Saturday, February 26, 2011

Guess Who's Coming For Dinner?

We had dinner at friends' house tonight. An enlightening experience! There are two things in particular that make me say this.

One is the fact that the entire meal consisted of items my kids normally will not touch with a ten-foot pole (onions, green peppers, tomatoes, rice and salad) and yet they went back for seconds, thirds, fourths.... And as they practically shoveled the food into their faces they exclaimed things like, "this tastes like Heaven!" and, "sorry Mom, but this is really awesome"-- as though apologizing for the fact that they hate everything I serve them (not far from the truth, actually) and wish they could just eat at this family's house forever and ever. (Oh, if wishes could come true....) How did my friend do it? I am speechless and in awe. And needless to say, I asked for the recipe.

The second thing I noticed is that my family of four eats more like a family of 8. I always feel bad for people who are lulled into thinking that they have invited a group of manageable size over to share a meal. FYI, we will eat all your food. And when we are through, we will ask if you have anything else you could possibly feed us 'cause, um, we're still hungry. So you will have to bring out the box of crackers you were saving for the big game Sunday night, and dig in the refrigerator for some cheese to go with it. And, do you happen to have any sliced turkey as well? We like to make cracker sandwiches. Thanks.

In fact, it was hubby who went over to the stove and picked up the pan of food and said, "can I just finish this off?" Yes, darling, I'm sure nobody else wanted it anyway. Oi....

On a positive note, since the kiddos enjoyed dinner so much we didn't have to endure any embarrassing commentary from my...too-honest little boy. That would have been a whole other post in and of itself. But thankfully this family knows us well-- and happens to like us regardless. Even if we try to eat them out of house and home within the span of dinnertime.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Nao Falo Muito Bom

I've been working the last few weeks to woo a little refugee girl in LM's class. She came from Africa in December and was thrown into life here not having appropriate clothing, knowledge of our language or customs, or a large community from which to draw strength. At first I didn't know she was a refugee, she was just the kid who cried in a corner everyday and whose back I rubbed even though she wouldn't even look at me. "What's up with the new kid?" I eventually asked LM's teacher. She gave me a brief rundown of the kiddo's history, and my heart broke. But through our chat I found out that she and I have a small thing in common-- and I chalked it up to a "God thing".

"Oi, menina! Eu falo um poco de Portugues! Fala conmigo! Tudo bem?" She stared at me, wordless-- shocked. Who knew there are Africans who speak Portuguese-- and that I have a barely passable ability to speak it as well? And even though she'd never talk to me in return, I noticed she started to put herself in my general vicinity whenever she got the chance, sneaking peeks at me under her hair-hidden eyes. Then, one day, she rattled off an almost inaudible string of words. I only caught a few, and I wasn't sure how to respond to her inquiry, but it was a small victory. And sometimes small victories lead to larger ones.

Speaking of victories...uh, no, there's actually no segue there. Here are some quotes:

1. LM: (talking about a neighbor's car that got stolen recently) "Robbers mostly just steal sweet rides, right Mom? And our ride is not so sweet."
(What?! Our brown minivan is not considered a sweet ride? I'm hurt.)

2. LM: (after being told it was time for homework) "But I'm not one of those dumb readers!"
(Oh, but you will be, you will be.)

3. LM: (upon becoming very frustrated while creating a Lego masterpiece) "Shucks! Shucks! SHUCKS!! Arggghhhhhh!! Shucks! SHUCKS! Shucks! Shucks!! STUPID SHUCKS!"
(That right there is tantamount to full-on sailor language in LM's mind.)

4. LM: "Mom, Chihuahuas are just little chews of the wawa's."

5. M-i-L: "You're pretty good at math!"
LM: "Yeah, it's a special talent."
(Right up there with humility.)

6. LM: "Mom, I have an idea-- I'll trade you my $6 for your $10."
(I have an idea, too! No. Please say this isn't foreshadowing a government position in his future.)

7. Hubby: (following a long, hard search for our missing cell phone) "Thank you, Jesus! I found it! Nona, I think it fell out of my pocket when we were playing on the bed."
Ruby: (eyebrows raised in mild disgust) "You guys were...playing on the bed?"
(So suspicious! It was a fully-clothed smack down between two highly trained professionals. I think all the recent talk about sex at church has put her on red alert.)

Saturday, February 19, 2011

I'll Have A Double-Shot, Please

I'm getting gray hair. Aack! It wasn't supposed to start this soon. But regardless, something has to be done about it, and so I thought I'd try to make my own hair dye. (Say what?!) Yes, you heard me right.

I'm sort of a study of contradictions. I'm the lady in the supermarket studying all the food labels to make sure there's no high-fructose corn syrup, partially-hydrogenated oils, artificial colors or flavors, and preservatives in the items I am purchasing. But, that very same day I might buy Jelly Belly beans and microwave popcorn for a special movie night with the fam. Hmmmm.... And how shall I reconcile my love of fair trade items with my occasional compulsion to zip into a Walmart for something cheap? Or what about the fact that I will wash my hair with eggs and Castille soap and condition it with pure Jojoba oil, but the next day I'll walk into the salon to have a chemical straightening procedure? How about this one-- I love homeopathic medicine (or simply taking no meds at all), but if you search my medicine cabinet you will discover one of my favorite nasal congestion remedies (right next to my neti pot); Afrin spray. I exercise regularly, but then I make sure I replace all those lost calories with extra portions of food, thus ensuring I never actually lose any weight. Ugh! How do I live with myself?!

But I digress. We were talking about hair dye. So anyway, I read that applying coffee to your hair will cover gray, and give your mane an energizing boost! (Really? Do they really think my hair will get a caffeine buzz? Come on.) So, naturally I had to try it! 'Cause I like dabbling in granola life, even if I'm a hypocrite of the worst kind. So I brewed some strong coffee, adding cocoa powder and cloves to the mixture, and then combined that with an egg yolk (to thicken it) and apple cider vinegar (as a "fixative"). Next, I proceeded to make a humongous brown mess in the bathroom as I applied this concoction to my hair. I snapped on a shower cap and set the timer for an hour.

Hubby: "What are you doing?"
Me: "Dyeing my hair!"
Hubby: (scowling slightly with suspicion) "With...what?"
Me: (trying to sound as nonchalant as possible) "With coffee and chocolate!"
Hubby: (rolling his eyes) "Why?!"
Me: (acting as though he is the idiot, not me) "To cover my gray hair! Duh!"

But you know what? Not only do I still have gray hair, but now it smells like coffee breath as well. I almost can't stand myself.

So I'll be returning to my old Redken color standby, traitor to the green cause that I am. Hey, I've never pretended to be perfect....

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Be Forewarned!

Just so you know, I will pinch anyone I see who's not wearing red tomorrow. Wait a minute...that's not right. My bad!

Happy Valentine's Day!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

When Stealing Is Stealing

Just got home from one of Ruby's more painful elementary basketball games tonight. I mean, the other team was good. We got our fannies spanked to the tune of 50-14. Usually LM doesn't pay much attention to these games (he has better things to do), but tonight something about the game struck him in particular: ball stealing.

How do I know this made an impression? Well, because after the game was over and a bunch of spectators took to the floor to shoot some casual hoops, LM made a beeline for a 2-year old and took his ball away. I went after him just as the tike's mother was fumbling for some sort of tactful response to this behavior. LM looked up at me and smiled, "did you see me steal that ball, Mom? It was awesome!"

Yeah, way to dominate that toddler, bud! The boy's mother, thankfully, found this all amusing as I led my future NBA star away.

It brought back memories of LM's previous forays into the world of b-balling.

Yeah, that pretty much sums it up.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Quotes And A Soapbox

LM has been providing more than a few awkward moments lately. (Like commenting to a white mother that he found her bi-racial offspring strange, for instance. Oof.) It's been given me great practice for breaking my habit of hovering around while he's speaking with acquaintances or strangers, though. See, I want to be right there if he says something...amiss. You know, so I can explain. But I'm constantly convicted that I should not care so much what people think. (Good advice that's been reiterated by friends who've been there, done that.) After all, we are still a work in progress over here. And frankly, I'm enjoying the process! (The long, long process that may never result in our "arrival".)

1. LM: "Mom, you're beautiful. May the force be with you."

2. LM: "You know what? I don't get 'penis'. I don't even get 'vagina'. I don't get private parts! I don't get any of that stuff!"
Hubby: "You don't need to get it."
(Such a dad thing to say!)

3. The Bopper: (after she found out that in going straight to Kindergarten she will have skipped preschool) "You mean I missed it?!"
(Yep, just kinda slipped right by without our notice, eh?)

4. LM: (after he saw Ruby bump into me he decided to, uh, help) "Ruby! Stay away from Mom's ginormous butt!"
(Thanks a lot, bud. Verrrrry helpful.)

5. Me: (after LM had been a bit rough with me while playing) "Hey! Men need to be gentle with ladies! That's why they're called gentlemen."
LM: "But what do the ladies do for men? Nothing!"
(Oh, I beg to differ, young man.)

6. LM: (holding a candy his sister bought him) "Mom, I'm going to unleash the love of chocolate in my mouth!"
(Whoa, suddenly I really want some chocolate!)

7. LM: (walking in on me as I was getting dressed, all nonchalant-like) "Hey Mom, that's a really nice bra there."
Me: (turning him right around and out) "Thanks...."
(Still working on that whole "knocking" concept. Very tricky.)

8. LM: (as I was pinching his booty while coming up the stairs) "Stop pinching those buns! They're delicate little buns!"
(And irresistible!)

9. LM: "Nini and Popi are bringing a ukulele home from Hawaii!"
M-i-L: (looking at me conspiratorially) "At least it's not another n-i-f-e."
Ruby: (rolling her eyes) "Grandma, you mean k-i-f-e!"
(She caught herself, but not before we busted up laughing.)

10. Me: "LM, what's the best part about being 8?"
LM: "Being older."
Me: "Well, what's the best part about being older?"
LM: "You get more prizelges."
Me: "Like what kind?"
LM: "Oh, like driving the car."
(Hmmm, he's thinking on a much bigger scale than I'm comfortable with.)