Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Bid Thine Heart All Strife To Cease

Vanetta was one of the things I was most looking forward to about coming back.
She was the woman I so wanted to be.

She was good at literally everything.

Her and I went to a shotgun shooting class.
I had never seen a gun in real life before that day.
On the way over I shared that with her and she assured me:
We're both going to learn.
We got there and Vanetta opened her trunk and took out two guns.
Her own- that her Dad made for her.
And one for me.
Through our lessons that day we each shot 50 clay pigeons.
I hit 6 that day.
Vanetta hit 48.

The summer I was 25 we went fishing every Saturday.
We just did.
I went with her and Paul and Kent.
Even when Ken was working.
We had taught ourselves to fly fish.
And were so proud to be "purists."
Like Kent.
Kent and Paul had waded out to their chests and were casting and casting and casting.
It was so hot.
Especially in waders.
I looked over and saw Vanetta heading towards shallower waters.
I followed her and we set our rods in the boat and then
We sat in the water.
And cooled ourselves.
We looked at the rocks.
And the snails.
And ran our fingers through the water.
And she said:
Isn't it amazing that God made this for us today?

We were Visiting Teaching partners.
Our deal was she would call and set up the appointments and I would give the lesson.
She was such a natural talking to people.
Relating to people.
Once we were supposed to meet with a lady who wasn't active in the church.
When we got there the lady wasn't home so Vanetta asked her husband if we could meet with him!
We stayed for an hour and a half.
Just chatting.
Then she had me give my lesson.
After we'd leave each house she would tell me what a natural teacher I was.
She'd tell me how good I was at talking to people.
How I could relate to them in ways she couldn't.
I never saw that in me.

When I found out I had a brain tumor and told Vanetta about it she was dead set on zoning it out of me.
She gave me foot zones three times a week.
She brought oils over.
And gave me gross drinks to drink.
Like Living Thyme.  And Kombucha.
She'd rub my feet and speak so optimistically about my future.
She'd tell me how smart she thought I was.
And how strong she thought I was.
She'd tell me what beautiful babies she'd thought I would have one day.
She never believed my tumor would cause infertility.
Like my doctors said it would.
Like I believed it was.
She'd smile and her cheeks would go clear up.
And her eyes would sparkle like a thousand Christmas stars.
And she'd say:
You're gonna be a great Mom some day.

And I got pregnant.
And, I think, Vanetta always kinda' counted Kole as hers a little bit.
She was responsible for that baby getting to me.
She gave me teas for morning sickness.
She brought different oils.
And kept on zoning.
She brought clothes for the baby and slippers and books.
And a few weeks before the baby came... she threw me an outrageous baby shower.
She cleared all the furniture out of her house to accommodate. 
I remember she put peas in her chicken salad that day.
That day she always had her hand on my back or around my shoulders.
A few times she held my hand.  And patted it.
When the clean up was done and I was still eating cake she said:
We did it.
And something then, and now, made me think she was talking about more than putting chairs away.
And I wish I still had one of those little bottles of oil to smell.
I'd just sit.
And smell it.

When I went to the hospital at 4 in the morning...we called our parents.
And then called Vanetta.
She was the first person to hold him.
I can't believe I don't have a picture of that.
Maybe Kent does.
I'd like one.

Vanetta was gracious and lovely.
She had a naivete that I longed to possess.
She never said anything mean.  Ever.
She never even said, "I really shouldn't say this but,"...
She had class.
The old kind.

She thought Kent looked like Nicholas Cage.
She snorted when she laughed.
She sang alto.
I was always her partner in Pinochle.
I never led the round.
I'd tease myself that at least I was a good supporter.
She'd say:
You're good at everything.

I love how she smelled.
Earthy and natural with something... extra.  Something spicy.
I loved her hair.
Especially when her gray was coming in.
Because mine is the same way.
I loved all the bright colors she'd wear to church.
And how she'd tuck her shirts in even when she was dressed casually.
I love that she thought I was tall.
And pretty.
And smart.
And good at things.

She came and saw me the first day we moved to Farmington.
And I just...
thought she'd come see me on our first days back in Idaho Falls.

Vanetta was calm.
And calming.
She had things figured out.
She helped everyone.
This effect she had on me... making me feel like her own...
Everyone feels this same way about her.
How did she do that?

For nearly a week I've been thinking:
Now there is this void.
And no one can fill it.
No one is like her.

No one is.
And, at first, that made me mad.

And then today I thought:
I can still try to be.
That was my unspoken goal anyhow.
I can still give.
Give love.

And hope.
Just give.
With all my heart.

I think maybe that was her secret.




Thursday, November 21, 2013

Page 281

This ward sings some songs I don't know des temps en temps.  What am I saying "des temps en temps"... they sing weird ones consistently.  I prefer the Hits. Babe. Nothing but the Hits.   

There is Sunshine In My Soul Today
How Great Thou Art
I Believe In Christ
I Stand All Amazed

The Hits!  I like to sing and swing a little.  Do a little reverent head bopping.  We get the hits sometimes but it seems like every week there's an old one in there.  One I've never heard of.  One that makes Kole look at me all cock-eyed since I sing three-quarters of the notes wrong.  (We Are All Enlisted!  Another Chart Topper!)  With the deep crush I've developed on this ward I've just decided to roll with it.  I thought, "Maybe these people are the exceptional people they are because they don't judge hymns... or people."  So I decided to open my heart to the crazy ol' Hymns they sing.  All my faves, all the bland ones, and all the ones I've never heard.  In doing so- we sang a hymn that has become my favorite.  Page 281. (shuffling for hymnals.)

Help Me Teach with Inspiration
Grant this blessing, Lord, I pray.
Help me lift a soul's ambition
To a higher, nobler way.

Help me reach a friend in darkness;
Help me guide him through the night.
Help me show thy path to glory
By the Spirit's holy light.

Fill my mind with understanding;
Tune my voice to echo thine.
Touch my hand with gentle friendship;
Warm my heart with love divine.

Help me find thy lambs who wander;
Help me bring them to thy keep.
Teach me, Lord, to be a shepherd;
Father help me feed they sheep.

I give you a second to wipe your tears and enjoy that warmth in your chest.
Those lyrics! 
"Lift a soul's ambition..."
"Reach a friend in darkness..." "Touch my hand with gentle friendship..."

It's soft and lovely.
It is what living in this house, in this ward, for the last year has been to me.
A true lifting.
I feel like the best version of myself when I am surrounded by these people.
I feel calm.
And gracious.
And loved.

It will be hard to move away.
Next Wednesday.

Do wards have theme songs?

Cuz 'dat Hymn should be it.
Well... that or... Beautiful by Snoop Dogg feat. Pharrell.  Everyone is just gorgeous. Gorgeous! Like Vampire Gorgeous.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

A Mom Smell

If there's one thing I pride myself on as a mother...
Hold up yo.

There's a list 10 miles long of things I pride myself on as a mother.  Let's put a few in the display case 'ere:

1. Killer dance parties.  I teach them all the right moves. (They're as excited for a little Blurred Lines or Daft Punk as they are for Bob the Builder.)
2. I do Mommy Snuggle Time RIGHT!  Blankets.  Cookies.  Dim Lighting.  Stack of books.  BOOM.
3.  They know who Frank Sinatra is.
4.  I know how to naturally drug them to sleep: Play outside (when it's chilly), Big Hot Lunch, Bubble Bath
5.  I do voices for everyone in their books.
6.  We talk about Christmas everyday.
7.  We've had Family Home Evening every Monday the last 5 weeks.  Holla! And they've improved from our first shot at it.
8.  Kole is officially potty trained.  Even at night.  Take THAT last 6 months of cleaning poop!
9.  I know the characters from Thomas the Tank Engine.  Like know know them.
10.  I taught Joey how to growl like a bear.
11. I taught Joey how to say "Beep!  Beep!"  (He can't say Mom or Dad but he can say 'Beep! Beep!' when we are in his way.)
12.  I've rigged a contraption so Kole can ride his tractor and pull Joey along on his own tractor.
13.  I can build train tracks like you've never seen.  (I want to start photographing them and make a coffee table book.  Yeah.  That good.)
14.  I get in the pool with them.
15.  I know what all of Joey's cries mean and I know that making a sound like that of passing gas will make him stop crying.
16.  I'm a Love and Logic Master.  (and so is Koley.)

But if I had to choose one above allllll the others it would be my ability to not yell when I am mad.

Having a 3 year old and a 1 year old is frustrating.  And to all you mudders who are past this phase- who will tell me that they're precious and lovely and they'll grow up too fast and savor every second and they're God's children... let me say...

I got that.

But they also scream a lot.  And cry when there's too much sauce on their noodles. Or because the book ended.  Or because it stopped snowing.  And they hit each other.  And throw things (<-- socks, food, toys, drinks, trains, clothes, books, rocks, dirt, stuffed animals).  And they cry like 8 or 9 times an hour. Each.  So it's pretty constant since they switch off. And everything in life takes 40 times longer.  And they're sticky and hate getting cleaned up.  And...deep short sigh... enough.  It's a lot.

So- things are Ker-AAAA-zee with little guys this age and I do get frustrated des temps en temps.

Things That Frustrate Me The Most:
 1.  Being bad and laughing about it.
2.  Not understanding the give-take of Mom played outside all morning and came up with all these fun ideas and gave 100% of her attention to you, little cubbies, and now its nap time. And they don't take a stinking nap.
3.  When I get head bonked or bit.
4.  Fighting a diaper change.
5.  Crying because they're so hungry and then crying because they don't like what I cooked and then crying because someone got more and then not eating anything and having a messy kitchen.
6.  "No, You're not listening to ME! You're a dumb Mom!"
7.  When Kole asks a question (Why is it snowing?) and I give a truthful informative answer (Insert Full Water Cycle here.) and he says, "Actually, you're wrong.  It's snowing because Christmas is here."  Sure it's cute.  But I'm wrong. All. Thetime.  Even when I'm right.
8.  Getting punched and kicked and getting my hair pulled when I'm hauling Kole to his room for time-out.

But during these times of trouble I hone in on Cora from Downton and breathe deeply and nod slowly.  I call them "Darling" and "My Dear" and stroke their little hands and calm them down.  We quietly and peacefully work through the day.

Inside, or course, I'm Carmela from The Sopranos.  I'm swearing.  I'm throwing things through the window.  My forehead and neck are all vein-y.  My chest is tight.  I'm my head I'm making fists.  I'm throwing back a scotch. I'm filled with rage.

But I keep it in.  I grit my teeth and grind them until my jaw hurts.  I purse my lips white tight. My eyebrows are up and my neck is long.  And I am fuming mad.  But I take that angry ball of Carmela Anger and push it inside of me.  As far down as I need to so it doesn't come out.


 Now.  My psychology courses (and Life) have taught me that this isn't healthy.  One day, inevitably, it will all come out- on the wrong person.  Or the little people.  Supposedly.

But I have a different theory.

You see, at the end of the day, especially those "trying" days- I have a weird smell about me. It's way worse than B.O.  It smells funky and wild.  Kinda animal-ly  And I'm a clean person! I wear deodorant.  I brush my teeth. But nothing masks this wretched smell at the end of my day.
I've taken notice of this smell for the past month.  And I've noticed that sometimes its just a normal, bad, stink smell.  When the day was just a normal, problem-here-and-there day.  But when the day was monstrous... the stink on me is also monstrous.  My hair is extra greasy.  And I have those radiation stink waves coming off of me.  I can't breathe it's that strong and horrendous.  I reek. And the angrier I was during the day- the stinkier I am.

I think The Stink is how The Anger gets out. 

It's unbearable right after the kids fall asleep.  It's just..blech.  Icky.  And gross.  But, I shower, go to bed, and wake up fresh and new in the morning.  No anger is left.  It's not pent up.  It's gone.

I believe my anger is coming out through the pores in my skin in the form of The Stink.

I really put some time and thought into this and when I shared it with Ken he said:
You smell worse because you sweat more wrestling the kids.


I mean... logically... that makes sense.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Halloween Through the Years

Clockwise from top:  Krissy, Vicky, little Jules-a-Bug sucking her thumb, and Me!

Rich Ladies
We loved being rich ladies.... even when it wasn't Halloween.

Heck.  I still love pretending to be a Rich Lady.
Top Row:  Julie, Vicky, Krissy
Bottom Row:  Little Frenchie Andi, and Me rocking the side ponytail

Chiquita Banana Girls

 The True Meaning of Halloween

Krissy, Vicky, Me, and Mom (pregnant with Julie!)

1999 (?)
Mad Scientist
1998 (?)

Vagabond/Roamer/Started Out as a Gypsy/Got a Little Grittier

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Preschool Problems

In September Kole started preschool.  His classroom is idyllic.  Little chairs, little tables, little computers.  Well.  I guess the computers are normal sized just on little desks.  He likes preschool and he likes that he gets to go by himself.  Without Joey.  As much as he has taken to Joey lately- it still seems like Joey is the pebble in the shoe of Kole.  Joe Joe sure is a happy pebble though! 

Most days Kole is so happy when he comes home.
Mom!  We sang about Scat the Cat!  She's blue!
Mom!  We had GRAHAM CRACKERS! (He was so happy about this.  I was like, "What?!  CHILD!  I be giving you graham crackers every day!)
Mom!  I can button my shirt! Look! Peek-a-boooo, Pull It Through!
Mom!  They have a new turntable for the trains!
Mom!  I like Rockwell.  He's my friend now!

But a couple times Kole comes home all weighed down by the Preschool World.
His shoulders are drooped and he says he is "just very tired." 
(But he can't say "j" so it's "I'm woost very tired.")

One day he was especially low.  When I asked what was wrong he just sighed and looked away.

What is it little cub?
Today, I really wanted to sit by Bridger.  But somebody else sat in the seat by him and the teacher told me to pick a different chair.

And then Kole sobbed.  He sobbed until his face was blotchy and his body was limp.

The most practical part inside of me said: This kid. Poor guy thinks he's got it rough because he couldn't sit by Bridger.  PREschool problems.  Itty bitty preschool problems.  Life is so easy for him if all that's wrong is he can't sit by Bridger.  He has no idea.

And then I realized...
Preschool problems happen our whole life.
There will be more times he won't get to sit by the person he wants to sit by.
And more than once it'll probably be someone telling him that he can't sit by them instead of him just not getting there fast enough.  There will be friends that aren't really his friends.  There will be people to call him names and call him out and not call when they say they will.  He won't make every team he tries out for.  There will be times he'll only get 2nd place.  And times he won't place at all. He'll have break-ups.  And college rejection letters.  There will be jobs he won't get.  There will be unfair consequences to unfair rules. He will fail even when he works hard.  He will be hurt.  A lot.  And there will be many days when he'll want to sob until he is limp.
He will have preschool problems for the rest of his life.

Because Preschool Problems are real-life problems that start too young.

And when I realized that...
I put his head up on my shoulder and told him,
"Today was just a bad day, Cub.  But, don't worry.  Its probably your last one."

And I broke out the Double Stuffed Oreos* and we went out to watch the tractors.

*Gotta start eating through emotions at an early age.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Irreconcilable Differences

Today is our 8th anniversary.  The weather today is the same as it was 8 years ago.  Sunny.  Warm.  No clouds.  The weather is the same but it feels like everything else is different.
How do I say this.
We've come across some "irreconcilable differences" in our time together.

1. I consider corn a vegetable. 
2.  I call it Downton Abby.  Ken calls it Boring-ton Snobville.
2. Ken always gets the "arm atop elbow" position for sleep in our mini-queen-sized bed.  Which makes my arm (from the elbow down) numb. 
3.  He thinks you have to make your bed everyday.  (What.  Like we're 4 and live with our moms?)
4.  I think every dinner should be followed by dessert.
5.  He thinks every meal should have a vegetable.  (Neither corn nor potatoes count.)
6.  I think every Friday night should be date night.  And if we're not going out- we at least have to get a Redbox.  Watching Netflix doesn't count.  That's not special. 
7.  If a rebate check shows up for $50, I think "Dinner Out!"  Ken thinks "Retirement Money!"
8.  I think Reese's are as good as Godiva, Lindt, or Dove chocolates.  He thinks I say Reese's funny.
9.  I think the bird feeder should be constantly full.
10.  Ken thinks "Santa Claus" is the best Christmas movie.  I'm a big "Ernest Saves Christmas" fan. 

Being married (for this long) has been hard work.  It's not like the movies (or TV, or other people's lives) where a kiss solves everything and joking about one another is funny.  It takes commitment to be married.  Because there were (and most likely will be) days when one or the other or the both of you go, "Really?"  as you stand back and scrunch up your eyebrows and squint your eyes.  "Really?"  Something will just knock your socks off.  Something about your partner that you had no idea about. 
Personal example:  We have a glass door on our shower and after every shower I squeegee it down.  Ken is a very neat and organized person.  He values cleanliness. I hate doing the squeegee because at the end of a hot shower the last thing I want to do is stand in quickly cooling water while I get cold wiping the door down.  But I figured, Hey.  It looks nice and it makes Ken happy.  But, you know... even though I was squeegee-ing the door everyday it was still getting major water spots.  So I asked Ken, "How do you squeegee the door because I think I'm doing it wrong.  It always looks dirty."  To which Ken replied, "I don't.  I don't want to stand there and get cold just to keep the door clean." Really?  REALLY?  And now we have a "fogged" glass door.  Negotiation.  Compromise. 

Our Marriage Motto is "Teamwork makes the Dream work."  So, we watch Christmas Vacation at Christmas time.  We eat veggies every night and I have a bag of butterscotch candies in the cupboard for when I need a dessert.  Ken buys food for the birds and lets me fill it up. I feel cold and lonely when his arm isn't on top of mine at night time.  I make the bed and he brings me home a Reese's every now and again.

It's not picture perfect.  But I feel appreciated and loved.  I feel valued and supported.
Feeling that way is essential.
So, even though there are some irreconcilable differences from both sides of the table...
...we're celebrating each other today.
And all the irreconcilable reasons we love each other.

 Seven Year Anniversary Post
Six Year Anniversary Post (with video yinz.)
Three Year Anniversary Post

More Irreconcilable Differences:

Cookie Jars
Let It Go
Didn't Know THAT!
Snack Attacks

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Maid, Arise.

Sometimes we lose something- we very much needed.
It could be lost hope.  Lost faith.  Lost confidence.
Maybe you lost a friend, or your job, or your child.
The hurt is deep inside of us.  And we don't want to share it.  With anyone.
It's an actual physical pain.  And it's hard to breathe.
Or feel like yourself. Or be happy.

When we're hurting...
When we have a terrible loss....
We want more than anything for everything to go back to normal.
Back to the way they were before.

But they will never be the same.

Pain changes us.
And we try to find the way to tell someone that it's changed us.

But when someone asks if everything is okay...
.... we say "Yeah.  I'm fine."
But we're pleading.  Pleading....

I feel heavy inside... it hurts by my heart.
I can't hope for things anymore.
I feel like I'm on a boat.  By myself.  And I don't know anything about boats.
I'm terribly sad.
My heart is...is... not the same.
I'm grieving for...something.
I feel like everything in me has crushed.

I've never been able to find the words to really express the pain you feel when you lose... everything.  When you lose all emotion. When you're completely empty.

Then I found it.
In Jacob 2:35

"... many hearts died. Pierced with deep wounds."

"Hearts died."  That's it.  A heart can die.  My heart died.  It pushed too hard until it couldn't push anymore.  It couldn't take anymore bad news.  It couldn't survive.  The hurt and the pain was too much.  My heart couldn't keep going.
It died.
If that happens you no longer feel recognizable as the person you were.  My body is still alive.  I'm still functioning.  But it's motions.  It's a well trained routine.
When your heart dies- it can't pump life into you anymore.
And you're just... there.

I've been thinking this for a couple weeks.
There is no other option to death.  No way to come back from it.
It's final and irrecoverable.
When your pain is that severe.
When you've lost everything that made you hope or believe...
...that's it.

But then, I thought, Jesus raised people from the dead.

His friend, Lazarus, was dead four days.
 "Jesus wept.  Then said the Jews, Behold how he loved him!...  Jesus cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth.  And he that was dead came forth, bound hand and foot with graveclothes: and his face was bound about with a napkin. Jesus saith unto them, Loose him, and let him go."
John 11

 Jarius' Daughter
  "Thy daughter is dead; trouble not the Master.  But when Jesus heard it, he answered him, saying, Fear not: believe only, and she shall be made whole.  And all wept, and bewailed her: but he said, Weep not; she is not dead, but sleepeth.  And he put them all out, and took her by the hand, and called, saying, Maid, arise.
And her spirit came again, and she arose straightway."
Luke 8

The Son of the Widow of Nain
"Now when he came nigh to the gate of the city, behold, there was a dead man carried out, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow: and much people of the city was with her.  And when the Lord saw her, he had compassion on her, and said unto her, Weep not. And he came and touched the bier: and they that bare him stood still. And he said, Young man, I say unto thee, Arise. And he that was dead sat up, and began to speak. And he delivered him to his mother."
Luke 7

I remember the day my heart was pierced with deep wounds.  And over time it slowly died. But when I found these stories... I knew that Jesus has wept because my heart died.  And He's been saying, "Weep not."
But with a heart that has died isn't it hard to hear compassion?

My favorite scripture is in 2 Kings 20:5
"I have heard thy prayer, I have seen thy tears: behold, I will heal thee."

If Christ can bring people back from the dead I know He can bring hearts back from the dead.
He can heal.

I know He can take my heart in His hands and say, "Maid, arise."

More thoughts:
One Year Ago
I'm A Survivor

Wednesday, October 2, 2013


There's a lot of information about how to lose weight and eat right and get fit.  Professionals, psychologists, teachers, friends, normal people.  Everyone has a theory or a trick or something they're trying.
You know what there's not a lot of?
Information on how to gain weight.

I've got a few secrets to looking the way I do.

For breakfast I drink a Coke and have something sugary.  It could be a doughnut.  A PopTart.  A Little Debbie Snack Cake.  The trick is to make sure you've got a couple stockpiled just in case you're still hungry after the first one.
Your next step here is to invest in some loose waisted pants.  There's lots of fashionable options.  You don't have to buy the Walmart baggy sweats with the tapered ankles, but I do because they really keep the heat in.
For lunch hit up McDonald's.  The Dollar Menu really has I think like 25 options?  Yeah, pretty sure about 25 options.  I recommend the Hot n Spicy McChicken sandwich.  And order up a large coke with no ice.  It's only a dollar and if you don't get the ice there's more room for the Coke-y.
Have a sensible dinner.  To keep your body regular.  And to avoid stomach aches and lots of trips to the bathroom.... if ya know what I'm sayin'.  heh heh.  YOU know what I'm sayin.
After dinner don't be shy with the snick snackies.  Munch.  Snack.  Grab a few Doritos.  Eat a handful of cookies.  Pop some popcorn and put in a movie.  Eat the whole 2 hours.

Within a week or two you'll notice a difference.
The key here is knowing when to stop.

Hints You May Have Gone Too Far:

Your chub hangs over your jeggings... which have no actual waistband.

When you put your bra on- it digs into your back fat.  Is there a name for that?  Bra Bulge?

You're shaped more like a triangle than an hourglass, or pear, or cylinder.
Your arms are like gorilla arms.

Here's the real secret.
Listen close.  I'm gonna whisper it.
No matter what you look like- you're still the same person.

The same lovable person.
You're funny.
You're going out of your way to help people.
You take care of your family.
You're the same person no matter what you look like.
You're still you.
I'm still me.
This girl

is the same as this girl.

Who is the same as this girl.

It doesn't matter if I have gorilla arms, pudge, bra fat, and thighs as wide as a combine.
I'm still me.

And I'm not switching to Diet.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Girl. You Better Work.

I had multiple fights/arguments/tiffs with each of my teachers last semester.  They all taught a section on classical conditioning which included a lesson teaching that, "Pretty people get what they want."  The teachers (and literature) explained that people who were pretty had more success in life, they got higher raises more often, they landed the job interviews, they got special treatment at restaurants and doctor's offices.  Pretty people are assumed to be trustworthy, friendly, and helpful.  Pretty people are likable.  This subject is driven home by research studies, psychological journals, statistics, and hours of lecture.

And it just gets under my skin.
I refuse to believe that pretty people get what they want based solely on their looks.

Then this happened:

My mom has a picture of my sisters and I on her desk.  A colleague stopped in, saw the picture, and asked about us.  My mom listed our recent accomplishments:

This one just won a Photoshop Guru Award.

This one ran a marathon this year and is editor of TABLE magazine.

This one has practically started a DIY enterprise with her blog

This one is single-handedly raising her 3 kids and really focuses on meditation and inner peace.

This one is at The University of Utah and just made the Dean's List and she's my favorite.
(That last part was about me and I elaborated on it a little.  Wert.)

She ended with something like, "They are all very successful women."
To which the other teacher responded:
"Well.  That's because they're pretty."


"They're pretty?"  Really?  "They're pretty."  And THAT'S why they're successful?

Pretty's got nothing to do with it.

You want a job?
You kick ASS on your resume.
You prep for your interview.
And you dress the part.

You want a raise?
You put in the hours.
You work harder.
You don't mess up.  Ever.
You be polite.
You don't procrastinate.
You earn it.

You want the big house?  The picket fence?  The pool?
You save your money.

You want a date with someone?
You ask them.

You want people to like you?
Be yourself.
Help out.
Tell the truth.

The way I've built my life was on purpose. 
I chose the man I married.
I asked him out.
I'm at the school I want to attend.
Getting the degree I want.
Getting the grades I want.
I ask questions.
I pick up new hobbies.
I sweat it out.
I push and I push and I push.
But I push.

I have dug in my heels over and over again.
I.  Don't.  Give. Up.

I work for it.

If that's a GPA, a job, or belting out some Cher on karaoke night.
I know I have what it takes.

You have what it takes too.
So, quit selling yourself short.

Quit saying, "They get their way because they're pretty."
That's insulting.
To me.

Because I have substance.

If you put this much more work into it.
If you tried.
You'd be amazed.

There's nothing more annoying than hearing, "I could never do that" and "I don't have the time."
Because 1.  Yes you can.  If someone can, you can.  If no one ever has... you still can.
And 2.  Everyone has the same amount of time. 24 hours.  You have the time.  Quit being lazy.

So the next time you call me pretty... and I say "Thanks"... know it's because I assume you also know that I am wickedly smart.  I am talented.  I've got a lot more to offer than just my billion dollar smile.


On a test last semester the following question was posted:

You are in charge of planning the debate for your political party's campaign this Saturday afternoon.  The topics are heavy and not very interesting.  Based on what you've learned about Classical Conditioning who would you pick to be your speaker?

A.  A non-attractive person who is funny but does not know the material very well.
B.  An non-attractive person who does not know the material very well.
C.  An attractive person who may or may not know the material.
D.  A person who knows the material very very well.

The correct answer was "C."  I put "D."  And wrote under it, "You'd be stupid not to."

Saturday, September 14, 2013

The Baby Hummingbird.

A few weeks ago I found a baby hummingbird in our yard.
He was the size of a quarter.
But couldn't have been as heavy.
Small.  Fuzzy.
I thought he was a big bug at first.
But when me and Kole went out to see what was hopping around and making all that fuss...
It was a baby hummingbird.
I didn't touch him.
I watched him try to fly.
He was stuck under a blade of grass.
I wanted his Mom to be able to find him.
So I moved the grass.

Me and Kole went back inside and watched him flitter from the window.

I worried about that little hummingbird.
How did he end up in our lawn?
Did he fall and get hurt?
How will he eat anything?
Should I feed him something?
Like what?
Can he fly?
Is he old enough to take care of himself?
Does his Mom know where he is?
Does he know where his home is?
Is he scared?
Is he making a noise his Mom can hear that I can't?

His Mom flew down and hovered over him.
And I quit worrying as much.

I watched the Mom fly down and hover around him.
She'd wait until he looked up at her, and saw her.
She'd feed him.
She'd hover.
She'd feed him.
She'd hover.
She stopped flying.
And she rested next to him.
With her head on his body it was like she was saying Don't worry, little guy.  I'm gonna get you home.

She'd fly away.

In 10 minutes or so she'd be back.
Feeding, hovering, feeding, hovering, and resting.
She reassured her little hummingbird that he would be okay.

After the visits the baby would beat his wings.
Trying tremendously to follow her.
But he couldn't get lifted off the ground.
He'd beat himself into a tired tizzy.
And the Mom would come back and rest by him.

When Ken got home I showed him our little baby hummingbird.
I told him how the Mom had been coming to take care of him all day.
I told him I worried that it was getting dark.
Our yard has a lot of animals.  Something is going to get him.
Ken showed me the baby hummingbird had a bent wing.
Ken built a nest out of a blueberry box and nailed it to the tree.
We placed the baby hummingbird into his new safe home.
I smiled.
He was safe.

After dinner, I was watching out the window.
that Mom came back.
She fluttered right down to the spot in the grass where she left her little baby.
He wasn't there anymore.
We put him in a nest.
I told her.
He's safe!
Fly higher.
You'll find him.
Fly higher.
He's safe.

But that Mom just kept flying down to the same spot.
Right where she had last cared for him.
At first she flew down.
And flew off.
Within 10 minutes she was back.
But she landed on the ground.
Then, she flew off.
Her visits became more frequent.
She'd fly in and float.
Then fly off.

On one visit, she flew in and
She just hovered in one spot.
The spot where she left him.
She couldn't see him.
5 feet away.
She couldn't see him.
Where is he?
He needs food.
It's getting dark.
It'll get cold.
He's hurt.
Where is he?
This is where he has been all afternoon.
Maybe he is flying.
Maybe he is ok.
Where is he?
He needs food.
It's getting dark.
It'll get cold.
He's hurt.
Where is he?
Up until dark (when I couldn't see anymore), every time I looked out the window, that Mom was drifting in the spot where she left her baby bird.

That little baby hummingbird in the dumb new safe nest I made for him.
Was probably terrified.

Where am I?
Where is my Mom?
Why isn't she here anymore?
I'm getting hungry.
And tired.
Everything hurts.
Where is my Mom?
She was coming to take me home...
Where did she go?
She'll come back.
I need her.
She'll come back.
I'm hungry.
I'm tired.
I hurt.
Where is she?

She was 5 feet away and he couldn't see her.
He didn't know how hard she was trying to find him.
How she wasn't giving up.
How she flew and hovered with urgency.
And soon, with desperation.
He didn't know that she quit flying away.
And that she just stayed there.
Hoping to see him again. 
And take care of him.
He just...
...didn't know.

It's been nearly a month.
I haven't seen any hummingbirds in my yard since that day.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Me and the Kids..and Strangers

I feel constant pressure, constant gazes, constant spoken and unspoken opinions about what I'm doing as a mother.  There's news articles, entire magazines, blogs, and forums all about how to be the best mom.  How to throw the best party.  How to "do it all."  How to cook gourmet with toddlers.  How to paint murals with the help of your kids.
They'll tell you what to put it your diaper bag.  What NOT to put in your diaper bag.  The optimum speed to drive for kids to sleep in the car.  The perfect age for potty training.  The best time to start play dates.  The minimum and maximum time limits for sleep, reading, TV, and learning.
How long meals should last.  How to effectively use time-out. How to decorate dinner to make it look like a clown face.  How to make your own Halloween costume and host a neighborhood costume party for 300+ people.  
Then there are humans with their advices. "You're so smart for bringing toys to the sandbox."  "Oooo, you should have brought more water."  "Oh, you let your kids pick their own outfits?"  "If he were my kid I wouldn't let him use markers yet."  "Trust me, counting to 3 never works."  "Your kids are so well behaved."  "Church is really hard with little ones, you are so brave."  "You can let him play with your iPhone, you know."  "You need to read more to them."  "They should be outside more."  "You need to spend more time teaching." "Take more time for yourself."  "You're playing with them too much.  Make them play alone." "You should put his shoes on him if he's going to play outside."

I don't know if it's because I'm young.  (Not that young peeps.)  Or because I look like I need advice on rearing children minute by minute.  Or if people just know I'm polite and am good at making them feel good about themselves at the cost of my own feelings being hurt.  But this is alllllll the time.  And I just want to say, "It's my OWN backyard!  I know where all the broken glass and used needles are!  He doesn't need shoes!  Lee-me-alone!"

I've had enough of it.

My kids are well-loved.  They feel love all day and all night.  They like being close to me.  They like being held and snuggled.  Kole will pick 15 books, snuggle on my lap, and not move until all 15 are read.  Joey smiles every time we make eye contact.  He rubs his head against my leg like a little puppy when he wants picked up.  I know when their cries means hungry, tired, there's been an injustice, or finger stuck in drawer, respond quickly.  I know that Koley needs physical touch, lots of hugs and smooches, and chuggy chuggies and cuddles to feel loved.  I know Joey needs one on one play time to feel loved.  Well, ha, that and applause.  He's such a lime-light lover. 

And you know what I just figured out?

Kole and Joey love me.  That's why they are always smiling at me and laughing at me when I fall off of my chair on purpose.  That's why they want to be as close to me as they can be.  That's why they are always handing me things... trains, trucks, things they broke, garbage they found, crusty old food pieces.  They are sharing with me because they love me.  They copy my dance moves out of love.  Kole corrects me when I call a backhoe an excavator because he loves me. 

That's what matters.

I don't care what your opinion is of how I raise my children.  I'll listen to it because you'll say it loudly and to my face (and because I am a moral giant).  But it's not going to sink in.

My boys love me. 
They think I am the best Mom ever.
And they are what matters to me.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Night Swimming

Night swims are the coolest.
Even when "night" is 7:00.


Joey loves to Belly Flop.

The splashed as big as they could,  laughed  as hard as they could, and swam until they were purple.
They acted like it was their last 30 minutes of life.
Last night I was the coolest mom.

Julie and Andi- night swims?  Eh? Eh?

Monday, August 19, 2013

Bad Moms at the Fair

This was Kole's first time riding rides.  He wanted to ride the cars.  No surprise.  At all.  He was really excited to give the man his tickets.  Really excited to pick his own car.  Really excited to get buckled in.  Really excited to honk the horn.  Really excited when the ride started moving.

Then some bratty girl started crying.
The ride went three-quarters of a time around before the girl was screaming so badly she had nearly slid off her seat.  The ride got stopped.  Her dad pulled her off.  The crowd gave some nods and shrugs and courtesy smiles.
The ride went the last quarter of a turn before...

...the girl's mom was climbing over the fence to put her BACK on the ride.

I raise my hands to Ken (who is across the ride ready to wave to Koley), gently shake my head, and mouth, What the heck?

This girl was still screaming.  Red in the face.  Real tears.  Not wanting on.  And her mom was screaming.  Red in the face.  Thong doing the whale tail thing as she wrestled her daughter back onto the ride.  Over the screams of her tot the mom says, "Just keep going!  I know she'll like it!  Just keep it going!  I wanna get a picture!"

So the ride goes.
The crying and screaming really amp up.

Soon, none of the kids are smiling.
They aren't sure if they are having fun or not.
We're on a ride... that's fun.
It's sunny and warm... that's fun.
Our moms and dads are here... that's fun.
We just ate funnel cake... that's fun.
Yet, there is this crazy girl.  And she is screaming that this is not fun....Hmm. That's puzzling.

The man stops the ride and tells the mom to get her daughter.
Kole yells, "Come on!  I want to ride, man!"

My thoughts exactly, kiddo.
I'm so glad I have a three year old to say the tactless things I am thinking.
The girl's mom straddles the fence yet again (use the gate, lady),scoops down (really letting that white-trash cleavage get a good jiggle),yanks her daughter off the ride, and storms off.  Like it's her daughter's fault.

In my head I was saying:
 Finally!  Geez! Put your kid first!  Gosh.  Forget about the picture already.  She obviously was hating it.  Some mom YOU are!  Ugh.  I hate moms like you.  Anything for that picture.  This is real life.  Not Instagram-ville or -town.  Quit thinking of yourself, put your camera away, and care for your child!  I sure hope you buy her a cotton candy and say sorry.  GOSH!  And pull your pants up for crying out loud.  You're not 19 anymore.  No one wants to see your thong.  "Keep it going?"  Pa-lease.

I really let her have it.  In my head.  For the record:  I apologized in my head shortly after.  Guilt just eats me up.  Even when it's imaginary.

The ride started up again... things were looking good.
 Then he started getting a little worried...

 and then a little more....
and then... it was that little crying girl all over. 
Except it was my kid begging to get off.  Screaming that he didn't like it.  And yelling for me to come save him.

Kole was red in the face.  Real tears.  Not wanting on.  At all.

And I was screaming.  Red in the face. Swinging one hand at the ride operator, "Keep it going!  I know he'll like it! Keep it going!  Keep it going!" while my other hand was trying to snap the perfect picture.

Monday, August 12, 2013

A Fundamental Code

"[Their] instant liking for each other had been rooted in their mutual recognition that the other was a woman like herself....  They shared a fundamental code, and were therefore secure in each other's company in a way that they were not with other women."
-A Casual Vacancy, J.K. Rowling

I've just experienced this in my life.

It doesn't matter that you like chocolate and candy in your icecream and she prefers fruit.
It doesn't matter that you're 4 or 9 or 13 years younger.
It doesn't matter that you never exercise and she runs marathons. (And halfs.)(And 5ks.)

It doesn't matter that you recommend book after book and she doesn't read.  Ever.
It doesn't matter that you root for opposing teams in sports, politics, and Twilight.
It doesn't matter that you don't like any of her favorite TV shows.
It doesn't matter that your kids are different ages and genders.
It doesn't matter that you love the smell of cigarettes and she is appalled by them.
It doesn't matter that your house is smaller, your car is older, and your bank account is tinier.

It doesn't matter.

She is like me.
And realizing that means I'm like her...(sigh) made my heart explode.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Birthday Eve Thoughts.

Tomorrow I turn 29.
29 seems like a perfect age.
Every year Vicky tells me that the age I am turning was the best year of her life.
She's that way.
Always makes me feel like I am on the brink of something incredible.

29 does seem pretty kick ass.
But 30.  30 seems solid.
30 is like I already kicked a lot of asses so don't mess with me.
It's gonna be a busy year for me with that slogan.
Eh, live in the moment.
That's cliche.
To tell you the truth...I'm not that good at living in the moment.
I mean I think I used to be and I think I will be again.
There are just so many moments of kids crying.
Not wanting to live in those moments so much.
I've never really felt like any one certain age.

Or any certain size.  Clothing wise.
Numbers don't matter all that much to me.
Good thing I didn't follow through with that Accounting degree.
I love, love, love birthdays.
My mom used to tell us we were the Queen on our birthdays.
Everyone had to do what we said.
We could have whatever we wanted for dinner.
I thought... This is what it'll be like when I'm a Mom.
It'll be like my birthday everyday.
Every one will listen to me.
I can make whatever I want for dinner.
I'll be Queen everyday.
Sometimes I pretend I'm Cora from Downton Abby when I'm talking to Koley.
That makes me feel like a queen.
I do it a lot.
The secret is to speak softly and use "very" a lot while gently turning your head.
Do you think it's better to be a queen or a princess?
I've always been Patty Patty Princess.
(There's a whole song.)
Queens do seem to be stereotyped as old.
I wonder what my stereotype is?
Not old.
I've been just awful at stereotyping people lately.
I can't break the habit.
I'm stereotyping them as characters from Thomas the Tank Engine.
So maybe that's type-casting?
If someone is really showing off their smarts...
Ugh... SHE'S an Emily.
If someone is obsessing about their looks...
Talk about being a JAMES!
If someone is worrying about nothing for no reason.
Tooo-tal Percy.
People are always making that joke to old people on their birthdays "Turning 29, right?  BAHAHAHA!"
Does that mean this is my last birthday?
From now on I just repeat 29 over and over?
What were you doing when you were 29?
What do you wish you were doing when you were 29?
This is a chance to live vicariously through me, here.
I've got some plans for this year.
Graduate from college.
Read a ton more books.
Jim Gaffigan wrote a book and I was laughing a-loud reading it at Barnes and Noble today.
Putting it on the Amazon Wish List.  Stat.
There's something to do this year!
Knock some items off the ol' wish list.
Treat cho-self.
I'm going to ride my bike more.
And take more pictures with me in them.
Not in a conceited way.
But I have, what, 2500 pictures of Kole and Joey?
Ken's in about a third of those.
And I'm in like 2.
With no makeup and an ugly pink flannel robe on.
I deserve a little better.
I'm 29!
Treat cho-self.
I am going to learn to do more with my hair too.
And finally crack open that fly rod I got for Christmas back in 2010.
I'm feeling good.
I feel settled.
I feel like me.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Give a Little, Take a Little

Back at election time I signed on to help President Obama campaign.  My efforts went as far as registering to vote and pledging to vote for him.  Of course, they asked for my e-mail address and dag nab it I was feeling so patriotic I gave them my real e-mail address.

At first, it was awesome.  I'd get e-mails from local supporters and the Bidens... and every once in awhile I'd get a gem from the First Lady 'erself.  Ol' Mikki and me.  She was always calling me her friend and asking for favors to help Barack.  And, since I consider myself a grade A friend, I was always willing to help out my new famous friends. 
Barack needs help pushing a bill through?  You got it, Sir!
Barack needs me to organize a calling tree and hold town hall meetings?  Anything for you! 
Michelle wants me to share what I love about her husband, the President?  Sure!  What's not to love! 
They need more likes on Facebook?  Why not!  It only takes two seconds. 
The election came, we won and I got a personalized thank you note. The deepest places in my heart, where I hide all my doubt, were warmed. 
Barack and Michelle appreciated me.  They called me Patty and I just felt certain that if I invited them to dinner, they'd show up.  Right on time.  Probably toting along a warm dessert.  And Michelle would compliment me on my outfit and ask to borrow my button up cardigan. 

Things were pretty rose colored there for while.  Barack took time out of is schedule to write me and tell me how much he needed me to stay close.  And I assured him I would be there every step of the way.

But I gotta tell ya.  Since then... you know...since the big inauguration... I haven't gotten as many e-mails from Michelle.  And I haven't gotten any from Barack.  I was getting one every couple a days from a Jon Carson.  Asking me to do this or that.  Pledge money, buy a t-shirt, pledge more money, call my senator or congressman, or pledge more money.  And, you know, he never once called me Patty.  It was always "friend."  Sorry Jon-o.  When it was Michelle calling me friend, she meant it.  With you... it feels a little pushed. 

It's been months since I've heard from Michelle.  Never wrote, never called, never said thanks after I mailed that hand written letter.  Broke my little democrat heart.  And then, last week I get an e-mail every day from Michelle.  All the sudden she needs something.  And she's asking me to step up and do what needs done to help her and Barack.  You know what, Michelle?  What about me?  What about MY needs?  I'm here giving everything all the time and I never get acknowledged.  I stand up for you guys and support you when things are bad and when things are good.  You only e-mail me when you need something.  How bout every once in awhile shooting something over just to check in, huh? Or here's one even better.  Why don't you e-mail me when you're going to do something for me.  Not when I have to do something for you.  Once, just once, send me an e-mail saying:
"Patty Old Friend, I've been doing a lot of thinking.  And you've helped tremendously.  I'm going to implement your idea to get rid of the national debt, send that Nobel Prize your way, and top it off with a Gap gift card as a way to say thanks.  You're the best Patty.  And I love your style.  Love always, Michelle"

Maybe then I would feel like I mattered.  You're the president's wife, after all.  You should be helping me.  Not the other way around, missy.

To be clear, I still love you both.  These kinds of (abusive) relationships are hard for me to let go of.  And I think you're both super hip and you have good intentions at heart.  But I'm just running on empty here. 
Maybe it'd be better if you didn't e-mail me for ahwhile.  I just need some time to think.
Thanks to me.  Good luck being so victorious without me holding your hand every step of the way.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Joey is One

July 23, 2012
You came July 2, 2012 at 8:27 AM.  You weighed 8 pounds and 9 oz.  You were 21 inches long.  And guess what?  You have LOTS of dark hair!  Like ME!  That made me so happy.  When you came out you were screeching like a man old alley cat.  It made me and Dad laugh.  You have a mark on your forehead just like Koley had.  His looked like a flower.  Yours looks like a butterfly.  What manly boys!  You are such a sweet baby.  You have big eyes and you love to watch us.  Oh!  And you eat like a pirate.  You're ALWAYS hungry!  You like to sleep sitting up.  Like PapPap "watching sports."  So you sleep in your bouncy chair most nights.  You get really smiley after meals.  And- of course- since you're a Poulsen like us... you love to snuggle.  You're very beautiful.  You're my best boy. 
Love, Mom

All that schmoopey doopey dewey-eyed mommy baby stuff didn't last.  Joey cried.  A lot.  Which made me cry.  A lot.

Am I sad or do I need a snack?
A Note to Joey
I decided to take control.
After 3 months... things worked out for the better.

And now... my little cubber is one.
He's still a little baby.  And he still needs me.  Which warms my heart. 
But now... gets to eat cupcakes and drink milk.


Sunday, June 23, 2013

Patty Pity Party

I'm floating through life right now.
Not because everything is so grand and easy and sunny.
Because I'm too tired to swim.
Or tread water.

There are no spectacular problems in my life. 
Just regular ol' dreary problems.

My birdfeeder is empty. (Literally... that's not a metaphor)
I ran out of the feed I normally put in (for the songbird hoppers) about a week ago.  I put in some big seedy mix I found in the garage.  There was a few days without birds and then there were really rough looking birds that came and ate all the food.  They were like mutt birds.  Not a robin, not a dove.  But like an oriole wren mix.  Or a robin cardinal mix.  Weird. Big.  A little scary looking. I'm sure they need the food as much as the little guys- but they're lingering.  Even with the food gone.  Like this is their new route or something.  I don't want a bunch of bird bullies back there. 

I've had my sneakers leaned up against my back step for like 3 weeks.  I keep walking past them and saying, "Put those away, Patty."  But I don't.  And I bet there's mice and bugs living in them.  So I can't pick them up now.

I planted some wildflower seeds outside my back deck door.  They were supposed to grow in partial shade.  But I think it must have been a mislabeled packet.  They sprouted.  And now... they're kinda sickly, spindly, pale stems.  Most of them are just lying in the dirt.

There are little toy trucks and lego pieces and plastic farm animals and kid books ev-err-ee-where.  And instead of helping Kole pick it all up and put it where it goes, I want to get a garbage back.  And toss it all.

I spent three days last week doing all the laundry, organizing all our closets, and packing away the winter coats and clothes.  It was a monstrous project.  And now, the hamper is full.  Again!  And I had to put an extra laundry basket by the hamper because it was overflowing so bad.  I wish I was out of laundry soap so I had an excuse not to do it.

I bought three hanging baskets from Costco in an effort to spruce up my yard. One is thriving.  The other two I over-watered (maybe?) and then under-watered (perhaps?) and now I'm trying to resurrect them.  Sadly, the only place to put them in order to ensure they receive proper drainage is on the hooks on the front porch.  In full view of all passer-by-ers and visitors.  And they look incredibly sad and trashy.  I'm embarrassed.... but refusing to say they are dead.  Ken tells me everyday though... "Those flowers are dead.  Take them down."

I have a toothache.  But just got a crown put on... so nows not a great time.
Our super fun pool doesn't have a draining plug on the bottom.  So I have to step on the sides every other day and have all these gross bug parts and wings and leaves touch my legs.
I just opened my second pack of contacts and they aren't labeled.  And I can't tell if I have them in the right eye or the wrong eye and it's hurting.
Church with little little kids... is awful.  And sticky.  And not spiritually uplifting.
My Subaru's been smelling weird and I found an old moldy bottle spilled under the passenger seat. 
I can't beat Level 65 on Candy Crush Saga.  And I'm starting to feel dumb for trying.  (Just starting to though.)
Potty-training takes so long and there's so much whining.  I just want to put him in a diaper and say, "There!  Happy?"
I didn't get any mail on Friday or Saturday.  Not even bills.
There's a hole in my screen door smaller then a pencil eraser and, like, 8 or 9 bees get in a day.  Tape won't stick to it.

I just feel off.  I'm doing what I should.  I'm the above your above average mom.  I take the family fun places...we do fun things...

There's nothing really wrong...

... it just feels like...
...a lot.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

This stinks.

I don't think what I am doing with Kole should be called Potty Training.  It should be called Poop-Whereever-The-Hell-You-Want-And-Mom-Will-Clean-It-Up.  Or use can use the acronym: PWTHYWAMWCIU.
I'm on Day 3.  So for three full days I've been scraping poop out of underwear and scrubbing pee out of clothes and telling myself, "He's not ready."  And then giving myself a little boost and saying, "Ohhh.  Hang in there, babe.  He'll get it.  You're a good Mom.  And you're smart.  You got this."   And then the stench of a low funded nursing home takes over my house.

Kole's loving it.  I think he loves the prospect of receiving an M&M.  I filled a jar with them and set it where he can see it and I've told him over and over, "If you go in the toilet you get an M&M!"  Oh the sparkles in his eyes.  The jar should still be full (instead of mostly empty) because Kole has yet to earn an M&M....but...I've been helping myself.  What?  Quit judging.  After the 30th time walking to the bathroom at 15 minute intervals I think I deserve one peanut M&M when Kole's not looking. Wert.

I thought we were so set up.  Fancy underwear.  (Lightning McQueen)  Special cushy toilet seat. Sturdy step stool.  I was told to have them drink lots of liquid so they remember what to do and get the hang of it.  We're an anti-juice anti-pop family.  (Well... for the tots.) So I put food coloring in Kole's water and told him it was juice.  The gullible chap believed me and wanted me to taste how good it was.
He's drinking a ton of "juice," sitting there every 15 minutes, we're singing songs about pee and poop and all kinds of words that make me uncomfortable, I have been bribing him with the promise of treats, we put fizzy pellets in the toilet water, when those ran out, I put food coloring in the toilet water.  You know- Wow!  Fun!  The water's blue!  Not buying it.  It kinda upset him.  (Mom Bomb #7584)
He seemed a little tense... so we did some breathing exercises.
I let him watch a video on my phone.
And we sit there and sit there and sit there.
 Joey remains helpful, toodling around doing his thing.  Which is climbing in the tub, opening cabinets, getting into my makeup, spreading vaseline on things, trying to put his hand in the toilet water behind Kole's bum, eating all the toilet paper he's spun off the roll.  You'd think that in a bathroom that's like 10 square feet... there wouldn't be that much to get into.  Wrong, Patty-Mom, wrong.

What's killing me is, Kole knows how to do use the bathroom.  He's so proud that he can pull his own pants down and then pull his underwear down and sit on the toilet and be "big." He seems to be stubborn about it.  Because, he'd not go on the toilet and instead wait until he was in the warmth and protection of his new undies and then release. It's been an emotional roller-coaster for the Koley.  Long days of interrupted play-time and sitting on the toilet with no success...

After 15 or so loads of itty bitty McQueen underpants being washed I told Kole he just has to be naked from the belly button down.  The child was humiliated.  "But my pants," he cried to me, "I have to wear them.  They cover me where it's private."
A proud Mom moment there.
I assured him his argument was sound and meaningful and we wouldn't go anywhere.  We would just stay home while his pants were off.  No one was going to see him naked. To this, he agreed.

(Aaaaaand... as a P.S. .... he's totally comfortable in our yard sans pants so- yeah that was Koley pushing his lawnmower this morning wearing just a shirt and sandals.)

This is where I had success.  Normally when the urge hits him he runs and hides and does his thing and then tells me he peed his pants.  Without pants he was at a loss.  He ran up to me and said, "I have to pee but where will it go?"
"In the toilet, m' good boy!," I announced as I grabbed his shoulder!
And so we ran in the house, got all situated on the toilet, and sat there while nothing happened.  I knew it was in there.  So we waited.... over 5 minutes...close to 10 minutes.  And then a little drop hit the water.  And then another.  And then, finally.... a steady stream. 
"I'm doing it, Mom!"