Friday, January 29, 2016

It's Friday! Links, Thinks, and Two Secrets to True Happiness.




"Consider the lilies, how they grow. They toil not, they spin not; and yet I say unto you that Solomon, in all his glory, was never arrayed like one of these."

Luke 12:27




Happy Friday, friends! Rae's Corner will continue with Emersonisms next week, but for now I had some thoughts and links I wanted to share. Let's get down to TGIF business.

1. The Orange Groves. Yesterday after school we opted to walk down to the park and meander through them. We ended up spending well over 2 hours in the glory of a 70 degree day underneath all of these little globes of citrusy happiness, dangling everywhere like magic. Really, I think oranges are God's way of saying "hang on, summer will exist again."  So don't you fret your wintery, shivery self. Even when we lived back in the cold grip of Reno winters, I loved to buy big bags of Cara Cara oranges from Costco every winter when they'd come in season. Lily and I went through a solid phase of nightly wintertime reading while peeling and eating oranges. I wonder if she'll remember that? Still makes me smile.



2. Speaking of smiling more, last night we read through a passage of scripture as a family where Jesus is like, "Dude. Stop worrying so much. Chill out. Consider the lilies..." Something to that effect. It hit home for me, and as we discussed the meaning of the passages London chimed in "Yeah! I worry ALL THE TIME. I worry about running races at school, I worry about recess, I worry about my backpack!" I had to laugh, because London doesn't need to remind those who live among her that worry is a part of her daily routine. She's an overachiever in that department, just like her Mama. Still, I was glad for a moment to sit as a family and really talk about it, and give her (and myself) permission to stop worrying so much and have a little faith. Worry is such a universal part of the human experience, isn't it?  Everything is going to be okay, guys. I really believe it is. So I'm going to consider those lilies (and oranges!) a little more.




3. Cup of Jo is a go-to site I enjoy for the latest in culture and whatnot. She nailed it when she recommended Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. Only two episodes in, and I'm still laughing over certain scenes. It is smart, girl kind of comedy. 




4. The True Story of the Gender Pay Gap, by Freakonomics. We all hear talk of the gender pay gap (sometimes incessantly) in the media. This is well worth a listen, and next time the subject arises you can feel all smartsy fartsy and educated about it.;)


5. Okay, you ready for this? Rae's TWO SECRETS TO HAPPINESS are as follows:

-First, taking zumba classes with the elderly at your local YMCA. I'm not even kidding, some of the best times of my life. Forget yoga. Forget meditation. Forget meds. It's right there.

I was once forced to sit through a 24 Hour Fitness sales pitch in order to take a friend's favorite spin class. I sat politely and listened as the salesman listed all the benefits of membership at the sparkling new facility. At first, it was hard to focus on what he was saying, as I couldn't help but get sidetracked at the sheer superhuman circumference of his neck. His adam's apple alone was worthy of a conversation. I felt rude ignoring it as it kept trying to garner my attention as he spoke, bobbing up and down forcefully as I nervously navigated my eyes between his bellowing words. His voice gurgled out like  "Rarrrr! Rarr rarrrrrrr RRRRRRRRRR ME SO FIT rrrrrAAAAARRRRR".

At some point, I deciphered between the testosterone barking that he thought my YMCA membership was ill-fitting. That I needed to hang out with, cough, ahem...people less afflicted by age. It was then that I was compelled to share with him my grand philosophy on happiness and well-being. "Listen, Brando (is that short for Brandon?), I prefer two things in life: my workout instructors chubby and my classmates old. You got me? All the worthy wisdom I'm ever going to glean in life is going to be coming from Norma and Dolores shaking it in their jumpsuits. Because you know what? Norma and Dolores are the real badasses here. Norma and Dolores know what's up. Norma and Dolores are who I'm striving to be in life. "

Proud card carrying YMCA member here!

-Second, observing the YMCA childcare play center. Am I the only one who finds a room filled with toddlers and babies one of the most delightful intersections of Lord of the Flies meets America's Funniest Home Videos? I don't want to actually be IN there, but I love to stand at the window and watch. You can't help but feel warm and hopeful inside when you watch Harry eat his boogers while Ellie stands on a table and little chubby baby Claire looks around in astonished confusion. This, this friends, is the future.


Okay peeps, I'm off, you have a great weekend!





Tuesday, January 26, 2016

isms: Part III




Presenting,

Ellie-Janeisms...



On make-believe play

"You be the mama, and I'll be the hunnie."

{hunnie is what Ellie Jane has always assumed to be the title of any child. "Come here hunnie! What do you need hunnie?"}


..........................................................

On melting Mom

"Ellie, I love you. You make me so happy."

"Yeah, I know. It's cuz I don't be so mean to you."

later, while swinging on the swings at the park, I heard her quietly say

"I'm glad I'm here with you."


............................................................

On concern for Mom's safety 

Driving in the car one afternoon, the girls were doing their usual chattering when Ellie suddenly looked up with the most panicked expression, like she was about to cry, and screamed,

"EVWERYBODY BE QUIET!!!! Or else MOM'S BRAIN IS GONNA EXPLODE!!!!!"

The previous day, I had instituted a "silent rule" in our car with the explanation that my brain was about to explode from the noise that day. Apparently, Ellie took this all quite literally. Thanks for saving Mom's brains from shooting all over the interior of the vehicle, Ellie girl.


............................................................

On the potty runs in public

"What number do you need to go, Ellie? Number one or two?"

Pause. Eyebrows raise.

"numba FOUR."

...........................................................

On prayers


"Dear Gwod. Thank you for my shistas and my mom and dad and i went to preschool today and STELLA was being like so rude to me and we sang the song about apples it goes like this Laaaaa laaaaa I LLLLLOVE APPLE TREES AND BIRDS AND BEES AND ALL THE PRETTY THINGS I LOVE I LOVE I LOVE I LOVE MY PONIES CAN YOU GIVE ME A PONY PLEASE I WANT TO HAVE A PONYYYYYY Laaaaa LAAAAAAA laaaaaaaaa ----

---Thank you Ellie now please stop singing and finish your prayer ---

"AMEN!"


................................................................

On noteable Ellie proclamations


"I know eeeeeeeeeeeverything."


or


"Now that's just crweeepy."


or

"Ug!!! MOM! I want to be twenty-four! EVERWEEBODY is twenty four."


................................................................

On who's really in charge


I told Emerson she was not permitted to climb up onto our pantry shelves to retrieve a box of cookies she wanted. Shortly after, I heard Ellie lean in to Emerson and whisper in her ear...

"Mom said no. But do you want to know what I say? YES."


................................................................

On jokes

"Mom! Mom! I gotta a weally good joke fa you."

"Ok!"

"Knock Knock..."

"Who's there?"

"TOOTYPOOPY ICECREAM."


{har har har. always the best around here.}

................................................................

On nature


Emerson and Ellie were out exploring underneath our trees. Emerson began squealing in dismay over the sight of a stream of black ants. Ellie rushed to calm her and assured

"No no hunny! Don't worwee! Black ants LOVE fo year-owds! (four year-olds)


...............................................................

On Dr. Ellie Jekyll and Miss Ellie Hyde

Ellie has been a dreamboat child in the temperament department...for the most part. She's usually a bucket of joy but man, when she loses it, she LOSES it. Two Christmases ago, we were out at the mall doing some shopping. Ellie Jane had become fixated on some grand item she wanted (as usual) and was told no (as usual). She sobbed and sulked her way out towards the parking lot. To cheer her up and offer some hope, I reminded her that Santa Claus was coming to town pretty soon. And being the stellar kind of mother that I am, I even began jingling out the holiday tune

"Ya better not pout, ya better not cry
ya better shout I'm telling you why...
because---

-----Ellie immediately interrupted in a rage and cut right into the song,  SHOUTING with the loudest guttural kind of shriek the final improvised line---

 SANTA CLAUS IS GOING TO DIE!!!!!!!"

{only a mildly embarrassing spectacle in a crowded public area....} 

 ...............................................................


On new, exciting discoveries


Ellie's friend Mia joined us for dinner one evening. As we sat around the table, Ellie exclaimed,

"MIA. GUESS. WHAT.?!...

My Mom....HAS.... A MOM!"

{It was quite a revelation for Ellie to discover the miraculous coincidence that her Grandma also happened to be my mother.}

 Lily looked over to Mia and said, "Sorry Mia, Ellie Jane does NOT understand the circle of life."



.................................................................

On Fashion police

Ellie loves to notice different women's outfits in public. When she approves, she'll come to me and point at someone,

"Look Mom. She's hot."


I was once lucky enough to meet her approval. She walked by me in our house, on her way to play when she abruptly stopped in her tracks, looked me up and down and said,

"WHOA. I like your pants."

Then, without another word, proceeded on her merry way.















Monday, January 11, 2016

Ten for Ten.


{We interrupt the Ellie-ism series for this message. 
Today is Lily Tyler Haack's 10th birthday. This is a big deal.}


To Lily.



10 observations of a 10 year-old.


1. For your birthday morning, I ran to the store after dropping you off at school with the promise to return with a special birthday lunch. It included a big bag of flaming hot cheetos. You love to burn your mouth to shreds and beg for these chips on any road trip.

2. I overheard you talking to Grandma on the phone early this morning, calling to wish you happy birthday. I heard you say stuff like, "oh, that's hilarious!" and "thanks so much for calling!". You are endearingly gracious and I love hearing you absorb and express such adult-like banter in that heartbreakingly cute girl voice, one which carries the teensiest bit of a lisp sounding through the spaces in your teeth.

3. For one of your birthday presents I went to Barnes and Noble and bought you the Egyptology book you want so badly. You've been building your collection: Oceanology, Wizardology, Monsterology. 

4. You are an accessory lover. Nonna sent you the dolphin and owl dangly earrings you were pining for at Claire's. Also, minion socks. You regularly fantasize about shoes and purchased your own pair of boots with heels at Tilly's a few weeks ago. I personally felt it was rather silly to have you in a pair of heels, but then I watched you exit our car for school the next day wearing them. You cobbled and clunked your way to class in those puppies with such self assurance and dignity that I was really glad I surrendered that battle. You go girl.

5. You have been especially touched by the loss of Mikey. You keep his picture taped up next to your bed. I know that some nights, your mind goes where every little developing mind goes: into spaces of thought that consider realities like death, or suffering, or loss. Sometimes you need a hug, and to be reassured that life is going to be okay and that you are not alone. These moments make my heart ache because it is so clear to me you are growing up, shedding little bits of innocence here and there along the way. 

6. You are fiercely loyal to your sisters. A small girl once acted pretty awfully towards Emerson. Despite all pleading, you've never really liked her since. You're working on extending forgiveness, but I have to say I really like the sister-bear in you. Another time, you had a friend over playing and I overheard your conversation; your friend was annoyed with London, and said, "I'm sorry, I am your friend but I DON'T like London." You replied, "Well, if you don't like my sister then I can't be your friend anymore!" Honestly, for all of your sisterly bickering I was a little shocked I didn't hear you say, "Yeah! I don't like her either!" It was at that moment I thought, despite all the sister squabbles, we're good. We're really good.

7. Your current favorite food (or non food, I should say) is corn dogs.

8. You have especially excelled in your fourth grade year. I most appreciate the fact that you have a teacher who adores you. She pulled me aside one day and said, "shhhh. as teachers we don't have favorites...but you know...lily." Gosh that made my momma world. There was a time when you were three years-old I would have bet one million dollars that you, my child, were NOT going to end up a fourth grade teacher's pet. And yet, here we are!

9. Your most frequently used word lately is "literally". Only you still pronounce it "Litrally." Litrally mom, this is like litrally the hardest homework problem i have EVER done. Litrally."

10. You've given us a decade of life with you, and I've can't believe what a never-ending falling in love process it is. Dad and I don't just love you, we love you infinitely, excessively,  obsessively, never-endingly. A love that still magically has the capacity to keep GROWING?  It defies all logic, and yet it's true. You're always full of surprises. You challenge me as a mother. You make me excited about life. You will do great things, of that I'm certain. You already have, kid.



We

love
love
love
love
love
love
love
love
love
love

you. 

10 x 10 x 10 raised to the 10 millionth trillionth, and beyond.

Happy Birthday!!!


Love,

Mom


..............................................



This blog is ancient.

















Monday, January 4, 2016

Year End Isms: Part Two

Part one here.


Now it's time for some Londisms...
{halloween 2015. epic.}


On Child Neglect:

 Early in the school year, I received a call from the school informing me that London felt sick. I quickly hopped into my car and went to save my sweet baby child, a dramatic sort of school rescue I've mentioned I'm rather fond of. It wasn't one hour into our arrival home that it was clear to me that London wasn't feeling bad. Not bad at all. No faking-sick-from-school Oscar nods for her.  As I approached her in her bedroom, where she was loudly playing and giggling, skipping in circles around an ensemble of her pony figurines, I observed:

"Well my my, London, you sure seem to be feeling better quickly?"

She withdrew in momentary bashfulness, suddenly painfully aware of her mismanaged acting skills. She heaved a heavy sigh and shrugged her shoulders in surrender.

"I'm sorry. But it was CHINA day in the cafetewia."

"China day? You mean they were serving Chinese food?"

"Um...yes. And I don't understand what the lunch lady is saying!!! She speaks English! And the line is hurrying and she is like "Goodygagaga goo gaaa gaaa buu buu ba" and I don't weally know what she is saying!!!!"

It took half a second of mom-decoding, but I quickly understood the full situation at hand. London was not faking. Her stomach did hurt. Because that day she had been forced to confront what I call another Londageddon: an unwelcome but completely benign situation involving the mildest, non-crisis element of social confusion which London is quite positive will utterly end her existence

First. By English, London means Spanish. My girls cannot seem to get this distinction straight. 

Second, hot lunch at school. You really should see my girls faces when I inform them that they will have hot lunch for their school day. It is a reaction analogous to the sort of devastation a person would offer up when given a life-time sentence in a North Korean labor camp. When I haven't found time to replenish the grocery supply and the princesses don't receive their usual organic sandwiches with fresh containers of blueberries and pop chips, their cries and looks of disapproval and judgment actually almost make me believe I deserve to hand over my mom card. At first I took it hard, but I quickly recovered from that nonsense. Now, they are informed resolutely on any random morning of their impending hot lunch sentence for the day. If they display any protest they will be forced to spend the rest of the morning googling pictures of refugee camps and writing three hundred sentences of I will not be a First World Sissy. I will not be a First World Sissy. I will not be a First World Sissy.

Suddenly, I could envision the entire scene perfectly. London, forced to confront the horror of the hot lunch line. She begrudgingly enters the masses; the slow shuffling feet of dozens of innocent, anonymous, uncared for children like her making their way towards doom. The frightening stare of the lunch lady manning the register, asking London to give her lunch account number. She's one of the prisoners, identified only by number. It's straight up outta a Les Miserables scene. 24601. The mere reality of other persons behind her, waiting their turn, coupled with an on-demand memory recall of a sequence of numbers would undoubtedly provoke anxiety in her belly, causing her to forget her lunch number entirely. She gives it in the wrong sequence. Wrong, says the scary lunch lady. They have to look her up BY NAME... oh gawd oh gawd oh gawd. People. are. waiting! Her account is found and she is pushed through to the next land-mine zone: WHAT ITEMS DO YOU WANT? WHAT. DO. YOU. WANT? KEEP THE LINE MOVING. Mushy orange chicken or dehydrated egg rolls? WHAT IS IT GOING TO BE LONDON? PEOPLE ARE WAITING, LONDON. Only she isn't exactly sure that the two concoctions in front of her are orange chicken or egg rolls, because with the thick accent of the "English" lunch lady she is only hearing, according to her translation " Goodygagaga goo gaaa gaaa buu buu ba"! 

She's about to faint. She is going to die. That, or poop her pants.

No. NO. This will not work. Not for London. So what does she do? Marches straight to the nurse's office and demands that she is going to vomit before being subjected to such torture.

Smart.

Diva.

................................................................

On Non-Beliebers:

A Justin Bieber song comes on the radio:

"I don't understand why Justin Beiba is like, so gwoss now?! He used to sing like "Oh girls are good, girls are good! Now, he's like "Girls are fat, girls are dumb, girls are poopy!" I don't like him anymore."

{Good to know. Pretty sure he never sang any of those things?}


...............................................................

On the struggle:

"WHY is EVERWYBODY so RWUDE to ME? I was just in my RWOOM laying down, RWELAXING. Then....Ellie came in and RWUINED MY LIFE!"


...............................................................

On A-Ha! Moments:

London: "WAIT. Why does running the air conditioner cost money?!"

Mom: "Because, London, everything costs money."

London (wide eyes): ".........EVEN FOOD?!!!!!!"


..............................................................

On inventions:

{At the dinner table}

Mom: "Okay guys, if you could create any invention you wanted, what would it be?"

Lily: "A cell phone that could transport you to a different place and a money machine!"

Dad: "A time traveler!

London: "A computer at the library that tells you where the books are."


................................................................

On good big sisters:

One afternoon London had orchestrated a fun imaginary game with Ellie and Emerson upstairs for a good chunk of time. As I entered the room and found them happily playing together, London exited to grab something downstairs. After she left, I remarked to Ellie and Emerson,

"Wow, do you two know how lucky you are to have London for a big sister? She sure is fun to play with ----

London's voice interrupted from downstairs: "AND CRWEATIVE! Make sure you add that to the list too!"


......................................................................

On motherhood:

While discussing what it must be like to be a Mommy with me, the girls conjectured about how many babies they wanted someday.

Lily: maybethree.

London: One thousand.


......................................................................

On excuses:

London, did you spill that cup of milk under your chair earlier and leave it there?

"Um, I don't remember....maybe it was Emerson."

"Is that the truth?"

"I think it might be part mine."

"Is that the truth?"

"Hmmmm.... I'm not sure."

"Is that the truth?"

"It's just really hard cuz my eyelashes are hurting right now."

"London?"

"Yes, I spilled it."



.............................................................

On swear-words:

"MOM. A boy wrote the F word on Mrs. Haskin's door. That's how I know what it is now....

Lily said it is a word you use in war."


(Yes, only in war. Or, if your cellphone falls into a public toilet.)