Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Calgon, Take Him Away...Please

Someone help me out here. Why does my 10 year old son avoid showering like his life depended upon it? Does he think that his burgeoning masculinity will wash off with the soap and be forever lost down the drain? Is he afraid that smelling clean will lessen his chances in the major leagues - a destiny that he is so sure of that he can't really decide if he wants to play pro baseball, basketball, or football?

I really don't get it. What is not to like about showers? Ok, I am probably not the right person to ask that question. I am admittedly a fan. A huge fan. First, there is the hot water. The hotter the better. Then you add good smelling bubbly soap, a wonderfully exfoliating scrubbie, and at least 8 minutes all to yourself. What could be better?

A hot shower washes away all the crud that life throws your way. It is a literal fresh start and a way to let go of life - even for just 8 minutes.

But try telling all of that to my son and you'll get this reply..."Um....yeah. Can I take one tomorrow?" Translation: You are a crazy person who doesn't understand how good it feels to be so dirty that your hair crunches and your belly button sprouts a colony of boll weevils.

Oh well. Maybe he'll grow out of it. At least for now I can take solace in the fact that it is summer and that chlorine kills at least some of the things growing on him that I'd rather not face.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

In the Blink of an Eye

I really want to write a superficial, funny post right about now...it's just that I can't. We attended a dual funeral today at our church for a mother and her 15 year old son who were killed in a tragic car accident this past Monday.

The Prather family of four was returning from the mother's (Jeanette) graduation ceremony in Florida where she was receiving her Master's Degree. On the freeway, the back tire had a blowout. The father struggled to pull the van over when he lost control and it flipped. Matthew, the youngest son, was killed on impact and the mother died from her injuries a few days later.

At the funeral today, we celebrated their lives and mourned their deaths.

I don't know what kind of sense can be made from this - but I do know that it has forced me to reflect on a few things that I feel compelled to share here:

1. I want to make sure that my living will is up to date. This mother had a clear living will in place which made difficult decisions a little easier for her husband and eldest son.

2. It is good to be an organ donor. Because of her thoughtfulness and generosity, five people's lives were saved the day that she lost hers.

3. Life is fragile. One moment, this family of four was listening to the radio and the next, they were ripped apart. I vow to hug my kids and my husband much more and care about the status of my house much less for as long as I can.

May you have a blessed day with your family and enjoy the kind of simple pleasures that we all too often take for granted.

Peace -

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

A New Level of Lame

Hello Readers -

We have finally returned from our venture out West and have (sort of)settled back into normality...whatever that may be. As you all know, Hal and I are furiously writing the marriage book this summer and in order to get anything done, we do our best to keep the little ninos busy. Thus, Brandon is taking a golf camp which lasts from 9-3 and Hannah is attending GACS' Sonshine camp. I wasn't sure how Brandon would hold up in the heat with nothing but golf to do all day (honestly, I can't think of anything worse, except maybe a bowling camp) but when he bounded home fresh as a daisy and asked Hal if they could go play 18 - now - I had my answer.

Dear future daughter in law, I officially apologize for the millions of dollars that my son will spend on this addiction and the countless hours that it will consume. I will, henceforth, keep all of his father's golf magazines so that you will not have to purchase any - as I am not allowed to throw any away, this will be no extra task for me. On those Saturdays and long golf weekends, you can come over and curse me out at your leisure, then we'll go get manicures and eat sweets. Love, Mom

As for Hannah - I think this is her last year to attend Sonshine camp. She is having an absolute blast since four of her close friends are there, but when your counselor is only 6 months older than you, it may be time to move on. It only freaks me out a little that she could possibly be working next summer and so this morning when she came in our room, complaining of a bad dream, I happily scooped her into bed with me and snuggled for as long as possible. I didn't think that it would all happen so fast. She and I share shoes and eyebrow waxing appointments now. Then, yesterday, it happened.... I got a notice about my 20th high school reunion and Hannah said the words that I once said to my mom.... "Gosh, 20 years??? You really are old, aren't you?"

Anywho - we're glad to be back in the land of the sane. Which brings me to this picture. Whilst in LA, Hannah and I wandered into a Juicy Couture store, just for laughs and found this stroller. Yes, for only $450, you too can purchase this status symbol so that everyone you run into can see how ridiculously shallow you are. Don't forget the $120 footmuff attachment. What's that, you ask? Why, you Philistines, a footmuff is a custom made attachment (emblazoned with the Juicy Couture logo and lined with feux fur, of course) that you velcro on to the bottom of the stroller so that your precious princess doesn't get cold tootsies. Hey, you never know when a cold north wind will blow right through the streets of downtown LA. You have to be prepared.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

The Runkel clan is visiting the West Coast this week and I must say, I think I can understand the pull of it for so many people. We are all in Malibu staying on the Pepperdine campus and making day trips to LA and San Diego. Hal took a class here last week and will be speaking at a conference here next week. So, the kids and I joined him in between to see the sights.

We first hit the Santa Monica pier, then spent Monday at the San Diego zoo, Tuesday at Legoland, and today, we roam the streets of Hollywood. It has been a blast. Seriously, the weather is ridiculous and the views are sublime. The traffic, on the other hand, makes me want to gouge my eyes out. I don't know how people live here with this kind of congestion. I think the canyons make it feel worse than it is - in a way, I guess I am a Texas girl at heart. I feel claustrophobic if I can't see the sky and on the road to Malibu, you are squeezed into this narrow space with cliffs on one side and the ocean on the other. I'm glad Hal likes to drive.

Friday, June 5, 2009

One in Every Bunch

Apparently there are Nazi parents in every sport. I found out last night that Swim Team is no exception. Brandon asked to join this summer. I was upfront with him about what swim team involves and I even shared with him my horrific memories of the one summer I spent as a Lakewood Piranha. Alas, he still joined.

The first meet was last night. We live next door to the club pool....no seriously, right next door...so at the appointed time, Brandon and I walked over to sign in. What greeted me was a glorious chaotic mess of children with sharpie marker all over their arms (if you are a swim team novice like me, parents mark what event the child swims in so that any adult can grab them and put them in the right lane come race time), loud Disney music, and my volunteer duty.

Now readers, I mentioned that I did swim team back in the day. You might think that I knew how these meets worked and I knew which volunteer duties to sign up for and which to avoid. But you'd be wrong. You see, I swam as a kid and in doing so, thought that meets magically organized themselves, much like Christmas, grocery shopping, and laundry.

So, I had the misfortune of signing up for what is called "bullpen" duty. It sounded fun. It was anything but. My job, along with several other volunteers from both teams, was to line up the children for their races. There was a staging area, a series of deck chairs in rows, and then a lane area. In a perfect world, the kids are supposed to know what event they are swimming, go to the staging area when they see the event number posted, and sit in the appropriate deck chair. We check them off and move them forward to the next area.

Sounds reasonable, right? Only there were about 200 kids there, many under the age of 6, who were more interested in playing wall ball or hanging out with friends than getting to the staging area on time. Oh, and did I mention that it was pouring rain the whole time. FOR FIVE HOURS????

It was at this juncture that I met my first Nazi swim parent. She was with the other team and apparently, she runs the bullpen at their meets. She had a small army of minions doing her bidding and never once did I see her smile. She was not pleased with the quality of our volunteers and the job that we were doing, so she took it upon herself to take over.

Now, I'll give her this. Her team was pretty well organized. The older swimmers were in charge of marching the younger swimmers to the staging area on time and her volunteers (unlike me) seemed to actually know the kids - which is a bonus when trying to wrangle them into the right place. Ok. But here's where I just had to laugh. At one point, she walks up to me (I suppose a clipboard makes you look official) and barks out, "Can you get any of your people to actually HELP get your swimmers to the staging area on time? Your kids aren't showing up and my people are having to do your job." Nevermind that I wouldn't be able to tell you which person out here was our coach, let alone who was volunteering for us.

Did I mention that it was pouring down rain? It was ridiculous that we were even out here "for the kids" and now this woman wanted me to run around and herd cats because ...why? Didn't it actually benefit her team if some of our kids missed their race? Wouldn't that give her little army a better chance of winning? Lots of kids went home because...oh, yea..it was POURING DOWN RAIN.

What was interesting was that she had been so domineering in the bullpen since the beginning of the meet, telling our people how we were doing everything wrong, that they ended up not doing much at all...which, you guessed it, led her to get even more angry.

I guess there's one in every group. Oh, well, as long as it's for the kids....

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Hey Mom, Isn't That Your Weird Friend?

I heard those words today as we were walking through Barnes and Noble purchasing our boatload of summer reading. I have to say that a few people crossed my mind as I turned to see who the kids were talking about.

Then my eyes landed on this book.

Yes, indeed children, that is my weird friend on the cover of this book. His name is Owen Egerton (he's the redheaded leprechaun, front and center)who I've known since college when Hal and I were dating. He is no less strange today than he was then, but the internet has made all of that silliness worthwhile.

Readers, allow me to introduce you to a wonderful website and a hilarious book called Dadlabs: Pregnancy and Year One

These guys know how to speak the language of "guy" and they're not afraid to do it.
If you are ever in need of a good hearty laugh and some helpful advice for those first few years, you MUST visit Dadlabs.com. You can thank me later.