Sunday, May 30, 2010

This is Dedicated to PY

Here comes the dirty laundry, readers. Inspired by my friend who has two boys and who, like most Moms, needs inspiration to make it through the day:

1. Places that have been urinated from/upon/in since having kids ten years ago:

a. front yard (off the porch, facing our neighbor's house, was my personal fav.)
b. back yard (N, S, E, and W.)*
c. beds (ooopsy)
d. bathtubs (while filling, almost filled, and filled; with one boy, two boys, and three boys. Dr. Seuss would be SO proud.)
e. bathroom floors, toilets (not including the bowl), and walls.

2. Most ridiculous thing I've seen all week:
Child took a peanut butter cookie from the freezer to the dryer to "defrost" it. Thank goodness for other, tattling children.

3. Amount of money I've added to Johnson&Johnson's bottom line since having children: $12,345.67.**

4. What drives me ape-poo batty? When boys try to pee "over" the top of their trousers, by pulling their wanker up and semi-"out". This always ends up in a mess all over their underwear and britches and, for the really poor at target practice, wet socks and shoes.

5. ER visits to date: The Babe: 1, The HOO Man: 5ish, The DOO Man: 3.***

6. Month we met our medical insurance deductible for the year: early March.

7. Phrases that routinely issue from my mouth:

a. "Do I look like your servant?"
b. "Sit down."
c. "Stand up."
d. "I forgive you."
e. "Please pick the clothes/towels/Legos/dishes up off the ground."
f. "I don't care if _____ is supposed to do it. I asked YOU."
g. "EXCUSE me?" (dripping sarcasm)
h. "Go to time out."
i. "I told you to stay in bed." (What I'm thinking: "REALLY? You again? Is it 6am already?")
j. "Where are you going?"
k. "How many times am I going to have to tell you..."
l. "Four on the floor."****
m. "Buckle up."
n. "Has everyone buckled up?" (add exasperated tone)
o. "Good gravy." (always when I can't believe the lunacy)
p. "Skitamarink (a dink a dink, skitamarink a doo, I love you.")
q. "Kind words are like honeycomb." (My favorite Bible verse the last two years)r. "Please recite Phillipians 2, verses 3-4." Pause for recitation. "Now, WHO were you thinking about?" (My favorite Bible verse of late)
s. "When you ____, did you think I wouldn't catch you?"
t. "Where are your school shoes?" (10 minutes before we need to be at the school.)
u. "Is there any wine in the house?" (Rhetorical question, whispered under my breath, around dinner time when the kids are one step away from an orphanage.)
v. "Please be quiet."
w. "Close your mouth when you chew."
x. "Wash your hands." (After smelling them and discovering they smell like week old moldy bologna.)
y. "If you brushed your teeth I'm a monkey's Uncle."
z. "You've GOT to be kidding."

But, for all the daily difficulties of being a parent, it doesn't take much to turn my week around. Here's the unprovoked/unexpected, yet sweetest thing I've heard all week:

"Yes, baby."
"I love you."

Oh, and PY? We queens of the roost have to stick together to raise these princes to their full height. Always know that the door is open, the phone is available, and, undoubtedly, we'll look back on this in a scant 15 years and wonder where the time went.

*I'll say it again, DADS. Yes, this SEEMS inoculous and cute when you teach junior this trick so you can get one shot for the picture album. But what you are doing is creating a piss monster, one that's indiscriminate about all things pee. And don't ever try to pass this off on the Momma; those kids ain't squating, sir.

**And that's only in band-aid products.

***The Nowell wing, at Richardson Regional, will break ground in August '10.

****We have a mighty big issue with boys keeping all four legs of the kitchen table chairs on the ground.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Kinda Sweet

Commentary from the Hoo Man tonight as I am tucking him in, as we overhear The Babe, completely alone in his nightlight-illuminated room one door over:

"Every night he sings and talks to himself. I kinda like it. It keeps me company."

Maybe, someday, when they are grown, they'll be best buddies and fondly remember this time of life, all carefree and easy-going.

Heaven knows I'd rather they reminisce about this than how many forced burps The Babe can produce in one try.

That's just disturbing.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Monkeys Flying Outta My Butt*

At a very relaxed, totally off-schedule, lunch with the new Preschool "graduate", he asked the following:

Babe: "Mom? Can we get monkeys to put in the backyard? We have a big enough space and a fence so they won't get out."

LONGGGGG pause from yours truly.

Me: "Well, what about the fact that monkeys like to climb, and, if they go to the top of the trees, they'll be well above the fence line and they could get out. I don't think our neighbors would like that."**

Babe (pondering): "I didn't think of that."

Me (still totally treating this situation as if it MIGHT happen in his lifetime): "I guess we'd have to buy a HUGE net to put over the entire yard so they couldn't get out."

Babe (eyes light up/smiling): "YEAH. That's a good idea Mom."

Me: "But what would we feed the monkeys?"

Babe: "Well. They eat bananas. And dog food."

Me (quizzically): "Dog food? Really? How do you know that?"

Babe (very seriously): "Because my friend has monkeys in his backyard and they feed them dog food."***

Me (still very quizzical): "REALLY??! Who?"

Babe (wheels cranking in his brain): "UM." Serious pause. "Brian."****

Me (trying to restrain my laughter): "What kind of monkeys do they own?"

Babe: "Chimpanzees. And that's what I want."

Me: "Well. We'll have to look into the Dallas City laws to see if we can have monkeys like our neighbors. And stock up on dog food. And buy a BIG net."

Babe (eyes smiling): "I love you, Mom."

Me: "I love you, too, sugar."

Now, let's just hope that our planned trip to the zoo doesn't dredge this conversation back up again.

*This is a totally random reference to Wayne's World. For some incredibly juvenile reason, this always makes me laugh until I almost cry.

**If I've learned ANYTHING about raising children it is that, sometimes, it is easier to go down the "That completely random, inconceivably ridiculous idea, is SO worth talking about" path than it is to try to explain "UM, NO."

***We've hit that phase where the little guy is testing the "lying waters" and is trying to see if we'll catch him. Newsflash: Yes we are. And I still contend that you are much.too.young to be doing this.

****Name changed to protect identity. But, I will share that these are our next door neighbors and they most definitely DON'T have monkeys invading their backyard, don't have plans to acquire a monkey, and this post will probably confirm their sneaking suspicions that we are loony.

Thursday, May 27, 2010


Well, to be EXACT, today is 301. But, I'm writing this before post number 300 hits the blog, so I can STILL rightfully talk about 300.

300 is a perfect bowling game. Which I've never bowled.

300 is a weight that people on The Biggest Loser routinely pass on their way down.

300 is a lot of money if you are planning a small dinner but nothing if you and seven friends are dining at a five-star restaurant.

Somewhere in the late-200's, I realized that, when I posted blog entry 300, I was hitting a huge milestone.

I can't even begin to explain why I feel this way because, frankly, not even I understand it. But, I think is has something to do with a confluence of events: Mom's death, summer starting, my "Esther" Bible Study getting really good on a personal level.

What has hit me is that I should be turning my attentions toward actual writing. Not practice (which is what I've always considered this.)

This may be news to some of you: I have a secret desire to write a book. This is something that has been rolling around in my mind since my early 20's. I remember, vividly, telling my parents I would write a book in my mid-twenties.

My mid-twenties came and went. I was busy with a new career, a boyfriend who became my first husband, and partying*. No time for writing, much less a book.

My late-twenties were filled with career change, divorce, and grieving. I spent more time with my shrink than I did with anything that resembled a constructive writing instrument.

My thirties were filled with marrying my soul mate, establishing our first home, and cranking out babies. I couldn't spell "diaper" correctly, much less write a cohesive set of sentences.

Finally, I hit my forties. So far, the early part of this decade has been good for writing. This post and another blog, which only Mike is privy to, have been my writing outlet. I truly believe God used these two blogs to keep me sane while I continued raising kids in the midst of a move, a year and a half of remodeling, the death of both of my Moms and Grandmother, and home schooling.

But, now, I'm feeling that familiar tug to write something of real substance. Something meaty that will change lives. Let's face it: talking about my kid's lack of ability to hit the water in the bottom of the toilet is FUN, but it's not exactly revolutionary.

Why am I asking you to spend your time reading my life history and future plans? Because you've been faithful to read this blog. Some of you even seem to ENJOY it. And I consider you friends.

And I need you to pray for discernment and wisdom as I start what is, undoubtedly, the biggest challenge I will face. I am, truly, scared to death to start writing. That's how much I fear the failure factor.

I also know that's the Devil talking in my ear, attempting to steer me off base and keep me from what I know is a God-given call and gift.

I OWE it to God, who has carried me through a life full of failures and missteps and huge, painful lessons, and who hasn't let me go for one moment of the entire process.

I just need to take that first step.

In the meantime, I intend to continue to writing here. I just don't know what that will look like. I've tried hard to write something everyday in these first 299 posts but that may not be the pace going forward. We'll just see.

Just know that I cherish your prayers and encouragement and, gulp, criticism.

And, I hope, you'll continue coming to Not Now-ell in the future.

After all, where else are you going to get your fix of bathroom talk, crazy stories, and sarcasm from a recovering cusser?

*If you reverse the order of those things, that was my priority.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

You Have to Date a Lot of Toads to Get to Your Prince

When I was in college, I used to get the funniest looks from men when I met them in a bar. Generally it was because I'd have had a couple of drinks and when they'd try to pick me up I'd hit them with something like "Have you ever thought about the amount of time it took to distill this liquor before we could drink it?"

I created more than one crease in the foreheads of unsuspecting men. QUITE the man magnet, I was.

Frankly, once I was out of college and working, the engineers at Texas Instruments dug me. THEY knew how liquor was distilled and didn't haunt bars looking for women who didn't know the answer to that question.

Problem was, they had NO IDEA how to deal with the likes of me when they finally asked me out. Poor, socially-inept engineers.

That's why I married Mike. As a statistician he knew, within a degree of certainty on a bell curve that, whatever weirdness was going on in that moment, it was within one or two standard deviations of normal. And he could deal with that probability.

All these years later, when he literally couldn't walk because his sciatic nerve fired up and rendered him only able to crawl, and he HAD.TO.PEE.RIGHT.NOW, but wasn't within crawling distance of his dream, he looked at me, as I held a cup under his body, and said "You married me for better or worse. And this is the worse." And, then, we both laughed with gusto.

Having taken statistics in college, I knew the probability that this would ever happen again was about one billion to one. For which I am eternally grateful.

The two of us, together? Our marriage is in the 99th-plus percentile.

Even when one of us is crouching on the floor on all fours peeing into a cup as he laughs hysterically.

*Less you think I am walking around, without a soul, and post just for laughs, and am using this unfortunate event just to get a rise out of all of you, hear this: Mike gladly, totally gave me permission.

See, I'm not the meanie you thought I was.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Thunder Throne Lessons

I was introduced to a new twist on an old term last year, courtesy of my sister-in-law. Since I am master of procrastination, I am writing about this over 18 months later.

But I thought this was such a unique concept, I never completely let it go. It was like a bad potato sitting in the pantry that I could smell but couldn't figure out where the odor was coming from. So I was constantly asking The Babe what he ate and yelling at the dog to "Go outside" because I hadn't THOUGHT to check the stupid potatoes.

The rotting-potato-in-my-head? Potty training.

Now if you are thinking of the torture we parents go through to train our kids to use the porcelain throne*, you are way off base. I'm talking about what happens behind closed doors when a MOMMY has the nerve to close AND lock the bathroom door and sit a spell while reading.

Yes, folks, the new, "IN" potty training is the knowledge Mommy acquires while sitting on the commode.

When I had the time to actually ponder this concept, my brain wondered if we could give it the old college try. So, I acquiesced. With my weekly Bible lesson for the 1st-3rd grade set. Early in the afternoon.

Here's what happened:

a. after I got comfortable, the potty door magically opened**. And, then, I saw a dog; Doug, to be exact. To say he's my fourth child is putting it mildly. He looked up at me through the crack he had created, as if to say, "I missed you."

I slammed the door in his face.

b. the door grew a paw. From the crack underneath it. Then it started to whine.

It was really hard to focus on the Garden of Eden when I was dealing with a whining, hairy door crack.

c. after giving up, Doug left and the whining was replaced by the whimpers of a human child. Who had to go. NOW. I patiently explained that there were three other reasonably available bathrooms in the house. I was told none of them could be used because child was "scared"***.

At frickin' quarter 'til four in the afternoon.

By the time I finished my potty training, my lesson looked like this: "Adam and Eve couldn't ever use the toilet alone because Eve ate the apple, releasing dogs and smallish children to bother them whenever they closed the door to pee."

So, if you were to ask "How's that potty training working for you?", I'd say, "Dog and kid, one. Mommy, zero."

But, I'm betting the results of my experiment would have created a twist on a classic story my class would NEVER hear from another teacher. Or forget.

But, alas, at midnight, I actually got my chance to study the lesson all over again, in the bathroom, by myself. With no interruptions.

Lesson learned: potty training works. But only if you lock the dogs in their cage and tuck the kids into bed BEFORE making any attempt.

*Or, in the case of the Nowell house, urinate all over it. I guess that's what happens when a woman tries to teach a small boy's penis how to do it's potty business.

**Rule #1: you are supposed to LOCK the door. Oops.

***We have this on-going issue of being scared of the dark when EVERY FRIGGIN' LIGHT FROM THE FRONT TO THE BACK OF THE HOUSE IS ON. You'd get whiplash trying to watch the dial on the electric meter run.

Monday, May 24, 2010

The Best

I love my kids. They are truly the biggest blessing, besides Mike, I've ever had bestowed upon me.

Way back in September last year, one of the sweet-ums wrote this on a paper dinner napkin:
I love you MOM
Your the BEST

It's just not very often you get that kind of genuine kindness from an 8-year-old (at the time). But, hey, he's a really loving kid. I SHOULD expect it from him.

It makes me think: what if I went into every situation with my kids EXPECTING them to do the right thing, instead of worrying about them making an ass of themselves and, by proxy, me as well?

I don't know if I'm the only parent out there who, upon sending my kids out in the world, just prays they do the right thing, say the right thing*, and treat others with kindness**.

I'm totally unclear on Biblical precedent for "positive thinking = positive results", but I do know that the Devil is roaming around, just like a lion on the prowl, waiting to devour someone in his path. Anyone with a pulse will do.

So, if I have a negative attitude, I have to believe the Devil will prey upon that and I will receive exactly what I am expecting to happen. Conversely, if I have faith that there is truth in the concept that believing and praying for the best will bring out the best in my kids, my petitions will be heard and the result will be praiseworthy kids.

Then, if they stumble, I can help lift them out of the pit, dust them off, talk with them about doing right, and point them back out to try again.

It seems that, daily, that's what happens with God and me. I know he knows I'm totally, completely fallible. And, when I make mistakes, He's disappointed, but not surprised.

Why, as a parent, then, would I treat my kids differently? I know they are prone to mistakes. I know their mistakes will disappoint and frustrate me. But, instead of worrying about it ahead of time and, possibly, opening a door for the Devil to walk through, I should be at the ready to extend God-given grace to them.

It all goes back to that napkin message. If I daily remember it, I remember how much I love each of my boys and that they ARE the best that God has given me***.

To think of them as any less than the best, faults and all, isn't honoring God in the way I'm called to honor Him.

So, I'm going to do my darndest to send them out into the world with the expectation that I will receive good reports and happy comments and praise about my wonderful children.

And, if I don't, I know God will point me in the right direction.

After all, I'm his child, and he wants what is good and right for me. And, by proxy, for my children.

Praise be for such a wonderful maker!

*And, certainly, don't try to lecture people about "their way" vs. "our way". I hope I've taught them tolerance of people's opinions and rituals as a family, but that they should stand up when something is blatantly, Biblically wrong.

**Unlike the way they often treat each other. GADS.

***Along with Mike!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Is it Just Me...

or does it kinda creep you out when you find the neighbor kids loafing around in your partially unmade bed, strewn with clothes, decorator pillows, and wet towels because they are vegging with your kid, watching Aladdin?

That's what I thought.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

How to Introduce God

This requires no commentary. Cut and paste into your browser*, watch and be amazed.

PS: Thanks KV!

*I'm showing my ignorance of all things bloggish here. I can write, I can edit, but I can't make the little line and blue writing appear on my website addresses. For that matter, I still don't know how to type a little ditty like "look here" and make it connect to something. Ignorance is ignorance.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Why Dating SOME Women is Hard Work

I was inspired to write this. Please don't get paranoid because it's probably not about you.

In fact, if you think it IS you, think again. And don't send me a message saying "Was that ME you were writing about?".'t.

Man: Where do you want to go to dinner?
Woman: Why do I have to make all the decisions?

M: I thought you'd like to have a say.....?
W: I'm tired of making decisions all the time.

M: OK. How about Italian?
W: I hate Italian.

M: Chinese?
W: Too much MSG.

M: Sonic?
W: Do you think I'm cheap?


M: No. What would make you say that?
W: Sonic? I mean, really? We're supposed to be going on a DATE! Not out to lunch like a couple of buds from work.

M: (Completely lost) OK. How about Cheesecake Factory?
W: DUH. I'm on a diet. Don't you EVER listen to me?

M: Tell you what. I'm going to order a pizza and a 2-liter and sit on the couch and watch whatever happens to be on TV. If you want to join me, great.
W: (Conjuring tears) You don't love me, do you?
M: Of course, I love you. I'm just tired of trying to read your mind every time we want to go out to eat.

W: How about Italian, then?
M: But I thought you hated Italian?
W: I was just trying to be nice. Don't you like it when I'm nice to you?

M: (Sighing) I'm outta here. Call me when you're stable again. In like, 10 years, OK? (Door slams)

W: (Full blown crying/pleading) I love you. I'm sorry. Please come back.

M: (Walking back towards apartment) Fine. Where do you want to eat?
W: Why do I have to make all the decisions?

If you wonder why some people date and date and date some more but still have a hard time finding a person to take them seriously, try reading this again. If your head doesn't split down the middle, you are a better person than I.

Or, if you don't see anything wrong with the above interaction, plug the dialogue into a computer program that checks for circular logic.

But, please. Stand back. Because your computer is going to explode.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Facebook Magic

I have become a psychic. I, literally, can predict the future. How, pray tell, did this happen?

It's all thanks to Facebook. And status updates.

I've become a friend with a particular person whose every move is documented for every second of every day. Save the bathroom. Thank goodness.

So, tonight, this person went to a frozen yogurt place, the movies, and out to dinner. This created a trail of movement across Dallas that required three different status updates*.

I happen to know, because this person falls somewhere between "acquaintance" and "friend", that he is married with kids. I'm 99% sure, based on the movie d'jour, that they were all along on this big adventure.

And, because this person posts ALL THE STINKIN' TIME**, I know he has had similar dates, just like this, at least four other times THIS MONTH.

Now, how does this relate to my new psychic abilities?

I predict, in a short period of time, a little thing called a "credit card bill" will show up in this person's mailbox.

I further predict that his spending habits will, eventually, catch up with his income.

And, finally, that his income won't be enough to cover his spending habits and his credit card bill will go delinquent.

TA-DA. I'm psychic.

Perty amazing, ain't I?

*Were I a hit man and he a person the mob needed to take down, he'd so be toast.

**For which I am about to "unfriend" him...

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

No! You? Surely You Jest!

Some of my favorite scenes in The Wizard of Oz involve the lion.

In one scene, Lion, being all cowardly and such, is hesitantly walking through the Haunted Forest with his buddies, pulling his paws to his face in fear, repeating "I do believe in spooks, I do believe in spooks. I do, I do, I do, I do believe in spooks, I do believe in spooks, I do, I do, I do, I do!"

I had a moment today where I realized it was time to get honest with myself and say "I do believe in ADD, I do believe in ADD. I do, I do, I do, I do believe in ADD, I do believe in ADD, I do, I do, I do, I do!"

If you've been reading this post for any period of time, you'll know I've been living in a land called "Complete, Utter, Total Denialville" regarding this issue of concentration.

Further, it should be abundantly clear to you by now that I suffer from serious issues with attention. Actually, more appropriately, I have cornered the market on "sustaining inattention for long periods of time during which nothing much gets accomplished*".

Previously, I staunchly believed that these issues were just psychological-mumbo-jumbo and that good nutrition, supplementation, exercise and, sometimes, special programs were the key that could solve the mystery behind the problem.

And when I got frustrated after trying this approach for many, many months to no avail, I sat down and Goggled 5,412 pages of research-based background notes on what causes and doesn't cause ADD/ADHD.

Now that I'm full of more knowledge about ADD than Wikipedia, I can share the following:

a. I'm classic Attention Deficit Disorder. Hyperactivity is generally added when I'm tanked up on caffeine, lack of sleep, or good conversation. Especially if I am talking with someone else who has ADD. Those discussions never contain complete sentences, finished thoughts, or clarity. But, crazy-train alert, they make sense to BOTH parties involved.

b. I've passed on these genes to at least one, if not two or three, unsuspecting boy-type folk. God bless them.

c. I strongly resemble the dogs in UP, who are constantly distracted by squirrels the viewer never sees, and Twitchy, the hyper-energetic squirrel in HOODWINKED, who swears he only drinks decaf**/***.

Honestly, I don't know what I'm going to do with this newly acquired knowledge. If I could figure out how to channel it, I would have the cleanest house on the block, three months worth of dinners in the freezer, and time to lay in the hammock. All within one twenty-four hour period of time.

As it stands, at quarter til eight in the evening, I have need of a patient housekeeper with little-to-no gag reflex, time to run to the grocery store to figure out dinner for this evening, and no chance for hammock time.

Unless I can get ahold of a Red Bull.....hmmmmmmmmm. SQUIRREL!!

*The * I use so much in these posts is proof of this problem. These little additions to the writing are generally bunny trails my brain goes down when I'm telling a story. Kind of like when I talk to people and say "That reminds me" and go completely off topic. Then I have to beg the person I'm talking to to remind me where I went off-roading in the conversation so I can remember what I was talking about to begin with. Geez I'm annoying.

**Being there is a squirrel connection in here, I should make a pithy connection. But, my brain is just too fried from learning about ADD to do it.

***YEAH, RIGHT, Twitchy. I've got YOUR number.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Big, Stinkin', Odd-Looking, Tasty Animal

Call me crazy, but since I have been deprived of eating good old-fashioned cow meat on a regular basis for over a year, I get excited at the prospect of finding a good replacement.

And find one I did.

Bison/buffalo is the new cow. At least in our household*.

And I found the pinnacle of hot dogs, a'la bison, a couple of weeks ago. Sadly, my migraine prone little guy, after wolfing down three monster dogs in three days, developed a really severe headache.

He was heartbroken, thinking his new gastronomic love was rejecting him. And, since I didn't have a complete list of all the ingredients, I had to go on a hunt.

I discovered that Whole Foods repackages these dogs. And they throw away the original packaging, with the ingredient label, after they chunk the meat on a white styrofoam board, cover it in cellophane, and slap on a price label that makes my checkbook cringe.

So, I needed the name of the manufacturer. "No problem!" said the lovely butchers, who gladly gave me contact information**. Orally.

Two aisles over, I forgot the name. No amount of straining my brain produced results. And I was way too ashamed to admit my failure and return to the meat counter. So I left the store, vowing revenge on my short-term memory.

One week passed. Migraine boy began asking about, and begging for, the "awesome" hot dogs.

So I did what any ADD riddled Mom would do: I grabbed the phone book, called a Whole Foods across town, and talked to a butcher I had never seen, will never see, and who didn't think I was insane for forgetting the information he gave me within 30 milliseconds of hearing it.

Manufacturer's name in hand, I sent an email. And I was pleasantly surprised that, about 24 hours later, I had an answer. At least, once I got past the following...

This was the subject line of the response: "Bison Wieners".

Truly, I had forgotten I sent the original email. And when this popped up in my Inbox, several things happened:

1. I thought: "My spam filter is obviously on the fritz" and "Pornography should be ILLEGAL. That is absolutely disgusting."

2. I started laughing hysterically. So hard I snorted.

3. I looked at the email and realized that the person who sent it didn't speak English as his first language. Judging by the number of consonants and lack of vowels in his name, he was probably Polish. And, apparently, in that lovely country, the word "wieners" just isn't that funny.

But, all's well that end's well: I discovered that, indeed, bison hot dogs are not full of headache-producing ingredients and I now have a very, very happy son.

Me? I still giggle on the inside when I think of the email.

But, I chortle with a belly full of big, stinkin', odd-looking, tasty bison in it.

*Like his aversion to eating all things fish, Mike isn't hip on this concept.

**I could sing the praises of Whole Foods til the cows came home. Of course, they'd be organic, grain-fed, highly pampered cows.

Free Sprinkler Service Available

I learned, during an interview for a job back in the day, how to "trick" someone into telling the truth. And, boy, has that knowledge come in handy during Motherhood.

So here's the conversation that ensued this afternoon:

Tallest son runs into the house, announcing: "The Babe just peed in (neighbor's) yard."

As my brain is wrapping around this news, which, I'm sure, I HAD TO HAVE HEARD WRONG*, The Babe walks in the front door. So I ask, "Why did you pee in the (neighbor's) yard?"

The Babe responds, obviously pissed off** that his brother ratted him out, "I DIDN'T."

I really hate it when the kids lie. So I applied pressure. "Then why would your brother tell me you did?"

"I don't know." As much as I hate a lying kid, I love a kid who sticks to his guns.

"Listen. When you tell a lie to cover up another lie, you've told TWO lies. That's really bad."

"BUT, MOM. I didn't lie. I didn't pee in (neighbor's) yard!"

So I just sat there, staring with my best "Mommy eyes". With one of my boys, the staring, after about 30 seconds, causes him to squirm and I can TELL if I'm being fed a line of bull.

But, The Babe is GOOD. I can't tell squat because he's not a squirmy liar***.

He starts tugging at his pants at this point. Then he asks "Can I go now?"

"Why do you need to go?" I inquire.

"I need to go change my underwear."


"Because they're wet." AH HA! So busted, little buddy.

Now that I have ammunition, I can start to shoot. I know this won't take long because The Babe HATES being in wet clothes for more than a millisecond and the longer I keep up the inquisition, the more the wet Power Ranger undies are going to bug him and, eventually, I will WIN. And he'll HAVE to admit he's lied.

So, I apply the sure-fire technique for outing a Nowell liar: "When**** you peed in the (neighbor's) yard, did you get your underwear wet?"

"Yes." He states this without a hint that he just gave up the goat. In fact, I'm pretty sure he has no idea that he just admitted he's a FIVE-YEAR-OLD LIAR.

"Babe. Are you telling me you lied about peeing in (neighbor's) yard?"

Hanging his head. "Yes ma'am."

Well, the conversation goes into lies-are-bad-and-you-lied-to-Mommy-not-once-but-twice-and-that's-SUPER-bad-and-what-do-you-have-to-say-and-YES-I-forgive-you-but-don't-do-this-again mode.

And then, finally, I let him change his pee-pee pants.

And later? I relay this whole story to my neighbor, who probably thinks my kids are spawn of the Devil*****.

But, hey. As much as I hate what he did, at least I didn't have to trot down and use a plastic bag to pick up his mess.

See? We do have SOME class.

*Truly, though, why did I doubt this? He's my kid who walks out the front door last week, pulls his penis out, and pees off the front porch, fulling exposed to everyone on the street.

**Pun totally intended.

***This fact will NOT come in handy when he's 16 and I'm trying to get him to admit to something.

****The key: Start the sentence with WHEN. Go in assuming you are about to bust their butt and let the noose tighten and hang them. Always works for me.

*****Though I can see WHY someone might think this, actually he is spawn of Mike.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Am I the Only One?

When you are home schooling one of your children, it isn't exactly a pass to do stuff around the house whenever you feel like it.

As with a school teacher, you must attend to your student. Sometimes, that feels like being a buzzard, neck craned over the chair, hovering, waiting for a problem to be finished so you can see if said child got it or didn't and whether you are going to have to go in for the "kill" again*.

As we've been approaching the last week of school, though, the lesson plans have relaxed some and I've found myself placing review sheets and final tests and, admittedly, some work I, myself, consider "busy"**, in front of him.

And I found myself in the most interesting of spots today: able to actually leave the table and go to the bathroom. All by myself. While my son worked.

The music from the Olympics played in my head as I headed toward the potty. The room of solitude. A place of peace, if only for a few moments.

But, upon entering, I realized, "Something is afoul."

See, I cleaned/restocked this bathroom recently. It is the guest bathroom so, truly, it gets little use. But, still.

On the floor in front of the sink was a comic book. To the right of the toilet was a toy Batman on a motorcycle, reminiscent of "The Dark Knight"***. A crumpled piece of paper towel sat helplessly on the counter. And, on the floor, a piece of something that looked like, had I not used the paper towel to pick it up, it might have petrified within a few days.

And, I discovered, a little too late, there was no toilet paper and no hand towel.

Interestingly, the one thing that WAS right, yet SO WRONG, was the cleanliness of the sink. Really, if people have been using this bathroom, as evidenced by the bizarre collection of stuff strewn around, shouldn't there be SOME evidence of this? Splashes on the mirror from the sink? A gob of Bath and Body Works "Nectarine Mint" soap in the bowl? Running water?

But, nyet. Nadda. No proof at all.

I am not, by any stretch of the imagination, a clean freak. But I DO insist on clean hands. Maybe it's the cook in me, but it really sends me through the roof when I see someone leave the bathroom who hasn't bothered to wash their hands. I want to yell "I really don't like the thought of your excrement all over stuff I might accidentally touch after you do." GAAAAH.

And, clearly, this bathroom was crime scene evidence if I had ever seen it.

The good news? It only took me about five minutes of calling to get toilet paper. And now there is a blob of orangish, nectarine smelling hand cleanser in the bowl.

Somehow I felt vindicated by that little bit of soap. Proof that SOMEONE in this family washes hands.

Take that Horatio.****

*AKA reteaching.

**That's what his "regular" school is doing so I figure what's good for the goose is good for the gander. Right?

***So this made for a happy event because I got to think of Christian Bale. Sadly, my thought was almost immediately ruined by a quick recollection of his nasty temper. Darn.

****I will only watch CSI episodes if I am physically unable to leave the bed to change the channel. But, this character's name, due to sheer gosh-awfulness, has stuck with me like a bad case of food poisoning.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

One Week

In one week, school will be out for my homeschooled guy.

I'm not sure who is happier, him or me.

Personally, these last two weeks have been tough for all the kids. I think the warmer weather and the longer days have just sucked every ounce of interest in school out of them.

Add to that the fact that some of the kids on our street are already out of school and you have a recipe for a complete and utter lack of energy in regards to anything that has to do with learning.

I have found myself, in these last two weeks, fighting the urge to say "Oh heck.* Let's just stop doing all this busy work and do something FUN. Like bake cake and make sugary-sweet frosting and deliver it to someone who isn't on a diet.**"

I've stared, longingly, at the hammock, wondering if I'll have five minutes of peace in it before Hell's stove dial, which resides directly below Texas, is cranked up and we find ourselves cursing the weather at 5a.m. When it's 85 degrees.

I'm sure I'll be regretting wishing away these last few days of school about 4.2 days into summer.

But, for now, it's hard to keep my eye off the prize of waking up sometime that begins with a seven. Of brunch on a Tuesday. Lazy days in the pool. Camping in the backyard on a Thursday night, watching fireflies and spitting watermelon seeds.

One week. I can do anything for one week.

Maybe, if I keep repeating this, I'll actually start believing it.

One week. Just one week.

*Not my first choice of words, but a free one.

**Or eat it in one sitting.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

It's a Slow Fade

I've been thinking lately* that it is very interesting how people respond to the media.

Have you ever noticed if a plane crash occurs, killing dozens of people, we hear about it for weeks? In gory detail. And, for some reason, we are drawn to this.

But when a plane lands safely after a near-air collision, instead of rejoicing in the fact that we have all the technology to make our trips safer, that we can be on a different continent within one day's time, or that, statistically, you are less likely to die in a plane than in a car, we immediately try to place blame. And the blame game goes on for weeks, months, and years. And we all tune in to see what the "latest" news is on the cover-up**, the aftermath, or the lawsuit.

So, more thinking ensued. When was the last time I heard of something really good happening in our world?

I thought. And I thought. And I thought some more.

And I couldn't come up with a single headline that was positive.

Frankly, that scared me. I wondered "Is there really such a lack of good in this world? Or am I so tuned in to the negative that I have started failing to see the positive?"

Which made me think further: What is it that, corporately, we thrive on negativism?

Is it our fallen nature? In other words, since we are born sinning, do we somehow get perverse satisfaction out of watching others fail, make mistakes, or die? Does it somehow make us feel better to watch those around us screw up? I think the answer is "yes".

I'm as guilty as the rest. Last night, watching Monday night's recorded episode of 24, I found myself cheering for Jack Bauer as he gutted a perp trying to get a SIM card out of the guy's stomach. Why was I so pleased at this action? Because the perp had killed Jack's girlfriend, violently. And I wanted revenge for Renee's death.

Are you catching this? I was cheering for a fictional character to kill another fictional character for revenge for another fictional character's death. Try as I might, I can't find ANY logic in that statement.

I'm not a gun-toting Butch Cassidy, but, by golly, if I can get that worked up over people who don't even exist, how far could I possibly be from violence in real life?

Obviously, I've become warped. But, obviously not so warped that, today, I'm blogging about the fact that my response bothered me. Immediately. And, I realized, I'm glad 24 is going off the air. I don't need to clutter my mind with man-on-man violence on a weekly basis.

Maybe it's my age, an age at which I would HOPE I'd be smarter than I was ten, fifteen, or twenty years ago, but I am starting to really understand the impact of negativism on my own life. I'm seeing it is a snare. I'm realizing that I can make a choice to surround myself with wholesome, good, positive information or trashy, bad, negative stuff.

It's a daily thing for me. I fall down and pick myself back up. I make mistakes, admit them, and move forward.

The lyrics to Casting Crowns' song, "Slow Fade", have captivated me every time I have heard them on the radio. It wasn't until today that I realized I need to heed the message.

I hope they speak to you, too. In a positive way, about making changes that edify you and those around you.

I'm praying for all of us. God knows, we need it.

Slow Fade
Be careful little eyes what you see
It's the second glance that ties your hands as darkness pulls the strings
Be careful little feet where you go
For it's the little feet behind you that are sure to follow

It's a slow fade when you give yourself away
It's a slow fade when black and white have turned to gray
And thoughts invade, choices are made, a price will be paid
When you give yourself away
People never crumble in a day

It's a slow fade, it's a slow fade

Be careful little ears what you hear
When flattery leads to compromise, the end is always near
Be careful little lips what you say
For empty words and promises lead broken hearts astray


The journey from your mind to your hands
Is shorter than you're thinking
Be careful if you think you stand
You just might be sinking


Daddies never crumble in a day
Families never crumble in a day

*Oh be careful little eyes what you see
Oh be careful little eyes what you see
For the Father up above is looking down in love
Oh be careful little eyes what you see*
© 2007 Reunion

*Watch out!

**There's ALWAYS one of those in cases like this.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Birthday Gifts

For The Babe's fifth birthday, we presented him with the very gift he has been asking, telling, and begging us about for what seems like five years.

Can you say Lego City Fire Station (and accompanying paraphernalia)? Yes, 662 pieces of Lego glory billed for the five to ten year old set.

He received this gift on Monday morning, pre-8am. He started assembling it at about 8:01am, after he shoved breakfast down his gullet faster than a speeding bullet.

This set of Legos was so complex, it had eight plastic packages each filled with too many blocks to count, five booklets of directions, and many pieces smaller than my pinkie nail*. Almost immediately, I began to have doubts that this thing would EVER get assembled.

But, after I helped him find bag one and its companion instruction booklet, he went to town. He had assembled the first set, a fire truck, before he had to leave for preschool.

Upon arriving home, brothers and neighborhood kids descended on the house and proceeded to help. Packages two and three? Done Monday afternoon.

It is now Tuesday night. At about 5:30, the whole set was finished. All that was left was to snap one set into another, via four connectors.

The Babe looked up at me and said, with extreme excitement quivering in his voice, "It's almost done!"

And then. "I think I'm going to cry." He was almost on the verge of ecstatic.

Now, if you haven't met my boy, you'd think something pink was happening to him. I assure you, it wasn't.

Once he finished, minus any tears, he strutted around the house like a bantam rooster for about two hours. During that time, about every fifteen minutes, he'd pipe up to remind us, or call us to his room to prove, that IT WAS DONE.

I'm more than a little proud of The Babe. He did most of this on his own. When I did help, it was mostly because he couldn't find a piece among the sea of pieces. I rarely actually put anything together.

And toward the end, when he was in potential crying mode? I liken that to the accomplishment people feel finishing a 5K race, staring at the finish line as they move toward it, wanting someone else to witness the glory they are about to accomplish. I wasn't NEEDED in that moment, other than to be the person that could say, after the fact, "Yup. He did it. All by himself."

Would it be hasty of me to call MIT and let them know the boy genius needs a spot in the Engineering school in 2022?

*For some strange reason, this got me thinking about Barbie doll accessories and how sharp the heels on Barbie's shoes were if you ever stepped on them. What was Mattel thinking?

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Mother's Day Wishes

So, you all want to know how my Mother's Day went.

Yes, I realize you didn't ask, but I figure it's because a) you weren't sure if you asked if I would be reduced to a pile of tears that you wouldn't know how to address or b) you were too busy celebrating on your own and you couldn't stop staring at that gift your hubby bought you long enough to stop being myopic.

Either way, I'm good.

I've had my moments along the way to this day. Like when, at the Mother's Day Tea at the preschool The Babe attends, the teacher picked the one book, "Love you Forever", that Mom had given to me on Valentine's Day many years ago. The one I stare at occasionally but can't bear to open*. Yeah, that one.

Then there was this afternoon, when I was weeding and the clouds broke and I saw the exact same burst of sunlight that entered the room in the moments Mom was dying. I first thought "MOM?!" then I wondered "Did someone just die?" and "Did Mom welcome them into Heaven?"

Thank goodness for wonderful friends who call, send emails, leave cards on my front porch. Who remind me that, though I am without a Mom today, I'm still very much loved and very much remembered.

Thanks for being a part of that group of people, if you were. And, if you said a silent prayer but didn't let me know, thank you, too. I value all of your contributions, on my behalf and I wish all my Mommy friends out there the very best Mother's Day ever.

Now, go forth and eat something gooey. MommaJ's orders. :)

*Truth be told, nobody can read that book with dignity. Only a box of kleenex can get you through it.


Graduation is such a bittersweet time.

There's the "I'm FINALLY done" aspect where the High School graduate breathes a sigh of relief that indicates "The next time I crack a book it will be a catalog and I will be on the toilet. Because that's all the heavy reading I'll be doing."

Little does s/he know, the next book they crack will be 90 days posthence and will weigh as much as a Smart Car. And all six other books required for the first semester? Ditto in size/weight.

There's also the "WHOA" factor from a college graduate. The "WHOA. Now I'm truly an adult. And I have to get a job. But, wait. I still like eating Fruit Loops three meals/day and playing Wii while drinking. How is that going to work with a job?"

Newsflash: you are going to be on a regimented schedule and none of the above will work. Fruit Loops as a mainstay of the diet will cause even the most steel-veined individual to crash and burn on their laptop around 9:30am*. And drinking? That will be relegated to the weekends. And you'll still regret that Saturday night bender come Monday because, even with a great breakfast, vodka tonics haunt you for days.

There's the "S/he made it!" aspect from the parents of the graduate. The "I wasn't sure this would ever happen. There were so many times s/he was two minutes from a lynching."

The parental tears? Sweet and salty, happy and sad, all mixed-up emotions that don't even make sense to them. But, the bottom line? There is so much joy, so many memories, and so much emotion that it is hard to bottle up.

And you who are graduating? Whether your parents say it or not, the fact that they didn't kill you along the way is PROOF they are proud of you. So, don't wait for the words. It's just a fact.

Happiest Graduation to all those I love! I am, personally, very proud of all of you. And I promise, if you are of age and show up on my door with any combination of Fruit Loops, Wii accessories, and vodka, that I'll celebrate with you. I'll even cry the appropriate happy or sad tears.

But just remember that I'm old. And when I start making bowls of vodka-cereal chasers, it's time to tuck me in for the night.

*Sorry, the word "fruit" in the title is not properly spelled. There is zero fruit in that cereal. It should read "FROOT LOOPS".

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Seeing Red Because of Pink

Today, just by watching a little TV and going to Wallyworld*, I found out I can help cure breast cancer by buying a big, pink bucket of chicken or a large, honkin' box of granola bars.

Geez. If I'd known it was THAT easy, I'd be buying ALL the products with the pink ribbon on them.

That is, until I apply a little knowledge from living with someone who has cancer. Then I have to scratch my head and go "HUH?"

When you develop cancer, one of the first things to go is sugar. That pretty much excludes all the cereals, cereal bars, granola bars, gum/mints, and candy that advertise they support breast cancer research. It seems cancer cells like to gobble up sugar and use it for their evil purposes. So, buying something loaded with sugar to help cure cancer is, in a word, laughable.

You are also advised to be careful with oils. The more natural, the better. Unless chicken by the bucket is being fried in olive oil with no preservatives, I'm betting the neighborhood oncologist is not going to get behind this idea.

I guess what really bothers me about this form of "charity" is that it is so transparent. It's not really charity, it's advertising made to make us feel good/better about buying a product.

I would love to see a world where the likes of Target, KFC, General Mills, etc just donate because they think supporting breast cancer, Alzheimer's, or CF research is a great idea. Please, big giant companies, do that.

Just don't try to use a pink ribbon to try to con me.

*Wal-Mart, for those of you who don't listen to Sugarland or live in Texas.

Letters to God

I am just a sucker.

A sucker for a story with a great ending, one that makes me cry happy or sad tears, or one that inspires me.

About three months ago, my oldest saw a movie poster that caught his eye. He started talking about how much he wanted to see the movie, even before he knew much about it. God thing, I guess.

Well, it turns out, after a search for this movie on my favorite parental "should we see this or skip it" movie website*, this wasn't your average, happy-go-lucky movie.

It wasn't going to have a happy ending. But I was pretty sure I would cry some sad and some happy tears and be inspired.

And, well, right I was.

This movie, Letters to God, was made by the same group that made Facing the Giants**. I plopped down my money with low expectations of acting but high expectations on message.

What I got was above what I could have possibly imagined going in.

I won't ruin the story by recounting it here, but I can tell you that it is amazing how one person can touch an entire community.

This movie is in very limited release and will likely be out of theaters and onto DVD pretty shortly***. I hope, if you choose to tackle it, you're a little more inspired that your life can make a difference, too.

Just lil' ol' you.


**In case you missed Facing the Giants, a church in Georgia decided to do a little movie using members of its congregation and then take their work to the masses, Hollywood-style. It was a family-friendly show, with hokey acting (at times) but an incredible message about faith and love. Oh, and some great Christian songs.

***Please be careful with little ones who are sensitive by nature; this movie deals with the illness of a child and could be quite upsetting.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Cinco De Mayo!

This is most definitely the most misnamed, misunderstood holiday in the Americas.

It should really be "Drinko De Mayo" because that is the main thrust these days. Our favorite little local Mexican joint actually has a calendar above the front entrance that counts, to the hundredths of a second, the number of days, hours, and seconds until this date. Of course, the clock is housed in an ad for tequila. See my point?

Plus, all last week, I couldn't pass by any respectable Mexican joint that wasn't waving the red, green and white flag, right above the beer company's sign declaring "Cinco De Mayo".

Now, trust me, I'll all into Mexican food. And drinks. So, this was one of my favorite holidays as a single. Now that I'm married with kids? Not as much fun. I mean, SOMEONE has to be the designated driver if I even SIP a margarita. Kind of takes all the fun out of it.

But, regardless of my astoundingly low ability to handle tequila these days, I still have a fascination with this day. And I found out I was more history-ignorant than I previously thought.

I was blissfully unaware that, had this holiday gone 'the other way', we'd have a La Madeleine on every street corner instead of a Mexican restaurant.

French instead of Mexican? Surely you jest. I mean, I can get all behind a good glass of red wine and a croissant. But give up nachos loaded with cheese and jalapenos? No way, Jose.

It turns out, Napoleon III decided he wanted a piece of Mexico's action and sent troops in to overtake Mexico City. Where was America? Just a tad preoccupied, fighting our own little Civil War.

A whopping 50,000 Mexican soldiers lost their lives defending their turf. But, defend it they did. And, WA-LA. Birth of an annual celebration.

So, stuff yourself silly with fried foods filled with gooey cheese, eat chips and salsa until you might bust, and have a little shot of tequila in honor of the battle that meant we get to enjoy all this goodness today.

Just make sure you designate your driver before you start.

Sunday, May 2, 2010


As a family, we've been watching the wonderful, amazing, beautiful, awe-inspiring series called "Life". In all the zoos and aquariums I've been to in the last 43 years, I have not come close to seeing the assortment of astounding animals that this world has to offer.

Let me just pause here and say "Thank you, God" and "Wow". There are some incredible animals on this planet.

One theme that our narrator, Miss Oprah Winfrey, has hammered on for several episodes is the amount of time animal parents spend with their offspring.

I can recall several species that fertilize their eggs and take off.

Some species fertilize their eggs, stay until their little ones are born, then take off.

And yet others fertilize their eggs, stay until their little ones are born, tote their babies (either on their chest or back) for a few months or years, then let them fly, walk, or slither on their own.

Regardless of their commitment, these parents, at most, spend eight years with their offspring. Yes, you read that correctly, EIGHT years.

Not eighteen or twenty-two or a lifetime. Eight.

Are you getting this? Humans are the only ones who spend a lifetime worrying about, caring for, loving on, correcting, and generally, giving our lives for our little ones.

And for that, if I look at the cup as half-empty, I might get all pissy. After all, were I a chimpanzee? It would be eight years and then long vacas in neighboring rain forests. With no car seats or diaper bags to carry along. Then, after a long, relaxing period of time with my favorite chimp? I'd be ready to take on another eight years of Motherhood.

But, instead, I'm choosing the lifetime option and looking at the cup as half-full. And I'm saying: "Thank you, God. What a privilege."

Because, in the immortal words of Hannah Montana*:

"Life is what you make it
So let's make it rock."**

*Good golly. I just quoted a pop-idol who is almost 30 years younger than me. I need a life.

**I'm not sure if the fact that I can quote Hannah Montana is more embarrassing to me or to my kids.

Saturday, May 1, 2010


Ah, May Day. The period fraught with Pagan-based rituals about Mother Earth, fertility, and children dizzying themselves around poles.

This thought got me noodling the actual word "mayday". A quick Google search spit-up the following: Our current "mayday!" (S.O.S.) has its origins in the word "m'aidez', which is French for "help me!"

And, even though you can find all sorts of information about this word being used beginning in the 1940's, I would like to propose that this is actually a word that began post-Babyboomer, around the time that the minivan got its wheels.

That's when May started like this on the calendar:

May 1*:
a.) Testing at school (all three kids). Send snacks for all classmates (60). Must be individually packaged and delivered 10 minutes before school starts.

b.) T-ball practice (son #1), 4:30-5:30.

c.) Soccer practice (son #2), 5:15-6:15.

d.) Karate (son #3), 6:00-7:00.

e.) Dinner with clients (husband), 6:30-whenever the boss stops buying liquor.

f.) Before bed: bake cake for Field Day. Deliver before sunrise to committee chair in field beside school. Suggested: wear bug repellent; mosquitoes wicked bad around field since accident with overflowing septic.

g.) Before bed: create Daniel Boone outfit for son #3 for Colonial Day. Must include coonskin hat (at son's request.)

I won't even go into May 2nd, because I think you get the point.

And my point? I hate to admit that some Frenchy-french might be right, but I think they hit a bulls eye with the definition with this one.

*For illustrative purposes only. Mike's boss doesn't even LIVE in Dallas.