Tuesday, June 30, 2009
Saturday, June 27, 2009
Today I found myself on the computer googling these words: Why would Darth Vader die without his helmet? Let's put an end to this mystery once and for all. Here is the cogent answer from Wizards.com:
Tomorrow, if Ben remembers, he will be asking me for the answer. I plan to just read him this statement and see how he responds.
Did I tell you, by the way, that I am starting my thesis this summer? I was going to write about turn of the century American Literature, but now I'm seriously considering a new approach entirely. The working title of my forthcoming paper is (for now) "How damage reduction 6 contributed to the demise of Alderon." It's intense.
Four-year-old spit is sweeter and therefore tastier on your cake than three-year-old spit.
An extremely hard to come by picture of this blogger and her elfin daughter. It was a most lovely day. I got sunburned, of course.
As happens so often at a Jennings' family gathering, two children broke out into a sword fight.
Some crazy lady made all of the males in attendance don Spiderman masks and pretend they were "webbing."
The last of our family-members leave... much sadness in our home for about two seconds. Then, all remembered there were presents to be played with.
And thus begins another chapter in Ben's life. What a privilege it is to be a part of it.
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
I could write pages about why my hubby is one of the world's top-notch dads, but I would hate for anyone to feel resentful or even, God forbid, jealous. I will just say this: every morning, John rouses all of the children (there are four, in case you had lost count) out of bed, gets them dressed and feeds them breakfast just so that I can sleep until 8am. He puts Caleb on the bus and leaves the house dressed in a stiff Brooks Brothers suit while I sit languidly at the table eating my Wegmans Honey Wheels, still in my pajamas.
Sometimes I stay in my pajamas all day. If John gets home and I'm still in my pajamas, he doesn't say anything about it at all. And it's not because I wear sexy pajamas, mind you. My pajamas are generally a lovely combo of my old maternity sweats and one of his t-shirts. You may argue that there is nothing sexier than a woman wearing a holy t-shirt that says "the sports team from my area is superior to the sports team from your area" but I'm sure John would beg to differ.
He does these things not only for me, but also because he works long hours and actually, get this, wants to spend all of the extra time that he can with his kids. Really! Sometimes I have to force him to say goodnight to Caleb and Ben so we can put them to bed at a reasonable hour. He would stay up goofing off with them all night if he could. Is this because he's a wonderful father or because he's just a big kid himself? I'm not entirely sure, actually. Probably a little bit from column a, a little bit from column b.
Regardless, Mr. John Mark Jennings, if there was such a thing as a Happy Father's week, I would wish you it right now. Since there is not, and I reiterate that this is NOT MY FAULT, I will just say thank you. You are an unbelievable dad.
Monday, June 22, 2009
Zack came into our lives about three weeks ago when my son, Caleb, found him crawling on a leaf. Zack was a common tent caterpillar. Caleb and Zack formed an immediate bond. They spent the first few days together frolicking in the backyard. Well, Caleb frolicked and Zack chilled out in the mason jar we provided him.
We fed Zack leaves, since he seemed to enjoy them. I consulted my caterpillar reference book, The Very Hungry Caterpillar by ecologist Eric Carle. I fed Zack sausage, strawberries, and watermelon. These were suggested by Mr. Carle to grow your caterpillar nice and fat. Sure enough, Zack soon formed a cocoon!
You might think that watching a caterpillar cocoon himself is a beautiful and moving experience. It is not. It is kind of icky. Nevertheless, we were very excited to witness Zack's transformation into a beautiful... moth. We consulted our reference book and discovered caterpillars can stay in their cocoons for up to two weeks before they come out.
Three weeks went by. This past Saturday, I told my sister Joyce about Zack taking his time becoming a moth. She looked at him, looked at me, and shook her head. It was then I knew. I think I had known for a while, but I didn't want to admit it. Zack was never going to hatch. He had died... in cocoon.
Was it my fault? Did I not feed him enough? Was his small home too confining? Did we smother him with our love and affection? Should I not have fed him cake?
You are probably wondering what I am going to tell Caleb. This is a wonderful opportunity to have a deep discussion about life and death and the difference between souless caterpillars and soulful humans. It is a great opportunity to explain that sometimes bad things happen to good caterpillars, and that Zack would have wanted us to move on. What an opportunity to have a meaningful discussion with my first-born son.
I thought about it, however, and I've decided against it. I've decided that Zack emerged from the cocoon and flew away before I could say chrysalis. He is now living somewhere in the backyard. Everytime we see a moth, we will wonder, is it Zack? Only I will know the truth.
Yes, I sleep fine at night. Why do you ask?
Zack and Caleb during happier times.
Saturday, June 20, 2009
Here are some excerpts:
Fire and Ice and Zombies
Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice.
From what I've tasted of desire
I hold with those who favor zombies.
For zombies perish not once but twice,
I think I know enough about survival
To say that for destruction
Fighting in a zombie apocalypse
Is pretty great
And would suffice.
This is Robert Frost, possibly America's greatest poet. He also was a wife-beater, so I have no qualms about making some creative changes to his poetry.
ROAD LESS TRAVELLED
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth
Then took the other as just as fair
And having perhaps the better claim
Because it was grassy and wanted wear
And there were fewer zombies lurking there
Other than that, time had worn them really about the same.
(You get the general idea.)
Let's make this a collaborative project! Please submit your classic American or English zombie poem below. Those who become followers of Holly Goes Lightly will get a cut of the royalties. This book is sure to be a smashing success.
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
Monday, June 15, 2009
I can't believe someday I'll have to pack FOUR lunches. I'm seriously thinking of homeschooling for that very reason.
I have a bone to pick with trees. Yes, trees, specifically cottonwood trees. We were at a teddy-bear picnic on Saturday and that stupid cottony fluff made my mascara run. I was a raccoon with severe allergies. It's strange; all winter I long to be outside and when summer officially comes, I'm whining to go inside, out of the hot sun and away from allergens. It was the most gorgeous weekend though. I got my fair share of vitamin D, thank you very much. Here are some pictoral highlights: good times and lots of noodle salad...
Caleb's end-of-the-year Kindergarten program was on Thursday. I have circled him so you know where he is. I put an arrow to where he stood when he gave a moving oration of the Gettysburg address. Okay, not the GA, but he had LINES that he delivered with dramatic flare, I thought.
Ella and Daniel behaving for once at the teddy-bear picnic. If you look closely, you can see the cotton fluffy icky stuff laying like snow in the background.
Later that day we went fishing. There was a lot of goose poop about. The twins were keen on swimming, but we went for a walk instead. By "keen on swimming" I mean they ran toward the water like loony-birds while I screamed "stop stop stop stop!!!" to no avail.
After the park excursion, everyone was good and dirty and stinky. Ella loves to wash Daniel's hair. She really gets his scalp squeaky clean.
The next day we spent the day outside and there were smores involved. I seriously don't know why we bother bathing the children. At the end of the day she smelled like sunscreen, bug spray, chocolate, and someone's perfume... she gets passed around like a doobie since she's so small and therefore very portable.
Hello Romeo. Daniel picks up babes wherever he goes. Yeah, literal babes! They look a little guilty here, do they not?
Strangely, no Ben pictures this weekend! That's okay. He had a funky rash on his chin you would not have wanted to look at.
Friday, June 12, 2009
Tuesday, June 9, 2009
I got a new haircut. It's quite short. I can no longer pull my hair back into a pony-tail. My hair continues to fall out, although not nearly as much. The idea behind the cut was to lessen the gross-out factor by reducing the length of the hairs that come out in droves. (It's disconcerting to see what looks like a bird's nest hovering at the drain when you're done taking a shower.)
I liked my haircut. I thought it was hip and trendy. I got mixed reactions from friends and family. I got tight smiles paired with the words, "it's nice" and big grins paired with "I love it!" The reaction I was most concerned about, of course, was John's. I know he likes my hair long, but he's always been up for a change. When he saw it, he said, "it's cute," so I immediately knew he didn't love it.
His true feelings came out later. I mentioned to him that I had received mixed reactions about my new look. I asked him in a pitiful, whiny voice, "what do you really think? Do you hate it???" To which he responded, "it's cute." Then there was a pause. He said, "I think I know why you received negative feedback about your hair." This statement certainly caught my attention.
"Go on..." I said.
"It's the sort of haircut that women get in their mid-thirties when they just don't care anymore."
"You can pull it off, though. It looks cute on you."
The sort of haircut women in their mid-thirties get when they just don't care anymore. His words. Verbatim.
So if you see us in the next couple of weeks and wonder why he seems more like my man-servant than my husband, you will know why.
Oh, and 31 is definitely NOT mid-thirties. Sheesh.
Monday, June 8, 2009
I'm a protestant Christian and therefore do not believe in purgatory. In fact, I don't even know the true definition of purgatory and am too lazy to look it up. I'm going to be COMPLETELY sacreligious and tell you what I imagine it to be like: some place where you are waiting, uncomfortably, though not in physical pain, to be admitted into heaven.
I imagine purgatory is different for different people. For my husband, purgatory would probably be some place where he was forced to listen to Enya while sorting cherries. For me, it would either be having to suffer through a lifetime of dinners with my four children, or the following:
Wandering the floors of a hospital with Benjamin, the twins, and a broken stroller. On Wednesday, I had a surreal experience at Rochester General. Ella had an appointment with her urologist. We arrived ON TIME. I had Ben and Daniel in tow, as well. I put the twins in the double stroller which, I should tell you, has a broken wheel. The wheel is no longer attached, per se, to the stroller. It can, however, be briefly maneuvered into place where it will stay for very short periods of time until it pops off. Then I have to stop the stroller, give it a good kick back into place, and continue. In the meantime, every person I pass feels the need to tell me my wheel is about to fall off. I feel like a boob telling them, "I know... I'm just making due because I'd rather push a broken stroller through the hospital than let my toddlers walk. They're BAD walkers." By "bad" I mean they tend to walk in circles so that it feels like I have two giggling satellites orbitting me. This is pretty much the way my life is like at home, too. Giggling, orbitting, drooling satellites.
We made it to the doctor's office where we were informed that we were supposed to be at radiology. I missed this somehow. It was probably my fault, but I'm blaming them. I did NOT receive the memo.
Radiology is a horrible place. The last time Ella had her kidneys and bladder x-rayed, they literally stuck her in a tube where she could not move so that they could get accurate pictures. She was only a few weeks old at the time, and I could not believe I was actually ALLOWING some person to stick the baby girl I had so longed for in a plastic tube.
From Ella's doctor's office, radiology happens to be on the complete opposite end of the hospital. To give you some perspective, Rochester General has two separate parking garages: one next to the building we were at, and one next to radiology. I dutifully pushed my sad stroller back into the elevator we had just arrived on. The twins munched on pretzels as Ben pushed the emergency button. A voice came suddenly from above (this happens a lot in purgatory) and I quickly yelled, "my kid did it! It was an accident! Everything's good here... how are you?"
Except for stopping several times to fix the stroller and taking a brief respite at the hospital oasis (i.e. the water fountain), our journey was fairly uneventful. We arrived outside radiology where a large man with a shaved head, a tattoo of a fire-breathing dragon, and a Yankee's baseball jersey sat on a bench packing his cigarettes. Ben looked at him, narrowed his eyes and said, "the Yankees are stupid." At that moment, the wheel to the stroller popped off and landed at the man's feet. He stared at me. "I'm so sorry," I whispered. I grabbed the wheel and then Ben and somehow we all made it through the door and into the waiting room without getting shot.
Now I would have procured babysitting for the boys if I had realized I was going to have to hold my daughter down while people I have never met before stuck a catheter into her urethra. Really. Hearing Ella scream like she's dying while she looks at me plaintively is not a picnic. Ben and Daniel sat outside the room with the nicest nurse in the world drawing pictures of Jedis and wavy lines, respectively.
After the x-rays were taken, we were supposed to head back to the urologist's office to discuss the results. I felt we could discuss them just fine on the phone and took my kids and my broken stroller and headed for the parking garage... on the other side of the hospital. On our way out a woman in hospital garb chased after us... "Miss! Miss!" I stopped and turned around. "Your wheel is about to fall off!"