Friday, July 30, 2010

Vampires are so trendy now!!

The boys are WHITE.  So white, in fact, that my cousin once asked if they were "a little bit albino or something".  They do both have a creepy vein or two on their faces and heads that shows a little too clearly through the flesh.  But hey, isn't it cool right now to be a vampire?  These hot days have required more than a dollop of sunscreen, and luckily they're pretty used to the routine.  They assume the position like they're preparing for a prison pat down.

When Clayton was first born, we went to have a second big round of pictures done by the same photog that took Esten's.  He stopped after a few pics and said, "Hey, don't take this the wrong way, but I have never seen two babies that are so, like Aryan-Nazi looking.  It's like you two are trying to preserve the race or something".  Yeah, we won't take that the wrong way at all.

Even the older generation weighed in on their almost freakish paleness.  My Aunt Ruby was ecstatic when she found out both times we were expecting.  "That's fantastic," she would say, "you know, the Norwegians are going extinct because there's just not enough of them to go around and with them not having big families to run the farms anymore, the young ones travel to other countries like Spain and Italy, and we're losing all the blond people".  For perspective, Aunt Ruby also let me know that they didn't HAVE binkies when her babies were born, they just let them chew on a chicken bone or a corn cob.

DISCLAIMER:  Jason and I are not racists, have no affiliation with any sort of neo-anything groups, and just by happenstance we live in North Idaho.  That's it. I did not set out on a search to find some fella who was from the next farm over.  I did, however, hear angels singing the first time I laid eyes on him.  I've only had that love at first sight two other times.  Both were in Gritman's maternity ward. 

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Five Million Dollar Check

There's a special place in Hell for people who take advantage of children or the elderly.  This morning we got a call, clearly from Nigeria, and the, ah-hem, "gentleman" asked if my dad was home.  Not in the way like that he thought I was a little girl, but he specifically asked for him by name.  When I hesitated he asked whether he had the wrong number or he had just called at the wrong time.  I told him my dad just wasn't there (he was sitting at the table looking right at me).  Since I couldn't make out his name, I'll just call him Shaka Zulu for our purposes here:

Shaka Zulu:  "Well, I'm calling from the cancellation department.  Mr. Watkins did not return our call in the allotted time, so we are going to proceed with the cancelling of his check."
Me:  "His CHECK?  WHAT check?"
Zulu:  "His five million dollar check.  When we spoke to him last, he promised to return our call.  He has not done that, so the IRS is forcing us by their regulations to cancel the check, unless he would like us not to cancel the check."
Me:  "So you were going to send him a five million dollar check but since he didn't call you back now you're going to cancel it?"
Zulu:  "That is correct, unless you can speak on his behalf to reverse our cancellation.  It was VERY important that he return our call and he did not."
Me:  "Oh, that's because he's got so much money he doesn't know what to do with it all.  Yeah, just go ahead and rip that check up.  He doesn't need it."
Zulu:  "Uhhhhhh.....okaaaaay?  Well please let him know he will receive one additional call this day from the cancellation processing department so he will have one more chance to change his mind."
Me:  "Oh, don't bother, he won't be here, he's out on the yacht."

I told my mom about it, and she just laughed it off.  She's tired of them too, so I told her I was going to start telling them that mom and dad are both dead.  That's the only way to get off the list.  She didn't even flinch, she just said she's going to start telling them the same thing, pretending she's someone else.

The irony of the whole thing?  My mom has been humped over her sewing machine for weeks pounding out school bags to fill with supplies.  She has spent every Saturday at yard sales scooping up baby clothes by the bag full, dragging them home and gently bleaching out the squash stains.  She has dulled the blades of her scissors cutting endless hourglass shapes out of flannel sheets and run her serger ragged to make cloth diapers.  Every Thursday she unlocks the church door for the quilting ladies and stays until the last one leaves.  I will be helping her count out the cases of notebooks she'll haul home from Walmart when they're 10 cents a piece.  All this work to send these things to Zulu's country to make life a little easier.  Zulu's cousin has pencils and her own bag for school.  Zulu's brother's kid doesn't have his little wienerschnitzel hanging out anymore in the "Save the Children" commercials.  Zulu's grandma has a warm blanket at night.

Screw you, Zulu.  We're done.  You don't need one of my mom's quilts where you're going.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Permissive Parental Deception

We are liars.  Total liar-liar-pants-on-fires.  As parents, we lie to our kids CONSTANTLY, but hope that they'll be open and honest with us in return.  We do it because they have questions we can't answer and we don't want to look stupid.  We want them to think we know everything.  When these two yahoos hit their teens we are going to be paid back tenfold for the B.S. we try to feed them on a daily basis.  The boys and I had our 6 month visit to the dentist yesterday.  Esten wasn't super excited, except to get to pick a toy from the treasure chest.  Said toys don't survive long around our place, as Jason and I are both continually on the lookout for junky/broken toys to toss behind their backs.  Clayton wasn't so sure that even the prospect of a toy was enough to warrant letting "dat guy" poke around in his mouth again.  And so began my weaving of the tapestry of lies surrounding their pearly whites...

Esten, being ever alert to what is going on with his cousins, has been oh so excited that he finally has a loose tooth.  London and Hannah have already gotten those coveted visits by the Tooth Fairy.  This introduction to someone who delivers money right to your bed is, well, let's just say Esten's going to be an old man with a fat bank account someday.  He is OBSESSED with money.

So in trying to explain how important the dentist's role is in how Esten's financial future would pan out, I explained that the Tooth Fairy will only pay you for your teeth if they are sparkly white.  She has to fly them high up in the sky to be stars, and well, if they're dirty they wouldn't do any good in lighting up the night sky so she would just leave them and not cash you out.  This little story was enough to shut them both up and be ultra-cooperative gentlemen for at least the next 2 hours.  It may not seem like much, but I'll take it.

But it got me thinking about just how much I deceive these sweet, innocent, trusting little beings.  How can one who loves these children unconditionally be so deceptive?  Emotional bubble wrap is for their own good, right?  My answer is a resounding Y-E-S.  However, I don't think it is enough that we make this crap up and rest on our laurels about it.  Eventually they'll call us out on it.  We need a plan B, just in case.  I'm sure ours will include some "after" pictures of some meth junkie.

The lesson is this:  Parents, get your stories straight now.  It's your only hope of maintaining loyalty and avoiding a mutiny from your scurvy crew.  They DO have swords, or at least light sabres.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Facebook Rewind

Facebook has been a great tool for posting my kids' observations, though pretty limited for content space. In case you live under a rock and don't follow me there, here is a compilation of posts from the past year~

(Clayton Praying) "...and thank you God for all the food, especially the kind with the white frosting on it, can you make more foods with white frosting because I love it, it tastes just like a marshmallow, or a angel wing feathers, or a fluffy white cat. Thanks. Amen." 7/19/2010

(Esten, on Love) Esten passed along some new found wisdom learned from his 8 year-old crush. "There are 3 kinds of Love. Married-Love, Friendship-Love, and the other one which is the best kind is the No-Matter-What-Love." Thanks, Lauren for that timeless truth. 7/7/2010

(Esten, on jail) I was watching one of the "Predator" shows, and Esten walked in just as the perv dumped a blender full of margarita all over the bar. As he was being interviewed by the cop in the trailer, Esten said, "Is that why you get so upset when me and Clayton spill things because when we are grownups if we spill then the cops will take us to jail?" hmmm...yes? 6/28/2010

(Clayton, on marriage) Clayton proclaimed he does not want any "wif-ez" when he gets big. Esten told him he has to or "people will think it's because you're not kind & there's no girls who will put up with you like mommy puts up with daddy. That, and you'll go to jail". "Really??", asked Clayton, clearly concerned. "Pretty sure, Clayton, pretty sure". 6/21/2010

(Esten, on laundry) I washed the boys' bedding. Esten sniffed his blanket, frowned at me and said, "But it doesn't smell like farts anymore, it took me a long time to get it that way". Boys. Ew. 5/27/2010

(Esten, on marriage)
Esten: "I wish I could marry you Mommy!"
Me: "But I'm already married to Daddy."
Esten: "Why did you pick our Daddy?"
Me: "First of all, because he's soooo handsome like you, and..."
Esten: "...and because you were the Princess and he was the Principal?"

(On brotherly love) I was cursing the stupid weeds I was dealing with until the boys crashed their dump trucks into each other, laughed and squealed, then Esten said, "Oh my GOSH, CLAYTON! I am having so much fun with you right now, wanna hug each other?" Clayton obliged, then said, "Esten, I like you so much for a brother, can I have a kiss too?" THAT my friends, makes the backbreaking part of pulling weeds tolerable. 4/25/2010

(On patience, none) I watched the "marshmallow test" segment on Katie Couric news last night. If you missed it, there's an OLD test still working on kids that they can either ring a bell and get one marshmallow now, or wait and get two marshmallows later. It's an indicator of their future successes, setting goals, self control, etc. My kids are SCREWED. 4/22/2010

(Clayton praying) "Thank you God for my Grandma and Grandpa and everybody and the grass and the Wii, and tell Santa Claus on the other cloud that I'm good tonight and he will bring me some presents, but on tomorrow, because it's a long time ago to Christmas. Amen." 4/21/2010

(On fashion) Clayton wants me to go to the "camel-frog store" and get him "camel-frog pants" and a "camel-frog shirt" and "camel-frog socks" so he can look like Uncle Ryan, except not with a scratchy face. 4/15/2010

(On bedtime) "Yeth, if you don't thtay in bed I AM going to thpank your fanny. I AM THEEWEEUTH." Just seeing if speaking Clayton's language will yeild better weethulths. 3/23/2010

(On ethnic heritage) I had a great Sons of Norway breakfast Saturday. Esten went formal, tie and vest. Clayton decided to go with the stained white tee from the dirty clothes basket. Both insisted that "Vikings" are actually "Pirates with TWO eyes and NO hooks." Bellies full of pancakes, krumkakke, and lefse, first words out of their mouths back at home were "WE NEED A SNACK!" UFF-DA! 3/21/2010

(On Easter Baskets) Esten shook every egg in his basket. No jingle of change, and it went back in the pile. He said Clayton could have those, because "they're just candy in there" and he wants "just all the monies". Clayton couldn't offer an opinion, as he had too much chocolate seeping out the corners of his mouth. 4/5/2010

(On clutter) On our way out of the driveway Esten said, "Mommy, we need to get you a new car." I asked what was wrong with the one we have. He said, "It's just way to messy. I don't like it anymore with all this stuff around in here." Time to clean up. 2/25/2010

(On repeating yourself) I feel like it's Groundhog Day. Every morning since Christmas, literally the first words out of Clayton's mouth have been, "Can I play the Wii now?" For Esten, for the past 3 YEARS it's been, "Can you get me some hot cocoa and make it warm and make it taste like sugar?" I'm not joking. That's exactly what he says EVERY TIME. No wonder Bill Murray's hair looks like that. 2/23/2010

(On Biblical History) I heard the sermon from the booster seats:
Clayton: "God died on the cross."
Esten: "No, JESUS did."
Clayton: "No, Jesus died in a SWORD fight."
Esten: "No, it was with a LIGHT SABRE."
Clayton: "The green one or the red one?"
Esten: "The RED one. It was a bad guy."
Clayton: "OH."

(On fleeting love) I am eavesdropping on the boys playing StarWars Legos on the Wii...Clayton told Esten "Please don't kill that guy again because he's on my team, and I love you." Ahhh, it just doesn't get better than that. Oh, wait a tick...Clayton just ripped the nunchuck out of Esten's hand and clobbered him on the head with it. Back to reality. 2/6/2010

(On practical birthday gifts) Grandpa got a new "tow-it" for his birthday, and Clayton was so excited to show it off to everyone and the cool way it excited that he locked himself in the bathroom. 2/4/2010

(On Prophecy) I just learned about "Prophecy" from Esten. It is when one person is in the bathroom and doesn't want the other person to bother them or talk to them under the door. I can't wait to have prophecy. I haven't had prophecy in...5 years? 1/18/2010

(On Love-in perspective) I feel SO special right now...Esten just informed me that he loves me "more than our new TV, which is a lot because it's super awesome". Don't boys (and grown-up boys) have a way with expressing their feelings? You know it's serious when electronics are involved. 1/16/2010

(On physical fitness) I caught Esten "lifting weights" with a Costco-sized bottle of peroxide last night. I asked him what he was doing, and he dramatically put it down, let out a big huff, flexed his muscles and said, "I'm getting strong and tough to beat my daddy at wrestling. Do you have anything else that's heavy?" 11/13/2009

(On gift-giving) Esten thinks Kenadie needs a Three-Musketeers Barbie for her 4th birthday today, Clayton is sure she wants a Transformer guy. I am wondering why I asked for input. This cannot end well. 11/6/2009

(On fashion) Inside the mind of Clayton's "fashionisto" process this morning...Camouflage pants, check...Top half of Esten's pumpkin Halloween costume from 4 years ago with the awesome green leaf ruffle around the neck, check...Black leather Harley-Davidson jacket, check...Crocs, check...PERFECTION. 9/29/2009

(On Baptism) Grandma's been hinting about baptisms I decided to ask the boys..."Do you want to be baptized?" Esten's response? "You mean for Halloween? Yeah, I'll be a bath-tie for Halloween, but Clayton, you can't. Mommy, what's a bath-tie?" I am officially going to Hell. 9/14/2009

(On Rodeo Action)
Me: "What was your favorite part of the bullriders last night?"
Clayton: "Nuffing."
Esten: "I liked when that pretty girl [Princess Flinders] was riding that horse around in a circle and waving at me...and then she fell off the horse. That was my favorite part."
Clayton: "Oh that part? Me too. I want to go see that again."

(Esten, food critic) "Guess what, Mommy! Cat food doesn't taste very good." (note: we do not have a cat) 8/26/2009

Here we go!

Okay, so I'm a little technologically challenged. I have gotten a lot of encouragement from a few friends and family members (you know who you are) to get some things down in writing. With everyone's busy schedules and some unfortunate geographic scattering, it's impossible for everyone to keep up with what is going on with kids, etc. This will hopefully bring some expanded opportunities for those close to (but far away from) us to get a glimpse into the seemingly boring, everyday life for the Lee family.

I am acutely aware that there are moments, things that my children say or do that are so insignificant in the present, but that are infinitely important to remember, to share, and to reflect on. Everyday life in its monotony is incredibly hilarious, and I draw on it to put things in perspective.

Ultimately, this will serve as a memory book for my kids. I hope that along the way others may enjoy peeking in from time to time to see what is going on with us in our little adventure we call life.