Sunday, January 31, 2010

Claim it

The newest craze at the Amundson house?

Claiming other's burps.

When one of the boys burps... another one will raise his hand and say

"I claim that."

It's been going on for about a week now.

Zach tells me that this afternoon, Ethan let out an award-winning one.

Zach: So after lunch Ethan gets up and says, "I'm going to have one of those cupcakes for a..."
and then he burps out the word "Ssssnnnnaaaaackkkkk."


Ethan is standing right by him, smiling at me proudly.

Zach: It was amazing. AMAZING. It was long and powerful and loud. I mean, the house vibrated from it. Awesome. Didn't you hear it?

Me: No.

Zach: I'm surprised. It was... it was... incredible.


Me: So, did you claim it?

Zach: Sadly, no. Zayd claimed it first.


Zayd, Zach, Ethan and I were watching the Michael Jackson movie this afternoon on DVD.

Zayd blurts out...

Zayd: I'm going to be the cool uncle!


Yeah. I don't get it either.

500 carats

Saturday morning I stumbled into our kitchen at 9 am, having slept off a two-glass-of-wine evening at a super fun 50th birthday party for a friend of ours. (And yes, 2 glasses of wine is plenty of party for me nowadays).

I walked in to find Zach and his friend sitting at the counter. I had forgotten Zach had a friend sleep overnight, so here I had forced them to fend for themselves for breakfast. I wasn't feeling like a great hostess or mother.

As I fumbled around the cupboards and fridge for my favorite coffee cup and flavored creamer... I saw something weird. At first, I chalked up my confusion to the two glasses of wine (They were large glasses)...

It was a small bowl with water that had something floating in it. It looked like a Cheerio and a Lucky Charms marshmallow that had bloated up after spending an overnight in water.

It was gross. And I thought to myself... why. Why do my children do this stuff? Why do they experiment with food and leave it sitting around in an unnatural state to grow, and bloat, and mold around my kitchen which was remodeled 5 years ago to look exactly the way I wanted? My beautiful honey-stained maple? My brushed stainless steel appliances? My Kelly Ripa Electrolux oven which makes cooking a breeze?

Why I am staring at cereal... wait no. Two pieces of cereal in a small bowl of water on my countertop dedicated to mail, bills, and school papers?

Me: What is this?

I stare down at the little bowl... holding it only with my index fingers and thumbs. If it is toxic, I don't want to get it on me.

Me: What is this? What is this? What is this?

The cadence seems to help me from potentially losing my mind.

Zach: What? What are you looking at?

Me: What is this!

More boys take notice and gather in the kitchen. I am surrounded by four - Zach, Zayd and Ethan... and Zach's friend.

Everyone peers into the bowl - cautiously.

Zach: Ew. Looks like something Ethan did.

Ethan: I didn't do that! I didn't! I promise!

Zayd: Gross.

Paul walks into the kitchen.

Paul: What's going on?

Me: What is this?

Paul: What's what?

Me: What is this? This! THIS!

He looks.

He laughs.

Paul: Oh! That's Evan's. It's for you!

Is he trying to make me yell?

Paul: It's a diamond ring. He got it from his piano teacher last night. You know... you put one of those little small cubes in water and it grows into something? It's a diamond ring. He is making it for you.

My anger starts to melt... And now the ring comes into focus... indeed the Cheerio and the Lucky Charms marshmallow are connected.

Paul: What did you think it was?

Me: One of Evan's weird food experiments.

Tangent: Evan is well known in our home for his food experiments. Weird concoctions of things that shouldn't be eaten together. For example one day I found shredded carrots with Kraft Cheese Slices cut into squares along with cereal in a bowl. There was a sauce too... And it was all fossilized together. I think I had to throw the bowl away.

He blends things into liquid too - I'm not even going to get into those...

But this wasn't a food experiment. It was a gift for me. A ring.

I walked into the sunroom to join Paul and have my cup of coffee. Ethan carried the bowl behind me to examine it more closely at the kitchen table.

Me: Well... that's kinda cute then.

Paul: Yeah... it's pretty impressive - it's supposed to grow to more than 500 times it's original size!

That's what she said.


Paul: Oh. And he fully expects you to wear it.


Paul: Seriously.


Today is Sunday - my diamond ring is still growing in the bowl. It doesn't look like a ring so much anymore. It has reverted back to bloated cereal pieces. Evan has either forgotten about it...


Wants to wait until it grows into an even bigger diamond ring...

just for me.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Brain Rot

Tonight, Ethan sprawled in one of our big comfy chairs sporting only a pair of his blue camo undies (of course). He sat down to read me his books... his "homework." After a lovely reading of "Nightmare Hill" (A story about a sledding hill)... he moved onto his second selection...

Ethan: Now I will read "A Friend for Little White Rabbit."

Me: Okay.

Ethan: (sighs)


Ethan: I think this book rots my brain.


Me: What?

Ethan: It rots my brain a little.


Me: Little white rabbit rots your brain?

Ethan: NO. A FRIEND for Little White Rabbit rots my brain.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Yes. I love Brett.

It's time for me to come clean.

I love Brett Farve. No, really. I have a super huge crush on the guy.

I'm really not a "crush" kinda of girl. I reserve that label for my sister who has had crushes on the following people (in no particular order):

Bob Barker
Brian Sipe
Corey Hart
Michael Jackson
Duran Duran
Shaun Cassidy

Family legend has it that Yaso used to kiss the TV screen when Bob would come on the "Price is Right." Let's give her a little credit. Forty years ago the guy wasn't THAT bad looking.

Shaun Cassidy. Whoa. That was a big one. But, that was a big one for many girls.

Brian Sipe. For those of you outside of the Ohio area - Brian was quarterback for the Browns. She had lots of Brian posters... and she watched all the games.

Corey Hart. Another poster crush.

Michael Jackson. No she did not wear any sequenced gloves to school, but she did sleep with the album when she first got it. Like, the entire album... cover and all. In bed.

Duran Duran... another biggy. But I was older at that time so I don't remember any particularly funny stories about that crush.

I, on the other hand, had no crushes on people I would never meet. I preferred actual face-to-face relationships with people.

Until now.

Until Brett.

I never even noticed the guy when he was with the Packers. I sort of inherited Viking's fan-ship when I married Paul. So after 16 years of watching them, and even going to a handful of games, I learned to not like the Packers.

But then all of a sudden the veil of green and gold was lifted.... and there he was.

Damn. He is cute! Really really cute.

That southern drawl certainly doesn't hurt either.

He looks good in a football uniform. I don't think I noticed his backside when it was covered in gold...

He looks good out of a football uniform in his jeans and a tee.

While I am no football expert - he strikes me as a really good QB. He is fun to watch. He makes football fun to watch.

He likes slapping butts (also a nice touch)... and he has a great smile....

Which, if you hadn't noticed, he flashes a lot while he is playing football. The guy looks like he is having fun. That's appealing to me.

And even after that hard hit he took in last night's game that left him hobbling -- he winced... and then during another play... there he was again... smiling. At that moment, I think I fell in love all over again.

So this year - watching the Vikings was different for me. I had a vested interest.

I was rooting for more than just the Vikings.

I was rooting for the super cute, fun, talented, driven, competitive guy with the nice ass who showed a lot of people that you can still have it going on in your 40s.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Hip Swinging Blues

After dinner the other night, Zach approached me about a problem.

Zach: Mom. I need help.

Me: With what?

Zach: I can't swing my hips.


Me: What?

Zach: My hips. They don't move. I can't swing them back and forth.

Hmmm... as the mother of a 14-year-old boy, this does not sound like a problem at all... This, my friends, is a gift from God.

Me: Okay. Soooo... first. Why do you need them to swing? Anddd... second. Why do you care?

Zach: They NEED to swing. We are doing this dance to "All the Single Ladies" and my hips don't swing like everyone elses. I look like an idiot.

Me: Of course your hips swing.


What I saw was disturbing. Indeed. His hips don't swing. His upper body moves from side to side, giving vague impression that his bottom half is moving. He is right...

He looked like an idiot.

Zach: MOM! My theater arts grade depends on whether I can swing my hips!

Me: (I get up off my chair). Okay. Let me see what's going on. Try it again. (I hold his waist to keep it still)


Me: So - try this.

I get up and stick out my hip. 

Me: Stand up and put all your weight on your hip.

Zach: (he tries) I can't do it!

He is 50% Arab. Of course he can swing his hips. His ancestors have been belly dancing and hip swinging for centuries. 


OMG. It's the Norwegian in him! Damn it! I thought that his lackluster hip-swinging looked eerily familiar...

Me: Zayd! Show your brother how to swing those hips!

Zayd gets up and does some amazing dance moves -- complete with 100% authentic middle-eastern hip swinging. 

Me: See!

Whoa. Zayd got Zach's 50% Arab and his own 50%. 

Zach: My hips don't do that!


Me: I see that now.

Zach: (defeated) What am I going to do?


Me: You have only a few choices. You can stand in the back row and hope no one sees you. You can call in sick... or we'll have to send in Zayd for you.

Zayd: Woot! Woot!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Opie and Candy

Opie (a miniature poodle) and Candy (a golden retriever) are the parents of our soon to be born puppy.
The breeder we are using posted a picture of a couple of puppies from Opie and Candy's litter last year.

I can barely stand how freakin' adorable these pups are.

Thursday, January 21, 2010


Evan is the kitchen counter doing homework tonight. Paul is washing dishes and I am sitting nearby...

Evan: Do you know some words that start with circum?

Paul: Circumference

Me: Circumcise

Paul looks at me and smirks

Paul: Circumvent

Me: Hey Evan, do you know what circumcise means?

Evan: No... I have to write down the definitions. I'll do that in a minute.

I start giggling like I'm in 6th grade.

Paul: Evan, don't put down circumcise.

Evan: Why?

Paul: Just don't.

Evan: What does it mean?

Paul: It means to remove the foreskin from a penis.


Evan: What!

I burst out laughing.

Evan: Oh my God. Owww! Why did you tell me that mom?

Me: Dad took the best circum word... circumference. Circumcise is the second best circum word.

Evan: Okay. I am crossing off circumcise. Wow mom.


Evan: What does circumference mean?

Me: It's the circle around the foreskin of a penis that you cut off when you circumcise someone.

Paul starts laughing.

Evan: Mom!

Me: I'm sorry.

A few moments later...

Evan: Okay, now I need some words that begin with fore..

Paul: Forlorn

Evan: Okay... forlorn

Me: Foreplay

Evan: Foreplay....


Evan: What is foreplay?

Me: I'm kidding, don't put down foreplay.

Evan: What does it mean!

Me: Nothing.

Evan: Dad. What is foreplay?

Paul: Don't put that down.

Me: Foreskin.

Paul: Najla.

Evan: Mom!

Me: Okay, okay...


Evan: Okay... how about hemi.

I burst out laughing again.

Paul: What is so funny about hemi?

Me: I have no clue!

Expert help

I had a stressful day at work yesterday. At dinner, Zach asked about it.

Zach: So. How was work today?

Me: It sucked.

Zach: Okay. Would you like to talk about it?

Me: Do you really want to hear about it?

Zach: Well, I AM taking Communication Technology this semester. I've already had two sessions. Granted, one was with a substitute teacher. Regardless, I think that makes me qualified to offer you any assistance you may need.

Face Mask

As I was hunched over my briefcase this morning, rifling through some papers, Ethan excitedly told me about an art project he did in class the day before.

Ethan: Mom! Mom! Mom! I made a face mask in school yesterday!

Me: (Still looking through my papers) Oh! Wow! That's great honey.

Ethan: Mom! Mom! Look at it mom!

Me: (I turn around). Wow! That's... uhm... wow.


Me: That's interesting.

Ethan: It's a BLOODY FACE!


Me: Wow.

Ethan: See the blood all over mom! And he has angry eyebrows... SEE!

Me: Yes. I see that.

Ethan: And my best friend Matt made a bloody face too!

Me: Excellent.


Me: Ethan, maybe we should make something other than a bloody face.

Ethan: (his eyes grow wide) MOM. That's what my teacher said too!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Caring for the clean

Zachary, our 14-year-old, was responsible for the pack this morning. Both Paul and I had to work.

We had a list of chores for the boys to accomplish before we got home.

Zach apparently had his own requirements for the boys.

Me: So how did everything go today?

Zach: Good.


Zach: I made them all shower this morning.


Me: Okay. Why?

Zach: Because they always stink.


Zach: Well... with the exception of Evan. He is unusually clean.


Zach: I think he is self-cleaning.


Zach: And interestingly enough... he always smells like Febreeze.

Sunday, January 17, 2010


Last week Zach had finals so he had extra time for lunch. I asked if he wanted me to pick him and some of his friends up and go somewhere out to eat. We made plans... but that led into a conversation about driving with friends:

Zach: Mom. Why don't you let me ride in the car with friends?

Me: You are allowed to ride in the car with friends.

Zach: No. I mean, when a friend is driving.

Me: Yeah. That's not going to happen.

Zach: But why?

Me: Because, I'm just not there yet Zach. I don't feel comfortable having my 14-year-old in a car with another 14-year-old driving.

Zach: But why not? I don't get it.

Me: There is nothing to get, Zach. I am just not there yet. I am not ready. I don't want to go there with you and it isn't going to happen. It's bad enough that it might happen when you are 16, but 14? No. No. Not gonna happen.

Zach: But my friends are responsible!

Me: I know.

Zach: So, I can't drive with ANY of my friends?

Me: Nope. Not yet.

Zach: So maybe someday I can drive with my friends?

Me: Well... I suppose eventually it will happen. But not now.

Zach: So when?

Me: Well, if you keep pushing me for an answer... never.

Zach: Mom. Seriously.

Me: Yeah. I am serious.

Zach: I don't know what you think is going to happen!

Me: Hmmmm... let's see... it is freakin' cold this time of year... we've got snow piles everywhere, news of accidents left and right, glare ice roads and a 14-year-old at the wheel. Wonder what could happen?!

Zach: (groan)

Me: Why are you doing this now? Why this morning? We were having a perfectly nice ride to school! Why do you have to argue about this now?

Zach: Because! You and dad are never going to let me do this! Why do I have to be the oldest! I always have to pave the way! You know what it was like! You were the oldest.

Me: Yes, the oldest bears the burden for the rest of the family.

Zach: See! So you already bore the burden so I shouldn't have to!

Me: Ah. Doesn't work that way Zach. I bore my burden... you get to do your own. I didn't do it for you.

Zach: God! By the time Ethan is 10 - you and dad will not only let him drive, but let him drive around with friends!

Me: Yeah - by then dad and I won't care. We'll be too old. But you are our oldest son and you get special treatment 'cause we like you the most.

I'm kidding about liking him the most, of course.... but he does get special treatment.

Zach: Argh!

Me: We can talk about it later Zach.

Zach: What is there to talk about?! You'll still say no.

Me: Yes. We will say no. But if you want to talk about more, we will.

He hops out of the car, slams the door and walks towards the school building. There is no way in hell I'm going to let him get in the car with another 14-year-old kid. I see them on the street! Some of them can barely see over the dash! I just can't do it.

I get to work and about an hour later, I get an email from one of Zach's friend's parents with the subject line: Apology

Uh oh.

The father of this friend (we'll call the friend Tim), writes that he found out that his son drove Zach yesterday out for lunch. Tim isn't supposed to drive a friend unless Tim's parents know about it ahead of time, and the friend's parents know ahead of time. We know Tim's parents very well. Good people. Tim is also a great kid. And getting the email is just one reason we love Tim's parents -- they stay on top of things, just like we try to with Zach.

Ah... our morning argument makes total sense.

At around noon, I leave the office to pick up Zach and his friends from school for lunch. He walks out of the building with two of his friends, Alex and Jake. They pile into the car. Zach takes the front seat.

Me: Hi guys!

I get hellos and thanks from everyone.

Me: Hey Zach? Where's Tim? (I say innocently)


Zach: I don't know.

Me: I thought for sure Tim would be coming with us. (again... innocently)


He is looking straight ahead trying not to make eye contact.

Zach: Why?

Me: Well... since Tim was nice enough to drive you to lunch yesterday, I figured we should do the same for him! (I give him a super sweet smile)

The car goes silent. I turn to look to the back seat and it is obvious Zach's friends know he is busted.


Zach: I can't believe Evan told you.

Me: He didn't. But thanks for telling me that Evan knew too.

Zach: Who told you?


Me: Zach? Just remember this: I will always find out what you are up to. Always.

Puppy dog tales II

One of my gentle readers asked me about my husband reading my blog -- particularly Puppy Dog Tales. Yes, Paul could read it - but he doesn't read my blog.

Actually, the bigger issue is that my kids read my blog.

So they all found out about my conversation with Paul about getting a Goldendoodle. I reminded them that if they started talking about getting a dog, that would be it. Over, done, no dog.

I know that makes my husband sound harsh - he isn't. It's just that I know my children. They are all Najla clones when it comes to getting what they want. Once we get our teeth into something we want, we do not let go until we get it. Which - is a good thing in many regards. We work hard to achieve, excel, etc... but we can also be a pain in the rump. I want to spare Paul the hell of having five people coming at him 24/7.

Paul wouldn't like that.

Fortunately, the kids and I want a dog badly enough, and know Paul well enough to know we all need to back off in this situation.

It's not that Paul isn't a dog lover. It's just that he focuses on the responsibilities and work that comes with having a dog, rather than balancing that with the fun and companionship of having a dog. I get it. That's why we are perfect for each other! He can focus on the work, and I will focus on the play! It's perfect!

Which is why he was hesitant about getting another dog. The last few years with Ted and Ginger were a lot of work. As time went on, they didn't realize whether they were outside or inside... and there were daily accidents inside. It bothered both of us, but I was more bothered by how the dogs felt, while Paul was more bothered by the resulting mess.

Another gentle reader (I stole that description from a fellow blogger and good friend of mine - Kevin Moberg), encouraged us to consider a rescue dog. I am all for that. In fact, if it were up to me, I'd be at the pound today and I'd come home with three dogs, some cats, and whatever else needed a home.

Problem is, Paul is allergic to cats, and if I came home with all those other animals, he'd leave me. Okay - he wouldn't leave me. But he'd be really angry and I like him too much to make him that angry. Even I know the limits.

Paul is set on a Goldendoodle from a reputable breeder. I tried to nudge him towards the pound over the last week - it is clear that is not going to go anywhere. So - breeder it is. I will just have to feel good knowing that at least one of the pups produced by the breeder will have a good home - and will not end up at the pound.

It looks like the puppies will be born around Feb. 1, which means we would be getting our dog around April. I cannot even begin to tell you how excited I am!

Even more encouraging was that the other day Paul and I went to see Bauer - A 10-month-old goldendoodle a friend has.


What a beautiful, friendly, and fun-loving dog! He took to Paul right away which I think Paul liked. I wore black sweats and when we got in the car to leave, there wasn't even a strand of dog-hair on them. Paul loved that.

I loved the dog.

In some ways, "Puppy Dog Tales I and II" is a tale of marriage: Compromise, understanding, communication, mutual respect and love. Paul loves me and wants to make me happy. I too love him and want to make him happy. He understands how much I love dogs and how important it is to me that we have one. I understand having a dog isn't that important to him and that he focuses on how a dog is a major responsibility. We talk, we negotiate, we respect each others points of view...

And we get a dog.

Saturday, January 16, 2010


Today I was taking a nap when Ethan walked in:

Ethan: (whispers) Mom. (loud whisper) Mom.

I was ignoring him, hoping he'd give up.

Ethan: Mom!

No such luck.

Me: What!

Ethan: Mom? Is it okay if I drink hot chocolate in the basement?

Me: No.

Ethan: Why?!

Me: Because you leave your cups down there and it is a mess.

Ethan: But Zayd is!

Me: Then Zayd is in trouble.

Ethan: Will you tell him?

Me: No. I am sleeping.


Ethan: Mom?

Me: (groan) What?

Ethan: Is it okay? I am already drinking hot chocolate in the basement.

Me: (groan)

Ethan: I promise I won't spill it! I promise, I promise! I won't spill any.


Ethan: Mom?

Me: Whatttt.

Ethan: Well. Is it okay if I spilled a little?

Me: (groan)

Ethan: It's just a little dot. Just a teeny dot. You can't even see it. Okay? Okay mom?


Me: I'm sleeping.

Ethan: Okay mom! Thanks mom!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Stuff on stuff

My kids are always surprising me with... stuff. Stuff on them, stuff on stuff... just stuff.

Ethan ran into my bedroom, in just his underwear, to tell me he was ready to be put to bed.

Me: What is that on your face?

I can't quite figure it out... is it soap, or vaseline, or lotion?

Ethan: Oh this?!

Ethan then proceeds to quickly rip off a long piece of Scotch tape that is clearly (by the way it sounded at least) secured to his upper lip.

Ethan: Oh my God!

I wish you could've seen the look on Ethan's face when he ripped it off.

Me: Holy cow child! What did you do that for!

Ethan has this look of complete surprise with a dash of fear... kinda like, "Whoa, did I take off my lip too?"

He looks at the piece of tape. I think because he wanted to make sure he didn't take his lip too...

Me: Don't do that honey! That sounded like it hurt!

Ethan: Heh.


Ethan: Yeah.

He bounds out.

He returns about a minute later - with new underwear on no less... not even going to try to figure out what that is all about....

And he stands close to the full length mirror looking at his face.

Ethan: I don't have the tape on anymore.

Me: I see that.

Ethan: I used to have a beard here.

He is pointing to his upper lip, still examining it.

Ethan: But now it's gone. My beard it all gone.

Me: Okay - let's just go to bed.

I follow him into his bedroom where Zayd is already in bed. I turn out the lights and sit on Zayd's bed first.

Zayd: Mom? My wart really hurts. It really really hurts.

Now, let me just say that I'm not exactly sure that what he has is a wart. We've tried that wart-freeze stuff a couple times - nothing. Now it just looks like a big callous. Anyways...

Me: Okay, let me look at it again.

I get up to turn on the light and he comes out from underneath the covers.

He is sleeping in his underwear too... and he has a bandaid smack dab in the middle of his chest.

Me: Zayd? Why do you have a band aid on the middle of your chest?

Zayd: (gives me a snort laugh) Oh. I hurt myself.


After examining the said "wart" with Ethan hovering right over both of us, we consider our options.

Zayd: Can we just go to the doctor?

Me: I can see if the walk-in is open tomorrow.

Zayd: Is there a root?

Me: Hmmm... I suppose there could be... I'm not an expert on warts.

Zayd: Oh my God. I have a root growing in my foot.

Ethan: Oh my God. Can we please stop talking about this - I feel sick.

Zayd: What will the doctor do?

Me: I'm not sure what she'll do. But we'll talk about it, okay?

Ethan: I think we should saw it off.

Zayd: Saw off my toe? That would hurt.

Ethan: Yeah, that would hurt. Let's just saw off the wart.

I move to sit on Ethan's bed and there is a large beach-ball sized bump in the middle of his bed.

Me: What is this?

Ethan: It's the sheep that Nana gave to Anya. Anya left it here.

Me: Why is it in the middle of your bed?

Ethan: I need to keep it worm. (And yes, he says worm, not warm).


So I sit with Ethan and the large stuffed sheep and rub his hair as he continues to gabber.

Ethan: Oh! I wanna tell you about my dreams!

This has become a new addition  to our bedtime ritual. Ethan likes to share his recent dreams with Zayd and I -- much to Zayd's dismay.

Ethan: So here is my most best dream - the most happy dream I ever had.

This should be interesting.

Ethan: I was milking a cow...

Oh no...

Ethan: ...and I filled it up in a cup and I drank the milk.

Me: Wow. That's sounds nice.

Ethan: Yeah.

Zayd: That's weird.

Yeah... and a little weird....

Me: Okay guys - it is really late and you need to go to bed.


Me: ...and let's think about something besides warts and saws... let's think about cows and chocolate and candy and stuff like that...

I give both of them one last kiss and begin to walk out the door, when something right at my eye level by the doorway stops me.

Me: Uhhhhh... what is this?

Zayd: What?

I am still examining it. At first glance, it looks like someone has created a lovely design using black and red markers...

Me: Uhh... this...

Zayd: Oh! Those are Bendables!

Me: Okay.

I reach out and touch it - it feels like wax. I soon discover these are not lines drawn with marker, they are long sticks of colored wax that have been bended into the shape of a spider and a geometric design... and are stuck to the bedroom wall.

Me: (sigh) Okay.

I'm too tired to deal with this right now.

As I walk out...

Zayd: Don't worry mom! They are non-toxic and won't stain the wall!

He's my baby!

Tonight, I manage to wedge myself next to (more like on) Paul who is sitting a large armchair that we have in front of the fireplace.

Paul: Where were you?

Me: Watching Harry Potter with Evan, Zayd and Ethan.

Paul: Hmm. How was that?

Me: I don't know what the heck is going on. Between the British accents and all the ghosts, and the teachers and stuff... I really don't get it.

Paul: Haven't you read the books?

Me: No. I don't really want to either. It probably didn't help that we watched the third one and I don't remember seeing the first one. I probably never saw the second one...

Paul: So did you know Ethan tried to bite Zayd?

Me: No. Where?

Paul: Zayd was on the computer.

Me: No, I mean where did Ethan try to bite him?

Paul: Oh... on the arm.

Me: Oh! Pooorrrr Ethan!

Paul: What?! What do you mean poor Ethan!?

Me: Wellll... I just feel bad for him... he wanted to be on the computer probably!

Paul: Najla! (laughing)

Me: What?

Paul: Pooorr Ethan? He tried to bite his brother!

Me: I know.

Paul: So when someone tells us Ethan has tried to murder someone you're going to say "Poooor Ethan?"


Me: Well...

Paul: Najla!

Me: I know! I know! It's just... he's my baby!

Puppy dog tales? More to come...

On April 3, 2009, I put down both of our dogs: Ted, 16 and Ginger, 15. I was with them when the vet put them down.

It was just awful. Awful beyond words. I cried for a month straight. I still have their ashes in our bedroom. I don't have it in me to bury them... not yet at least. The sweatshirt I wore when I took them to the vet that last time - I couldn't wash it or wear it until just recently. I kept it folded in my closet on a shelf with a tuft of Ted and Ginger's hair, and their collars.

It may sound strange, but I think things just got off kilter for me after the dogs died and I couldn't seem to get my balance back. I had trouble making rational decisions, concentrating, and sleeping. I'm not sure how to explain it, but the sense of loss I felt was so overwhelming. I think back to what a crappy year 2009 was for me... and it all started on April 3.

Ted and Ginger were my dogs. Not Paul's, not the kid's. Don't get me wrong, Paul did a lot of work caring for the dogs... but I was momma and those dogs knew it. We got Ted when we had been married for about six months, and Ginger about six months later. In fact... I remember the day we brought Ginger home, I found out I was pregnant with Zachary. The kids loved the dogs, but it wasn't the same. Ted and Ginger would sit in my lap, follow me around the house, and let me carry them. The kids didn't really get that.

So, after they died, I wanted another dog. A dog that all of us would bond to -- especially the kids. But, Paul didn't want another dog. THAT did not go over well with me. I argued and begged and pleaded... I threatened to just come home with a dog (which I could never do to Paul). We finally agreed that we would wait a year before getting another dog.

I, of course, tried to speed up that timetable by periodically sending Paul pictures of adorable dogs from the shelter. He didn't bite. In fact, it made him mad. So I stopped and resigned myself to the fact that we would have to wait a year.

But over the last couple of weeks, I've been having a lot of dog dreams -- petting dogs, playing with dogs, napping with dogs -- all positive and very comforting. My mother, who is superstitious, says dreaming of dogs is a sign of good fortune and friendship. I hope that is true.

Imagine my surprise when Zayd told the rest of us that he found Paul looking at a website for Goldendoodles.

Wow! This is four months earlier than expected!

My reaction was to tell the boys NOT to breath a word of it to their father. Don't think about dogs, don't say the word dog, don't even want a dog. Think about cats instead. (Paul is allergic to them).

Yesterday, Paul and I were out to lunch:

Paul: (big inhale) I'm hesitant to bring this up...

Me: What?

Paul: Well... Chris (a co-worker) has a Goldendoodle they got from a breeder in St. Cloud. They are happy with it.  And it doesn't shed.

Inside I am jumping for joy - but I don't want to overwhelm him.

Me: (acting vaguely interested) Really?

Paul: Yeah.

long pause

Me: Is it a boy or girl?

Paul: They have a boy.

long pause

Me: What's his name?

Paul: Bauer.

Me: Cute. (Still acting low key).

long pause

Paul: Well... I like the idea of a Goldendoodle because it doesn't shed. I don't want to deal with hair all over the place.

Me: Yeah. Me neither.

Paul: And the smaller ones have smaller poop.

Me: That's true.


Me: But are they tiny?

Paul: No... I think Chris said his was about 40 lbs.

Me: Huh.

long pause

Paul: There is a breeder in Peever, SD. I've been looking at her website.

long pause

Paul: I'll email it to you.

Me: Okay.

long pause

Me: You've made me really happy, you know that?

Paul: (sigh) I know.

Perhaps NajMania will now be the story of five men and two bitches?

Did I really just write that?

Friday, January 8, 2010

I live...

I live in a sitcom

with five strong personalities - not including myself -

with a lot of laughter and communication and understanding.

I live in a house of listeners, talkers and storytellers

Feelers and thinkers

Jokesters, laughers, criers, yellers

and whiners.

I live with boys who aren't afraid

to be who they are

to argue with their parents

to tell us stuff

to hide stuff

to be open-minded

to feel hurt and joy

to hug and kiss their mom

to say I love you

to love

and probably more importantly, to be loved.

I live with boys who see their parents

hug and kiss each other in the kitchen

goof off

look into each other's eyes

cuddle while watching television in bed

go out on dates

take time to talk each night

enjoy each other's company

and get mad - loudly.

I live with boys who keep me honest, and make me into something better than I was.

I live in utter amazement that these boys came from my deep love with my husband

I live with men who I know in my heart will be wonderful partners to someone someday

who will know what it means to love and hurt deeply.

I live with men who will surround me with love as I grow old.

It's messy and loud and chaotic and frustrating...


I live fully.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Man Burp

Paul and I are veggin' out, watching Texas and Bama...

When out from the kitchen comes the loudest, longest, most manly belch either of us have heard in a while.

We both look in the direction of the kitchen. Then look at each other.

Paul: Who was that?!

Me: Oh my God!


Me: Zach?

Paul looks at the kitchen again.

Paul: I don't know.

Me: Holy! That was like a man burp!

Paul: Geez... I know.

Me: Maybe Carter? (a friend of Zach's)

Paul: (yells out) Who was that?


Zayd: What. (he says this is a voice that is surprisingly low)

It's Zayd? Nine-year-old Zayd?

Paul: (imitates him for me) Whhhaaaat.

Me: What the? His voice sounds lower.

Paul: I know! (laughing)

Me: Do you think he is hitting puberty early or something?

Paul: God I hope not.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Evan the workaholic

Eleven-year-old Evan is our resident underage workaholic.

When he was four-years-old we had him in Montessori. During our first parent-teacher conference, Paul and I asked his teacher which play areas Evan was most drawn to...

Her response?

The window.

Apparently he was spending his days cleaning the window, wiping down counters and tables, and using the playskool vacuum cleaner.

We pulled him out of Montessori. We figured, he could spend his day cleaning at a less  expensive preschool.

This is also our child who started a business selling cold bottled water at our back gate which is on the 5th tee of a golf course. He made $400 one  summer and bought himself an electric piano.

So, I should not have been surprised when he tackled me as soon as I came home from work the other day about - what else - a job.

Evan: Mom. I need a job.

Me: Okay. Like a job right now? Or what?

Evan: No - I need a regular job. Something I can do everyday to make money.

Me: You need money?

Evan: Well... yes. And... I need a job.

Me: Okay. Let me think okay?

Evan: And then what am I going to do this summer? I need a job for summer. Do people hire kids my age?

Me: Ah no.

Evan: What am I going to do?

Me: Evan? You need to first let me change. We'll talk about it later.

I go upstairs to my bedroom to change. One minute later, Evan appears.

Evan: So have you thought about it yet?

omg. Obviously we differ on what "later" means. 

Me: Evan. Seriously. You need to wait until later. Not now. I'll tell you when I've thought about it.

Evan:  Well, what about like laundry, or shoveling the driveway, or organizing the kitchen, or...


Evan: What!

Me: Stop. No. Not now. I just got home. Give me some time.

Evan: Okaaayyy! Geezzz.

And breath.... 

I know what is going to happen. He is like a dog that won't let go of his bone. He is going to be on me about this until I offer up something.

I come down the stairs. As soon as I walk into the kitchen again, Evan announces to his brothers:

Evan: Mom is going to find me a job to do.

I may end up paying him to sit in his room.

Later (my definition of later, not his), I talked to him more about it.

Me: So, do you care if the job is hard? Are the jobs you won't do? Or are you willing to do something that I really need help with?

Evan: No! I really want to do something that will help! I don't care if it is hard! (he is nodding up and down with excitement).

Me: Welllll.... the thing mom needs help with the most is laundry.

Without hesitation...

Evan: Okay! I can do that! Sure!

Me: Okay. So, let's look in the laundry room and talk about how you can help.

We walk in... and Evan begins to tell me everything he is going to do. He is like a tornado of energy.

Evan: So I can wash the clothes, and dry them, and fold them and organize them, but you are going to have to tell me how to wash them right and I'm not sure how to separate the clothes the way you like... like do you want whites, colors, towels, or jeans, separated, so if you could write it down for me that would be great...


Evan: What!?

Me: One thing at a time. Let's slllloooowwww down.

Evan: Sorry.

Me: No - I'm glad you are excited, but just let's take this one step at a time.

Evan: Okay. Sorry.

Me: So, let's just start with what's out here right now. We've got a pile here that is clean, but has to be folded and sorted. How does that sound?

Evan: Yeah. I can do that. But that's it? I can do more than that.

Me: Hmmm... well, why don't you take the dry clothes out of the dryer and fold and sort those, and then put the clothes that are in the wash into the dryer too.

Evan: Yeah. Okay! I can do that.


Evan: And then what do you want me to do? I can wash clothes too. I just need you to write down or type out the instructions and I'll do it. I can come home everyday and wash and dry and fold.

Me: Let's start with this. Make sure you keep track of how long it takes you.

Evan: Are you going to pay me by the load?

THAT sounds like a very bad idea. Can you imagine the energizer bunny being paid by the load? Holy.

Me: No. We'll figure out something. I promise I'll pay you well for a job well done.

SO... the very next day... I get home from work...

Evan: MOM! Let me show you what I did!

I guess I won't be changing my clothes...

Me: Great. Let's go.

He takes me down the stairs and shows me that he has done everything that I asked. And... done it well.
He organized the clothes, folded them, even paired up the socks - something I hate to do. He made a pile of unmatched socks. He sorted the remaining laundry and then reminded me again that I had not typed step-by-step instructions on how to wash clothes.

Me: Wow Evan. This is really great. This helps mom out tons! I really appreciate this.

I give him a big hug.

Me:  So how much time did it take you?

He walks over to a digital timer sitting nearby.

Evan: Ahhh... 28 minutes and 30 seconds.

I should have seen the digital timer coming.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Tummy rubs

Tonight, Ethan read his little books to me: Lucky Goes to Dog School and The Rescue Helicopter.

As I was listening, I started getting one of my tension headaches - right behind the right eye. The only relief is my fist pushed as hard as I can manage into my temple, and either 2 extra strength Exedrin Migraine or at least 3 ibuprofen... if I can get them in me before it becomes full-blown.

Ethan noticed I was resting my head against my fist, and closing my eyes.

Ethan: What's wrong mom?

Me: Oh.. I am just getting a yucky headache.

All of a sudden the headache got really bad.

Me: Ohhhhh.... I feel kinda sick. Let's just stop for a minute.

Ethan: You feel sick? How do you feel sick? You head is sick?

Is my head sick? Well...

Me: No, my head hurts too much and sometimes that makes my tummy feel sick. Like I feel like throwing up.

Ethan: Okay mom. Listen. Listen to me. I am going to rub your tummy now to make your head feel better. Okay? Just close your eyes and I'll rub.

Zayd walks in.

Zayd: What's going on? Why are you rubbing mom's tummy?

Ethan: She has a headache.


Zayd: Ooookaaaayyy. So why are you rubbing mom's tummy? Rub her head.

Ethan: No! She feels sick! I need to rub her tummy.

Zayd: Do you need anything mom?

My head really feels gross now.

Me: Uhm... sure. That would be nice. Would you get me some ibuprofen and a big glass of water please?

Zayd: Okay. Ibuprofen. I don't know what that is, but I'll find it.

He runs out. Ethan is still rubbing by tummy and then, out of the blue, he goes into some sort of lamaze technique.

Ethan: Okay mom. Just breathe. Breathe like this. (He blows loudly out of his mouth. Several times. Slowly).

Ethan: Whooooooooo (breath out).


Ethan: Whooooooooooo


Ethan: I don't hear you breathing mom. You need to breathe.

What in the name... Where did he get this?

Me: Whooooooo (I breathe out).

Ethan: Okay. You keep doing it by yourself. I'm getting tired.


It finally hits me where Ethan got this. When the kids feel sick to their stomach, I always sit with them and tell them to take big deep breaths in through their nose and out through their mouth. For some reason, it helps. 

Ethan: Mom. You aren't breathing again. Whooooooo.

Zayd comes back in the room.

Zayd: Okay. Here is your water. And here is something I think is ibuprofen.

He hands me a bottle of ibuprofen.

Me: Yup - it is.

Zayd: Good. And in case it doesn't work. Here's a backup.

He hands me a bottle of aspirin.

Alright then.

Evan walks in.

Evan: What's going on? Why is Ethan rubbing your tummy?

Zayd: Because mom's head hurts. (He gives his infamous snort laugh).

Evan: Ooookkaaayyyyy.

Evan now takes my hand and holds it.

Evan: Are you going to be okay mom?

Ethan: Shhhhhh! She doesn't feel good! She needs to breathe!

Me: I'm going to be fine. It'll just take a little while for the medicine to kick in and I will feel lots better.
You all are doing a great job of taking care of me.

Awwww! These little men ARE going to do such a great job of taking care of me as I get older.

Words of Wisdom

On Monday I came home from work, worked up. I needed to vent so I plopped myself on the couch and my dear husband sat and let me bend his ear for a good hour.

At some point during my emotional tirade, Ethan, my 6-year-old, climbed onto my lap and held my hands without my noticing.

When I finally took a breath, he jumped right in:

Ethan: Mom. Just settle down... settle down.

He took one of my hands and started patting it.

Ethan: Just take a minute mom. You need to settle down. (He said gently).

Me: What?

Ethan: You just need to forget about it. Just forget about it. Stop thinking about it.

What? What?

Me: Really.

Ethan: Yes. You are getting too upset. It's gonna be okay.

He continued patting my hand...

...and drained the hot air right out of me.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Hotness in the frozen tundra

The other day my husband and I went cross-country skiing on the golf course outside of our backyard. It was very very cold. About 24 below zero, give or take a few degrees. I have become excellent at dressing for cold weather, so I was toasty warm during our 40-minute trek across Prairiewood. The trail was great too - the snow was super slick and the trail had just been groomed a few days before...

Paul was skiing in front of me and after about 20 minutes on the trail he stops and turns his head around to talk to me.

Paul: How are you doing?

Me: I'm fine. My eyeballs are freezing though! The wind hurts them. Do tears freeze?

Paul: I don't think so...  Do you want my sunglasses?

Me: No. My face is just a little cold, but I'm good.

He stands there, motionless... still staring at me.

Me: What?

Paul: Nothing. (he raises his eyebrows a few quick times at me).

Me: What!

Paul: Nothing!


Paul: You look good.

omg. Seriously? 

Me: Are you kidding me?!

Paul: What?!

Me: Paul! It is freakin' 24 below zero and you are giving me the look!? Out here!? In the middle of the golf course!

Paul: Well!

Me: Holy!

Paul: Well... I'm making an outdoors woman out of you...


Me: And that's hot?

Paul: Kinda!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Ethan Time

When Grayson first came to visit earlier this week, Ethan took pride in being the "older" cousin. He was like a mother duck... herding Grayson around, hugging him, helping him navigate the great big Amundson house.

Yeah. The novelty has officially worn off.

Yesterday afternoon Ethan was sobbing because while he was playing with his Lite Brite, Grayson wanted to share.

This morning, Ethan and Grayson were at the kitchen table with Ethan's new art set. Grayson was busily coloring away... and Ethan just sat there - staring straight ahead.

Me: What's wrong Ethan?

Ethan: I don't want to play with Grayson.

Me: Well you aren't playing with Grayson. You are both coloring and sharing the art supplies.

Ethan: But I don't want him next to me.

Me: Then sit here (I point to another chair at the table).

Ethan: I want him to sit up there. (He points to the breakfast bar).

Me: Ethan. Knock it off.

Ethan mumbles something.

Me: What? What did you say?

Ethan mumbles something again.

I bend in closer to hear.

Me: What did you say?

Ethan whispers: I don't want him here anymore.

Me: Ethan.

Ethan: What!?

Me: How old are you?

Ethan: Three!

Me: Well you sure are acting like you are three!

Ethan grunts as me.

Me: They are leaving tomorrow morning. This is the last day they will be here to play.

Ethan: (yells) But I want some Ethan time! I need Ethan time!

I bite my lip and look over at Paul and my sister, who are both looking away so we all don't laugh.

Me: If you want Ethan time, you can have it in your room.


Ethan looks at me like I am a complete traitor. His eyes fill up with tears, but he is too proud to cry in front of all of us.

He gets up and walks out of the kitchen. We hear him walk up the stairs. A few moments later... we all hear the door slam.


It is hard for the baby not to be the baby. It is hard for the mommy too.

Friday, January 1, 2010

The other man

Boy o' boy, was I in trouble with Ethan tonight.

He was super tired, and so was his cousin Grayson... so my sister and I came upstairs to put them to bed.
I told Ethan to put on his jams and to come into my room when he was done. I then proceeded to go to my bathroom to wash my face and brush my teeth.

I came out of the bathroom and no Ethan. I walked into his bedroom and no Ethan. I poke my head into the room Yaso is staying in with the kids and called out for Ethan. I don't see anyone. I called out for him a few times... then began to head down the stairs to look for him when I heard:

Grayson: Chiiiinnnnnoooooo! Chinnnnoooooo! I'm here!

I turned around and came back up the stairs.

Me: Ethan? Grayson?

Grayson: I'm herrrrrrreeee!

Me: Whose here?

Grayson: It's meeee Chinnnooooo!

I look around and finally find the source. Grayson is in his bed, smiling at me.

Me: Grayson! I didn't see you there!

Grayson: (giggles)

I walk in and snuggle next to him.

Me: Where is Ethan?

Grayson: I don't know Chino.

Me: Hmmmm.... (pause). Do you still love Fargo?

Grayson: Yes. (giggle).

Me: Hmmmmm.... Do you want to stay in Fargo?

Grayson: Actually... I need to go home because I miss Rudy (their black lab).

Me: Oh. Of course. But do you want to come back to Fargo again?

Grayson: Actually... I need to go home because it is my mom's birthday and then my birthday.

His mother's birthday is in April and his is in May.

Me: Oh yes. You don't want to miss that.

Grayson: But I want you to come to my birthday.

Me: Oh - we really want to come to your birthday like we did last year. We had so much fun at your house in Florida last year.

He nods in agreement.

I start tickling and kissing him and out of the corner of my eye... I see him.


He is standing at the doorway with his lower lip sticking out far enough for a bird to poop on it.

Uh oh.

Me: Ethan! Where were you!? I was waiting for your to get dressed and I couldn't find you!

He continues staring at me, lower lip still sticking out.

Me: Ethan. Really. I was all ready to put you to bed and you weren't in my room. I looked for you all over and I couldn't find you. Go put on your jams so I can put you to bed.

Ethan: (grunts. Still doesn't move).

Me: Ethan. Mommy is saying goodnight to Grayson. They will only be here one more day. Now put on you jams so you and I can snuggle.

Why do I find myself feeling like I've been caught red-handed? Is it the grunts? The lower lip? The fact my baby has caught me with someone else's baby treating him like my baby?

Ethan: (grunts).

Me: Ethan!

Ethan grunts and slowly moves away from the door until he disappears.

A few moments later, he appears in the doorway again with his undies on. I give Grayson one last kiss, jump up and lead Ethan into my room.

Me: Ethan. Are you upset about something?

Ethan: No! (loudly).

Me: Oh! Of course not. You are just crabby.

Ethan: No I'm not! I'm not crabby!

Me: Oh sure. No. You are not crabby.

Ethan: (grunts).

Me: So why do you look so angry.

Ethan: I'm not angry!

Me: Oh. Okay - you are not angry.

long pause

I tuck him under my covers and wrap my arms around him.

Me: (whispering) You know Ethan? You will always be mommy's baby.


Ethan: (whispering) Okay.


Ethan: I love you mom.


A couple nights ago, Yasmine and I took all six kids out for Chinese food. This includes my four boys, and Yasmine's son Grayson who is 4, and daughter Anya, who is 9.

On the way home in the car, my son Zachary announces from the back:

Zach: Uhm... we've all decided that Anya is the alpha male of this pack.

NOT the mall

Have I mentioned my nephew Grayson is particular? I'm pretty sure I have already. He is also extraordinarily stubborn. He may even match my Zayd on that.

Just to recap for a moment, my sister Yasmine, and her two kids, Anya, 9 and Grayson, 4, are here from Florida visiting for a week.

Yesterday, we had to figure out a way to distract Grayson from the fact that we couldn't take him to Grand Forks for a day of swimming at the swim park, because Auntie Chino ended up working all day. (Fortunately, Anya went up to the GF with Uncle Paul and the boys).

Yasmine decided the best way to distract him was to take him to the mall where he had seen a candy store and get him some candy.

Trouble is, Auntie Chino parked in different entrance of the mall.... one Grayson was not familiar with... so Grayson was insistent that we were NOT at the mall.

The following statements made by Grayson are at a high C, with a strong sing-songy, whistle-type whine. Highly effective.

Grayson: Chiiiinnnnnoooooooo! When ard we go-in to da mawww?

Me: I am taking you to the mall Grayson.

Grayson: Dis is not da mawwwww Chinnnoooo.

Me: Yes it is Grayson. This is the mall.


Grayson: Chinoooo. Dis is not da mawww. Chinoooo? When ard you tak-in me to da mawww?

Me: I am taking you to that mall Grayson. I promise. Auntie Chino is taking you to the mall.


Grayson: Dis is not da mawww. Mommmmmmyyyyyy, when are we go-in to da mawww? Why isn't Chinoooo tak-in me to da mawww?

Yaso: Grayson. Auntie Chino is taking you to the mall. This is the mall. We are at the mall.

Grayson: Noooooooooooooooo!

I pull into a parking spot.

Me: Grayson. Here we are! We are at the mall! And we are going to get candy! Hooray!

Grayson is now clearly disturbed by my statement. He is thinking,  "Who is this Auntie Chino anyways? First, she screws with my trip to a water park and now she is taking me to this place she claims is the mall. This is crap. Crap I tell you."

Grayson: Dis is not da mawwwwww. Nooooooooo. I don't love dis place. I don't love it Chinoooo. I do not want to go here. I want to go to da mawwwwwww!!! (whining is intensifying now).

For whatever reason - probably because it's been a while since I had a four year old around... also probably because I have never been around someone like Grayson... I keep thinking he'll snap out of this any time now.

Yaso pulls him out of the car and we start walking towards the entrance.

Me: Grayson! Hold Auntie Chino's hand!

Grayson looks at me like I am the devil. Whoa. This is serious.

Me: Grayson. I swear this is the mall! This is the mall. There are lots of ways to get into the mall and this is different than the way Papa took you. But this is a better way because it is faster. The candy store is right here.

Grayson: Dis is not da mawwwww! (he is now crying).

Yaso: Yes it is Grayson.

Grayson begins trying to hold Yaso back. It is freakin' cold outside and she stops to reason with him.


Yaso: Grayson. This is the mall. Mommy promises you this is the mall. Okay? Chino is bringing us to a place that is closer to the candy store. Now stop. We are going inside the mall.

Grayson: Noooooooooooo!!!!

Okay. At this point, if this was my child, I would pick him up and put him back in the car and say to heck with it. Forget the candy. Forget that I screwed up your trip to the water park. I am freezing and I am not going to argue with you in the parking lot of the mall - a mall that I, in fact, have been to thousands of times and know like the back of my hand. But, this is not my child. This is my nephew and fortunately his extraordinarily patient mother is with him. So I do what any other mother in my position would do in this situation. I walk away and pretend I don't know either of them.

Yaso: Grayson. (she and Grayson have stopped in the middle of the parking lot) Grayson. This is just another way into the mall. I am taking you to get candy.

Grayson: Nooooooooo!!!!


Finally. Finally after some arguing that I heard from a distance because I left them... Yaso and Grayson make it to the door. I hold it open.

Me: Oh. My. God, Yaso.

Yaso: I know. See? See what I mean? He is sooo stubborn.

Grayson: Seeeee mooommmmmmyyyyy! Dis is not da mawwww.

Yaso: This is the mall Grayson. We are going to see the fountain soon. Remember the fountain were you put the pennies?

I conjure up my positive attitude. I pull out my Mary Kay attitude from deep deep within...

Me: Come on Grayson! Follow Chino to the mall! It's this way.

Grayson: (now crying).

Me: We are almost there!

A few moments later, we emerge from the department store to the main area of the mall - fountain and all. I mean - if a fountain doesn't prove that this is a mall, I don't know what will.

I turn around to look at him.

Me: See Grayson?! It's the mall! I told you I would take you to the mall. See?

His eyes narrow and he looks away in defeat. He knows we are in the mall and he can't deny it.


Grayson: Dis is not da maw.


Grayson: I do not see da candy stow.


I am typing up a blog entry and Ethan is working on his Lite-Brite next to me...

He starts singing something and I only catch the last few words...

Ethan: ...and that's how you say thank you in Chineseeeeeee! (singing)

I look up from typing

Me: Huh?

Ethan: What?

Me: What did you say?

Ethan: Nothing.

Me: No. You said something about Chinese?

Ethan: Oh. Thank you in Chinese.

Me: You know how to say thank you in Chinese?

Ethan: Yes. Can-ee-choowa.


I am looking totally puzzled. Is he pulling my leg?

Me: How do you know that?

He gives me a look like, "Are you seriously THAT dumb mom? How do you think I learned it?"

Ethan: I learned it on TV.

He gives me a snort laugh and gets back to his Lite Bright.

I still have no idea if he is pulling my leg.