Friday, September 30, 2005

RIP Michael Vaughn

Oh J.J., how could you be so cruel?

We figured it was coming, but did you have to do it in the first hour of the new season, after we had waited patiently, devotedly, all summer long?

And Michael, why didn't you wear your vest, why? You never leave home without it. And why did you just stand there? You can always find a hatch or a vent or a weapon. You've cheated death hundreds of times before. For what? To die so uneventfully?

And Sydney, why Ben Affleck, why? Oh wait, never mind. Different blog.

But I still blame Ben Affleck for everything. It's just easier that way.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

My Little Molly

I have a concern. Mila, my five-year old, is going through a phase. Not long ago, while we were working on her spotlight poster of favorites for school, I asked her if she wanted me to include a picture of her from Halloween because she loves it so much.

She replied, "Mom, I loved Halloween when I was a little girl. Now that I'm older, I love Christmas because it's Jesus' birthday."

"How precious," I thought, as I patted myself on the back for being such a good parent. (Hey, give me a break, I can't feel totally insecure and frustrated all the time.)

Now, by itself, the above incident should indeed be classified as one of those moments I "have to write down." However, put alongside the following incidents, I no doubt feel you will share my concern.

1) So, a few weeks went by and my friend Rachel and I were out walking with our kids. Rachel casually asked Mila what she wanted to be for Halloween.

Mila said, "Well, I really don't want to say because people might laugh at me."

I said, "Mila, you should probably tell me so I can assemble your costume."

"OK...I'm going to be the Holy Ghost."

As I struggled to contort my face to have a perfectly normal look of curiosity on it, I asked, "Why do you want to be that?"

"Well, I just really want to tell people what these holidays are really about!"

2) The next day was a Saturday and we were just driving in the car, going nowhere interesting.

"Mom, are you thinking about the Last Supper?"

"Um, no..."

"On Saturdays, you should think about the Last Supper, so you better start."

3) The next day, Sunday, we were getting ready for church at noon and I was getting the kids snacks. I asked Mila what she wanted.

"Just bread and water."

"Are you sure? I'm cutting up an apple."

"I'm sure, I only want bread and water."

I didn't even catch on until she was eating her bread and water and smiling secretly. I should have known!

4) We were watching Prince of Egypt (Mila's choice) and during the opening sequence, Mila started to "pretend" cry.

"Oh you guys, I'm just so happy because this movie is about Jesus."

"It's about Moses."

(Pause in crying as she thinks) "He knew Jesus."

So there. I rest my case. My daughter is either a full-blown religious freak, or this is just some "thing" all kids go through. She's my oldest, so I have no idea! Parents, help me out here. Is this normal, or should I start swearing more to balance the equation?

You know, truth be told, I'm not too worried...yet. She still laughs way too hard at poo jokes.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Happy Birthday to You

He's the first to laugh at my jokes, and the last to criticize my cooking.

He's the first to say I love you and the last to let go of a hug.

He's the first to say I'm sorry and the last to judge my drama queen tantrums.

He's the first person I see in the morning and the last person I see before falling asleep.

He's handsome, funny, brilliant, patient, and loves the three of us more than anyone could measure or know. He's 30 today.

Happy Birthday, Baby. I love you.

Monday, September 19, 2005

to Tivo, with Love

OK, so maybe I'm just way too excited for the upcoming weeks, but I just want to take a moment to say thank you to whoever it is out there that invented Tivo! Tivo is my best friend. (So sad, but so true.) I really cannot remember what my life was like before it. But I can guess that it was much more stressful, contentious, and productive! Stressful because I had to miss so many shows when I had to be somewhere, contentious because I had to yell at my kids to get into bed before 8 or else, and productive because I couldn't watch every show on the planet! Seriously, though, how do people live without rewinding, fast forwarding and pausing stuff? Nine times out of ten, I'm too deaf to hear what someone just said-- now it's just a rewind button away! Before, I had to just say "Huh?" and move on. I never even know what products are in stores these days, because commercials? What are those? I fast over 'em. And the pause button. I'm in love. Gotta pee? Need 2 minutes and 35 seconds to pop popcorn? Two-year old creeping down the stairs? No problem. There is one downside to being too accustomed to this Tivo lifestyle, however. I find myself trying to find the rewind button in my car on the radio, so I can hear a part of a song one more time. Crazy. So, technology people, that's your next project. But overall, I'm overwhelmed with gratitude.

I'd have to say that this feeling goes for most modern technology. Where would I be without it? And what does the future have in store? I can't even imagine all the little toys that my spoiled kids and grandkids will "need."

I just know I'm going to be that grandma some day who says things like, "When I was a kid, if we wanted to record something, we had to put this tape into this machine called a VCR...." and "I know you kids have Ipods the size of a quarter now, but I got a Bananarama tape for Christmas once and I played it in my boombox," or "The only computer game we played when I was a kid was moving this little triangle around that was supposed to be a turtle."

And then my grandkids will go home and write in their blogs, "My grandma is hilarous..."

Monday, September 12, 2005

Those Crazy Smiths! Episode "Circle of Enemies"

Do you ever feel like your life is some real-life sitcom? I know, it's so cliche, but seriously, at some moments I feel like someone up there, maybe a departed loved one (or enemy) has popped some popcorn, taken the phone off the hook, and is all settled in to watch my "episode." Episode is a great word, because it so perfectly sums up the fifteen minutes of trauma I endured this morning while trying to take Mila to school.

Everything was lovely this morning at about 9 am. The sun was shining, we were both neatly groomed as we got into the car to leave for school. Mila was going to be spotlighted at school, so she looked very nice and I was holding her picture poster/collage we'd worked on for three hours last night. We drove the two-minute drive to school and turned into the kindergarten drop-off circle, five minutes before school was supposed to start.

Before I go any further, I need to mention that I hate people. Well, just people who don't follow instructions. OK, so I hate people who don't follow instructions whose kids go to Westfield Elementary in Highland. For those of you who aren't familiar with drop-off circles, they are simply that. You pull in one end of the circle, drop off your kid, then pull out the other end. Nice and smooth. Sounds easy, right? Well, some parents at Mila's school seemed to have gotten together to figure out exactly the best way to turn the sweet, efficient drop-off circle into Dante's seventh circle of hell, because that's what it is. Instead of following the above procedure, these people commit heinous acts such as parking in the circle and disappearing into the school for mysterious amounts of time. Then some try to expedite the whole process by passing you up in some inner circle they've created, just so their kid can be, like, ten seconds earlier than my kid.
So, we were waiting our turn in the circle and I noticed lightning off in the distance. I was not worried as I was only four cars back and it was almost time for the line-up whistle. It took me a few minutes to realize that this line was not moving, but darned if I was going to be the "inner-circler," so I continued to wait patiently. "They're probably just waiting for the whistle because their kids are afraid of lightning," I told myself. It began to rain. The circle still was not moving. I noticed, to my dismay, that there was a "circle-parker" at the very front, blocking the whole dang line. Inner-circlers were beginning to form ranks alongside of me. Mila's teacher came out and skipped the whistle, because of the rain I suppose, and brought the kids inside. I decided, because I wasn't going anywhere anyway and because it was Mila's special day, that I would escort her through the rain to her class and carry her project so it wouldn't get wet. I didn't want her to be late, but I figured all of these other cars surely had kindergartners in them as well, so at least she wasn't the only one. As I got out of the car, it began to hail. I ran around to Mila's side, carrying her project in front of me as I went, only to find that the door was locked on that side. I ran back around, opened the door, mumbled something like "Silly me, the door was locked," and unlocked the door. I ran back around to find the door locked again and Mila mouthing the words, "I unlocked it!" By this time, I was soaked to the skin. I ran back around to the driver's side, but of course, she had locked both doors, so back to her side I went, dropping a picture in the rain-filled gutter on my way. "Unlock the door!" I yelled as she looked at me like I was speaking another language. This is the part where I said some words I never learned in kindergarten as I retrieved her picture and banged on the window. Finally, after what seemed like a wet, freezing eternity later, she unlocked the door and I began to pull her out of the car. However, her foot caught on my purse strap and down into the puddle she went. On her special day. I snatched her up, we ran to the classroom and burst in on a serene, dry group of kindergartners listening to the morning announcements. I handed the soaked poster to the teacher and apologized for Mila's tardiness, (as well as for the puddle I just made on the floor) I turned to my drenched daughter, pushed her wet hair out of her eyes, said "Have a great special day," and ran back outside to the now completely sunny weather. The circle was empty except for my car and I thought it was strange that no other kindergartners had entered the class in that whole time. Mila was the only one. That's when it hit me. There is a third group of circlers who are committing perhaps the most heinous of all circle crimes. They are using the kindergarten drop-off circle to drop off non-kindergartners. I blame this entire episode on them because if they hadn't held up the dang circle I would have been able to drop my daughter off before the five-minute hailstorm began. This is the part where the sitcom probably ends because the part where I went home in tears, blubbering to Ben about "stupid circle people," probably ends up on the cutting room floor. It's just not funny. But then maybe the part where Ethan hands me a box of pregnancy tests to comfort me is in the closing credits or something.

So anyway, tune in for next week's episode, when Hailey takes a plane trip across the country with two children under four. While trying to turn off the overhead light over her seat, she actually touches the light and burns the crap out of her finger. She proceeds to wave the afflicted finger in the air while blowing on it, inadvertently flipping off the entire plane.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Ready, Set, Read!

You guys, I totally have a confession. I think that my favorite thing about Mila being in school is that now I get those Scholastic book catalogs again. You do know what I'm talking about, right? If you don't, maybe we shouldn't even be hanging out. No, but seriously, Mila pulled out her flyer for the book fair along with the catalog and my mouth started watering, a knee-jerk reaction. Tonight, after I put my kids to bed, I actually popped some popcorn and sat at the table with the catalog for an hour (the TV fall line-up needs to come now!) But, do you remember how exciting it was to order your books, completely forget about them, and then one day you walk into class and you go, "Wait a minute! I smell new books--are the Scholastic baggies here?" Well, maybe it wasn't quite like that, but I loved tearing open that bag and feeling and smelling those brand-new, albeit discounted, paper back books. I was very pleased to see that many of the same books that I used to read are all in there. But now they come in box sets, people! Roald Dahl, Beverly Cleary (refer to previous blog), The Chronicles of Narnia, they're all there! Plus some new ones that look equally compelling. After I finished thumbing through the catalog and marking my favorites with a pen, I exclaimed, "There are so many books in here that I want!" Ben's reply was, "For you or Mila?" Dang. Was I that obvious? "Uh, for Mila, of course... " (Note to self: make sure Mila goes through said catalog tomorrow and is "gently persuaded" to mark the same books I did.) It's a good thing she is reading now or how else would I justify feeding my Scholastic book habit? And where am I going to get the extra cash? Those 1.95 books add up. Of course, now that I think about it, it might be a lot cheaper to just ransack my mom's house for all my old books, but then A) My mom would get mad at me for not leaving a literary future for my 5-year old brother and B) Hello! They so do not have that new smell.

Now it's your turn to fess up. Does anyone else share this passion? (Please don't let me be the only nerd...) And if so, what books were your favorites as a kid? Or what are your kids' favorites now? And finally, if you wanted to hide $100 in the monthly budget for Scholastic books, how would you do it?