February 23, 2013

my "This I Believe" essay

            I still remember the thrill of making my own adventures—outside, in my room, under the kitchen table. I call that thrill the “magic of childhood”. From the time I was able to move around on my own, I had a strong desire to be under things and in tight spaces—the smaller, the cozier. The laundry basket, flipped over my back, made me invisible while my valiant “knight” father would hunt and search for me in the small living room of our apartment. I never considered that even if I was invisible, my loud giggling would lead him right to me. It made a huge difference when it took a long time to find me, and I think my dad knew that. The space under the booth at the local restaurant was a submarine, where I could catch a glimpse of odd deep-sea creatures (or their legs and feet, at least).
            I wanted to be tucked away in the smallest of places, perhaps because it felt more fitting for a small child like me. My vivid imagination had no limits, and unpleasant things (doctor’s visits, eating vegetables) had no business there. I believed in fairytales, magic, and the impossible because I experienced them, in a sense. I think that can be summed up as the magic of childhood—the ability to forget who, where, and what you are, no matter how brilliant or dismal your circumstances. The ability to go places and do things that you can’t in the real world. The ability to hope for the best, even in the face of the worst. Like being forced to eat another Brussels sprout or say sorry to the kid next door (you aren’t sorry).
             Isn’t that what we all want to give to our children—a feeling of security and trust throughout their childhood, to feel safe enough to duck out of reality in favor of a more creative place? Somewhere that acting weird has no consequence and dolls (or were they “action figures?”) have conversations about your child-like idea of adult life. “No, Barbie, I can’t go to the beach today. I’m having a fashion show at the bungalow!”
            With my own daughter growing up faster than I had ever planned, I am determined to allow her to explore her own imagination and create a world for herself where things move a little slower—if only for my own sake. And I’ll tell her it’s totally normal to pretend the laundry basket makes her invisible. That’ll keep the boys away, right?

February 13, 2013

It's V-Day, not D-Day

So, some people say Valentine's Day is a conspiracy of all the greeting card companies and florists who want to make a buck off poor boys and men who just want to have a happy relationship (at the expense of an average of $104...really?!).

I agree, but that doesn't mean I don't expect flowers, cards, and maybe some candy. Ghiradelli chocolates, to be exact. Tulips, calla lilies, or roses are fine. And I don't want a funny card, because funny cards rarely lead to Valentine's Day nookie. Sorry.

Even though my daughter is 2, with relatively poor fine motor skills, she somehow managed to make some delightfully creative and attractive V-Day cards for her friends and family...
Okay. She scribbled on them with crayons, and then I decked them out. It was the most fun thing I did yesterday, and I'm only a little ashamed to tell you.

Her grandparents took her to the library a few weeks ago to make a craft, which ended up being a box for V-Day cards. This is what sparked my idea to make some cards of our own, because the box is just so darn cute, for cryin' in the mud (Bobby's World reference).

We clipped roses and hearts from magazines, flowers from newspapers, and used weird foam stickers with an outer space theme to make our cards. Then I wrote really corny phrases on them, like "My love for you is out of this world!" because I couldn't think of any other way to incorporate outer space with Valentine's Day and grandparents. 

Then, we made some cupcakes for Valentine's Day...
But really, I made them. Babygirl helped sprinkle them. Didn't she do a great job?

So, even if there's no real meaning behind Valentine's Day, you can bet I'll be knee-deep in flowers and candy tomorrow. I mean, I better be, right? 


February 11, 2013

Removing a splinter without needles or anything scary like that

My husband is normally a big, tough guy. He is known for opening jar lids that my little hands just can't begin to unscrew and making carrying large, heavy items look easy. However, once a little glass gets stuck in his finger, he's an infant. A crying, whimpering, scared infant. After getting into mama-mode, I found a way to successfully remove a splinter (glass or wood) without anything scary. Unless you're scared of baking soda, in which case you'll want to avoid this trick, and probably any kitchens nearby.

Make a baking soda paste using 1/4 teaspoon baking soda and enough water to make a thick paste. You don't want it runny, because it will need to be applied to the splinter.
Put the paste on a bandage and apply to the splinter.
Leave it on for 24 hours, then check to see if the splinter has surfaced. Make sure you disinfect any tweezers you use to remove the splinter.
Repeat if splinter hasn't emerged yet. Everything I read claimed 3 days was the longest it took to remove embedded splinter.

And that's it. You can go back to pretending your man isn't afraid of anything, and he can get his dignity back.
Here's a link to the article I found:

How to Remove a Splinter with Baking Soda: 7 steps - wikiHow

You're welcome.


February 10, 2013

This week's column: A tiny little peek

The Snow Boat Incident

Snow days in Tennessee are less frequent than most school children (and me) would like. When we woke up to a whopping inch of snow recently, there was very little hesitation. My husband, daughter, and I started suiting up for the cold and dragging out the essentials: two pairs of snow skis and a child-size kayak. I’ll explain the kayak later.

Now, for anyone with experience in winter sports, an inch of champagne-like snow is just not enough for skiing, but that didn’t stop my husband. While he may not have gained the attention of any Olympic recruiters that day, he didn’t fall and we figured that was respectable enough. After seeing his mild success, I decided it was safe to try out the kayak in a less-appreciated form: the kayak-sled. Since it’s a small boat for children, and the manufacturers heavily doubted that any self-respecting adult would attempt to fit, there isn’t enough room to stretch out your legs. You have to sort of crouch on your knees to fit inside. This already sounds safe, right?

I got situated in the kayak and had my husband pushed me down the barely snow-dusted hill. It was pretty fun, and I didn’t get hurt, so you know Michael couldn’t resist taking his turn. This is where it gets hard for me to tell the story because I keep laughing, which makes it hard to write.

These are the images I was left with after what we’ve taken to calling “The Snow Boat Incident”:
Michael, at 6’1’’ and 215 pounds, crammed into a kayak built for children under age 8 and 60 pounds; me, at 5’5’’ and…considerably less than 215 pounds, trying to hold onto the kayak, which is teetering over the snow-dusted hill, as Michael adjusts himself; my hands and how my fingers slowly lost hold of the kayak as Michael cried “Wait!”; and finally, Michael’s fast, surprise descent down the hill, which unfortunately . . .

Rest assured, faithful fans, that I thought long and hard about where exactly to end this excerpt. I wanted to make sure it was right in the middle of something good and juicy, but not so good and juicy it would frustrate you to not get to finish it. You know, like the cliff hangers at the end of seasons of TV shows. So, if you want to read the rest, pick up a Lebanon Democrat, Smithville Review, or Oak Ridge Observer this week. Or, be really patient and wait until Thursday, and I'll post the rest. If I remember, which is an awfully big "if." 


February 2, 2013

Snow Boating Accidents

Today, we got some snow. Naturally, we went sledding in our kayak. 

First, I tested it out. Had no problems, and thought Molly would really love it...
Molly sledding in the kayak video
She did.

Then, Michael thought it would be sensible for him to try it out. And depend on little old me to hold onto the kayak until he was ready to sled.

Needless to say, I couldn't hold him long enough, and off he went, down the hill. Right into a tree. Check out the video he took of it...while it was happening.

And I'm such a great wife/supporter/friend that I stood there laughing so hard I couldn't catch my breath.

We had fun on our snow day. What did you do today?


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