Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Yesterday, the screaming. Oy. It began in the morning and you can fill in the rest. All day long with the fevers, and the coughing, and the snot and the miserability. Tempers were short, and a lot of ugly things were said, like if you touch my game i will punch out your head and no you willnt punch out my head tobe you eeeeeeeeeeeeee (mutual choking sounds) and so on.

Then R2 started coughing and screeching, and then Brynn couldn't sleep because she couldn't breathe and so I held her and gave her nose drops, which elevated me to Public Enemy #1. Then, all night, the coughing and the snorting and gagging and crying.

Clearly, logically I needed to take these children to the doctor. I spent the morning wrangling them into clothes, and then back into those clothes, and brushing hair, maintaining my Public Enemy status. To the car, to the doctor.

We waited in the waiting room full of sick little kids, ALL of them appearing sicker than mine. My kids ran around and joked and talked to people and, in general, were not sick. It's a good thing the MOG and I enjoy sitting in waiting rooms for hours.

Once we finally got back to the room, through the decoy doc and on to the real doc, no one had a fever, or any other apparent sickness as they chatted with the doctor. We explained that they had, in fact, been ill, previously. Like, a couple hours ago. She believed us. She knows all about the miracle cure. Lucky for us, Toby did have gunk in his lungs and Brynn had an ear infection, so we were fairly legit. Sheesh.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

A bevy of dancer-types have descended on us from heaven this week. Actually, they technically ascended on us from Texas, but the heaven/Texas parallels are many. Anyways. We arrived back in Kansas City yesterday around 3, and then TrEd trickled in between 6 and 8 pm. It's good to be home, and it's good to have friends around. Win!

The onething conference is this week. You can watch it for free on the webs at

Unfortunately, Toby is sick. He and his cousins passed around the virus pipe, metaphorically speaking. This is how it goes. If no kids are sick, they don't stick their hands in each other's mouths, or trade sippy cups, or spit in each other's faces, so much. They just play. But let one kid get a random bacteria or two, and they are RABID to share. So it goes.

Last night I gave him cough medicine and then he laid very still with a white face and panicked us, but when I shook him he woke up and then came downstairs and requested cookies for a couple of hours. I might have given him a couple, since I was glad I hadn't poisoned him with medicine, and it was his birthday.

So there you go, it's not interesting but it is a blog entry. You have to be able to take a few roughs with the smooth.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Today is Toby's 4th birthday. 4 years ago, when they put him in my arms, it was like a sharp ridge of light just broke through the grief and the fog of losing the twins, and of R2's birth and trials. I did not believe Toby was real until he was in my arms.

I have walked a fine line since that day, holding him as close as possible while trying to let him practice flying. As I write this, he is jumping from the hotel couch onto the bed, and then back.

I live in a perpetual state of terror that he is going to grow up all of the sudden and I will have missed something, a moment, or a day.

I was so aware yesterday that it was his last day of 3. We ate at Cici's and drove all day and I watched him with a lump in my throat.

Now he is 4, and 3 is over forever. It was such a good year. I know 4 will be, too, but even as I celebrate him growing and learning, I miss my 4 pound baby.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

I know, I know. You deserve a blog. A real, honest to goodness humdinger of an upper of a blog post. But I've been a little busy, see? I have been having Christmas, and figuring out where in Texas to live in January, and then figuring that out some more, and eating a LOT of salsa, and so on. Also, I've been writing some fiction, but I might not share it with you because I am 3 pages into writing a real live NOVEL and thus will not be posting her on the interwebs. Also, I have a son named Toby, the boy of 1000 questions (a minute).

Also, I ate bacon candy. Shut up, because you can't knock it till you try it. I will not post a picture on here, because of the poop jokes it inspires, but trust me. Bacon dipped in chewy chocolate is a holy thing, and you need to get right with God.

Today, we started driving to Kansas City and made it to Huntsville before we were informed that the weather was making Oklahoma impassable, and since we had to be back here on the 1st anyway, leaving later than today makes it not practical. So we turned around and went back to my Mama's house, where I am to this day. So. There you go. And now, goodnight.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas from us!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

I don't have much to say today. Today? maybe you're saying. How bout since THURSDAY? Good point. I had stuff to say then but we've been traveling and such and the internet is spotty out on the road. I'm currently using a pirated signal at my mom's house, which works the best when the people it belongs to are at work or something.

I've been thinking. Deep thoughts, about life and purpose and potential and death. I've also been writing. But today, I can't write about any of it.

I'm sick of death. I tried to write something today that could be light and funny, and I just don't have it. Maybe tomorrow.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Today I had to ground my 3 year old from Google.

He figured out how to type things in there, in an attempt to find more violent and less educational games. This is not a battle I expected in this decade, but I'm up for it. I ended up removing the toolbar completely, to limit him to the 3 bookmarks I have on the bookmark bar. I don't expect it to work for long, he'll figure something out. He'll just maybe install a different browser, or something.

I fear I am raising a gamer. I planned on him being a rock star. Maybe a star athlete and rock star, with above average grades. Instead, he started teaching himself to read at 2 and mastered it by 3 1/2. He can't walk from one room to another without falling down, and he doesn't care for the outdoors. Oh, and his fashion is decidedly avant garde. When he was 5 pounds, I used to worry that someday he would chase women and drink someday. Now, I worry that he will hack the Pentagon's website or maybe start quoting Nietzsche. Or arguing the merits of socialism. He is brilliant and stubborn and awkward and charming. That's right. He is my dad.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

My childhood friend died today. We were part of a group of comrades from kindergarten until about 10th grade, when life changes, with boyfriends and adulthood sneaking in and pulling us apart.

She was always the beauty, with her black curls springing out like unsuppressed laughter, and her long fingernails, the envy of us all. Around 4th grade, she started wearing her hair in the tightest possible ponytails, smashing the curls down with gel and water, then wrestling it into her control and holding all together with a scrunchie that matched our garish green plaid uniforms. I would argue, fight for the freedom of that glorious hair, but nobody told Melissa what to do.

We linked arms and ran across playgrounds. We gathered in groups of awkward arms and legs, sprawling across pink blankets, eating popcorn in the middle of the night, and laughing. Oh, she laughed. Early on, it was ungainly, childish chuckles, coming from her middle and spilling out the wide smile she tried to hide. Later, it was more controlled with its metal boundaries and self-conscious awareness. But always, laughing.

We lost touch, changed paths. We found each other again in recent years, sharing the weight of years of gain and loss, and I reveled in seeing her smile break across the smudged screen of my computer. She was always the beauty.

I called you birdleg
You called me nerd

And life, and life, and life

Husbands and children
Love and loss
The threads of childhood always
Holding us tenuously together

Oh, beauty
I hope your hair is loose
Laugh loud, so we can hear you.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

I've been trying for a while now to write about this abortion supercenter being built in Houston, and I don't have the words. Go to this site and read, and mobilize and BE there on January 17th and 18th.

We are getting ready to be in Texas for most of the month of January, preparing and praying for this march and holding meetings around the Houston area. Watch this video and get the burden. (the vid is kid-safe, there are no aborted babies or anything, just valuable info)

In related news, we are planning to rent an extended stay hotel or apartment for the month of January in the Woodlands or maybe Houston area. I know we have lots of people we could stay with, but with three kids and the intensity of the schedule, it will be easiest to be on our own. If you know of a good short-term housing deal, whether hotels or apartments (or how to find them), let me know.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Anonymous said...


Who is the sappiest Christian Fiction writer?-G

It’s a tricky question, dear reader. By “sappy” do you mean gushy, romantic and emotional, or do you mean corny and stretched plotlines? Either way, the answer is the same author, but I dare not offend my readers that might be fans of rhymes-with-Cori-Pick. Therefore, this author will remain cloaked in mystery.

Anonymous said...

How does one convince one's husband that piles of dirty laundry do not belong all over the house, in bedroom, bathroom, living room, and kitchen!?!

The infamous Hildegard Bumenkrantz was known

to grab her husband, the more diminutive Gunther Bumenkrantz by the back of the neck and force his face repeatedly into such infractions, while repeating mild threats and explaining the best location for such items as ones coffee-stained pajama pants. While unconvential, this is a wildly successful method for the husband of smaller stature. For larger spouses, I recommend a taser gun.

misskerri said...

Dear Mrs. Intelligent Clothing - 

What is the best way to infect co-workers/family/friends w/ the Christmas Spirit so that holiday events and songs can be enjoyed without repercussions???

Again, a taser gun is a viable option. Ideally, it would be decorated in a cheery manner befitting the season. Then, for example, when you come in contact with a “Scrooge” lamenting the existence of the song “Christmas Shoes”, you could just lean in with a jolly expression and zap them heartily with your bedecked weapon. Over time, morale will improve dramatically.

Jennifer James said...

Dear Ms. Smartypants:

I am 21 weeks pregnant. Why do people talk to my belly before they talk to me? Why also do they touch it, like it's a good luck charm?

Is it possible that talking to your face is a little intimidating, with all that deep-seated hostility and rage emanating from your eyes? Contrast that to a helpless little alien-headed fetus, full of cheer and kindness. How likely are you to be tased by a fetus? Ask yourself that.

Elizabeth Kosorski said...

SP, At what age is it appropriate for children to begin playing with matches? Thanks for all your fantastic insight, I'm a huge fan!

My dear, dear snarky reader. I think that question really has to be decided by the toddlers themselves. Who am I to judge the fire-readiness of the average 2 or 3 year old? Let them explore their boundaries. What is the benefit of a standing house with repressed toddler souls inhabiting it?

Anonymous said...

What are your favorite fiction books? What do you recommend?

This is more of a question for your regular blogger, who, while being Ms. Smartypants in one regard, is entirely separate from Dame Smarty in others. Thus, we will leave this one for those don’t-have-anything-to-say days.

Anonymous said...

sp ~ 

why can't i sign into my old blog so i can switch it to the new set up?? am i just a techno geek or is blogger insane??? how can i do this?? I want to start posting blogs on my old blog because its SET UP and i like it alot but when i try to switch to the new google account it says it can't find my old blog!!!! ugh!!! please help me!!


This sounds like an intensely personal issue. I recommend a pedicure and a massage, followed by electro-shock therapy.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Zero fiction today. Here's the deal. I started writing this story, and I loved the first couple of weeks, and then I started stalling. I don't know where it's going! I don't know what happens! I am lost, lost at sea and stuck. And the chapters are getting weaker and weaker. So. I will try to fix it, but right now it's all stretched and weird. So I am abandoning it for the time being and maybe inspiration will strike and I will write more.

That's what you get for being guinea pigs.

I have decided instead to resurrect the not-too-long-dead tradition of Ms. Smartypants!

Smartypants is your greatly helpful semi-annual advice and support columnist. Have a holiday question? Termites? Neuroses? MSP is your gal! Submit your interesting and amusing questions of a general nature today through Monday, and Dame Smart├ęPants will respond on Monday sometime, Lord willin.

For inspiration, you should read the SP archives. Seriesly.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

It snowed last night. I'm almost 2 years into my Kansas City residency now, and I am still all verklempt about snow. I just love it. I love to look at it, that is. From indoors, with the heater on and a fire in my wood-stove. And a book, a blanket, a couple of toddlers in footed pjs and a cuppa cocoa. Not so much the outdoors part, with the snow, and the cold, and the wetness.

Lucky for me, school was totally cancelled. In celebration, I read until midnight. The problem is, Toby did not get the memo. He was in at 7:30, tapping on my head. "It's so BEAUTIFUL outside!" he says. "Ugh." I replied. He was relentless, and I ended up dressing him and Bean in 4000 layers and sending them out into 11 degree weather. That's abusive, maybe you're saying. Hey, lighten up. They considered it abusive to be inside. They surprised me and played out there for over 10 minutes. I say "played" loosely. Mostly they ate snow.

After a bit, they came in and had some cereal. R2 was mostly disgruntled that there was no school, and lobbied in his own way to watch Veggie Tales all day, which I let him do. Am in in line for Mother of the Year? Well, maybe not. But it was a very sweet and cozy day. So there you go. 9 degrees now. I am staying UP IN THE HOUSE.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

A debate has been raging on one of the message boards I belong to... well, raging is a vast overstatement. It is simmering. We don't really have so much raging over there, since it's a Christian message board. On this other board I belong to, debates rage all the time... and getting "flamed" is a way of life. So this is a much calmer sort of debate.

The topic is marriage... basically submission, traditional roles, etc. It's fascinating to hear how people's marriages work, the way they relate and manage day-to-day life, etc.

Richy and I got married when we were about 12, so we didn't have much independent life experience, and any habits we brought with us were childhood habits. We developed pretty traditional roles, in that he is responsible for providing for us, and he takes out the trash. Stuff like that. And I do the bulk of the childcare and household stuff, although I am not such the housekeeper and he frequently does cleaning sprees just because he can't take it anymore. In those instances, we swap roles and I sit on the couch while he slams cabinets and mutters under his breath.

But submission... this may surprise you, but I actually believe submission is right and Biblical. I also believe it can be abused. But in a healthy Christian marriage, with the man leading and loving his wife more than himself, and the wife submitting to his final decision... it just works. Nothing works right without a leader. I was raised a feminist. Falling in love hacked all my plans. :)

Actually, I was pretty independent years into our marriage. It took a lot of years and breaking down of pride and fear to begin to trust enough to need someone. That is a story for another day.

So tell me, who's the boss of you? Are you the boss? Does your husband wish he was? Or does it all work? Has it changed over time?

Monday, December 7, 2009

And if the dishtowel is made wet, how does it then serve its purpose? For the dishtowel is the drier of the hands, and of the large dishes, and of the counter therein.

But you, you wet the dishtowel, indeed, and you stick it in the sink with water and then wash the counters. This should not be so. Is not the sponge for washing, and is not the sponge located in a basket beneath the sink? Even, a large bag of new clean sponges? But you, you indeed deny the power of the sponge.

Then, when I come to load the dishwasher in due season, I
find wet dishtowels, indeed, multiple wet dishtowels, stained with coffee, soaked in dishwater and stuck behind the faucet. I then gather unto myself all the drippy cloths, and I fling them into the basement where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth, and the washer and dryer.

When I return to the kitchen with slimy hands seasoned with coffee grounds, do I find there one dry towel with which to dry them after they have been purged with Palmolive? I do not. I find only a basket of sponges and one red placemat that remains.

Brethren, I urge you, for the love of God, use the sponges for washing. This is your right and acceptable service.

I will write to you soon, of the matter of the prodigal sippy cup, which is cast into the sink prior to being drunk, and while it is still filled with water or orange juice. And the voice of Brynn, weeping, for her cup is no more.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

A month or two ago, I committed a crime. I drove my van without the proper registration. (see: owing Missouri property taxes and thus avoiding all routine vehicle paperwork) I was apprehended within walking distance of my favorite thrift store, and I probably coulda run for it, but I took my medicine like a good criminal.

This was my second ticket. The one before was in 2001, when I drove into an 18-wheeler. But enough about that. This one was for a whopping 38 dollars, which I had every intention of paying.

See, my dad lived on the edge. He considered most rules as suggestions, like speed limits, mandatory car insurance, and licenses for computer programs. He got speeding tickets on a semi-regular basis, and then he would pay them if he felt like it, or if there was a surplus of cash and it was a ticket Mama knew about. (disclaimer: Daddy was a pirate, but he loved Jesus)

Sometimes, Daddy went to jail. Sometimes, we'd bail him out. It was an unconventional way of paying court fines, but then nobody ever called Daddy conventional. Ever.

Anyway, this ticket was due while we were in Texas for Thanksgiving and I forgot about it. Therefore, when I got home and read the due date, I realized that I very well might be headed for the hoosegow, otherwise known as the Slammer. I purposed in my heart to pay the ticket, when I found a checkbook, and an envelope, and a stamp. That never happened.

Today, I drove to R2's doctors appointment with the Law hanging heavy on my conscience. I exceed the speed limit by 5-7 miles regularly, and obviously I drive with an expired registration, but never in all my days have I been actually arrestable.

On the way home, I saw a police van in front of me. Immediately, I broke out in a sweat. What should I do? I read once that police actually pay more attention to people who are super-cautious about the exact law, because that's suspicious. A guy driving a couple miles over, casually, looks more like he's got nothing to hide.

So I was in a quandary. Do I sip my drink casually and try to stay behind him, driving 5 miles under the speed limit, or do I act natural and pass him at 42 in a 40? I tried both, sweating all the while. Finally, he turned off and went to bust some other criminal soccer mom in a minivan, and I drove home and paid my ticket. Sheesh.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Now, I don't know if you've noticed, but traffic is down here on the ol' blog. Most days, I still get about the same number of readers, but then if I skip a day or two, the numbers drop way down, and the comments are not flowing so freely either. So, when I received not only a comment, but also an INQUIRY, I was greatly inspired. Here goes.

CrystalD asked:
"Let me ask you something. Growing up decorating the tree was ALL ABOUT the kids! My parents loved to watch us decorate it in our little imperfect ways. and that tradition has been passed on to my family. We decorate as a family. BUT... i was recently talking to some ladies who might possibly we reading this cause they only stalk your blog and don't comment ;0) They were saying how there mom always decorated the tree. and it was never even a thought that the kids would dare touch it.She said she remembers just standing in awe at this beautiful tree her mother created! soooo just curious... is this a JESSICA tree? Or a family tree?"

Good question, CrystalD! I was raised in a house where we all participated (we being Daddy and the kids, whichever kids were small enough or non-social enough or back in the house post-divorce or job loss). Daddy had a lassez-faire method for decorating trees. He'd start with purchasing the largest tree available on the market. Most of our houses had 10 ft ceilings, so 8 feet tall would be the very minimum, and if he could find one that poked the roof or bent over a little, even better.

Then, he would get massive strands of multicolored lights, the kind that had 7 different blinking patterns, and he'd lay those on thick. Then, some garland. Like, red and silver garland all the way up. Then, ornaments. We had all kinds of ornaments, mostly clay ones we made ourselves- I remember a big Santa head, and a Mickey Mouse, and a blue kinda oval with Peace On Earth painted on it... and then a couple classy ones Mama snuck in while nobody was looking.

Every 5 years or so, Mama would try to stage a mutiny and have a classy tree, but it never worked out. So, yeah, the clay ornaments and then various balls and Santas and angels, etc. Then, to finish off the Vegas tree, we'd dig deep into the silver tinsel and cover all surfaces. He wanted us to use a light hand with the tinsel, and by that I mean no clumps, just general all over domination and tinsel coverage. And a star on top, even if we had to duct-tape it.

Then, he might grab a glass of eggnog and a chunk of Sharp cheddar cheese and just sit back and enjoy the show.

I loved Daddy's trees. I mean, we did all participate. And if one of us had wanted to stick a GI Joe or a fruitcake or something in the branches, he would have been cool with that. As long as we did it before the tinsel.

I tried to keep up the traditions for years in my house, and it was pretty easy while we were youth pastors. One year, we had a Ninja Turtle theme on the tree. We didn't actually authorize it, and I am not positive where they came from. But there you go. After Daddy died, I felt an obligation to keep the color and the excitement in Christmas. After a couple of years, the urgency of doing it his way started to fade, and I realized I kinda liked white lights, and some matching ornaments, and a couple years more to accept that I wasn't crazy about tinsel. (May he not be reading this from heaven) I didn't get crazy like, all white and silver ornaments and china and such... just kinda like, okay, jewel tones, or something like that.

That was a long explanation to get to this one point. I do have an idea in mind for what the final product should look like, and this is the first year that any little people have even tried to help. So I let them, with a little direction. For example.... "Now, we can't hang all the ornaments on that one branch... maybe we could put one over here? No? Okay."

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

When I last left you, 35 seconds ago, I had made glancing reference to a plan to buy a Christmas tree. Now, I don't know if you're new to this blog, but I am a cheery Christmas elf, and I would start celebrating in September, except years ago, I was restrained by force. Put the phone down, I was actually only restrained by a request, because I am so submissive like that. Anyways, the MOG requested strongly that I not play Christmas songs prior to December the 1st. That worked for a couple of years, until KSBJ started playing Christmas music the day after Thanksgiving. Then I could be all like, "What? I'm just listening to the radio... are they playing Sleigh Ride? Over and over and over again? Huh. Go figure."

Anyways, what I am getting at here is that my husband, while a big BIG fan of Christ, is not so much about Christmas. Or any holiday, really. So you take one cheery Christmas in September-celebrating elf and one Scrooge less celebratory figure, and its a bit of a struggle to get the ol' Christmas S. up and running.

I get decent participation on December 24th and 25th. The rest of the time I have to keep the harping up at a steady pace to get the tree decorated and a strand of lights here and there.

This year, I have a co-conspirator in Toby. He is stoked about Christmas music, and lights, and snowmen and pretty things and is well on his way to being my decorating partner for the next 18 years or so, until some female comes along and steals him from his mother who gave birth to him. Toby is helping to inspire the MOG and by next year I expect Bean to be fully on board and then we will finally get an 8 foot inflatable snowman. For now, I will wait until Himself comes home from his meeting and then I will decorate the tree while he stands around and recommends a different method.

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