Judgement Day

July 30, 2010

Well, actually, it's judgement night. The race starts at 7 o'clock, which means, if you all send enough good vibes my way, it will end a few minutes before 10:40.

Trust me when I tell you, there is nothing, NOTHING, that simultaneously humbles me, thrills me, and scares the shiz out of me the way a marathon does. On mornings like this, I feel like I'm a mut who's part David (from David and Goliath), and part kid-on-Christmas-morning. It's really pretty strange.

Listen, your good vibes/prayers/positive thoughts/sun salutations have worked wonders on my long runs so far, and I could really use another round. Maybe you can set your alarm for 7 or 8 or 9 or 10 and when it unexpectedly rings, you can picture the number 3:39 on a giant digital clock and zap the mental image in my direction.

I would love that. I would really, really love that.

For now, I've got my lucky socks set to go, a new pair of Wave Rider 13s on my feet, a water bottle in my hand, and the confidence that I trained hard.

I'll let you know how it goes!!!

The Calling

July 27, 2010

So, remember my mystery church calling?

Well, the Branch President finally announced it to the congregation, which means I can finally announce it to you guys. Which makes it feel that much more real.

(hold on a second, let me just crap in my pants before I tell you...)

Here in the Mormon world, we have this thing called Seminary, and let me just say that it's completely different than the Catholic and Protestant versions. Seminary isn't a place for future pastors to earn their master's degrees, Seminary is a religious education class for high school students--a daily religious education class.

Out West, where Mormons are just about as common as house plants, Seminary is usually worked into the school day. As in:

Period 1: Math
Period 2: English
Period 3: Seminary
Period 4: Lunch

That whole concept just makes me giggle. Up here in New England, we don't even talk about Santa Claus in the public schools, and you can bet your ass that the Easter Bunny would offend the masses like you woudn't believe. So Seminary? At school? I can't even imagine it.

Plus, in the ten nearby towns (three high schools), there's a total of ten-or-so Mormon high school aged kids. That would be a pretty lonely class.

So back here in the East, we clump the kids together and teach the class at someone's house.

This school year, as I'm sure you've come to realize, they're coming to my house, and I'm the one who'll be teaching them   the most awesome swear words ever   the secret of always being right   the Gospel.

So, to sum it up, ten kids are coming to my house every school day for an hour long religion class. Oh, and I almost forgot to mention, class starts at six o'clock.

In the morning.

VBS and the Custom Built Race Car

July 24, 2010

Here in small town New England, the landscape is dotted with those adorable little white steepled churches--just like you see in the calendars. And lately, as I've been driving around town, I've noticed all kinds of sandwich boards propped in front of those churches with the same sweet message: REGISTER FOR VACATION BIBLE SCHOOL!

Never being one to ignore a commandment from anything associated with The Divine, I graciously complied.

Now I know what you're thinking--those churches are protestant, and your family is Mormon, what the crapples, Amy?

Friends, friends, I don't care who you are, we all have a friend in Jesus. And besides, it was three hours every morning for a week. And it was free.

I'm pretty sure that Jesus supports us in our thriftiness.

And the occasionally urge to drop and run.

So James spent his week with the Methodists, and let me just say that they're lovely [old] people. Very, very kind [and old], and so incredibly sweet [and old].

Remember in the Old Testament, how 90-something year old ladies were hopping around getting pregnant? Well let me tell you, for me, Vacation Bible School really put those instances into perspective. Hats off to those elderly mothers, because I honestly have no idea how you rock a Baby Bjorn and a hunch back. Amazing.

So the basic idea of Vacation Bible School was for the kids to produce a little play. The spent the week learning songs, making props, and practicing their dance moves. All total, the play was about 25 minutes. My kid spent approximately 23 of those minutes doing this:

I'm not sure if he's getting a head rub or getting his hair pulled, but he kept on going back for more. The only time he took a break was when he decided to dance like John Tavolta in Saturday Night Fever.

Don't ask. I missed the moment. I know.

At the end of the show, for the grand finale, the little kids circled the Sanctuary in homemade cardboard race cars. I'm pretty sure they were diaper boxes--mostly because on his second lap around the church, James was like, "I'm wearing a DIAPER BOX!"

But that wasn't even close to the highlight of the show.

You want to see it? Really, do you?

Play the video below, and pay attention to the tall, blond girl's car. I think she's fifth in line:

Did you miss it? Maybe you need to watch it again?

That sweet, angelic girl circled the church three times in a race car that had a giant 666 hand painted on the side. That's right, that would be the mark of the devil.

Now why don't you go and watch it again. Sweet thing is singing her heart out in car number 666. I turned to Jared and said, "If there was actually gonna be a race, I'd definitely put my money on her. Seems like she's got connections."

If I had to guess, she's six years old, hence the number on her car. But I'm completely loving the fact that none of the kindhearted [old] Methodists had the wherewithal to redirect her artistic efforts.

I love Vacation Bible School.

His Inner Compass

July 21, 2010

Have you ever felt really fuzzy in the head? You know that pregnancy brain feeling, or the complete sense of confusion you get when you're way too dehydrated?

I'm pretty sure that's how my husband feels all the time.

Now don't get me wrong here, I love the man, but he's one confused little buddy. Especially when he's driving. I can't even begin to tell you how many times I've seen him sail through red lights, or come to a screaming halt at a nice bright green signal.

He got all worked up the other day when I accidentally hit my passenger side mirror on the edge of the garage. It's funny, if I could bet hundreds of thousands of dollars, I would wager than he's hit his side mirror on the garage at least forty or fifty times--he just hasn't noticed.

I love the man dearly, but when I drive with Jared, I honestly feel like my head is about to combust. Here's how it goes...

JARED: Let's go get dog food.
ME: Okay, let's go to the store to buy dog food.
JARED: We're going to the dog food store.
ME: Yes we are.
JARED: [drives right past the dog food store]
ME: [turning red in the face, feeling my my blood pressure rise, decide to let him keep driving until he notices, since he'll never learn if I keep correcting him]
JARED: [drives five more miles down the road] I would like to catch a trout.
JARED: What?
ME: Where are we going?
JARED: I don't know.

This happens every time we get in the car together. Every. Single. Time.

A few months ago, I made the executive decision that I would be the driver in the family. He could sit his shapely little ass in the passenger seat, and he could worry about operating the ipod and eating his gummy fruit snacks. Simple enough.

Let me tell you, it worked beautifully--until he decided that riding shotgun was compromising his manhood. So he's been driving again, and oh my heavens, it's like half a step under water boarding.

Last night, he got lost going home. Missed the turn FOR HOME.

As he was turning around in some stranger's driveway, he looked back at James and said, "This is called a three point turn."

And I piped in with, "Daddy does a lot of three point turns."

So Jared goes, "What?! You're mad at me just for getting confused on the drive home? Are you seriously annoyed over this?"

That's when I swung open the passenger door, stepped out of the car, and started to walk.

Okay fine, that was a lie. I just rolled my eyes, gave a whole lot of snotty sighs, and copied everything he said in a Daffy Duck voice.

Mature? No. But I needed him to share the pain somehow.

Last night, when I got home from my run, Jared was glued to his laptop, watching a show on the Discovery Channel. It was all about Alaska--something where the network took eight average people, put 'em in a helicopter, dropped 'em somewhere in the tundra and said, "Good luck. There are bears. We'll see you in thirty days."

I asked Jared what he was watching, and he explained it to me and said, "I'd be so great on this show! I could totally find my way out of the Alaskan woods."

Mmm hmm. I'd love to see you take a stab at it.

Deep Thoughts as the Taper Sets In

July 19, 2010

Believe it or not, I'm eleven days out from running a marathon. This will be my third, and somehow, I keep forgetting that I'm training for this race. Maybe it's the job, or the baby, or the fact that a representative from the electric company came to my door in person to collect my late payment--I just keep getting wrapped up in other things and forgetting that this is supposed to be a big deal.

But the truth is, it's not--not any more anyway. Running used to be a big deal to me.

A very big deal.

Like my happiness, worth, and self-esteem depended completely on my race results.

Thankfully, those days are very much over and done with.

Now, running has turned into something more akin to taking a poo every morning--I just do it. A lot of the time it's completely satisfying, other times it's not, every now and again in takes a whole lot longer than I'd anticipated, but any way it turns out, I keep going back.

There's no other option for a girl like me. If I don't poo, my colon will explode. If I don't run, my brain might explode. Or my marriage, it's hard to tell.

The funny thing about this race is that it has the potential to become a big deal. If I do what I'm hoping to do, and finish under 3:40 (with 59 seconds of wiggle room), then I'll get to run the Boston Marathon. And man oh man, you have no idea how much I want to do that.

It started in 1998, when my mom drove me into Boston and we watched the race at mile 25. We saw the elites, we screamed for the qualified runners, we cheered on the charity runners, and I knew that I absolutely had to run that race someday.

Honestly, every time I picture a digital finishing clock that says 3:40, I have to fight back tears. Every time I picture the finish line at Boston, I can't fight 'em back--I don't even bother trying. I really want to run that race. Really.


Right now, my training for next Friday's marathon is done. I can't go back and make up for the runs I skipped, I can't say no to the fifty desserts I ate during the month of April, and I can't magically give myself the ability to do twenty-five (or two) push-ups. All I can do is look back and remember that I've done two twenty-milers, I did an eighteen miler, a sixteen, two fifteens, a fourteen, a couple of twelves, and two half marathons.

And you know what? As far as I can tell, I'm right on the line--this race could go either way. When I put my last half marathon time into the McMillan Running Calculator, it predicts a marathon finishing time of 3:42:41. Another predictor says I should add 16 seconds per mile to my last half marathon pace, which would give me a marathon finishing time of 3:38.03.

Do you see what I'm saying here? There's no telling how this might turn out.

All I know is that as long as the weather's not brutal, I'm well rested, and my shoes don't fall apart, it'll be close. And you know what? I'm planning to go balls to the walls. What else can I do?

If I qualify, then in retrospect, this race was a big deal. If I don't, then it's not. I'll put another notch in my proverbial belt and try again this fall.

But don't get me wrong here, I'm planning to hit my goal.

I've got to say that training for this marathon has been really, really great. I set a new half marathon PR, I ran a sub-6 mile, Maggie completely loves the jogging stroller, and something insane has happened to my self-esteem along the way. Honestly, if I publicly admit how much I like and love myself, people will talk all kinds of shiz--so I'll just keep quiet.

But here's a little taste...

Yesterday morning, I woke up at 5:30 to get a thirteen miler squared away before church. When I stepped out the front door, it was already hot, so I peeled off my shirt, tucked it into the back of my shorts, and took off. I didn't even think about putting my shirt back on until I came up behind my eighty-year-old neighbor somewhere around mile nine.

Here's the thing--I have stretch marks. Really, really, really bad stretch marks. And even though I'm not overweight, my stomach flab is far beyond epic. But I was hot. So I ran without a shirt. And I didn't care what anyone thought or said about it.

As far as I was concerned, if a stranger was offended by my stomach, we could settle it over a race.

If that's the only thing I get out of this round of marathon training, I'm beyond satisfied.


July 15, 2010

Just in case you've ever wondered, it is in fact, impossible to hide an entire zucchini inside a batch of brownies. Trust me, I tried. And trust me, it was horrific.

I have no idea what came over me, but one minute I was mixing up a batch of Betty Crocker extra fudgey brownie mix, and the next minute, there I was, happily grating a football-sized zucchini into the very same bowl.

I couldn't hide this thing in my kid's suitcase if my left arm depended on it, why on earth would I ever be able to conceal it in a dessert?

The finished product:

I know those brownies don't look half bad, but they were jacked up. Spongy, stringy, and all around wretch-inducing.

If Betty Crocker showed up at my door just to kick me in the shins, I wouldn't blame her one bit.

Quality of Life

July 12, 2010

If I could do one single thing to drastically increase the quality of my life--you know, besides something completely obvious, like earning $20,000 every time I log onto facebook--I swear I'd do something about this facial hair.

I don't know what it is about being almost thirty, but now that I'm almost there, I almost have a beard, and I almost have a mustache, and I almost looked kind of trendy last week--but, as the story goes, I haven't quite arrived in any of those arenas.

There's something about the combination of dark hair on my upper lip and small town living that's absolutely killing me. Get a load of this...

On Saturday afternoon, James and I drove to the library to return a few books. Because I'm an awesome mother who allows my child to have an appropriate amount of independence under safe circumstances (or a lazy ass mother who refuses to unbuckle the nine-month-old baby from her carseat three million times a day--depends on how you look at it), I let James go into the library to return his books all by himself.

As he ran up the front steps of the building, I flipped down my driver's side sun visor and was appalled, APPALLED, to find not one, but THREE black hairs growing right out of my chin. Without hesitation, I whipped open the center console, grabbed my emergency tweezers (tell me I'm not the only one), and started plucking those suckers one by one.

When I finished that job I glanced up at my eyebrows, and let me tell you, they were just about connected to my hairline. Remember when you were in seventh grade, and the boys in your class insisted that you could kill someone by punching them square in the squishy temple part of their head? Well I had eyebrows sprouting up all over that death trap part of my face! So I plucked those, too.

Then, I swallowed hard, clenched my teeth, and worked up the courage to inspect my upper lip. And much to my horror, it was just as bad, if not worse than it was two weeks ago when I nearly lost half of my face to an unfortunate run in with a tube of Veet.

So I did what I had to do, and I started plucking my lip hairs, too. By this point I really didn't think about the location of my son. So what if it was taking him fourteen minutes to move three yards to return a stack of books in a slot!? So what if he was gnawing the Assistant Librarian's ear about action figures and ninjas!? So what if he'd asked some unsuspecting mother to wipe his nose?! Lip plucking hurts like an absolute bear, and I was in the zone.

It was going something like this:

{pluck} Shiz. {pluck} SUPER SHIZ. {pluck} OWWWW!!!! {pluck} Smite me with locusts, just spare me from the friggin' lip hair!

And then the blood kicked in. You know, just a teeny little, microscopic drop for every hair I'd uprooted--but when you have three thousand of 'em, the blood starts to take on a certain intensity.

So there I was, plucking, swearing, plucking, swearing, when I was suddenly disturbed by a tap on my driver's side window. Startled, I quickly looked to the left--tweezers in hand, upper lips spotted with blood--and saw....wait for it....my neighbor.

You know, the one with the perfect garden. Who gave me the number to his lawn service on a post-it note. The one who told me that my weeds might actually be kind of pretty if I ever decided to mow them.

Yup, him.

So I rolled down the window, smiled, and said, "Hi George."

And he said, "Hi Amy. Just thought I'd let you know, that if you water your tomato plant, it won't be so brown."

I thanked him, and that was just about the moment James came flying out of the library, crashed into the rear driver's side doo, looked up at my neighbor and said, "Who tooted? Wasn't me."

This town gets smaller and smaller, every single day.

Church Clothes

July 12, 2010

James dressed himself for church yesterday morning. Sounds helpful, right? Maybe even every mother's dream.

Welp, don't get too jealous--this is what we reaped from the effortt:

Just to be perfectly clear, that's a misbuttoned shirt with two ties--one under and one over, ridiculously short wind pants, and some insulated ski socks.

I was like, "Oh my word, James. Where's your shopping cart and your WILL WORK FOR FOOD sign?"

And he was all, "Hey Mom. Let's take some more pictures."

Then he broke in to this pose:

Well that explains it.

I can't even begin to tell you about the tantrum he threw down when I told him he needed to change. In the end, we compromised. He lost the ski socks, we rebuttoned the shirt, and traded the wind pants for a nice little pair of khaki shorts.

But the over/under tie thing? I let that one slide. Because let's face it, the ties were awesome.

Strange Brew

July 8, 2010

I don't know who went ahead and tipped the world off its axis, but when I consider the goings on of yesterday and this morning, I'm pretty well convinced that I'm the only lucid person plodding around on this great green earth.

It all started yesterday afternoon, when my home phone rang with a number I completely didn't recognize. I picked it up, said hello, and was answered by a man, who I'm absolutely certain, was the oldest man in the entire history of the universe.

Do you ever read the Old Testament? Do you ever wonder who these people were who popped out babies at the ripe old age of 94 and lived to eat cake at their 932nd birthday party? Well mystery solved, I had one on my phone.

Now don't get me wrong here, I 100% love the elderly. I really mean that. I visit with my ninety-year-old neighbor almost every day, I listen to long and convoluted World War II stories with a genuine interest, and when I see a little old lady struggling to reach a can of peas at the supermarket, I ditch my kids and run to save the day.

So when I heard the super old voice on the phone, my heart lit up a little bit. "Maybe," I thought, "someone needs to bring their cat to the vet, and I'd be honored to assist."

But this guy wasn't thinking about cats, he just needed to find his friend named Spence.

ME: Hello?
HIM: Spence?
ME: No, I'm sorry, you must have the wrong number. This is the Lawsons.
HIM: Well I need to talk to Spence.
ME: I'm sorry, you have the wrong number.
HIM: I don't care. Let me talk to Spence.
ME: Oh, I'm sorry, you dialed the wrong number. This is not where Spence lives.
HIM: Well who lives there?
ME: Uhhhh....the Lawsons.
ME: The Lawsons....Jared, Amy, James, Maggie...
HIM: Well what's Spence's number?
ME: I'm sorry, I don't know Spence or his number.
HIM: Everyone knows Spence.
ME: Well I'm new in town, so I don't know Spence.
HIM: Well go find him, introduce yourself, and tell him to call me!

I can't find Spence, and I'm having a moderate to severe case of guilt over the whole situation. Luckily, the guilt temporarily subsided when I was sidetracked by a woman at the grocery store this morning.

I stopped at Hannaford to buy a block of cream cheese, and there she was, staring at the cream cheese display--a woman who was about to chat me up until my ear fell off and was blindly swept up by maintenance. I could just sense it--something about her dress and the fact that her kid was climbing through the Hostess display while she undressed the Whipped Philadelphia with her eyes. I mean really, can we get just a touch of reverence around the cream filled cupcakes? Can we?

I came up beside her, avoided eye contact at all costs, grabbed my store brand box, and turned to make a clean escape. Except I heard her voice in the distance...."How old is he?"

Dang it. Maggie's so obviously a she, I couldn't let that one slide.

ME: She's almost 9 months.
HER: She? No, he's definitely a boy.
ME: Well I guess it could go either way with the white onesie, but she's a girl.
HER: That baby's all boy.
ME: It's hard to tell with babies, but you should see her in a pink dress--all girl.
HER: Well he's adorable. How much does he weigh?
ME: 16 pounds, she's a peanut.
HER: He looks wicked healthy. I would have guessed 7 pounds. He'll probably grow up to be very, very short.

As if that exchange didn't thoroughly rock my world to its very fragile core, I stopped to get some gas on my way back home. When I went inside to prepay, I quickly remembered that we quite literally have nothing but radishes in the fridge, so I grabbed a slice of cheese pizza for later.

Don't judge me. The gas station pizza will blow your mind.

I went up to the counter, laid a couple of twenties in front of the clerk, and here's what happened next...

ME: One slice and the rest can go to pump three.
HIM: Cheese?
ME: Yup, cheese.
HIM: We've got Mexican pizza ya know.
ME: Oh, I just like cheese.
HIM: But don't you want to try the Mexican pizza?
ME: Oh, no thanks, I'll just take a slice of cheese.
HIM: So you don't like Mexicans?
ME: {silence}
HIM: What you got against Mexicans?

Well let me tell you, I took my change and vacated those premises as fast as I possibly could.

And just for the record, I have absolutely no problem with the Mexican people. It's the ghetto hicks who eat Mexican pizza--they're the ones who keep me up at night.


July 7, 2010

It's been so long since I've touched my blog that the URL actually vanished off of my drop down menu for the first time in, well, forever I think.

I have no excuse other than the fact that I'm completely wrapped up in the summer. Seriously, check out these pictures:

We've been very, very busy with super important things. Like Slurpees. And the beach. And extra fancy camera poses.

Summer in Maine is short, so you have to get it while the gettins' good. Before you know it, I'll be grating Prozac tablets over the crock pot (it's the fourth ingredient in my beef stew recipe)--so in the mean time, you can find me in the sun.

Yesterday, one of the members of my board was like, "Amy, you haven't been in the office much this summer."

And I was all, "I know. I've been so busy wearing my sun visor."

He completely understood and I hope you do, too.

What are you guys up to this summer? Did your in-laws build a pool? Mine did.