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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!