home when they ride the Polaris because there wasn't enough room for me. Here he is conducting his blanket baby choo-choo train, with the babies tucked carefull into their seats on the couch.

This is how different my boys are. Tucker's teacher emailed me today to let me know he was having a great day (an advantage to working in the district). Here's what it said:

"I just wanted you to know that Tucker is having a really, really good day. He seems so happy and has made new friends already. He was cracking me up this morning. We read A Kissing Hand about a raccoon named Chester. Then we went on a "hunt" for Chester around the school so the students would be familiar w/ various people and places around the school. Tucker did not fall for it. He knew it wasn't real but was a good sport anyway. He's too smart for me. :) I am enjoying him."

Tucker must make it clear that he knows the raccoon isn't real. Keaton is at home making babies out of blankets and taking them on train rides.

PS - No, there are no plans for another baby around here. This is not, I repeat NOT, a hint of any kind. We just started sleeping all night last week...

Tucker's First Day of Kindergarten

Well, we made it. Tucker's first day of kindergarten was a great milestone for our family. Tucker was so excited this morning! We left to walk him to school at 7:20, and I cried most of the way there and home. Tucker, on the other hand, wasn't the slightest bit fazed. Here he is ready to go:

And here he is walking to school. He was so excited he almost left us!

And finally, the picture that makes me cry even tonight. There goes my baby - ready to take on the world.

I am so proud of the little boy he's turned into. I can't believe he's really old enough to go to school.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Ready for Day One...

First, these are my beautiful babies:

Every Sunday, our church has a little children's sermon where the kids go to the front of the church and sit on the floor next to the pastor. It's usually a kid version of the day' grown-up sermon. When Tucker was little, his cousin Tiffany always took him. Then when Keaton got big enough to go, Tucker started taking him and Tiffany was relieved of her duty.

Only this little arrangement worked for just a short time - long enough for Tucker to decide he was too grown up to do anything Keaton was little enough to do. It's not really a big deal that Tucker doesn't want to be Keaton's escort - Keaton is more than happy to skip, jump, race, flip his way to the front of the church all by himself. However, we want Tucker to attend the children's sermon, so we turn it into a big brother responsibility thing and send him as Keaton's escort as often as we can convince him to go.

If you're a regular attendee at our church, you likely see Tucker Hickman each week, hauling his brother Keaton down to the front of the church by his elbow. Tucker marches toward his objective with focus and determination. He just needs to get Keaton to the front and seated without causing too much of a raucous. Keaton, on the other hand, is scanning the crowd, flashing his smile at his fans, offering a wave or two, and (I'm convinced) plotting to run up to the top of the steps at the front of the church and jump all the way down to the bottom. I'm quite grateful this hasn't happened yet, but I still hold my breath each week.

Today at church, they had all of the new kindergartners bring their backpacks up to the front for a blessing, so Tucker was tasked with walking all the way to the front of the church by himself. We talked about it with him several times (he does better when he knows what to expect), and I must say that Tucker handled himself like a champ. If he was nervous, he didn't let it show at all. Here's a picture of him at the front receiving his blessing:

And here is a picture of him receiving his CUMC backpack tag to remind him that even though mom and dad can't go to school with him, God can and will:

Naturally I sobbed throughout the blessing, thinking about my baby being old enough to go to kindergarten. He's really something. When we met his teacher the other night, he acted like it was no big deal - Mr. Cool. I am not worried at all about him tomorrow at school. He's nerdy like me - made for school. I love it so much I still go every day at 31 years old for goodness sakes!

We've talked to him about how important it is that he's nice to everyone. We've explained that even if the other kids are being rude or ugly to someone, he should be the example and show them the proper way to treat others. Of course, he responded to us with an annoyed "I know."

So tonight Keaton is spending the night with his Mimi and Papa so that we can walk Tucker to school and I can still get to my school on time. After all the blessings and backpacks Keaton was very proud to have his own special backpack for his overnight stay:

As we tucked Tucker (hehe - that's funny) in tonight, out of nowhere he let out a squeal. "Tomorrow!" he screeched, his eyes shining.

Yes, I'm certain I'll cry. But I think I'll shed my tears and go on about my day excited to hear about his day. I know it will be everything he hopes for and more. Happy First Day of School!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

The Children are Coming!

Thursday night on the news I saw a former student. Justin was arrested for allegedly breaking into a house to steal some weed, and I'm fairly certain the newscaster said something about an AK-47. It was kind of heartbreaking.

I remember when Justin walked in my class on the first day of my teaching career. He sat next to a boy named Dustin, and they switched names on me. Dustin told me he was Justin and Justin told me he was Dustin and I was none the wiser. Isn't that clever? I can't believe they thought that up!

If you know about my brilliant skills in the art of name-learning you won't be surprised to know that I didn't really have them straight until January. (There was a Geoff and a Greg who did that to me a few years later, and so I purposely interchanged their names for the rest of the year as my own personal retribution.) As far as pranks go, it was harmless and contributed to quite a few laughs over the next two years whenever I saw him and had to think twice about his name.

Anyway, Justin was a great kid from the wrong side of the tracks. I'm pretty sure we had it out a couple of times, but always quietly in the hallway away from the audience of teenagers where we would have had to fight over our dignity as well as our "rightness." Like most of my kids, he was always very forgiving, and like family we could move right on from a bad day like it never happened.

Looking at Justin's mug shot plastered on the news wasn't shocking (his peer group and background had him halfway to jail before he was 12), but it was still a little sad. I know that he has it in him to be a good guy. I saw it five years ago and I don't think something like that just goes away.

It hit home that in the midst of this week - the craziest staff development marathon on record - I was really getting ready for some new Justins. Kids with good hearts who just can't seem to head in the right direction. My job, besides teaching reading and writing and TAKSing, is mostly to point. Sometimes I'll have to walk ahead and motion them to catch up. Sometimes I'll have to get behind them and start kicking. The pointing won't always work, but sometimes it will.

The idealistic part of me really hopes that Justin will think of all the people who love and believe in him (including me) and remember what it's like to have good choices and to choose them.

So I'm writing this here to remember what it was like to see Justin on the news. One of my babies. I am so lucky to have these kids at an age when they're choosing a direction. I have to do my best to send them the right way, and my best has to keep getting better. What a responsibility, privilege, and gift.

Bring on the kids!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

An Ordinary Day

Today wasn't awful, nor was it good. It just was.

Every now and then I need a really bad day. It gives me the opportunity to rise to the occasion, laugh at myself, and realize that the small things really don't matter so much. Every great once in a while I need to wake up late, forget to iron my clothes, get stuck in traffic, not have enough copies for my first class, crash my computer irreparably, forget my lunch money, lose my keys several times, have the wrong copies for my last class, forget a meeting. I guess you get the picture.

On days like that I just have to laugh at myself. It doesn't take long for every little thing going wrong to become ridiculous and just plain funny. A good ol' bad day every once in a while is a little refreshing.

But today was just a day - gray, middle of the road, average. A day where some things went wrong. Some things got done. Some things had to be put off until tomorrow. Just a day. And it was painful.

So I came home grouchy, changed my clothes, and met the boys in the driveway. Our carpets were cleaned today, and we decided to keep the boys out of the house a little while longer by going out to dinner. (It had nothing to do with the fact that I never cook anything.)

We had a great time at Mr. G's Pizzeria. The boys were very well behaved, the pizza was delicious, and, of course, there was Mr. G stopping by our table to pat the boys on the head and tell Keaton to sit down. Trey turned to me at some point and said, "We should come here more often, this place is so nice."

On the way out, Tucker looked up at the sign and read (yes! he read this all by himself!) "Mr. G's World's Best Pizza." I was so proud! We made a stop at Home Depot, and as we drove down the highway we passed one of Tucker's favorite places - Grand Station Entertainment. He asked, "What does entertainment mean?" So we talked about the word and what could be classified as entertainment.

Our last stop was Maggie Moos for ice cream. There, Tucker read the security sign, "Protected (I had to help with that word) by On Alert." Then he said, "What does alert mean?" And we talked about the meaning of the word.

Each time Tucker read some word or phrase that I had no idea he could decipher, I was not only impressed, but inspired! Reading has opened up his world to new words and meanings. I was reminded that this is what I get to do every day - help kids find new expression through language and reading.

Then we got home and the boys discovered the living room empty of furniture. It was like a theme park! They danced, jumped, flipped, played tag - it was quite a fight to get them to get in the bath. After they slowed down a little Tucker looked around and said, "I don't think we should eat or drink in the living room anymore so that this carpet can stay clean like this." (That's my twenty year old in a five year old's body. Tomorrow is Meet the Teacher for kindergarten. I can only hope his teachers know what they've gotten themselves into.)

What's the point of this scattered, somewhat disorganized diatribe? When I left school today I was just foul. No real reason - I was frustrated and out of patience. Then I came home to be reminded of not only what's really good in life - my family, but also why I love going to work every day.

I think all the time about what I need to do for my kids - make lunches, give baths, and on and on. Today I was reminded of all they do for me.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Shoe Confessions

Anyone want to guess how many pairs of shoes I own? Anyone?

Let me start by saying that Trey reminds me quite often of the fact that when we got married I had three pairs of shoes - black dress shoes, brown dress shoes, and tennis shoes. I was poor, just out of college, and had not yet discovered the joy of footwear.

Then somewhere along the way I realized that everything looks better with fabulous shoes. The perfect 3 inch, spike heeled, pointy-toe shoe gives you power. The exact color turqoise of a favorite blouse mimicked in a shoe says, "I am a put-together kind of person" (whether I really am or not). My Aggie crocs say that I have a beautiful yard and I worked hard for it.

I love shoes with personality. Shoes that look like something a little old lady would wear are kind of fun and silly. Shoes with the right kind of heel serve as a warning against attackers - careful, or I might remove my heel and kill you with it! Shoes are just plain exciting. I particularly love unusual, fabulous shoes.

So the floor of my closet has looked like it belongs to a person with a shoe problem. I haven't been able to reach in and grab a pair of shoes for months. In fact, when I need to wear a particular pair, I just find one of them and then send one of the boys into the abyss to hunt down the other one. Like our own little son/mommy diva match game. How sweet.

Today I finally bought a shoe rack and got organized. I threw away five pairs of shoes that were completely worn out (those won't be included in the total you see later). I matched up all of the keepers and placed them neatly side by side. It's a glorious vision, truly it is.

And then I counted. Just for grins, I mean. I was curious. Exactly how many shoes are there? How far have I come from the person with three pairs?

The answer: too far. The number of shoes I own is kind of repulsive. I could wear a different pair of shoes each day for over a month and never repeat. I cringe at the thought of the money I've spent on those shoes. It's a little sickening.

But I love them. I am that shallow. Ugh. It's a sad thing to notice about yourself. Shallowness. Materialism. Shoe obsession. I hope I'll have the sense to think twice before I buy another pair. They should at least be on sale and so incredible that even a clueless old guy would notice them and comment on their insane fabulousness.

Along those lines, but different lines, Trey has job prospects. He has an offer he has not officially accepted yet, and things around here are about a billion times less tense than they were last week, so thanks for all your kind words and prayers.

Something like losing a job really makes you think about what you spend your money on. Trey and I 0ften joke that we eat most of our money. I don't cook, so if food isn't microwave-ready we have to get it at a restaurant. Now I'll have to say that I eat and walk on our money. Hmmm...that's a little sad, isn't it. I think I'm feeling convicted here.

Anyway, what's my number? Forty-six. I own forty-six pairs of shoes, that's not including the five pair that I trashed today because they were worn out. That's ninety-two individual shoes. From three to forty-six pairs in just under eight years. Ridiculous, isn't it?

Now go to your closet and count. You know you want to!

Friday, August 15, 2008


This morning we were all eating our cereal and watching a recorded American Gladiators, just like any other morning. We were talking about our Gladiator names all yesterday night, and my name is The Storm.

So this morning The Storm was competing on American Gladiators. I said (as is our custom), "There I am!"

When the contender fell down, Keaton said "You fell down, Mommy."

"No, I'm the Gladiator," I said.

Then the contender fell again.

"You fell again, Mommy," Keaton announced.

Trey didn't hear him, so he said, "What?"

Keaton clarified, "Mommy fell two "gins." seemed funnier when it happened...

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Allergy Testing

On Tuesday, we finally broke down and had Tucker tested for allergies. The five and a half years leading up to this moment were filled with many allergy-related conversations, including:

Old women stopping me in Walmart to say "Honey, I think he might have chicken pox."

Different old women stopping me in the grocery store to say, "Look at his skin! You should really try putting some lotion on him!"

And, most recently, well-meaning mommies at Vacation Bible School (the hell that it was) bringing him to me during my only break because he had "hives," offering to give him the benadryl they carried in their purses because they're good mommies, and (when they couldn't get me to freak out) convincing him that he has an allergy to nuts and can never have m&ms again.

I suppose it was VBS that broke this camel's back because suddenly I realized that with Tucker starting kindergarten, I no longer control his environment. There will be substitute teachers, parent volunteers, and older know-it-all kids who will diagnose Tucker's skin condition and convince him of various leprosy-like maladies. We had waited for him to outgrow whatever evil had inflicted his skin since birth, but now it was time to take drastic measures.

I told the pediatrician that I was ready for allergy testing, and he gladly wrote up the required referral. I soon learned that when kids are tested(maybe adults, too, I don't know) the doctor covers their backs in topical lidocaine to numb the area before they begin pin-cushioning. This was going to be okay.

So Tuesday morning came, and Trey, Tucker, and I made our way to the allergist, prepared for the 2-3 hours of testing they told us about. Tucker knew they were going to numb his back (like the dentist does to your mouth) and that they would put stuff on him to see if he was allergic.

When we arrived, they slathered the lidocaine all over his scrawny little back, wrapped him in saran wrap (no joke), then wrapped the saran wrap in gauze, then told him to put his shirt back on and wait. He was smiling and happy - this was no big deal for a guy like him.

While we waited for the numbing to kick in, we sat through the interview with the allergist, or "The Great Inquisition." We answered bullet-fired questions for a full 45 minutes as if we had been present during the murder of a Hollywood starlet.

"When did the skin problems start?"
"What have you done to treat it?"
"List everything you've ever tried to correct his skin."
"Does his nose run?"
"When he's around certain things is his skin worse?"
"Does he scratch at night?"
"Does he sleep well?"
"Does he have asthma?"
"How do you treat his asthma?"
and on and on and on and on and on.

In that office I remembered that I don't remember anything. Especially when Trey was describing a skin treatment that we tried three weeks from his second birthday on a Tuesday. His memory is ridiculous, and mine is ridiculous in a completely different way.

I didn't want to seem like the forgetful mother, so I kept throwing in the names of the medicines I knew. Trey would be explaining the 10 step process he uses to treat Tucker's skin every morning and night, and I would yell out "diprolene!" When he talked about bedtime, I'd shout "benadryl!" Trey and the allergist kept looking at me like I was crazy. I was sure at any moment they were going to ask me to go play xbox in the other room so the grown-ups could talk.

But despite my lack of knowledge about my own son, we made it successfully through the inquisition. Then the testing began. For the first round, the nurse scratched Tucker's back with about 25 different allergens, including airborne allergens and the 5 most common food allergens. He never stopped smiling, never flinched. Then she set a timer for 12 minutes and left.

Tucker and Trey played brick breaker on Trey's phone while I stared at Tucker's back. It was amazing! Most of the little red spots started to go away pretty quickly, but there were two things he was obviously very allergic to. Two tiny pin pricks turned into giant whelps. I knew one of them was eggs (because she wrote "eggs" next to it), but I couldn't tell what the other one was because it only had an "H." For 12 minutes I studied the "H." What could he possibly be allergic to that starts with h? hogs? hot tamales? herons? I couldn't figure it out!

When the timer went off and the nurse came in, I descended on her like a hawk. "What's that H one?" I asked, "He's really allergic to it."

Turns out it was the "histamine" they use for the control group. I knew that.

Round two of testing was a little more difficult as he had to lay on his stomach on the table. This time they used needles and syringes to inject allergens, and they were very careful not to let him see the needles. After about 15 shots, he caught a glimpse of one of the syringes, and he decided this wasn't such a good idea after all. So Trey and I held our baby down while some person we had just met injected him with 7 more needles. Ugh.

Then we did it again for round three. Interestingly, he only calmed down when I began to count. As long as I was counting, he was okay. When I stopped counting, he screamed "I can't talk!" When he did so I explained that he could, in fact, talk because he just said the words "I can't talk," but I'm not entirely sure he appreciated my explanation so I kept counting.

Three and a half hours after we arrived, we left with good information. Tucker has a severe egg allergy, and we immediately removed all egg products from his life. I went to the store that afternoon to do egg-free shopping.

We also learned from lung tests that he is a true asthmatic. The doctor showed us that he has the lungs of a "great athlete" because his lung capacity is 131% - he can hold 31% more air than normal people. However, one random number (the large something capacity, maybe) was at 70% of what it should be and the other random number (small something capacity) was 16% of what it should be during the first lung test. After a breathing treatment, the first number increased 17% and the second increased 70%!

So we left with 6 prescriptions, a new skin regimen, daily asthma treatment, and a little boy who had received 25 pin pricks and 30 something shots. We were surprised to see he was smiling again. If his skin clears up, this will be worth it. If he starts getting more oxygen that he didn't even know he needed, it will be even more worth it.

For the first time since he was born, we feel like his skin might actually get better. I'm so thankful! So thankful that now we're going to take Keaton.

I feel another victory, too. Nut allergy - whatever...

Monday, August 11, 2008


I am the only girl in this house. Boyness surrounds me.

Tonight I was chillin’ on the sofa at the end of our bed (a fabulous IKEA purchase), watching the synchronized diving, marveling at what appeared to be dangerously thin, smooth-shaven boys in tiny swimsuits and wondering how they felt about being semi-naked on tv. One of those guys was only 14. I am certain that there are eighth grade girls in his class who won't be able to look him in the eye when school starts. What's wrong with trunks, anyway? Are aerodynamics really that important?

I digress. As I was pondering speedos and synchronization, the boys came running into the room battling one another with foam bowling pins. They were laughing hysterically, and it was one of those moments when we really understood what it means to be brothers - a constant best friend. Trey remarked that they must have missed each other today (they'd been together every second for the last week or so), and we laughed at their shenanigans. A great family moment.

Then for some strange reason Tucker decided to lay on the bed and start kicking me in the head like he was competing in the 200 yard freestyle and I was the water he was treading. Okay, I guess I have to admit that he wasn't kicking me all that hard because he was just being silly. He was playing. But at some point he got me at just the right trajectory to hurt me.

Then I turned into a girl.

I started whining (yes, whining, I am so ashamed), "Stop kicking me!" and I looked up just in time to see Trey giggle. Giggle.

So I whined again, "Stop laughing! He's hurting me and you're laughing!" Which was clearly code for "I am the queen around this joint, and he should be crying with repentance and begging for my forgiveness by now. Why aren't you defending me against this little demon." To make sure I was communicating effectively, I also threw a foam bowling pin (that I had previously confiscated from one of the boys) at him. It was as if my arm removed itself from my body and became a slave only to my little girl hurt feelings.

Trey's giggle was immediately replaced with a shocked look that said, "What on earth just happened here and was that a bowling pin you just threw."

At which time Keaton started kicking me in the head.

Sensing impending disaster, Trey called the boys over and began giving them a stern talking to about how we don't kick Mommy. Of course, they thought this was all very entertaining and laughed the entire time.

Now I can't prove this, but I'm pretty sure Trey was communicating something else to them in a secret boy language that I don't know, something to the effect of "did you see the way you almost made that little girl cry!" And I'm pretty sure they were all laughing at me on the inside.

And before I knew it, I was psychotic. The voice that roared from inside of me was not of this earth, and I know not from whence it came. It was the yelling/crying/violent growling of a lunatic.


Tucker, who hates to get in trouble, went white. His lip quivered, and he ran from the room. Keaton, who really couldn’t care less about being in trouble, yelled back, “THEN WE’RE LEAVING!” And I’m pretty sure he tried to spit in my general direction as he stomped out after his brother. (Keaton is a very, well, "passionate" child.)

We went from a lovely family moment to demon possession and spitting in a matter of seconds.

I took a breath and realized that I had behaved badly. Tucker thought he was playing with me, and I blew fire in his face. He needed to know that he couldn’t play like that, but I may have taken it a little to the extreme.

So I came into the living room where Tucker was sitting quietly, no doubt thinking of life with a mother he was never allowed to hug or kiss again. (An unaffected Keaton was playing with his trucks in the floor.) I sat down next to Tucker and said very calmly, “When you were kicking me in the head you were hurting me. I know that you didn’t mean to, and I know that I behaved inappropriately when I yelled at you like I did. I was ugly and I’m sorry.”

I must have been forgiven because he gave me a smile and kiss. Keaton nonchalantly called out over his shoulder, “Say sorry to Mommy, Tuck.” And he did.

And such is my wonderful life. I am surrounded by boys. I got kicked in the head, laughed at, and spat upon(ish). And I apologized.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Addendum to my last post...

Trey said I made him sound better than he is. I didn't, but in the interest of reality I shall add that he leaves piles of things on the bar in the kitchen, hates to put away laundry, and often yells at other drivers. '

Better, Trey?

Saturday, August 9, 2008


Laid off. Position Eliminated. Unemployed. Ugh.

On Wednesday, Trey was blind sighted by the news that his job was being eliminated. I won't go into the particulars because it would just sound catty, but the long and short of it is that the powers that be decided that Trey's boss can now do Trey's (former) job and his own. If you ask me, the bank that shall remain nameless (because they could and would probably sue me for slander or something) can suck it (sorry, mom).

I, being the incredibly positive and supportive wife I am, cried for two days straight. For real. I kept saying I believed everything would be okay, but for some strange reason the waterfall continued. Just when I would get control of myself, I'd start bawling again. It was really kind of ridiculous. I started to think I needed some Paxil or something (wait...that might be for male pattern baldness. I needed the anxiety one. I'm getting my pharmaceutical commercials mixed up). I think I finally stopped crying sometime Friday afternoon.

See, I know - I mean I really know - that this is going to bring a blessing to us. I knew it all along, and I still know it. What I was so upset about is that I felt like they were mean to Trey. If you know him, you know he's pretty much the nicest person on the planet. I often wonder how I found this near-saint person, and how he puts up with me and my intolerance of ignorance, laziness, disorganization, and violators of personal space, just to name a few. On Wednesday, these suits in some office in some other town decided to be mean to him. It kind of broke my heart. So I cried. A lot.

But in the days following "the event" Trey got something he doesn't often get. The people around him rallied. The people in his office made him feel like the best thing that ever happened to them (work-wise anyway), and they expressed love and gratitude that people just don't give to each other every day. His family and mine surrounded him with well-wishes and honest words of confidence in him. Trey, being the fantastically spectacular person he is, has handled this thing with such grace. He has done nothing but keep his cool.

Life keeps happening even when something unexpected happens, and this weekend we went on with our plans to go to my parents and to attend my cousin's wedding. On the way home I finally asked him, "Don't take this the wrong way, but you sure have been in a good mood since you lost your job."

He didn't miss a beat: "I think it's important for me to be in a good mood now."

I agreed. After all, I fell apart for two days, so thinking he was on the edge would possibly send me over the edge and I'd likely be selling all of our clothes and dishes in a garage sale to pay bills that are not yet due while inadvertently taking male pattern baldness medication for my stress.

He continued, "I think of myself as a man of faith. This is one of those times when I have to act like it. I know that God has a plan."

The whole "God has a plan" thing is something we've often discussed in the last few days. But at that moment if there was any doubt in my mind about how faithfully my husband believed those words, it instantly vanished.

And here we are. He's been making phone calls and filling out applications and spreading the word that he's in the market for a job. Because I worked for him I can vouch for the fact that he's a pretty darn good manager of just about anything.

I think today we're excited. We're excited about the possibility of a fulfilling job where he can make a difference with the people he comes in contact with (because that's what he does best). Tucker is starting kindergarten in a few weeks, so we're going to have to get on a new schedule anyway. It seems like as good a time as any for him to start a new job. Of course, the whole getting paid thing will also be a giant plus!

So say a prayer to ask God to keep us positive and patient. And then ask Him to work quickly. (You can tell Him I added that part - He knows He hasn't given me patience yet!)

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

My real gift...

I am weird about toilet paper. Seriously.

First of all, one of the worst feelings in the world is after you've rushed to the bathroom stall at the last possible minute, finished your business, and then realized you forgot to check the toilet paper supply. Oh the horror when you find it empty! It's like going in the woods only without the leaves. You have to ask yourself if you're really brave enough to knock on the stall next to yours and ask the embarrassing question, "Can you pass some toilet paper over?" Then you have to admit that you are a neanderthal who didn't have the foresight to check the supply - an admission made to a stranger sitting on a potty. Not that it's ever happened to me.

Visiting a paperless bathroom at a person's house is just that much more horrific. If you have the foresight to check first, then you get to track down your host - no doubt in the middle of a riveting conversation with her guests about how the ten hours it took to make all of the lovely hors d'oeuvres was completely worth it to her because she knows how much everyone loves them - and you have to interrupt her to point out that in all of her domestic goddessness she didn't restock the paper. Talk about insulting. She's SO going to refill your glass with the cheap wine while you're peeing.

If you don't check for paper until it's too late, then you find out about your true self. Just how important is personal hygiene to you? Important enough to make you turn into an undercover CIA agent and scour every nook and cranny of that bathroom looking for Charmin with your pants around your knees? Important enough to use Kleenex as a poor substitute? I would argue that there are no lengths women won't go to in order to acquire TP. And God bless us for it!

Anyway, the reason I started this whole thing is because there's a hurricane coming, and I just realized that we have six rolls of toilet paper. Only six.

I should note that it's actually only a tropical storm, but a hurricane sounds much more dire. Whoever thought up the term tropical storm obviously wasn't much on word choice because it just makes me think of little pina colada rain drops falling gently on hula dancers. Definitely not anything to evacuate for - more like pull up a cocktail glass and get your groove on.

Anyway, I buy toilet paper at Sam's in giant quantities. When we get down to two of the nine roll packs, it's nearly an emergency. So the thought that the hurricane was coming and we only had six rolls, well, I was disturbed. I mean, what if it floods? We'll need every last absorbent material we can find, and six rolls just ain't gonna cut it! What if it brings with it terrible digestive diseases and Sam's and Walmart have to close because of the germs. We'll only have six rolls. I'll have to go door to door asking neighbors for toilet paper. How embarrassing!

My version of cooking usually involves frozen foods. If you look closely you'd see that I'm not that dedicated to cleaning my house. I have a reputation for ruining clothes in the laundry. Keeping insane amounts of toilet paper is my gift.

I think tomorrow I'll clean off an additional shelf in the laundry room for toilet paper. Maybe if I increase supply by two, then my chances of running so low again are reduced by half. I think I can sleep at night with those odds. I think I can.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Lazy Days of Summer

Keaton got up at 5:00 this morning and asked if he could go play outside. I pointed out that it was still dark, and so he agreed to watch Little Bill on Noggin instead. All day the boys have been so good - they've played outside (coming in often to get water, just like I suggested), they've played High School Musical on the Wii (it's really Karaoke), and they've each played all by themselves.

Keaton is especially good at entertaining himself. This afternoon he made me kiss him goodbye because he was going to work, he fed some chicken to his imaginary cows, and he even wore long pants to keep those cows from biting him!

I am going to meet a friend for dinner tonight - one I haven't seen in way too long. So I was in the bathroom getting ready at about 4:30 p.m. Keaton was sitting on the side of the bathtub putting clips in his hair and pretending to paint the cabinets with a make-up brush. I put my hair dryer away, then turned back to him. This is what I found:

So naturally I got the camera, and then I went to find Tucker to show him Keaton sleeping in the bathroom floor. I guess Tucker was a little tired, too, because this is how I found him - totally zoning out:

We laughed at Keaton, and then Tucker did what any big brother would do. He covered Keaton with a blanket.

They really are sweet boys!

Saturday, August 2, 2008


Tomorrow is Trey's mom's birthday, and while I am in no way domestic, I do enjoy baking from time to time. She and I share an affinity for all things chocolate, so tonight I was working on a chocolate cake for her big day tomorrow. After I mixed the batter, I went to the other counter to grease and flour the pans. I turned around and saw Keaton - in his usual perch on the bar - hogging out on cake batter. I tried to hide my laughter and sent him a scolding look instead. To which he responded, "I not gonna eat it all, Mommy. I promise. I just testing it to make sure I wike it." Then a pause. Then "I guess it's pretty good." I should also note that he refused to put on his pajamas tonight, so he's only wearing his bedtime pull-up. I guess I'm lucky he has that much on!