Sunday, May 31, 2009

Reality Mom

Unless you've been living under a rock, or on the island of LOST, you've heard the latest controversy involving Jon and Kate Gosselin of Jon and Kate Plus 8. And if you've been a reader of my blog for any length of time I think you have noticed that don't really involve myself in controversies, unless you count that idiotic columnist that wrote a piece last June comparing international adoption to wearing a trendy accessory. And of course I had to show my accessories off. But I've been mulling this one over for about a week and I decided to jump into the frenzy.

Jon and Kate Plus Eight has been a weekly viewing experience in our house for about a year and a half. I discovered the show when Emma was in the hospital with her RSV. It was Thanksgiving week and TLC was pretty much the only watchable channel in the children's hospital. It just so happened that TLC was running a marathon week. JK+8 and I were introduced then, along with Miami Ink (which I found surprisingly fascinating) and Little People, Big World. Seriously, who could resist a house full of cute little kids and parents living on the edge of insanity? (Sounds vaguely familiar to me.) Not to mention it was something my girls liked too, so every Monday night we watched the capers of the Gosselins. But as time went on, Kate got snappier and snappier and the show began to seem more and more contrived. We were no longer watching the Gosselins surviving, we were watching the Gosselins go on free trips and experiences my kids can only dream of. I think it was when Kate dropped her kids off on Aunt Jody's just one more time, only to bring them home and discover that they had had gum and she lost it. The words that came out of Kate's mouth about Aunt Jody, the woman who just watched 7 of her 8 kids for the umpteenth time for free, just left me feeling angry. The ingratitude was evident.

So this spring when news broke that Jon was having an affair, I didn't believe it at first. And then I did. Kate emasculated Jon every chance she got, although it could easily be argued that the passive/aggressive Jon let her. In any case, it seemed plausible, even understandable that there was trouble afoot in Gosselinland and nobody was finding my name on the Kate Gosselin fan list. But I have to admit that the stories I've been reading have caught me off guard. Not only have her traits as a wife come into the spotlight, so have her abilities as a mother. Suddenly her manicures, her hair style, her fitness regime and her clothing options have all been placed under the microscope as evidence that she's a bad mother. Really?

It can be argued that the Gosselins have brought this on themselves. It's true that they placed themselves under the glare of cameras. They eagerly put themselves in the public eye. But what's got me thinking this week is how different are we Mommy Bloggers from the Gosselins? We share our lives, our children and especially in my family, our wacky adventures, all for the world to read about. How would we do under the constant watch of tv cameras?

This weekend a friend of mine suggested that my family should have our own reality show. That could only last about one show, two at the most. How many times can people watch Emma climb on counters, the dogs run off into the woods and see my cluttered living room? But it got me thinking about what cameras would really see. How interesting would it be to see me with my booty firmly planted in front of my computer? Seeing me yelling at Julia and Jenna about their negligence in caring for their dog Bella would be far more interesting. Or me getting frustrated again because the house is a mess again. Noticing a trend here? No need to attack my every other month pedicure and hair cut and color, there's enough evidence at the home front to fry and fillet my mothering abilities.

Who decides mothering perfection anyway? US Weekly? Are any of those writers even mothers? Or is it all those perfect blogs out there where the mothers feed their children organic food, live in impeccably perfect homes and cook gourmet food captured in professional quality photographs? We mother's have hard enough time trying to live up to our own expectations let alone the world's.

I've never claimed the Perfect Mother prize. If anything, I've stressed time and time again my imperfections. In the end, who's the judge of our mothering? It's ourselves for sure, but also our kids. Our kids won't be happy 100% of the time. I can assure you that Julia wasn't happy with me this afternoon after I finished my tirade. Should I have yelled? In a perfect world I wouldn't, but we've already established our world isn't perfect, haven't we? But hours removed from the situation, Julia admits that I'm right. And sometimes love is tough love. To me, the proof that I'm a good mother is when my children feel safe, encouraged and loved. The reality is that they won't feel that way all the time, but if I hit the mark most of the time I'll take it.

Which brings me back to me being a Mommy blogger and the Gosselins. The Gosselins put themselves in the public eye but so do I. Why in the world would I announce my imperfections to the world? I've never written my blog to get people to look up to me. I hope and pray that moms read my blog and say "thank goodness I'm not the only one." We mothers need role models for sure, but I don't aspire to that title. Sometimes we just need to see that there's someone else out there doing the best they can. In the end, what more can we ask for?

Thursday, May 28, 2009

It's Official! Summer Has Begun

You know that summer has begun when young children eat popsicles on the porch.

But summer doesn't officially begin until the last day of school. This is what Julia will find to greet her when she gets home today.

Oh, isn't that sweet! I made a sign to greet her when she walks in the front door. What? You can't read it? Let's take a closer look:

Summer has begun!!!!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

What Was I Thinking?

This could have easily turned into a disaster.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Traveling Van Stroller

Ryan is having ear tubes put in on Friday. The children's hospital where he is having the procedure done made him come in today to have presurgical testing. It seemed like overkill to me especially since Emma's ear tubes last July was so laid back, but I just went with it. Anything to get the fluid out of that poor little boys ears so he can hopefully hear.

I've been watching Cody's little boy Gauge while she works, so he joined us on our excursion this morning. I decided the best way for me to contain all three kids was to bring the Sit-n-Stand stroller.

Mom, are you sure this is going to work?

We parked in the parking garage and made up way up to the information desk to inquire where we needed to go. The directions were so complicated that they had to give me a map and even then, all the directions weren't on there. I decided I could wing it. Sure enough, my great map reading skills got us to the Pre Admitting office only to find out that we were supposed to be at the ENT's office an hour earlier.

Uh oh.

This one wasn't my fault though, I don't think. The PAT appointment was in my Blackberry, surely the other would be there too. In any case, we now needed to get to an entirely different area of the hospital. Oh joy.

We went back the way we came and then meandered into another section of the hospital making out way to the ENT. Thankfully, we had been there before so I had a good idea where we were going.

The kids enjoyed their waiting room time playing with the toys.

But snacks made it even better. The children's hospital has volunteers that bring carts to all the clinics offering the children free bags of animal crackers and cartons of milk. I told them not to give one to Ryan because he doesn't like milk, but he was quite upset that Gauge got one and he didn't so I relented. Of course, he drank the entire container. I now know the key to getting Ryan to drink milk. I just need to put it in a cardboard box. Silly me! I was putting it in a cup.

Ryans' name was soon called and he went back for quick physical exam. Then we were on our merry way to the first place we visited.

As we strolled through the hospital we got quite a bit of attention. You would think that people would be used to seeing several kids but I think it was the combination of the stroller, a blonde, very Caucasian child and two Asian children that drew the attention. That and the fact that these three kids are stinkin' cute.

Another waiting room with new toys means three happy kids. They didn't get to play long before we were called back. Ryan was weighed and measured, had his blood pressure taken and we were ushered to another room so they could take a more detailed history for anesthesia. The entire time I'm thinking to myself "Why are they making such a big deal over a little gas?" Turns out Ryan's chart had been marked Blood Disorder of Unknown origin. How did this happen? In the section that asks: Does the child or any family member have a blood disorder? I had checked No and then put: Unknown family history. Great. But since we were already there they still wanted us to see the anesthesiologist.

The kids did a great job of entertaining themselves and playing.

Gauge is a future photographer.

The anesthesiologist came in and went over the consent form, lingering on how unlikely all the possible potential disasters were. In fact, he told me, Ryan had a greater chance of being killed in the car on the way home then he did Friday getting ear tubes. (Has he seen my driving? Stalker.) The entire time I'm thinking to myself "You're barking up the wrong tree buddy." Ear tube anesthesia involves a tiny bit of gas for about a 10 minute procedure. I know this is minor. Don't get me wrong, I love the dickens out of that little boy, but after signing countless surgical consent forms for Darrell with several of them really involving the risk of death, there was no hesitation on my part. I want my baby to hear.

I had promised the kids a reward if they were good so I drove through a Wendy's drive through and got them kids meals and a promise to play at the park by our house. Only I hadn't counted on the entire 4th grade from the school being there so we ate at home. Soon after he kids went down for naps with me right behind them. Momma was worn out. I'd got my workout for the day.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Happy, Happy Birthday to Me!

Birthdays have never been a huge deal to me. Don't get me wrong, I try to make them a big deal for the kids which often results in a multi day event now dubbed "Birthday Week." But for me, not so big a deal. Usually all I ask is that I get out of cooking and someone tells me Happy Birthday.

But last year was the straw that broke the proverbial camel's back. The day of my birthday found us days away from movers showing up at our door and a house that wasn't completely packed yet. To say that I was feeling some pressure was an understatement. I was packing and working on a long list of projects that needed to be tackled before the day of the big move which started practically at sunrise and ended long after sunset. My birthday was no different and the boys, who were mourning the leaving of friends and significant others. were gone most of the day. Throw in dealing with a 10 month old, along with a 5 and 10 year old, and I was one cranky momma. So it came as no surprise that when Ross popped in around 3:00 in the afternoon to just grab something and go about his merry way, I lost it. I'm not proud of this fact, and I don't recall the entire contents of my verbal barrage (which incidentally continued on throughout the day to make sure no one was sparred) but I do remember using phrases such as "the least someone could do is say Happy Birthday" and "I'm going to remember this when it's your birthday."

One of my finer moments, for sure.

Needless to say, this year my birthday was remembered, and remembered well. For weeks my children having been asking me what I wanted for my birthday and secretly scheming planning.

Today was my birthday and I had told my children that the only things I coveted were sleeping past 8 am and not cooking the entire day. So promptly at 8:01 I was awaken by Julia and Jenna singing Happy Birthday. As I was about to roll over and beg for more sleep, I saw that they were carrying a tray of food, breakfast in fact, and it was good food. Breakfast in bed. I dined on a feast of bacon, scrambled eggs and toast. When I was finished, I was lead downstairs (blindfolded-- I accused them of planning to push me down the stairs) and into the living room where I received a mini spa treatment which included a hand rub, back scratch and a facial. Now this is the life.

Later I got ready for my sister-in-law Janne' to pick me up and take me out to lunch. We had a wonderful afternoon which included a delicious lunch, a mini shopping trip to by Janne' some clothes and a trip to Starbucks. Ah, Starbucks...

(I will add that Janne' felt it wrong to be shopping for her when it was my birthday but I told her I refused to buy myself any more clothes until I lost weight because I was no longer going to enable my fatness.)

Janne' took me home, announcing that she had to go to the bathroom before driving herself about a half mile home and I didn't find that unusual at all. Some days I can be so obtuse.

We walked into the house where I was greeted with Surprise! It was a surprise party-- for me!

{Yes, that is a Starbucks cup in my hand}

Julia, Jenna and Cody had picked up the house and decorated it with streamers and signs. Julia had even invited a couple of my neighbors Lori and Kristin. Also in attendance where my parents, my brother Rick and my nephews Dillon and Zach. Kevin and Janne' had to tag team because my niece Caitlin was sick.

The theme was a tea party and they got every conceivable treat you could think of to go with tea.

My cake says "32." I tell everyone that I'm 31 so Trace decided that it was finally time for me to age a year. (Okay, okay, I'm really 45.)

Next it was time for gifts. The bag says Sassy Pants and I'm pointing to my pants to show that indeed, I am Sassy Pants. Carey will be quite proud of me because that gift bag has been recycled countless times in this house, including being used for my father's birthday gift a few nights earlier.
Emma was wanting to help open cards and gifts. Notice I'm "hiding" a card on top of my head. Old and talented.

The kids all pooled their money together and bought me an iPod Touch. My nephew Zach is looking over my shoulder asking if he can have it if I don't want it. Sure Zach, stand in line. I also got a spa gift certificate from Ross and a large rattan chest from Trace, Cody and Julia to hide the toys in the living room. I guess it really does pay to complain.

Soon after everyone left we found Jenna on the living room floor--

Asleep. I guess all that partying wore her out. Light weight.

PS> I really expected nothing from my children this year other than the opportunity for someone else to provide the meals for the day and for my birthday to be acknowledged. My children went far and beyond what they should have done and they will be punished severely for spending so much of their own money.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Ticked Off

I have a Yorkie named Fifi. When you read that, what mental image comes to mind. This?

Uh, no. Think this:

Fifi, covered in mud and thorn branches.

Cock-a-burs, dead leaves and mud balls. Oh my.

Which always results in this:

How does my sweet little foofooey dog get this way?

This is the view from my back door. We don't have a fence (yet!) so when the children come in or out, Fifi gets out and 9 times out of 10 heads up into the woods.

For some reason people think of Yorkies as cute little purse dogs. The reality is that they were breed for hunting rats, badgers and foxes. This innate characteristic draws Fifi to the woods time and time again.


Yesterday, one of the many small children that live in this house opened the back door and Fifi sprinted off into the woods, only to reappear a few hours later. Covered in ticks. I had given her flea and tick medicine a few days before but when I rechecked the box, it was expired. Great. What was I to do? Obviously they had to come off.

True Swank style, I sat at the kitchen counter holding Fifi while Ryan, Emma, Jenna and Gauge sat on stools watching, oh and eating a snack. What's a show without refreshments? Whatever keeps the kids entertained. I got a pair of tweezers and a clear disposable cup and got to work. It only took removing one live tick, placing it in the cup and watching it climb to the top and make a break for freedom to realize I needed a new strategy. Water. Sure it wouldn't drown them but it would contain them.

I filled the cup halfway with water and sure enough, the ticks were having a swimming party. As I pulled off tick #16 or so, Emma decided to climb onto the kitchen counter. I was busy holding a squirming ticked infested dog so I asked Jenna to please help get Emma. (What was I thinking?) I continued to pull off ticks as Jenna took her sweet time and Emma made her way over to the cup. As I was pulling off tick #19 (or so) Emma slipped on the counter and fell on top of the Cup O'Ticks. The cup turned over releasing ticks and water all over the counter, floor and Emma.

Who said nothing exciting happens here?

Fifi was dropped, Emma was crying, Jenna and the boys were screaming and I was quickly trying to figure out how to contain 20 loose, live ticks that were camouflaged by a brown counter and a wood floor. I quickly grabbed some paper towels and started wiping anything within 3 feet, stuffing the towels into the empty cup and placing the cup in a ziploc bag. But I still had a dog with hidden ticks. And screaming children.

I announced a shopping trip to Petco and Target, which stopped the screaming. Fifi was sequestered into the powder room and I spent the next 10 minutes readjusting car seats and booster seats in my bus van. Finally, 4 small children were loaded in the van and off we went.

Again, what was I thinking??? It actually went quite well, other then the distraction of about 15 dogs up for adoption outside of Petco. Jenna begged for a Jack Russell terrier. I merely looked at her like she had lost her ever lovin' mind, which she obviously had. Are you kidding me? New flea and tick medicine was purchased and we walked over to Target next door to buy a new booster seat so the car seat/booster seat relay would be a thing of the past.

As we wandered through Target, me congratulating myself on how well things were going with both boys sitting nicely in the seats in front of the cart and Emma sitting sweetly her seat, Emma proceeds to lift up her dress and stick her hand down the front of her diaper. And keep it there. Can 22 month olds be arrested for lewd behavior? I didn't really want to find out. Just as I got to her to pull her hand out, she pulled it out herself, fingers covered in poop.

Of course, I didn't have any wipes with me, or tissues, but thank goodness for the countless number of receipts in the bottom of my purse. They finally had some usefulness. We quickly made our way to the front, washed Emma's hand, paid for our purchases and proceeded to the van where I laid Emma down on the van floor and changed her nasty diaper in plain site. What good is living in Missouri if I can't play the hillbilly card? There was no way on earth I was dragging all those kids back in the store. And to my credit, since I was playing the hillbilly card, I didn't throw the diaper in the parking lot for someone to step on.

So what's the moral of this story? Beats me, but the next time I get a dog it's going to be a stuffed one. Taxidermy.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

How To Keep Your House Clean

On Sunday our house was really clean and picked up because of Ross' graduation party. Obviously, that's a rare occasion-- both the graduation and the cleanliness. I don't think we need a graduation every day but the cleanliness would be nice. I figured it was worth a shot at trying to maintain it for at least 24 hours. What can I say? Call me crazy.

Sunday was so far so good but on Monday morning I was trying to decide how to keep 3 young children from destroying my perfection, well perfection as I know it. I'm sure that many of your homes are much cleaner and picked up than mine. I'll just settle for mediocrity and be happy if I can maintain that. As I struggled with keeping the status quo it hit me.

Balloons. They could have Ross' balloons.

Gauge, Ryan and Emma (who was getting a loving choke hold.)

You're lucky to be standing after that insult Ryan!

But what could make balloons even better and consequently keep 3 small children entertained and not destroying the house?

TV! Hey, it's Ni Hao Kai Lan so at least it's educational, right? Who threw those pillows on the floor???

Yes, many brain cells died yesterday but my house stayed clean a few hours longer. A small price to pay for mediocrity.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Possession is 9/10ths of the Law

Children are often possessive of their toys, but Emma has taken it to the next level. Emma has become possessive of her clothes. If Emma had her way, she would never change her clothes.

Every time I change her I'm met with this. Screaming, crying and clutching of the clothing item. {Yes, that's her Foofa doll}

And after it's removed, she tries to put it back on. This also happens with some diaper changes (thankfully not all), removing her shoes and sometimes taking her out of her car seat. With clothing and diapers, the hysteria is resolved by replacing the clothing/diaper with the new item. Then it's like it never happened.

I'm hoping this phase doesn't last long or Emma might be only wearing a diaper all summer.

Hallelujah! Ross is a High School Graduate!

I think that parental graduation etiquette states that you are supposed to be overcome with sadness and nostalgia when your child graduates. I'm not too great at etiquette since I still haven't got all of Ross' graduation announcements out even though he graduated yesterday. I know, I know. Let me tell you straight out that sending anything other than a giveaway out in the mail is not my thing. But I've also failed on the overcome with sadness too. I was positively thrilled.

Now don't get me wrong, I'm not eager to send my second born child out into the world, but no worries there anyway. He's not going anywhere next year other than continuing to live in the basement while he goes to community college and works at the nearby convenience store. But let's just say that Ross' high school years have been a challenge. Detentions, in school suspensions and a Saturday school for tardies are now a thing of the past. Hallelujah! No more cringing when St. Mary's High School comes up on the caller ID. It's a good day in the Swank household!

Yesterday was the official day when Ross assembled with 39 other seniors and had a fairly short graduation ceremony but only after we sat through a very long mass. It was a Catholic high school. Isn't mass mandatory? When it was over, it was official. Ross was a high school graduate.

Ross with Julia and Trace. My SIL Janne', hereby known as St. Janne' the Wonderful, watched Jenna, Ryan, Emma and Gauge while we attended the graduation. Julia's excited because Ross is letting her touch him. Or maybe she's thrilled because the graduation ceremony and mass were over.

Notice the diploma cover he's clutching in his right hand? When all the other students went outside to throw their caps into the air he ran straight to the room where he received his official diploma.

My two men.
{Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! I made a funny!}

After the graduation we had a dinner at our house. A restaurant would be a nightmare with the little ones so I ordered pans of pasta and salad from Olive Garden. We have scads of food leftover so everyone's welcome to come eat leftovers tonight. Sixish is good.

Nothing's official until it's written in cake so now it's official. Ross is a graduate. Two down, only 4 more to go!

For those of you who are my friends on Facebook, there are more pictures on my page.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

LOST- Finale Jacob's Ladder

Let me start off by saying that this will obviously be a LOST post. I'm sure the title clued you in. But let me start with something UnLOSTish. I was invited to a Girl's Night Out on Wednesday night and it didn't have anything to do with LOST. In fact, I accepted this invitation last Sunday morning at church and it was several hours later before it suddenly hit me what the nagging feeling I had about having some other type of plans for Wednesday night was: LOST Finale. But here's where I might surprise you-- I went to Girl's Night Out anyway.

And you thought I was hopelessly lost.

I went to my Girl's Night Out which included dinner and a movie, and was home in time to tuck my children into bed. And then promptly left again. I was invited to a LOST DVR watch party at my brother's house. Oh yeah. So last night about 10:15, I started watching LOST with Kevin and Janne' with fair warning that there might be multiple pauses for me to explain things. (Kevin and Janne' are new LOST converts. Kevin watched Season 4 and picked up this year. Janne', brave soul that she is, jumped right in this season so naturally has many questions.) There were multiple pauses with the first one occurring about 1 minute and 14 seconds into the show.

About two hours later we saw the reverse LOST logo, black letters on a white background, and we pretty much sat there in silence. What was there to say? We were in shock. I went home and finally got to sleep around 1:30, only to wake up about 6:15-- thinking about LOST.

It was that good.

I think you know by know that any obsession will be discussed here. My apologies to nonLOST fans in advance.

First, I have to say that this episode was too epic, had too much to compress all into one post. There's no way. This morning I decided to focus on one area, or should I say person: Jacob.

{I've been formulating this all day and before I started to write, I read Doc Jensen's LOST recap and amazingly enough, he touched on many of the things I intended to say, but not all. At first I was annoyed and then I was thrilled. Usually I never think of what he comes up with. Maybe I'm getting smarter. Or not.}

The episode The Incident may have ended with a Bang but it started with one too. The bombshell of who Jacob was. I have to say that I didn't expect to see him weaving, cooking and filleting fish. Never in my wildest theories did my mind go there. But just because we saw Jacob performing this seemingly mundane tasks doesn't mean that Jacob's a mere mortal. Quite the opposite. As Jacob is kicked back munching on his Fillet O Fish sandwich watching the Black Rock sail by, a man walked up and took a seat with him. It soon became obvious that they weren't friends.

"I take it you're here because of the ship" Jacob said and we soon realized that Jacob had brought it to the island.

"Still trying to prove me wrong." The other man said.

"You are wrong." Jacob countered.

"They come. They fight. They destroy. They corrupt. It always ends the same."

"It only ends once. Anything that happens before that is just progress." Jacob said.

The other man got a scowl, looked at Jacob and asked "Do you have any idea how badly I want to kill you?"


"One of these days sooner or later I'm going to find a loop hole my friend."

"Well, when you do, I'll be right here."

And so he was.

The black and white theme was carried into this scene with Jacob wearing a white shirt and the other man in black. Good versus evil. Everyone knows that the white is the good guy. Or is it?

Flashbacks for the remainder of the episode revealed Jacob visiting a succession of the Oceanic Six (as well as Jin and Locke) at pivotable points in their lives. The first was Kate as she shop lifted a New Kids on the Block lunch box, aided and abetted by a young Tom. Just as the store owner was about to call her mother and the police, Jacob showed up to save the day and pay for the ill gotten loot. He asked "You're not going to steal anymore, are you?" Katie shook her head and Jacob touched her nose and told her to be good. (He never mentions not to murder, so she's still good.) And then she's off on her merry way. Jacob saved the day, or did he?

Next up is a young Sawyer, still a little Jimmy. He's at the funeral of his parents and Jacob walked up as Jimmy was writing his infamous letter to Mr. Sawyer when his pen runs out of ink. Jacob handed him his pen, making sure that their fingers touch. "I'm very sorry about your mother and father James," Jacob said using Sawyer's rarely used first name and then he walked away. Wasn't that sweet of Jacob?

Jacob gets around. Next up is stopping Sayid as he and Nadia are crossing a street. Nadia was slammed by a car and Jacob touched Sayid's arm. This time Jacob offers no condolences but merely walked away.

I propose that Jacob was not actually performing good deeds. If Kate had followed the natural consequences of her actions, she might not have been in handcuffs on Flight 815. If Sawyer hadn't gotten Jacob's pen he might not have finished that letter after all, leading him to become a conman and a killer with an empty life of seeking vengeance. If he hadn't distracted Sayid, Nadia wouldn't have been hit by a car. In fact, I will go as far as to say that Jacob arranged the car or at the very least, knew it would hit her. Sayid became an empty shell of a man after Nadia's death.

Jacob did make some more benign and even helpful visits. At Jin and Sun's wedding he touched each of their shoulders and told them how special their love was and not to take it for granted. How about Jacob sitting on a bench reading Flannery O'Connor's book of short stories Everything that Rises Must Converge? He waited until he heard the thud of John Locke's body hitting the ground after being pushed out an 8 story window. Jacob nonchalantly walked over to a seemingly lifeless man. Jacob touched John's shoulder and John quickly inhaled. "Don't worry, everthing's going to be all right" Jacob comforted and added "I'm sorry this had to happen to you." But it could also be argued that if Jacob hadn't saved John Locke, then he wouldn't become the monster that killed him, or more accurately, the monster that convinced Ben to kill him.

The only ones left are Jack and Hurley. Jacob visited Jack as he pouted about his father intervening in Jack's OR crisis. Petulant Jack accuses Daddy of embarrassing him. Suddenly all of Jack's daddy issues now seem more to do with Jack and his erroneous perception rather than Christian's actual behavior. In any case, as Christian walks away Jacob hands Jack the Apollo candy bar that got stuck in the vending machine, making sure their fingers touch. (Nice nod to mythology. Easter egg or a mislead?) Jacob also said "I guess it just needed a little push." That's gotta mean something.

And finally, there's Hurley, actually the most informative visit. Jacob shared a cab with Hurley as he's released from jail. Hurley told Jacob he's cursed. Jacob countered that he's actually blessed; he gets to see the people he loves and cares about even though their dead. Jacob told Hurley about Ajira flight 316 and leaves his guitar case behind. Do you think there's a dead body in there?

Ilana was the only non 815 survivor to be visited. Ilana was in a hospital bed with some nasty looking wounds and Jacob came to visit her. It seemed that they knew each other when Jacob said he was sorry he hadn't come sooner and asked her to help him. It was also noticeable that Jacob wore gloves and didn't touch her when he'd been touchy feely with all the others.

I wasn't sure what the touches meant but Doc Jensen, a man much smarter than I, has a theory. He suggests that the touches are what makes sure that the Losties make it through the atomic blast and onto the other side, whatever the other side may be. I think he's onto something.

I know I said this was about Jacob but I can't help but bring up Locke. While I had considered that the John Locke walking around was some island entity, I never considered that it wasn't his body. When the Ilana crew dumped that metal crate and John's body tumbled out I was more than shocked. I was horrified. John is dead. Just add his name to the ever growing list.

Island John knew things because he's seen them before, in a time loop. He knew when to take Richard to meet Time Traveling Locke. He knew where the temple was. He even knew where to find Jacob. Island John is also Smokey. Never seen at the same time, John leaves and Smokey shows up. Island John knows things about people, Smokey knows things about people. And who is Island John/Smokey? Jacob's black shirted Frenemy. So where's Frenemy been? Until a black ash circle was broken, he's been trapped in a cabin posing as Jacob to John. He's also appeared as Christian, and I'm more than slightly worried he's also appeared to Hurley as Charlie, Mr. Eco and Ana Lucia. Island Locke needed the body of Real Locke to get to Jacob. Real Locke was the new leader so had natural access to Jacob. He convinced Locke that he needed to die and he convinced Locke he needed to turn the Frozen Donkey Wheel to leave. Poor John was playing into Frenemy's hands. I really hate to think of John as a oblivious pawn, but it really looks that way.

Island John also played on Ben's grief and guilt and appeared to Ben as his daughter. Alex told Ben to do what John told him to do, which in this case was kill Jacob. Now it was Ben's turn to be a pawn. I have to say that Jacob didn't seem too surprised to see Ben and Island John, and he didn't seem to be surprised by John's disguise. Frenemy found his loop. But what was the loop? I think it was telling John to die and making sure his body came back to the island. Everything was already in place, he just needed John's body, I'm not sure why since he didn't actually use it.

Jacob seemed resigned to his fate, even bating an angry Ben holding a knife. Why in the world would he do that? Because "they are coming." And who are they? The Losties in 1977, or at least the one's Jacob touched. The end is coming, not just the end of LOST but Jacob's and his frenemy's end game.

Is Jacob really dead? He's obviously not a normal human since we first saw him around 1845 and he looks the same over 150 years later. While his body might be dead, I think his spirit is not and he will inhabit someone else. I think that's exactly what happened to Black Shirt guy.

So, which one is good and which one is evil? While LOST makes a point of contrasting black and white quite a bit, we all know that real life is not so clear cut. I think perhaps there is no good or evil, merely two entities fighting over their personal beliefs and using peoples lives to prove their point, carnage be damned. But I guess we'll have to wait about 8 months to find out.

How will we wait until 2010?

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

New Kids on the Block

A couple of weeks ago I went outside to turn on my grill.

And I found something like this:

At first it was a bunch of grass. I cleaned it out and the next day I went back and found it again. After the third time I stopped and waited.

Before long we had eggs! Every few days we would carefully check them and this weekend we found:

Naked baby birds!

Here they are a few days later; they've gotten bigger. Out of five eggs, only 3 hatched. Sometimes we can hear them crying from the sliding glass door. So far it's cute. How long do we have until it gets annoying?

Good thing my grill is out of gas.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Filling the pew

I went to church on Mother's Day morning. That should be a no brainer, of course I would go to church. But I admit, I live to sleep past 8:00 am. As life goals go, it seems low on the priority list yet it's pretty high on mine. With a bed time of often midnight or later, I have to make my sleep up somewhere. Don't even suggest going to bed sooner. I'm starting this post at 11:00 pm. Enough said. I often get my one day to sleep in on Saturday but Ross had Saturday school the day before. So on Sunday, Mother's Day, I was tempted to sleep in and possibly miss church.

Lucky for my eternal salvation, Emma had other ideas and woke up at 6:45. Her Mother's Day gift to me.

There was no excuse to miss church now so Ryan, Jenna and I went. I knew Ryan was supposed to make a Mother's Day gift of a clay pot with a tissue paper flower and Jenna had choir practice. More incentives to go to church. The kids went to their Sunday school classes and then we headed to the service.

The kids grabbed their activity bags and we took our seats. Three people, three seats right? Oh no, Jenna and Ryan had to have room to spread out so we took six seats. I know I need to loose weight but really now. I spent the next hour telling Jenna to be quiet and tying to convince Ryan that the crayons in his bag were just as good as the crayons in Jenna's box. Trying to stop Ryan from stamping the back of the chair in front of us. Convincing Jenna that I really didn't want to play Go Fish with the cards in her bag.

Jenna received a peony flower bud to give to me for Mother's Day. At one point, Jenna held the peony flower bud and she decided to make sure I had it, right under my nose. "Smell it," she said. I turned my head away and then back to it sniffing. "Can you smell it?" she asked.

The church we go to is my brother's church. When we first started going it was nice to have someone we knew. But we know lots of people now and quite a few are readers of my blog (Hi Christy, Kathleen, Heather, and Sandra!) I've always believed that church is not only worship but also fellowship and I get lots of fellowship at this church.

Heather, who was sitting in the row behind me leaned forward and told Jenna, "You're mommy can't smell."

I leaned back to her and whispered "Stalker!" Heather knew this Fun Fact from reading my blog.

In the meantime, both kids were moving from one end of our chairs to the other. In the process of moving, Ryan's clay pot was knocked over numerous times.

The first time it was knocked over it fell onto the concrete floor and the the clink and roll was heard by several rows in front and behind us. By the fourth time, people were looking back to see what was going on. By the seventh time, people were snickering. By the end of the church service I was holding the pot.

Don't ask me what the sermon was about. I know it was something about love, it was from the book of John and there was a story about a train trip and a chain gang, although I'm fairly certain the chain gang story didn't come from John. That's about all I remember. I think that's probably one sentence fragment more then I remembered about the last sermon I heard.

When the service was over, I turned to Heather and told her that I thought I was going to the wrong church. I think I need to convert back to Catholicism where at least you get to drink wine at the end of the service, even if it is from the communion cup. Wine, fellowship-- I think the church service should be renamed Happy Hour.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Freebie Friday Winners!

Tonight I got out my big red bowl.

I printed out 6 pages of names.

And cut them.

And put them in a bowl. (This sounds like a recipe, huh?)

And then I drew a name. The winner of a There's Always Room For One More mug (and crack bars):

The winner of the $10 Starbucks gift card:

And the winner of the $25 gift card to Olive Garden or Applebees is:

Congratulations to all the winners! Happy Mother's Day!