I Wish I Were an...

So, Bonnie and I went to lunch today.  She works at the school near us (same school she attended), and so I get to see her most days, either before, during, or after work.  Or all of the above.  We went to Fazoli's, ordered the same thing, texted the same person repeatedly through the meal, and laughed a lot.

In some ways, I think Bonnie got the best of my mothering years.  I had more time alone with her than I did with the others.  To me, it seems logical that she would have gotten the least time, but it didn't turn out that way.  Kyle only had sixteen months to be the "only child" before Kacy came along, and neither Kacy nor Brad was ever the "only."  But Bonnie had quite a bit of time after everyone else moved out, and I think that's why we have this weird, crazy bond.  We already know what the other person is thinking, usually, and sometimes we start laughing before it even gets said.

We often do this thing where one person starts something, and the other person is contractually and morally obligated to finish it.  In our family, that's called "answering the pepperoni."  It comes from a scene in The Epic Classic Television Drama "Gilmore Girls."  The scene went something like this... Daughter Rory's boyfriend was having a conversation with mother Lorelai's boyfriend about how to get along best with the girls.  Dean said something like, "If you're having pizza with them, and Lorelai decides that the pepperoni is mad at the mushrooms because the mushrooms have an attitude, and she holds up the pepperoni and it asks for your opinion, don't just laugh.  Answer the pepperoni."  It just means "always go along with the bit."  In our family, not answering the pepperoni is a borderline mortal sin.  Go along with the bit.  Just do it.

Right now, I'm not even sure why I brought that up.  Hmmm, where was I going with that?  I guess I was just gonna say that Bonnie can always be trusted to answer the pepperoni, and it means that we spend a LOT of time laughing, because life is a "bit."  There's always something funny.  Always.

So today, there we were.  We'd had lunch, and then on the way back to the school, my car decided to have an odor.  At first I imagined it to be an "I need oil" (which we pronounce "earl"... because life is a bit) sort of smell, and we called Dennis.  Why, you ask?  Because that's what we do.  Bonnie called her dad, who was at the gym (where we were headed), and told him of our dilemma.  We got back to the school, texted him that we were outside, and then we sat in the car and chatted while waiting for him to show up.  I really don't know what we were doing... we just weren't done being together yet, and the whole "car odor" was just a pretext for hanging out a little longer.  Bonnie opened her door, glanced under the car, and noticed that there was drippage, which we already knew to be condensation from the AC, but still... it might have been a problem.  Ya never know.  She's a good car-problem-diagnoser, obviously.

So eventually, Dennis came out, and while he was walking toward us, we discussed whether or not there was any creature on earth that walked slower than he does sometimes.  I told her that I once saw a sloth go flying past him.  By then, he was in earshot, so we changed the subject.  Neither one of us had so much as budged from our positions in the front seats, mind you.  I did pop the hood opener thingie for him, though... with my foot.  Then we discussed whether or not my toenail was cut crooked.  Bonnie thinks no; I think yes.  Dennis checked the oil (the earl) and it was fine.  Then he said I needed some antifreeze, and at that precise moment, I realized it wasn't an "I need oil" odor, it was a "I'm a hot car" odor.  Dennis said he would add some antifreeze tonight, and I said that I'd try not to let it freeze in the meantime.  He said, "Antifreeze helps with the heat, too..." and Bonnie and I looked at each other and snickered, because of course I was being a smarty-butt.  Then I told her a story that is much too personal to share here, but trust me, it was stinking funny.  Dennis went in to get some water to add to the car's water thingie (I have no idea), and still, we hadn't moved.

So that was when Bonnie laid it on me:  I hadn't blogged in a few days, and this is unacceptable.  Oh dear.  So we discussed some things to blog about.  It was decided that I should tell The Wiener Story.  And no, it has nothing to do with Anthony.

(Troubling side-note:  I always want to spell "wiener" like "weiner."  It's a very commonly misspelled word, and I do not like to misspell.  So, just now, to be sure, I Googled weiner.  Big mistake.  Whoa.  But, I did find that it's for sure spelled "wiener."  It comes from the word "Vienna," so I hope this helps you with your wiener-spelling in the future.)

Anyway... The Wiener Story.

So there we were, driving over to Bucky's to get a pop.  That was when we heard harp music, the clouds parted, and a beam of sunlight shone over on the HyVee parking lot.  And what did we see, you might ask??  We saw The Oscar Meyer Wienermobile.  It was like a dream come true, a vision from heaven.  Admit it, you would love to just happen to see the Wienermobile on your daily travels.  I mean, who wouldn't?!?

Bonnie yelled for me to pull over, and so I veered across several (or one) lane of traffic to make our pilgrimage to the holiest of all vehicles.  She kept saying, "I need to hug The Wiener!  I need to hug the Wiener!"  We whipped into a parking space, and leapt out.  Well, she leapt, I sort of rumbled.  There were two Wiener Attendants squatting in front of The Wiener self-taking pictures of themselves.  Bonnie ran over and said, "Can I hug your Wiener??"  They were a bit confused, I guess, and said, "We don't have any hot dogs... we only have whistles."  (Huh??)  And Bonnie said, "No, can I HUG.  YOUR.  WIENER?" and pointed at it.  They said, "Oh... sure."  And she hugged that Wiener.  And I took her picture.  I hugged it too, and we admired it for a bit.  Then they gave us Wiener Whistles.  (It just occurred to me that perhaps The Wiener Attendants thought we were strange.  Well, THEY were the ones self-taking pictures of themselves with it.  Pffft.)

To this day, that Wiener Whistle on a stretchy string, dangling from my rear-view mirror.  Somehow, it became a "bit" that whenever we go through a yellow light, someone yells, "Blow the whistle!" (or something like that) and the other person has to blow the whistle.  Life is a bit, ya know.

So, that is The Wiener Story, subtitled "One of the Best Days of My Life."

Happy Accidents

Today is my girl's birthday.  (Well, by the time I get this posted, it will be yesterday.)  Kacy Rae was born on Wednesday, July 24, 1985, in Escondido, California.  She was 7 pounds, 12 ounces of perfection.  For some reason, I thought I was destined to have all boys, so her lack of "equipment" was a big surprise to me.

Of course, there are no "bad babies," but Kacy was just SUCH a good baby.  She was sweet and happy and precious... people just couldn't help but smile at her and tell us how cute she was.  She stayed tiny for a long time.  In fact, she only weighed 14 pounds, 9 ounces on her first birthday, so it was odd to see her walking.  Her huge, dark eyes just drew you in.  She so easily could have manipulated everyone, but she was so sweet.  When other kids would take a toy from her, she would just move to something else... I had to actually encourage her to stand up for herself.  That spirit stayed with her, and she grew into a sweet, giving woman.

But before I fast forward to that, I have to admit something.  Kacy was not "planned."  When I became pregnant with her, Kyle was seven months old, Dennis was out of work, and we were uninsured.  We had purchased our first home before the "unemployed thing" happened, and we were struggling.  In fact, when I first realized I was "late," I didn't even tell Dennis.  I figured I had my dates mixed up or something, and my first thoughts were not giddy-happy-baby thoughts, I'm ashamed to say.  I don't think I prayed one way or the other, but in my arrogance, I probably suggested to God that this wasn't the right time for a second child.  Right now, that very thought sickens me.

But over the next few days, I guess God softened my heart.  Without being too graphic... every woman who has ever wondered if she could be pregnant knows what I'm talking about... but every time I'd go to the bathroom, it was about "checking."  And within about 24 hours, each "check" resulted in a sigh of relief, rather than a groan of dread.  By the time I told Dennis, and took a pregnancy test, I was so happy about this child.

I just can't imagine my life without her.  In fact, I can't imagine any member of our family without Kacy's influence.  She was Kyle and Brad's strongest supporter, and honestly, most of the good in Bonnie comes from Kacy.  Anyone she loves, she loves thoroughly... her Daddy, her cousins, her aunts and uncles, her grandparents and great grandparents.  I can't even start to mention her relationship with my Mom without fighting tears.  She is tenderhearted and funny and kind... she is a far better person than I am, and sometimes I'm baffled as to how that happened.  I admire her in so many ways.

So, fast forward a few years.  She met her Arick just before her senior year of high school.  She had already decided she was going to attend Nebraska Christian College, and that's where he was attending.  It was fairly soon that we realized that this was probably "the one."  If she could have skipped her senior year of high school, she would have, in a heartbeat.  That year was rough, but she survived, and then off to college she went, 2 hours from home. At Christmastime, Kacy and Arick were engaged... she was 18 years old.  Wow.  Yes, she was young, but we felt like the most important thing was that she made the right choice, and it was obvious that Arick was the right choice.  So, she turned 19 on July 24, and was married a week later.  

Around her birthday that year, I wrote a little poem about her.  I suppose I was just feeling all the emotion of wedding-planning, and everything it entails, but I had really been reflecting on how much joy she brought me, and how we hadn't exactly been planning for that joy when she was conceived.  Somehow, I cannot find the completed poem (Kacy has it somewhere, but couldn't put her hands on it today when I asked), but I do have my hand-written "rough draft" right here.  So, I'll close with the poem (and hope to edit this post to include the real final draft later), and I hope you all remember that sometimes the best things that happen to you are happy accidents.

Happy Accident
by Susan South

The stick was blue
A baby was due
This is certainly not what we'd planned.

One babe in the fold
Just seven months old
How could we face the demand?

Attitude change
So much to arrange,
And that belly just grew and grew.

Though work was scarce
And the mortgage was fierce
In July, she made her debut.

Our tiny surprise,
With huge hazel eyes
Is Mommy and Daddy's pride.

Diapers and toys 
Turn to dating and boys
In a heartbeat, my baby's a bride.

She found him so soon,
Her affable groom,
Their happiness told the tale.

Focused above,
Sharing laughter and love,
Now her face is beneath a white veil.

Hazel eyes glowing,
While Mommy is knowing
Childhood's moments are spent.

My girl, you can bet,
Not a single regret,
For the happiest accident.

If we'd got what we'd wanted,
Our lives, perhaps haunted,
Might have been so cheerless and bland.

But the stick turned blue,
And the baby was due,
She's exactly what God had planned.

I love you, my Schwummy-girl!

California, There I Went...

I just got back from a trip to California to see my Dad.  The extended family is trying to make it an annual thing, to be there over the Fourth of July holiday, or in that general time frame.  My brother, Scott, and wife, Wynette, were there almost the whole time we were there, and brother Steve and wife Jill were there for about three days overlapping with us.  My husby, Dennis, couldn’t go, unfortunately, due to work commitments. 

Of my kids, only Kacy (and husband Arick) and Brad (and girlfriend Jen) could go.  And of course, along with Kacy and Arick came my Little Bit, Mister Mason, one and only (so far) grandchild.  Woo hoo!!  I was just so excited to experience Mason’s “beach firsts” along with him.  I sort of like him.

Highlights of the trip:
--Singing Mason to sleep on the second flight.  His favorite in my repertoire is “Hush Little Baby,” but I also did “For Baby” (yes, the old John Denver song… it was his Mommy’s favorite, too), “In the Garden,” “As the Deer,” and “Day is Done.”  I love the way he watches me so intently, totally relaxed, but won’t fall asleep until I stop looking at him while I sing.
--Days on the beach.  The first day, most of us ended up at the beach at the end of Grand Avenue.  (I never know if that’s Pismo or Grover, so we just say “End of Grand.”)  Steve, Jill, Wynette, Dad, Kacy, Arick, Brad, Jen, Mason and I had a blast.  I thought Mason might be a little afraid of the water, but the waves were breaking pretty far out, and the water wasn't rough at all.  He ran straight in, even though it was colllllddddd.  The movement of the water seemed to confuse his walking skills a little (he’s only been walking for about 6 months, after all), but there was always someone there to help him stand.  Another day, we went to Pismo (by the pier), and another day we went to the Dino Caves.  There were other shorter times at the beach, of course, but those were my favorite.
--Watching Mason and Noah together.   My youngest nephew, Zach, and wife Heidi traveled all the way from Missouri, by car.  Their baby, Noah, is 10 months old, and a little butterball of cuteness.  He outweighs Mason, who is almost 18 months old, but regardless, is still in that littler-baby, crawling stage.  So, so, so, so cute.  He and Mason just hit it off, of course.  I loved watching my brother (Scott) be a grandpa, and sitting with Wynette with our grandbabies.  It brought back wonderful memories times in the past when we’d sit together with our own babies on our knees.
--A fun afternoon in San Luis.  Downtown San Luis Obispo is a great place to walk, shop, browse… and we did it all. 
--Dogs, dogs, dogs!  Molly (Dad’s Pomeranian) is queen of the castle, of course, but she (mostly) welcomed Scott and Wynette’s three Chihuahuas, Sweet Pea, Merle and Jasmine.  None of them was quite sure about Ozzie, Adam and Melody’s Australian Cattle Dog.  It was junior high all over again, with all the little dogs ganging up on poor Ozzie.  Lots and lots of barking and yapping was heard.
--Tour of Hollywood:  The day we arrived in LA, it was early enough that we had some tourist time.  We rented the car for the week, and headed to Hollywood Blvd.  We ate lunch at California Pizza Kitchen, with the legendary Hollywood sign in sight.  We sat on the patio and watched all the “freaks and geeks” walk by.  Best people-watching place ever.  We wandered around, saw the stars in the sidewalk on the “Walk of Fame,” saw the set-up for a movie premiere, saw the creepiest Michael Jackson impersonator ever (let’s just say he really did look like MJ), and took a lot of pictures.  We got back in the car, and drove up Sunset Blvd, seeing all the sights along the way.  Then we hopped on the freeway and headed up to Dad’s.  Great day.
--Other highlights:  Fireworks.  Fro-yo.  Quirkle.  Sunsets.  Hot-tubbing.  Getting felt up by TSA.  Watching the Casey Anthony verdict (don’t get me started).  Church at Oak Park.  Sharing a room with four others.  Jen’s sleep-talking.  Old Juan’s.  Watching my brothers and sisters-in-love meet Mason.

Ten days of fun with family… hard to beat that.  There were only two negatives, for me.  One, we had some delays on our flights home, but we were thankful that we didn’t end up spending the night on the airport floor.  Two, I had a bit of a meltdown when I first walked into Dad’s house.  Mom’s been gone for two years, but somewhere deep inside, I still expect her to be standing there at the door waiting for me.  I’ll just have to wait for Heaven, where I know she’s standing at the door (probably shoving poor Peter out of the way) waiting for me.  
Great-Grandpa with Noah and Mason
I know I said I’m a “story-teller” in my initial blog post, and that this blog is sadly lacking in actual stories.  This is why I have to blog quickly after events.  Otherwise, I get very boring.  Sigh.

Arick said something that, for me, summed up the whole trip, and I shall close with it.  There we were, gathered around the table, being loud and hilarious, all 14 of us.  Arick:  “How do we not have our own reality show?!?”

(All pictures in this post were taken by Kacy)

The Time Has Come.... to Blog.

It seems that when someone starts to blog, the first post is always all about why they decided to blog.  I really ought to be more original that that, but...

I'm going to blog, because my youngest daughter, Bonnie, said I must.  If this whole thing is a bust, blame her.  But if it's awesome, credit me.  Actually, today we had lunch at Buffalo Wild Wings, and she presented the whole idea as if it was something she'd been thinking about.  It wasn't just a random, throwaway comment.  She started out with, "Mom.  You know how you have to write a book?"  (This is something my family, especially my husby, has been saying for years, yet I haven't agreed to do it.)  

So, here I am, blogging.

I do tend to be a "story teller."  Some might say I just plain talk too much.  (Actually, more than "some" would say that.)  But I can usually make a story out of even the most every day things.  I like to start my stories with the phrase, "So there we were..."  We'll see how that works out, in blog form.

OK, that is enough about "why I'm blogging," and all that blah blah blah.  The next one will be a real post.