Wednesday, September 29, 2010

My Inspiration



- an animating action or influence

"My children are my inspiration."

My children really are my inspiration, as well as my best friend Nina.  I'll get the short people who live in my house in a minute.  I REALLY want to dwell on how awesome Nina is first!  She is amazing and talented and cool and super smart and she's going to hate this run on sentence with incorrect grammer and spelling.  I like messing with her. [And I'm leaving it uncorrected so everyone can see what I put up with. -Nina] She wouldn't speak to me when we first met.  I like to remind her of that. [I thought you were way too focused on clothes and being better than everyone else. Which probably means in real-world language that I was jealous of your shoes. Nice shoes, by the way. -Nina] [Thanks a lot.  I still pretty much wear jeans and t shirts! YOU were the one who introduced me to fancy makeup and fashion magazines.  And you had the awesome hair.- Katya] Then I yelled at her one day, and oddly became best friends, pretty much starting that day. [Not sure why I yelled, I think she cut me off on the sidewalk or something really horrible.-K]  We've been through a lot of boys stuff together.  And lots of music.  I think we've only had one big fight, and it was 100 years ago in college, and for the life of me, I've no idea what it was about. [Me neither. Huh. -Nina] I like to think that we have superhuman communication skills with each other, but really I know it's just because we are about the same amount of crazy.

On to the short people. They are wonderful, most of the time.  I have Grace who is now 8 going on 18.  I'm giving her the name Grace here in the blog because I find myself yelling, "For the LOVE of Grace!" Only half of the time is it something she did, but she is the oldest so she gets blamed. And then I apologize profusely.  She is a great girl. And she puts up with me as a mother, so I think that makes her the most amazing Grace ever.  Grace is also a diva.  She has a ton of clothes (my fault) and 'borrows' from her little sister who is taller. The battles have begun...

The little sister, who is taller, is 6 3/4.  I have to make the distinction lest anyone thinks she is only 6 1/2. Bank, is her name here because I'm convinced she will grow up to be a kung fu fighting banker. [I agree. -Nina] Sometime when she was 2 or 3 she managed to hide over the course of a few months $100's in the house.  Maybe she had an ulterior motive of trying to get me to clean up and organize, but I've never found it.  Also, she is the one who started our 'swear' jar.  She is brilliant, sweet, quiet and sensitive.  But, don't EVER sneak up on her, she will throw you down in an arm bar and stab you in soft tissue with a pencil. Really.  She can't throw me down yet, but she's not even 4 feet tall. Give her time.

The last of my girls is Crow.  She has the name because she is loud.  I honestly need hearing aids (too many concerts) but the audiologist said not to bother until I can teach her volume control. She is 4 1/2 and has NO volume control.  It makes it interesting while trying to do any shopping with her.  I love the one where she commented on all the fatty, unhealthy foods in a very obese person's cart while I was trying to pay for groceries.  Super. Crow delights in torturing her older sisters.  And loves to grab my iphone and call people.  If you get a message with heavy breathing, it's probably her.[Only "probably"? -Nina] [Well, its not me!-K]

My amazing husband, Q (I would call him X, but my fingers don't like to type that letter), gave me these wonderful girls.  It has recently dawned on him that they will all PMS at the same time as me (in years to come, but still).  He is scared.  He wants to build an underground doghouse with cable TV out back, I'm guessing he means something really cool like a batcave.  I don't blame him.  It's not going to happen though. I think our homeowners association would have a problem with it.  I'm sure he'll figure out to plan his work trips, he's smart like that.

Me: Well, I'm Katya.  I drink lots of tea and diet coke so I'm over jittery for most of the day.  I love that people can home school (Nina) but I would go crazy(ier). I sing in the car, loudly and badly, sometimes it's the kids music I have on CD which is awkward because all of the minivan windows are tinted.  No, I really don't enjoy singing The Wheels on the Bus.  I like people watching; sometimes it makes me laugh out loud, again awkward. I am wildly inappropriate at times and make my kids shake their heads.  I love textiles of all sorts and really want to go shop at a market in Istanbul for a carpet. Really, one of my life's dreams right there.  I also have a keen sense of smell. It has led me to trouble, think pastries, and led the gas men to hazardous leaks, seriously. I like shoes. That was an understatement.  I love them.  And I have lots. My favorite right now are flip flops, mostly because I'm too lazy to pull socks out (and I just don't wear socks in the summer).  I also can't spell for beans.  So if a word looks a little off, it's because I misspelled it and Nina wasn't home when I called to ask her how to spell it. Or she was ignoring the phone because I'd already called her 12 times. [No worries, babe, I'm allowed to edit for you post-publish! Like now. I fixed Istanbul. You're welcome. -Nina] [It's okay, now I know how to edit, and I can edit your stuff too!- Katya]

My family is great.  I vent about them a lot to Nina, because we all don't get along some days, but I wouldn't trade them for anything.  They are my inspiration.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

First Impressions

im·pres·sion [im-presh-uhn]: noun

1. a strong effect produced on the intellect, feelings, conscience, etc.

2. the first and immediate effect of an experience or perception upon the mind; sensation.

3. a mark, indentation, figure, etc., produced by pressure.

4. an imitation of the voice, mannerisms, and other traits of a person, esp. a famous person, as by an entertainer.

“You never get a second chance to make a first impression.”

First impressions can often be misleading. For example, when Katya and I first met, waaaaaay back in college, we both had terrible taste in men and a tendency to be quiet in class. Also, we had different hair. Now we can't shut up and have resorted to starting our own blog in order to keep talking whether anyone is listening or not. Whether we still have terrible taste in men is up for debate, and depending on the day (and sometimes the hour) we could be on either side of that debate, but we're generally pretty happy with the men we trap- uh, married.

 I'm here to start this thing with a brief introduction of myself and the players in my family; Katya will be up next with her own roster of all-stars. My name is Nina, and it's probably safe to say I'm certifiable. Or at least I would be, if I answered those psychiatric assessment questions honestly. I grew up in a semi-rural environment, which meant I spent a lot of time reading books because none of my friends' mothers wanted to drive an hour for a visit. This is probably where I got my deadly grammar and spelling skills, which I often suspect I developed in lieu of social skills; by high school, when my mother went back to college, she was enlisting me to proofread her term papers.

Over the course of finishing college myself I met my husband-to-be, His Kiltiness, appropriately enough at a Saint Patrick's Day party. Given his amazingly great legs (god bless kilts!), his goofball sense of humor, and the fact that he cannot lie for love or money, I consider him the epitome of masculine charm. He LOVES to play with children. At any gathering, he's most likely the man on the floor being pig-piled by every child there. Oh, and he likes to cook. Hands off, ladies, he's MINE.

About a year into our marriage, our son Spidey came along. He has always had a real attraction to comic book heroes, particularly Spiderman (hence his moniker), although he himself has always preferred blondes. I guess we know where he stands on the Gwen Stacy issue. He is now a buoyant 7-year-old who likes to climb doorways, fences, furniture, and any other obstacle you care to name, hopefully followed by science - he declined getting a bike this year for his birthday because he wanted a really big box of science experiments. With all of the climbing and flipping and so on, you would expect him to have a lengthy list of injuries, but you would be wrong. He NEVER FALLS. It's uncanny. I've learned not to faint every time he calls, "Mom, watch! Look at what I can do!" He certainly does not get his coordination from me.

A few years later, we filled out our roster with a daughter. Xena, like most girls her age (4), loves to dress up in princess dresses. Unlike other girls her age, she prefers to accessorize these lovely gowns with a weapon of some sort, usually a play sword. This works out well when Spidey is in the mood for a light saber battle, though not so well when he just wants to sit and read his comics. When Xena isn't allowed to have a sword (out on errands or at the dinner table, for example), she employs what one family friend refers to as "her patented diamond-tipped stare". She has these icy blue eyes that could cut steel. Before she could even talk, she nailed Granddad with that one until he apologized for sneezing. It was pretty awesome.

A little over two years ago, His Kiltiness and I decided our best schooling option was to home school our children. See? Certifiable. But it works for us; although some days are better than others, on the whole we have successfully taught Spidey to read, add and subtract, spell, and argue vigorously for lenient grading whenever the assignment directions aren't sufficiently clear. Xena started pre-school this year, so we're having a fun time learning letters, numbers and shapes. It should surprise no one that she can count much better when it's chocolate chips she's counting. It should also surprise no one that our house frequently looks like some sort of strange nest for sock monsters, hungry bears, and rogue library poltergeists.

So...my hair is different, my taste in men improved dramatically, and I talk too much. What hasn't changed since those heady days of dining hall food and sleeping until noon? Well, for one thing, I still wear the same coat. It's a really awesome coat. I am invariably reading two or three books at any point in time. And when it comes to shenanigans, Katya is still the first person I enlist.