remember that time? you know. . . the one when my friend from work came over? and she brought her precious little girl so we could cook dinner for our kids and let them watch a movie together? and anth had just gotten his new pumpkin carving kit for this year? (yes, like 45 weeks early, i know. he's like his mother.) and his friend wanted to see his pumpkin carving kit, which was still perfectly wrapped and unopened? and because it was new, and therefore precious to him, he didn't want to share? and i was thinking, the darn thing is still in it's packaging, so what harm could it be? so, i, trying to be helpful, told him, in front of his sweet female friend, "oh my goodness anthony. would you please just let her touch your package?" and my friend and i started laughing? and i was laughing so hard that i was crying? and poor anthony and his friend didn't understand what was funny? and, worse, didn't understand why we wouldn't tell them what was hilarious? yes, that time. that was awesome. it was a proud moment for me.
i tell you, someone out there really needs to start writing my Parent of the Year recommendation letter. i'm full of gems like this.
i randomly mention friends here and there on my blog. my old college roommate, fellow res life community programmer, current creative writing faculty member and fellow mom, joy, is one of them. she shows up here, in this post aboutanthony suggesting i'm a senior citizen. or this one, about my bookaholicism. and there are plenty of others as well. well, to me she is joyOUS! i am krysTYNE! these are both pronounced as they are spelled. and they are best delivered loudly from more than 15 feet apart. in college, we took many of the same courses as English majors. and, we had a few faculty members, our Dante professor in particular, who would mix us up in class. now, joy and I did have a freakish tendency to wear similar outfits to class. and we both had a ill-formed love of overalls. and plaid. but I would generally think the fact that she was blonde and I a brunette would be a good identifier.
here is a picture of us outside of our Newport Beach apartment. yes, i know, rough life.
here is a postcard with our beach house in it. i was fresh out of college, working for Verizon Wireless, and living with joy and three other English and Theatre majors. so many stories. :) we lived in the top floor in front of the ones with the little people in the rental buggy. to put it in perspective, joy and i are sitting on the wall that they are driving past in the picture above this one. i fell asleep at night with my window open, listening to the ocean. i love it there. i specifically remember floating out in the ocean once with joy, on boogie boards, and having a discussion about how lucky we were. how few people on this planet of ours were able to live on the coast like this. in summary, it was a good year.
sadly, the last time i saw joy in person was at her 2004 wedding. during the Ohio State v. Michigan football game. (yes, bern loves me enough to travel to Mississippi and miss the game.) clearly, the wedding was not the sad part. unless you consider being the 5-month pregnant bridesmaid sad. but i didn’t. she was the nice kind of bride who told us to go find a black dress that wasn’t too short or too long.
oh the belly those flowers were hiding. let it be known, i can actually say that I have re-worn that bridesmaid dress. this was the only maternity one i owned through both pregnancies. anyway. i am not good at keeping in touch with people after they are out of my direct line of sight. it does not come naturally to me. joy is one of the very few people on that rather short list.
recently, joy and i were emailing/facebooking and i suggested she start a blog. a few of my favorite people have blogs, and whenever they post, i feel like i talked to them that day. yes, i know. i didn’t REALLY talk to them. and largely, this is exactly what we encourage students NOT to do. to, in fact, go out and talk to people face to face. but, often, the day is filled with work, then a frantic attempt to make it to daycare on time, followed by Krystyne Attempts to Make A Wholesome Dinner That Is Neither Kraft Mac n' Cheese nor Chicken Nuggets, followed by baths, followed by reading, followed by cleaning, etc. at the end of a long day when I just couldn’t call, these little blog snippets give me a 30 second peek into my friends’ heads. or their failed attempt at no-bakingsomething.
now, I don’t usually specifically share their blogs, or devote an entire post to them. but this one is extra special to me. like i said, joy and i were English majors together and RAs and all of that undergrad goodness. i went on and made my career in helping people deal with their lives as they happen in the residential setting. joy made one of helping people learn how to put their lives on paper. joy is a writer. i find this infinitely cool and something to be respected. typically, when she has finished something or has it published, she zaps it my way or points me to the online journal hosting it. and, without fail, i stop what i am doing to read her recent essay. as in, last night, she sent me a message to say she had her blog up and running and that i should check it out. and, in the middle of painting my nails, i put down the brush and read through her shiny new essay that is up on the blog. (i have a smudge on my right pinky nail as evidence.) usually, after I read her essays, I forward them to my mom, a few friends, and a few colleagues who appreciate her writing as well.
but why save them up just for me? to check them out, simply visither site. now. yeah, that’s right. if you actually clicked on that link, you would see that the name of her blog is Joyous In Hell. it comes back to Dante, as she explains here. (she also shares her thoughts on us being confused by faculty in this post as well. haha.) it's like i'm famous. but then, totally not. to be honest, a lot of her writing is what some would consider dark. i just consider it genuine. but, yes, there is plenty of humor in there as well. i kind of picture us as the equivalent to Meredith and Christina on Grey’s Anatomy. willing to be “dark and twisty.” sans the scrubs, medical knowledge, and variety of other differences that probably don't need to be named. (but, we did both meet at work, and work with our husbands. so . . . there's that.) her newest essay is about her“jesus year.” but, there are also many of her other essays that i love up there as well. particularly, there are a few regarding her recent neighbor and pageant girl. these are some of my favorites.
now that bern is done with school, it is on my very short list of Things That Must Happen Sooner Rather Than Later to make a trip to see joy. and her little girl who has grown up on my fridge but I have never met in person. particularly because we have decided that this sweet girl is betrothed to my son. but, we haven’t really landed on which one. and i kind of feel like she should at least have her choice between the two.
(for those interested in the usual mysavvyboys antics, come back tomorrow. you might just get to see the love note that anth received last week that enforces my choice to pair the boys with joy's kids now.) (disclaimer: no, i am not serious and make no assumptions to the type of relationships anth and benny wish to pursue.)
(or, you might get to hear about the WORLD's MOST INAPPROPRIATE statement i made to anthony regarding my friend's daughter. in front of my friend. and her daughter.) (i'm having an awesome week.)
benny has decided he does not like potatoes. actually, he seems to have taken an actual political stance against potatoes. if you offered him, say, mashed potatoes, he would decline. just by virtue of the name.
this is hilarious to me, because ben loves french fries. i could judge him about this obvious oversight, if it weren't for the fact that, when i was slightly older than him, i was horrified to learn that french fries were not, in fact, bread. it's an odd gene to pass down, confusing potatoes for other forms of food, but inherit it he did.
anyway. ben does not like potatoes. ben loves french fries. ben also loves ice cream. ben especially loves shakes.
and, as of a week or two ago, ben now offically loves mashed potatoes. except he doesn't know this. because he thinks he is eating "french fry shakes." you can question my parenting. but you can't question my creativity.
in our house, the staircase is used as the time-out space. if the boys earned frequent staircase miles, they would be able to visit grandma and grandpa on the west coast by now. or at least have a highly respectable collection of magazines from their stray point collection.
anyway. the boys know that, when they have been asked to go to the staircase, they have officially gone beyond the limits of what we consider acceptable behavior. anth usually wanders over sullenly. ben protests, often extending his stay on the stairs, but eventually makes his way there. he tends to find great joy in shifting about the stairs. as long as he is somewhere between step 1 and 15, bern and i generally choose not to split hairs on that one.
recently, the sibling rivalry has ramped up a bit between the boys. there are two main reasons for this. the first is that anth's toys are becoming increasingly cooler to ben. the second is that they have learned how to antagonize one another via poking-but-not-necessarily-hitting maneuvers. as you might imagine, these tend to quickly escalate into i'm-not-so-much-poking-you-as-actually-hitting-you moments.
anth, being the rule-abiding peanut that he is, has also been trying to help benny understand the rules of the house. sometimes, perhaps too emphatically. bern and i have been trying to help him see himself as a coach for his little brother, rather than a disciplinarian.
recently, i was in the kitchen making dinner and the boys were playing in the family room. i heard a bit of a volume increase in their activity, so i popped out to see what was going on. i came out to find benny sitting happily on the couch, and anth sitting at the bottom of the stairs with his head in his hands. i went to ask him what happened and he looked up, and said, "i yelled at my brother. so i feel like i'm in trouble."
the kid put himself on the stairs. i let him decide how long he felt he needed to be there, and explained he didn't need to be so tough on himself. and that it was okay to just let mommy and daddy be the mommy and daddy. (and that he probably didn't need to find the nearest stairwell at school should he feel that he made an error in judgment in his new 1st grade classroom.)
yesterday, we finished moving this year's slew of Ohio State University students into the residence halls.
it was an exciting, and full, day.
as such, my brain feels kind of squishy and useless today.
thankfully, i loaded this last set of pictures from california over a month ago, so i have an easy post waiting to be used.
this is a good thing as coherent would not be a good way to describe me today.
hopefully, i will also make my mom happy, as she has been waiting a long time to see all of these pictures.
on our last full day in San Clemente, we decided to do something other than go to the beach.
largely because anth was pretty much over it.
and he was developing carpel tunnel syndrome from playing paddle ball.
so we decided to do something much better for his poor little wrist.
we thought we would give him an adult sized tennis racket and see how that worked out for him.
(actually, first we went to play a little bit of air hockey and the game with the little people on sticks who are playing faux football. or soccer. you know? the one i am too tired to remember the name of and too lazy right now to google so i don't sound like a moron? that one.)
ben was dead set on playing this game. as you can probably deduce from looking at the picture, he is not the best height for this game. this resulted in lots of frustration and a stick or two to the eye. that was when we decided on tennis.
ben was much happier with this choice. there was room to roam and, seemingly, no height requirements.
give or take the whole the-net-is-as-big-as-i-am factor.
he didn't let this get him down.
anth actually got to play tennis for a week at his summer sports camp back home, so he was excited to try out his new skills with Aunt Katie and Jeff.
aunt katie was excited to show my mom how to do . . . this. currently, katie is enjoying Bikram yoga. this basically involves doing yoga in a room that is heated to approximately 105 degrees. she tried to convince me to give it a try. i tried to remind her that, though we have not lived together for 16 years, i am still krystyne. an inherent function of being krystyne involves avoiding hot places and sweat. especially hot places where i will need to exert myself.
amidst the yoga lessons and ben running around playing a version of tennis that exists only in his mind, anth remained focused.
dad and anth played against katie and jeff, and later katie and my dad. the whole thing was pretty cute.
later, katie got my dad to give it a whirl.
dad's yoga lesson didn't last very long.
at some point, something happened. and ben reacted. i no longer remember what that something was. but that is usually how the story goes with my littlest man, so i feel pretty confident about this account.
i made the mistake of putting the camera down and bernie grabbed it. so, here is one shot to prove i was actually there that day. you can't see it, but ben is still crying here. note the look of parental concern on my face.
i still haven't finished putting up the four sets of photos i have from california.
i am such a slacker.
or my life is so exciting that i had even more fun things to post about.
interpret as you will.
actually, the boys have been up to all kinds of antics over the last week or so.
and anth has brought home some fabulous classwork i will share soon.
but, i have been involved in a variety of things this week at work that have included moving 50 heavy tables, operating a life size game of Yahtzee, handing out ridiculous amounts of magnets, wearing a fake mustache, unloading the cars of incoming residents, and talking to first year students about utilizing their strengths.
most of this has involved standing all day.
and, apparently, i am no longer cut out for . . . standing.
because i'm pooped.
so, a few lazy posts for you over the next few days as we work to move in our almost 11,000 OSU residents between now and Sunday.
captions feel like something i can manage tonight.
partway through our time in california, my sister Katie and her boyfriend Jeff flew out from Kauai to join us. i wish i could say that my pale self was a result of living in ohio. but that would make me a liar. i was just gifted with the irish skin in the family.
we immediately decided the best thing to do would be to put ben somewhere easy to monitor.
ben immediately did . . . this. i am not sure what "this" is.
katie and jeff always bring fun things from hawaii with them. i got some lovely smelling soaps and kona cookies, and we all shared some pineapple wine. she made the executive decision that the boys would probably prefer toys to coconuts and mangoes. she picked kites. this was a fantastic decision. especially for anth, who had decided he didn't enjoy the whole ocean part of the beach. and sandcastles require ocean water, so those were out. so, really, there was only so much paddle ball a person could play. kites were a welcome new adventure to him.
aunt katie mae & anth
back to paddle ball.
aunt katie and her beau jeff
more paddle ball.
not an exaggeration.
katie's boyfriend jeff is a surfer. who lives in kauai. after a full day with no surf board, he slummed it up with a boogie board just to get out in the water.
ben loves putting on his sunscreen.
i mean, just look at that. pure joy.
one of the few family shots we have from the trip. please excuse whatever it is that ben is doing. i promise he is just blocking out the sun.
my biggest savvy boy.
slightly awkward hand placement.
here is my fam. without me.
no, we did not plan these bathing suits.
ben told us he had "a widdle bit of sand in his shoe."
perhaps we should have stopped and helped him out a tad sooner.