Monday, November 24, 2014

Salary vs Celery

One crisp, fall afternoon, we hopped into the car and took a spontaneous trip out to a lake.  We had never taken the boys to this particular lake.  In fact, the only person familiar with this lake was my husband.  He had worked at a couple of business in the town beside the lake when he was in his early twenties. 

The trip was short as we exited from the freeway and turned south toward the lake.  On the main strip, my husband pointed to local landmarks.  Then, we passed his former place of employment.  My husband smiled nostalgically.  "Hey, Son.  That's where I worked when I was young."

"You did?"  Son #1 said as he peered out of the car window.  "What did you do there?"

"I was the manager."  My husband said proudly.

"You were?"  Son #1 said in surprise.

"Yes."  My husband replied.  "I earned a pretty good salary, too."

"A celery?"  Son #1 was confused.  "I wouldn't want to get paid with celery."

My husband wrinkled his brows, perplexed.  I raised my eyebrows.  Then, my husband asked.  "What do you mean?"

"Well, I'd rather earn money than celery.  That stinks!"  Son #1 explained.

My husband and I looked at each other.  Then, we giggled.  "Hey, Son."  My husband called out.  "I didn't earn celery, the vegetable.  I earned a salary, like money.  Celery, the vegetable, is spelled C-E-L-E-R-Y.  Salary, like money, is spelled S-A-L-A-R-Y."

"Huh?"  Son #1 said.  "That's weird!"

"Sorry, Son."  My husband responded.  "The English language is weird."

Sunday, November 16, 2014

The Three Second Rule

While the boys' uncle was in town, we made a run to the grocery store to buy some goodies. We wandered down the cookie, chip, and candy aisles looking for delicious treats to buy.  Finally, we settled on a couple bags of candy, an extra large bag containing a horrifically, sugary cereal, and a few different salty snacks.  Son #1 and Son #2 were wild with excitement.  We very rarely pick up these kinds of treats.  The kids hung from our arms like wild monkeys as we rushed to purchase the junk food.  Then, we headed home.

At the house, we began to unpack the grocery bags and place things in the cupboards.  Their uncle ripped open a few of the snack bags and began to hand out the treats.  Son #1 and Son #2 shoved the food into their mouths as fast as they could go.  They were on a high speed race toward a sugar high that I was sure would last until morning.  Suddenly, one of the candies fell from Son #1's hand and hit the floor.  Son #1 looked around, unsure of what to do.  I put my head to the side and said.  "Pick it up.  There's a three second rule."

Son #1 bent down to pick up the candy.  He straightened up and asked.  "What's a three second rule?"

"It's the number of seconds food can touch the ground before you can't eat it."  I explained.

"Huh."  Son #1 shrugged.  He inspected the candy once more.  "So, it's O.K. to eat?"

"Sure."  I nodded.

Son #1 held the candy in his hand for a moment and then turned to his younger brother.  "Here bro.  Here's a candy for you."

Son #2 took the candy without question and popped it into his mouth.

"Mmm.  Yummy!"  Son #2 exclaimed.

My eyes widened with surprise.  I guess that's one way to test out the accuracy of the "Three Second Rule".

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

The Video Games

One warm evening, my husband's brother treated our family to pizza.  The kids excitedly hopped into their car seats screaming.  "I want pizza!  I want pizza!"  Then, we lazily drove to the pizza place located a couple blocks from our house.  When we arrived, the kids scrambled out of their car seats and raced for the door.  Inside the restaurant, we ordered buffet meals and piled our plates with delectable treats.  Yum.  There is nothing like pizza and salad after a long day of work.

Now this little pizza parlor has a room in the back filled with video games.  We decided to sit as close as we could to the games because the boys are completely obsessed with this room.  As we ate, the boys kept craning their necks to catch a glimpse of the shiny lights and music.   The lights and music emanating from the video games were like a siren's song.

Every few minutes, Son #1 asked.  "Can I go play a game?"

Each time, I answered.  "First, finish your food."

Then, Son #1 sighed.  "Aww!  I wanna go now."  However, the whining immediately stopped as soon as he caught a glimpse of my stink eye.

Son #2 piped in once or twice.  "I go play now."

"Finish your food."  I muttered between bites of pizza.  However, Son #2 ignored my stink eye and tried to wriggle between the chairs.  Fortunately, my husband snatched our young son up to his lap and delayed his escape.

Eventually, the boys finished their food and rushed to the change machine.  Son #1 slid their dollars into the machine and collected their coins.  Son #2 tugged on his older brother's shirt and began to screech like a Howler Monkey.  Obviously, Son #2 wanted his coins immediately but had no words to express his desire.  I jumped up from my place at the table to fix the situation.  Once the boys were settled at their chosen games, I returned to eat the rest of my food.

My husband, brother-in-law, and I enjoyed a great conversation.  Periodically, we peeked through the windows of the game room to check on the boys.  The boys were completely engrossed in the video games so we continued to relax at the table.  I sipped my soda until it was gone.  Then, I decided to check on the boys once again.  As I peeked through the window, I noticed that I could only see Son #1.  My heart jumped into my throat in fear.  Where was Son #2?  There was only one exit to the game room and we were seated right beside it.  Where could my little boy be hiding?  I scanned the room again and then noticed that Son #1 had four arms.  Hmm.  I peered at my eldest son and then noticed that he also had two heads.  I smiled warmly and felt a bit of relief.  My sweet eldest son was helping his younger brother play a racing game.

Monday, October 13, 2014

I Want to be a Coach.

For years, Son #1 has wanted to be a race car driver or a football player.  He has written about it in his "All About Me"  books for kindergarten and first grade.  He even has a framed picture that his first grade teacher gave to us for Christmas that states his dreams and aspirations.  I cherish each and every one of those keepsakes.

One Sunday afternoon, we watched the Cowboys play against a rival team.  Everyone had on their Cowboy jerseys.  The boys wore their Dallas Cowboy caps.  We screamed, cheered, and yelled at the T.V.  Every down was excruciating.  During the commercials, the boys threw the little football around the living room.  Sometimes, Son #1 performed slow-mo football in front of the television.  After the commercials, we yelled to the boys.  "Sit down!"  The cheering got so loud, you can hear muffled shouts out in the backyard.  I guess we live in a crazy house during football season.

A couple hours later, the fourth quarter was almost over.  The Cowboys were in the lead while we hopped up and down screaming with delight.  The seconds ticked down as the opposing team threw an interception.  Our house erupted in shouts of joy.  "The Cowboys win!!!!!!"  Son #1 and Son #2 gave high fives to everyone in the room.

After the game ended, we cleaned up the snacks and washed a couple dishes.  Son #1 lay on the couch and sighed.  "That was a cool game."  He said.

"Yeah."  I agreed.

"Hey, Mom?"  Son #1 peeked his head over the couch.

"What Baby?"  I responded.

"Do you know what I want to be when I grow up?"  Son #1 asked.

"Sure I do."  I replied.  "You want to be a race car driver."

"No.  Not anymore."  Son #1 said with a smile.

"Um...O.K.  You want to be a football player."  I said confidently.

"Nope.  Well, sometimes I want to be a football player."  Son #1 stated.  "But right now I want to be something else."

I was confused.  "What do you want to be?"

"A coach!"  Son #1 announced.

I was thrilled.  "You do!  That is so cool.  Do you know a coach is a teacher?"

"Yeah!"  Son #1 replied.  "I want to teach football!"

I have to say that if my son wants to be a coach/teacher, it is because of the amazing teachers in his life.  We have been very blessed.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Cortana says. "Go to sleep!"

My husband has a personal assistant.  Her name is Cortana and she resides in his phone.  When Cortana first began her tenure as our assistant, my husband and the kids peppered her with questions.

"Cortana, where does the puffin live?"  Son #1 asked.

"Some puffins live in Greenland."  Cortana replied in her metallic voice.

"Cortana, what is the temperature today?"  My husband said playfully.

"The temperature is 75 degrees."  Cortana dutifully responded.

"Cotana, whe dwo da wewo diwa wagin?  Son #2 babbled.  (Translation:  ?????)

"It does not compute."  Cortana shrugged, confused by the request of our youngest son.

The kids were awestruck by Cortana.  Every chance they got, they would ask their dad about Cortana.  When my husband had time, he would pull out his phone so the kids could ask more questions.

A few days later, Son #2 struggled to fall asleep for the night.  Every five seconds, he stumbled from his room begging to stay awake.  I would pick him up and carry him back to bed.  Then, I would sit by his side and hold his hand as he tried to relax.  Sadly, Son #2 was too wiggly and restless.  I finally gave up and let him wander around the living room while I rinsed dishes.

Eventually, my husband came home from playing racquetball.  As he lugged his workout bag into the house, he caught sight of Son #2 rolling around on the floor.  Then, he looked at me and asked.  "What is he doing up?"

"The little monkey won't go to sleep."  I replied irritably.

"Huh."  My husband mumbled thoughtfully.  Then, he dug into his pocket and produced his phone.  I raised my eyebrows but remained silent.  My husband knelt down beside Son #2.  "You need to go to bed."  He said sternly.

"No no no.  I want to sleep on da couch."  Son #2 argued.

"Then, go lay on the couch but you need to go to sleep."  My husband responded.

Son #2 crawled onto the couch but lay there with eyes wide open.  "Close your eyes."  My husband commanded.  However, Son #2 stubbornly forced his eyes to stay open.

My husband showed the phone to our youngest son and repeated his request.  "Cortana says 'Close your eyes and go to sleep.'"  Son #2's eyes widened with surprise.  Then, he quickly shut his eyes, rolled over, and fell asleep.

"No way!"  I whispered to my husband as I checked on our snoozing son.  My husband chuckled impishly.  He patted his phone and placed it on the night stand.  Cortana is an excellent assistant.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Made Up Words

This summer, the boys developed their own language.  I could hear bits and pieces of it being carefully constructed throughout the first few weeks of their vacation.  It was interesting.  It was weird.  I was completely amused.

Then, we took a five thousand mile road trip.  (No. Really.)  Somewhere just after the Colorado border, the boys began to whisper a secret phrase to each other .  They repeated that particular phrase over and over in the midst of a thousand giggles.  Soon the whispers turned into indoor voices.  Over time, the indoor voices morphed into outdoor voices.  As we neared Denver, their outdoor voices quickly escalated to shouts and peels of laughter.  My husband and I were beginning to develop headaches.  Hopefully, there would be a strong tail wind behind our car that would propel us to the next stop in our journey.  Unfortunately, a traffic jam began that slowed us down to nearly a crawl.

However, the traffic jam did not put a damper on the boys shouts and laughter.  They screamed that phrase at the top of their lungs.  I was pretty sure I would dream about this phrase in the middle of the night.  My husband pleaded with the boys.  "Guys.  Be quiet."  The pleas soon became shouts of desperation.  "Be quiet!  I need to concentrate!"  The traffic was bad and people were beginning to develop road rage.  Yet,  all we could hear was their secret phrase.  "Scarm!  Scarm!  Det e one!!"

Scarm.  Scarm.  Det e oneDoes anyone know the meaning of that phrase?  The boys won't tell me when I ask.  I don't think they know what it means.  I think they just like the off beat rhythm of the phrase.  They whisper it.  They shout it.  They chase each other while screaming it.  They repeated it for days as we drove across the flat plains, around dry mesas, over the Continental Divide, down winding mountain roads, and across desolate deserts.  We would whiz past roaring rivers, thick pine forests, tall ocean cliffs, enormous Sequoias, and prickly Joshua trees all while hearing the phrase.  "Scarm!  Scarm!  Det e one!"

Now, you might say.  "Why didn't you just hand them each a DVD player or your smart phones?"  Ahh!  We don't have all that stuff.  We just expected the children to play while we drove.  Well, our children exceeded our expectations.

Right now, it's September.  I've finally grown used to the phrase.  "Scarm.  Scarm.  Det e one."  Sometimes, I use it in jokes when talking to my family.  The kids think I'm weird.  My husband laughs hysterically or eyeballs me with a stinky eye.  The phrase is being repeated less often now.  We're grateful.  Yet every now and then, the phrase makes an appearance.

The other day, Son #1 ran up to me with a serious look on his face.  He whispered in my ear.  "Mom, I have something important to tell you."

I leaned over and asked.  "What is it?"

Son #1 stepped back with a smirk on his face and yelled.  "Scarm!  Scarm!!  Det e one!!!"

Oooh, little boy!  I'll get you and your puppy dog, too!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Chinook and Doggie

A few months ago, Abuelita (Grandma) went on a cruise to Alaska.  While she was there, she bought the boys each a stuffed animal (Siberian huskies).  Son #1 and Son #2 were immediately enchanted with their new, plush toys.  As they held their treasures tightly, my husband and I suggested that they come up with names for their stuffed huskies.  Son #1 was unsure of what to name his new toy so his Tia (Aunt) and I began to do a search of Alaskan names. We tried out several names before Son #1 finally settled on the name Chinook.  Son #1 hugged and kissed Chinook affectionately.  Then, he ran off to play a new game with his stuffed friend.  Next, we turned our attention to Son #2.  He was clutching his stuffed dog to his chest as he strolled around the living area.  I caught my youngest son's eye and asked.  "What's your doggie's name?"  Son #2 paused for a moment and replied seriously.  "Doggie." 

From the moment they named their stuffed pups, our boys and their dogs were inseparable.  They ate with their dogs.  They slept with their dogs.  They played cars with their dogs.  They played trains with their dogs.  Chinook and Doggie even went with us to visit Grandma and Grandpa during summer vacation.

The boys were very excited about visiting Grandma and Grandpa.  They were particularly excited about staying at the beach during our visit.  Upon arriving at the beach, our sons unpacked their friends and ran up the stairs to the condo.  Son #1 chattered nonstop with Grandma about the ocean waves, the sand, and the supplies we brought to make sandcastles.  Son #2 quietly explored the balcony with Doggie. 

At first, Son #2 and Doggie peeked through the railing at the beach just yards away.  Then, my youngest son investigated the wooden rocking chair behind him.  He touched the chair with his hand and it rocked backward.  Son #2 jumped back, startled.  Slowly, he walked toward the chair and pressed it again.  Instantly, the chair began to swing back and forth.  Son #2 laughed and rattled off a few phrases to Doggie.  Then, he sat his dog on the chair. 

Son #2 rocked Doggie on the chair for several minutes until he realized that he had not explored underneath it.  Quickly, he slowed the swinging chair to a stop.  Then, he grabbed Doggie and crawled underneath to gain a whole new perspective.  Son #2 started up a new conversation with his stuffed friend.  I'm sure they discussed their surroundings and the fascinating chair.  They also played peek-a-boo when their conversation had grown old. 

Eventually, the sun began to set along the misty horizon.  Son #1 and Son #2 gathered up their stuffed friends.  They stumbled sleepily to bed and cuddled with their pups.   My husband and I tucked them into bed.  Then, we kissed them goodnight.  As we turned to leave, Son #1 cried out.  "Chinook needs a kiss, too."  My husband and I laughed.  "Oh no!  We forgot."  We bent down to kiss Chinook as well.  Son #2 was not going to be left out.  "Doggie needs kiss."  He commanded holding out his dog before us.  "Right.  Right."  My husband assured.  We each planted a kiss on Doggie's head.  Now that everyone had been kissed, we tucked our kids and their dogs into bed once again.