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Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Meet Sally

The most peculiar thing happens to you when your in-laws call you and say, "Hey, we're going to be in your area.  We're picking up a puppy from a Dachshund breeder, and were wondering if you'd like to go with us."  You say, "Heck yes," against your better judgement; you know in your gut the outing spells T-R-O-U-B-L-E.  Within minutes, you find yourself (with your hubby and kids) in some strange woman's home (could she be a hoarder?), canoodling the world's most adorable puppies.

And then, somewhere within the deepest recesses of your brain, a wire short circuits with a Snap! Crackle! Pop!...AND YOU BUY ONE.

I am certain I have lost my mind.

I have been the clueless owner of a mini-Doxie for two days now, and I have to tell you...I AM EXHAUSTED.  I am ready to run a Diet Coke IV through one of my veins.  I am ready to curl up in the fetal position, in a corner in my kitchen, and mutter incoherently.  (Oh wait!  I don't really have a clean corner to have a nervous breakdown in...THE DOGGY HAS POOPED IN ALL OF THEM!)  I'm ready to put those damn Keebler elves out of business with all the cookies I've been stuffing in my mouth.  I'm ready to put an ad in the classifieds:  How much is that doggy in Mama Leisha's window?  It's FREE!  It's FREE!

Puppies are hard, hard work--requiring oodles of patience and time.  I admit I felt a bit overwhelmed today; wondering if I'm up to the challenge of training a dog, questioning my abilities, worrying the attention our puppy requires would "spread me thin" and make me a lousy mom.  My musings resulted in several tears and a visit to my Christmas stocking, to retrieve the Watchamacallit candy bar McHubby had put in there.  After taking a moment to myself to "pull it together," (and after licking the chocolate off my fingers), I decided I had been pushed to the brink and that the pup would have to go.  I went into the next room and saw this:


Meet the newest member of our family.
Lilly wants to name her Sally. 

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

I See You

Picture this:

I am standing beside the electronics counter at my favorite store, Target.  I've got one child in each hand so we form a delightful little family chain.  I don't have a cart (BAD!) because I only needed one item.  I'm on a mission:  Get in.  Get out.  Get home.  Crack open a Diet Coke.

Ms. Lilly and The Cam Man are antsy and anxious.  They attempt to run in opposite directions, and would probably succeed in escape if not for my "grip o' death" on their teensy fingers.  Cam screams, "Wanna cookie," and does his best impression of a limp noodle, while Lilly barks like a dog.  (Sheesh!)

The red-shirted employees behind the counter are swamped; they are "full throttle" busy.  Two men are on phones trying to track down video games.  One young woman is behind the register.  All I want is for someone to unlock the video game cabinet so I can grab "Paper Mario" and go.  I wait and wait my turn.

A dapper man steps up to the counter.  He's wearing a blue dress shirt and dark slacks.  He's tall and built like an athlete.  His chompers have obviously been whitened.  He's the proud owner of a ridiculous swagger.  He reeks of Calvin Klein's "Eternity."  As I watch him, I envision myself whipping out my Christmas scrapbook paper, making a glittery gift tag for him, and taping it to his broad chest.  It would read:

To: Women
From: God

"Who would like to unlock a game cabinet for me?," he asks, all dashing and debonair.  He smiles and his right cuspid sparkles...*TING!*

I watch as the woman behind the register turns to him, meets his smoldering gaze, giggles and says, "Oh!  I can help you!"


I envision myself bouncing up and down like a pogo stick, and waving my arms above my head.  HELLO?!  HELLO?  It's my turn!  I've been waiting!  CAN ANYONE SEE ME?

In the midst of the holiday madness--the "hustle and bustle" that leaves us spinning--are we remembering to see the people around us?  Are we being nice?  Are we being considerate of others?  Are we remembering to smile, to use our "manner words," and to be patient?  Are we paying attention?  Because when we see people, when we are sincerely kind and compassionate to ALL those we come in contact with, we become more like the man whose birth we celebrate this month.  We begin to love as He does.

With that thought, I envision a new gift tag...

To:  The Man Who Cut In Line
Merry Christmas!
Love:  Mama Leisha

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Love and Math

 (Hip hip hooray, my little brother got married yesterday!  After a tear-filled ceremony, friends and family met for a lovely wedding luncheon.  The banquet hall was decorated like a "Christmas romance"--complete with holly berries, greenery, candles, white lights, and a Christmas tree.  It was fifty percent magical and fifty percent dreamy!  I wrote a poem for Tyler and Danelle, and my sweet sis, Erika, read it with me at the luncheon.  Just thought I'd share it here!)

(A Love Poem)

Once upon a time,
but not very long ago,
a boy met a girl in his Math class,
and his love started to exponentially grow.

She was the perfect equation
of beauty and charm and wit.
Cupid ran out of arrows in algebra;
he threw a textbook, and the boy was hit.

It didn't take long for this dazzling girl,
to reciprocate all of his love.
They dated and kissed and had lots of fun,
people said, “They fit like a glove!”

Not even a homeless Math teacher
could keep one boy plus one girl apart.
Division was futile; they were inseparable.
Love multiplied in their hearts.

Then one day, the boy measured his heart,
and found at the square root of it all--
The girl with the socks that never matched,
would be his bride, and the jeweler he'd call.

His question was, “Will you marry me?”
Asked by their beloved tire swing.
She solved the proof, by saying, “Yes,”
and donned a wedding ring.

And now we celebrate a marriage,
with snow and joy and laughter.
ALL are grateful Ty and Danelle came together,
to live happily ever after.

Just one final, poetic thought,
from an older and wiser sis--
I've been around, I've learned a lot,
And the moral to the story problem is this...

People will tell you love is about Chemistry or Biology,
and whenever I hear that I always laugh.
What people don't know is that you can find your forever
in something as boring as Math!


Monday, December 12, 2011

Photo Shoot

We recently had some family pictures taken!  My kind, gentle-hearted neighbor and friend, Lauren, spent an afternoon with us in our busy, bustling downtown metro, with her camera and hubby in tow.  Lauren has a talent for snapping pictures and an eye for art, and I knew she'd do a great job.

Of all the pictures that were taken, the one below is my absolute favorite!  The brick wall.  The love seat.  The colors.  It's quite wonderful.

And would you just look at my children?!


It was chilly and windy the day this picture was taken.  Lilly--with her unfounded phobia of wind and "blowing away"--did not want to be outside.  Camren was royally miffed because we kept pulling his thumb out of his adorable mouth.  Their discomfort and angst is clearly shown on their kissable faces.

I love this picture because it accurately (and terrifically) portrays a universal truth:

Life isn't picture perfect!

There are ups and downs.  There are highs and lows.  There are times of desperation and fear.  Stress can stealthily overshadow joy, and worries can bear down on the strongest of shoulders.  There are challenging, trial-filled times that instigate feelings of sadness or frustration.  There are long, hectic days with never-ending obligations, that push and pull you into a weary version of yourself. 

Or simply...there are days when your preschooler informs you that, "Cam found the Doritos," the moment you're finally ready to walk out the door for your "photo shoot."  There are days when neon-orange "Dorito dust" clings to little fingers and faces, and "photo-op" outfits need to be changed, pronto!

There are days when your children cry while having family pictures taken!

But because life is beautiful, and because life is hard, you do what James and I are doing in that precious, "imperfect" picture:  You smile through it.  You keep trying.  You hold your head up.  You keep smiling.

And you do the very best you can.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

On My Mind!

What's been on my mind lately?

For starters, I've been thinking about this necklace:

Isn't it fantastic?!  Imagine my utter delight when one crisp morning I ventured out to my mailbox to find that a package from the east coast had made it's way to ME!  My girl, Ms. Maria--a special friend, a spicy-hot lady, and fellow blogette--thoughtfully sent some "love" my way, in the form of a pretty bracelet and THAT necklace.

So, I've been thinking about how much I love my new necklace, and how much it obviously loves me.  It just might be the start of a wondrous, long-term relationship.  (Thank you, sweet Maria!)

What else?

I've been thinking about how big nosed people (me) should NOT get big zits on their big noses (mine) because...well...they just look big!  It's really unfortunate.  (Grrr...)

I've been thinking that the thing I most positively love about kids is that they're crazy!  One minute they are sitting complacently in their car seats, enjoying a bit of thumb-sucking (Cam) and listening to the Christmas tunes streaming through the speakers (Lilly).  The next minute, everything changes.  In a blink of an eye, they're foaming at the mouth and screeching at the top of their lungs--throwing sippy cups, kicking legs, and yanking on seat belts!  It really is the darndest thing.  But I love crazy.  Crazy makes life more interesting.  And fun.

I've been thinking about the profoundly moving and timeless movie, "It's A Wonderful Life."  (Well shoot, isn't Jimmy Stewart handsome in that film!?)  Every holiday season I watch (and bawl through) the whole thing!  One of my favorite quotes from the film comes from the whimsical angel, Clarence, who says to the down-trodden George Bailey, "Strange, isn't it?  Each man's life touches so many other lives.  When he isn't around he leaves an awful hole, doesn't he?"   Goodness, that's beautiful!  And true.  Sometimes I wonder if we really know how far-reaching our influence is.

Lastly, I've been thinking about my life in general; my abundance of blessings and the preciousness that surrounds me.  It IS a wonderful life!  (Despite nose zits!)  I've got "crazy" children and kind friends.  I've got dreamy Mr. Stewart on DVD.

And did I mention that necklace?
It's pretty fantastic.

Sunday, December 4, 2011


It was a quiet afternoon.  Cam was in his crib, taking a much-needed nap.  Lilly was contentedly playing in her room with her Fisher Price dollhouse.  Though it was chilly outside, golden sunlight was streaming through my windows.  It felt warm and cozy in my (momentarily) peaceful house.

I went into Lilly's room to check on her, and was met with a big grin and an exuberant:  "Mom!  Come look!"

"What is it, Lilly?," I asked, curious as to what my smart and witty kid had been "up to."

"I was playing with my dollhouse and the family, and I figured out their places.  I put everyone where they're supposed to be," she answered.  Then my Lilly-Girl asked, "Would you like to see?"

OH BOY, WOULD I!?!  I sat down next to Lilly and said, "Show me!"

First, she pointed to the small, plastic baby in the cradle.

"I put the baby in her room.  In her cradle.  She's napping, because babies sleep a lot."

"Very good, Lil.  That's exactly right," I replied.

Next, she pointed to the dad with the nerdy hair and the worn-down nose.

"He's in his favorite chair.  He's watching sports on TV."

I laughed jovially and in between giggles, said, "That's perfect, Lilly!  That is where YOUR dad would be!"

She smiled at me and said, "But wait!  There is another place for the daddy."  She moved him to the kitchen and plopped him down at the table.   "A daddy's place is in the kitchen, too!  Eating all the food," she said, happily.

I clapped and exclaimed, "Excellent!  You are right!"

There was only one Fisher Price doll left.  One quintessential piece to the "family whole."  Now was the moment I had been breathlessly anticipating since the beginning of Lilly's "show and tell"--the placement of the mother.  Where-oh-where did my preschooler put the toy mom (with the green shoes that DO NOT match her outfit)?

Answer:  ON THE TOILET!!!!!!

"Lilly!," I gasped, "the mother's place in on the toilet!?!"

She grinned at me, pointed her little finger, and said, "You got it!"

I confess I thought about the "mom on the toilet" throughout the remainder of the day.  Does Lilly think I spend all my time in the bathroom?  I guess between cleaning it, getting ready in it, and "hiding" in it, I AM in there a lot.  Does she REALLY think a mother's place is on the toilet!?

You know what I realized by the time night fell?  It doesn't matter where the place is--bathroom or not!  The point is I HAVE a place.  I have a place in my family.  I have important responsibilities in my home.  I have a place in the lives of my most treasured friends and loved ones.  I have a place in the world.  I have an opportunity to serve and love those around me.  And, most significantly, I have a place in the heart of a beautiful, brown-eyed, five-year-old girl.  I matter to her.

It's funny (and a little wonderful) how a toy mom and a plastic toilet can serve as a reminder of a simple, precious truth; one that I hope you'll always remember, my friends...

You have a place.
You matter.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Road Trip Photo Shoot

Last week, we took a road trip for the Thanksgiving holiday.  Less then thirty minutes into our trip, Lilly started saying all that "road trippin'" stuff kids say when they're on the verge of going looney tooney:

Are we there yet?

How much longer until we get to Grandma's?  

Where are we?  Why is this taking so long? 

In an effort to keep Ms. Lilly entertained and ocupado for the remaining hour of the trip, I handed her McHubby's iPhone and told her to play a game of Angry Birds.  Lilly quieted down, and James and I turned our attention to the tunes coming from our speakers (LCD Soundsystem) and to the landscape out our windows (mountains).  Occasionally, we heard a giggle or two come from the seat behind us.  Other than that, our trip was uneventful.

Imagine our surprise when, a couple of days later, we found SEVERAL humorous pictures of Lilly's mug on James' phone!  We had been oblivious to her shenanigans!  (And the pictures might explain the sporadic bursts of giggling we had heard while cruising the highway.)

This is what you get when you give a five-year-old a camera phone on the ninety minute drive to grandma's house:  Road Trip Photo Shoot! 

Monday, November 28, 2011

Shoppin' Eddie!

Last night, the McD family went on a little excursion to the busy, busy mall to shop at the busy, busy Eddie Bauer.  Our mission:  Find something for James. 

Now, there are a couple of "points of interest" that I must make before I proceed with my retail tale.  First, Eddie Bauer is a wee bit expensive.  We don't regularly shop there because the price tags scare us.  (One hundred dollar sweaters??  Yikes!)  But last night was special...the ENTIRE store was a whopping 40% off!  (Even on items already on sale.)

Second, Eddie Bauer is a "cream of the crop" retailer that sells world class mountaineering gear for men and women, as well as a variety of clothing and outerwear that one might need if one lived at a ski lodge.  Or fished, often.  Or enjoyed kayaking glacial fields.  Their male models look like this:


James looks like this:

With his trophy.  After he won a "ping pong championship" at work.

He's not a mountaineer, and I wouldn't call James a "rugged man," per se.  When he grows a beard--brown, with auburn flecks throughout--I think of bag pipes and clovers.  NOT Everest expeditions.  Sure, he's manly and athletic.  He can pitch a baseball like nobody's business, and can hold his own on a basketball court.  BUT...he's a computer programmer.  His idea of "rugged" is being without the internet for a couple of days.

So, why shop with Eddie?  (Hello!  40% off, remember?) 

Two words:  Tall sizes.

James is fairly tall.  (6'4")  He's slender.  (Every year I ask, "What would you like for Christmas?"  And every year he answers, "Thirty pounds.")  He has wicked-long arms.  (Which I lovingly call his "Go Go Gadget arms.")  I cannot begin to explain how difficult it is to find nice fitting, long-sleeved shirts for my Irish bean pole.  Shopping for long-sleeved shirts that fit him is like looking for Big Foot or the Loch Ness monster--people claim they're out there, but do they REALLY exist?

Imagine our elation when we discovered that...EUREKA!...Eddie Bauer carries "Large Tall" sizes!

We walked into the store, and James began to wander through the racks of flannel shirts.  He selected several items to try on and made his way to the dressing rooms.  I sat down in a plush chair, in front of a TV that was running Eddie Bauer ads.  (Perfectly put-together people tromping through the snowy woods in their Eddie Bauer garb; clearly on an outing to cut down their own Christmas tree.)  Lilly cuddled up on my lap to watch, and asked, "Do you think they'll turn The Little Mermaid on for me?"  Cam sat in his stroller, beside a full-length mirror.  He kept screaming and crazily laughing at his own reflection.  Thankfully, for the moment, the kids were entertained.

After an hour of hanging out in that log cabin-like store, the tots became restless.  It was getting late, and Lilly and the Cam Man were tired.  James selected a couple of items to purchase, and we made our way to the registers.

A "cool," young kid--with confidence and a swagger--rang up McHubby's shirts.  He was friendly enough, despite "zooming" nearby chicks while James was swiping his check card.  He put our items in a bag and casually asked, "So, what are you up to tonight?  Anything fun?  You guys have plans?"  (NO!  He was not asking us to hang out....just making conversation!)

James and I were like deer in headlights.  We did not know how to answer.

Humorously, after a few seconds, we both answered the SAME THING at the SAME TIME:  "We're going to go home and put our kids to bed."

I swear I heard crickets chirping in that Eddie Bauer store!  The young employee just stood there, looking at us.  I laughed, awkwardly.  James grabbed our bag and said, "Thanks."

As we walked out to our car, I said to James, "Geez!  NOW I feel lame.  And old!"

"We're not lame," he replied, simply, "We're parents."

Later--after our little ones were tucked in their warm beds and slumbering soundly--James worked on his computer and I read a book.  No ice fishing or skiing or hiking through the woods in search of a Christmas tree for us!  No parties, no loud music, no crowds, no journeys to base camps, no wild adventures (aside from bathing Cam).  Nope.  Our little house was quiet.  The glowing red numbers on the digital clock by our dresser read 10:02.  10:02 on a Saturday night and we were lounging in bed!

But here's the thing I realized as I fell asleep:  James was right.  We're not lame.  We're parents.  That is pretty awesome.

And a little rugged.  

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Giving Thanks

I'm thankful for french fries and good conversation.  I'm thankful for pajama days and laughter.  I'm thankful for Pumpkin Spice frozen yogurt and cherished best friends.  I'm thankful for growth through pain.  I'm thankful for examples of faith and enduring courage.  I'm thankful for late nights with good books.  I'm thankful for special, surprise packages in my mailbox.  I'm thankful for compassion.  I'm thankful for my health.

I'm thankful for light.  I'm thankful for joy.  I'm thankful for ice cubes and house plants.  I'm thankful for fuzzy slippers.  I'm thankful for warm toes.  I'm thankful for sticky kisses and for chubby hands to hold.  I'm thankful for prayer and for the reminder that comes when I'm on my knees, that tells me I'm never forgotten.

I'm thankful for kindness.  I'm thankful for inspiration and creativity.  I'm thankful for support.  I'm thankful for the people who love me for me.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Happy Things

A little ol' list of things that have made me happy in the last couple of days:

1.) Mint M&Ms.

2.) Being featured on Angie's pretty blog, "A Little Inspiration."  And for being reminded of what inspires me:  my children, my faith, my small corner of the world and the good people who occupy it.  Thank you, Angie!

3.) Ms. Lilly asking for an iPod for Christmas just so she can listen to Selena Gomez's song, "Love You Like A Love Song," all day and every day.  (Yes, she knows the lyrics.  Yes, she is five going on fifteen.  Yes, this kills James...but only because he's concerned about her taste in music.  No, she will not be getting an iPod.  "Santa" will probably be bringing her a....dancing baby???...which was her second choice.)

4.) Zipping around SLC in my ride (which is NOT as cool as it sounds), running errands, and following a VERY old man in his PT Cruiser.  He had a simple, one-word sticker in his back window:  Boobies.

5.) All the lovely comments I get on this silly, crazy, squirrely, wonderful, hot-bliggity-blog of mine!  Thank you for your support.  Thank you for your kindness.  Thank you for uplifting me and for making me laugh.  Thank you for being a part of my "Mama Leisha" world.  If I could, I'd give all of you a big hug and a shmooshy kiss.

And a Diet Coke.
And a cookie.
And a Selena Gomez song download.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

I'm The Featured Blogger...HOW NICE!

Welcome to the weekly Super Stalker Sunday hop!

Super Stalk Sunday

What is Super Stalker Sunday?

Glad you asked! Super Stalker Sunday is a weekly blog hop hosted by

Mariah of Formula Mom
and Emily of Nap Time is My Time

Blogs hops are a great way to meet other bloggers, socialize and gain more followers. Do you like to socialize? Well, we all like followers, right?!

If you've been around the blogosphere you know there are Blog Hop's for everything you can think of and every day of the week: RSS Feed, Google Friend Connect, Email Readers, Facebook Fans, and Twitter Followers.

Well, why not get all of your followers in one place once a week? This is the place to do just that!

How to Super Stalk

Follow each host at least one way. Don’t forget to let them know you did so by commenting on their blog. We will return all follows, but please be patient as we are busy mama’s it may take us a few days to return the visit and follow.

You will only have to link up on one of the host sites and your link will appear on all as we use the same linky.

After you follow the hosts and the featured blogger, follow at least the four blogs listed above you on the linky. If your time permits, follow as many other blogs are you are willing!
If you’re already follow somebody via GFC, consider following them in another way as well!

Remember: You will only get as much as you give. The more blogs you can visit, the more visits you will gain in return. We are all here to socialize and greet, not visit only your blog.

While we encourage sharing our button and hop with as many as possible, it is not required. The more you spread the word though, the more we socialize and all gain followers!

This week's featured blogger is

Aleisha loves participating in blog hops, finding new blogs to follow, and meeting new friends. She feels so fortunate to have met wonderful women and mothers 'out there' in the blogosphere; women who are working hard to do their best everyday. Once she starts following a blog, she loves sending emails and leaving comments. And believes that the establishing of friendships is the greatest!

If you would like to be a featured blogger, being shared with more than 4,000 combined followers between the hosts of this hop, please link up!   At the end of each week we will select a blog via Random.Org to be the featured blog for the following week.

This linky will remain open until 3:00PM EST on Monday!  Each week,  we’ll choose a featured blogger from all active participants.  Go ahead, stalk up a storm!

Friday, November 18, 2011

What IS Victoria's Secret?

I went to Victoria's Secret today.

With the kiddos.  And my bulky-ass stroller.  I even had a Diet Coke in the stroller's convenient cup holder.  I put some red lipstick on, wrapped myself up in my sassy, zebra print scarf, and walked right on into that store.  With my little head held high.

Cam started screaming and pulling brasseries off of tables.  (He kept going for the holiday "jingle bell" bras because they were...noisy?)  Lilly started doing the "potty dance" while continuously asking, "What are we doing in HERE?"  She would follow up her inquiry with a snappy retort of:  "This store is weird."

Good grief.

"I told you, Lil," I said with a sigh, "Mama needs to get a gift for Danelle."  (Side note:  My "cute as a button" little brother is tying the knot a week before Christmas.  I adore his sweetheart, Danelle!  I'm taking a road trip over the weekend to attend a bridal shower for her, my "soon to be" sister-in-law.  Hence my excursion to purchase something "va va voom.")

Well, today I learned a valuable lesson:  Don't even bother taking your little children into that store.  Even if you're armed with Diet Coke.  Somewhere between the lacy panties and the bustiers, my baby boy went berserk.  He kicked his legs, swung his arms, and started grunting and snorting like a wild hog.  (But I've never met a real wild hog.)  Ms. Lilly thought this was hysterical, and commenced shrieking and laughing like a dolphin--high-pitched, chirpy, and LOUD.  She quickly discovered that the more she poked Camren, the louder HE got.  Truly, it was an all-out fiasco.  A couple of annoyed patrons glanced my way with a scowl as I rubbed my aching temples.  I could think of only one thing:  Victoria's "secret" is birth control.

I made my selection and draped it across the stroller's "canopy."  (Which Cam was trying to RIP OFF!)  I zigged and zagged around hot pink nighties and polka dot slippers, finally making my way to the register.  Lilly tugged at my pantleg, eager for my attention.

"Mom?  Mom?  Are you going to get something for you?"

I was tired.  I was ready to leave.  In a weak moment of utter frustration and exhaustion, I muttered, "Nope.  Nothing for me.  Having kids has killed my sexy."

The real kick in the hip-huggin' yoga pants with the word, "PINK," on the butt is this:  My "mutter" wasn't as quiet as I thought.  When I looked up I saw three employees staring AND giggling at me.  I felt my cheeks flush a hue of red.  A warmth signifying embarrassment crept up my neck.  The gentleman behind me cleared his throat.  All I could do was smile.

Anyone know how I can get my sexy back?

Thursday, November 17, 2011

One Two Three

Hip hip hooray!  In true "rock star mom" fashion, I have been working (and working) with "the little man of the house" on learning his numbers.

One.  Two.  Three.

And guess what?  That brown-eyed, dreamboat son of mine is exercising his "gray matter" muscle and is learning to count! 

Sort of.

(If you listen closely, you can hear the Cam Man say, "Nine."  NINE!)

(Did you hear it?  Did you?  Did you?!)

(Oh...and sorry about the quality...that black "frame" stuff is totally weird.  ???)

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Guest Post: SPIDERS!

It's been a looooong time since my sweet and sassy friend, Sunshine, guest posted.  Too long, if you ask me!  Well...never fear, another "Sunny Sunday" is here!  ENJOY! 

The Icky, Icky Spider Crawls Up the Water Spout...BLAM!  Got Him!

A few things you should know about me:  I've jumped out of a moving airplane at 10,000 feet.  I can deadlift 200 pounds.  I can do real push ups.  I've run a the rain, in a forest, by myself.  I can handle my husband's Walther P22 hand gun with a reasonable amount of confidence.  There are very few things that intimidate or scare me with one BIG exception...spiders.

Now that you know how I feel about spiders, let me share a little story.  All this cold weather we've been having has meant a higher-than-usual number of creepy crawlies making their way indoors, which means my nerves are shot.  So, I'm walking by the front door and notice the biggest, meanest, hairiest, blackest, jumpenest, spider you've ever seen.  He's hanging out on the door frame, smoking a cigarette and sharpening his switch blade.  Okay, that last part might be a SLIGHT exaggeration, but you get the idea.   My heart starts pounding and I steel myself for the task of disposing of this thug, who's tattoo is COMPLETELY misspelled by the way.  I'm trying to stay calm, but I keep making these squealing sounds--followed by muttering and pacing--all of which draws the twins right into the drama.

As they approach I tell them, "Stay back you guys!  There's a spider and we're all going to just stay calm, okay?  Nobody panic."  The two of them just stand there looking at me like I have lost my mind. "I'm serious, nobody panic."  I get the fly swatter, grumble something about not having any stiff alcohol in the house, and approach the tarantula terror that keeps moving ever so slightly just to freak me out.  After a couple of pep-talk like statements, including, "I got this, no worries, you can do this!," I take the plunge.  I swat that spider with all the might and fury of a woman protecting her young (who, by the way, are terribly entertained and still looking at me like I am a few tacos short of a combo platter).   

I missed.

No, I didn't miss!  But once I smacked it, it went MIA.  Now, if you think finding a brown-recluse-science-experiment-gone-bad on your door frame is scary, try picturing not knowing where said death angel is and then weigh that with the idea that you may very well have just smacked it right onto your shirt front.

Oh.  I.  Flipped.

I scan the twins (still staying a safe distance per my constant threats).  Nope, they're clean.  I start at my head and do a swiping, dancing, shimming, hopping, twitching move all while shouting, "WE ARE STILL NOT GOING TO PANIC."  (You have to say it with a hysterical rise in your voice, on the last word, to really get the effect.)  After what felt like roughly 45 to 50 minutes, I locate the dead beast with his guts spilled all over the black gym bag he landed on and then blended in with.  If I didn't think it would give me nightmares for life, I would have that sucker mounted on my wall.

The moral here:  I don't like spiders.  The other more meaningful moral here:  How many other little/silly things am I afraid of, that are holding me back?  Armed with a fly-swatter and some serious courage, I'm pretty sure I could conquer the world.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Noah, Jaws, Pretend Play...OH MY!

Sometimes, I think I'm a poopy mom.  I am terrible, horrible, no-good, and very bad at "pretend play." know the play of which I speak?  I'll explain.

Let's say your doting daughter approaches you with her two Barbie dolls, and with pretty, pleading eyes and a sweet, sweet voice, asks, "Would you like to be the Ariel Barbie, and I'll be the Belle Barbie?"  You shudder at the prospect because it involves talking in a high voice on Barbie's behalf,  and moving her legs around to mimic dance moves.  (With your feeble beat-boxing providing the music.)  You can't say no to your kid, so you brace yourself for "pretend" trips to the grocery store, "pretend" visits to the salon for pedicures and up-dos, and "pretend dinners" around "pretend tables" with those "too perky to be true" dollies.  UGH!  (Confession:  I don't love it.)

Essentially, "pretend play" is when you make inanimate objects... well... animate?

The other night, Lilly walked into our bedroom with her "Noah's Ark" toy (thank you, Fisher Price) tucked under her arm.  She climbed up on our bed and plopped down beside me.  When I saw her staring at me, I knew what was coming.  I admit, I broke out into a cold sweat.  I was like that Roy Scheider fella in Jaws.  I could see her question looming--a shark's dorsal fin cutting through the water, moving towards me.

Da-Dum.  Da-Dum.  Da-Dum Da-Dum Da-Dum.

"Will you play with me, Mom?  Please?," she asked.

AAAAAAAHHHHH!!!!!!!!!  I was caught!  I kept thinking, "I can't say no to her.  I can't say no.  I.  CANNOT.  SAY.  NO.  I can't, I can't, I can't!"

"Uh...sure Lil," I managed to say, brightly, "I'd love to!"

A toothy (hee hee...get it?...Jaws theme?) grin spread across her little face as she dumped the contents of the plastic ark onto my bedspread.  Animals went flying!

"Are we supposed to be the animals?," I asked.

"Yes," she responded, as she pushed her hair out of her eyes, "I'll take half and you take half."  We started picking out our animals, and before I knew it (and without prior discussion) we were assembling them in a circle.

The conversation went something like this:

Lilly, talking for her animals:  Does anyone know what's going on?  Why are we all just standing here?
Mama Leisha, talking for her animals:  I'm not sure.  See that guy?  Noah?  He asked us to meet him here.
Lilly:   Oh, right.  I think he wants us to get on his boat.
Mama Leisha:  Are we supposed to do that right now?
Lilly:  I don't think so.  I think we're supposed to wait for rain.
Mama Leisha:  Okay.  I hope we all fit in there.
Lilly:  What should we do while we wait? 
Mama Leisha:  Hmmm...  Not sure.  What do you think?
(Insert pause here.)
Lilly:  I know!  I've got it!  We could eat some steaks!


You know, maybe I'm changing my mind about pretend play.  Maybe it's not so bad after all.  Tomorrow is a rendezvous with Strawberry Shortcake and Orange Blossom at Strawberry Shortcake's bakery.  Could be entertaining...

Da-Dum.  Da-Dum.  Da-Dum Da-Dum Da-Dum.  


Thursday, November 3, 2011

"Running" Seems to Be The "Theme" This Week

I am not a runner.  No siree!  There are a few things I will run for, however:

1.) If the house is on fire.
2.) If Cam is making a "beeline" for the front doors of Target, in a wild and kamikaze attempt to escape.
3.) If I am in the basement and the buzzer on the oven starts beeping, indicating that if I don't run up the stairs the pizza (or chocolate chip cookies) will burn.
4.) If someone is trying to kill me.  (Heaven forbid.)
5.) If I find a gigantic, black spider in the laundry room.
6.) If Lilly Mae says, "I'll race you!"
7.) A DSW shoe sale.

Other than that, I'm happy to "casually stroll."  Or meander.  Saunter.  Dawdle.  Smell the roses.

About a month ago, I had the opportunity to visit the gorgeous, red-rock desert of St. George (UTAH!) with a group of my friends.  Our friend Rachael--after training, working, and preparing for months and months--was going to be running in the St. George marathon.  Due to certain circumstances (that are no longer pertinent), she was going to be bravely crossing the finish line with no one there to meet her.  Rachael's sister, upon hearing this news, exclaimed, “Absolutely not! She WILL have supporters there!”  And thus began a bombardment of scheming emails and plotting texts amongst friends, with Rachael's sister at the helm!  It was decided that we would make the trip to St. George, unbeknown to Rachael, and SURPRISE her.

After an early morning start, some lemon poppy seed muffins, and a lengthy road trip, we arrived in the southern-most part of the Beehive state.  (And were greeted by palm trees and ninety degree weather!)  We stationed ourselves on the corner of an intersection—at about the 24 mile mark—and waited, hoping to spot Rachael run by.  While we waited, our friend Sunshine distributed generic, “Go runners!” signs and we got busy clapping and cheering for every person that passed us. 

The spirit of the race, the endurance and camaraderie of the runners, the energy in the air, and the excitement over our "big surprise" got us talking about the “race of life” that we are ALL running.  We talked about how we ALL need "cheerleaders."  We need supporters.  We need people in our corner.  We need people who will say to us:  “You can do this!  I KNOW you can do this!  I.  Am.  Here.  For.  You.”  We need to be encouraging and uplifting one another.

Oftentimes, the "race of life" is a grueling and lonesome relay.  There are hurdles to jump, there is pavement to pound.  There are tears, sweat, and pain.  But something extraordinary  happens when we cheer for each other, when we let compassion serve as a healing balm:  The loneliness dissipates, the despair ebbs from the shores of our selves, and we are strengthened.

What were once thought of as unobtainable finish lines, become sweet successes.  And then?  We know we can do anything.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Guest Post: What is Ragnar?

(Wow!  It's already November; a special month that reminds me of all the good things in my life--my bounteous blessings.  What better way to kick of the month than with a guest post from one of those said blessings:  My rad dad!  Enjoy!)

The Vikings called a warrior of judgment, Ragnar.  But here’s the real definition according to your guest blogger and biggest fan of the blogmistress, Aleisha, after I returned from participating in the Las Vegas Ragnar.

A close friend came to me this summer and told me his high school buddies traveled to San Diego this past spring to run a Ragnar.  (I can’t believe these guys have stayed in touch with each other over the past 35 years.  I’m trying to remember who I went to high school with!)  For those of you who don’t know, in a Ragnar Relay there are two vans with 6 runners in each van.  After the first 6 legs of the race have been completed by the runners in Van 1, Van 2 takes over with its six runners.  The vans "leapfrog" over each other after all participants in the van have run their designated legs of the relay.  (Each runner has three legs that range in length from 3 to 10 miles.  Total miles run in the race?  188!)  My friend asked me if I wanted to join a team he was putting together to run from Lake Mead to Las Vegas.  I asked him why anyone would do this and he answered, “Because it will be fun.”

I lovingly caressed the girth that had accumulated around my midsection. “Count me in,” I said, "After all, how hard can it be?  I’m only 56 years old!”

The closer it came to the relay date (October 21-22, 2011), the more I started to question the wisdom of the demon friend who kept telling me, “It will be fun.”  Then he had the nerve to tell me I owed a $100 entrance fee!  What?  Pay to be punished?  Has everyone lost their mind?  Someone should pay me!  I looked for any excuse to pull out of the competition.  Maybe I could say I had an injury?  I mean, that happens all the time to professional athletes, doesn’t it?  (And they still get paid!)  Maybe I could say I don’t know anyone else in the group besides my ex-friend’s daughter?  No, that wouldn’t work.  No one has ever accused me of being shy!  Oh &%$# – looks like I’m stuck!

Race day.  There’s a slight chill in the desert air as the morning sun peaks over the purple mountains and gives Lake Mead new life.  I go to my starting position with about 50 other runners.  (Starting times are staggered with 480 teams.)  Teams are announced and the excitement grows.  Our team name is “Geezers and Gals” because the dudes are over 50 years old and the girls are young maidens.  I look around me and suddenly it dawns on me that I’m not supposed to be here.  I’ve made a huge mistake.  There’s no one here that looks like me.  No one has gray hair, wrinkles, or is packing any extra weight!  I am a meandering manatee amongst a pod of young porpoises frolicking in the vast ocean!  This won’t work.  I don’t frolic anymore!  I’m lucky to find the keys to the car in the morning!  Other runners ask me what DNR means, that I have hand-written above the number affixed to my running shorts.  (Do Not Resuscitate!)  And the gun goes off signaling the start of the relay.  Oh &%$# – looks like I’m stuck!

The Ragnar motto is, “Run, Drive, Sleep?, Repeat.”  That’s right – Sleep with a question mark.  There was no sleeping.  (And don’t talk to me about personal hygiene, either.  Sure these guys sweat when they run but they add insult to injury by rubbing Tiger Balm all over each other, before and after each turn running!  Have you smelled Tiger Balm?  It’s a smell that you will never forget.  It’s like Ben Gay on steroids.  It had to have been extracted from the glands of real tigers.  It made my nose run, even in the arid, desert air!)  What I needed most was sleep.  I crashed and got about 1 ½ to 2 hours of much needed sleep before I was awakened and told it was my time to run AGAIN.  The clock flashed 2:30 a.m.!  Oh &%$# – looks like I’m stuck!

My last leg was 6.9 miles and classified as VERY HARD – NO VAN SUPPORT.  The baton was passed and I gave my teammate a hug, not knowing whether I would ever see her again, and left the exchange running on what I now call the “Trail of Death."  It was a trail with big rocks, sandy bars, deep ruts, gravel pits, etc.  That’s exactly what I ran on with nothing more than a headlight to show me the way at 3:00 a.m.!  It was a path for 4-wheelers and jeeps and not for the faint of heart prancing around in tennis shoes.  You’re kidding me right, Coach?  You said I would have fun.  When does the fun begin?

My soon-to-be-dead friend’s words kept echoing in my mind, “Because it will be fun.”  It seemed like I was slowly morphing into Forest Gump.  I just kept running and running and running!  I was VERY TIRED to say the least but I finished!  I had completed what I set out to do and there is definitely a sense of elation in being able to say that.  Honestly, I couldn’t have done it without my team.

We ran across the finish line together as a team in our matching yellow shirts to end the relay.  It was very cool.  Success!  I’ve learned in my 56 years that the secret to success is your supporting cast.  It’s your family and friends.  This relay only strengthened my conviction of that truth.  So when it looks like you’re stuck and fearful of not completing a task or of failing, make sure you have the right people on your team to guarantee your success.  There are no losers!

Monday, October 31, 2011

The Many Faces of "Best Buddy"

Remember my post about "Best Buddy," the "modest" skeleton hanging on our pantry door?  Well, he has been in top form this month!  It's been a fun-filled, "bone-shakin'" October filled with NUMEROUS trips to the pantry for Halloween candy and a visit with Best Buddy.  His various poses have surprised and delighted us!

For my lovely, "sweet-as-candy corn" readers and bloggy friends, a real treat for you for Halloween:

 The Many Faces of "Best Buddy" 
(Daaa da-da!)

*Best Buddy must know my hubby's clan hails from Ireland.  He favors "the jig."


*When I went to Beijing, I saw the Chinese acrobats perform.  They were AMAZING.  They kind of looked like this.  Kind of.

*Best Buddy sees no evil, hears no evil, and speaks no evil.  He's a really nice guy.

*Best Buddy is a true Thespian.  He has a flare for the dramatic.  Le sigh.  (Or perhaps he's just tired of watching me mop the kitchen floor...over and over again.)

*Best Buddy turned all "zen" on us and took up yoga.  I'm pretty confident the madness of the McD house forced him into a quest for peace.  Strike the tree pose and rest in peace, Buddy!

*Lastly, look who finally confessed his undying love for little ol' moi...