Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Interview With Allie (Rachelle!)

     I thought it would be fun to introduce ya'll to my fabulous five year old ("I'm almost SIX, Mom! Does that make you feel old?!") by having her introduce herself. I admit, I Googled funny interview questions for kids, but I did add some of my own, and changed up some of the others. I may have skipped one or two which I knew would make me sound like a jerk. (Hey, it's my blog!)
      Allie was ready to start her interview this morning, as soon as she ate, helped Brenna, 2 tomorrow, get breakfast, and kissed Judy, 7 months. So, while I waited for the wonderful hubby to make me a tasty breakfast, we began.

Empress Momma: What is your happiest memory? 
Allie Rachelle: Umm... When we go to Grampa's company picnic!!
EM: What do you like most about being a kid?
AR: We get to go to school!!
Peanut Gallery (Tony, since he's listening): Good answer!
EM: Very good answer! Okay, Allie; What word would you use to describe yourself?
AR: Rachelle...
     Side note: Her name is Alexandria Rachelle. We have called her Allie since before we even had an ultrasound telling us she's a girl. She recently met, for the first time since babyhood, Rachelle-my maid of honor, after whom she is named. She decided that week, and has insisted ever since, to go by Rachelle. I'm fine with this and have tried to comply, but it's hard to break habits. You know?
EM: Do you know what "describe" means? It's when you say someone's funny, silly, goofy, busy, tall, short, pretty, weird... Anything like that.
AR: Pretty? Yeah. Pretty.
EM: Yes, you are. What advice would you give your parents?
AR: What's an... advice?
EM: When you tell someone something they can do better, or can improve on.. how to do something.
AR: [Smirking, with full dimples] Tuck me in!!
     Back story: A couple of nights ago, we told Allie, I mean Rachelle, that since she's in the habit of getting up forty million times (to get a drink of water, tell us she's itchy, beg to call Gramma, etc) after we tuck her in, we will no longer tuck her in. We will resume tucking her in when she has put herself to bed each night for a week, and stayed there.
EM: If you could be any animal, what would you be and why?
AR: A bunny! Because I love it and that's my favorite animal very much!!
EM: What do you like to do for fun?
AR: Ummm... Let's see... Go to the duck park!!
EM: Tell me about a funny time in your life.
AR: Watching Tom and Jerry. Because they go 'Bang bang!' and they run all over the place and they hurt each other and they turn each other inside out! And Loony Tunes, too. I like funny shows. 
EM: What is your favorite thing to do and why? 
AR: Play ping-pong... I don't know. There's lots of things I like to do. 
EM: What else?
AR: I like to be funny. I like to be pretty. And I like to laugh. And I like to cry.
EM: You like to cry?
AR: Yeah.
EM: Why do you like to cry?
AR: I don't know. I like the feel of it.
EM: What is your favorite thing to do with your friends?
AR: [With a look which clearly expresses what a stupid question this is] Play with them... 
EM: Play what?
AR: I like to play with them outside and swim with them in the summer. I have to go to the bathroom. That's what I like to do. [Giggles and runs to the bathroom]
EM: [Calling after her down the hall] While you're in there, think about what you love about Brenna!
AR: [Now that she's done her business] I like when she plays with me. When I want her to play with me. I like when she laughs. [Spaces off for a minute] I like it when Brenna's sleeping. It's adorable. I love when she dances and sings! SHE'S SO STINKING CUTE!!!

EM: What do you love the most about Judy?
AR: When she sleeps and when she smiles and when her tiny tooth shows when she smiles. I like it when she cries, because it's so sweet. I like when she tries to suck on my toes, because it's funny and it tickles. And she's cute and adorable.
EM: What is the nicest thing you've ever done for someone?
AR: Hmmm... When I told the lady on the way to church that I would pray for her that she would get her money back.
     Back story: A few Sundays ago, as we walked to church, we were stopped by a woman on a bicycle who looked distraught. She told us she was a single mom and had lost her last twenty dollars somewhere between home and Fred Meyer, and just wanted to get food for her kids. I usually take these things with a grain of salt, as there are so many people out there who tell sad stories to get money. She was pretty convincing, though. Enough so that I almost cried as well. I told her I really wished we could help her, but we're broke, too. At this point, Allie looked her in the eye and said, "I'm so sorry that you lost your money. We will pray for you to get it back." Then I cried a little, the rest of the way to church. What a proud moment as a mom! Our daughter is so sweet and compassionate! I hope she holds onto that. (Updating that story, though, the same woman told the same story to Tony and his brother a week later, as if it had just happened. She obviously didn't recognize Tony from the previous meeting. We did pray for her again and wish for the best, whatever it is that she's dealing with.)
EM: Yes, that was very nice, Allie.. Rachelle. You make me so proud when you are sweet to people who are hurting and when you pray for people!
AR: That was sad.
EM: What do you think you'll be doing ten years from now, when you're fifteen. [Almost threw up in my mouth]
AR: [Grins mischievously] Having a boyfriend!
EM: No, you won't. Why do you want a boyfriend, anyway?
AR: [Giggles, then whispers in my ear] To kiss.
EM: No way. Not until you're thirty.
AR: [Pouts] That's a long time. I don't know... Going to high school?
EM: That's right. Focusing on high school, instead of boys.
AR: [Sticks her tongue out at me]

EM: What is your favorite thing to do in the summer? 
AR: Swim! And go to the beach!!
EM: What do you think makes a person good looking?
AR: Having all the kinds of jewels and makeup, and having their hair up pretty.

EM: So they have to have those things to be pretty?
AR: Yes, and having pretty dresses and pretty high heels.
EM: Why can't they just be pretty the way God made them?
AR: Well, they can. But they will be more pretty than they are.
EM: What is the grossest thing you can think of?
AR: Ummm... A dead person. [I'm dropping that subject!]
EM: What do you think about boys? [Phooey. Didn't we already cover this?]
AR: Some boys are cute. Like my dad is. [Blushes]
EM: What about boys that aren't cute?
AR: Well, some of their things are cool. Kind of boyish though.
EM: What do you want to be when you grow up?
AR: A horse trainer. Or a person that works in a store.
EM: What makes you laugh?
AR: Watching funny shows. And telling jokes and stuff.
EM: What is your favorite joke?
AR: [Squinches her face up, as she makes one up in her head] Why did the dog zombie cross the road?
EM: [Rolling my eyes, I blame her father] Why?
AR: Because he had his brain birthday! Hahahahahahahahaha!!
EM: Huh? [I don't get it] Who is the funniest person you know?
AR: Opa! [Opa is her grandpa on Tony's side. If you know him, this is pretty funny.]
EM: [After I stop giggling] What is your favorite book?
AR: Bunny books. 

EM: Any particular one?
AR: All the bunny books except for books that are boring.
EM: If you could meet anyone in the world, who would you meet? [I'm fully expecting to hear Jesus, since she tells me all the time she wants to meet Him]
AR: The girl who plays Hanna Montana! And... [grinning and smirking at me] Justin Bieber!!!
EM: I just threw up in my mouth.
AR: I know, Mom.
EM: What did you think of this interview?
AR: Cool. I like it. So we're done?
EM: Yep.
AR: Then you can get back to cleaning. [Promptly walks away to finish getting ready for school]

So there you have her. My number one daughter. My miniature. My little smarty pants. Isn't she cute(obnoxious)? I'm a proud momma.


Friday, January 20, 2012

About My Muse, My Best Friend, My hubby

Let me introduce you to my best friend, the love of my life, my strength, my husband Tony. 
      Tony and I met at Camp Yamhill during the Senior Teen camp in the summer of 2000. We spent time with the same ornery group of friends but, at the time, both had our eyes on different people. Didn't really pay much attention to each other, though I remember enjoying a skit he was in during campfire. I just remembered him as the main character's lackey. It was not love at first sight. In fact, we were just acquaintances. I feel, in retrospect, that God meant it that way. We were close to some of the same people, but were not prepared for one another. Those who distracted us at the time unknowingly did God's work. We both had obstacles to overcome and grow from and personal and spiritual changes to make. Besides, we were kids. He was going into his freshman year of high school and I was going into my second year. Babies.
      Fast forward (or skip, to you younger folks) to 2004. I was in my second year at a small, ,Christian liberal arts college, Cascade, and finding my place among friends who had the same love of God as I had. I had recently written up a long, exhaustive list of what I required in someone I would spend my life with. I even categorized this list as "non-negotiable", "prefer to have", and "I'll probably settle for less." I prayed over it, and made the decision to focus on my spiritual life and my relationship with God, and let go of the desire for romantic love. That would come when He willed it. I enjoyed being at school and singing with the choir, but my academics were lacking. I'd always struggled with this due to retention and brain fog issues which are a frustrating part of Fibromyalgia. I had become somewhat of a quitter when I started struggling to understand or couldn't figure out what the instructor expected of me. I'd just stop showing up or I'd take notes, retain as much information as I could, but give up on getting the assignments in and passing.
      I also was, and have been most of my life, struggling with depression and anxiety, as well as insomnia. Again, these are common with Fibromyalgia. I often fell into despair for no apparent reason and would journal, or sleep. I was just coming out of one of the worst dark times after having lost my beloved uncle just months before. I started spending more time with other people and hanging out in the common areas of campus instead of hiding out in my dorm. 
       A lot of my friends from Camp Yamhill ended up going to Cascade as well, including Lynn, a friend whose dad went to school with my parents. I noticed a kind of familiar guy spent a lot of time with her. Figured it was her boyfriend. He was kind of cute, though, in a scruffy, frowny sort of way. One day, I happened to ask her who the cute guy was, to which she replied, "Cute? Gross. You don't mean my cousin, Tony, do you?" Ha! Good, I could begin developing a crush.
      Tony and I had a couple of classes together, APE (American Political Economics? I don't remember. It was a class that I unconsciously black-listed and mentally blocked) and choir. I sat in front of him. Mmm... Baritone. I love me some baritone, and he was a good one (still is.) I don't remember how it began, but he was soon incorporated into my group of friends. My best guy friend, John (or Mougli, to some), hit it off with him, too. We all played pool together, while listening to music, usually Cake, often Pink Floyd. We'd also play Apples to Apples, which is totally a riot with a bunch of smart alecks with ridiculous senses of humor.
       I learned in a communications class that the best time to get to know a guy is while playing a game or sport. Guys need something to do or look at to be able to get into "share" mode. I, of course, took full advantage of this knowledge and got Tony talking. We came from similar backgrounds and shared religious and political beliefs, and he loves his mama. These were on my list. Non-negotiable. (Eventually, I'd find he had every. single. quality. Every one that I had listed and prayed over. Even the ones I thought I'd end up settling on.
      The more I learned about him, the more I liked him and the cuter he got, but I was determined that I would focus on God. I had been sleeping better at night for a while, though never amazingly. One night, I realized I couldn't sleep (even medicated) because I was so excited to see, talk to, and spend time with Tony. I couldn't stop thinking about him long enough even to sleep. This became a pattern. I'd struggle to sleep at night, but not with unhappy thoughts and despairing, but with renewed vigor and zeal for life! I had really come to actually like who I was and felt that God liked who I was, but I was also wondering constantly how Tony saw me. It occurred to me that he never called me "dude" or anything like most of my guy friends did. He didn't see me as "one of the guys!" I was pretty sure of it. 
      I tried to broach the subject with Mougli without revealing anything, but he saw. He knew. "Ah know you like him," he drawled. No, no. I wasn't crazy about this guy. Just curious. He's different, that's all. Obviously, my friend is crazy about his new girlfriend, Rachelle, and wants everyone to be happy and twitterpated, too. One night, Mougli and I were on the phone ALL NIGHT. He was trying to convince me to reveal my feelings to Tony. He understood my apprehensions, as I had a history of falling for my guy friends, only to be let down. But he thought I really should let it out. Get it off my chest so I could learn Tony's feelings. 
     I had this (still have, actually) Arby's oven mitt toy from a kids' meal. A friend had given it to me. If you pull the thumb down, it reveals different answers like a Magic 8 Ball- "no,""ask again later,""maybe,""yes, yes, yes!"
      I kept getting "Yes, yes, yes!" every time I'd ask whether I should tell Tony how I felt. I know, lamest thing you've ever heard. This kept coming up EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. The whole time John and I were talking. So, I told him fine. I'd tell Tony that I was really starting to feel something for him. At lunch the next day. John let out a "Whoop!" and promptly told me to go to sleep. I didn't, but I tried. Even took my sleeping pill. Couldn't sleep anyway. 
      On the way to Chapel the next day, I asked Tony if we could have lunch together, just the two of us. He said yes. We went to Chapel, then choir.
      Lunch came and I sat at a table with my "food" and waited. A couple friends tried to sit with me as I waited and I shooed them gently away, saying I had to talk to someone. I may have hurt a feeling or two (sorry!), but soon I was at a table alone with Tony. I couldn't breathe. Yes, cliche. I know. Get over it, though; it's true. Seemed we were alone in the world. I don't know how long I sat there before saying anything, but I finally decided to go for it.
      "I can't sleep. I can't stop thinking about you, and wondering if you think of me. Basically, you are wasting my Ambien. I'm taking my pill at night, butIcan'tsleepbecauseI'mthinkingofyouandIcan'tstop," I paused. Tried to get a breath. "I'm finding myself more and more attracted to you."
      [Insert crickets here]
      Tony was eating. Lucky. I was too nervous. He finally glanced up. "I thought you seemed... attached."
      Oh crap. I'm going to be shot down.
      "You can eat, Misty," Tony looked nervous. Uncomfortable. Good! At least I wasn't the only one! I ate a little. Tony told me he wanted to "take some time to think about what I'd said."
      I actually don't remember the rest of the day after we went our separate ways. I just remember another sleepless night. This time, I had a tiny spark of hope, since he didn't screw up his face and go "Dude! You're one of the guys!" which is the usual reaction. Maybe, he was thinking of how to let me down gently, but at least he knew I was a girl! Maybe there's a chance.
      The next morning, on the way to chapel, he revealed to me that he was attracted to me too. We held hands during the prayer in chapel, then kept holding on. 
      After that, things moved faster. We had already spent most of our non-class time together, but now we were together almost every waking hour. The next evening we were watching a movie in the common area, and suddenly he was kissing me (sorry, friends, for all the PDAs, but I didn't see anyone else. It was just my love and me. Yes, love. That happened almost immediately.) 
      I felt... complete. At home. Relieved. That missing piece to the puzzle was there. The last time I remember attending APE, Tony looked over at me in class and told me he loved me. I told him the same. This was only four days after we were officially dating, but it felt like we'd known each other forever. We lived in the same building, goofed off with the same friends, even went to the same church once I began joining him at the church he'd attended all his life. 
      The rest has gone so fast. We were married a year and two days after we began dating. 10/21/05. We've been through the ups and downs of our first years of marriage, first time parenthood, second and third children, the stresses of unemployment and financial struggles, preeclampsia, surprise babies... Throughout everything, he's been my anchor in the storm. Candle on the water. [Insert your favorite cliche] He's my best friend, the best dad I've ever witnessed, adoring our daughters, and my very favorite person in the world.       
      Thank You, God, for this man. He is infinitely patient with my health problems, limitations, disabilities, and dramas. He is smart, he is funny, he listens to me, he's interesting (even on topice in which I'd never been interested before), and Tony loves our three little girls. a lot. Tony loves me. He LOVES ME! Even knowing every single thing about me, and living with me for six and a half years.
      In fact, we love each other more and more. Our relationship has had its rough times, but our hold to our faith in God and one another, and our love for our children, have, and always will, clear the obstacles. Put them behind us. We are forever.
 This picture was taken this past summer, by our five year old, Rachelle, a couple of weeks after our third daughter, Judy was born. That's my I-look-like-crap disclaimer.

"Our" song, Love You Madly, by Cake

“We are all a little weird and life’s a little weird, and when we find someone whose weirdness is compatible with ours, we join up with them and fall in mutual weirdness and call it love.”
― Dr. Seuss

Thursday, January 19, 2012

First Post. Happy Birthday, JudyMom!

Today is my fabulous Ma-in-law's birthday, so I think I'll begin my blogging adventure by writing a short post about JudyMom. Are you worried? Don't be. Here's why- I like her. A lot. *GASP* In fact, she is one of the most important people in my life. It's true. I'm not after brownie points. JudyMom has a great sense of humor, is loving, forgiving, kind, secretly sensitive (don't tell her I said that), down-to-earth, and generally great. She raised three amazing sons, has a full time career, teaches Bible classes at church, and is a talented card maker. She is a wonderful person and I'm thankful to call her my mother in law.