I marvel at how fast I forget to be thankful - till I'm reminded

I have to put this list in bullet form because none of it has anything to do with the other.... and there is, in fact, no particular order of importance.

1.  I learned and practiced a new word.... Hangry.  Funny because I had just read this word in a blog... it's a mix of hungry and angry....  meaning when you're so hungry you become angry.   And oh, yes.  It happens after 4 classes plus travel time which means a lot of calories spent and almost 6 hours without food.

Yesterday I came in after working hard for the money, sat down to finally eat lunch and went in the kitchen to top it all off with a handful of chocolate chips... to find out that Fireman Dave had eaten the entire bag while I was gone -  while not doing much of anything else.  So I became very, very HANGRY.  

And I laid on the guilt pretty thick about being considerate of others and then hit him with the always successful, ... Didn't your mother teach you anything ?  Then he got up and baked brownies in an attempt to win me back/get  up off the couch for the first time in 8 hours.

2.  Remember that found slipcover from the Marshall's parking lot?   Well... y'all.... one Intro to Sewing class and a broken needle later, here she is. 

The tan stripe fabric was the original found cover but it didn't fit my chair.  So I cut out the entire seat to be able to stretch it around the chair, then made a brand new seat.  There is nothing pretty going on underneath that cushion, in fact it is a giant web of lies down there. 

Lots of mismatched pieces put together to add size -  but who cares what's under the cushion right?  I'll  occasionally do a sweep down there for food crumbs and lost school ID badges, but otherwise it's totally top secret.  Like my nightly beauty routine.

The chair sits in what used to be my breakfast nook in the kitchen.  But the nook became crazy small when the kids got bigger so now we just sit in this lovely chair and do whatever.  Mostly eat things that  leave stains while watching TV across the room.  But she sure is cute even when covered in orange Cheetos dust.  Total makeover cost... $30

3.  Fireman Dave took me on a real Valentine date this year.... which was the happiest day of the week  - and one I had been waiting for forever.  However when the day actually rolled around and I had already taught 4 sweaty hours of classes and didn't sleep well the night before... you could hear me say something like.... Mama needs to take a nap so I can have energy to see Barry Manilow tonight.

Exactly two indicators of my age in that statement.  Can you find them?

Our seats were pretty high up for the concert... but we ended up sitting in seats that weren't ours anyway because I'm terrified of looking over the 18th floor balcony at the American Airlines Center.  And we laughed when we sat behind a couple who couldn't figure out how to turn on their glow sticks.  Don't judge me.  You would've laughed, too. 

We started out the evening by leaving our kids at home unsupervised.  Sometimes I do that even when not on a date... and just go sit in the car for some peace and quiet.  We ate at El Fenix downtown, along with all the other middle aged concert goers.  And I knew when I walked in there that I was a kindred spirit with every woman in that room.  And Fireman Dave knew, as he saw the mere handful of other men in the entire place, that he was in their same boat, being dragged to a Barry Manilow concert for the love of a good woman.  God bless them all.

The good news is that when I tried the vegetarian enchiladas and my tongue started itching.. it didn't progress all the way to swollen lips or itchy hives.  But swollen lips be damned... because I was still going to the concert no matter what, maybe just not so pretty.

Back in high school my on and off again love wrote the words to Mandy in the back of my senior yearbook... how I came and gave without taking... but he sent me away.... and dumped me for someone he met bagging groceries at the Albertsons.  So I still get all teary eyed at that particular song.

4.  I've been busy getting my first post ready for The Dallas Moms Blog.  It should post sometime late March.  But in the meantime I must say that these gals love pictures and I've had more photo opportunities placed before me than ever before.  They needed a family photo so we could introduce my family to the readers.  Not sure when that will post.  But here's the pic.

Again, same red brick wall in my driveway.  Same makeshift tripod set up for the photo.  This was this past Saturday morning and it exhausted me for the rest of the day.  After we took a few, Kid 3 decided he was done with that nonsense and began to grumble and make me mad.  And Kid 2 finally decided to take off his backwards Dallas Cowboys cap and put on shoes when I told him that the blog gets about 6 million readers a year - and in my best mom voice.... if this is how you want to be forever known, then God speed young man.  Live with your choices.  Now stand there and act like you love your family. 

Also, Kid 1 is tall.. but not that tall.  We are ankle deep in a giant pile of leaves that the kids never raked when they were supposed to... so he stood on the tallest mountain to be taller than his daddy.  I kinda love this family. 

5. My plantar fasciitis has returned.  And really, I just can't walk without looking like my dear old Aunt Vera.  I pretend that I can walk, but I really can't.  And I hold back screams of pain while I work each day and then come home and wear a giant boot around the house and sleep in this thing.

These are not my legs.  Let me repeat... These are not my legs.
But for the record, Fireman Dave finds me very exciting when I crawl into bed each night all dressed up in this thing.  Y'all.  Seriously just joking.  In fact he might just place a restraining order on me someday if I keep saying things like this about him to the world. 

6.  I went to the foot doctor upon recommendation from my friend Debi... and got a steroid shot in my heel last Thursday which was worse than childbirth.  You can read about that here in a post I wrote for my church blog. Because God and everybody loves to hear about my feet. 

But y'all... I speak the truth .. if ever given the choice of a giant needle in the bottom of your foot or natural childbirth, go with the baby.  At least you get a prize to take home with you.  

7.  Last Monday evening Kid 1 was out bike riding with two friends when he called to tell me one of them had been hit by a car.  Giant gasp... I know, I did it too.  But everyone was good.  A little scraped up from the fall, and with lots of news to tell, but good.  Turned out to be very minor - in whatever weird way a kid being even bumped by a car can be minor.  

 And it was one of those parenting moments when you're mad to find out what your kid is really doing when you don't really know what he's doing.... but you cry tears of joyful relief when you find out he's okay.  More on that subject later.  

8.  A friend of ours and huge contributor to the raising of my boys through scouts and school functions and his general greatness... fell from a height of nearly 20 feet and has been hospitalized with a serious head injury for several days.  And his wife has been juggling more than she ever planned.  And his kids are waiting for dad to wake up and come home.  And I am praying continued prayers of thanksgiving for the goodness of each day when the phone call received is good news instead of bad.   

Y'all, that's how fast it happens.  And I marvel at how fast I forget to be thankful  - till I'm reminded.    

Nothing good happened that day. And I didn't look pretty.

I fell asleep last night about 9:00 propped up against Fireman Dave on the couch.  Then I woke up with him leaning over looking in my face... I probably snored and distracted him from his movie or something.

Then Kid 3 got home from his middle school Valentine dance and sat by me on the couch and cried because his teeth hurt from getting his braces on earlier in the day.  So I got up and cooked scrambled eggs so he could choose to chew or not, but still have food.  Y'all... that's love.  And that's what this post is all about.

My week went along like this....

Last Saturday I actually took that burlesque dance class I told you about.  And oh my gosh it was so much fun.  I went in a little nervous because Fireman Dave was all confused about the concept and told me I would have to learn to twirl pasties and be mostly naked the entire time .... but he was obviously clueless and very wrong.  Burlesque is a beautiful, artful form of dance.  It's about suggestion and movement, but nothing more.  And it teaches you how to walk pretty.  

So I went, wearing my regular workout clothes and here's how I got to dress up as I learned to take off gloves in pretty ways, and of course, 17 tricks with a boa that every girl should know.

It was a fun afternoon.  Until it wasn't - because then I went to a hair appointment that turned my life upside down for about two days.  Did you see me?  Were you one of those people who looked at me and wanted to say something but then thought better of it and looked away like your eyes just got burned?  

The next morning in church Kid 2 whispered in my ear that my hair was orange in the lights of the sanctuary, and I knew right then that I had been the victim of a terrible hair crime.  And trust me on this... no matter what you have been told, prayer does not fix everything. 

Turns out that old saying about checking the mood of your hair dresser before you let her touch your head is 100% true.  My stylist seemed to be fine - but maybe a little distracted telling me about a party invitation she received and how she was rushing out of there after we got done to get a manicure and shop for a dress.  Which.... right there.... should've been a big warning sign that I should've run away and fast. 

Anyway, she fixed me -  but I had to walk around like Little Orphan Annie for two whole days that made me wish mirrors had never been invented.  Thank you to all the people who kept quiet about it.   Y'all, that's love in action.  Because love doesn't say hurtful things.  Sometimes it says necessary things, but never hurtful.  And sometimes love just stays quietly supportive and stays with you even in the times when you're afraid it won't. 

Then it was picture day, like back in school.  Because I got an email asking me to send a professional  photo and bio for my new gig on the Dallas Moms Blog.  So I contacted a fireman friend who does photography on the side... and the price was right because his specialty is actually boudoir photos.  But since I planned to keep all my clothes on, I got a good deal.   Mistake #1.  Boudoir photos at least give you dim lighting. 

And then I listened to a friend who is in the fashion biz who told me I HAD to get my hair and makeup professionally done for the picture -  so I did and it cost me a million dollars to come out looking like a $2 hooker.  With big Texas hair.  Mistake #2. 

So picture day came and went - and then I cried myself to sleep.  Short version of the story.... nothing good happened that day.  And I didn't look pretty. 

And of course I had to say something - because, well, I'm Kristi... and I always have to say something.  So I sent the photographer an email to tell him that all the photos made me look like *#@# and to delete them or I would hunt him down and kill him.  Or something like that. 

I also attached this recent photo of me and Fireman Dave and told him I didn't want to leave a friend of my husband's thinking he married an ugly woman.  

And God bless him,.... Fireman Dave, though he looked at the scary photos even when I asked him not to, loved me anyway.  And he didn't try to talk me out of crying and feeling bad about it all.  And he didn't tell me how much money I wasted on the whole thing.  He didn't  do much of anything other than listen and occasionally pat my back as I hid under the covers.   That's love.  Because love supports through the happy and the hurt.  And sometimes love even keeps loving even when it looks like a working girl with big hair.  

Tomorrow is Valentine's Day - the day we really don't do much with around here.  You already know my theory on that one.... love and be loved every day of the year, please, not just February 14th.   To me, love looks like so much more than flowers and candy.  

This week it looked like Kid 2 cooking dinner for us twice because I didn't have enough hands to do it all.  And it looked like Kid 1 crawling into bed with me one night and listening to me tell him stories of when he was little.  And it looked like me and husband sitting on the front porch on a beautifully warm day watching the world go by ......  And a sleepy mom cooking scrambled eggs for a tired and hungry Kid 3.  

And love was picture perfect when I found this little girl on the couch and didn't ask her to move.  And this weekend it looked like yet another sleepover that took over the entire house;  and it was sweeter than all the candy in the world when a tired Fireman Dave worked multiple off duty jobs to support the family.   

Y'all, I've had a lifetime of love lessons.  Some better than others, but that's how love goes.  It feels both presence and loss.  It wants and it cares and it gives.  It helps and it shares.  It comforts and protects.  It holds and listens and tries to understand, even though sometimes it never will.  And love has the beautiful ability to look past what the eyes see,  and put it's attention on the things that really matter.

And sometimes love is just the comfort of falling asleep together on the couch.  I think that's the best kind.    

post script... I ran around like crazy the rest of the week  - like usual I guess -  I even went to sewing class the evening of the photos... because I had it scheduled for a while and would lose my class fee if I cancelled.  And I'm proud to say that I think I won the award for most makeup worn in Intro to Sewing class in the history of ever.   

post post script...I ended up taking the blog photo myself in my driveway by balancing the camera on top of a pyramid made of two lawn chairs, my laundry room step stool, and a paper plate to give it the right angle.  Job well done, thank you very much.  Now no one ever ask me for a photo again please.     

Kids will grow even on a diet of Twinkies

Calgon take me away.  Y'all remember that commercial of the tired lady wanting to escape into the peace and quiet of her bathtub? I totally didn't understand that back then... because I think I was 10. 

Or maybe she was just hoping this guy was in there.  I can understand that. 

Y'all.. I know I say this all the time, about wondering what I might write about on the blog... and every single time life steps in and gives me good material. 

I was just this afternoon reading a text message from my friend about a teacher conference she was summoned to last week. (My first thought being, Thank you sweet baby Jesus that I wasn't the only one).  She said one teacher called her in.  But then, like in a nature show when the prey is outnumbered, she got totally ambushed by three teachers full of info about her 13 year old. 

And she sounded just like me when she said she totally agreed with the teachers that her kid was this, that and the other and may need some tiny  improvement in the areas of almost everywhere.... 

But Y'all.  When someone backs a boy mom into the corner of a classroom and expects her not to defend her kid, not even the tiniest bit ... that's where the hunt goes wrong.  My sweet friend may or may not have eaten all three of those teachers for lunch.  Did anyone see that story on the news?  

Then after reading her message, I knew she and I had more in common than ever as I  entertained a lengthy phone call from Kid 2's art teacher.  Because he is apparently very, very naughty in art class.  I've already signed a note acknowledging my awareness that he arrived in her class last week with his arms tied up in his sweater behind his back.  The teacher saw that as Kid 2 making a mockery of the art profession.  I saw that as maybe Kid 2 being a free spirited artist himself, and presenting his teacher with a life like sculpture of a young boy trapped in a class he hates. 

But while chatting with the teacher today, I heard much of the same story I've heard before from others.... and I found myself telling her some of the tales of the days I taught middle school.  And I may or may not have called every 8th grade boy a monster.   

Now, granted, .... there are cute and cuddly monsters such as ones from children's books.  

And there are scary monsters that need to be battled with the only thing that can ever win - the monster's mother.  So the teacher and I have a plan that may involve me attending middle school art class one day very soon.  I'll let you know how that goes.  I happen to be a terrible artist and may end up on her naughty list as well.

Along those same lines.... last weekend we had an extra kid over for about forever so he ended up camping on our couch for the night.  Fireman Dave was at work and I asked the boys to respect my quiet time starting at 11:00 please --  because I'm too old for sleepovers.  And they were good and quiet for a while  - till about midnight when I woke to the sound of a herd of elephants running through the house.  And when I got up to go check on things, Kid 1 turned into a teenage werewolf and gave me the smart mouth, evil eye combo right there in my own den. 

But then in about half a second he realized that it was his mama he just offended, not a brother, and fear overtook him as he tried to win me back with sweet words and an explanation.  And with his trembling voice he promised me time and time again that he thought it was Kid 2 and how he would never have said those things had he known it was me.  To which I told him to be very thankful that it was midnight and that I was half asleep.  Then I went back to bed.  The end.

And I may as well tell you something about Kid 3 while we're on subject.  He came home with a perfume scented Valentine teddy bear today.  I knew when I used to dress him in his little heart-breaker t-shirt as a baby that it was going to come true one day.  Lord help us all.
I like to consider myself somewhat of an expert on the teenage boy.  Then I laugh so hard I cry.  But I can tell you with absolute knowledge and living proof that there is no owner's manual to raising kids of any age.  The boys' pediatrician once told me that kids will grow even on a diet of Twinkies.  Which my boys took as permission to eat like they do still to this day.  

But I think the lesson was that kids will grow no matter what.  They have this super funny way of bending and turning and dancing along day by day - all while absorbing the world as they try to figure out who and what to be.  

Our job as parents comes in as we try to filter through the good and bad for and with them.  And eventually, as they turn into teens and young adults, to teach them to locate their own inner filter.  I hope the filter for the heart of my boys is big enough for them to find.  And painted a very obvious glow in the dark color.

post script... Um... wow that story about my friend at the teacher conference sounded kinda bad.  So fyi.... she happens to be loving, kind, and beautiful... and also the mom of three boys - which made me like her from the minute we met.  And she does not eat teachers.  Let's be clear. 
post post script.... I am thrilled to be sharing my good news with you.  I have been accepted as a contributing writer for the Dallas Moms BlogWhy?  you ask......    I have no idea!  

But it's true!  I submitted a writing proposal, they contacted me with the exciting news, and away we go.  Soon.  I am honored to be given the opportunity to share my parenting expertise experiences with thousands of Dallas area moms.  I am also a little scared because it's a responsibility that I think is huge.   Please pray for me as I listen really hard for the words that need to be shared with this group.   
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