Friday, May 29, 2009

Sounds like?

A conversation between Caleb and his friend, Max:

Max: My Dad is in the Banamas!

Caleb: Is Arack Obama there?

Monday, May 25, 2009

Musical Monday

This is from the pilot episode of Glee. I'm not sure if this show is quite as funny if you weren't a choir geek in high school. The Ohio aspect makes it funnier for us, too.

About that. The midwest has the corner on Show Choir and Marching Band. Show choirs are not well respected in other areas of the country, and in fact are seen as "sub-standard music education". I think of it as it's own monster, though, not to be compared with other types of choirs. Marching Band is taken seriously (by other marching band people) in many areas of the country, but the midwest tends to be the "trend setter" as far as marching band styles go.

Look at all the useful things you learn here!

Anyway, a show choir dancing around to "Rehab". Had I been drinking anything at the time, it surely would have been snorted out my nose from my laughing so hard.

Love. It.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Lettuce Love

I have been bad about grocery shopping this month. As we ran out of things, I just sort of shrugged, and dug deeper in the cupboards for other things we could use up.

It got bad enough that Todd last week offered to do a nighttime run to the store since we were out of all fresh fruit, fresh vegetables, milk, eggs, and bread. Personally, I think we could have managed until the end of the week, but he was willing to go.

The next evening I made a simple salad from the lettuce and tomatoes that Todd had bought. When Caleb came into the kitchen and saw the fresh salad his face lit up with glee as he said, "Lettuce!!! You bought lettuce?! Oh, Thank you, Mommy! I love lettuce!" And then he came over and wrapped his arms around me to give me a hug and a kiss.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Highly Irrational

Last night Todd and I went to see the new Star Trek movie.

I could've very easily become a trekkie in my youth. I watched all the original series as a kid, loved other sci-fi stuff, and had a little crush on Spock. (Let's review: He's tall, dark, geeky, prominent nose.) I even have an old happy meal box cut up and lovingly stored in my childhood scrapbook that came out when the FIRST Star Trek movie came out. My Mom did the cutting. I was too young to be trusted with scissors. And it features Spock. In college, I had a housemate with whom I watched all of the Deep Space Nine reruns. And I admitted I liked them.

My path towards becoming a Trekkie was thrown horribly off-course when I was seven years old. I was the only little girl on my block. (Well, there were two others all the way around the block, but they were all girly, so not much fun to play with.) Anyway, my best friend on the street was named Danny Blanke. He was a year younger than me, but when it came time for his sixth birthday party, I HAD to be invited. In fact, it was all the boys on our street, a couple from his class at school, and me. The party consisted of all of us going to the movies at the Somerville Circle to see Star Trek II: Wrath of Khan.

All was well until the scene in the movie where they put that awful ear wig looking thing in someone's ear!!! I hid my eyes. And when that didn't work, I burst into tears. Mrs. Blanke had to take me out of the theater. I was properly mortified that I had acted like a girl even though I was with all the boys, but there was nothing to be done.

That night I was a crying, slobbering, blubbering, hysterical MESS! In fact, I refused to go to bed until my Dad promised to chop up whatever came after me with his ax. (If you've met my mild mannered father, you will know that this is a rather laughable image, but at the time it was enough to convince me that it was safe to sleep again.) For YEARS afterwards, earwigs completely freaked me out. And don't even get me started about ear things.

I can count on one...okay two...hands the number of times that I have hauled off and punched someone (when not in play). Most of those times involve someone trying to mess with my ears (or my neck, but that's another story all together. And I'm over that one.). There has never been ANY nuzzling of or nibbling on my ears. The very notion makes me go a little crazy. And not in a good way. Todd tried valiantly for the first 5 years of marriage to get me over my aversion to such things. To no avail.

He finally accepted that Danny Blanke and Wrath of Khan had ruined me for such things, and gave up. Which made life easier for both of us. Until last night.

I was sitting there enjoying the movie. Enjoying sitting with my husband without kids to worry about. When all of a sudden THERE WAS A SCENE WITH A BUG THAT ATTACHES ITSELF TO THE CAPTAIN'S BRAIN!!!!

No sooner did the bad guy pull out a bug, than I was curled up in a fetal position with my eyes covered and head buried in Todd's shoulder, whispering hysterically, "Are they putting that in his ear?!! Is it over yet?! Did they put it in his EAR?!?! Is it over yet?! Did it go in his ear?! Where did they put it?! Is he okay?! Is it over yet?! Did it crawl in his EAR?!"

Todd found this all immensely funny and received a few looks from people around us as he had to stifle his laughter at my distress.

To which I can only say, "Hmf." Really, the nerve of some husbands.

It is very nice to note that I am not alone in my trauma. A quick google search yielded this and this.

And so, I say live long and prosper. Unless you are an earwig. Or one of the nasty writers who keeps on putting them into Star Trek movies. I have no problems with the Babble Fish concept in the Douglas Adams books. It's just the evil bad guy putting bug on brain concept. Not loving it. shudder

Monday, May 18, 2009

The Tooth Fairy Sings!

In all sorts of timeliness, Chris Ian sent this today. It's him singing a song traditionally sung by Mable, one of the main characters from Pirates of Penzance. Who knew the tooth fairy was such a rock star?!


Isn't he amazing?!

Musical Monday

When I was teaching 6th grade general music, the unit on opera and operetta was my favorite. Every six weeks, with a new group of 6th graders, I showed "The Pirates of Penzance" in my class and we could discuss operetta, singing, theater, adapting musicals for film, etc. And it was a lot of fun to have a bunch of 12 year olds wander around the school for a few days humming Gilbert and Sullivan in the halls.

Modern Major General is probably the most well known song from the operetta. If you want to borrow the movie, I own it. But I definitely recommend seeing it on stage next time it comes to town. (This has been a favorite movie of my kids since Benjamin was about 3 years old, so it knows no age limit.)


Thursday, May 14, 2009


This morning Nathaniel asked Caleb how he was ever going to get a girlfriend.

He asked, "Are you A) going to club her over the head with some hard object?, or B) going to annoy her?, or Z) going to cluck like a chicken?."

To which Caleb replied, "Nathaniel, I don't need a girlfriend. I'm going to marry pizza."

Sensible boy.

Vampires and Fairies

Some of you may remember the trauma of last summer when Benjamin lost a tooth in a hotel room and it ended up going down the drain. And the only way we could cheer him up was to tell him about the tooth fairy who looked exactly like Uncle Chris Ian, except in a tutu, which really wasn't too difficult for anyone to imagine. But it sufficiently cheered up our boys enough that they could sleep that night. Nathaniel recently managed to get rid of his two front teeth, causing him to look Vampire-ish. One of them, while eating lunch was inadvertantly swallowed along with his bagle and cream cheese. We sent an emergency text to Uncle Chris Ian who was performing out in California that week. Uncle Chris Ian immediately replied back with this picture:
Seriously. Only Chris Ian would have a sparkly magic wand on hand for emergencies.

Nathaniel felt better and was gratified when he found a dollar coin under his pillow, which he noted he only ever saw at the ticket machines in the NYC subway system. And Uncle Chris Ian works in NYC...

It was all beginning to all make sense to him. Until he saw Todd sneaking in the next night to leave a coin for the next tooth. We reminded him, though, that Uncle Chris Ian was doing a play in CA that week, though, so he needed a substitute fairy to fill in for him. Todd doesn't look as good in a tutu, but under the circumstances he was the right man for the job.

Love love love those boys!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Definition of a Broad

I refer frequently to my Broads on this blog. They are a great bunch of down to earth ladies. Who are fabulous in too many ways to mention. Every now and then I try to quantify it, but mostly can't. They are just good people. Here's an attempt, though.

Today's definition is: A broad is someone who in times of trial, recognizes dessert is a totally acceptable alternative and in fact is preferable to a hug.

Thanks, Broad!

Happy Day

Two down. Two to go!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Musical Monday

Seven Brides for Seven Brothers. Oh, how I loved this musical when I was a girl. Except for that poor girl named Dorcus. What were her parents thinking? There are plenty of fine upstanding biblical names that just shouldn't be used any more.

Anyway, does anybody remember that one episode of Fame where the blonde kid (who does the ax thing in the barn raising scene and who was also in West Side Story) was all grown up and fat but comes to the high school to talk to the kids and they're all really disappointed that he's all old and fat and bitter, but he still at the end manages to do the ax thing just like at the barn raising scene of Seven Brides for Seven Brothers?!


Just me then?


Here is "Lonesome Polecat". With Italian subtitles. Those two boys in the back, must be cutting some hard wood. That's a lot of chops with no results. 'Course they look real pretty when they do ballet.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

July Photos

that I am just now getting. Grrr.

The boys I love best.

A triumvirate of Bradshaw girls.

Mother's Day with Boys

Today I received three lovely cards from my three oldest boys.

Highlights from Benjamin's card:

"I love my Mom because she takes care of me when I'm sick." (Complete with a picture of him throwing up.)

"From my Mom I got big feet and a love of music."

Highlights from Nathaniel's card:

"Mom, I think you are funny when you put me on a leash."

J's card was nice and normal. Perhaps that means there is hope for the younger boys as well.

My Mommala

Aren't my parents the cutest parents ever?
Lists. I like lists. Lists are good. Today's list is dedicated to my Mom. Because that's what you do on mother's day, right?

A couple months ago my mother in law called and asked, "What legacy have you received from your mother?" She was asking in preparation for a talk that she had to give. Being the dutiful daughter in law that I am, I told her I'd think about it.

And then I never called her back.

But I did think about it. So here are a few of the things I've "received" from my mom:

1) The ability to talk to anyone. I was desperately shy as a little girl. So, the fact that my mother could immediately be friendly with everyone in the whole world was a complete mystery to me. Over the years it grew to be less so, and I think I'm pretty much on par with her now in that area.

2) Taking in strays. I don't actually do this they way my Mom did. My Mom collects strays. Stray animals. Stray children. Stray adults. Stray truck drivers... (now that's a great story!) It's kind of amazing. I'm still working on that one. I do invite people to live with us with alarming regularity, though. Hm. Maybe it has sunk in more than I thought.

3) The idea that what I'm capable of is very much up to me. When I was 14 or so, my mother decided to become a lifeguard. She was somewhere in her 40s, and not particularly athletic, but realized that there were never enough people to lifeguard at girl's camp. So, she spent one winter taking the certification classes with a bunch of twiggy 16 year old kids. Afterwards, she life guarded at girl's camp, but also taught a water exercise class for people with severe arthritis. All while dealing with busy church callings, my Dad's business travel and the schedules of four children.

4) Being adventurous. Whether it was trying new cuisine, new exercise, new hobby, new craft, new whatever, my Mother is nothing if not adventurous. And she is gung ho about each new thing. No doing things halfway for her!

5) A thirst for knowledge and willingness to learn. Even though my mom didn't particularly enjoy high school and never attended college, she has always been excited to learn about whatever she thinks she needs to learn about. She probably could have gotten several degrees over with all the research, field work, and experiments she's done over the years.

6) The ability to know when to change the subject. Just recently I had to call to share some rotten news with my Mom. I'd been putting it off, because I didn't want to dissolve into a puddle of tears. I delivered the news over the phone and my Mom said, "Oh, honey. That's really hard. With great blessings come great challenges. Now. Let me tell you about the wonderful class I went to this morning." I was delighted to hear about it. When I need a pity party, I know that I can call and she will let me have one, but I thoroughly appreciated that there was no doom and gloom, and we could talk about something else while she processed the information. In short, it was exactly what I needed. I'm glad to have a Mom who even after all the years we haven't lived together, still intuitively knows what I need.

7) Parenting with the spirit. My mother recognized that keeping close to Heavenly Father and listening for the promptings of the spirit were far more effective parenting methods than anything she could read. (Though she read all the books anyway. They couldn't hurt, right?)
I'm still working on this one. I'm not very good at remembering that I'm not in charge all the time. It's kind of a problem for me. But I'm learning.

8) Also, I am getting my hot little hands on the rug currently kept in her library when she dies. I've been asking for it for almost 11 years now. She assures me that I will only get it over her cold, dead body. And when I asked again recently, she told me she was being buried in it. A more physical legacy, but a legacy nonetheless. Mom! The rug will be mine!!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Keep the Old

On our almost last day in NJ, we drove up north to have a picnic with my friend Jill and her kids, Nick and Cassie. Nick came with a full arsenal of nerf guns so fun was had by all. After we visited for a while, Jill mentioned that her younger brother, Dave, was going to stop by as well.

I haven't seen Dave since a brief hour or two my senior year of college. And even before then it had been pretty sparse. Dave and I became friends I guess around age nine or so. But not really until middle school. We lived a good hour apart, but managed to hang out a fair amount, still. It was ancient times, of course, so we wrote letters to stay in touch, every one of which I still have.

I was reading them a couple of years ago. I unfolded each carefully and when Todd asked what I was reading, I said "I'm looking at the love and friendship of a 13 year old boy."

Dave and I are about as different as two friends could be. I love being around people. He goes out of his way to avoid them. And that is just the tippy top of a whole entire iceberg of differences. When we were kids, Dave and I communicated mostly through tackling one another. Despite our differences, though, Dave was a constant sort of friend through all the changes which came through middle school, high school, and college.

In fact, I remember one very important night. His sister, Jill, and I had driven from WY to NJ in two days. We stumbled into her parents' house late in the afternoon and my only plan was to sleep until the following morning. I was particularly nervous, though, because the following day I would be seeing my boyfriend. We had dated all of my freshman year of college and spent a rotten summer apart. I wasn't sure how things were going to be. He'd pulled back a little from me that summer and I was terrified that he had decided I wasn"t worth it. I lay in bed tossing and turning in the darkness. Dave came in at some point and lay down next to me and asked what was wrong. When I told him, he said, "If he doesn't still love you, than he's an idiot and I'll knock his block off." I knew it was an overly simplistic view of the matter, but right then it was all I needed to hear. And with that I cuddled into Dave and fell asleep.

Last week, after nearly 12 years since last we saw one another, when Dave stepped out of his car, I ran across the grass, jumped up in the air, and threw my arms around him to say hello. And Dave, even though we haven't spoken in all that time, caught me up and swung me if I didn't weigh 50 lbs more, have four kids, a husband, a house, and a minivan. For about 20 seconds, I was 13 years old again. And while definitely not my favorite age, he was certainly a favorite part.

On with the show, though! Picnic pictures: Mr. Zero Percent Body Fat was so cold that he borrowed my field hockey hoodie from me. Poor guy.

A motley crew indeed.

Even scarier. Though made slightly less so by Cassie's bunny ears.

Me and Dave and Cassie's bunny ears.

Mmmmm. Fooooooood. Nothing like hot dogs fresh of the grill on a chilly day.

Love in the Sand

Not that kind. This is a family blog, people.
Minus the "s" part of my initials, that's what was scribbled all over the back cover of my freshman year algebra notebook. I also would spend time mixing our initials up to spell different words. Like meats, beats, steam, beam, same, mates, bates, etc.

This may explain my grade in Algebra that year.

In my defense, I've gotten a lot more mileage out of loving Todd Smith than I have ever gotten from Algebra. *

*To any of my kids who try to use this story to justify lousy math grades: Don't Even Think About It!!! There will be concentrating in class and NO mooning over silly girls and lots and lots and lots of studying!!


Conversation at dinner a couple of weeks ago:

todd: I really tend to overuse the ellipsis.

me: Well, I overuse it more than you!

todd: Nuh-uh!

me: yes-huh!

todd: No, I do!

me: Actually, I...

I love lively and intelligent dinner conversation, don't you?

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

The NJ Shore in April

What does one do on a chilly, but sunny day in NJ? Why go down the shore of course. We went to Sandy Hook, which is not my favorite, but was closest and we weren't swimming anyway since the water was so cold there was actually pain when I stuck my toes in. (The water feels dirtier there since the New York skyline is visible from the beach. I've taken the ferry often enough across the Hudson to know what's in that water. It's not something I want to swim in.) Okay, first up. The guys went for a walk down the beach and came back with a toy tug boat, a bouquet of flowers and some oranges and bananas.
Caleb stomping about. Because that's what Calebs do.

J making a sand angel. Of course.

Closer inspection of the toy tug boat revealed that three saints had been glued to it. I am SO curious about the story behind this. 100 points to the person who can explain it to me!

Caleb, chasing the sainted boat in the painfully cold water.

Right after I snapped this picture Todd, J, and my father in law started running and singing the "Chariots of Fire" theme song. They warm my frozen little heart sometimes.

Nathaniel. Not only in the freezing water. But in the freezing water with nothing but shorts on. There was screaming and crying involved upon heading back to the car. We are mean, mean parents.

Boys playing in the sand on a sunny day!

Monday, May 4, 2009

Blame it on Hormones

I am ridiculously appreciative my friends today.

So, to everyone who had to deal with me in all of my PMS-ing glory through the series of fiascos that made up my day, I would like to say a very large THANK YOU!!

Thank you for talking when I needed talk. And talking about something completely different when I needed that, too. And being silent for several seconds when I said, "No talking!"

I wish I had gazillions of dollars and could take us all on a cruise tomorrow.

Alas, I do not. So I give you my feeble, but heartfelt gratitude.

Musical Monday

Apologies for the poor clip quality, but it was the only one that had the ridiculous story before the song.

I did not like the movie "My Best Friend's Wedding", but I LOVED this scene! I think it's the wait staff in the back with their crab claw hands waving in the air that really push me over the edge. And of course, my beloved Rupert. I may need to add him as a label for my posts, since there have been at least three featuring him. While we're at it, here's another favorite bit from a movie I didn't love:

"Maybe there won't be marriage, maybe there won't be sex, but by God there will be dancing!"

Words to live by when life is in fact a musical.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Happy Birthday, Caleb!

Yesterday, Caleb turned five years old!! It is difficult to believe that it was five years ago yesterday I was giving birth to a "little" guy who weighed in at 9 lbs. and 5 oz. and was 22 inches long. And he had blue eyes and blonde hair. When we first got married, I told Todd we had to keep having kids until one of them inherited my blue eyes. It was the only physical characteristic I wanted to pass on. I'm not sure we'd even named Caleb before we said, "Oh, good! He has blue eyes! We can be done now!" The nurses were a little shocked at such a statement.

Caleb was such a good baby right from the beginning, but needed interaction and conversation. He was about three weeks old when I couldn't figure out why he was being fussy, and Todd took him, put him on his lap and started talking to him. Caleb was immediately happy.

Caleb was my first baby who fell asleep all by himself if I put him down. I wept for joy. After that first year of ease, he let us know what he was really all about. And life has been far more exciting ever since.

My current five favorite things about Caleb are:

1. I love that Caleb is so very much himself. He does not feel the need to succumb to any sort of peer pressure on anything. (Granted, he is probably the one leading your kids astray.)

2. Caleb gives the best hugs ever. Yesterday, I walked downstairs and he said, "Mom, don't you want to give me my birthday hug now?!"

3. Caleb is sneaky and sly and fond of all the bad guys, but he is very sweet and sensitive underneath his creepy exterior.

4. Caleb has a constant soundtrack. I don't usually have to look in on him while he's playing. I can just listen to his singing and humming to know what new game he's moved on to.

5. I love that Caleb likes having shaggy, long, blond hair. I love that he whips it around in a "Don't Hate Me Because I'm Beautiful" way every time he gets out of the water. And I love that when talking to me, he cocks his head to one side to peek out from under his bangs.

We are so happy that Caleb is a part of our family.