Saturday, November 20, 2010

The Over Share of the Century

This running deal is really hard.

Well, maybe it's not the actual running that's hard, it's the finding time to run that's hard. I kid you not. This week between not feeling super well (don't worry, I'll over share the incredibly personal details of my life in just a second) and basketball games and school work and teaching and travel-agenting and fighting The Great Mouse Invasion of 2010 (another blog for another day), it's been a figurative and literal zoo in Johnsonville.

I had my annual OBGYN visit last Thursday (lovely) where it was time to change out my IUD (told you it was coming). Five years ago, after I'd completely healed from my fourth Shortie, The Husband and I decided that we needed to explore a more reliable method of preventing Shorties (since they were something of an epidemic of answered prayer running through here). The OBGYN said that he was unwilling to do yet another surgery on my abdomen (so no tying of the tubes), and that short of the Big V on The Husband, the Mirena IUD was the way to go. It's been awesome. That little suzy has done it's job wonderfully and has this amazing bonus feature: no monthly visits from Aunt Flo. Perfect!

Well, it was time to change that program out. It's like parts on the Ford; the belts and plugs need changing every now and again. Sounds simple, yes? Put her on the rack and rotate the tires.

You silly, naive readers! Nothing in Johnsonville is that easy! Naturally, because I'm a Johnson, the little part that you need to have access to in order to remove the program wasn't readily available, so the doctor made some "blind grabs" (his words). This is not as calm as it sounds on paper, because when the OBGYN "blind grabs" some stuff that's not the actual IUD, you are acutely aware of it. I'm not joking. (Note to self: don't let anyone use the phrase "blind grab" in reference to me again if I'm not fully clothed and upright.) I know that I don't really need any of those parts anymore, but I don't much fancy the idea of having them yanked out by the root either.

The Good Doctor finally got the old part out on Blind Grab Attempt Number Four, but the new model wouldn't fit back into the correct place (Definitions: see The Johnson Factor). He mentioned getting an ultrasound and calling in another doctor for consult since my uterus is so tilted we can tune into Mars without a satellite if I hold my arms and legs in the right positions. 

It looks so deceptively small, doesn't it? It's a trick on par with that "objects in mirror are closer than they appear" deal in the car.  That thing is the actually the size of a small subcompact vehicle.

After about three really uncomfortable tries to shove an entire filing cabinet into my uterus (aka a Mirena IUD), I yelled 'uncle' on the table and announced that I was done. Over. Finished. No more, thank you very much. This has been fun, but I'm ready to get my goody bag and leave the party now. I also appealed to the four people with me in the examining room, calling for an immediate vote on the floor.

Proposed Motion Number 1: All in favor of The Husband having the Big V raise your right hands. (All hands in the air including both of the OBGYN's hands.) All in favor. Motion carries. Meeting adjourned. Oh, and will someone please hand me my clothing on the way out?

I waddled out of there thinking that I'd still try aerobics class. (Um, no.) No running either. No standing. No sitting. That entire deal caused me to go four days off program. Then, to add insult to injury, I had my first real cycle in five years. Have mercy. (Now it's The Husband crying 'uncle' in the background, because I was quite the little she-devil all week, which is so out of character of me; I'm usually just a little ray of sunshine. Ahem.)

Having forgotten what that little party was like for the past five blissfully cycle-free years, it was beyond shocking. (Incidentally, I'm not for it.)  I lay in the bed for three days with a bottle of Pamprin and a heating pad, while questioning all of my life choices leading up to this point, finally announcing in a fit of rage that I may need a vote recount and an appointment for that ultrasound and second attempt. Lord have mercy!!!! What was I thinking????  How did I dare leave that office without my precious Mirena??? Curses!!!!! And where are the blasted M&M's? How do I live in a house with no chocolate in it?!!! Oh, Sweet Jesus, just ONE square! What is the matter with you people? Somebody find CHOCOLATE!!!!!! RIGHT NOW!!!!!! Mother of GOD is the heat on in here?!!

That effectively killed the rest of the week in the exercise department. Because I got so far out of whack on my running schedule (that was what I originally started talking about in this blog--see, you'd forgotten what we were supposed to be doing too, and it wasn't even your uterus under attack), I figured I'd start over this week. Then we had cheer and basketball and church and orthodonture and Elaina's eyeball almost fell out (I don't have time to blog every single little thing, you know) and so on and so forth. (It's really quite a little program keeping everything happening around here. Sometimes I impress myself.)

I shared all of that to say this: I think I'm going to have to bite the bullet and run in the pre-dawn hours, as much as I hate it. My evenings are just too full to put it off.  I need to pray through that deal, because waking up is hard enough much less waking up and running somewhere. I don't suppose I can make a deal that I'll run every day that it's 72 and sunny either, so I need to suck it up and just do it already. And I need to be committed before that next cycle rears it's ugly head or I'm a goner.

Mirena, Mirena, wherefore art thou, Mirena!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Week One: Fin

My friend, and our amazing school secretary, Ms. Julia, actually did the Couch to 10K program from beginning to end. She ran in her marathon this morning (The Vulcan Run) and finished in one hour and six minutes. She went from being in a sedentary lifestyle to running a marathon in 12 weeks. Whoa. I'm so proud to know her, and it gives me hope on Week One that I might actually be able to do it.

Running was harder today than it has been the rest of the week. I don't know if that's because it's a Saturday and I wanted to stay in my jammies or because it was so chilly outside. I'll have to move this running thing inside some of the time if I'm going to stick with it. But the important part of that info is that I did it. I woke up, put on running shoes and clothes, and went down behind the church for the warm up walk.

Duran DuranLove & RocketsYouthquake

Today is was retro 80's dance music on the MP3. I jammed to a little Youthquake from Dead or Alive (I was cool before Flo-Rida); Love and Rockets (No New Tale to Tale is such a fine song); and the ever faithful and fabulous, Duran Duran. (I'd forgotten what a great song "Planet Earth" was.) And the important info in this paragraph is that if you drive into the church parking lot for any random reason, like getting ice or visiting the graveyard, and I'm throwing down, you'll know why.

I think I scared a couple of church members half to death this morning with all of my dancing and singing. There they were trying to change out flowers on the headstone and I'm head banging, shaking my arms around, and singing at the top of my lungs behind the family life center. Lovely. At least they came after toward the end of my run/walk deal when I was almost out of steam. (Thank goodness for small favors.)

This afternoon we are going to my Mamaw's 90th birthday celebration. I'm expecting a zillion relatives from our extended family. I sincerely hope someone asks me what I'm up to these days, so that I can drop the running bomb on someone. They only thought they were shocked when I announced The Husband was being called to preach, thereby making me The Preacher's Wife by default. Wait till I tell them I ran, I run, I am running. We might need to have oxygen standing by for the uncontrollable laughter that will follow.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Day Two: Thank God for the Little Things

Day Two:

Okay, so today wasn't a running day--we are supposed to break every other day (thank you, Jesus!). I'm especially thankful that I didn't have to run today in light of my spectacular half-gainer at the Dollar General in Jemison. I was walking through the store, right there up near the front counter, looking up at some top shelves while walking, and neglected to notice the yellow "wet floor" signage.

Needless to say, they were serious about that wet floor deal, because when my fine brown mules hit the industrial cleaner they'd sprayed everywhere to break up some particularly nasty funk growing on the tile floor, I sat right down in it.

"It" being the Funk. The Cleaner. The Wetness. Did I mention that I was in the Dollar General? Ick. Double ick.

I just about cussed at my own stupid self. What a goober. And this wasn't one of those dainty little stumbles where you grab something and make a little whooshing sound. It was a full on, four alarm flailing and yelling sort of a deal. (Lovely.)

Now, as though this wasn't humiliating enough, no one--not one single soul in the store--came over to check on me. Are you kidding me? A 300 lb woman hits the deck yelping all the way down and no one notices? You can't be serious.

So, I smooshed around in the funky floor getting it all over my rear, my left leg, knees, blouse, and hands trying to haul my big butt off of the floor. Still, nothing from the bystanders.

I walked over to the counter with as much dignity as one can muster covered in Dollar General Store Floor Funk and asked for a paper towel. I kid you not, the little girl working at the check out peeled me one paper towel off of the roll and said, "Think that'll get it?"

It's a good thing for everyone in Jemison and (especially that cashier chick) that I don't cuss anymore. I'm thankful for that fact. I'm thankful that I wasn't wearing a dress (praise JESUS). I'm thankful that I have a shower with an enormous hot water tank and lots of fabulous antibacterial soap. I'm thankful that no one was filming a documentary in the Dollar General at that particular moment in time. I'm especially thankful that it's not my job to clean that funky floor. And I'm thankful that I didn't have to run this afternoon after almost killing myself, since I'm hurting in some places I didn't even know I had. Thankfulness is a learned skill. We should all practice it more often. :-)

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Life may be like a box of chocolates, but running is like ice cream

Well, I did it. I almost didn't, but I did.

After all day at school, waiting through cheer practice, and getting the girls' hair cut (and mine too), I was TIRED and my legs hurt (all of that standing while teaching I suppose).  But I came home to find The Husband cooking dinner (without any prompting from me, he just went for it on his own--I know, like whoa) and thought to myself, if he can do that, I can do this. So, I stretched and walked and then RAN.

I had my phone with the stop watch in one hand and the MP3 tucked in, blasting The Cult on 11 (nothing like a little Fire Woman to get a girl going--that song is a flat out jam if you've never heard it you totally need an education in what real rock music sounds like).  LeRoy the Yard Dog joined me half way through as the day slowly shifted into twilight. Pretty good stuff.

Well, until the actual 60 seconds that I had to run. Times twelve. With 90 seconds of walking in between. (Lord have mercy.)

Things I've learned about running thus far, Day One:

1.)   It's hard to run and sing and avoid stepping on the dog and watch the clock all at once. And I'm not all that coordinated to begin with (see any posts about The Other Wonder Twin and recall that I gave birth to her).

2.)   I used to be worried about Bob and Chuck when I ran (see older posts). Obviously, I was so distracted by my abundant front that I neglected to notice my ample derriere. I'm not sure that one's bottom end is supposed to jiggle like that when running. It's not natural. (I had so much stuff going in so many different directions that I'm pretty sure I broke that Baptist No Dancing Rule in there somewhere.)

3.)   Twenty-five minutes of massage = flies by.

4.)   Twenty-five minutes of running = refuses to end.

5.)   Prayer and preparation are the two more important parts of getting my day started--like fruits and veggies and breakfast--they are Must Do Appointments for me. But sweating and jamming to The Cult are almost like diving into a honking big bowl of chocolate chip mint ice cream at bedtime (and I can assure you that I'm an expert on that topic)--both are nothing but sheer pleasure because I CAN and I DID! WHOOT!

Day One: See (if) Charlotte Run(s)

Today is Day One.

I did my usual aerobic deal last night with my church girls (who I am SOOOOOOO proud of!) and looked back through some old photos. Holy Mother. Let's just say that I feel a zillion times better, look a zillion and one times better, and am ready to get on with the next phase of this Personal Journey I'm on.  Today, I officially start training for the 5K.

Now, 3.2 miles may not seem like such a big whoop to most of you, but to me it's one step short of amazing. I don't run anywhere. Not in the rain, not to the mailbox, not from a rabid dog. No way.

So, on that little paper I printed out for the Cool Running’s Couch-to-5K ® Program it says "Start with a brisk five-minute warm up walk. Then alternate 60 seconds of jogging and 90 seconds of walking for a total of 20 minutes." The five-minute warm up thing I'm totally down with. I'm well into 3 miles of walking on a regular. I'm also cool with 20 minutes of walking, since I'm already doing 45 solid minutes of double tough aerobic activity three times a week. But the jogging? I'm just hoping not to hyperventilate and pass out 30 seconds into the deal. I'm also praying not to go flying through the top level of the track, landing in a broken heap on the floor of the gymnasium. Seriously.

But the biggest obstacle in my way? The snooze button on the alarm clock. I'm a notorious last-minute sleeper. Getting up 30 minutes earlier than normal on purpose (and not for something like Disney World or a Twilight premiere) is going to be the Olympic hurdle that I've got to cross, and it starts far, far before the actual running part. I'm already pep-talking myself. I'm considering downloading some famous football coach half-time speeches to play if I start to weaken and slap at the snooze button.

I'd tell The Husband to get after me and remind me to get up, but he might be injured when I flip out and start flailing around in a Sister Sunshine fit. So, nix that. I'll just have to do it myself. (I'd like to stay married during this deal.What's the point in getting all fabulous if The Husband is mad at me for dotting his eyes for doing what I asked him to do in the first place?) (This is the definition of Irony, class.)

Since I don't want to be another anecdote in a sermon, I'm going to get up in the dark, stretch, and take one more step on the road to becoming the best me I can me. And with that, it's officially time to sign off since I'm starting to sound like Daily Affirmation with Stewart Smalley or like an Oprah episode (gak) when I'm shooting for the Rocky theme.


Alarm clock: one
Charlotte: zero

Nah, if I'm being truthful, it's all The Husband's fault. He's smarter than I am. Last night when I was moaning about getting up early and not being totally sure I'd do that for 12 weeks straight, he said, "So, why don't you just run at the same time you normally do aerobics? Like, in the afternoon/evening."


Getting to see the sunset is more my style. This is why he isn't "a husband", he's "The Husband". :-)

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Running To and Fro

I am one busy white woman. I run to and fro constantly. It's a good thing, because I'd probably go crazy from boredom if I didn't have a whole bunch of stuff going on all at the same time. I should have probably reflected on that a little bit longer before having four Shorties. I mean, they all have to go for check ups, sick visits, dentist, orthodontist, gymnastics, basketball, clothing shopping, hair appointments, etc. They all have this funny idea that they have priority. Humph. See Charlotte run. Run, Charlotte, run.

But I'd like to try a different kind of running.

Since I believe strongly in accountability as a motivator, I'm committing right now that I'm going to try to actually run somewhere. I've been closely watching my friend's progress on the Couch to 10k program. While I've been doing the Walk Away the Pounds program religiously three times a week for months now (and I'm up to the 3-mile tape with my group!), I still can't get this idea of running out of my mind. I want to run somewhere!

So, I'm starting next week training for a 5K (because I'm not as excited or committed as my friend to do a 10K). She has challenged us all to run/walk in this 5K for the Ronald McDonald House that's coming up in January. I have a soft spot for this ministry since they let me crash there when the kids were all in the hospital for rotovirus while we were on "vacation" in Gatlinburg.

I've put it on my calendar, and I'm actually going to try it (provided I have no more surgeries between now and Go Time). I start walking/running the first time on Tuesday. That should be some fun to watch. I have no illusions about how I actually LOOK running, just that I'm wholly committed to this brand new me and I'm going to go for it no matter how I look doing it. Hey, I like a good laugh as much as the next person. So, on Monday and Thursday it's me and Leslie in the gym and on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday it's me running around the in the Family Life Center. Feel free to join me.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Bringing the Smack Down to Your Town

Smack Talk. Let's get it right out there that we are masters of the art of talking smack to one another at Casa Johnson. What is the point of crushing people pre, post, and during games if you can't yah-yah with them about it? In Johnsonville, it's a birth right. We are proud of our Smack Talk Tradition.

They even have a sort of Smack Talk Guide for Dummies (which is hilarious)

It has helpful hints like Easy Smack Targets, Self-Promoting Smack, Stat-Based Smack, and the ever popular, Challenging-Your-Opponents-Manhood Smack.

Therefore, keeping all of this in mind, this is the stupidest stupid I have ever seen.  

We are weak, people, weak!

Lillian on the computer, five years old, fighting a thing on Jump Start called a Punk-Punk, bared her teeth, raised her little right fist in definance and growled, "You are going DOWWWNNNN!" I didn't reprimand her for yelling at the enemy. I snorted laughing and called her father into the hallway to hear her bringing the smack talk to the computer. And again on the Wii, yelling at the dude she's boxing against, "I'm gonna bust you up, Dude!" Rock on, Little Sister. You tell him Johnsonstyle.

Elise's infamous cheer at the swimming pool:

My name, Elise, yeah
Get out my face, yeah
Cause when I shake it, yeah
It's like an earthquake

(insert bootie shaking and leaping into the pool here)

That is professional-level smack talking right there, friends and neighbors. (Especially since she is totally backing it up. She's scary. I'd stay away from her.)

Need another example? She was in Bible class, discussing Satan and his deceptive nature. The teacher said, "He WILL lie to you. He will say things like you are not good enough. You can't make it in the 5th grade. You are not beautiful." To which Elise immediately replied, no hesitation, dead serious, "Oh, I'll NEVER believe THAT!"

You got THAT right.

Overheard when Carter was playing Star Wars with Logan (his bestest buddy) as they faced the evil Empire as battling Jedi (naturally, both good guys) armed with lightsabers: "I will crush you, Darth Vader, and take your ship!" I certainly hope so. I want my son to crush any perceived enemy and absolutely take his ship. You go, Little Man. (I hope that you feel exactly that same way when you join the military, make your first million, and preach the gospel. Woot.) Go big or go home, Son.

Elaina, who had just fallen over walking across a completely flat surface (I'd like to say this was an isolated incident, but alas, no), turned to her laughing father who (righteously) called her a klutz and said, "Well, I might be clumsy, but at least I'm not OLD." That's my girl. No one laughs at Sister. You tell him and any other person who makes fun of you in this lifetime. You and your klutzy self are rockin' awesome.

Voting from the floor of the Southern Baptist Convention when we disagreed with the way a particular vote was being handled and worded: The Husband booed the moderator loudly. So did 7,000 other people. There was no ball or team in the civic center. We just booed. I booed. He booed. They booed. And I'd boo again. I wish I'd have been able to yell and shake my finger at someone while wearing a Down With GCR T-shirt too. (maybe next time.) Somebody get us a cheer, and I'll lead it.

So what in the world is up with not being able to boo and smack talk at college sporting events? ESPN even has a link to Smack Central where you can send e-greeting cards that talk the smack for you.

And don't even start with any of this pooh-pooh politically correct girlie man talk either. To quote my own self, I want to crush the opponent into a squealing, begging, humilated mass of quivering pitifulness (ANY opponent). Why take the field if you don't intend to totally demorolize your enemy? Just stay home and bake or knit or host bunco or something. (see Challenging-Your-Opponents-Manhood Smack)

We are such a nation of wimps. What, are we afraid that we might make the other team cry? Poor Babies. Precious Angels. Bless their hearts. Whaaaaaa. It might not be FAIR.  If your precious angel baby sweety can't handle a little mouthiness, you have come to the wrong place, because when I wipe the floor with you in Wii tennis, I'm totally doing a victory dance. I might even call people and tell you how bad I waxed you, and I'm absolutely posting it on Facebook with photos. We are Johnsons! How do you like THAT?

Friday, August 27, 2010

Bad to the Bone

Lillian started Big Girl School a mere four weeks ago.

To put this in context, I have to back up a little bit. The very first week of 4K last year we received a note home that said, "Lilly was involved in a brawl today...".

Now, I don't know about you, but the word "brawl" used in context with four-year-olds was a little shocking. Seriously, I'm expecting drunks hurling barstools at one another when I hear that word, not a five-year-old demanding her yellow crayon back from a kid who out weighed her by 30 lbs. But if you know The Little Flower even a wee bit you'll know that "brawl" was probably the perfect word to describe the altercation.

In the span of four short weeks in Kindergarten for Big Girls she flashed the entire lunchroom by lifting her dress up over her head, understands and is intimately familiar with the Time Out process, and ran top speed out of the lunch room and down the hall to hide in the bathroom where the teacher couldn’t find her for some length of time.

I'm not finished yet.

When her name was put on the board for disobedience, she waited for the class to go to snack and then snuck back into the classroom under the pretext of going potty and erased her name from the board.

She stole a toy from the teacher’s stash and then lied completely straight faced about it. And when busted in thievery and lying, she stomped her foot at the teacher, aimed the stink-eye, and screamed at maximum volume, “You are the worst teacher in the whole world!”

One of her classmates made what was sure to be accurate color commentary about her theft, cover up, and consequent lock up in Time Out, which almost resulted in a complete throw down.  (And I have no doubt would have been a major problem for him. Ahem.)

Okay then.

This is also the same kid who when learning about the creation story during Bible time raised her hand and wanted to know why God didn’t just make the world in ONE day. Why did he take seven whole days to get down to business? Duh.

(That’s a pretty good question for a kindergartener.)

She also refuses to put her name on the top of her worksheets and instead writes: “Lilly loves Mommy” (Okay, so that one is hard to fuss about.)

I don’t know how her teacher stands it. I’d have already hung her up by her feet or locked her in a closet somewhere. The funniest part is that every time she acts so crazy (her normal state of existence), the natural response to this nuttiness is to laugh. Loudly.

And share the story with others.

Making it harder to beat her the next time.

(And I’m pretty sure she knows it.)

Hopefully, the Memory Enhancers* she received at the house after each of these incidents will help.

(But I am familiar with her gene pool and really doubt it.)

(Wouldn’t you just kill to be a fly on the wall in that classroom?)

*tail warmings and/or having to write personal apologies to offended people--meaning her penmanship is going to totally rock.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Mid-Life Crisis

I'll blame it on the fact I'm forty. Maybe this is just what my personal mid-life crisis is going to look like. Whatever, I'm going to make some changes in my universe.

I'm like the rest of you. I've done a couple of diets here and there. I've played at working out for several seasons. But I've never really made any permanent changes in my lifestyle. Lately I've been convicted about it from several different sources. Just in case you ever think that no one is listening to you...this one's for you.

Melanie: She wrote a very significant "confession" about her weight. She's a relatively thin woman, but struggles with blaming other sources for her condition. Her thoughts on paper kept coming back to me concerning how I view myself and the excuses I've made in my own life about "upbringing" or "genetics". In our religious belief system, our bodies are supposed to be temples, places where the Holy Spirit actually lives, but I'm treating mine less like a holy place and more like an amusement park.

Julia, not Roberts: She has absolutely no idea that she's inspiring me at all. J and her girls are training together toward a 10K run. She's set a goal to participate in the Vulcan run this year. I think she'll do it too. How does this impact my universe? Having enormous boobs really did make it impossible to run. (You doubt me? Stuff a 7 lb baby in your bra and try to jog somewhere. Not happening.) Once the swelling goes down, I'm not going to have that excuse anymore. I might actually like running somewhere if I tried it. I might get to experience that symphony she described. And I really want to hear it.

Greg: Same day I read Julia's notes on facebook, Greg the Pastor (who doesn't know Julia), posted asking if anyone had ever used the Couch to 5K program. Huh. That's odd. (If you Believe, that's the Holy Spirit. If you don't, it's a coincidence.) Julia was just talking about that very program in her quest for Vulcan. Googled info. I actually read the whole website and secretly, furtively, quietly contemplated these truths in my heart.

Jessica: Clever, funny girl who is built like a gazelle. Her body has been hand crafted by God, made specifically to eat pavement. She loves to run. She is passionate about the act. She is inspired by the movement and feet pounding the ground, and it's abundantly clear in her language. She wrote in her blog about running along Bourbon Street in New Orleans, and I wondered what that would feel like. Smelling the city come to life, feet beating out a tattoo on concrete, arms pumping, air pushing, burning, moving in time to something bigger than yourself. Yeah, I wonder what that would be like.

My Daddy: The Husband and I are going to travel as much as humanly possible in the next several years. We're going to Alaska in September and to St. Martin next spring. My father is taking us on both of these trips as a most generous gift, and I know he's already daydreaming and planning and scheming where he's taking our family in 2012.  I want to zip line and float plane and hike to the falls. I want to run in a forest older than time. I want to ride a bicycle and walk through towns and climb to the highest viewing point on the island. I want to pound down the beach like a living, breathing, sweating cliche.

Sales Clerk at the Dress Barn: I grabbed three formals in what I thought was my size. The sales lady said that she thought I was way overshooting my actual size and then brought me a dress I never in this lifetime would have tried on W.B.C. (With Bob and Chuck). She asked me to humor her and to try it on. She was right. I've gone down two dress sizes in eight weeks, and I rocked an empire waist for the first time in my life. I did a little five-second dance party in the changing room. She doesn't know it, but the sales clerk prompted me to arrive 30 minutes early to aerobics class so that I could do a warm up walk. I walked and sweat and ached and imagined what else I might fit into this time next year. Tomorrow when the alarm goes off and the kids leave for school, I wonder if I'll hit the snooze or if I'll head down to the gym. I hope I'll walk and run a little between the second marks.

Julia Roberts, actress: She may be eating her way across Asia in some sort of self-gratifying journey of inner discovery (loosely called entertainment in the movie industry), but in Randolph I am on a Radical Lifestyle Reevaluation that's going to involve less consumption on every single level. Less food, less fat, less excuse making, less whining, less just for the sake of less.  Perhaps it's time to quit focusing so much on our inner search. It's unhealthy to believe that you are the center of your own universe, endlessly contemplating your own cosmos and the people rotating around you. Then I start thinking that I'm throwing away my opportunities in a similar fashion. What if I passionately applied myself to everything I set my mind to instead of wandering around aimlessly year after year? What if I just decided and made it so? What if I just did it? One step at a time.

Ladies Bible Study and Sonja: Where we are reading and studying the book Sonja reviewed at the WMU conference last month. Life Unhindered by Jennifer Kennedy Dean. The book is based on two key verses, Hebrews 12:1-2. Read it. You'll get it.

The Husband: Who, knowing all of this information far before any of you are privy to it, still offers me a Reece's Cup every single night at bedtime when he has his snack, not because he's trying to sabotage me or to be ugly by temping me, but because he's saying that he loves me exactly the way that I am for my insides, not my outsides. I wish that all of you are loved that same way at least once in life. It somehow matters that he doesn't care if I run or not. It matters a lot. It matters the most.

I'm not exactly ready to commit to a 10K, because that large of a goal seems completely out of my reach, but I have a lot to ponder about the temple of the Holy Ghost and what I'm going to do about preserving it to the best of my ability. God speaks to us through all sorts of mediums, so I guess what I'm really saying is, I hear You, Lord, and I'm finally ready if You are.

Hebrews 12:1-2 The Race of Faith
1 Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

You Like Me; You Really Like Me

Okay, so 85,000 of you claim to read the blog (give or take a handful), but as I looked in my blog file, I discovered that I've got five whole followers. I've been blogging for three years. This has to be a new low in records. It's just depressing.

You're all causing me to question my entire blogging life. Am I not funny enough? Am I not frequent enough? Am I not interesting enough? Are you not amused enough? What is the problem here? Hello? HELLO?!

*tap tap tap*

Is this thing on??!!

If I were anyone other than The Mother Bear, you'd be killing my self esteem here. Fortunately for me, since I know that none of those silly suppositions are answerable with an affirmative, the next logical question is, what is wrong with you people? I'm not writing all of this for myself, you know. (Well, okay, so maybe I am, since I'd write it whether or not any of you read it, but that's beside the point.)

Having 'followers" is somehow important in the blogosphere on the most base psychological level. It means that you're actually out there in cyberspace following the program that I'm laying out. And having to ask all of you lazy people (aka My Friends) to click the "follow" button is terribly demoralizing too. It's like having to ask someone to throw you a party. Sheesh.

Get with it, People! Hit the dadgum button!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Not Yet Rated

I wish that I could do a blog about all of the things that I want to blog, but self edit. Like a free association blog rant thingy about the inappropriate details of my life. (What? she's not already over sharing the inappropriate details of her life? There's more?) There are just some things you just can't blog about in confidence.

First, The Wonder Twins and The Number One Son would kill me. (The Little Flower isn't self aware enough to stage a freak out concerning invasion of privacy, but she'll get there eventually.)

Second, The Husband would pass out because Church People Might Read It. (As if you aren't already all up in our business or something.*Snort*)

Third, some people would never speak to me again. (You know who you are.)

What sort of things? Well, I really want to scream at the top of my lungs about how fabulous my new, small, perky you-know-who's are, but that's totally out of the question. No one will even break this weird staring eye contact thing when they mention how great I'm looking these days, because it's socially uncomfortable to stare at the Preacher's Wife's Chest just as a general behavioral rule. (In fact, it might actually be in the handbook that I'm not allowed to have a chest, but I'd have to look it up to be sure.)

I want to tell you all about this Very Interesting Woman at the Pig who upon observing my Four Shorties in tow, told me that she also had four kids, only they all had different daddy's. At least she thinks two of them might have the same father, but she's not sure because it could be this one other guy, but she hopes not because he's currently serving time for armed robbery, but she's so glad that her new man didn't care about that and had been fixed after his last marriage. Somehow sharing all of that incredibly funny info just feels inappropriate. I could always share it as a prayer request, but again, icky.

And I want to tell someone, anyone about the many fabulous Carter-Johnson-isms here in Johnsonville, but he's going to be A Man some day and I'm not sure he'd want all of that glamour out on the Internet in perpetuity. It's not easy being a dude in a world full of women.

Sigh.  So, I guess some things will just remain un-postable. But if you ask me about it in person, I'll probably tell it. :-)

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Literary Prowess

I’m the kind of girl who chooses to read a book, or not to read a book as the case may be, based on one thing. Not on the blurb or the jacket cover (and certainly not based on the reviews), but more often than not, I choose a novel based on the first line of the book. The very first sentence usually screams out the author’s skill, topic, and tone. Some great ones include the following:

"If you really want to hear about it, the first thing you'll probably want to know is where I was born, and what my lousy childhood was like, and how my parents were occupied and all before they had me, and all that David Copperfield kind of crap, but I don't feel like going into it, if you want to know the truth." J.D. Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye. Love it or hate it, you have to admit, great first line.

Or what about, “All children, except one, grow.” Peter Pan J.M. Barrie. You have to admit, that’s a pretty good one too. Intriguing.

"The man in black fled across the desert, and the Gunslinger followed" - Dark Tower I - The Gunslinger (no one touches Stephen King.)

Personal favorite: "It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife." Jane Austin, Pride and Prejudice. (How funny is that? Surprise, the rest of her novels are pretty funny too.)

So, today, when in our pew at church I happened to pick up a long-hand cursive story written by my son during worship before he left for children’s church, I couldn’t help but be drawn to the first line, because, as I said before, it sets the skill, topic, and tone and determines whether or not I’m going to continue reading. And I can assure you that I continued reading with a first line so provocative, so profound, so titillating that it was a natural born page turner.

Chapter One:

“Elise is a butt head.”


Ahem. You want to read it too, now don’t you? Because I am an editor, I’ve chosen to correct some misspellings and leave some for reasons that will become obvious.

So, here it is--The Number One Son’s Ode to His Sister, Elise

Chapter One: “Elise is a butt head. She’s mean to me and sometimes she threatens to beat me.”

Chapter Two: “I don’t believe what she does to me. She’s the worst sister you could have.”

Chapter Three: “Sometimes she yells at me when I ask her something. She’s just so mean. What did I do to deserve her for a sister?”

Chapter Four: “She even talks about me behind my back, but she always comes back to the good side.”

Chapter Five: “She always apologizes she can be really nice about some things. Three times are when she bought me candy and two tech decks and an ice cream. I guess those were her being nice.”

Chapter Six: “She can be the best sister you can have and even though she can be mean she can still be nice. And she could kill anyone who was mean to me that wasn’t her because she is my sister and can be mean to me but no one else.”

Chapter Seven: “Elise is very nice if you be nice to her and sometimes she yells at me when I ask her to play a game with me, but she’s still nice. Some times. Mostly.”

Chapter Eight: “Elise can be dum. Like one time she tried to through a cup at me but it hit her own head, so she’d dum too. I guess that is what having a sister is like.”

Done. (like the confidant, "Done" as opposed to the overused "The End".)

And I hope this is the photo he chooses for the back of the jacket:

Friday, August 6, 2010

The Shorties Go To School 2010

The first week of school is here again. The Wonder Twins started 5th grade. The Number One Son started 3rd grade. And The Little Flower has her first day of kindergarten on Monday. (Whoa). Here's your fair warning, I'm going on a full blown picture taking Red Alert on Monday to take a zillion photos of Lilly's first day of Big Girl School for several quality reasons:

1) Everyone says that the first kids in the lineage get the most photos...well, I was determined that wasn't going to happen at MY house (see Perfect Mommy Title Contest), so I've been actively combating that situation since the day Carter was born--he and his baby sister might actually have more film on them than the twins as a result.

2) It's her first day of Big Girl School.

3) And the biggest reason of all...I've been banned from the 5th and 3rd grade classrooms by the other shorties. They think it's humiliating to have their mother chase them around the classroom posing with the teacher, taking photos with their friends, etc. The Fashionista actually said, "It's just too much, Mom. Seriously."

So, I've been coming up with strategic arguments to get into the classroom for the precious photo op. Any combination of techniques might work, but it's the process of choosing the most effective manipulation tools to get my way. (Hey, you're all thinking it, just not admitting it.)

There's the ever popular Show of Force technique, which would include phrases like: "You'll Get Over It" or "Shut Up"  or the ever popular "Because I Said So".

Then there's Guilt (always in the back pocket of effective mothers): "I Earned the Right to Chase You Around with this Camera the Day You Were Born".

Or how about Compromise: "If You Let Me Come to the Classroom, I'll Limit Myself to Four Photos" or "We'll Only Take Them at the House and Not at the School".  you can see, option Compromise was employed this year, but none of that is really working for me, therefore, I have two words for you concerning next year: Telephoto Lens.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Clean House at Casa Johnson

The Johnson Factor Phenomenon No. 72: If The Husband opens any cabinet, door, fridge, etc., something will fall on his head 79% of the time. I'm graphing it to keep the percentages accurate. It's really something. It's lucky he doesn't cuss more.

Let's it was an entire bowl of potato salad (that naturally landed wrong side down and had to be scraped up from the linoleum), three cups from the Twilight movie premiere (Edward is The Man), and various linens as he sought to change the bed sheets. (Let us note that he was making lunch, getting me something to drink, and helping change the sheets. This is why Edward may be The Man, but Steve is The Husband. Hoo-rah!)

So, in an effort to get rid of some of this falling debris on The Husband's head, we are late summer cleaning. Erg. I hate cleaning. I mean, I hate beets and I hate Brussel sprouts, but I HATE cleaning. This is odd, since my house stays relatively put together and presentable, outside of the stacks of stuff just lying around. I've simply got to de-stack the house or we're going to be on a special "People Who Have Stacks of Crap Everywhere" edition of Hoarders. It's losing me points in the Perfect Mommy Title because my house doesn't look like Better Homes and Gardens.  (Those stupid judges...)

As a result, we are playing Clean House (curse that cable TV for convicting me yet again). We're trying to convince Elise to dress up like Niecy Nash and interview everyone about our 'foolishness', but I secretly hope she won't. If she interviews me, I might have to answer questions about my obvious book addiction and magazine stacks next to the bedside and my serious costume jewelry problem. The Shoe Fetish that I have is clearly my biggest contribution to the overall problem, but I'm not admitting to anything on that front, because then someone might want me to CHANGE that behavior and that'd be a big No.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Things I Learned from Barbara and Walter

For those of you who don't know, the name Sister Sunshine Charlotte began as this private joke between me and The Husband. He always teases that when we retire we are going to get us a bus evangelism ministry and travel the world street preaching and hosting tent revivals. He says that he's going to paint on the side in big green letters: The Right Reverend Steve Johnson and Sister Sunshine Charlotte and the Traveling House of Salvation Ministries. (He's awesome.) So, this is what he calls me whenever I get preachy about something (hence, they are called Sister Sunshine moments because I'm righteously tearing it up).

With all of that said, this is going to be one of those posts that make some of you squirm. I know it's made me squirm thinking through it. And it's flat out preaching, so read at your own peril.

I've been studying over something lately that's really gotten under my skin. It was also the topic of conversation at the recent WMU function our church attended at Shocco Springs. It wasn't a lesson or session, it was a conversation had with dear, dear heart friends over a meal. It was about service and about devoting ourselves to supporting the things of God. Both are common and spreading problems in our churches.

Here it is in a nutshell: Everyone wants to come to the party, but nobody wants to put it on or pay for it.

I think I'm tired of the entire Christian community (not just my church or yours) sugar-coating our reasons to get out of service to the Lord. Quite frankly, the people of God have become a lazy group of watchers instead of doers. I think this is mostly evidenced when the Nominating Committee comes around and no one will sign up for nursery duty because they've "done their time". Really? Are you dead? Do you still breathe God's air? Well, then I have news for you, Sister and Brother, if you are breathing His air, you've still got something to do for the Kingdom. Cooking, cleaning, praying, giving, going, doing, hammering, sweeping, grilling, puppeteering, teaching, evangelizing, sharing, changing and rocking babies so that mother's can hear the Word...we'd better get up off our collective church backside and start doing it too, or He'll take away our blessing and give it to those who actually deserve it. (Insert Amen Here)

If we really understood how short time is we'd all be tearing it up for the Lord, running the Nominating Committee down at our home churches to please, please let us do something for the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords, our Sustainer, our Provider, our Healer, the Great I Am, but based on many studies, most of us aren't serving or going or doing or giving--we are sitting and watching and complaining. Hmmm. Makes one wonder if we think the Word is real and alive or that it's a series of 'life applications'.

We had the amazing privilege of hearing Barbara Joiner speak during one of the breakout sessions at the WMU conference. She's the most amazing person--missionary, servant of the Lord, wife, mother, brilliant story teller. I believe she said that she's 83. She told us that one of her greatest joys in life is that she can still sit in the nursery floor at VBS and that she can't teach anything anymore after her STROKE, but she can hold a baby with the best of them. Shame on anyone who uses age to avoid service! Shame on anyone who ever let a physical disability or fear stop him or her from putting forth the very best for Christ! You cannot get beyond physical limitations, but you'd better make sure that it's an actual limitation and not just apathy in disguise. God doesn't let many folks tell him 'no' and get away with it. If you are apathetic about your service at church or refuse to go when called, God just might do the same right back at you.

Or how about this doozy that's been on my mind lately...

I have a dear couple friend. They have been blessed in love and family and finances. After 20 years of marriage with a very modest wedding band set, The Wife expressed a casual interest to her Loving Husband that maybe, possibly, do you think we could upgrade this deal? The Loving Husband indicated on numerous occasions that he felt that was a complete waste (and some would agree). He saw more land to buy and more equipment to work that land and trips and things.

Fast forward.

The Loving Husband was injured in a freak accident while on vacation with The Wife.  He had to have surgeries and lots of down time. The kind of injury he sustained made it hard for him to get up and down, so someone had to stay with him constantly. I had the privilege as friend of the family, to sit with him during his recovery one day to let The Wife go to town and run some errands.

One of the first things out of his mouth as we were sitting there visiting and eating sub sandwiches was that the very second he could get out of that house on his own he was going to take a considerable sum of money directly out of the bank and buy the love of his life the biggest rock he could afford. He looked me dead in the eye and said that all of this land and home and stuff didn't mean anything thing at all without her. He said that she was the most precious person in his whole life and that he was going to show it by doing something that was solely for her and caused him to sacrifice personal wants and needs. He said, "She is never, ever going to be able to forget that I adore her after all that she has done for me and that I love her more than any stupid piece of land."

Wait for it. Wait for it...deep breath...lean in really close so you don't miss it...

How much you love God is directly related to how much you put in the plate on Sunday. It's like telling your children, "Oh, you are the love of my heart and all that I am" and then refusing to feed or clothe them. You love God? Don't just post it on Facebook. Pull out your giving record and let's look at that together, shall we? I can tell the extent of your love and devotion to the things of God and exactly how much you Trust Him for Your Daily Bread by whether or not you put your money where your mouth is. We are a people who give God lip service, but don't prove it by our actions. For shame. We have nothing without the direct Hand of God providing it to us. You'll never one time regret sacrificial giving to the Lord!

Perhaps the most effective way to see where your relationship is with the Lord is to look at your bank statement and look at your church service, and then you can join me prone on the floor in repentance, weeping, begging God to forgive us for not doing more to see souls that are absolutely bound for eternity in Hell saved and redeemed and restored! If not for someone sharing the Gospel with you, someone faithfully putting money to missions in the plate, and that person wiping your nose in VBS it would be your fate also! It is the smallest measure of love and faith to pay if forward.

Pray about your service. Pray about your giving. And prepare for God to challenge you in your spiritual walk in new and exciting ways! Hallelujah, Amen! (Sometimes that Sister Sunshine chick scares me to death.)

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Saucy Pirate Wench Vs. Sister Sunshine

This is documentation of "The Sister Sunshine Moment that Almost Was" via Facebook. To follow this tale, you'll need a little background info:

This was posted as my Sis-in-Law's (The Husband's sister) Facebook Status:

     If you believe in Jesus Christ, put this on your wall. DON'T JUST IGNORE THIS because the Bible says if you deny Him, He will deny you in front of His Father at the Gates of Heaven. This is the simplest test. If  you love Jesus and you are not ashamed of him, copy this and put it on your wall. God will smile at you! :)
(I'm not sure that God really gives a rip about your Facebooking habits, but that's another rant for another day.) Below it, because he’s The Husband, he wrote something cute and smarty pants to his sister:

      The Husband: Some of us have been sharing God's love long before Facebook ..glad u could find Time to push a button and join us in our mission.
Clever, pithy, witty smart remark that’s true; posting something about Christ on Facebook has nothing to do with actually witnessing and evangelizing (hence, there is a dearth of I Was Saved On Facebook groups).  His funny sister, Diana, would totally get this--he's teasing her. Some people have no sense of humor, so this Crazy Facebook Chick (who we don’t know and doesn’t know us) responded right under The Husband’s post with:

     Crazy Facebook Chick: You know, I may be wrong but just from reading Mr. Johnson's posts he doesn't sound very much like a Christian, much less a pastor. He sounds rude & almost sarcastically condescending. If this is not the case then I apologize it's just the impression he has given me. Sorry Diana. By the way, Diana, get the message out any way you can! EVEN if it means clicking buttons on a computer! You never know who will see it.
Never being one to Let it Lie, The Husband quickly responded:

      The Husband: Hehehe..he's nothing but trouble. ..wouldn't listen to a sermon title much less a full sermon he might preach. ..however. .I feel quite certain this fb exchange will make it into a sermon illustration concerning being judgmental.. lol
      Crazy Facebook Chick: I am not judging you. I said that was my IMPRESSION of you. And, as I posted, I don't know you but that's the IMPRESSION you are giving. You made it sound like Diana was wrong for trying to spread God's message on here.  I took offense to that, Sir.

At this point, my alter ego, Sister Sunshine Charlotte almost showed out. You have got to be kidding me. This sort of deal is the reason people HATE Christians. Steve was picking at his SISTER and making a joking point about how clicking a button does literally NOTHING for advancing the cause of Christ. But, being The Husband and perfect gentleman and pastor, he smoothed things over with the Crazy Facebook Chick with the following exchange:

      The Husband: I'm sorry. ..having a bit of fun..I did say LOL. She (is my sister) and I pick all the time... sorry to have offended you. is too short not to laugh a little. ..

      Crazy Facebook Chick: Well that explains EVERYTHING! LOL if you are her brother then give her absolute misery! I apologize.

Me? I wasn't fully satisfied with that. I wanted to explain to Crazy Facebook Chick in great detail  via a very polite, well-mannered email that she is the reason people reject the message of salvation:

1) There are too many arbitrary crazy rules made up by The Religious Right (so now we aren’t allowed to be sarcastic? That’s it, I’m out of the club!).

2) We are insulting to those we believe to be our spiritual inferiors instead of focusing on restoring broken people.

3) We are held to a church standard of “spiritual behavior” that is not in any way representative of a Biblical standard of spiritual behavior. (I'm pretty sure that Christ and Paul used sarcasm quite effectively on several occasions to call people out. Look it up.)

So, in gearing up for a Monster Rant because I Am Not Yet Satisfied, I cruise on over to Crazy Facebook Chick’s home page and glance through her public photos just to check out what kind of human being I'm dealing with (Know the Animal You Hunt 101). I kid you not, this is one of her profile photos (obviously, I've cut her head off):

(insert cricket sounds here)

Let us recall that she actually used the word "impression" in all caps bold when saying that The Husband's tone indicated that he wasn't a Christian or at least he wasn't a very good Christian (so glad to know there's a rating system). There’s absolutely no need to waste a perfectly good Sister Sunshine Charlotte Monster Rant calling someone out who's discrediting her own self via her lifestyle. In public. On Facebook.
  • Publicly fussing at someone for being a spiritual hypocrite?--costly to the kingdom because it turns people off the message.
  • Condescending to a pastor who is joking with his sister about something that’s absolutely none of you business?--just costly to you personally because your righteous indignation is nothing but foolishness.
  • But photographs of yourself in your public profile dressed as a naughty pirate wench after berating the pastor for not being spiritual enough and questioning his very salvation because he used sarcasm and gave off the wrong IMPRESSION? Priceless.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Family of Four

The Wonder Twins and The Bonus Child left for camp today. They'll be gone until Thursday, so it's just The Number One Son and The Little Flower here with us this week. We get to pretend that we're a typical family of four with one boy, one girl, one dog instead of this over-bred house of crazy we live in.

Things we can do with the three oldest girls gone:
1) all ride together in a standard-size car
2) sit at the same table
3) go to all of the "uncool" places

I'm so excited! Er, I mean, I miss my babies! And if I hear any of my parents of Less Than Three Kids every again whine about how haaaarrrrrddddd it is to do this or that or the other, I will be more than happy to loan you a few Shorties until you Shut It.

So, The Number One Son and The Little Flower went to church to make a special craft. Kudos to Ms. Gretchen for her willingness to do crazy stuff that I refuse to tackle at home. Today? Cakes with frosting that the kids  mixed themselves. A braver soul, I know not.

Here is "Daddy" by The Little Flower. Awesome. Just awesome.

Here is "Mommy" by The Little Flower. When asked what the holes represented (thinking that it might be some sort of Dali symbolism), she looked that little cock-eyed-look up at me and said, "Well, I had to taste it. Duh."

Here is "The Ocean" by The Number One Son (seaweed, I know, I asked too) He said that he figured he could eat it since Lilly made us each our own cakes. Sounds about right.

Friday, July 16, 2010

The Vast Wasteland

Daytime TV--we are all aware that it's a complete wasteland, but I'm pretty sure that I've learned just how deep and wide the void actually measures this week. I haven't been able to focus on reading because of the fabulous pain medications I'm taking, so I've resorted to watching Style Network, TLC, History Channel, etc., between periods of unconsciousness.

More meaningless observations:

We are obsessed with Weddings. And I completely got cheated at my wedding. I didn't have enough Bridezilla in me or a Monster-in-Law hovering over me or a Monster-of-the-Bride moment. I didn't spend enough money on the wedding based on the top 20 Forbes Celebrity Weddings. (Although, if you paid more than $500.00 on your wedding dress, I question all of your decision-making ability.) It's a dress that you are going to wear ONCE. And if you spent $1.5 million like some of these folks on the TV, well, you fall into an entirely new class of creepy decadence.

We all Want a New Look, Because We are Hideous. I need a makeover, but I don't want my friends or those idiots on What Not To Wear to do it. They have absolutely no taste. They just put a chunky woman into a nightclub dress made out of silver disco fabric with gladiator sandals (a major no-no for cankles) and then they had the nerve to tell her she looked fabulous. Are you kidding me? I couldn't stop myself from screaming at the television, "You look like a freak cross between the Tin Man and a giant Bass fish!" Where are Tim Gunn and Heidi Klum? Seriously.

We Are All Fat. I can't decide between Nutrisystem, Jenny Craig, that 6-Week Body Makeover, or E-Diets. Everyone who diets on TV loses a zillion pounds with little or no trouble. Doubt it? Well, just watch the testimonies--they are all thin without sacrifice and have new, wonderful lives to match their skinny booties. I'm pretty sure I'm going with Marie Osmond, since she's so happy about the entire deal. She also appears to be laughing at some of the people on stage with her, and I'm totally down with that.

If I Weren't Sitting and Staring at the TV, I Wouldn't Know Anything About all of this Amazing Workout Equipment/Programs. Zumba is a scam. No one has that much fun dancing unless alcohol is involved. Or unless we're talking about Richard Simmons. (He might actually be having that much fun.) And I love it when they do five or six complicated dance moves with spinning and jumping and hip rolling and arms flailing and then look into the camera and say, "It's so easy!" Liar. And if you aren't lying I seriously hate you.

So, to recap what I've learned from the TV today: I'm poor, need to sue someone for my disability, I'm fat, ugly, badly dressed, and too stupid to live since I can't Zumba. Lovely. Someone pass the Percocet.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Post Op

Surgery went well Monday. Sore, but up and moving about, so it's all good. When I say it's an enormous difference, I really mean it. Had a little trouble in recovery where my blood pressure and heart rate became a little exciting, but other than that, it was all good. I'm glad it's over for sure.

The Number One Son came into my bedroom to visit with me (I'm still taking it easy and on pain meds, so I'm laid up in bed for a few more days). He sat on the edge of the mattress staring hard at the new and improved me. He stared so long that I finally asked if he wanted to ask me any questions about the deal. He raised his eyebrows and said, "Yeah, I have one question; when can I snuggle them again?" So, we know what Carter's looking forward to, but here's what I'm looking forward to:

1) Being able to run.
2) No longer being able to hide an entire cell phone in my bra without drawing any attention to myself.
3) Going into Victoria's Secret and purchasing bras.
4) New bathing suits and clothes!
5) Being able to fit into any booth in any restaurant in the world.
6) Not having to go up one size in clothes just to accommodate Bob and Chuck.
7) Being able to purchase blouses that button up the front.

Whoot! Now, I'm ready for the sore part to be over and to get up and get gone doing stuff. Yea for me!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Evidently, NOT the Last Airbender

The Husband and I ditched the Shorties and went to the beach with awesome friends for a few days last week. Basically, we slept, ate great seafood, watched a movie, swam, soaked in the hot tub, and lounged around. In short--PERFECT! (I'm such a slug.)

We went to see The Last Airbender. I repeatedly told The Husband over the past few weeks of previews that I wanted to see that movie, to which he'd ask, "What's it about?"

I responded the same way every time, "I have no idea, but M. Night Shyamalan wrote and directed it, so I'm in." Then he'd say, "Shama-lama Ding Dong? What? Who's that?" (insert big sigh here)

I must have explained Shyamalan's filmography to him ten times. You know, The Sixth Sense, Signs, The Village...M. Night Shyamalan. The last time he started singing like Bowser from Sha Na Na, I stared blankly at him and said, "Get in the car and drive me to the theater or I will kill you." That, he got.

So, we saw the film. That's about all I can say about it. There's a sequel coming, but I don't know if I care enough about it to actually go see it. It was just...hmmm...visually beautiful. And the costumes were cool. But I just didn't give a rip about any of the characters. At one point this princess is about to become the sacrificial character and  give herself up for the greater good, yada yada yada, and I'm wondering to myself if it's too late to go get popcorn.

(Side note to Hollywood: There's just not enough set dressing or CGI in the world to take the place of character and plot development.) I would have thought Shamalama Ding Dong had those parts firmly under control.

Steve didn't fall asleep during the movie, so he came out with some new "skills" which he practiced at random during the remainder of the trip. He kept striking these crazy poses next to moving water and announcing he was air/water/earth/fire bending. For example, the sprinklers at the shopping mall fired off, and he struck the infamous crane pose from the Karate Kid and moved his arms, legs, and hands in the tai chi focusing intently on the sprinkler system and announced that he was "water bending".

Let's see, he also bent some traffic, bent some water fountains, and bent some liquid in a tea glass using a straw. Then, when he had to excuse himself to use the bathroom, he announced to the table of friends we were eating with that he "had to go bend some water".

I want to see a marriage license. I need some proof that I married and bred with this man on purpose. Seriously.

Domestic Bliss

I try to avoid anything serious or difficult or depressing on my blog. Frankly, I have enough stuff trying to kill my buzz in Real Life to let it interfere with my Virtual Life. So, I tell what feels funny to me and share the absolutely meaningless anecdotes that when sewn together are the quilt that makes up my day-to-day life.

It's weird how we are just a series of random events strung together by daily, easily forgotten, menial tasks. Such as, ZOO, dishes, laundry, food, DATE NIGHT, dishes, laundry, change sheets, food, MOVIE PREMIERE, laundry, POOL, laundry, food, dishes, DOCTOR APPOINTMENT, dishes, food, laundry, and so on. For example:

We went to swim at JuJu's today and a youth was there swimming with the Shorties. JuJu and I were discussing a mutual friend and her new cabinets. Mutual Friend (hello Jennifer!) is building a new house, and we were going on about how excited she was about getting her new cabinets and how pretty they were.

The youth smiled and looked up at me over his sunglasses, "She's excited about cabinets?" I said, "You just wait. One day you'll be all stoked about rolling off the lot with the new family truckster and your cabinets." He rolled his eyes and I said, "Mark it down. The day your new kitchen is finished, you'll turn to your wife and say, 'There was this woman who told me once that I'd be all wound up about cabinetry. Go figure, she was right.' and you'll recall this exact conversation."

Funny about what gets you all excited in the middle of domestic bliss. Things like...
  • Your kids playing sports
  • New appliances
  • Used cars that are new to you
  • Clean towels
  • Someone else making dinner
  • The smell of Pine Sol, provided it's been applied, not spilled
  • A new mattress
  • Fresh vegetables
Of course these things fade, but they are joyful in those first precious moments. You might say they aren't particularly important in the greater scheme of things, and you might be right. But then again...

Watching my children play sports is so thrilling that I completely understand that psycho woman next to me screaming and jumping around every time her baby boy makes contact. With the T-Ball. The first time The Number One Son ran his five-year-old self five yards into the end zone making a touchdown, you'd have thought we were watching Alabama and Auburn play for the National Championship and he'd just scored the winning points.

New appliances--there's nothing in the whole world like having a really old dishwasher and getting a brand new super duper quiet one installed. You keep opening it, getting a face full of steam, just making sure it's running since it sounds nothing like the dinosaur you were using earlier in the week.

That little black convertible VW Rabbit given to me right after my 17th birthday was the finest thing on God's green earth. The first time I slipped behind the wheel and me and my girls rode Spiffy to nowhere, blowing through an entire tank of gas in one night driving in circles, is in my calendar of Greatest Days Ever. Right up there with the day we bought Yukon Sam and drove the mother of all family trucksters off the lot. (Side note: I don't trust people who don't name their cars.)

Clean, fresh laundry-smelling towels are like heaven. Especially if my mother came over and washed them while I was working. It's like a little personal laundry miracle of freshness.

What is is about sandwiches and hot dogs?
You make 'em: average.
Someone, anyone else makes them? Delicious!
Weird science.

Pine Sol means that the maid came!!!!!!! Praise Jesus!!!! One of the things I wish for you is a maid. (Sure, we need food and clean drinking water and access to medical supplies and absolutely sharing the gospel is right up there, but if we're talking Never Never Land, get you a maid. It will change your entire world view.)

Anyone who got "one more year" out of a mattress doesn't need any further elaboration. The rest of you? Next time you're in the furniture store, recline on the mattresses just for fun. You'll see what you've been missing.

Fresh veggies out of a garden make canned ones taste like dog food. If you don't garden, make friends with people who do.

It's the little things that make the most difference in your domestic bliss the older you get. Can I get an amen?

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Bob and Chuck

Some of you are going to be like, "Why is she posting this on her blog? TMI!" But this isn't the sort of thing that I can keep under wraps; you're going to be able to tell what happened, and then I'll have all of these incredibly awkward social interactions where you want to ask, but don't ask, because it's Just Not Done, but you'll be whispering hot and heavy behind my back, "Did she have some work done?", so I'd prefer in typical Charlotte style to just put it all out there.

Bob and Chuck are about to hit the highway. (Yes, folks, my breasts are so enormous that I gave them names.) They take up so much room in space that I felt as though they deserved titles. So, Bob and Chuck were named somewhere in high school and it just stuck. (They were also called The Twins or The Girls until I actually had girl twins and then the nicknames felt a little creepy.)

Many of you know that right before Lillian came around I'd contemplated having Bob and Chuck reduced, but before surgery was approved and scheduled, I found out I was pregnant for the fourth time. Since I wanted to breastfeed Baby No. 4 too, I skipped out on surgery. But now, six years post Lilly, I've been rolling it around in my mind again.

And with that synopsis, I'm having surgery on July 12th. I wonder what it'll feel like to walk around without the equivalent of a toddler sitting on my chest or being able to actually purchase a bra that didn't come from a specialty catalogue or not having a panic attack because I don't think that Bob and Chuck will fit in the booth that the waiter is taking us to. Can't wait to find out! And now you can publicly acknowledge right to my face that yes, I DID lose a lot of weight all of a sudden like. Now, isn't that a relief?

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Total Eclipse of the Heart

I know that this moves me into a whole new category of geek, but I don't care. The Wonder Twins looked at our large, dry erase marker calendar on the kitchen wall and saw that on June 30th it says "Eclipse 11:00" and on July 2 it says "Eclipse 11:30". They wanted to know what was up--was I trying to decide which day to go, were they going to go with me one of those days? What's up, Mom?

Um, no.

I'm going twice. On purpose. (and probably a third time with my Mother if I'm being totally honest)

I've already purchased tickets for the day it opens, because I simply cannot wait another second, and to go Friday with my girlfriends who are also Twihards. (aka Dorks. You know who you are.) How excited am I? I had to re-read the book (for the fifth or sixth time) to get ready to go see the film. (Hey. I know I have a problem. Chill.)

I can't wait to see werewolves and vampires and Bella and Edward and Jacob! I can't wait for snow and chase scenes and camping! I can't wait for jealous love triangles and smooching and more Cullens! I'M SO EXCITED!!!! (Is it just me or is the room spinning?)

To quote Heidi Klum, this is one of those deals where you are either In or you are Out. There is no real middle ground. Either you get it or you don't. It's like Banana Laffy Taffy. No one "sort of" likes it. In fact, there is quite a list of things that fall into either You Are Into It or You Are Not Into It with no gray areas.

  • Roller coasters
  • Harry Potter
  • Sushi
  • Tom Cruise
  • Monogramming
  • Men who wear pink
  • Napoleon Dynamite and Raising Arizona
  • Dungeons and Dragons
  • Scary movies
  • Okra
  • Camouflage
  • Jesus Christ
So, don't hate on me because you don't get it. :-) No one rains on my Twilight Saga Parade! WHOOT!

Friday, June 25, 2010

For the Love of Okra

So, for those of you who are out of the loop, my mother lives with us. She had a medical situation two years ago that rendered her unable to live on her own anymore. Now, she's almost fully back to normal (a relative term for anyone who actually knows my family members), but we've decided it's best for her to stay here since lymphoma is a slippery little booger and can strike back suddenly.

My mother is a Worker. She has to be productive and needs multiple projects going to be a happy little bee. (Must be where I get it from.) We had some septic work and fill line work done behind the house in early spring, and the men from church who were working on that deal let all of that dug up yard over the poopy patch, aka greatest fertilizer ever, sit there one day too long for my mother. She stared and stared at that fertile ground and simply HAD to plant something in the bare area.

But being my mother, instead of marking it off and making rows, she just flung seed everywhere. Well, that may be a little exaggeration, she did fling the okra in one spot and the cucumber and watermelon and peppers in another, but basically, I've got this random growth of vegetables in the middle of my back yard. It's classic Mother.

As ordered and organized as I am as a human being, my mother is the polar opposite. She's also Martha Stewart Lite (half the skills with twice the drive). It makes for an interesting home life. I come home to things like a garden in the dead center of my back yard (in between the play house and the trampoline. Naturally.) Or all of my closets reorganized (if anyone stumbles across my sleeping bags or ponchos when they are visiting, that'd be great).

Mother has gone to her sister's house for the week and she left me A List of Things to Accomplish including "cut the okra or it will stop producing". Hmm. Quite the conundrum, since one has to assume that I actually want the okra to keep producing, thereby making it where I have to cut it. The fact that I've gone out there in the heat and cut that blasted okra every morning and watered it every evening is a testimony to how much I actually love my mother, not how much I love okra. It's the same reason she cleans out my closets, I guess. Ahhh...the things we do for love.