page contents

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Batman Begins

Today's my first day of 1 week and 2 days of vacation and I've spent an exorbitant amount of time trying to line up Batman's crotch. I want it to be just perfect. You see, Cole celebrated his 7th birthday yesterday. Alex had at least five theme changes in her bedroom by the time she was 7, so we thought we should give Cole a chance to choose his own bedroom theme. (He's had "sports" since the age of two.) We really couldn't think of anything else to get him since he has practically everything except a cell and his own laptop.(Grandparents got him a hamster, godparent got him a Batman costume, friends even had to resort to giving him cash...)Anyway, I divert. As I struggled to stick the Batman Fathead on the wall (I sure could've used Alex), almost tearing three of the jagged edges of the dark knight's cape, it occurred to me how boyhood is such a foreign world to me. For example,

1)The Clone Wars on Saturday night (with eight boys). Cole opined that this episode was the best Star Wars movie, by far.

"What are you talking about Cole? They completely cut out the love story! It was, like, all fighting!"


2)Cole is so completely happy with his new room. He doesn't suspect the remotest amount of injustice that Alex actually has two bedrooms in the house with beautiful themes that has already cost us thousands of dollars. Cole's probably amounted to $200. Tops.

3)When I take the kids shopping, I can buy Cole a pair of jeans and he's perfectly content. Alex would be livid if she came home with one pair of jeans. Cole usually ends up with some piece of junk toy to counter my feelings of guilt over the inequity of my spending. Then, of course, it becomes "his lucky day!".

Or my lucky day. I remember when my friend Sharon told me how much she hoped I had a boy during my second pregnancy. I thought "what a strange statement" since I was having so much fun with my girl. But now I understand. Of course, I love them both the same. (Although I sometimes tell each of them that I love the other more if they think I'm treating them unfairly.) But I do enjoy comparing the gender differences. It gives me so much material to write about...

Monday, August 25, 2008

The Cowlick

"Did you see it?"
"See what?" I ask my friend Diane who called me yesterday morning.
"You're on the front page!"
"No way!"

My fifteen minutes of fame. I made the front page of the Non-Pareil! Lindsay Blake (the fun reporter I spoke of a few weeks ago) wrote a really cool article on Mom Blogs and Alex, Cole and I were featured. Pretty exciting for the Kramer household. But I just can't seem to get over one, minor issue. By telling you all this, I'm really exposing my shallowness. The issue? My hair in the picture. My most stubborn cowlick, which happens to reside on the right side of my widow's peak, was having a hay day sticking straight out from my forehead. I'm sure my hair stylist is saying "Why didn't she do something with her hair??"

Oh well. The article is enjoyable. (I love how the Non-Pareil features so many upbeat postive articles!) And most importantly, my kids look adorable!

Not sure if you can view it online, but if so, here's the link is

Friday, August 22, 2008

The Chore List

It seems that every generation, after attaining a certain age, believes that kids "just don't know how to work these days." Doug and I must have reached that age, since we've noticed a certain reticence among our own children to take on any work that involves physical labor. But we're determined not to let Alex and Cole become lazy, so almost every day they're assigned chores. Honestly, Alex is learning to do laundry very respectably. (I didn't learn this until college.) And Cole, well, he tries. And he even seems to take a great amount of pride in cleaning the toilets.

The first time Cole was assigned the task of toilet-cleaning(there are four toilets, he gladly took off with his bucket of supplies which includes two different sizes of scrubbers, a scraper (don't ask) and of course toilet bowl cleaner. Alex helped with one toilet and sent him to the basement. I was in the kitchen when Cole came back upstairs with the bucket of supplies in one hand, and a half-eaten cookie in the other.

"Oh, Cole! You can't eat cookies while you're scrubbing toilets."

"But I put it down on the floor while I scrubbed."

Ok. Go ahead and savor the rest of that cookie then.

The other night Cole was put on toilet-duty again. There was no cleaner in the supply bucket because I had just purchased a new bottle. So I opened the new bottle and away he went. I wasn't allowed to come near the bathrooms until he was done. He wanted to surprise me with his excellent porcelain-scrubbing abilities.

He came out of his third bathroom a little distraught. "Mom, I can't finish! I'm out of cleaner."

"Out of cleaner? I just gave you a new bottle."

He smiles. "I know! I wanted to get them REALLY clean."

As I began the inspection, the fresh smell of the first bathroom hit me about two feet outside of the room. So what if his scrubbing was less than par? At least the bathrooms smelled clean. He had certainly missed a few spots, but I didn't care. I was just happy that he was taking pride in his work - a seemingly great foundation for developing a strong work ethic. Even if you eat cookies on the job.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Hail Mary’s and St. John’s Wart

A few years ago, when the kids were still toddlers, my friend told me a story that I keep in my hip-pocket. My friend, Lyn (I think I’ve mentioned her before), is extremely laid back. As a matter of fact, I’ve known her nearly my entire life and have NEVER seen this girl mad. I lived with her in college and I rarely saw her frustrated. She goes with the flow easier than anyone I’ve ever met. One day she told me that she was so mad that she called her husband and ordered him to come home before she killed her second child. I felt a sense of relief. Not because Troy would keep her from killing Anna, but because if Lyn could blow a fuse, it’s bound to happen to anyone.

Normally, patience rules my temperament as well. But once in a while, it’s like a firecracker explodes in me. I curse. I want to throw stuff. Even break something. And boy, does my family take notice. Like last night.

Normally I don’t complain about the lack of help I get around the house. Okay, that’s not true, but normally I don’t make too big deal about it. Maybe that's not true either. Anyway, after supper last night, which was made up of a BLTs (a meal that always sounds simple but involves a lot of running -- get more toast, get more toast…), I sort of blew. Food pieces and dirty plates were everywhere. Doug was hypnotized by the Olympics. Cole was making a dessert consisting of a cheese quesadilla. Alex was walking around the kitchen looking at the ceiling. When I exclaimed that a few people around here could help me out a bit, boy did I see results. Everyone jumped up, including Doug. When Doug takes me seriously, I must mean business. But it doesn’t really take four people to unload and load a dishwasher, and soon I felt kind of silly about my outburst.

The next time I feel like unleashing on my family,I'll say a few Hail Mary’s (there’s something about saying “full of grace” that inspires me to be more patient) or take another dose of St. John’s Wart(there’s something about taking a pill that makes me think my maladies are cured.

Or, maybe I’ll just call Lyn. Chances are she’ll be able to relate.

Sunday, August 17, 2008


I need a tape recorder to hook up to my son. He's just a funny kid. Here's a few lines from last week.

On giving birthday wishes to his dad...

"I just hope you don't get another girlfriend or start smoking now." (I do have this on video.)

On talking to his sister about her first middle-school dance...

"So, did you win the trophy?"

On responding to his very irritated sister...

"Sounds like someone needs a tickle!"

When I need a tickle, I just talk to Cole. It's always entertaining. I have recorded a few funny things in his baby book, but I can't possibly keep up. So, luckily I have this blog to record a few...and share with the world.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008


One day our marketing director sent out a survey to test the use of Survey Monkey. One of the questions was, "What's your favorite word?" One of the responses was "spatula". Spatula. Just say it. It's fun, isn't it? Ever since that survey, I keep testing words that are fun to say.

Today Doug and I went on a glorious motorcycle ride for his 40th birthday. We're ashamed to admit we had never visited a very beautiful place on earth that is merely 40 miles from our residence. We looked over a scenic view of the Loess Hills which is heavily-populated with DECIDUOUS trees. (Unfortunately, we couldn't enter Preparation Canyon park because of damage from the horrific tornado in June.)

Anyway, that word has been on my mind all day. Deciduous. Decidous. It was like a music earworm. Definitions of deciduous include "shedding leaves in fall", "shed after developmental stage", and "shed easily or at intervals". No wonder I love this word. It's a perfect word for an analogy!

Today we were deciduous. We shed our busy schedules, stress, negative attitudes, etc. So, tomorrow, we bloom. Even in our ripe old ages...

Monday, August 11, 2008

The Whisker!

A couple days ago I noticed a dark speck above my lip. Thinking it was a blackhead I tried to squeeze it out. But the more I squeezed, the more I realized that this was no mere blackhead. It was a thick, black hair - not the dark facial hair that you have waxed or bleached. In other words, it was a whisker. UGH! My friend warned me these were coming, but I didn't believe her.

What in the world of evolution would cause a woman's body to start forming whiskers? Even at the ripe old age of 39, doesn't God want us to be attractive anymore? Or is it a joke? By this age, are we supposed to laugh at these peculiarities (like whiskers) since, by now, we should feel comfortable with our looks?

I just thought of something. It's Karma.

Doug turns forty this week. Since I'm only in my late thirties (ahem), it's been kind of fun to play the age card with him. We've been getting a kick out of cutting a few hairs from his ears and nose. (Wouldn't it be interesting to see how long they can grow?)But now I must pay for the joy I took in these events. God's telling me, "You're right around corner, Honey."

Needless to say, I plucked that sucker from my upper lip. It was very thick and fairly long under the surface. I compared the thickness to some stubble on Doug's face. It even occurred to me perhaps I should save the little devil and compare it to anything else that might grow on my face. But I didn't. I showed it to Doug (he wasn't nearly as interested). I washed it down the sink.

Then I chuckled.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

The Shortest Distance to a Destination...

The shortest distance to a destination is a straight line, right? That may be true for all you geometry buffs, but it's certainly not the most interesting way to get somewhere.

For anyone with a child under the age of seven and over the age of three, try this experiment. Next time you walk somewhere, let your child lead and copy his or her every action. To do this you must have no inhibitions and not embarrass easily. You may need to climb a few walls, zig zag through poles, jump on top of something (anything really), jump back down, fall down to get a good roll in, pick up any loose object to place in your pocket, take a few flying leaps and sprint when there's really nothing else to do.

I had plenty to time to observe Cole traverse from one place to another during our trip last weekend. There's no doubt in my mind why he can eat three cheeseburgers a day and still weigh less than fifty pounds at the ripe old age of six.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Epiphany in Kansas City's Plaza!

I had an epiphany in Kansas City. Shopping, to me, isn’t about spending money! Really! I bought one pair of work pants at Gap, but my time at The Plaza was as pleasing as if I had bought an entire wardrobe. I figured it out why.

It’s the color. It’s the fabric. It’s the patterns. It’s experimenting with various pieces. It’s the environment of discovery and acceptance. In effect, it’s like going to an art gallery – a cultural event indeed!

I told my husband I love how everyone dresses so trendy at The Plaza. It makes me happy. He smiled and agreed as he watched a troop of twenty-something girls in strapless dresses parade by our table at The Cheesecake Factory. I used to dress up a lot more. Then I fell into the trap of Doug asking why I was so dressed up. (His definition of dressing up is wearing something other than a t-shirt.)Then I found myself saying the same words to my daughter. What a terrible thing to do to someone who so likes to experiment! NO MORE! Dress how you feel like dressing! That’s my new motto. I’ll say it to her. I’ll say it Cole.

With the following disclaimer: no superhero costumes, high heels, revealing shirts, too short of skirts or anything else deemed inappropriate by Mom.

Other than that, I encourage everyone to express themselves through their clothes. It’s truly an art form.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Cole's Moral Compass

I have a plethora of blogging material after the weekend in KC, but I'll choose a short and simple topic before I'm off to work today.

At a very young age, we could all tell that Alex had a strong sense of right and wrong. And still does. (Knock on wood.) Of course, we'd like to think it had everything to do with our parenting skills, but I'm not so sure that Disney didn't have a hand in it somehow. "Sure you can watch the Lion King again!"

But I've worried a bit about Cole, catching him in a few lies now and then. But yesterday, my heart was comforted by a little incident at the rest area. We had stopped somewhere before St. Joseph to quench our thirst. At this particular rest area, the vending machines were protected by locked gates, most likely to deter vandals. As we stood in front of the locked gates choosing our drinks of choice, Cole stated, "This just doesn't seem right!"

"What do you mean, Cole?"

"I don't think we should be doing this. It's like we could go to jail" Obviously the iron gates were a bit intimidating.

"Oh, Cole. It's okay. We're paying for these sodas."

"But it just doesn't seem right."

He did take his pop, but only after assuring him it was okay. It reminded me of an incident that occurred a long time ago as my friend Lyn and I were tracking our way home from college one weekend. We stopped at a rest area to grab a snack. I was visiting with her about something as I was selecting a package of licorice. When I reached down to grab my Nibs, I pulled out a bag of pot. At first, I exclaimed, "Oh my gosh! The licorice is bad. No! It's pot!"

"Put it back!" Lyn told me with the same level of excitement.

So I did, but my heart was pumping. We got in the car and began to pull away. Only to see a state trooper pulling away from the rest area. Well, my heart told me what to do next. I waved the cop down and told him about the incident. I explained, "My finger prints would be on that bag and I don't want to get in trouble."

For some reason, he appeared to be holding back a smile. But at least I never got in trouble. I hope Cole would do the same thing. I think he would -- his moral compass seems to be headed in the right direction.