Friday, February 29, 2008

I Heart Aidan Shaw

First, a confession. I watch Sex in the City. Okay. So that's not the whole of it. I am a Sex in the City fan. I know. That’s a shocker considering I’m a straight-laced Mormon girl who is small-town celibate and probably will be for years to come (ouch!). But I watch the reruns (edited, of course) on TBS and feel like Carrie Bradshaw is my best friend. Go ahead—roll your eyes. But can you blame me? I have no social life (no offense, guys. My virtual social life is booming but my real social life is on the skids).

And I love Aidan Shaw. LOVE. HIM. Would marry him if he were real. And liked me. Enough to propose.

For those of you who are unfamiliar—Carrie, amidst all her Mr. Big angst, dates Aidan Shaw twice. And breaks his heart twice. Each time she does I cry out (as if in slow motion), “NOOOOOOOOOOOOO.” And then, “Come to mama, Aidan …” (Leave it to me to crush on a fictional character…)

Tonight, after watching yet another episode where Aidan swoons over Carrie, I begin to Google and my visions of Aidan become somewhat cloudy.

I submit to you, exhibit A. John Corbett as Aidan Shaw.

Sexy, no? Not only is the man good looking, but he’s a carpenter with his own furniture store. He’s also compassionate and ready to commit. (Carrie Bradshaw, what’s wrong with you?).

But alas, the fantasy had to end sometime. I submit to you, exhibit B. John Corbett as country singer John Corbett (notice the sideburns).

Not too bad, I guess. It’s a little reminiscent of his initial Sex in the City debut. That and My Big Fat Greek Wedding, but I can handle it.

But then I had to stumble on exhibit C. John Corbett as John Corbett looking like Johnny Cash.

I have nothing against Johnny Cash, but Aidan? Where did you go?

Curse you, Google!

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Sunday Musings, Hosted by Leah Belknap

Those of you who read Up in the Night regularly (and I thank you for the volunteer effort) know that my daughter has some of her best moments in church. In fact, I like to call them her Sunday Musings.

This past Sunday was no different. Assigned to give a talk in sacrament meeting, I arrived about 20 minutes early, my rowdy crew in tow, so I could farm my children out to sit with different families before church started. We could hear the choir practicing in the chapel as I hung up Zack’s coat and the kids loitered in the foyer. At the precise moment the choir ended their song, Leah yelled at Kaleb, “I’m going to kick you in the penis!” The elderly woman walking past seemed to clutch her heart and stagger a bit. Two older boys stood by stupefied, waiting to see what I would do.

I whisked my children into the hallway where I told Leah that “penis” was not a very reverent word; I also told Kaleb that whatever he had done to provoke the threat couldn’t have been much better.

Sadly, this isn’t the first time I’ve questioned our decision to teach our children the anatomically correct words for their privates.

“I’m going to kick you in the weenie” would've been better.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Big Boy Pants

Some of you may recall that I’ve tried training him 5 times already; one of the “sessions” I detail here. Some of you may recall my complaints of failure; one of which I detail here. So it seems appropriate that I publicly announce that my youngest offspring, Zackary William Belknap, has officially been potty-trained, and it took place in one day.

Please, people, hold your applause. The kid is four months shy of his fourth birthday and most potty-training over-achievers are diaperless by two. This kid was determined to do this on his own schedule, taking control of this one thing, regardless of all surrounding him that remained out of control.

You know what? I take that back. Stand up! Give the kid a hearty round!

And then, one day (Friday, February 22nd to be exact), he announced, “I want to wear underpants.”

What? I shook my head a bit.

For a couple months now I had been asking him if he wanted to wear underpants. Daily. This day I had forgotten. Wow. “You want to wear underpants?” I asked, just to be sure I had understood.

“Yes,” he said. “Lightening McQueen underpants.”

Comin’ right up!

And he hasn’t had one single pee-pee accident since (poo remains a mystery, the Poo-Poo Puzzle, as I like to call it).

He’s now obsessed with everything potty related. He announces to complete strangers:

“I’m wearing Happy Feet underpants.”

And to my friend the other day, “I went poop on daddy’s floor.”

And in a crowded grocery aisle (using his outdoor voice), “I HAVE TO GO PEE!” As if inviting people to follow us to the restroom and watch this grand achievement.
Yes, the boy can be trained.

Opps. I amend that. The boy can train himself.

Bravo, my big boy. Bravo!

An Introspective Meme

The Prairie Preacher has tagged me with this interesting meme. My Own Woman created it and these are her instructions:

1. List ONE desire that you have if you could live in a perfect world.

2. Then send a link to ONE person who will then copy your desire and add ONE desire of his own that he/she would want in his/her perfect world.

3. He/She will then link ONE person who will add his/her perfect world item.....and on and on. Make sure you leave the name of the person you linked to everyone can see who you linked and what the perfect world will contain."

Because this meme hasn’t gone too far yet, I thought I’d include all participants’ descriptions of their perfect world.

"In My Own Woman's perfect world people of all sexes, creeds, race, and sexual orientation would live in perfect harmony with each other. Hate crimes against such people would be a note in a history book so as not to be repeated. "

We love Shawn, the Prairie Preacher, and here’s what he added:

“In The Prairie Preacher's perfect world, I would definitely and absolutely affirm what My Own Woman has offered ... but I would add as my one desire that instead of easily speaking words like respect, care, faith, love and so on, EVERYONE would live out those words through their actions ... if we claim to be a person of faith, our lives will reflect that faith in ALL things ... or if we join a service club with a code of ethics or a value statement we don't just speak the words and ignore them, but we LIVE them with every action, and every breathe ... My desire in a perfect world would be to see ALL PEOPLE live the words they speak and no longer be so hypocritical."

Those really are perfect. And I would add:

In Up in the Night’s perfect world all people would look out for one another, performing small and large acts of service in efforts to make one another’s loads just a little lighter.

Now I tag Carrie at Fully-Caffeinated to discover what her perfect world entails.

By the way, I wanted to promote Gusogirls' Easter Swap! Sounds like it's going to be lots of fun, so join in!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Why I Suck at Love and Logic

For eight weeks now I’ve been taking this class based on the fairly popular series of books on Parenting with Love and Logic. Now I’ve gotta say, I like me some love and logic. Everything I’ve heard and read resonates with me and is thus far the best parenting approach I’ve encountered. Unfortunately, I suck at it.

Now you’re going to have to contact Professor Dewey about the particulars, but my limited understanding of love and logic goes something like this: enable your kids to be accountable for their choices and love them through each and every one (of course that’s the bare bones crib-notes version, but heh, I suck at it, remember?).

So tonight was my last class. Sadly, if today had been finals I would have failed (Sorry, Professor Dewey). And here’s why:

I asked my kids to do their chores. When Kaleb realized one of his chores was to clean his room, he wigged out. Now Kaleb, like his mother, is quick to wig. So I acknowledge that it’s probably a genetic weakness, but still. The room was a disaster and today was the day. Clean your stinkin’ room! But of course, THAT’S not love and logic. So I empathized (a crucial step) as he escalated and finally I sent him to his room. Professor Dewey calls that recovery. I call it step-away-from-the-angry-mama. He wigged squared—throwing things at his door, yelling his distain for me, and, I discovered later, drawing on a chair.

Finally I go upstairs and say what I believe I have been taught in class. “Don’t worry, Kaleb. I’ll take care of it.” (A phrase that I’m apparently conditioning my kids to recognize as meaning—“Be afraid. Be very, very afraid.”) Now if I had stopped there, Professor Dewey later informed me, I would have been spot on. But me, stop? Come on now! These lips are made for flappin’, and that’s just what they’ll do. I continued and said, “I’ll clean your room.” Even without love and logic my kids know what that means: Mama’s going to throw half your room away.

Here’s where I must interject and explain, with my limited understanding, consequences are very important in love and logic. But delaying them is even more important. While throwing away two Christmases worth of WalMart fodder is a stellar consequence, announcing it like that to my defiant and loving 6-year old is not the best approach. More wigging ensued.

Finally I arrange for his father to come fetch him and his siblings so I can “clean” the rooms in peace (because by this time there has been a mutiny and Leah has decided that cleaning her room is too burdensome a chore for one so faint of spirit). Two bags of donate-ables and one bag of garbage later I’m done. Now I’m not heartless. I haven’t tossed anything cherished or beloved. But I have gotten rid of all those sad, broken misfit toys that no one, I repeat -- no. one. -- has played with in months.

The children return. They go to their rooms. They cock their heads to one side. That’s funny, they think (because I’m their mother and can read their minds). I can tell stuff is gone, but I cannot name one thing that’s missing. Hhmmmm. More head cocking. Finally Kaleb, who has been fingering a bin of odds and ends says, “My teenage mutant ninja turtles are here. Thanks, Mom.”

Now if I had kept my mouth shut this debriefing of our love and logic experiment would have been spot on. But instead I said, “Except for the headless one.”

Oh no you di’n!

Oh, yes I did.

I opened my big ole mouth.

I’ll spare you the gory details. Needless to say much more wailing and wigging ensued with Kaleb begging me to retrieve the headless turtle and Leah petitioning me to catalogue everything they had lost (because she still couldn’t determine one single missing item herself).

Phew. Parenting in the trenches. It’s days like these that leave me with just one thing to say:

At least I got a post out of it…

Thursday, February 21, 2008

The Soundtrack of My Life

I have decided there’s something that would make my life easier. And it doesn’t involve the lottery or prescription medication. I need a soundtrack.

Let me explain.

Would a romantic comedy “work” if it didn’t include a musical montage showing the couple falling in love? Can you imagine Rocky running up the steps of the Philadelphia Art Museum without his own personal serenade? And admit it, you’ve always wanted to burst into song and dance complete with your own chorus line reminiscent of Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, right?

A soundtrack would rock my world. Literally.

One of my most embarrassing moments involved me singing the Pointer Sisters’ “Jump” into a purple hairbrush. I was fourteen and dancing to the radio, full-blast, in front of our hallway mirror. I didn’t know my father had walked in until I saw his reflection. He was a self-disciplined man. And very kind. He didn’t laugh at me.

As a teenager I knew that music seemed to make everything easier. I’ve become an old fogey who can’t even find a good radio station. That’s why I need a magic soundtrack.

I can just imagine all the tasks in my life that would become more enjoyable if they came with audio. Like these:
I could have chiseled more ice from my roof if Vanilla himself had been performing in my backyard.

Grocery shopping with my three children would go better if accompanied by the Mission Impossible theme.

Trips to my lawyer’s office would have been less intimidating if Gloria Gaynor’s “I Will Survive” had been played in the lobby.

I would better endure the sibling rivalry in my home if it triggered Guns N’ Roses’ “Welcome to the Jungle.”

And chasing my naked three-year old down the street would be much easier to the theme song from Hawaii Five-O.

I’m feeling a sudden kinship with the iPod generation. I’m also thinking I need to get one for myself (along with a new purple hairbrush).

What's on your soundtrack?

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

The Anatomy of Divorce

My lawyer’s legal assistant called yesterday to tell me the divorce was final as of February 15th. A bittersweet milestone. Nothing to celebrate except perhaps a better chapter in all our lives.

After yesterday’s post I got an email from a concerned reader/friend wanting to know if my ex and I could work things out. I genuinely appreciate her interest in the well-being of my family. She’s someone who recognizes the tremendous impact a divorce can have on children and their parents. And I’d hate to think that anyone might mistakenly believe I have flippantly moved forward on this decision, taking marriage and the well-being of my children lightly.

So this is just a quick post to say none of the following reasons caused me to file for divorce:

· I was “unfulfilled” in my marriage
· We had “grown apart”
· I thought the grass was greener on the other side

Marriage is a beautiful, sacred thing. And at that point I reached the end of my post because I could explain no further. Thankfully, Carrie from Fully Caffeinated wrote a beautiful post on Tuesday that says everything I was unable to say here.

Sheesh. It’s time for me to start writing about vomit and poo again…

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Roof Update, #1

Last week’s epiphany coincided with the pity party I was having over (well, really “under”) my roof. Yes, I was in the middle of a divorce. Yes, my pipes had just burst the previous weekend. Yes, I was a little strapped for cash and just barely making ends meet. And yes, the roof fiasco was poorly timed. How much can I take, really? That’s what I kept asking myself. I was practically shaking my fist heavenward.

But then God shrugged. Get over yourself, Shauna. It’s a little leak; you can handle it. No, I don’t think God is mean enough to tell me to get over it. But I did feel a gentle nudge that came with a mild message: You’re tough. I know because I made you that way. And that was it. Pity party cancelled.

So I climbed to my rooftop and chiseled away at the ice dam. It’s now gone and the stain on my bathroom ceiling has stopped spreading. But my exaggerated response has taught me something about myself (Hallelujah! Does that mean I can stop getting this same lesson over and over again?).

I am no Chicken Little. Maybe the sky will fall someday, but I will not preoccupy myself with whether or not it’s tilting.

While I won’t share the details of my marriage and how it ended, I will say that I decided to be miserable. I felt completely justified in that choice and in so doing surrendered my power. Sometimes it’s easier to be the victim, but when I took on that role I also became an observer rather than an active participant in my own life. I watched my marriage tilt precariously, contributing to its demise.

It may sound odd, but filing for divorce was my attempt to right that balance. I was taking the helm of my life again, deciding what it would look like rather than begging for a new and improved landscape. There’s power in that. And choice and accountability.

So I’m forging forward having decided that there are worse things than a leaky roof or a humble checking account. Life will sort itself out. And while it does, I will be here, smack dab in the middle of it.

Monday, February 18, 2008

When Children Hijack Technology

This weekend Kaleb added his thoughts to an article I was typing in Word.

"Kaleb puld hes toth owt."

For those of you unfamiliar with first-grade phonetics, that would be: "Kaleb pulled his tooth out." (He's incredibly obsessed with loosing his teeth). And to answer that question: No, he has not (yet) successfully extracted another tooth.

In other news, Zack hijacked my digital camera on Saturday night, taking roughly 35 pictures. Here's a glimpse into what I like to call the BlairZack Project:

A budding photographer, no?

[By the way, Kaleb's pink tongue is courtesy of his teacher's Valentine: a tooth-care kit which includes a tablet designed to determine where kids still need to brush. Hence the pink residue on his tongue...]

So now you know two more things about us:

  1. We've paid a pretty penny for Kaleb's dental work.
  2. We all need therapy (Okay. So maybe you already knew this one...)

Friday, February 15, 2008

6 Days Sober and Counting

I don’t think I knew how addicted I was until I quit (and I’m using the word “quit” loosely—you know, the whole “counting chickens” thing).

Last weekend I ran out of Diet Coke, and because I refuse to break the Sabbath to purchase my caffeine juice, I went to bed with a migraine starter. Two hours and one bucket o’vomit later I was sound asleep, on the tail-end of a prayer vowing never to drink again (you know, Diet Coke).

But that wouldn’t be my last fit of withdrawals. Wednesday morning, a whole 4 days sober, I woke up with yet another head-splitting migraine. I realized that if I was THAT addicted that two detox migraines were necessary, it was time to leave the Diet Coke behind. For good. (loosely speaking, of course)

And this morning my body demonstrated just how close I am to falling off the wagon (is it "off" or "on"? I’ve never known…).

I craved me a soda, fully-leaded. But remembering my last migraine I got a Diet Sprite with lime instead. As soon as that carbonation hit my throat the back of my head started to throb. It was as if my capillaries were screaming, “SHAUNA, you FOOL! That’s not what we want. WE WANT THE DARK COLA!” Amazed that my body wasn’t falling for the bait and switch, I stepped away from the Sprite.

So it’s official. I’m currently 6 days sober and counting.


Saturday, February 09, 2008

An Open Letter to Mother Nature

Generally I appreciate a woman with your spunk, but, Mother (if I can call you that), it’s time to give it up. From one woman who knows bitter, I’m not afraid to tell you, you’ve got a chip on your shoulder the size of the ice dams on my roof. Did somebody hurt you in a past season? Because I believe the gracious citizens of this fine state prefer you key a car or TP a house than continue with this icy behavior. You know what I’m saying?

And it’s not just me that’s noticed. There are the overworked snowplow guys. The mail carriers. And that poor girl down the street that walks to school. And did you know—it’s nearly impossible to buy a snow shovel. This is Idaho. We’re out of snow shovels in Idaho!

So on behalf of the entire state I’m leading your intervention. Winter must end. Enough with the subzero temperatures, and the school cancellations, and the one-two punch. It’s time another season got some press.

And although I’m not the only one you’ve assaulted, I’m registering my personal complaints, because, well, this is my letter. You’ve busted my pipes, compromised my metal roof joints, and left water stains on my bathroom ceiling. You should pay for that. And I don’t even want to know what will happen when it all starts melting.

I’ll be the first to suggest, Mother Nature, you need a timeout. Take a break. Go visit Bermuda, Bahama. Come on, pretty mama. Anywhere but here. We all need a need a little distance, and I’m guessing no one would complain if you gifted us with some mild weather in your absence. Boring weather. A slight chance of precipitation. Partly cloudy. Possible winds. You get my drift?

It’s time for you to go now. And don’t worry. We’re not banishing you forever. We really like winter. The chill, the snow flakes, the holiday festivities. It’s all good. Just don’t be so severe next year.

So we’ll see you next season, okay?

B-bye now. (And don’t forget to take that cold front with you.)

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

On Sabbatical

Okay, so maybe it's not that bad; I might not be gone that long. But I recently discovered leaks in my roof which are causing me stress (something about ice dams compromising metal roof joints. Who da'thunk?). And stress is really not the word for it. Heart failure, maybe? Despair? Tunnel-vision where I've yet to see the light? I'm not sure. But right now it's all I can muster to make a living and take care of my children (Last night that I-am-mamma-so-everything-will-be-okay-because-I-can-manage-it facade slipped from my face and I began to cry. It was a weep-fest and we all cried together. --I'm still feeling guilty for letting my children in on that little secret--I CANNOT manage it all).

Whatever doesn't kill you, right?