Thursday, February 28, 2013

That'd Be So Cliche

Grabbing some ice from the freezer, I put it in my glass of Dr. Pepper and head for the sofa. I plop down on the sofa, set my drink down and grab my book from the coffee table.

No sooner have I finished the first chapter than there's a knock on the front door.

Walking over to the door, I peep out the window and smile to myself.

Opening the front door, I say, "No thank you. I don't want any girl scout cookies."

Running a hand through his hair and laughing, Jake says, "Not even Thin Mints? Because everybody loves Thin Mints."

Crossing my arms, I lean against the side of the door frame. "Yes, well, what can I tell you. When I have my mind made up, that's that." I state.

He chuckles and says, "I can imagine."

"So, what brings you over here, Jake?" I ask.

He says, "I want to show you something. Come take a drive with me."

I look past him to his red motorcycle parked beside the curb, then back to him. "You want me to get on that?" I inquire, starting to feel a little nervous about getting on a motorcycle. Okay, maybe a little nervous for other reasons too.

Jake says, "It's safe. I promise. I have had her for 4 years and not one accident. Not even a close call."

Biting my lip, I say, "I'm not sure, Jake."

He says, "Come on. You'll love the ride there. It's quite a view." He gives me that lopsided grin of his. Flip flop. "Plus, aren't you a little curious as to what it is?"

Sighing, I say, "Okay. Just let me grab a jacket."

Going back inside, I throw on my shoes, grab my jacket and my phone. I pause at the bottom of the stairs, "I'm headed out! Be back in a bit!" I yell.

Not waiting to hear a response, I run out the door and down the steps to the curb. Jake is waiting, leaning up against his motorcycle, holding out a helmet for me.

Taking the helmet, I say, "So where it is we are going?"

He shakes his head, gets on the bike and says, "No way. You'll just have to wait to find out."

Climbing on behind Jake, I say, "Well, I hope you are not taking me out to the woods to dismember me and leave me for dead. That'd be so cliche."

Starting the engine, he turns his head to the side and says, "Nah. Though I've definitely dreamed of other things." Oh crap. Oh crap. Oh crap. "Be sure and hold on tight."

I put my arms around Jake, clasping my hands together in front of him. 

"Comfy?" he asks.

"Like a dream." I reply. EXACTLY like a dream.

Driving away from the curb, I feel a little jolt, let out a squeak and hold tighter to Jake. I can feel his laughter rumble through his body.

Resting my head on Jake's back, I realize I am really enjoying this. Me, Maddie, driving on a motorcycle. With Jake. I'm happy being in this moment with him. Dangerous, Maddie. Just because he's hot and has a motorcycle. Okay, well, that DOES make a good argument, but still! Sigh. I think I'm in trouble.

Here's another fiction piece with Maddie and Jake. This is a bit out of order but had to get it all down. Kept thinking about this scene. 

Monday, February 25, 2013

My Way Or The Highway

When J was around age two, I remember mom and RG, my stepdad, were going to host Thanksgiving dinner at her house. I had just had Baby L and was recovering from my c-section so mom wanted to make it as easy as possible for us. Basically, us Mosseys show up, look nice, eat the food, then make like a fetus and head out.

Nice work if you can get it.

The only problem was I was overcome with worry and fear.

See, J was walking and running and INTO EVERYTHING. 

Each time, we would go over to mom and RG's house, I would systematically move the coffee table with the pointing corners to in front of the TV. Take everything off of the said coffee table. Move anything breakable from the corner table beside the couch. Put up the remotes. Close all the doors. Etc., etc., etc.

But this particular time I was so worried is because RG has a handgun. He keeps it in his nightstand.

At this point, J was not only walking, but running and opening drawers and pulling down anything he could reach and grabbing at anything that caught his eye. We hadn't been over there in a few months and they always seemed to come over here and visit. So it wasn't really a concern.

But, with the holidays fast approaching and knowing we were most likely headed over there, I was worried.

My stepdad is an honorable guy. He is an intelligent, hard working, loyal, honest man. He is also very stubborn and set in his ways. RG will even jokingly tell you he is a 'curmudgeon'. He has never had kids so he does not understand what it means to alter ones lifestyle for them.

Not to say he is an unloving guy. Far from it. He loves me and adores my kids. RG thinks of my husband as the son he never had.

RG just has certain things he likes and certain ways he likes them and he isn't going to change that for anyone.

So, I was so worried about the handgun. (Actually 'worried' is probably the understatement of the year.)

Leading up to Thanksgiving, I spoke to my husband at length about it many times, as well as my sister-in-law. We agreed we would not be going over there with the kids if the gun was not put up and locked away. I was sick to my stomach thinking about what could happen. Yes, I was probably very hormonal having just had a baby, but I know it was validated.

I don't like conflict. I thought he would be upset that I was asking him to change up his routine. And I don't like to hurt people's feelings. But if I have to choose between hurting someone's feelings or keeping my child safe, well, I'll hurt your feelings every time.

As a parent, if something makes us uncomfortable or upset, sometimes we don't have the luxury of opting out. We have to do what is right or what is necessary for the betterment or safety of our children. That's what being a parent is all about. You are the champion/protector/guardian/nurturer for your child.

Both my husband and sister-in-law helped calm me down. They assured me that he is a reasonable guy and he will be more than agreeable to it.

I am usually very flexible and easygoing, but this time, it was my way or the highway.

After a lengthy and emotional conversation with my mom, she agreed she would talk to RG about it. To reiterate how serious I was, I told her we would not be coming to Thanksgiving if that handgun was not put away somewhere and locked up. I told her I could talk to him, but seeing as that would be an emotionally charged situation, she quickly told me she would handle it.

Turns out, RG was agreeable to putting up the handgun in a safe place, high up, in a locked box. He actually thought of it before mom mentioned it to him.

This is not a post about gun control. This is not a post about whether or not you should have the right to have guns in your home. This is a post about safety. About protecting your kids. 

If you have a gun and you have children or children who are in-and-out of your home, put your gun in a secure and locked location.

Because there's nothing more important than the safety of your children.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

My Athletic Prowess

"So, who's up for a game of volleyball?" Sam asks, standing up from the cooler.

Michael and Quinn yell in unison, "I'm game!"

Jake shrugs and says, "Sure. Count me in."

Molly says, "I've got dibs on Sam!" She bounds over to Sam and hooks her right arm around his.

"You only want me because I used to be on the volleyball team." Sam says and pretends to be hurt, clutching his heart.

As they walk ahead towards the volleyball net, Molly bats her eyelashes, feigning innocence. "Were you on the volleyball team? I don't recall." she says, turning her head and smiling.

Michael yells, "Sam's team!" At the same time Quinn yells, "Jake's team!"

Looking over at me, Jake says, "Looks like we're stuck together." I can think of far worse things.

"Looks like it." I say. "But, I think we have pretty good odds."

He tilts his head to the side, eyes twinkling as he says, "How do you figure?"

"Well, you are a great at sports." I say, pointing to him, then to me. "And, of course, there's my athletic prowess."

Jake chuckles and says, "By 'athletic prowess', do you mean the time you were hit in the side of the head with the volleyball in that game after homecoming?" Okay, well, there's that.

Pushing past him, heading towards the rest of the crew, I toss out, "Yes, well I had a strategy. But clearly, it did not go as planned." Jake instantly appears on my right, easily catching up to me.

"I can't believe you remember that." I say, turning to steal a quick glance at him.

Jake ducks his head closer to mine and says quietly, "I remember lots of things." 

I stop dead in my tracks and stare up at him. At that face. Those warm brown eyes. A girl could get lost in those eyes. I bet a lot of girls have.

"Maddie! Earth to Maddie!" Molly yells. "Are we going to play today? Are you guys ready to go down?!"

Okay, well that was slightly embarrassing. How long was I standing there staring at Jake?

Punching me lightly in the arm, Jake says, "You ready to deal out a hurting?" My skin buzzes with electricity where he touched my shoulder.

I make a big show of stretching my arms over my head and rolling my neck. "Let's do this." I say.

Sam serves first. The ball flies over the net. Quinn jumps up and hits it effortlessly. It sails back to Molly who uses both hands to volley it back. Jake jumps up and spikes the ball.

"Point to us." Jake yells. He turns to wink at me.

Quinn says, "I'll serve." Jake grabs the ball and tosses it to Quinn.

"Hope you enjoyed your one and only point, Whitfield." Molly taunts.

Quinn throws the ball up, hits it and it goes sailing in a perfect arc towards Michael. He sets the ball perfectly with both arms. Sam leaps up for the spike.

Jake and I both see what's going to happen. We both run towards the net to block it. Jake makes it before me and it's all over by the time my short legs get me there.

Breathing hard, I say, "Good block."

Smiling, he says, "Thanks."

Picking the ball off the floor, I toss it to Quinn who serves it up again. Molly sees it coming and barely hits it with the inside of her arm. Sam drops to his knees and manages to give it a small hit.  Michael dives for the ball, hitting up and over the net.

I see it going out of bounds. I've got this. I run backwards and lean back to hit the ball. Then I feel a whoosh then I'm flat on my back. All the wind rushes out of me. Okay, so maybe I don't have this.

Jake's face comes into focus, concern eteched in his face. "Maddie! Are you okay?" he questions. He has one arm under me and the other is on my right shoulder.

"Your eyes are the color of warm chocolate." I blurt out. Cheese and biscuits! I may have fallen on my rear but at least I could try to keep some shred of dignity.

Jake breathes a sigh of relief, then gives small chuckle. "Are you sure you didn't rattle something loose?"

He helps me to a sitting position. Sam and Molly are there instantly. They are both fussing over me.

"I'm fine guys. Really. Nothing's wounded but my ego." I say.

Michael says, "Well, I'd wager your butt hurts pretty bad. Want me to take a look at it?" He leans over, pretending to look at my backside.

Pushing him away, I say, "Hilarious, Michael. Glad I can amuse you."

Sam helps me up and I wince. "Looks like you are not as fine as you pretend to be." he says.


Monday, February 18, 2013

Wouldn't Dream Of It

Pulling up in front of the Mill, I glance around the property, checking it out to see what's changed.

Sam's right. It's a beautiful house. Two stories, red clapboard with a wrap around porch. The once white shutters are now a cream color with flecks of paint missing.

Looking over to my right, I see the old barn. It looms over the landscape as if in defiance of time and the elements. Reminds me of all of the bonfires and volleyball games shared here.

Reaching into the trunk, Sam says, "Go on ahead. I know you are excited about seeing everyone." He starts pulling out one of the coolers.

Grinning ear to ear, I say, "Are you sure? I don't mind giving you a hand."

He waves me off. "Nah." he says, "You're like a kid in a candy store. It's written all over your face you are so excited. Go ahead."

Pulling my hair back into a messy knot, I scamper over to the barn. I pass the two giant front doors that look like they are scowling at me. As I circle towards the back of the barn where the creek is, I pull up short.

I see Michael, Quinn and Molly sitting around the table. They look to be in a heated discussion with Molly gesturing wildly. Michael and Quinn seem to be arguing opposing points, as always but I think Molly is siding with Quinn.

And then I see Jake. 

He is standing beside the table, his head thrown back in laughter. I notice his bicep muscles filling out his t-shirt. His t-shirt has a picture of Van Gogh with the words "No Ear". His brown hair looks a little long, curling down to touch the collar of his shirt.  

Jake. He looks the same, except with a maybe a touch more maturity. He has such a nice laugh. I remember that laugh.

No one notices me yet.

While I am lost in my reverie, Jake lowers his head and his eyes find mine. Oops. Caught oogling. Real smooth, Maddie. 

"Maddie Andrews." Jake says, taking a pull off his beer and placing his right hand in his front jean pocket.

Smiling, I give him a quick nod and say, "Jake Whitfield." He remembers me. He actually remembers me. Get a grip, Maddie! You did have a few classes with him.

"As I live and breathe." he says. I can feel the heat flush my face.

"Maddie!" Molly squeals. Running over to give me a hug, she says, "I've missed you so much! It's so great to see you!" Oh Molly! Perfect timing! Way to save me from dying from embarrassment. 

Laughing, I give my best friend a hug. "I've missed you too, Mols." I say.

Michael and Quinn walk over and Quinn picks me off the ground in a bear hug, saying, "Maddie! How are you, girl? How's life in the big city?"

Michael comes over, puts an arm around my shoulder and squeezes. "Yes. Do tell us how the other half lives?"

Playfully slapping Michael's arm away, I answer, "Oh you know. The streets are paved with gold. We eat ambrosia for every meal. We have servants to cater to our every whim." I sigh. "It's a hard life." I grin.

Quinn playfully scoffs and says, "Well, you don't have to rub it in. Some of us had to stay here and go to state. We were not as lucky as you."

Sam rounds the corner in time to catch Quinn's comment. Placing the cooler on the ground beside the table, he says, "Well, not everyone can ace their ACT's like Maddie can."

"Oh please." I respond.

"Well, then what's your excuse? How did you weasel in Sam?" Molly chides.

Sam responds, "It involved lots of bribery. And groveling. Never underestimate the power of groveling." He winks at Molly.

Michael warmly says, "It's good to see you, Maddie. It's been a long time."

This whole time, I am aware of Jake looking at me. Shaking his head, he grins that lop-sided grin of his. Jake says, "You look good, Maddie." I feel warmth flood though me at his compliment. I manage to keep my face neutral.

Sam stops mid-organizing the cooler contents, to lift his head up. Sam chuckles and says, "Jake, you're not trying to hit on Maddie, are you?"

Tilting his head to the side, he voice is teasing but his stare is intense as he answers, "Wouldn't dream of it." 

Another fiction piece. This time with Jake, Maddie and Sam. Are you enjoying this as much as I am? Back to writing...

Friday, February 15, 2013

Run Of The Mill

"Are you ready?" he asks from the doorway.

Looking around, I realize I can't find my favorite grey sweatshirt. "I forgot my sweatshirt." I say. "I'll meet you at the car." A quick scan tells me it's not in the living room so I head to the kitchen. I find it thrown over one of the chairs.

Grabbing it, along with my phone, wallet and keys, I shut and lock the door behind me.

As I walk to the car, Sam is finishing organizing all of the supplies in the trunk. He turns to look at me. Smiling, he says, "Oh good. You found it."

As I reach him, he gives me a kiss on the cheek. "Are you ready for some serious mayhem?" he teases, walking around to the driver's side.

"Serious mayhem?" I ask, sitting down and buckling my seat belt. "What's your idea of serious mayhem? Finding an old lady who needs to cross the street and not helping her?" I tease back.

Pulling away from the curb, he chuckles and reaches for my hand. "You know. I never thought of that! Maybe next time."

I glance over at Sam. With the windows rolled down, his ash blond hair is flying in the wind. It looks unruly and out-of-control which is in stark contrast to Sam himself.

He notices me looking, grins and asks, "Something on your mind?"

I settle into my seat, enjoying the wind on my face on this unusually warm fall day. "I was promised serious mayhem. I'm wondering where this said mayhem will occur."

"We are going to the Mill." he responds.

The Mill isn't really a mill at all. Sam's dad was a realtor and owned lots of property around town. The mill is a old farm house located on the outskirts of town beside a small creek. It was the prime hangout spot for everyone when we were in high school. The creek is named Sawmill River, hence the name The Mill.

"The Mill? I haven't been there in ages. Is it still the same?" I wonder aloud.

"Pretty much. Just a little older and more run down but she's still a beauty." Sam says. "I'm going to restore her to her former glory one of these days."

"Well, now it makes since why you packed the trunk full of enough stuff to survive the zombie apocalypse." I say, chuckling.

"Ah, I see. Go ahead and mock me if you must. But just remember, when you need a drink, snack or picnic blanket, don't come crawling back to me." he kids.

He brings my hand to his mouth, gives it a quick peck, then releases it to put both hands on the steering wheel.

I stifle a laugh. Place your hands at 10 and 2. Make sure both hands are on the wheel at all times. Sam, always following the rules.

"You know Michael and Quinn will be there." Sam says.

Shaking my head, I ask, "Are those two still the same?"

Sam replies, "Pretty much. They are still just like brothers, fighting and arguing all the time." Michael and Quinn, best friends since seventh grade. Either arguing, wrestling or eating. But all in all, good guys.

"Molly will be there too." Sam says, risking a quick glance off the road in my direction.

"That's great! I haven't seen Molly in a while. She's been so busy. I can't wait to see her." Molly and I have been friends since the first grade. Having gone out-of-state for college, I haven't seen her as much. But when we do see each other, it's like no time has passed.

"And Jake is meeting us there too." Sam says.

"Jake?" I mumble. I swallow nervously. Jake? Jake Whitfield? My stomach does a little flip-flop.

Sam mistakes my question as needing clarification. "You know. Jake Whitfield. He was the captain of the baseball team. Took us to the state championship senior year. Tall guy. Brown hair. Remember?" he says.

"I remember." I say. Like I could forget Jake Whitfield.

Here's my third fiction piece with Maddie. This piece introduces us to another character, Sam. This gives us another piece of the puzzle.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Help Me, Help You

Let's say I have to rate myself on a scale of 1 to 10 on intelligence.  Ten is equivalent to a Rocket Scientist and one is equivalent to Patrick on Sponge Bob.

I'd rate myself a 7.

Now, lots of you will say, "Oh, come on, Michelle! You are clearly an 11!!"  But some of you will say, "Be serious, Michelle. You are more like a 4."

That's neither here, nor there.

The point is that I know I am not the sharpest tool in the shed but I am also not the dullest one either.

There are many things in this world that make sense to me. Things that I will look at and say, "Ahh, I see! I get it." But, there are also a bunch of things that I just don't understand.  Some things I notice and think, "Okay, I'm at a loss."

So you dear readers, maybe you can help me out a little. HELP ME, HELP YOU. Help me understand some of these mysteries of the universe. Or just let me know that I am not alone in understanding some of these crazy things out there in the world. 

  • When I have ten feet of open space to the left of me, but the person decides to squeeze through on the right side, between me, my giant race car grocery cart and the aisle. You don't want to be too comfortable walking around through so much space? You want to see if you can squish your giant frame in such a small space, taking as a personal challenge? What?
  • "I don't mean to be rude.." or "I don't want to tell you what to do..." or "I'm not trying to be mean..." Seriously? Who are you fooling? OF COURSE YOU MEAN TO SAY EXACTLY THAT but you don't want to look like a jerk. Why even say it?!
  • The fake balls hanging from the back of the truck. Really? This is going to help you get women? You think they look at your truck, thinking, "This is one CLASSY guy! I need those digits!"
  • Outside of the "no smoking" hospital, patients AND doctors are smoking. Yeah. I'll just leave it at that.
  • People that don't put their grocery carts back in the cart corral. Many years ago, when our car was brand new, we got hit in the side with a grocery cart that wasn't put away. It caused $500 worth of damage. It's not that far away, people! If I, who have the giant race car cart and two tiny kids, can put it away, so can you.
  • People that tailgate me through the neighborhood thinking I'll drive faster. Look, I get it. Or I think I do. You want to go faster. Who doesn't?! But see, here's the thing. There is a SPEED LIMIT and KIDS IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD.
  • People I don't know getting up in my kids faces, trying to talk to them. Uh, hey, Grizzly Adams. My kids don't know you and they don't have to talk to you. See, there's this whole crazy rule that I teach my kids. Maybe you've heard of it? I tell them NOT TO TALK TO STRANGERS.
  • Water chestnuts. Seriously. What do they add to the dish? Do they even have any nutritional value? THIS is how you know God has a sense of humor.
  • "How many vegetables do they eat a day?" asks the pediatrician. I'm sorry. I don't understand the question. See my kids are 2 and 4. They only like 10 things and they don't eat that half the time. Most meals, I want to split a Triscuit and call it a day.
If any of you have any insight to help me understand these mysteries of the universe, I'd love to hear it! What do you think? Are there things that confound you too?

Monday, February 11, 2013

It's Totally Stalkerish

It's such a beautiful fall day that I don't want to stay indoors. I throw on my favorite grey sweatshirt and put on my tennis shoes. On the way out the door, I grab my backpack and shove my new novel, a few snacks and a couple of water bottles inside.

Walking to the park, I realize I am really looking forward to seeing it again. I have not been there since I returned home. I wonder if my favorite spot still looks the same.

In the park, I head past the tree line, towards the large elm beside the creek.  I pull up short as I realize there is already someone there, sitting in my spot.

"Jake?" I say.

He glances up from the book he is reading. Jake smiles at me, "Hey Maddie." There's that lop-sided grin.

"What are you doing here?" I ask. I slip my backpack off my shoulder and walk over to him.

"Contemplating the meaning of life." he says. He pushes himself off the ground and stands up to look at me.

"And what did you find out?" I ask, chuckling.

"I'm still working it out." he says, grinning at me. He has such nice eyes. I've never noticed they are the color of melted chocolate. Pull yourself together, Maddie!

Smiling at him, I say, "I like to come out here to read. It's cheesy but I like the solitude and the sound of the creek. It's like my own little oasis."

"I know." he says. "This is your favorite spot."

How can he possibly know that? Crossing my arms, I ask, "Oh really, Obi Wan. How do you know that?"

Jake puts his hands in his back pockets and rocks back on his heels. Looking at me, he says, "In the 5th grade, you won the Spelling Bee with the word 'stalagmite'. In the 9th grade, you punched Reid Simpson in the nose for calling Molly fat. In the 11th grade, you gave a report on Marten Van Buren while biting your bottom lip the whole time because you were nervous."

When he is finished, he tilts his head to the side and crosses his arms, mimicking my stance. His eyes are locked on mine. His face looks composed but his brown eyes are smiling at me. 

To say I am stunned is putting it mildly. He remembers all of that? "Wow." I say. "I don't know if that is really sweet or really stalkerish."

Laughing, he says, "Oh, it's totally stalkerish, especially considering I was licking the glass outside your window while you slept last night." He is funny AND charming. Wait a minute! This is Jake Whitfield!

Leaning back against the tree, I shake my head. I say, "Who knew? The captain of the baseball team noticed a bookworm like me."

He walks over and stands in front of me. Placing one hand on either side of my head, he leans in towards me. "I always noticed you." Jake says.

"Yeah, with all of those girls hanging around, it was really obvious." I retort. Am I really having this conversation with Jake? It's been 4 years since high school. This is crazy!

"Maddie." Jake says. "Stop talking."

Jake reaches out and tucks a strand of hair behind my ear. His thumb traces small circles on my left cheek. He is staring at me so intensely that I feel he can see straight into my soul.

My mind wonders what it would be like to feel his lips on mine. My heart skips a beat. My fingers itch to run through his hair. For crying out loud! My whole body is betraying me.

"So beautiful." he murmurs.

He lowers his head and brushes his lips softly against mine. It's such a sweet, gentle kiss. I melt into him, savoring the moment. I kiss him back, enjoying the feel of his lips on mine. Because, if I'm honest, I've wanted to do this for a long time.

Suddenly, I realize this may not be the best idea. Pulling away, I place my hands on Jake's chest. "Jake." I say. "I'm not sure if we should do this."

A shadow passes quickly across his face. He asks, "Is it because of Sam?"

"Something like that." I mumble.

"Something like that or it is that?" Jake says.

This is my second entry with Jake and Maddie. I am really enjoying writing fiction, especially these two characters. I'm thinking my blog will now include some ficitional writing, along with my usual humorous personal stories. Enjoy!

Friday, February 8, 2013

I Choose You

Standing on the steps of the lodge, I steal myself for what I have to do. 

I glance up at the giant cedar logs and the massive windows. The lodge must be more than fifty years old. It is warn down a little around the edges but still sturdy enough to stand up to the fiercest elements. Reminds me of my favorite pair of shoes.

I walk up the stairs, pausing to knock on the door, then swinging it open as I hear someone yell, "Come in!"

Looking around, I notice the TV is on and I see Michael and Quinn sitting on the couch, arguing as they usually do. I think I hear the words "defensive line" and "stats" in there somewhere.

As Quinn turns around to wave, Michael yells, "Hey Maddie."

I give a small wave. "Hey guys." I say.

My eyes scan the room looking for him. My heart skips a beat when I see him sitting in the arm chair. He doesn't acknowledge me in any way but I know he's aware I'm here.

His arms are crossed over his chest and he has a scowl on his face that I'm pretty sure wasn't there until I walked into the room. Everything about his posture screams, "Stay away!"

As I walk over to him, I take him all in. His dark hair that flops over his right eye. His warm brown eyes that look cold and angry at the moment. His beautiful, full lips stretched down into a frown. His bicep muscles straining against his navy blue t-shirt.

When I reach him, I see a muscle in his jaw tense. I can do this. I HAVE to do this. "Jake." I say.

"Maddie." he sighs. "I told you I don't want to talk to you right now. Go away." he says.

Leaning down, I whisper in his ear, "I choose you."

As I turn to walk away, his right arm snakes out quick as a lightning and grabs my wrist. He looks up at me as I look down at him and time seems to stop for what seems like eternity.

Then, he's up, taking my hand, leading me through the lodge. We head down the hallway and he opens the door to his room.

Once inside, he closes the door and turns to face me. We are standing face-to-face with the toes of our shoes touching. I can feel his warm breath on my face.

"Say it again." Jake whispers.

Reaching up, I put my hand on the side of his face. I trace his bottom lip with my thumb.

"I choose you." I say.

He reaches out and places both hands on my hips, pulling me forward. We are standing nose-to-nose, with our chests pressed together. My breath hitches in my throat and my heart skips about fifty beats.

He leans down and kisses me. Not a gentle, soft kiss but a kiss like he's a dying man and I'm the cure.

I reach up and put my arms around his neck, pulling him closer. He nips at my bottom lip and I let out a groan.

Jake pulls back to look at me. He gives me one of his lopsided grins. My heart flip-flops. Stupid heart. Stupid, stupid heart. "I knew you would choose me." he tells me.

This is my first attempt at writing fiction. At the risk of sounding all Stephenie Meyerish, I had an awesome dream and wanted to write about it. Maybe I'll write a little more...

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Trust Your Instincts

Occasionally, I will take both boys to the play area in the mall. They love to climb, run and jump on the giant playthings.

I remember the first time I took J (4) to the play area.  He was around 22 months. (I know it's a bit late for that kind of stuff but I am a wigster. What can I say?!)

Since it is the mall and one never misses an opportunity to shop, my mom came with us.  I was newly pregnant with Baby L so mom insisted I sit down and rest while she followed J around the play area.

As I sat there trying to relax, I noticed an older man standing outside of the play area, leaning against the railing, watching the kids. At first, I thought he was here with a grandchild. But as I watched him and the other adults with their kids, I realized he was here by himself.

He kept smiling and trying to talk to the kids. Not the adults but the kids. He would just watch the kids with this creepy smile on his face. He wasn't doing anything in particular that was out-and-out wrong but something about him My instincts where screaming, "Stay away! Stay away!"

So with this creepy guy close by, relaxing went out the window. I remained seated (because let's face it I was exhausted) but I had my eye on him.

At one point, I saw him try to talk to J. J ignored him as most 2 year olds do with strangers but Mom was close by so she spoke to him. I remember thinking, "What is she doing?! She is chatting him up?!"

At this point, I get up, walk over and tell mom it's time to go. We scoop J up, put his shoes on, belt him in the stroller, sanitize his hands and we're on our way.

Walking towards the car, I say, "Mom, what's the deal with talking to that creepy old guy?"

Mom says, "Oh Michelle. He's not creepy. He's just being friendly." (I love my mom dearly but she has no "creepy people radar".)

I say, "Mom. He was not just being friendly. What old person hangs out at the play area by themselves watching kids and trying to talk to only the kids? It's creepy."

Mom says, "Oh Michelle. He's harmless."

I say, "Mom, I think that's naive. My instincts were going CRAZY about this guy. He is most definitely NOT harmless. Something is off about this guy."

Mom thinks for a minute, then says, "You might be right."

I say, "I know I'm right!"

Here's the deal.

Our children, these sweet, little people who we love more than life itself, are entrusted to us to love, care, nurture and protect them. We think we are prepared for how we will feel when we first hold them in our arms, but we have no idea.

The love we feel for them is endless, limitless, boundless.  Instantly, we are captivated by this tiny person and our lives are no longer our own. We are head-over-heels, insanely, madly, deeply in love with them.

And we are also scared out of our minds.

When the doctor hands you your baby for the first time, you're like, "Uh, you're giving this baby to me? Are you sure? I'm not sure if I'm qualified for the job. Do you have an instruction manual? FAQ sheet?"

You leave the hospital and drive home. You keep looking at your little baby in their car seat and continue to think, "I am a mom. This is so crazy! There is a little baby in my car. I am taking this little baby home where I will be the parent."

As your baby grows, there will be MANY times where you wonder, "Does that head bump require a trip to the hospital? Is the fever high enough to take them to the doctor? Should I have done this? Should I have done that? Did I make the right call?"

This is what I think. YOU are the parent. YOU know your child better than anyone. YOU know how your child acts. YOU know what is normal behavior for your kid. YOU know what your kid likes and what they don't. If something feels wrong to you, trust your instincts!

Our instincts are there for a reason.  That inner voice, or that feeling in the pit of your stomach, don't ignore it! It's your warning signal. Your smoke alarm before the fire.

Make a decision. Feel good about it. And move on.

What good comes of wondering if you made the right call?  What good comes of beating yourself up over it? Parenting is hard enough without second guessing yourself. Trust me. (I am speaking to myself on this one too. I am guilty of this a lot.)

If you love your child, want what is best for them, and are taking care of them, then you are doing a great job!  If you make the best decisions at the time with the information you have and consider all your options, then pat yourself on the back!

Will you be wrong? Absolutely. Will you will right? Mostly. Will you be confused? Try all the time. (Oh wait?! Is that just me?!)

Don't ignore what your gut is trying to tell you. Trust your instincts.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Old Navy, You Complete Me

Believe it or not, as a SAHM, I like to look nice. I'm not rocking those suits and strappy sandals like I used to but I still want to look nice, if albeit casually.

After kids, my body and I are occasionally at war. Sometimes my body wins. Sometimes I win. But, we have a mostly peaceful existence.

My body reminiscences about being just like it was in college. I remind it that I carried two children in my womb for 9 months each and TO SETTLE THE FLIP DOWN. I'll take my stretch marks and saggy belly any day if it means I can have my two sweet baby boys. (That's right, folks. I'm bringing sexy back!) I'll wear these stretch marks with pride as they are a reminder that I was blessed enough to be able to have children.

I am roughly the same size after kids, except *ahem* things are a little differently proportioned.  (Mamas, you know what I'm talking about!)

For many reasons, I don't want to spend a lot of money on clothes. My kids wipe their noses and other things on me like a Human Kleenex. They pull on my pant legs to get my attention. Or after giving me a hug, they hang off my sweater collar like Kobe hanging on the rim after a dunk. So, whereas I used to shop at Ann Taylor, Banana Republic and the like, these days, not so much.

These days, my favorite place to shop is a place that rhymes with Bold Gravy. I like it because you can find cute, trendy pieces without spending a bunch of money. (And also because it is super close to my house.)

I love to shop. When I say "shop", I mean going into a store, by myself, with a cup of coffee in one hand, strolling leisurely along, stopping at anything that may catch my eye. THAT is my idea of blissful shopping.

But, alas, this is not meant to be most of the time. Most of the time it ends up being a bit more chaotic.

For instance, the other day, I took the boys there to take a look around. After placing Baby L (2) in the stroller and taking J's (4) hand, we head into the store. I arm each boy with a Hot Wheels so they will have something to do while I look around.

Upon entering the store, I go to the first table to take a look at some lightweight sweaters. They are playing with their Hot Wheels. Things are going swimmingly.

As I move to the next table to look at t-shirts, things start to go downhill fast. Baby L chucks his car, grabs a stack of t-shirts and throws them on the floor. Meanwhile, J runs over to an assessor/toy/trinket stand, grabs a squirt bottle and puts it in his mouth as he pretends to drink.


I quickly assess the situation. After rolling Baby L away from the table, I run over to J and grab the bottle out of his hands. I tell J that is not our water bottle so we do not put it in our mouths. J and I walk, hand in hand, back to Baby L who is squawking. After putting the t-shirts back on the table, I quickly search and find both Hot Wheels, place them in my purse and come up with option B.

Option B involves me handing my keys to Baby L and playing "I Spy" with J, while I continue to look at clothes. All goes well for about five minutes, then Baby L tries to eat my keys and J runs off.

At this point, I have a few shirts and a couple of pairs of pants to try on. I yell for J who comes running and we all make out way into the dressing room. Trying to get all of us in there is like herding cats. For serious.

Anyway, at this point, the natives are extremely restless so I realize it is time to bring out the big guns. I pull up Kipper The Dog and hand them my iPhone.

Whew. Success!

I try on my clothes quickly, but methodically, to see if these clothes will be the ones to make my inner supermodel reveal herself. I'm not asking for much. Just a cute, sparkly top that hides my after-baby-tummy or those pair of jeans that will make my butt look J-Loesque.


I find a cute lightweight striped sweater. I'm in love. *Sigh.* Old Navy, you complete me.

By now, my iPhone lays discarded on the bench, J is opening the dressing room door while Baby L is licking the mirror.

Abort! Abort! The ship is going down!

I quickly snap out of my reverie, take off the top, put back on my shirt, grab the kids and get the heck out of there!

All of this takes about 30 minutes. No joke.

So yeah. Shopping with kids is crazy.

BUT, it is worth it if you find that one piece that makes you feel beautiful. Like my striped sweater.