Tuesday, September 20, 2016

The 4th Year

Happy birthday, Alice Anne!

Today you are 4. 

Or as you enthusiastically tell everyone who asks how old you are turning - "POUR!!!" 

You have grown so much! I know I say that every year but, oh my word, it's true. 

While you still struggle to be understood occasionally, you have a pretty good vocabulary. Some of our favorites are:
Broccotti - broccoli 
Marvavous - marvelous
Fabuous - fabulous 
Neckanice - necklace 
Dicuyus - ridiculous 
Probady - probably
Tatar - guitar

You often tell me to "caln down". 

You can also say:
Boring - I would like to talk to the person who taught you that one.
Syut up - shut up (oops.)
Duh - seriously, I have no clue where this came from either. 

You still love music. LOVE. And you sing at the top of your lungs even if they aren't quite the right lyrics. We listen to the Disney Princess CD a lot. You like Orianthi and you love playing the air guitar. You still love Meghan Trainor, Taylor Swift, and Adele. You also love Cherry Bomb and basically anything off the Dazed and Confused soundtrack. Probably that should make you question our parenting skills one day. When asked, you can - with confidence - say who sings Slip Sidin' Away. It makes us kind of proud. We want you to keep your love of music. Always. Sing at the top of your lungs every chance you get, my child. 

And let me tell you, 'at the top of your lungs' is LOUD. And you are often LOUD. Unabashedly LOUD. This year, your Mamaw Pat called and asked if you needed a Karaoke machine for your birthday. I almost fainted. Amplification is not something you will need help with. Ever.  Like, ever, ever. Nope. You're good!

You are fiercely independent, however, you often bat your sweet little eyes and ask, "you want to pyay wit me?". You love doing craft "pojets" (projects). You love to play 'Punzel. You also love to play 'puppy'. You get real upset when Atticus doesn't want to play too. I have to remind you that he's an older dog and they don't usually like new puppies. When you play, you play with determination and set rules only you know. You often get annoyed that we don't automatically know what you're thinking. Sorry, kid.  

You have mastered manipulating your parents and can often be heard saying, "but you're my best Mommy!" or "you're my paborite Daddy!" These don't always work to your advantage, but sometimes they do. 

You have a village of people who absolutely adore you. They pray for you, they love you, and they are so proud to watch you grow. 

Your spirit and your personality completely shine. You have a smile that lights up a room, an "if looks could kill" face that stops people in their tracks, and an imagination that knows no boundaries. 

We hope this year brings you magic and laughter and knowledge. 

And we love you so much, sweet girl. 

Mom & Dad

P.S. Thank you, Meyers Family for the CUTE birthday shirt!!!

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Childhood vs. Adulthood

We had a Snoopy Sno-Cone Machine growing up. I remember it fondly. It lived in the garage on the highest shelf, almost out of sight. In my mind, the snow cones were just so magical! THEY were the definition of summer! The magical wonder that is flavored frozen ice! 

So sure I was of how amazing my experience was that when we found one in the 'vintage toy' section of Toys R Us (gee, thanks, I was totally prepared to be 'vintage') - I talked my Beloved into buying one. Granted we didn't have any kids at the time. But that didn't matter!! One day we would and this would make summer magical!!!! 

Someone posted about the machine on Facebook and I remembered we had one at the top of her closet and thought, 'YES!!! we can do that! Oh the fun!! Oh the memories!!' So I got the box out and prepared for the magic.

Y'all. I think I have completely blocked out any reality of my childhood.

I pull everything out and notice there isn't a plug. Ummm....that's disconcerting. And it took me FOREVER to put the stupid thing together. It is so difficult to put together that I almost gave up, only Alice saw the box so I needed a miracle. Fix it, Jesus! 

You have to practically grate your hand off in order to properly secure the hand crank. 

Yes, my dears. You have to HAND CRANK your snow cone - ONE PIECE OF ICE AT A TIME!!! I do not remember this!! I would NEVER have thought hand cranking anything was magical!! Nope, not one bit!! (As I was relaying my horrible encounter with my precious childhood toy, my Beloved said, "don't you remember the commercial?! They were hand cranking it!" NO I DON'T REMEMBER THE COMMERCIAL!! APPARENTLY I DON'T REMEMBER MUCH OF MY CHILDHOOD!!!)

Because we purchased the item a million years ago, we (mostly my Beloved's influence) felt like the included pack of flavored sugar might be past the point of using. But that's okay! We have apple juice and I could make mine with Dr. Pepper!! (It has been a trying week - a Dr. Pepper slushie would just be delightful.) I fill up the little juice snowman with apple juice and Alice picks it up and shoots juice all over the kitchen. 

By this point, I am completely over ice and snoopy and summer.

I finally get a few ice cubes crushed up and added to the tiny little paper cup that comes with it. I let Alice add the juice and finally convince her it's okay to eat. 'Yum!" she says, and off she goes.

While I'm cleaning up, I hear a 'splat' and an 'uh oh' from the living room. Yep. All that work was now melting all over her toys and the living room floor. Luckily it only amounted to about six thawed ice cubes. I get all that mess cleaned up only she wants more. She didn't get to fully enjoy her delicious treat. This is where Carrie Underwood started singing Jesus, Take the Wheel in my head. 

So back to the grinder I go only with a lot less enthusiasm. I got her a bigger cup, crushed more ice, and sent her on her way with veiled threats of "if you spill it again...."

And then I had a bowl of ice cream because that 'magical memory' just took way too much out of me.

These are things I feel I should express:
1. I already apologize to my mother daily for my childhood, however, that is obviously not enough. I don't remember how many times she hand cranked a snow cone for us but trust me, once was MORE THAN ENOUGH!
2. I now know why it lived on the highest shelf in the garage, almost out of view - ours might live there from now on too.
3. Before I buy anything to replace another beloved childhood memory, I will read the reviews - because I'm an adult and that's what we do. And I obviously cannot believe anything I remember from my younger years.(Except a Mr. T water sprinkler!! That thing was the bomb-diggity!)
4. 30 something years from now, she won't remember my frustration. She'll remember eating a snow cone with her stuffed animals in her pretend pool on the living room floor. And I guess that's what it's all about. 

Until next time.....

Candy Land, Shmandy Land

While I was working on the computer yesterday, Alice found our Candy Land game. 

"We pay dis!!"

Cool! I LOVE this game! It'll be super easy to play! It even says 3+ on the box. She's 3+! Heck, she's mostly 4!!

We set the game up, I explain the rules, and then I tell her to pick a game piece. 

This is foolishness on my part because it doesn't matter what color she chooses, before the end of the game she will have switched pieces with whoever is closest to the finish line or whoever gets a picture card. 

"But dats MY paborite!!" pouty face, blinky eyes...

I attempted to explain the rules and I tried to stress that it doesn't really matter which game piece you have and switching isn't really an option because losing isn't the end of the world. But then I gave up because explaining the merits of following the rules is a complete and utter waste of breath. And it was way too early for wine. 

Now to the cards. To play the game, you draw cards that have colors that match the path on the game. Easy enough! Only Alice can't pick up one card at a time and she must be a budding poker player because she'll flip a card, immediately say "not dis one" and trade it for different one.

The only cards she wants are the ones with pictures on it. I removed them from the deck during one game because I thought it might help her from being distracted. Nope. She just flipped over all the cards and said, "hey!! where's mine peanut card!" Yeesh. The peanut card isn't even the one closest to King Kandy's Castle!! 

So now we have to make sure the peanut card is on top so we can just go ahead and get that card out of the way.  

(And I know what you're thinking - I'm enabling her. Nope. This is just survival, people! We're down to the last few days of summer and I can finally see the very dim light at the end of the tunnel. My job between now and August 30th is to survive. Just. Survive. By any means necessary. Let her have the stupid peanut card - it won't kill anyone.)

I think we managed to play the game correctly once. Since then it has been whatever rules she has in her head. 

This morning it deteriorated quickly and all she wanted me to do was "caulk" (talk) for the game pieces. I had to be the Mommy and Daddy pieces and she talked for the kid pieces. Fine. So I attempted to work in some life lessons like stranger danger and what to do when you get lost but that's not what the kid pieces wanted to talk about. 

This led to the parent pieces becoming frustrated and heading off to the Adults Only Licorice Lagoon while the kids got shipped off to Nana Nutt's House. 

Which was not apparently in her plans. 

We (the parental game pieces and myself) were instructed to go "rest in da syade" only she assumes we know where that is and instead of just telling us, she keeps letting us know we're wrong.


"Ahright, caln down, caln down. I show you." she says.

And it's probably still too early for wine. 

Until next time......

Monday, July 18, 2016

Black and Blues

I have a heavy heart. I've had a heavy heart for a while now. You can't watch current events without becoming completely heartbroken. I can't watch current events without thinking. "what legacy are we leaving for the kids? How will they pick up the pieces?"

A few weeks ago, a man was shot by a cop in the front seat of his car while his child was in a car seat in the backseat. I shared something on Facebook from a friend and added my own thoughts. However, my words have since disappeared. (Side note: to the person who reported my words - thank you, this is a much better space to share this. It'll make it much easier to find.) This is my attempt to share them again. It's probably going to be longer though, I have more anger now.  

I was raised by a Police Officer. I understand the fear and stress that goes into the job. I understand the toll it takes on a person and their family. They go out every day and deal with people on their worst day. They meet people who are angry, disoriented, high, hateful, evil - every day. They put on their badge and head out to work, hoping and praying they make it back. This might seem dramatic to you, but this is fact. Any late night call was absolutely terrifying. Any report of 'Officer down' on the evening news meant my mom was staying up until she heard from my dad again. This was our reality. This is the reality of every police family every day. 

And yet, none of this gives any one of them the right to shoot a man sitting in the front seat of his car with his kid right behind him. Period. 

Do I believe every cop is bad? ABSOLUTELY NOT!! Some of my most favorite people wear or wore a badge. A badge they treated with respect, responsibility, honor, and duty. A badge they were proud to wear. They swore to protect and serve and they did so to the best of their ability.

Do I believe cops should be routinely evaluated for stress and retrained on issues that might come up? YES!! A MILLION TIMES YES! What they do is hard. What they do is dangerous. The amount of stress they face could cause anyone to break. This isn't a failure on their part. This is just consequences of the job. 

Do I believe the cop who shot Philandro Castile did the right thing? $#%% NO!! How he reacted was WRONG, WRONG, WRONG. I do not care what the man said. I do not care what he did last week. Last month. Last year. Last night. I do not care. NOTHING he did led to him being killed in front of his child. And I am absolutely disgusted with the surrounding officers who stood around and failed to render aid. They took an oath to SERVE and PROTECT their community. And they all failed and should all be held accountable. 

You cannot watch the news and not understand that there IS a problem. And if you don't see it - you are probably white. One of my dearest friends is raising two young black men. What is she supposed to say to them? How do you raise a child to respect the police knowing that their respect might not be enough in the end? How must it feel to know that in a few years when her son is older, he might face scary situations from those sworn to protect him?

I know these situations were terrifying. I know there was fear on all parties. I know there was anger on all parties. I also know that probably they didn't all have to die. Seriously. 

I have never had any trouble any of the times I have been pulled over. I never feared that I could be or would be shot because I moved too fast or not fast enough. But I'm white, so.....

I spent an entire day crying for this family. Crying for a broken world. Crying for a broken child. Just crying.

And then the next day, 5 Dallas cops were killed doing what they signed up to do - protect. 

It wasn't revenge - these men did nothing wrong. These men were gunned down for simply putting on a badge and going to work. That's it.

And again, my heart broke. The same heart that broke for a man shot in his car, broke for families that would NEVER be the same. Families that would have a uniform officer show up to their door and life as they knew it would be over. 

They will spend the rest of their lives in mourning. Trust me. 

Now Baton Rouge. More families devastated. More children left without. More innocence lost.

All for nothing. 

This is not the answer.

Hate doesn't fix hate. 

Fear doesn't fix fear. 

Avoidance doesn't mean it isn't real. 

Saying "Black Lives Matter" doesn't mean you are saying "ONLY Black Lives Matter." It's saying, right now they need to know we love them. They need to see it. To feel it. To understand that to us, THEIR lives matter. We see you hurting. Tell us how to help. 

Saying "Blue Lives Matter" doesn't mean you are siding with all of the injustices that seem to be happening. It's saying that the men and women who swore to protect and serve my community should understand that we get it. We see you. We need you. We understand the stress and responsibility you carry with you every day. We see you hurting. Tell us how to help.

I see you hurting.

Tell me how to help. 

That's what they should see. 

Until next time.........