My 4 year old likes to correct you

A while ago I noticed that when people begin sentences with the word “actually” it really kind of rubs me the wrong way…. especially when the sentence is directed toward me.  “Actually, yada yada yada.”  Internal harrumph and bristling. I can’t put my finger on why that would bother me.  A sentence directed toward me beginning with “Actually…” seems at best intended to get me to see something from another’s point of view and at worst, designed to correct me.

Recently my almost 4 year old started using the term “Actually.” I mean, it’s better than when he was using the F-word (“fudge”), but not as nice as when he says “yellow” (emphasis on a very proper L sound with a very round O sound). I suppose that it is mostly pretty innocent.

Me:  “Henry, would you like some milk?”
Him: “Actually, I would like some chocolate milk.”

Me:  “Would you like to go to the park now?”
Him: “Yeah. Wait, I wanna watch a movie. Wait, WAIT! Actually, I want to have a treat then watch a movie THEN go to the park!”

This morning he rewarded me with an “Actually” sentence I can get behind.
[Henry is climbing into the SUV]
Me:  “Bye Henry! Have a great day!  I love you!”
Him:  “Bye Mama!”
Him:  “Actually, I want to give you another kiss.”
[Me, shocked, squatting down by the door, arms open, huge grin on my face. Him, running from the car to me, cheeks sucked in and lips puckered.]
Me:  “I’m ready for you!!!”
[big kiss and hug]
Him: “Bye Mama, I love you!!”

I just want to extend this apology to the world that when you talk with Mr. Henry, he might correct you.  He’s just trying to get you to see things the way a four-year old sees them.

I love you too, Henry. Very, very much.


Things (I think) I know (maybe?) about John and Inez

The subject line is a little non-committal, I know. 3/21/2012 marks the 70th anniversary of my paternal grandparents, John and Inez.  Both Grandma and Grandpa were very present in my life, but due to momnesia or time or the nature of memory, they present themselves to me more in terms of feelings than in a more concrete way.

When I try to remember how she looked, I remember certain things quite clearly, but I can only remember Grandma one way, and that’s the way that she looked to me as I was growing up. And while I’m certainly not the authority on how she did her makeup or anything else, this is how she appears to me, through the lens of my youth and admiration.

To me, she had a halo of perfectly white hair that seemed to defy gravity. It was springy and I always enjoyed touching it and trying to flatten it, much to her chagrin. It seemed to me that there was this beautiful wave in it where all the curls were perfectly coiffed in a protective veil of Aquanet. Grandma had a cute country girl’s freckled nose and round cheeks and she dusted both lightly with powder.  I can never remember a wrinkle on her face, except those that crinkled at the corners of her eyes when she smiled.  She had beautiful hazel eyes, a mix of green and light brown and grey, with flecks of gold.  She penciled in her very light eyebrows and wore a shimmery charcoal eyeshadow. On her lips she wore a matte hot pink lipstick, tempered by several dabs with a tissue and multiple layers of powder.

She was not a glamorous woman in a ostentasious way, but I remember her with love, kindness and glamour. The woman who would do headstands on her birthday also had a wicked sense of humor, was at times sassy and, well, Grandpa used to complain about the callous on his stomach from her repeated slaps to his gut.

The way I remember Grandpa is a little more versatile.  I remember him when he grew out a beard and a stately handlebar mustache for his town’s anniversary, but I also remember him smoothly shaven. He always had a full head of shiny white hair that he kept looking quite dapper. He had cool eyes and a nose that hooked down a bit. He was slender and fit but developed a rounding of his upper back in later years. He was handsome and looked the way you’d expect a respectable gentleman to look.

That’s my visual memory of Grandma and Grandpa, but they come into focus for me more in the feeling they evoke when I think about them. Good feelings. They loved God and their family and each other so much, it just showed. Even as a teenager, they were fun to be around and my bestie, Heather, and I would go to their house in the summertime some evenings to play euchre or dominoes.

As their grandchild, with a generation between us and my youthful idealism, it all seemed so uncomplicated.  Since then I’ve learned that what John and Inez made look easy requires not only the obvious things (love, commitment, common beliefs) but also work. When you love your work, you do it freely with passion and exuberance, even though it still requires effort. Though some of the details are fuzzy for me, their love for each other is crystal clear.

So Happy Anniversary, Grandma and Grandpa! We love you!

Inspiration for your Monday

If you’re having a rough start to the week, if you’ve ever felt low, if you’ve ever thought you’ve had a tough day or a tough road or a tough year… I encourage you to to read a post of a friend of mine. She is pregnant with her third child, her second child just turned two and her first child, who is preschool-aged, is battling a rare disease and has recently had complications from a bone marrow transplant. Her writing and her God-centeredness are powerful, raw, real, and inspiring. From her blog, Like Olive Shoots:
Journal Entry #3: Truths That I’ve Learned the Hard Way.

Welcome to Shamrock Shake Season

We celebrated March 17 with our first walk to Kowalski’s for coffee and green sprinkles (donuts). Frank and I abstained from the sprinkles and Henry abstained from the coffee and Frederick abstained from just about everything.

He’s been running a little temp and has a little cold and has been generally a little cranky. Maybe teething? How many times have I posted that question?

The weather has been ridiculously, unseasonably warm. It’s about 75 degrees F (23.9 degrees Celcius) right now!  Kind of crazy for St. Patrick’s Day. If I were in college, or grad school or at any other time in my life when I could be assured the rest to recover from a hangover, I would say such temperate weather would definitely call for a bar visit of some sort. Alas, we enjoyed spinach greens on the deck at home rather than green beer on a rooftop.

I suppose I could scratch my itch for Irish indulgences in another way:  Did someone say SHAMROCK SHAKE?????  I’m not sure I know anyone who looks forward to shamrock shake season (aka “spring”) quite as much as I do.  Spring is full of little indulgences that seem to up-end any sort of efforts around weight loss: the VFW Friday night Fish Fry; the Lion’s Club Annual Pancake Breakfast; weather that makes a beer sound pretty darn good. Shamrock shakes are but one exit off the Weightloss Highway; there are many other exits that will take you to Big Gut Junction.  Some of those roads I know quite well. I don’t think of myself as a huge fast food fanatic, but I do like the occasional hamburger and I am ashamed to admit that I have no will when it comes to the power of the Shamrock shake. The new McDonald’s commercial that is running for the Shamrock shake is a pretty good illustration of the taboo. It really drives home the point that a Shamrock shake is a guilty pleasure and one that might suitably be enjoyed in secret. Two haiku in honor of the Shamrock Shake:

Cool and minty green
Sweet spring perfection is the
Shamrock shake to me.

A minty first kiss
Her yearly longing fulfilled
Shamrock shake affair.

Smells like flowers


So my DH (dear husband) noticed that the air freshener in the bathroom was empty and he rummaged through the junk drawer until he came up with a refill. I asked him if it was the same scent and he said yes, without even looking. So I asked again and the cycle repeated. Ohhh-kaaayyyy… With a tad more emotion I yelled into the bathroom a third time, “is that refill, in fact, the same scent as the one in there previously?” With an equal amount of emotion DH responded, “Yes! That one was a ‘Wallflower’ and THIS one is a ‘Wallflower.'” I responded, that no, my dear, that’s the brand and one must actually open and sniff the refill.  His reponse was “huh, guess they haven’t male-proofed these yet.” Classic.