Now you’re wearing a box?

This picture and those words brought Addison to hysterics. They’re from the book Not a Box byAntoinette Portis. (The image is actually a lame Paint creation of mine, but it’s pretty much the gist). The book is simply but wonderfully drawn and written, and it illustrates the way a box can become anything in a child’s fantastic world.

We just got the book from the library a couple of days ago, but now Addison insists on reading it over and over and over again. His insistence probably springs from the fact that during his initial read, the page with this picture and the words “Now you’re wearing a box,” made him laugh.

And it didn’t just make him laugh. They were deep, seizing, please-stop-tickling-me belly laughs not unlike the laughter I produce when Chris Farley dances or Dave Chappelle does just about anything. It’s laughter that constricts your temples and strains your gut. Addison is especially prone to this kind of chuckle, I think, because he likes it so much.

To Addison, laughing is the pinnacle of human existence. Not sure where he gets that. But to him, if you’re laughing, you’ve arrived. The only higher plane of fulfillment is to transport someone else into the land of the laughing. He’s pretty good at knowing what will make someone laugh, but he’s even better at sniffing out the things that will make him laugh . . . and then squeezing out every drop of laughter he can from that tiny little belly of his.

So why was this picture so funny? Man, I don’t know. But even after a couple hundred readings, it still gets him, and I love that.

Overheard

But I want to watch TV forever and fifty days!

– Addison, after being told he had watched enough TV.

And this is a picture of Colin, because we just don’t put enough pictures of him here.

And, big fat fun hellos to Jil and Rhonda (aka Mimi, aka Mrs. Wilson, aka Mama Wilson, aka Steph’s mom) and Steph, three wonderful blasts from the past who have recently brightened this blog with their presence. Thanks for stopping by and saying hello. I miss you all.

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Top Ten Things That Disturb Me Out of My Gourd

10. White hot chemistry between Keira Knightley and James McAvoy
9. Botched plastic surgeries
8. The fame of Ryan Seacrest
7. Heated car seats
6. Ghostwriting
5. Those weird computer animated dancing characters that show up inexplicably in online ads for discount mortgages
4. Commercials for prostate medication
3. Bryant Gumbel
2. People who forgive themselves and no one else
1. Things designed to make public communal use seem less disgusting, like those paper toilet seat liners or the little sock footy things for trying on shoes at the store or sneeze guards at buffet lines or the rubber gloves the dentist wears or the paper they put down on the weird not a chair not yet a bed thing the doctor makes you sit on

Random Year-End Observations

New Year’s Resolution for 2008
Start using the Crystal Meth made without pseudoephedrine, even if it isn’t as effective in treating my cold. (By the way, in the 2 minutes I spent looking for pictures to include with this observation, I realized that stuff really messes you up. Meth, that is, not pseudoephedrine.)

Irony of the Year
That something would be used in place of a drug that was pseudo to begin with. Does that make it pseudopseudoephedrine? Or just ephedrine?

Band I Figured Would Be a Terrible One-Hit Wonder After Hearing Just One Not-Bad Song by Them
Plain White T’s. First time I heard “Hey there, Delilah,” I thought it was worth another listen. The next thought I had was, “Oh, wait. They will probably never record anything half this good . . . and the more I listen to this song, the less I like it.

Thing I Can’t Remember from 2007
Life without Colin. He , our second son, was born July 11, but I can’t remember what it was like to have one kid. I can remember a little better now what it was like to have no children. I shouldn’t say that, but it’s true. Two kids is wonderful, don’t get me wrong. It’s just . . . the list of things we don’t make time to do is getting longer since July. I don’t regret the sacrifice–correction, it’s not a sacrifice. It’s laziness on my part. And that’s the point, I guess. With one kid, the change came as such a whirlwind. The little things that got blown out of our schedule just seemed insignificant. Or I figured that stuff would go back to normal on its own. Dates. Conversations. Movies. Vacations. Dreams. Spending leisure time with someone who didn’t require diaper changes.

But with the second kid, I realize fully that none of that stuff just happens on its own. And it isn’t stuff we had to give up. We just have to work harder for it. All those things, though, are gone for good unless I make a point to get organized.

Thing Anyone Who Knows Me Recognizes As a Long Shot
Me getting organized.

Top 10 Addictions of 2007
10. Facebook
9. Blogging . . . suddenly
8. Buying Coffee
7. The Cubs (#7 only because I hope it’s lucky)
6. Harry Potter
5. Patty Griffin
4. Fantasy Football
3. Crystal Light (since I gave up pop)
2. Scrubs
1. Going to McDonald’s and/or Dunkin’ Donuts with Addison

Painful Realization of 2007
Seriously, you have no idea how hard it was to narrow my addiction list down to 10. Ugh.

Word I Used Entirely Too Much in 2007
Realized

Things That Came Out in 2007 I Couldn’t Wait for And Wasn’t Let Down By
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows and Patty Griffin’s album, Children Running Through. Oh, and Colin.

Reason to Stop Adding Things to This Blog
It’s Bed Time.

Passive Aggressive Laundry

The tags on clothing are officially passive aggressive. Actually, for the most part, they’re straightforward. Machine wash cold. No problem. Tumble dry low. Simple as can be. The real psychotic part of the tag doesn’t come until you get to ironing.

Warm iron if needed.

If needed? If needed? Why is the tag suddenly giving me options about steps in the laundering process? At first I thought it was just being extra protective of the garment to which it was attached. “Hey there, buddy, what are you doing with that iron? Is that really necessary? Hey, back away. That’s hot! What are you doing?! I’ll tell you anything you wanna know! Stooooop!” Or even more of an Al Gore feel: “There is no sense wasting any more of the earth’s precious natural resources on the appearance of these clothes unless it is absolutely necessary.”

But I came to the resolution, based almost entirely at the way it was looking at me, that the tag was really passive aggressively trying to get the clothes ironed. You know, “You’ve done enough, really. I mean, you washed me, you dried me. You don’t have to iron me. Don’t put yourself out. Unless you think I need it. But no, don’t bother. Not for little old me. I’m just a sweater. I don’t expect you to care whether I’m wrinkled like a used Kleenex or if I’m clean and freshly smooth like a rolling meadow on a summer day. Do what you feel is best. Oh, you’re gonna iron me? Oh, okay, only if you need to.”

I can’t stand that.

Patty

I just got done watching the DVD I got for Christmas, Patty Griffin: Live from the Artists Den. It reminded me of how much I love this woman’s music.

This woman, if you’re not familiar, is Patty Griffin. If you don’t love Patty, you haven’t heard Patty. If a) you have heard Patty AND b) you don’t love Patty, then c) you are a rock. She has the most amazingly powerful reedy voice that any human being has ever possessed. Her voice is more than just the sound emanating from her mouth, it is the incredible message resonating from her soul.

I won’t go on forever, although I could. I’ll say only that I saw her live, and the experience was borderline miraculous. She is a very small woman, but she nearly tore the Vic Theatre down with an auditory explosion of heart-piercing, earth-shaking grandeur. Today, she shook my living room.

You should really check her out. Her genre is best stated as genuine music. Maybe not best stated, but that’s how I’ll state it right here. Happy Boxing Day.

Google Supremacy

Just one more thing as I sit here waiting for pictures to print. I think I will forever have mixed feelings about sitemeter, but it did lead me to the discovery of a bizarre, surreal ecstasy, and not the little pill kind with Hello Kitty on it. No, sitemeter’s stats informed me that this blog shows up inexplicably as the result of a Google search.

Try it out . . . as of this moment, it still works. Go to Google. Type this:

raise your hands in the air

Not an exact phrase search, just a search. If you click, “I’m feeling lucky” (which takes you to the number one google result) you’ll wind up looking at pictures of Addison’s soccer team. If you do the same thing for this term:

weird ways to say happy Christmas

You’ll wind up on this blog also. It’s the strangest thing. The weird ways phrase . . . I can’t imagine ever typing that. But the classic hip-hop ice breaker of the ’90s, “Raise your hands in the air, and wave ’em like you just don’t care” . . . how my site would register as the top result for the first half of that is absolutely beyond me.

I think it’s hilarious.

Toys Still Rock

I’d like to think that I’m a little too grown up to be completely obsessed with toys. But I can’t think that. My imagination is not that good. To be honest, I wouldn’t even like to think that. I am perfectly alright with being obsessed with toys.

And I know as you get older, your toys are supposed to develop, but mine haven’t. I can’t get that jazzed about power tools. I’m not attracted to boats or guns or sports cars. I actually like Addison’s toys more than any of that stuff. And he is infinitely more interested in tools and construction and trucks than I ever was. Yes, I think I am admitting that my four-year-old son is more of a man’s man than I am.

It is the stunted growth of my toy lust that makes Christmas so much fun for me. See, my years of actually receiving toys (the kid ones, not stuff like DVD players and HD anything) are gone, so my long-starved appetite for all things toy is finally being fed. Addison’s 5th Christmas is the first one offering me toys I can really get into. I mean, I’m not a toy infant. I don’t drool over teethers and exersaucers.

But this year, Santa brought slot cars, toy trumpets, firefighting water guns, Rubik’s Cubes, Hot Wheels sets, and miscellaneous talking tow trucks back into my life. And it was as much fun as I can remember a Christmas ever being.
Now let me walk you through some of the moments pictured here. The first pic is from Christmas Eve, when Addison unwrapped a talking Mater toy from Aunt Amy. Aside from one of my favorite pictorial instructions of all time (the instructions actually indicate with arrows that if you push the truck, it will zoom forward . . . i.e. it has wheels that really turn!) I just loved Addison’s reaction to his first glimpse of Mater. His face lit up like a star over Bethlehem, and his voice went up an octave (which, if you’ve ever heard him talk, is really saying something). The trumpet-playing firefighter came about 1.5 seconds into the initial stocking surveillance. This kid can put on an outfit and break into a toy faster than Santa up a chimney. And the third moment, filled with gleeful intensity, came after a 20-minute frenzied track installation and successful search of the battery bin. The endorphins really start jumping when I get to put D batteries in stuff. Every moment was bliss. I think Addison liked it, too.

I feel like when I type this much, there really should be a deeper point, but . . . my only point is that toys rock. Amen.

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Merry Christmas!

This is the Cars (trademark) Slot Car Racing Set I picked out for Addison. For Addison! This is photographic proof that I didn’t just buy the thing so I could play with it. Although, I have to say I’ve been looking forward to setting it up and playing with it ever since we bought it. And now, sweet glory, we can play with it for hours upon mindless hours.

Life is complete. Christmas is grand. The world is as it should be.

Merry Christmas from the Kelloggs, Lightning McQueen, and Doc Hudson!

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Yum . . .

So, on the 2-hour drive home from Winthrop Harbor, we made it about 15 minutes before we needed to stop at McDonald’s. Addison was hungry. We all got some McD’s. Less than a half hour later, Colin was hungry. We all got Dunkin’ Donuts.

I felt proud and satisfied to have lasted so pathetically briefly between face-stuffings. And I couldn’t help but think as I was enjoying the chipotle BBQ snack wrap . . . and then the gingerbread donut and coffee, “I don’t care what anybody says, this food is good.”

But something along the way really cracked me up. I was in the middle of paying for the donuts when Addison looked up at the poster on the wall and said, “That’s Rachael Ray!”

Now, it wasn’t just the fact that he recognized her. That, in and of itself, is disturbing enough, I know. But it was the enthusiasm with which he greeted her likeness that really struck me as hilarious.

It’s true. Addison has his first celebrity crush. He has said, “She’s cute.” I do believe she’s the first person over the age of 2 to receive Addison’s cute label.

I don’t know what to think about it. I know a lot of people were really upset with Rachael Ray’s decision to endorse Dunkin’ Donuts. I was one of those who was a bit disappointed in Dunkin’ Donuts, but that’s just me.

Of course, Addison is also in love with Dunkin’ Donuts, so maybe it’s just love by association. Either way, it’s cute. And if Rachael Ray . . . or a donut . . . marries into my family, I’ll learn to adjust.