Tuesday, December 11, 2007

December 2007

Halloween screeched through our week like an 18-wheeler swerving to miss a large animal. Sean decided Las Vegas would be much more thrilling than hauling an old man, a green slime bucket, and a skunk around the neighborhood--all greedily begging for treats. So on Monday, he slipped quietly out the back door, suitcases still swinging at his sides, claiming he had some VERY important business meetings that would take the entire week. Make no mistake, I was the lucky one this year.

I woke up early the morning of the morbid day, and strapped on my Ghostbusters backpack, poised to tackle the early morning school costume parade. With one spray foam can clutched one hand, and one green hairspray poised in the other, I was equipped to create the greatest slime bucket costume in the history of slime bucket costumes. Clay stood before me strategically placed inside a black, Rubbermaid garbage can, with a hole on each end for his head and feet. His duct taped suspenders hung over his shoulders. “Close your eyes,” I said in monotone. “Mom, I’m not sure…” But I couldn’t hear the rest because the “psssssss” from the spray can drowned out any other trivial words. “Hold your hands up!” I shouted while busily covering the entire top of the lid with foam. I giggled under my breath as I watched it expand to twice its size. Soon, the “psssssss” was drowned out by Clay’s crying, “I can’t hold my arms up any longer! I just can't...” The “nooooo” lingered on my lips in slow motion as I watched his arms droop and come to rest into the unset goop. As he lifted his long sleeve covered arms, webs of gooey, unsolidified, spray foam connected his arms to the lid of the garbage can. I frantically turned the can to the side where I read, “Caution: Always wear gloves, takes 10 minutes to set, and turpentine needed for clean up. I turned and said dammit so soft, only the ground and me could hear it. I whirled around and looked at him so long and in so many different ways, I thought it might actually change what I was seeing. I checked my watch. Ten minutes until the costume parade. I stripped him naked, slammed on a clean shirt and gloves and sprayed the foam all over again. This time the garbage can was on the ground--without Clay inside. I waited as long as I could possibly wait, approximately 500 jumping jacks later, and careened two miles down the road to the elementary school just in time for the big show. Another close one for the memory books.

As Thanksgiving draws near we gobble with the anticipation of spending three days together, shoveling down more calories than a one-ton dump truck can haul, and grimacing as the kids run around Blake & Kate’s table in dizzying pursuit of the chosen one holding the wishbone. Our expectations aren’t unrealistic; we just hope our boys remember to put their clothes back on after their showers, and to close the bathroom door before unloading their holiday delights. If not, you can’t tell me you haven’t been cautioned not to look.

Here's to happy holidays!

October 2007

My birthday was filled with surprises and even more surprises. Sean (and several other contributors) bought me a shiny, red full-suspension Diamond Back mountain bike. I’m not sure if he was more excited about the great deal he got, or giving it to me for my birthday as he jubilantly pointed out the upgrades and squishy gel seat he handpicked for my oh-so-delicate tush. He urged me to test ride it before “the big ride” he had planned for the following morning up South Fork Provo Canyon. I took off before he could change his mind and rode a mile or so on the canal trail not far from our house. I met up with a boy who I thought was treading water without the water, but quickly realized he was rollerblading. I passed him widely in the weeds as to not get beaned by his flailing arms. I smiled and giggled like a young girl as a bug splattered between my two front teeth. I could hear the wind spray past my ears even as I slowed down to cross the street. I quickly realized it wasn’t the wind, but the air seeping out of both tires that were speckled with goat heads (thorns). I knew one of Sean’s favorite jobs was changing flat tires, so when I explained what happened I was surprised by his lack of enthusiasm and the sounds of clanking tools and swear words seeping through the garage door.

Manipulating Drew’s and Clay’s sports schedules can test even the most savvy juggler—of which I’m not. Throw in a fever and a seal-like barking cough, and one kid that “can’t hold it any longer” with no bathroom in sight, and you have the recipe for pure glee—and sports spectating at it’s finest. Add tears of just missing that touchdown pass and the screams of joy for unknowingly shooting and swishing it in the wrong basket and it’s family fun unmatched.

Parent teacher conferences almost parallel the anticipation of fall sports. Teachers rave about Drew and Clay being good students. Then their voices turn low and raspy as they lean in talking through clenched teeth, “and if they could just shut up, they would be even more amazing” as if they have just shared the coveted secret of success. I nod and smile, the light glints off my eye.

Judd likes to whack people in the head when they least expect it. Then he makes it up with a sweetness only a double scoop of earnestly chocolate ice cream with a cherry on top can match. As I busily talk on the phone one morning, he leans over and whispers in my ear. “Mom, tell ya secret?”
“Yeah, babe,” I whisper back, covering the phone.
“I wuv you sooo much.”
I drop the phone forgetting what I was talking about anyway, and we hug and dance around the room. I wonder how I got so lucky.

I’m also reminded how lucky we are when Drew tells me he feels like he was sent to our family for a reason, and that even though he doesn’t know why, he is grateful because he loves us so much. In the same lucky day, Clay asks me if we’re going to have another baby someday. I tell him “no”, but thanks anyway. “Good mom, because I like our family just the way it is.”

Somehow during these tender times, our whiplash-like schedule seems to stop for a fleeting moment, and I’m engulfed by their love for life and the frank simplicity of their words.

August 2007

Today is the first day of school. It is a happy day. The quietness surrounds me like a warm blanket.

We’ve had a great, yet busy, summer. Clay, who turned seven in June, continued his guitar lessons—complete with a three quarter size metallic blue electric guitar. He also moved up a level in gymnastics where, here comes the bragging, he’s the only boy in gymnastics that can do the full-on splits (ouch). When we have guests over he’ll unexpectedly drop into the splits followed by a gasp from the crowd. I’m sure he’s shown most of you his Circ De Soleil-like acrobatics. He certainly doesn’t lack confidence. Just yesterday I complimented him on building an amazing lego structure. I asked him how he did it. He explained, “I just have a terrific mind, of course. I bet if you had a terrific mind, you could do it too!”

Drew is nine years old, perfect for babysitting Judd while I mow our new lawn. Yes, we’re thrilled we finally have grass to replace the sea of 4-foot weeds that nearly overtook our dwelling. No more stickers in our socks or, if we wore flip flops, twigs between our toes. Judd loves a screaming underdog in his swing on the new swingset, while Clay carefully scales the top of the 10-foot monkey bars, then drops into the splits. Ok, I lied on the last part.

Drew has been my big helper this summer, yelling at the other boys if they’re not doing their jobs so I don’t have to. No, really, it is nice to have a child finally old enough to carry their weight around here. Drew will start piano lessons again with the start of the school year. I’m anxious once again to hear songs played three times as fast as the normal rendition, then trying to name that tune while I busily attend to my housework.

Judd, two years old who will be three in February, likes experimenting with different ways to say “No!” or “That’s mine!” The other day I caught him watching cartoons with his potty seat balancing perfectly on his head. His red hair has been replaced with more of a blonde rendition for the summer, which goes better with most of his outfits anyway, and the hot pink toenails we painted together several weeks ago.

Sean joined a city softball league with his brother. He likes to boast about his multiple home runs, just to me of course, and his amazing “diving behind the back catches” in the outfield. I’m glad he’s having fun. I guess the $200 D. Marini bat he bought on Ebay is a justified expenditure. Work keeps him busy, not busy enough to not continue having his daily bowl of BYU Creamery Earnestly Chocolate ice cream, but busy.

Did I tell you I wrote a book? Oh, you’re thinking, I thought I was reading it. No. My real book is 400 pages. Hopefully I’ll get a publisher. If not, I’ll have to find the nearest cliff. It has taken me three years and a lot of research and practice. I’m still working on the autism council seeing some great efforts develop into solutions and resources for family members and those affected with autism. It’s a rewarding outlet.

I’m really looking forward to Thanksgiving. I hope all of you are planning to mooch off Blake and Kate along with our family.