For the Record

May 29, 2008

For the record, James is not yet potty trained. He is, however, trained to sing songs on the potty, lie about pooing in his Sponge Bob underpants, pee on our front steps, and sop up his own messes with a washcloth.

Want to hear my new potty training philosophy? Okay, great. It goes like this: 'Wet your pants all you want. But eventually, your girlfriend will mind.'

I know I wasn't happy when Jared accidentally whizzed on my forearm back in 2001.

How to Bake an Apple Pie. Naked.

May 28, 2008

When I was in kindergarten we kept a daily journal. I remember like it was yesterday--we would sit down at the miniature tables, scribble some crapola into a manila notebook, and narrate the story of our picture to the sweet teacher's aide. She would lovingly record each and every word, offer me a warm smile, lightly pat me on the shoulder and deliver the drawing straight to the hands of my teacher.

It never failed--Mrs. Hagan would take one look at my day's entry, let out a dramatic sigh, and do one of three things: a) lead me into the coatroom for a private talk about appropriateness, b) call my mother, or c) call the school psychologist.

Looking back, I now understand that her plan of action depended largely upon her mood that day. If Scotty (the red-headed class clown) was behaving, I got off with a simple lecture. But if Scotty launched a puppet into the fish tank, or licked some one's mittens, or ate a jar or paste I knew I was in for it. The woman just couldn't handle his antics and my nudie pics on the same day.

Yes. That is correct. I used my journal to draw naked people. Lots and lots (and lots) of naked people.

I'm still not sure what inspired me in that direction, other than the fact that my friend Judy sat me down one afternoon and gave me a drawing lesson which covered dogs and cats, potted flowers, and nude humans. I gravitated toward the third.
I had no idea what a naked person actually looked like, so I would draw a simple body-like outline and let the narrations bring the illustration to life. Usually the story would say something like:

This is my friend Shawna. She is walking in front of the Statue of Liberty. Naked.


This is Bo. He is walking his dog to school. Naked.


This is my mailman at the the beach. He is holding a balloon and he is naked.

My mother still loves to tell the story of my first parent-teacher conference. Before she even delved into my pencil-holding style and friendship skills, Mrs. Hagan plainly asked, "Do you and your husband like to walk around the house nude?" My mom was all, "What? Excuse me? No!"

And just to clear the air, my mother was telling the honest truth. Other than occasional lap around the house in his tighty-whities, my father and mother always wore some type of socially appropriate clothing. I was just artsy I suppose.

I haven't thought about my kindergarten journal entries in years, but suddenly they're in the forefront of my mind. You see, I've received a giant Karmic thwap in the pants, and James is now obsessed with his mother's nudity.

Yesterday at the bank...
BANK TELLER: Oh, you're cute! Would you like a lollipop?
JAMES: Uh, yes. An my mom yikes ta wok aroun mekkid! (translation: Uh, yes. And my mom likes to walk around naked.)

Yesterday in the front yard...
JAMES: Hi. My mom es mekkid aw da time.

This morning at day care...
ME: Have a fun morning, James!
JAMES: I say to da teacha that Mommy es mekkid in da house.
ME: No James, you won't say that to your teacher.
JAMES: Uhhhhh....???? I gonna say dat.
ME: Fine.

Yes, I completely deserve this. Yes, my mother still has the kindergarten-naked-journals. And yes, I'll ask her to dig them out so I can scan and post some of my finest work.

In the mean time, I desperately need to get back to work. Naked.

Variations on the Tinkle

May 25, 2008

This is the sound of my three-year-old peeing:

Call me crazy, but I'm genuinely convinced my child has been blessed with a heaping spoonful of talent. Seriously, do you hear that improvisation at the end?

I also maintain that Matt Lauer has the backside of an ancient Roman god. So yes, I'm willing to accept the fact that my opinions might stray from those of the general public.

Who's Your Daddy?

May 24, 2008

These days, Jared is doing the bulk of the family grocery shopping and errand running. Because of his sometimes less-than-desirable selections at the supermarket (4 pounds of taco meat, a box of Twinkies and an apple), I like to help him along. From time to time I'll clip coupons or make a list to guide him in the shopping process, but I won't mince words here--unless the stars align on a Tuesday and I'm feeling moderately hormonal, I'm far to lazy for that kind of administrative work. Usually, to ease my own load I pick up the weekly sale circular, circle a few key items in red, and send him on his way.

The circular came today and I simply couldn't resist the urge to circle this:

Happy shopping, J-dog!

Cast Your Vote!

May 23, 2008

Wow. Have you all read the comments on Thursday's post? Before yesterday I had absolutely no idea who my target market was--Moms? Mormons? Runners? Jared's 97 cousins?

But now my friends, it's perfectly clear--this blog appeals to lazy sacks of crap. And hooooo boy, I love it!

Do you realize that the average 'Lawsons do Dallas' reader spends roughly 75% of their work day farting around?

In an effort to honor my dedicated readers (and your dedication means a lot to me since you're all so stinkin' lazy), I've decided to change the tagline on my blog. Here are the choices:

A. The Lawsons do Dallas--The Premier On-Line Community for People who Poop, Procrastinate, and Pretend to Work.

B. The Lawsons do Dallas--Don't Worry. You're Boss is Probably Reading It, Too.

C. The Lawsons do Dallas--Quick! Act Like You're Working!

D. The Lawsons do Dallas--A Place to Practice for Retirement.

E. The Lawsons do Dallas--Read Now. Photo-Copy Your Ass Later.

Feel free to cast your vote in the comments section, or make a suggestion of your own--that is, if you can spare a minute. While you're deliberating over the choices, just remember--you've all exceeded my expectations.

How's Your Work Ethic?

May 22, 2008

I usually don't allow anonymous comments on this blog, but today is a very special day, so let's get crazy. In the comment section, I want to know how many hours a week you spend at work and how many of those hours are spent goofing around. You know...reading blogs, chatting at the water cooler, pooping, sleeping, making shadow puppets on the walls, etc.
It's all anonymous, so let's be honest here folks.

Just so we're all on the same page, my comment would look like this:

work: 16
fartin' around: 0

That means I'm in the office sixteen hours a week and I work my tail off every mother-lovin' minute. Obviously this post doesn't count since I'm going to stay late this afternoon and make up these eight valuable minutes of lost productivity.

Please don't be a lying sack o' crap like me. Remember, it's totally anonymous and this will be far more interesting if everyone is completely honest. I want to see some 40/33's and some 20/16's.
Oh, and I can't forget the full-time moms--If you're a stay-at-homer, just put "24" as the first digit and follow it up with your goof-off hours.
DISCLAIMER: All comment's will be used to wrongfully justify my own behavior.

Miracle of Miracles

May 21, 2008

I really don't know what my husband has done to be graced with such fantabulous karma. But I do know that I must be married to a very, very, very good man.

Behold the beauty:

James does Nigh-Night

May 20, 2008

Last night, before I went to bed, I decided to check on James one last time. I was a little bit startled when I opened the door and found what I did. If you listen really, really closely you can hear him snoring. It's only a 30-second video and my kid is exceptionally cute, so go ahead and press play. And as an added bonus, you'll get to revel in my husband's manly voice.

He never even made it past the first page of that book. And yes, I promise that the child has a bed. I know that many of you disagreed, but let's just file this away as further proof that managing a three-year-old is undeniably similar to managing a super-affectionate friend who's had one (or four) too many.

My goodness, even the way he breathes is cute.

A Three Year Old is Like...

May 19, 2008

I'm home this morning with a sick James. When I walked by his bedroom door around seven, it sounded like there was an eighty-year-old gentleman with emphysema all cozied up in my child's bed. Luckily there wasn't, because I am so not up to kicking any elderly ass this morning.

Turns out James has a typical three-year-old cough. Unfortunately James also has typical three-year-old etiquette. In the span of two hours I have watched my child wipe his goo filled nose directly onto the arm of my couch, completely submerge his crud covered hand in Jared's cereal bowl, and last but certainly not least, James coughed straight into my wide open mouth while I was yawning.

Last Friday, Jared and I drove to pick James up from daycare together. Being the lazier spouse, I waited in the car while Jared ran to get him. About one minute later I watched the front door of the building violently swing open, and saw my toddler stumble down the steps. His sweatshirt was inside-out, his shoes were on the wrong feet, and his afro was notably slanted to the left.

He swerved as he walked to the car, and I winced as I watched him trip and fall--twice. When he finally made it to the station wagon he held up a scribbled piece of construction paper, ripped it in half, pushed both pieces of paper into my chest and said, "Hi Momma. Hi. Hi Mom. Mommy, hi. Hi. Hi Mom." And so on and so forth.

About fourteen seconds into the drive, the chatter came to an abrupt stop. I turned around to check on James, and discovered that he was out like a light in his car seat. His head was flopped forward, his mouth was wide open, and there was a long string of slobber connecting his chin to his knee.

I felt my heart well-up and a smile spread across my face in that fleeting moment of quiet cuteness. Then, after I had safely filed the image in my mental scrapbook (that's how the lazy moms do it), I turned to Jared and said, "It just occurred to me."

And he was all, "What?"

"Well," I replied, "He's obsessed with baby animals, he spills everything we give him, and he kicks us when we say it's time for bed. Jared...It's like we have our very own drunk person to babysit every single day and night. He's a total throwback to our college days, don't you think?!"

And suddenly, we felt young again.

I'm not just a mom. I'm also a designated driver.

Hike Pictures

May 17, 2008

A lot of people, particularly my sister, don't understand why I live in Maine. It's snowy, it's cold, the health care costs are outrageous ($10,000 deductible anyone?), the taxes are high, and my kid's school is way too small to teach him how to play a stringed instrument.

None of those things bother me so much. After all, we like to ski, we're not planning on any major illnesses or accidents, taxes stink no matter where you live, and if James desperately wants to play the cello we'll sign him up for private lessons.

In the early 50's, my father's parents worked unbelievably hard to move their family out of Northern Maine and give them a new, better life in Connecticut. I often wonder if my Memere and Pepere are exasperated up in heaven, knowing that I voluntarily moved my family back.

But it doesn't keep me awake at night because yesterday morning Jared and I hopped into the car, drove for 20 minutes, and hiked around in this:

I love it here.

Take a Hike

May 16, 2008

After an historically terrible meeting last night, my husband is taking me for a lovely nature hike this morning. I'm looking forward to it and hoping that he'll sling me over his manly shoulder if I should get too tired to continue.

I'll bring the camera. Then you'll realize why I live in Maine. Don't get me wrong, I love a decorated trailer hitch as much as the next girl, but there's far more to it than that.

Check back later. And most of all, have a fantastic day everyone!!!

Jared: My Man of Steel

May 15, 2008

In the past, my friend Sarah has described me as a T-Rex. Not because of my occasional desire to stomp on chirping birds and claw my husband's midsection apart, the name is in reference to my strong legs and complete lack of upper body strength.

I wish I could demonstrate how weak my arms really are, because it's hard to describe it in words. Perhaps I'll have Jared shoot a movie of me trying to climb a tree or reposition the toaster oven on the counter, but in the meantime, I'll try to help you wrap your heads' around my wimpiness.

I--honest-to-goodness--have to stop, give myself a little pep-talk, and take a deep breath before I heft a gallon of milk out of the refrigerated case and into my shopping cart. You can only imagine how much I despise stores like Costco or Sam's Club where they strap three gallons of orange juice together and expect you to be thrilled that you're saving eighty cents. Most people say, "Ooh! What a deal!" I say, "I'd like to get my hands on those sick b*st*rds in the corporate office."

My upper-body woes have also forced me to have a difficult time with any sport or activity that involves climbing, hitting or paddling. I had a job working for a pirate company for a few summers. Basically I would dress up like an evil sea captain, kayak out to a dock, swing a plastic lobster around on a rope, let a bunch of kids douse me with water cannons, and fall to my fake shivery death. Let me tell you, the burlap underpants were NOT the worst part of that summer gig. The paddling was.

Yesterday afternoon, when I came home from work, Jared surprised me by taking me fishing in the canoe. Between loading up the car (just the life jackets, Jared did the boat by himself), paddling (just a couple of yards, Jared did the rest), and reeling in a six ounce fish, I was really really tired.

We pulled up to the dock at the same moment as a kayaker. And do you know what that superman did? He hoisted himself onto the dock, flipped his boat above his head, and walked all the way home. Just watching his crazy maneuvers forced me to mutter a few pseudo curse words under my breath. As I watched him fade into the horizon and the word "crazyarsemeathead" trickled from my lips, the sound of Jared's sweet voiced snapped me back into reality.

Our canoe was strapped securely to the roof rack, our 40-pounder was strapped securely into his carseat and Jared was like, "C'mon babe. Let's go home." And I was all, "Okay, but let's stop for an ice cream cone on the way. I deserve something for helping out so much."

My Life Story: The Abridged Version

May 13, 2008

I was catching up on my blog reading this morning and came across a fun little post on jkrunning. The idea is to post your life story using six words only. Since I'm feeling completely uninspired to write this morning, this is a perfect solution.

So far, I've come up with this one:
Think about Weight Watchers. Eat cake.

And this one:
Think about reading scriptures. Watch TV.

Then this one came to me:
Make to-do list. Update Blog.

Here's the serious one:
The long way works for me.
And finally:
I love them despite the stench.

I think they're all pretty self-explanatory, but in case there's any question, the last one refers to Jared, James and Gracie.

So tell me...what's your life story in six words?

The Great Spring Cleaning Incident of 2008

May 12, 2008

Thank goodness no one was hurt.

It's a miracle that James is okay.

I guarantee that we will never be so negligent again.

Okay, now that I've gotten the necessary disclaimers out of the way, I'll let you know what happened.

Last week Jared took the initiative to remove the storm windows and replace them with our seasonally appropriate screens--not a small job. I was thrilled to see this kind of action on my husband's part because a) I'm far too lazy to do it my self, and b) he's usually kind of lazy, too.

But there he was, going from window to window, whistling while he worked, mingling the occasional swear-word into the melody. He repaired a few screens, he cleaned the windows spotless, and he even let James follow him around with a plastic replica of a jack-hammer.

Several hours into his project, I announced that dinner guests were on their way and Jared would have to finish up later. He happily quit the job mid window-wipe and came downstairs to take a shower.

Three days later, after the task had been long completed, I brought a kicking and screaming James upstairs for his afternoon nap. I put the overtired little angel in his bed, tossed him a couple of books, and shut the door behind me.

As I flopped on the couch to watch a mid-day soap or three, I was amazed to hear almost nothing coming from James's room--there was total and complete silence. I let out a long slow sigh, licked the chip grease from every finger, and thanked the air that my kid was finally sleeping.

Imagine my disappointment when I heard James screaming and crying ten minutes later. I marched upstairs ready to hurl my forty pound bundle back in bed, but let me tell you, that plan was quickly shot to hell. When I opened the door, I found my three year old son holding a bottle filled with bleach spray.

Please understand, we don't usually let our child play with heavy-duty cleaning chemicals unsupervised--the spray bottle was inadvertently left upstairs after Thursday's window washing extravaganza. And of course, being a developmentally normal three-year-old, James found it, loved it, and used it.

I approached James slowly and said, "Whatcha doing bud?" and he casually replied, "I es just cweanin' for da summah!"

"Well James," I replied, "It looks like you've gotten everything! I'll take your soap now." And he willingly handed it over. Then I took James out of his bleach-splotched clothes and immediately put him in the tub.

After his bath I went to assess the damage and I've got to admit, the kid barely missed a spot. He had bleached everything from his walls, to the floor, himself, his monkey stuffed animal, his rug, his furniture, his books, even his nightlight.

His room still smells like an indoor pool, and we start the full-out remodel today. And trust me folks, this room needs a full-out remodel. It looks like a DeadHead's paradise--every square inch is tie-dyded.

I spent my entire Mother's Day brushing up on CPR, the Heimlich Maneuver, and thanking God and Mother Nature that my child wasn't injured. In between prayers of gratitude I occasionally pictured myself whacking Jared in the gonads with a frying pan--but those images didn't last long, this was an honest-to-goodness mistake.

We're just sad that we're no longer in the running for the Parents of the Year award.

Near Death Experience

May 8, 2007
A few days ago, in a moment of sizzling hemorrhoidal flare-up, I dodged into my in-laws' bathroom desperately seeking relief. I've been using their facilities for the past seven years, so I entered their guest-bath fully expecting to find a small box of moist-bum-towelettes perched upon the back of the commode.

In case you're not familiar, these bum-towelettes are very similar to baby-wipes. The only differences are: they're smaller, the packaging does not feature a logo of a bear holding a balloon, and they're fully intended for adults. If I had to give it my best guess, my mother-in-law keeps a package on hand in case a guest inadvertently sharts himself during an uncontrolled fit of laughter. If that gesture alone doesn't make her the Hostess-with-the-Mostess, then I'm convinced that there's no such thing.

The moment I crossed the bathroom threshold, I saw that heavenly little box gently whispering the words 'cooling sensation' and within one quarter of a second I had dropped trou. With my pants firmly around my ankles, I hopped toward the toilet with bold determination--and if you know me personally, then you know that I seriously suck at hopping.

Just for a moment, I want you to close your eyes and imagine that you have the itchiest arse in the history of mankind. Now I want you to go deep within yourself and imagine how it must have felt when I discovered an empty box of bum-towelettes.

Devastating. That's how it felt.

Fortunately, hope was briefly restored when I spotted a full container of towelettes sitting right next to the empty one. Without a moment of hesitation I tore open the container, ripped out a wipe, and did what I needed to do to tame that evil little roid.

And that my friends, is the moment that I screamed like a woman tied to a set of train tracks and briefly blacked out--or perhaps it was a long blink, I really can't be sure. When I finally came to, I could barely tolerate the pain. It felt like satan himself had nestled in my pants and launched a fire ball right into the crack of my you-know-what.

Sweat was rolling down my brow, I was on my knees clawing the bath mat in agony, and before my swear filter had a chance to kick in I'm pretty sure I said, "@#$# &^%!@) &^%!@ &*(^% MEREDITHHHHHH!!!!" That's my mother-in-law's name.

After the pain had dulled to a wavy throb, I coaxed myself off the floor, picked up the second container of wipes--the one that had done this horrible thing to me--and read the label aloud: Lysol Sanitizing Wipes Waterfall Scent. I damn near died all over again.

Moral of the story--read before you wipe.

Curtain Shopping: The Conclusion

May 8, 2007

The Curtain Shopping post was intended to be a one-time rant, but since I've gotten several emails asking for the conclusion I'll go ahead and share. I never knew that you guys cared about my window decorations so much--I truly feel loved.

Here is the 'before' shot of the living room window. I snapped this picture while we were looking at the house with our real estate agent. The photo is kind of dark, but not so dark that you'll miss the big screen TV in front of the bay window. Obviously, this house was inhabited by a bachelor:

And here's the 'after.' Please take note of the beige walls and the bright white curtains. I'm totally wild when it comes to home decorating:

Here is the 'before' picture of the dining room window. Barring the fact that I hate house plants more than I hate rodents, Splenda, and the devil himself, it's really not so bad:

One gallon of trim paint, a zillion hours, and $150 later, here is the result:

But the best decorating touch of all? Walking past the windows nude four to six times daily. Just ask the neighbors--it's totally breathtaking.

I Can't Fight this Feeling Anymore

May 5, 2007

Maine is an interesting place, in that it completely lacks diversity--racial and other wise. Last I heard we were one of the whitest states in the Union, second only to Vermont. In all seriousness, the only non-white friend I've had in Maine was my lab-partner junior year. And get a load of this--you can't even find a Spanish channel in this state, but there are two French channels and a lot of NASCAR shows. Those viewing choices are mad caucasian if you ask me.

Religious diversity is also a novelty in these great North Woods. Basically you can choose between St. Andrew's Catholic Church, St. Michael's Catholic Church, or St. Mary's Catholic Church. Mormons like us are about as rare as the red-tailed-yellow-belly-sap-sucker, and I don't even know if that's a real bird.

And to top off this lack of diversity, there are only two general breeds of people in State of Maine: the yuppies and the hicks. It's not a spectrum, so there's no in between--if you live in this state, you're one or the other. You might as well choose your identity and go with it.

Having been raised in a middle-class family in a trendy Connecticut town, I like to believe that I fall into the first category. After all, I took a field trip to Europe in high school, I live in a house with lovely bay windows, and every once in a while, in the dead of the night, I'll find myself lying awake imagining how peaceful my soul would feel in the driver's seat of a BMW SUV.

Then I roll over and remember that I'm married to this man:

Not only does he drive the '89 Blazer that's currently in the shop for a fallen-off front wheel, he also wears outfits like that one. He won the hat, shirt, coaster, mug, and coordinating tote in a contest at the local fish n' game club. And whoa is me, he's strategically placed the items throughout the house in an effort to help with the decorating.

He's like, "Amy, I don't understand why we can't display this coaster in our hutch next to the crystal."

And I'm all, "Because there's a picture of an otter wearing sunglasses on it--that's why. And take that tote-bag off of the curtain rod."

Just when I think it couldn't get any worse, this little person comes waltzing around the corner:

He was on his way out the door to dig up some worms to catch some catfish. When I heard what was on the agenda, I was glad that Jared had put him in the camouflage pants--because honestly, it's important to dress the part.

As the screen door slammed behind him I was like, "Don't forget to mess your pants buddy! That's how the real hick kids do it!"

I should shred the Pottery Barn catalog, bronze a large mouth bass and take up smoking--I'm afraid my fighting is in vain.

Any other hicks out there? Got any tips for me?

Second Place

May 2, 2008

James started part-time daycare this week, and so far so good. Actually, it's so great that I haven't experienced the slightest twinge of irrational-mommy-guilt. I suppose I should mention that I feel incredibly guilty for not feeling guilty. But I don't think that really counts.

So far, I only have one reservation with the 16-hour a week arrangement, and I won't mince words here folks: James seems to like his daycare provider far more than he likes me. I've always assumed that moms were reluctant to use childcare in fear that the babysitter might run exotic experiments on their child (or something along those lines). This whole loving-Miss-Nancy-more-than-I-love-my-mother issue never even graced my mind.

Yesterday when I picked James up, Miss Nancy glided to the door with her usual smile and halo, turned to James and exclaimed, "James! Look who's here."

And in a super casual 'I prefer Cheetos' kind of way, James said, "Uh no. I not go wit my Mommy. I not go home. I jus tay wit my fweinds."

It was his fourth day at Nancy's house, and it was the fourth time I heard that very same line. Needless to say, it was getting a little old. So old in fact, that I had to fight the urge to rip off my t-shirt, point to my stretch-marked stomach and say, "You did this to me. It was totally worth it. Now get your afro in the station wagon." If he does it again today, I swear on my uncle's monkey, I'm gonna wanna flash my dimpled-up butt cheeks--you know, just to drive the point home.

I've heard there's an old lady in town who does a lot of babysitting. Supposedly, when the kids act up she makes them sit in the corner and listen attentively as she reads the super freaky seven-headed dragon story from the Book of Revelations.

I might see if she's available tonight.