Friday, April 23, 2010

Happy Disputed Birthday, Willy S.

This post will definitely solidify my standing as a big fat nerd, as I am posting a Happy Birthday shoutout to a long deceased English playwright.  But, what can I say?  Well, my good friend, Sammy, puts it best:

"Shakespeare knew the human mind, and its most minute and intimate workings, and he never introduces a word, or a thought, in vain or out of place; if we do not understand him, it is our own fault."  -Samuel Taylor Coleridge

 (This bobblehead was given to me by one of my students last year.  I love it with every fiber of my being.)

In honor of the man of the day, I give you my favorite sonnet.  If you've ever seen Sense and Sensibility, this is the sonnet Maryanne quotes as she laments the loss of her Willoughby.

Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove:
O no! it is an ever-fixed mark
That looks on tempests and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wandering bark,
Whose worth’s unknown, although his height be taken
Love’s not Time’s fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle’s compass come:
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom.
   If this be error and upon me proved,
   I never writ, nor no man ever loved.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Eli Flying the Friendly Skies - 14 Months

So, I'm probably going to write this every month now, but oh em gee,  you change at phenomenal rates.  Just when I think I've mastered Eli, version 1.1, you present this whole new operating system, which is faster, slimmer, has better gaming and is equipped with wi-fi. 

 (I heart ketchup...on everything)

One of the biggest events this past month, aside from your ever expanding vocabulary, is your first plane ride.  We took a plane out to see your great-grandpa this past month.  Now, I have to tell you, I was envisioning crying, writhing, screaming, arrests, detainment, trials, appearances on Larry King, our story appearing for the first time on Oprah, etc.  Why do I worry?  Tell me.  Does the Lord not take care of everything?  You were AMAZING!  People would stop at our seats as we were de-planing to praise your amazing awesomeness.  You did better than some adults on the plane.  You were great!

Now, let's talk about your personality and how much fun it is.  If I were your age and we went to the same playground, we would totally be best friends.  I mean, you kind of are my best friend now.  What, Norman Bates?  That is not weird.  We hang out all day, every day.  You've seen my "too-lazy-to-wash-my-face-last-night-now-I-have-raccoon-mascara-under-my-puffy-7am-eyes face".  Granted, you give me this adorable double-take when you see me like that, but you still call me me mama in public even after you've seen it.  I digress.  Anyway, your personality.  You are such a ham.  I really don't know where you get it.  I mean just because I make up songs about what we're doing and your dad plays air trombone when we're driving doesn't necessarily mean you would also go the humor route.  You have this fake laugh you use when other people are laughing and you're not really sure why but you don't want to seem out of the loop so you'll just act like you get it.  It's hilarious. 

I am almost afraid to write this down for fear that it will end, but you are the most loving little boy.  You are constantly giving kisses, hugs, cuddling, etc.  I don't even have to ask for a kiss most of the time.  You will be off in your own world, praying for a tractor to drive by, when you are suddenly overcome by an urge to shower me with affection. I don't want this phase to end. But I know that probably in 13 years, you'll demand that I drop you off a block from your school so that you don't have to claim you know the woman with the "too-lazy-to-wash-my-face-last-night-now-I-have-raccoon-mascara-under-my-puffy-7am-eyes face".  And, honestly, I probably would be worried if you acted this way once your voice started changing.  But I'm loving the fact that you are such a snuggle-bug right now.  You can almost blow kisses, but you get distracted half way through and just start sticking your hand in your mouth. 

 (snuggling with Uncle Jason)

It's so amazing to me that even though you don't have an extensive vocabulary, you still understand what we're saying to you.  When we tell you to put something back, you do it (unless you get distracted and put it in your mouth).  When we tell you to go get your pacifier, you find one of your many hiding spots and bring it to us (side note: I found one of your pacifiers in the fridge the other day.  Eli, are you sleep-snacking again?).  You know what we mean when we say "bath time", "diaper", "go bye-bye", "bed time", "Thomas video", "grandma/grandpa", "eat", "high chair", "Wheel of Fortune", etc., etc. 

And your vocabulary is ever-expanding.  At this point, you can say (do you want to sit down, b/c I am going to write every word you can say): mama, dada, ball, yum, good, good job, car, truck, dog, keys, gama/gampa, that, and shoe.  When we're driving somewhere, you are in the backseat making sure that we are aware of the cars and trucks that are also on the road. 
  (watch out ladies)
Along with being fascinated by cars, you are obsessed with our car keys.  You take our keys and put them in and out of your shopping cart (the toy you hand picked).  You put them in the shoe basket, in the seat cushions, in your toy chest, etc.  My favorite hiding spot was when I found them in my rain boots.  You've also taken to removing all your toys from the toy basket or all the shoes from the shoe basket or all of your books from the book basket so that you can put them back.  You love stacking things in like-piles and then putting them back (for the most-part) in their proper location.  A son after his mother's OCD heart. 

 (stacking your books on top of dad)
I know this post is reaching Tolstoy length, but I have one more thing that you've started doing this past month.  Climbing.  You have the upper-body strength of one of those pommel horse gymnasts.  You pulled yourself up onto your activity table and then tried climbing onto the TV stand thingy.  You can get up onto the coffee table.  You can almost pull yourself up onto our couch and chair.  I'm pretty impressed.  But with climbing comes falling, which you also love to do.  You like to perch yourself on the arm of our big chair and fall into your kick-and-crawl aquarium tunnel.  Actually, fall and then roll.  It takes 10 years off of my life. 
 I am constantly blown away by the changes that take place with you every day.  I keep expecting to wake up one morning and find you making coffee and yelling at the t.v because Matt Lauer is making some thoughtless remark.  You are getting so big so fast.  I am so blessed that I get to spend my days with you watching you make new discoveries, learn new words, climb new furniture.  I hope you're having as much fun as I am.  If not, I guess I can foot the bill for your future therapy. 

Monday, April 19, 2010

Eli: Version 1.1

So, technically you turned 13 months 2 weeks ago a month ago; but, honestly, my writing muse has been on vacation.  Not sure if she's going to come back.  I would sit down to write you a letter and my mind would go blank.  I wrote a couple sentences but erased them due to their dumb-sounding factor.  I want my letters to you to be sincere and well-written, not just something I whip out of my wee brain on the fly.  So, here it is.  Your 13 and 1/2 month 13 + 1 month letter.  Please contain your excitement.

Thirteen months has been completely different from any other month you've graced us with your presence.  That sounds completely inane, because of course you're going to continue to develop and each month will be different.  But this month was so different from your previous twelve months that I feel you turned into a little boy overnight.  You're no longer my wee baby.  You want to do things on your own.  Explore things on your own.  Eat without me feeding you.  You're even getting too big for me to rock without you getting uncomfortable.  (Don't worry, that weeping you hear is just from my, um, allergies.)

From the minute you wake up to the minute you go to sleep, you are constantly moving.  We are currently in talks with the government to figure out a way to harness your energy for the good of the environment.  Those EPA guys are nice.  You walk everywhere.  Ain't no mountain high enough to keep you from getting to where ever you want to go.  And where you want to go is outside.  Which I completely understand after hibernating in awake mode for the last bajillion months of winter.  I've been able to open up our front door this last month.  If I let you, you would probably stand by the screen door all day.  You love watching people walk in and out of the building, people walk by with their dogs and most of all, the lawn mowers and gators that frequent the front of our building.  You are in love with tractors.  IN LOVE!  I found a note the other day in which you asked one of them to go out with you, circle yes or no. 

Along with moving, we can now add groovin' to your kinesthetic repertoire.  You love to dance.  There doesn't even have to be music; you could hear the bass from a car passing by and you begin busting a move.  It's my favorite thing.  You get this huge grin on your face and bounce up and down and move your arms from side to side.  I've sent in your video for So You Think You Can Dance...we should hear any day now. 
You've become quite the chatter box.  I need translators to interpret, but you're definitely trying to communicate.  So far you say, "mama", "dada", "ball", "yum", and "dat" (which I think is that).  It's amazing to see you try to communicate with us.  You point to everything and say "dat, dat".  If you want milk, you go to where we keep your cups, point and say "dat, dat".  When you want me to pick you up because you hear the gator coming to pick up our trash and you have a weird fascination with seeing it, you come over to me, point outside, and say "dat, dat".  You are such a big boy. 
And big boys don't cry, right?  Right?  I believe this picture was taken after I told you "no, you can't play with those chemicals."  This picture is actually a tad misleading.  You don't really throw tantrums.  When you do, it's because you are uber-tired and are upset with who they sent home on American Idol.   I can usually distract you with a toy from your massive collection.  You do pretty well with "no".  However, now that I've put that out into the universe, you will likely start spewing green goo and rotating your head ala Linda Blair.  You're really quite a wonderful child.  You make my day every day.  I know it exists, but I cannot fathom a joy greater than this.  Now, can we talk about your static electricity infused hair do?

Sunday, April 11, 2010

30 Things I Love About My 30 Year Old Husband

Happy 20-10 Birthday to one of my favorite people in the whole world.  The WHOLE world.  There are way more than 30 things that I love about my husband, but I thought 30 would be a fitting number.
So, sit back, relax, maybe get some popcorn, turn off your phone, and enjoy this tribute to Benjamin Bruce Parker.  (Warning: Exhaustive collection of photos ahead).

1. His smile.  Have you seen it?  The kid has perfect teeth.  PERFECT!  

2. His laugh.  I love to hear Ben laugh.  It is so infectious.  
3. His unique way of accepting compliments.  He rolls his eyes very dramatically and gets this goofy grin.

4. His very deep loyalty to the Tigers.  Ben is no where near a fair weather fan.  His veins run blue and orange.

5. His sense of humor.  Ben knows how to lighten up any situation with a carefully constructed sarcastic comment or joke. 
6. His brown eyes.  Gorgeous.

7. His luxurious lashes.  He once convinced me that his eye lashes were used for a mascara commercial.  Very believable b/c any girl would kill for lashes like his.

8. His love of bathroom humor.  This is one of the reasons I knew I'd found my soul mate when we started dating. I could never be with someone in front of whom I could not break wind (loudly and/or violently).

9. His devotion to his family.  I once heard that you can tell a how a man will treat his wife by how he treats his mother.  I'm lucky to have met such a devoted son.  Ben loves his parents and his sisters.   I know he would do anything for them, as well as my family. 

10.  His easy going personality.  Ben is the yin to my yang.  While I'm in the corner breathing into a paper bag, he is totally relaxed and confident that things will work matter the situation.

11. His love for cars. Ben has reached the end of the Internet searching for cars.  He is constantly falling in love with a new vehicles.  If we owned every car Ben has wanted to buy, we would...well, we would have a lot of cars.

12. The fact that he's so young at heart.  Eli received some Duplo blocks for his birthday.  They are Ben's favorite toy. 

13.  His voice.  It's like buttah.  Have you heard him sing?  You should.
14. The way that he gets embarrassed when I sing really loud in the car or when I dance to the mall music when we're shopping together.

15. His guitar skills. That's right, ladies, he can sing and play guitar.  
16. His ability to connect with special needs kids.  I think Ben would make an amazing Special Ed teacher.  The way he loves and acts with his cousin B.J. is amazing.  He loves that kid so much.

17. His creativity.  Ben has so many out-of-the-box ideas.  He has done some great things in his job because of this ability.

18. The fact that he's a dreamer.  Ben is always optimistic about our future and where God is taking us.  He's very inspiring. 
19. His devotion to fire fighting.  Ben has gone through hours upon hours upon hours of training to work as a volunteer firefighter.  He loves his department and loves helping people.  If he's not looking at cars on the internet, he's perusing 
20.  How good he is with kids.  We have friends who have a little girl who adores Ben.  One time she lost her tooth that was supposed to go to the tooth fairy that very night.  The only thing that calmed her down is when Ben called the tooth fairy to tell her what had happened with the missing tooth, and assured the little girl that the tooth fairy would still leave something for her.  It was so sweet.  
21. His work ethic.  Ben is not a slacker and has little tolerance for people who are.

22. The fact that he has seen every episode of Friends numerous times...even though he doesn't really like Friends.

23. The way he smells.  I mean his scent, not the fact that he uses his nose.  I love it.

24. His love for travel. 

25. His insane collection of baseball hats.
26. The fact that he'll watch HGTV with me.

27. The way he takes care of me when I'm on my deathbed with a cold or something equally dramatic.

28. His adventurous spirit.  You don't get six concussions by staying inside.  Don't worry, only three or four of them have been documented.
29. He's the most incredible father.  I could write epic poetry about how wonderful he is with Eli.

30. How much he loves his Savior.  Ben strives every day to live a Christ-centered life.  I am blessed to have married a man who is so grounded in his faith.

Happy 30th Birthday, Benj.  I love you!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

And Then I Died

When I was in college, I used to get these horrible migraines once or twice a month.  I'm pretty sure they were stress induced.  Since then, I don't seem to get them as frequently; I probably have three to four a year, and they are pretty manageable.  Last night, though, the devil took up residency in my frontal lobe and poked me with his pitch fork until I wanted to die.  I have never had such a horrible migraine.  Come take a journey with me as I relive an experience that I can only liken to giving birth out of your eye.

There are probably several reasons why I had this migraine.  I think top on the list, though, is the illegal doses of sugar I ingested yesterday.  I'm serious.  I probably ate an entire bag of whopper robin's eggs...for breakfast.  Then, Ben brought me a doughnut for second breakfast.  I thought that if I drank a glass of orange juice I would be satisfying my fruit serving for the day.  My body is not used to eating so much sugar, which is crazy, because I'm pretty sure a few months ago I could have schooled Willy Wonka.  I also think the schizophrenic weather patterns had a part to play, along with a stressful week last week.

I should have known I was going to have a migraine because a little before I left for work I started seeing auras and had spots in my vision.  I'm not really sure why I didn't take anything.  I left for work with an inkling of a headache but nothing serious.  Ten minutes after I got to work, Satan began using my frontal lobe as a bass drum.  I almost left my table a couple times to go throw up, but I was able to stick it out.  It was by the grace of God that I was able to get through the very short two hours of work.

As I drove home, I sought out any bridge I could drive off of to make the pain go away.  When I got home, I whined all the way to the couch and laid there writhing.  Ben told me to take something.  I didn't have anything in my stomach, though, and was afraid taking something would make my nausea worse.  I couldn't take it, though; my head felt as if a baby was going to start crowning from my eye.  You should know that when I have a migraine, I take on this hunchback form.  It's as if standing up straight will make things worse.  So I hobbled to the kitchen and choked down some medicine.  Ten minutes later, I threw up (actually, dry heaved).  Five seconds after that I started crying.  One minute later, I crawled to my bed and asked someone to chop off my head.  There was no one in my room, so no one acquiesced.

Ben came in a little later and told me to come out and eat something.  I cried all the way out to the family room.  I sat on the couch for a minute before the sun-like brightness of our two table lamps made me want to tear my eyes out.  Also, the smell of food made things worse.  I hobbled/crawled back to my bed where I prayed for the sweet release of death.  I couldn't even lay my head on my pillow. 

Four hours later when Ben came to bed, I still had the migraine.  Still!!!  Dear God, it was horrible.  I had that migraine for seven hours.  SEVEN HOURS!!  That is longer than I was in labor.  I kept asking for an epidural, but, again, I was talking to myself.

Today, I have had a few aftershocks, but nothing bad.  It was some of the worst pain I have ever experienced.  I would not wish it on anybody.  Not even Alex Trebek, and I can't stand that guy.

Monday, April 5, 2010

"Oh Muse, Tell Me the Story..."

I have been a negligent blogger.  Honestly, I have had no inclination to write. AT.ALL.  I have a letter to Eli for his 13 month birthday sitting in my drafts; I have another draft detailing our trip to California; and I started another post about random things I think about.  All of them are half finished.  Well, Eli's is finished, but I don't like it; it's too...ummm...I don't know. 

There is this fabulous book called Bird by Bird that instructs writer's block inflicted writers to just start writing and the inspiration should come.  So, I'm just going to put together something in the hopes that my muse will take a break from sipping drinks on a beach somewhere far away and sing to me a story. 

So, I'm once again stealing borrowing Rachel's list (with some of my own modifications).  I know to following is not a best seller, but it's something.

Reading: Wild Things.  My friend, Sara gave this blessed book to me for my birthday.  I haven't read all of it, but the insight these men provide is so interesting.  Not only do I see my own son in their writing, but I see my husband.  It has compelled me to read Wild at Heart.  This book has been somewhere on my "must read" list for a while, but reading Wild Things has bumped it up the queue.  
Oh, and I'm still reading Middlemarch by George Eliot.  The book is 800+ pages, people. 

Listening: So my ipod has been sitting in the bottom of my purse for a week now without a charge.  It really is a lot of work to take it out of my purse, walk it 10 feet to my computer and charge it.  I can't even stand it.  So, I've been listening to a mixed c.d. (in my car) complete with music from Sufjan, Regina Spektor, Aqualung, Ray LaMontagne, and Van Morrison.  There is also a random Beyonce song on it...not sure what I was thinking there. 

Watching: Ben and I have been watching Seinfeld episodes (from season 5) after we've put Eli to bed the last couple nights.  Two nights ago, my sister Carol came over and we watched New Moon.  Jealous?

Cooking: Nothing.  I suck.  The last thing I made was chicken burritos.  And that was last Monday.  This past week was a bit of a challenge, and so I really had no motivation to do really anything. 
Eating: Candy.  Sweet, cavity inducing candy.  I gave up candy for Lent.  No, I'm not Catholic; I just wanted to give up something that has been a vice of mine for far too long.  So, I gave up candy.  I tried giving up sweet things all together, but about three weeks in, I felt that I might murder someone, so I bought some Little Debbie oatmeal cream pies.   (I kind of cheated with the candy thing and ate a McDonald's M&M flurry, but I mean I just count that as ice cream.) So, my mother gave us this massive Easter basket filled with candy.  Internet, I have not stopped eating from it since she gave it to us yesterday at lunch.  I had a hand full of Whopper Robin's Eggs for breakfast.  The lesson learned here: don't give up stuff.

Thinking: I should go for a run.  I haven't worked out in a week (see above mentioned "cooking").  I'm pretty sure I might collapse in a ditch clutching my sugar rotted gut, but I really need to get out there.

Craving: Produce of some kind.  Anything to offset this overdose of sugar.

Excited About: Ben's 30th Birthday!!! My husband turns the big 3-0 this Sunday. 

Laughing At: Not much lately.  I need a good laugh.  Quick, someone tell me a joke or a funny anecdote or a clever limerick. 

Annoyed With: Michigan.  We need a vacation. 

Feeling Bad: That I haven't sent my grandpa a thank you note with pictures from our fun-filled Cali week yet (yes, I know I just wrote that we need a vacation.   But we need a vacation where all of us are together).  Grandpa, if you're reading this, note and pictures are forthcoming. 

Missing: Teaching.  I visited Will Carleton the other day, and it made me miss my students and the classroom.  I don't regret leaving, but I do miss it. 

Loving: the weather.  It's nice to be outside with Eli and not in this shrinking apartment.    

Planning: to go grocery shopping.  My poor husband had to eat cereal and popcorn for dinner last night.  Granted, we had a late Outback lunch, but still. 

Thankful for: Family, friends, and my faith.  The Lord has truly blessed our family. 

Friday, April 2, 2010

The Parkers head to the Park

Yesterday was the perfect end to an otherwise stupid week.  I got to spend the day with two of my favorite people enjoying the sunshine and the blessings of family.  We took Eli on a picnic and to the park.  Here are some highlights from our visit.   You're welcome.

sweet bliss.