Monday, December 24, 2007

Blog Names for the Baby One

Some votes are in. Good ones, I think. I just haven't made a decision.

Babycakes -- submitted accidentally
BC -- submitted simultaneously by MEL
Snip -- Funny
Done -- Funny, too
THAT Baby -- Which is funny, unless you hear it ringing in my house. Then, the tone really ruins it for me. Although, I have to give credit to the one who submitted it -- it makes us "birds of a feather" that share more than a birthdate -- there's THAT Baby and YOUR mother (which is ME :))
Baby One - Something from home
Inky -- Another one from the "chillin's under my roof"
Toast -- which is funny when you understand this. I call her "Testerosa" (a term of endearment and a very fast car) -- Little got that confused with TOAST-er-osa, which has been shortened to "Toast" -- and has stuck. His tiny voice when he comes barreling into the house shouting "where's Toast?"

And then, it must blend with the others --

Big, Middle, Little and Toast -- hmm, does that work?
Big, Middle, Little and Baby One -- does that work? She won't appreciate that in years to come.
Big, Middle, Little and Inky -- does that work?

My Broken Heart

The down side of having children who are brilliant is this:

Santa
The Toothfairy
The Toy Fairy
Fairy Tales, in general.

Big says this (as we are walking through Target): "Mom, why would Target have stocking stuffers if Santa stuffs them -- how does that work?"

Last year, she made this astute observation: "Santa has the same wrapping paper we do. That's curious."

Last week, she came home with this: "Give it to me straight, Mom. A boy at school told me that Dad is Santa."

And then, "Mom, have you heard that Christmas carol called 'I saw Mommy kissing Santa Claus'?"

And this: "Mom, we took those tags off the wishing tree, and they all say from Santa. We aren't Santa -- are we lying to those kids and those old people? Is that bad?"

She's making some tangential connections which are on the verge of breaking my heart. Isn't she too young for this???

So, this year, I'm encouraging her to draw her own conclusions -- but am trying to maintain the mystery for the little ones. I made a special trip to the dollar store and picked out paper that I would NEVER have picked. I hid it. Yesterday, I wrapped Santa's gifts in the ugly paper and hid them. I hid them well. Middle found them. SHIT, I scream out loud!!!

And, CRAP, I holler from the rooftop!! I don't want the mystery to be broken at the tender age of 8. I want her to BELIEVE for a little while longer!! I have this strange notion that once the mystery of Santa unfolds, all the horrible truths of the world come tumbling out. Next thing I know, she'll be having hormonal mood swings and a period. (Yea, read that again -- doesn't it sound like Santa can stop a Menses?? And if that's the truth, I should have erred on the side of caution and put extra postage on MY letter!!)

Hmm. Think of me - I'm heading downstairs to RE-WRAP the gifts from the Fat Man :)

This is MY Baby


Thursday, December 13, 2007

"Tis the season . . .

"Tis the season for holiday hits with a children's twist. Whether it's traditional carols sung in an Alvin & The Chipmunks voice or the ever popular "Robin laid an egg" version of Jingle Bells, seems one of my youngin's is always singin' a hit.

Yesterday, this came home. Second graders are absolutely from ANOTHER planet!!

"Throw salami at your mommy
Fa la la la la, la la, la LAAA!!"

Today, after school, I think I'll teach them "Grandma got run over by a reindeer". That should provide HOURS of fun & entertainment!!

I'm a science fair project

Good things about all the sibling help:

a. they are good holders

b. they are good diaper changers

c. they are kind, gentle, caring big brothers and sisters



Bad thing about all the sibling help:



I am feeling like a science fair project.



It is and always has been my personal mothering method to seize every opportunity for teachable moments. Folks, this is a big one . . . so many topics to cover on baby care - why not to shake, butt care, cord card, diapers, wipers, burpers, yakers, head support, car seats. But I'm finding that my children's natural obsession is with other things. For example, my son can now independently operate the "keep countin'" machine (read: breast pump). He knows how to connect it, clean up, set it up, assemble and take apart, turn on, adjust suck-power. And, yes, it speaks to him, too, thus the "keep countin'" machine. Big calls it the "meaty sidekick". Either way, is this a feather in their caps or what??



While I'm talking boob care, my son also thinks engorgement is fascinating. He laughed out loud at cabbage leaves on the boobages and made a great song called "salad on your boobages."



He thinks breasts pads are eye patches, and pretends to be a pirate. This is courtesy of a fantastic kids book called Pirates Don't Change Diapers. He runs about with breast-pad-eye-patches over both eyes (no, I'm not going to tell him -- it's fun to watch him run into the armoir!!) shouting "aye, mateyes -- where is the baby mutineer??"

Middle has an obsession similiar to the jingle bell deal (see previous post) with stickers. The fun for her is in taking the sticker OFF -- not really applying it to anything. She can occupy many hours with taking stickers OFF and piling them on top of each other. Anyhow, since ALL sanitary napkins come with stickers -- she's always attempting to provide pad-application-support.

But alas, my glass remains half full. I've good help, great support -- and despite having a winter baby at the height of RSV season, I'm ever grateful that child number 4 was born when the older siblings are either all or part gone for all or part of the day. Thank goodness for SCHOOL!! Sheesh, can you imagine this much help ALL the time -- Summer would kill me!

Friday, December 07, 2007

Dang, She's Cute!!


Babycakes, 3 days old.
Any suggestions on a good Blog Name for her?


Thursday, December 06, 2007

My daughter ratted me out!

Here is my latest tale:

This week, our family friend, I'll call her Miss Franklin, delivered hot dinner to our door, in honor of our new arrival. It was wonderful. Rice and sauce and chicken flavored perfectly. Steamed vegetable. My children wolfed it down -- absolutely tore into it, with each bite acting like starving orphans who'd been eating from trash cans their whole lives. Their bellies filled, the lips smacked.

Middle called Miss Franklin to say thank you and offer her compliments.

Here is the part of the conversation I heard:

Middle (now on the phone): "Miss Franklin, you are the best cook EVER . . . Thank you so much -- did you make that in the microwave? Because if you did, maybe you can teach our mom."

LONG PAUSE, funny look on Middle's face, then, "THREE pans?!?! . . We're sunk!"

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Meters

I like meters. Pedometers measure how much "exercise" I get in without trying every day in the form of trips upstairs, to the mailbox, to the bathroom (yeah, I get alot there!) Odometers, speedometers -- these are for safety when driving.

I like knowing.

I like this:

Having never bottle fed a baby before, some things occuring at my house are NEW -- even to an "old hand". I like this "parking meter" style of parenting. I like "putting a quarter in the meter and getting 15 minutes of park time." This is how you know how long you can go in a store and shop. I like putting an ounce in and getting 20 minutes of awake time, and 2 hours of sleep.

I like knowing.

And, I like the sleep payoff. Jeez louise, last night, Babycakes was up, awake, ate, and back down in the time I would have STILL been trying to latch on the left side alone.

I remember when Big was a baby, I wished for a glass top tummy with meters -- one would be a gas-gauge, so I would know when to administer simethicone. One would be a full-to-empty guage, exclusively for feedings. I've long wished for a crank-o-meter to be installed on MOTH's forehead, so I'd be able to project his temperment at a glance.

I think this is as close as I might get, huh?

How's this free?

So, I was leafing through a magazine and followed directions.

I went to www.buttpaste.com to request my free sample -- knowing full well that I LOVE this product and would love an upstairs tube and a downstairs tube -- would like a purse tube -- perfect.

"Send a Self addressed stamped envelope and $1.30 for shipping and handling"

Huh? How the hell is THAT a free sample?

Monday, December 03, 2007

Super Siblings







I have a bruised face

What a rude awakening --
Image the life of a fetus, happily swimming in your pool of warm amniotic fluid, thinking fetal thoughts, making fetal movements, grimacing fetal expressions. Then, kerspash!! No more fluid. And ouch, big rhythmic squeezes. And then you hear the doctor begin talking about your naughty heartrate and how he doesn't like it dropping . . . and you hear your mommy said, "no, we aren't going to cut yet". And you hear the doctor say words, and you hear your mommy fight back a tad and bargain -- and then, that one push that she bargained for! Well, welcome to the world little one. Yes, you have a bruised face. (Okay, so there isn't a crayon that comes close to that color purple!) BUT, you are out the traditional way, crying, breathing and alive --

Thank you, Lord, for miracles big and small!!

She has arrived!

Baby Girl
was born December 1, 2007 at
2:30 pm
6 pounds, 11.5 ounces
19" long


Friday, November 30, 2007

Dear Baby,

Get out.

Love, Mom

Dear Friends,

I appreciate your concern.

Thanks,
Woman

This week . . . .

This week I have felt the whisper from the breath of madness on the back of my neck. More than once. I have felt the brush of angels and the hack of the devil. I've learned that as joyful as it is to feel fetal movement and be the vessel for life, it's truly terrifying when it's absent. I think I knew this before, but now, I know it on a cellular and much more intimate level than I ever would have hoped or dreamt for.

This week, I learned that it's hard to feel nutso -- mostly because people around you, even those closest, do what comes naturally. For example, you feel nutso, borderline psycho, emotionally gonzo -- and contemplate that internally for some time. Perhaps weeks, days or months. And you spend an inordinate amount of time talking yourself back off of cliffs (because this is what normal people do, right?) Then, those whispers from hell sneak up on you in your most tender moments: naked in the shower, exhausted at day's end. And when you finally muster the nerve to confide these feelings of borderline psychosis to someone, they say, "It's gonna be fine", "don't worry about a thing", "you're a pro at this".

Um, guess what folks, only sometimes and definately not always.

And, I've confirmed what I knew: Pregancy is a lonely time. It's hard anway. Sheesh, in swollen tatas and general grumpiness alone, then add overal fatigue and 4 pm exhaustion to that -- it's a rough go. It's isolating because you don't want to complain and bitch, but also desperately need to vent. It's isolating because those around you try to support you -- but fail in ways you can't even describe. Whether it's simply not acknowledging the impending birth or flat out telling you that having a child is a mistake -- things tend you piss you off when there's a fetus within. It just IS. It just is part of the deal.

Also on my bitch list this week is being babysat. Today, I'm not answering the phone. I don't need supervision. I don't need hand holding. Even in the throws of God-awful labor when pain blinds you and rips through every cell -- I (personally) prefer to suffer in silence. Please don't touch me and don't ask how I am. I suck, obviously, Einstein.

This week, I also learned that amniocentesis kind of hurts. Looking down at my big belly -- yee-haw -- now, THAT's a needle.

Okay, I just read that again -- wow, I'm bitchy.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Letters to Santa

They are done.

I strongly recommend that they put no more than 3 things on their list to Santa. Three wise men -- three gifts. Santa is a very busy man. So far, this has worked.

Big: Kids digital camera, educational game or toy, and a watch.
Middle: Kids digital camera, a telescope and a healthy baby sister.
Little: Superman "action figure" -- (he really says this . . . becasue an action figure IS different than a toy or a DOLL), the mac playset and a big silver surfer.

I'm so happy. I can totally do this!! So, this week, before The Baby One escapes uterine entrapment, I'm on the hunt for digital cameras and a telescope -- the rest is done!! I'm so happy that my "mom" crystal ball worked!! Any suggestions on kid's digital cameras that don't break the bank, but aren't a piece of crap??

She loves Jingle Bells

Yesterday, we got our the red and green tubs and totes. We unpacked Christmas stuff. We paperclipped "hornaments" up, and put new strings on old things.

I think I'll know when my kids are big, because "ornaments" will be pronounced properly. They say "hornaments". This year, they are still little. Thank goodness, I think.

Middle loves Jingle Bells. It's the best part of Christmas for her. I'm not certain exactly WHAT the draw is, I only know that she adores them. We have several jingle bell ornaments from years past. She plucked those out first and dangled them carefully in spots where she could both admire and reach them. Before an hour's time has passed, she had taken them off of the tree, loaded them into a stroller, and was talking to them, organizing them and caring for them.

Jingle Bells. I think the obsession is in the sound. She loves them always. I have a small bowl of them by the laundry closet. Why? I bet you are wondering -- because I seldom wash a pair of pants but one or two don't come through the laundry. Tough buggers, they are. They make an awful racket in the dryer -- and she's come to recognize it. They begin to tumble, clatter and clack, and she wants to empty the dryer to retrive her treasures. So, I have a small bowl of jingle bells in the laundry cabinet, becasue they are a precious commodidty to her, and when I rescue them, I'm her hero.

My gift suggestion to my sister in law for this lovely rings-when-she-walks-child, is a mason jar full of jingle bells, all sizes and colors please. I'm willing to bet it will be a hit gift.

Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving. This was the first year in several that I haven't done anything for the supper part. The first time I haven't had my hand up the ass end of a dead bird dangling in the kitchen sink in the pre-dawn hours. The first time in several years I haven't chopped celery, mixed dough, or prepped anything. It was nice, in a sick sort of way. But what I'm really THANKFUL for -- is that it's over.

Thanksgiving was hosted by my mother-in-law. My sister-in-law and her boyfriend were there. My mother was invited. Great Gradma was there. MRFE, my sis-in-law's 70 pound brindle boxer and my children held center stage. Sister-in-law and I took bets over which of the 4 would knock over the giant pot of real (and beautiful) calla lillies in the center of the room, and when it did go over, which child would be blamed. As token boy in the crowd, Little won that one, even though the pot managed to stay erect.

Turkey was moist and yummy. Side dishes were lovely. Pie was delicious. Coming home was awesome.

What they are thankful for:
Big, "I'm thankful for my family and my house."
Middle, "I'm thankful for my family and my friends, and jingle bells and our house."
Little, "I'm thankful for you and daddy because he's the coolest, and grandma donna, and middle and big. I also sure love my superheros."

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

My most recent cathartic moment

Today, in the doctor's office, I had a cathartic moment. These seem to be peppering my existance with some frequency lately, but this one came like a lightening bolt from the skies.

This moment was brought about my the running to-do list that meanders through my tired mind in "down time" (like while waiting at the doctor's office). On my list of baby basics remaining to go-get are the "tools" required for parenting in the early days -- mylicon, breast cream, pacifiers. When baby is cranky or your bosom is aching, there are plenty of tools that can help set you right.

But what to do when other grown-ups in your life are the ones who are cranky, whiny, and uncooperative??

I need a tool-kit for this.

And while I'm there, I need to complete the child-friendly cold weather kit, too -- plah doh and sugar cookie provisions; also puff balls, glue, pipe cleaners and a pack of construction paper. People think kids are so complicated. Not so much, I think. I think I should go back to kindergarten. I'm better with kids -- it's much easier to reason with a crabby toddler and say "use your words" (even if you have to say in 94 times over the course of an hour).

At your request . . . .

Here is the recipe for the most wonderful pumpkin bars (read: cake) in the whole world. The best part of them, of course is the fail-safe cream cheese frosting -- read below to see my favorite Sunday morning breakfast (w/ the cream cheese frosting).

Pumpkin Bars
1 cup oil
4 eggs
2 c. pumpkin (one 16 oz can)
2 c. sugar
2 c. flour
2 tsp. baking powder,
1 tsp baking soda, 1/2 tsp. salt, 1/4 tsp. cloves, 2 tsp. cinnamon

Mix this all up; put into a jelly role pan; bake at 350 x 30 minutes. Let cool before frosting.

Best ever cream cheese frosting
8 oz. pkg. cream cheese
1 stick oleo
2 c. powdered sugar
2 tsp. vanilla

Mix all up; spread on your cooled cake OR . .


We call this Sunday morning breakfast, because it's so good, all you say is "oh my God". This is a modified recipe for Monkey Bread (anyone who wants it, please request, I'm happy to share) -- instead of cutting up tubes of biscuits, you quarter tubes of cinnamon rolls (ready to bake ones, like Pillsbury) -- put them all in a bundt pan; bake at 350 for 40-45 minutes-ish. Timing depends on whether you use 3 or 4 rolls of rolls -- and that depends on if it's a "two for one" or "buy one get one" at the market that week -- or, of course, if it's Christmas morning --

Anyhoo-- bake that up, and give each kid a little dish of cream cheese frosting for dipping. They'll think you are a culinary goddess.

And I don't mean Tattoos











My body is a canvas -- and I don't mean tattoos.
So we passed some time with a tub of Pond's Cold Cream and a box of food coloring. I am certain that I have the softest belly on the block.








Friday, November 09, 2007

Last week, an angel went home to rest --

Last week, an Angel that we knew went home. He was the 25 year old son of close family friends of ours. He was diagnosed in infancy with a myriad of problems -- including but not limited to ADD, autistm and a cocktail of other illnesses that we read about in People and Time. He wore a helmet for years and ate selectively -- cheese-its and cheetos, mostly. He adored Shrek and Austin Powers. He said things over and over, like "Steve, what's your name, Steve?" He hollered out "gimme a hug" whenever he wanted to, and in wild repetition.

This Angel was not predicted to make it past his pre-school years. But he did. Not only did he make it past his pre-school years, with the loving support of his parents, he graduated from high school, went to the prom (with a date, no less), held down a job and had more friends than I have. He had spunk and spirit and lived right now, in the moment -- joyfully and wildly.

Last week, we attended his Celebration of Life, a memorial service of sorts, where I was touched and MOTH was moved. Big officially made a transition from child to adolescent thinking, Middle felt (on a level difficult to describe) the permanance of death. Little saw that moms and dads care. One speaker in his service asked everyone in attendance to perform one random act of kindness, in his memory. Open a car door, give away money, help someone - be there for someone. It's feeling good for me to do randomly kind things. I believe I will continue, and every time I do one, I'll think of Chris.

Something else to ponder: In closing, The Angel's Father spoke. Aside from the acute condition that actually precipitated his passing, he was a healthy young man. And an organ and tissue donor. 50. Fifty. The big 5-0. This is the number of people that he gave to, who received organ and tissue donations. How about that for a miracle?

Good News Today

The good news today is . . (in no particular order):

1. Baby Frankie the Fetus is no longer breech. All of your down and out thoughts worked, and I sincerely thank you for it -- please continue so she doen'st flip-er-oo again.
2. Fluid is up. Hooray.
3. Baby grew -- up almost a full pound!! This is a huge relief! Whew!!

Friday, November 02, 2007

Baby Food Jars

Seriously. I'm in need of baby food jars with lids. The original plan was to craft snowglobes . . that is still the plan, however, numbers are dwindling .. .

I'd love to have 40.
I'd be thrilled with 29.
At the least, I'd like 5.

Can anyone help?

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Anybody starting a Christmas List yet?

What are the hot new holiday items for toys?

I'm thinking . . . . (don't roll your eyes art me .. remember I also have 2 December birthdays . . heck a third one coming) -- December requires extensive planning and budgeting for me!!

Can anyone give me the skinny on the Leapster gizmos with the interchangable cartridges? Recommend? Not recommend? Good for quiet? Not so good? Compare/contrast that to the new Ninetendo handheld gizmo . . . . It's rumored to be nice and good for a wide age range -- but I'm not seeing much girl-stuff on the shelves? Any experts out there?

And, if I can return favors .. . I have a few flops from last Christmas .. . I'd be happy to pass along to you!!

The Finished Products . . . Pumpkin ART!!


First she was excited. Then it was gross enough to make her cry!!




Pumpkins and power tools go hand in hand in this household.












Wednesday, October 24, 2007

How I really feel

Okay, so I'm serioulsy exhausted and a teesie bit overwhelmed from time to time. I'm also generally happy and doing pretty damn good.

I love fetal movement. It's the coolest thing in the whole world. I love playing Name That Bump and pushing back when she gives me a shove. T minus 8 weeks. No, I don't believe I'm quite ready. Adding an infant to our morning routine will be a change .. might be rough . .. but, I'm okay with that.

I really do feel honored. I really do feel blessed. I really am embracing the whole thing.

And . ... for those close to me, and far . . I really do NOT want a shower. Please, no gifts. Please, I'm begging, now . . . . no clothes (can't fault a woman for being honest). Please, no parties. Please, no blankets or any "stuff". If you simply can't honor that, and feel like you MUST send a gift, then (a) go back to top of paragraph and read again. Then, if you still can't comprehend ...send a gift card. I'll need diapers and wipers, butt paste and motrin.

Monday, October 22, 2007

1st snow . . . .


The running pitter patter of feet woke me up yesterday morning. The pitter and patter was accompanied by shouts and yowls, "It snowed!! It snowed!!"


They promised to make coffee for me and pryed me out of bed to the windows, where we tore open the curtain and threw up the sash. And yes, it was true ... new fallen snow.


They waited for hours until mid-morning until they could go outside and play. Ah, hats and mittens, scarves and gloves. Boots, socks ..... they spent time eating snow and making snowmen and snow angels.


I made a pot of chili.


Snow reminds me of one reason we love living here. And for a moment in time yesterday, it almost negated my undercurrent of wishes to move away!!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

We've named the baby, but we'll call her .. .

FRANK.

As in, FRANK BREECH.

Layfolk: That means the fetus is up-side-over. Head under my ribs, fanny down. Frank breech means both fists, both feet and head are all up top; in strong pike position. Last week, I had the pleasure of watching "Frankie" suck both her hands and toes -- all in one ultrasound image.

It's not too late to turn, so all your positive thoughts of fetal up-side-down-ness can please come MY way. Think and say all the thoughts and chants. "Down and out." "Diving head first is fun."

A request from my AL reader for the picture: Dang the luck, I can't get a good shot .... but if I had that scanner I've been wishin' for ... . Anyway -- if I get a good picture this week, I'll give it another try.

In my freezer . . . .

There is a three-pack of frozen mice.

I can hear you gasping. I can see the wind being knocked out of you. "WHY?", I hear you crying.

Here is the answer:

Her name is Dot. She is a California King Snake. She lives in Big's Room, but Middle likes to hold her best.

I'd like to give and share more information, but since the kids and MOTH came charging in with wild excitement on their faces on Sunday afternoon, I've done nothing but shake my head and fight back tears.

What I have learned is: DO NOT LET MOTH GO TO THE PET STORE WITH THE CHILDREN.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

This captures my life --


She's gotten so big . . .


I painted this mural in Middle's room when Dora was the coolest. Last week, she informed me that she was "just too big for Dora". She asked me to paint over it.


My lips are pooching out a tad and I'm a bit sad about this request.

I love them growing up. I love them getting big. I do, I do.


But, I am sad to see that she's too much of a grown up for Dora!!

Saturday, October 06, 2007

This week in the mind of our super hero addict .. .

He's wearing his Superman pajamas with a white shirt over the top.
He rips the white shirt off as he's running through the house.
He's looking for "a booth" everywhere he goes . . . . closets work well.
In booths and closets, he "changes in".
He calls me Lois.
He calls himself Clark Kent.
He whispers to me that if I (Lois) discover his identity, he'll give me the secret kiss to make me forget.
He wears glasses when he's Clark.
And flip-flops. This is the subtle clue to his identity . . . Flip flops equal Clark. Barefoot equals Superman.
He spouts random Superman trivia. Did you know Superman traveled for 12 years in the baby chamber? Did you know nothing can destroy his "crystal house" . . . . this is the "fortress of solitude." My three year old son says these words: "fortress of solitude."
Every time he says "superman" ... he drops his voice 2 octaves and punches his little wadded up fist up high in the air.

It's adorable. And I love it!!!

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Wanted: Clean Glass Baby Food Jars with Lids

Anyone?

Burstin' Buttons

My buttons are burstin' for Big.

Last week, she brought home a simple white paper from school. Simple white paper with big words. Exerpts:

". . . . . to determine if a more challenging curriculum is appropriate ... . demonstrated above grade level skills in reading, higher order thinking and problem solving abilities . . . . enhance their school experience . . . not officially labeled or identified as gifted . . . . meeting with certain students twice per week in addition to homeroom instruction . . .. "

Yeah, I see the NOT officially labeled as gifted line. But the program is called G&T. The teacher is the lead Gifted/Talented Resource Teacher. And . . . the homework that comes home from this "extra time" . .. . well, wow, fellow mammas. NOW, we're talking enrichment.

Still, even if she's NOT gifted. Even if she's NOT talented . . . even if she's a complete knucklehead that pees on the playground and armpit farts with the boys at recess .. . I'm so PROUD!!

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Questions from Middle this week:

* How high to rocket ships go?
* What is above the sky?
* What is above heaven?
* Do rocket ships go into heaven?
* Do horses go into a separate heaven?
* Is it true that you don't have to look both ways in heaven?
* What's the difference between a rocket ship and an airplane?
* Are there some airplanes that are almost like rocket ships?
* How long can a rocket ship stay in space?
* What comes after space?
* Does space go forever?
* Are those bad guys from Superman really floating in mirrors out in space?
* How come a toilet in space needs a seatbelt and a safety bar?
* Why doesn't the pee fly up, too .. And splash your bottom?
Kahlil Gibran, a Lebanese born American philisophical essayist said this:

"Out of suffering emerge the strongest souls; the most massive characters are seared with scars."

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Things I need to do before the fetus escapes uterine entrapment, volume 1:

a. Finish moving the stuff in from the garage.
b. Make aforementioned stuff look nice enough to let it slide for several months.
c. Cobwebs from top of shower. Eew.
d. Finish painting. Besides, I need the rollers and brushes out of the freezer.
e. Catch up the snapfish snafu.
f. Panty. OMG.
g. At least one trip to Goodwill.
h. Recycyling. Simply out of control.
i. Make a nice dent in Christmas shopping.
j. Make a very nice dent in B-day shopping for Middle and Little. Jeepers.
k. Bathroom closet. Does anyone else get PLEASURE from using up a bottle of product? Shampoo? Conditioner? Lotion? I love to buy it, but love throwing away an empty bottle more.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Seriously.

I think one of the most wonderful things about pregnancy is being able to truly, fully, completely get your belly button clean. Four times in my life it has fwipped inside out to allow complete cleaning. This is a pregnancy perk.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

What does this say about me??

At G'ma M's request, Big is creating a birthday gift wish-list. She worked diligently on it last night, looking up words and referencing her book shelf, collections and jewlery box. This is on her list .. . (chuckle, laugh).

"A book by Judy Blume, not Flubber and not Freckle Juice, maybe -- Are you there God, it's me, Margarita."

And, for any of you gals from my time who read ARE YOU THERE, GOD? IT'S ME, MARGARET from cover to cover 9-11 times in one summer . .. I'm sure that strikes home.

I tried to explain, through laughter and tears, that particular book might be a tad mature . . but, cute none the less. I will say this .. the girl pays attention. Like, all those things on shopping expeditions of this summer .. when I've used the mommy line, "not today, honey, maybe for your birthday" ... well, she remembers. She remembers that dumb little frog necklace in the green plush crown box is right by the checkout at Party America. And, she remembers that only Dick's has the color of Mary Jane crocs that she REALLY wants.

Geezum, I say out loud.

Prego. It's in there.


Wednesday, September 12, 2007

My Day of Self-Beautification and Pampering

I'd like to humor you all briefly with today's story of self-beautification and pampering.

I went to the mall today sans children. Mission: primping and pampering. I know, I know . . going to the mall might have been my first mistake .. . but, I'm making an effort.

Let me preface this post by saying I'm not a particularly high maintenance person. My make up drawer defines simplicity. I don't even allow choices -- I wear the same make-up every day, regardless of what color I'm wearing or what I'm doing. Some days I go really crazy and wear mascara. On days I'm TOTALLY over the top, I wear lipstick. I have one lipstick. It's been my favorite for 4 years. (Get the picture).

My hair . . . is what I call "wash and put up". I don't use product. (Do hair products expire?) I don't straighten or blow and curl. I wash and put up.

I do like pedicures and treat myself to one every so often, and will my growing tum-tummy, that seemed like a good idea.

So . .. . off I go to the mall.

Step 1: Haircut. A lady named Destiny lopped 7 inches of hair off of my head. I like haircuts. It's sort of liberating in a funny way. And I still enough hair to wash and put up. When I picked Big up from school, she said I look like the girl on Hairspray. (I think about she's talking about John Travolta . . but I'll save her that emotional scarring for later.)

Step 2: Pedicure. It was lovely. I love the pedicure. I love the Asian men and women gathering around my feet and laughing. And talking in a language I can't understand. I'm certain they are poking fun at my callouses or bunyons. But, I don't care. I love the pedicure.

Step 3: When absolutely ape shit today and had a manicure. Nice pale pink. Haven't had a manicure in, what . . . 4 or 5 years? When I was working clinically, nails were a no-no . . can't have nails and be putting your fingers up other women's puddy's. Then kids came, and no nails for fear of slicing through their tender skin. Then garden passion. Why do nails when I'm fixin' to dig?? Anyhow . . had a manicure today . . . I feel like a lady!!

Step 4: As I was leaving the mani/pedi joint . . ANOTHER Asian man catches me . . . "You want chair massage?" And I think to myself, "YES, I want chair massage." $12 for 10 minutes seems like highway robbery to me if he's worth have a rub. Turns out, part of chair massage includes a vigorous snap of each finger (which totally jacked my fresh manicure). And . . . some, err, um . . awkward positions. Also, I think Chair Massage Man spanked me.

The price of beauty today is darn high.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Introducing .. . .

Introducing . . . . the fetus that has taken up residency in my uterus.
I'm warding off some popular questions first:
a. Yes, I know how this happens.
b. No, I'm not Mormon.
c. No, I'm not Catholic.
d. A unplanned pregnancy is NOT the same thing as an unwanted pregnancy.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Whittling away at "the list"

Today, we whittled down the list a tad. MOTH fixed the baseboard that keeps falling off under the sink. I stained the trim around the laundry room door. I sorted and hauled 6 boxes of JUNK to Goodwill. I retured a box and a magazine, delivered a table, worked in the garage. We sealed the tile table in the backyard, did poop-patrol, tossed in a few loads of laundry. We worked some more in the garage. Which means I got work stuff ready for orientation, posted lots of stuff for sale on craigslist . . . (you should know and love craigslist!!). Sorted backpacks, sorted recycling, filed some paperwork, finalized payroll, but THOSE clothes in THAT box . . .

I finished sewing up the torn carpet on the stairs. With satisfaction, I might add -- since now I won't trip and lose life or limb in the descent to the main level. I cleaned out the terrarium. The venus fly trap bit the dust. I don't recommend this project, fellow moms.

Labor Day here was labor. Guys came to labor in the basement. They nearly finished the trim. Ahh . . . a big hooray for carpet this week, please!! Yeah!!!

Short week at school. Busy week for mom.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

I can't believe I never posted this .. .


Go ahead. Leave a comment. Tell me how FLIPPIN' adorable this child is!!!

Speak no evil, see no evil .. Wait, they are evil!!


So Little covered his eyes instead of his mouth -- such direction all in one photo setting must be so confusing. Can anyone else see the shadow of little devil horns poking out of their noggins?

Now, THIS is engorgement!!


For all you mammas out there who have suckled children and been through the aches and pains of stretching boobage and engorgement .. . here's the photo that captures how you have felt.

When Daddy Lets Me Drive . . .


Dinner Distress

Please send your favorite easy, simple, fail-proof kid friendly dinner recipes to me. I'm begging.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

They love dolls but . . . .



They love dolls, but . . .

Who wouldn't love to play with fuzzley, soft pooches who actually let you dress them up and ride them around in a stroller.

Heck, I remember the Australian Shepard my family had as a kid. Her name was Bounce. I can still see my mom's face through the kitchen window, shaking her head as she looked outside to see Bounce sitting in an old high chair, bib tied on, eating spaghetti off of a fork.

The Happy Crack


Friday, August 17, 2007

Oreo Cakesters

OMG.
Have you tried these?

If yes, and you aren't blogging about them .. something is jacked with your taste buds.

If not, go get them. Go now. And go fast.

They are delicious! Not so fond of the chocolate cream ones - but the others are to die for .. total TBO!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Success!


Middle met me in the hallway at 6:20 this morning hopping up and down and asking, "is it time yet??"


I woke Big with a light shake and a "good morning, 2nd grader!" Her eyes popped open & she was out of bed and moving towards pancakes in under 2 minutes.


Breakfast down, school clothes on, teeth brushed, hair combed and backpacks on . . we started the walk to school right on time.


Big lined up with the big kids and said, "I'm good, Mom, go ahead with Middle to the kindergarten playground."


Middle and I went to kindergarten where she dropped her backpack like a veteran and went to play. As time drew nearer to go inside, she came closer and closer -- eventually leaning on me to "people watch" and figure out which kids were "way scared", "sort of scared", or "cool cucumbers." She categorized herself as a "sort of scared", but never dropped a tear or shuddered. When the bell rang, she lined up, managed to follow all the directions to unload her backpack, find her coathook, get inside and sit on the carpet! Yeah . . . . MAJOR first day victory, man!!


I sniffled a touch (who wouldn't!) .. through The Kissing Hand .. and snarfed back a tear when she came to give me MY Kissing Hand ... but promised to be back to hear about her day. And off she went .. LIKE SUCH A BIG KID!!


Ah, and then I came home for my DATE with the most handsome 3 year old in the world. I let him pick our "date location". He's a good man, ladies. We went to Wal-Mart, and came home for leftover spaghetti and to "play trains." Then, went for a walk, had a snack and picked up the girls. He also managed to poop outside today -- and by the time I got there to clean it up, it had magically disappeared. UGH! It's a day to love AND hate your dog (and no kisses, please!) But, that's another story, I suppose, eh?


A good day!!


And now, homework is DONE! Parent packs are complete and planners are signed. Tomorrow is RED day in Kindergarten, so Middle has filled her paper sack with red things, picked a red shirt to wear, along with red unders and socks . . set those out, and is now eyeball deep in dress up with Big and Little.


Here are my 1st day of school kids . . all hollering "SCHOOL IS COOL!!"


Wednesday, August 15, 2007

School starts in 10 hours

School starts in 10 hours.

Our backpacks are hung on our launch pad hooks with care.
There is a new pack of tissues and a new chapstick in each.
We've tested walkie talkies and have a plan for walking and meeting.
We've gone to the social, met our teachers and dropped off our supplies.

Hair is washed.
Books are read.
School clothes are picked.

Yeah, hooray . .. . school starts in 10 hours.

The last swim shots of summer







Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Countdown to School . . . . 8 days to go

I'm counting down. They are counting down. There is a sense of excitement and urgency here. Big uses "school starting" as the crutch for all things. From haircuts to bed moving and room cleaning .. . fish tank cleaning and tying up loose ends of things left undone in the summer. Middle is so excited. She is practicing packing her backpack and making sure the sling really does slip over her head . . . and that, yes, her chapstick and tissue are within reach, she's occupied for a large chunk of the morning.

Today, we had walkie talkie review and practice.
Today, we got haircuts and bought new olive oil conditioner.
Today, we finished our terrarium and spent an inordinate amount of time maiming, but NOT killing a fly -- such that our venus fly trap could be nourished. This, my friends, is a difficult task. Next, I think we'll try an ant.
Today, we bought lunch packing supplies at Sam's club. Middle wants a "sub-site" sandwich in her lunch. Tee hee. This is like most mom's tenderly recollect that their kid couldn't say 'spaghetti'. Mine can't say "sub sandwich".

Today, the carpet man came and cleaned the high traffic areas.
Today, we dog-sat for our neighbor up the street. Which meant ALOT of time throwing a tennis ball.
Today, we watched lightening, listened for thunder, and counted with "mississippi's and alligators".
Today, we went shopping, mailed a letter, went to the bank and ate pizza.
Today, Little had a run-in with scissors and chopped a hole in his shirt. Guilty, guilty, guilty ... but even my intense scolding cooled off quicky, when, after the fact .. . . . I saw him threading his, ehem, penile unit through the hole in attempt to pee. Perfect placement of the hole, if, indeed, that was his mision.
Today, we had a lip-sync contest in the living room. The kids are singing into spoons. I wonder why there are none in the drawer. Ah, because microphones don't belong in the silverware drawer, of course!!
Today, I finalized a new contract, worked on PTA, planted a mum and tranplanted some creeper. I made some phone calls, did 4 puzzles, played BOTH Uno and Candyland, cleaned the sink upstairs, did a couple of loads of laundry and cleaned that gungy stuff off of the window. We told funny stories about breastfeeding children in public places and looked at baby books. We made spaghetti, ate it ALL and had Junior Mints (they ARE creamy and delicious!!) for dessert. YUM!!

Today, we lived in ALOT of moments .. and it was SO FUN!!!

Saturday, August 04, 2007

A Lesson

Webster's says this:

A·sian /ˈeɪʒən, ˈeɪʃən/ Pronunciation Key - Show Spelled Pronunciation[ey-zhuhn, ey-shuhn] Pronunciation Key - Show IPA Pronunciation
–adjective
1.of, belonging to, or characteristic of Asia or its inhabitants. –noun
2.a native of Asia.

o·ri·en·tal (ôr'ē-ěn'tl, ōr'-) Pronunciation Key adj.
Oriental Of or designating the biogeographic region that includes Asia south of the Himalaya Mountains and the islands of the Malay Archipelago.
Lustrous and valuable: oriental pearls.
Of or relating to a genuine or superior gem: an oriental ruby.
Relating to or designating corundum that resembles another stone in color.

But, here is the simple rule that I know and have grown up with.

Asians are the people. Oriental is the word used to describe rugs and vases (or pearls and gems .. as webster's says).

This, I imagine is tricky .. for lots of people .... and I admit it. But, to an Asian . . it totally matters. It's sort-of the equivelant of generalized comments on blond haired, blue eyed kids. Sure, the may have grown up in the Bronx, but they are FROM Switzerland, right? See, how ludicrous that seems when you turn it around???

Food -- is Asian. (ie . . What kind of food do you want? This is simlar to Mexican vs Spanish.) The answer is Asian. Unless, of course, you want to be MORE specific . . . in which case, it's safe to answer "Japanese", "Chinese", "Korean", or "Thai" . . but none of those fall into the broad (and wrong) category of "oriental food."

Rugs -- are oriental.
Vases -- are oriental.
Purses -- those are oriental, too.
Emperors -- those are Asian.
Cute kids -- those are Asian.
Wifes, mothers, girlfriends -- those are Asian. An "oriental"girlfriend. That's a misnomer and it makes the speaker sound like a ding a ling.

Ok, then ... . whew .. .lookout below .. I'm comin' down off of this soapbox. And, yes, I'm going to lay my ASIAN body down on an ORIENTAL rug and gaze lovingly at my ASIAN children (each of which is wearing clothing made in the ORIENT. Yep, trust me.. I read the tags so I wouldn't be dubbed a "liar" (again!)

Shark Week

It's Sharkweek on Discovery channel.

Challenge: Does anyone think I could blast MOTH's backside off of the couch. I'm entertaining suggestions. Between Sharkweek and XBox Ultimate Avengers, I'm nearly certain that his fanny is becoming anastamosed to the fibers of the couch.

Tonight, he is watching Sharkman ... and learning how to put a Great White into a tonic state. They come at the Sharkman ... (directly toward the crotch, I might add . . which is clearly dangerous . . oh, nevermind .. we've lost perspective .. because . .. . well -- there is a man in the water with a freakin' GREAT WHITE SHARK!!) Hello, people... did y'all not see "Jaws"??

Anyway . . . .tonic state. A great irony. It appears that merely watching Sharkman has worked on MOTH!! He's learning about it. May I request that you go back and read the anastamosed to the couch portion. Complete the visual image by picturing the remote frozen in mid-air in one hand and his mouth hanging agape.

The Human Wrecking Ball

A woman called my son this today.

If I (the mommy) would have said that . . . it would be okay.
If MOTH (the daddy) would have said that . . it would be okay.
If a handful of the women people in my life would have said that . .. it would probably be okay.

But from this woman ... it was NOT okay.

I came home pissy and stomping, feeling judged . . . undervalued ... misunderstood .. and mostly -- DEFENSIVE.

What the hell, I say . . . . what woman dares say that about my sweet, young, charming, bipolar pretender when she's known him all of, ehem ...11 minutes.

Truth: his batmobile did bump your coffee. Here's a hint from the Handbook of Parenting by the Path of Least Resistance: Don't your damn coffee in the path of the Batmobile. Who IS the adult here???

Truth: he did go upstairs. BUT -- he asked politely and in his squeaky sweet voice first ...TO THE HOMEOWNER .. "can I go upstairs now?"

Truth: he (we) a combination of he and I .... toppled a small mum in very dry soil. Another hint: if you want the children to take the tiny ex-centerpiece with them ON THE WAY OUT ... please don't present them with this lovely gift until it is time to go.

Back to my soapbox about choices.

Don't offer a child Diet Soda if what you can provide is milk or water. Don't even say, "what do you want to drink, honey?" . . . NO .. .NO . . NO .. the choices are endless . . . and surely, they will order a margarita on the rocks with extra salt. If Milk and Water are the choices, the say, "MILK OR WATER?"

Don't put your fine china on the bottom shelf of the pantry and simply hope the teapot doesn't get trampled. Don't put your full-to-the-brim coffee in the path of the Batmobile.

It's been nearly 12 hours -- and, yes, fellow mothers and blog readers -- I'm still a tad pissy and a tad defensive. Grr, hiss . . I say.

Clarification has been requested

MOTH
Man Of The House

He's the man I married, the spousal unit.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Contractions

Big came home from school one day last year with a pensive and concerned look on her face. Sort-of like she might cry and sort of like she had a big splinter in the sole of her foot. As she approached and I asked how her day was, she skipped the nicetiest and barreled right into, "mom, we need to have a private conversation." In my house, this is 'code' and the alert signal for "I've got something big on my mind."

We went in, settled Middle and Little in and headed to sit on her bed for a closed door conversation. I was predicting boy trouble. She's popular with the boys because she can play a mean game of chase, belch like a sailor and fart under her armpit.

But, as tears welled up in her eyes and she began to purge her troubles . . it tumbled out like this:

"Mom, you have to go talk to my teacher."

"Why", I asked her.

"Becasue she doesn't know ANYTHING!", she began to sob. "She told us today that contractions are when you blend two words together . . . like DO plus NOT equals 'don't' or WE plus ARE equals "we're'."

"Yeah," I was following her (and her teacher).

"But mom, CONTRACTIONS are what you ask all the ladies on the phone about -- those pains you get when the baby is coming . . . . CONTRACTIONS don't have anything to do with our English lesson."

Hmm. I'm proud of her for listening both to ME and her TEACHER. But, I can't help but wonder what she knows about vaginal bleeding and discharge.

Monday, July 23, 2007

It was so amazing!

This weekend was softball tournament time.

Three team bracket.
Same teams we've been playing all season.

Blue team has been out-cheating us all season. Extra players in the outfield, stealing bases on infield errors, assistant coach with a loud, talk-down-to-women attitude.

Black team has been undefeated all season. Big girls, big hitters, flawless fielding.

We are purple team. We fall right in the middle. We're fair . . but we're not flawless or undefeated.

Saturday we beat blue team and we lost to black team.
That advanced us to Sunday's championship game against Team Black. We flipped for home team advantage. Bottom of the 4th (that's the inning limit) ..... we need 3 runs to win.

And guess what .. . . WE WON!!!!

I'm the happiest Team Purple Coach in the world! I'm pround of my Team Purple Player and all of the smiles on the tiny faces of the Team Purple Girls!!!

Yeah!!!

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Rednecks

Y'all know, every now and then, I share forwarded email via blog. Here's one I like (with a few things altered or omitted for the fragile readers out there):

We've enjoyed redneck jokes for years, but now it's time to take a reflective look at the core beliefs of a culture that values home, family, country and God. If I had to stand before a dozen terrorists who threaten my life, I'd choose a half-dozen or so rednecks to back me up. Tire irons, squirrel guns and grit -- that's what rednecks are made of! I hope I am one of those.

Ya'll know who ya are...

You might be a redneck if. . .
It never occurred to you to be offended by the phrase, "One nation, under God. "
You've never protested about seeing the 10 Commandments posted in public places.
You still say "Christmas" instead of "The Holidays."
You bow your head when someone prays.
You stand and place your hand over your heart when they play The National Anthem.
You know what you believe, and you aren't afraid to say so no matter who's listening.
You respect your elders and expect your kids to do the same.
You love your family and you love your friends. But realize that sometimes, your family isn't your friend.
You'd give your last dollar to a friend.

Thought some of my true Redneck friends would appreciate seeing this .. since NONE of you sent it to Me!!

"Mom, I'm echo-locating."

A true story from this week (yes, it's only Wednesday)!

From the backseat, my son . .. who ya'll know is a walking encyclopedia of super-hero knowlege, says, "Mom, did you know that Daredevil is what is called blind?"

"No, Brother, I didn't realize that," I replied to him.

He continued, "Yep, daddy said, so it must be true .. and he uses echo-location to find his way around." (So many funny ideas in that phrase, but don't lose sight!!)

"He does??", I exclaimed, (partly becuase of the knowlege, another part because of the near perfect pronounciation.)

Though the conversation continued and he illustrated to me that he clearly understands blindness and also has a fine grasp on the concept of echolocation, the opening lines rang in my head for hours.

Yesterday: Little playing in the house . . . . . he is Daredevil now (so long for the days of Clifford). I was sitting at the computer, and noticed that he is walking around the circle/racetrack in our house . . . pretty fast . . . . with his eyes closed. He rammed into a wall . . and I issued the standard maternal warning of "Be careful, Daredevil."

Minutes later, he's gaining speed, still running with this eyes closed. In efforts to prevent serious injury, I said, "Son, you'll be safer if you open your eyes."

"Yeah," he responds, "but I'm okay. Don't worry . . . I'm echo-locating."

Okay, then, I thought. Back to this computer work.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Caption this Photo:


Quack, quack, quack . . they are water ducks.







As a child, I took swimming lessons at Splashland Hotsprings. It was at least a 30 minute drive from our country home (on the other side of the valley) to Splashland. How my mother managed to have me there in the morning with towel, sunscreen and swim garb is beyond me.

I spent most of my time in swimming lessons learning to blow bubbles. And, still, I was a nose holder. I sunk like a rock and soon became terrified of water. I was a much better bronzed goddess, laying poolside, than actually spending time in the water.

I still do not front crawl. I don't side breathe. I can't imagine having the coordination and water confidence to do the butterfly. I don't and never have been a diver. Feet first entry -- OK. But head first -- no thanks.

So . . . these amazing things top my list today:

A. Big can butterfly. At the grand old age of 7.
B. Middle can swim the length of the pool and side breathe/front crawl. This is amazing to me.
C. Little believes whole-heartedly that all superheroes must be proficient swimmers, in case a water rescue is necessary. He retrieved a dive stick today -- by HIMSELF!

I'm so proud!!





Thursday, July 12, 2007

Monday, July 09, 2007

Har-humph, I say.

Hey listen, out there . . . . ladies, mommies, friends and folks. It has come to me. An overwhelming, uncontrollable, unsolicited "har-humph" mood. Don't get me wrong, I'm not on a bender . . . . . I'm still generally pleasant . . . but the truth is:

a. The pile of crap that is stacked in the 2nd bay of the garage is beginning to irk me. Y'all know I constantly fight the urge to purge, and right now, that huge pile is looking like a giant heap of *hit. It would be happy in the back of the 1-800-GOT-JUNK truck. I just know it would.

b. Last week, a tribe of Asian men showed up. The put on stilts and insulated the ceiling in the basement. The also knocked over MOTH's water maker for his 250-gallon salty habit, (oops, I mean HOBBY) . . and send a stream of water gushing forth. Honest men that they were, they simply turned the water to the entire house OFF. Great, except that . . . (see, mommy detective on the scene) . . I found out . . . inquired, turned said water supply on -- only to discover: We need a boat in the basement. Yeah, well, a good hour later, MOTH home -- stomping, fuming, kicking boxes, placing blame . . . . (MEN! I sigh heavily here . . . . why must we blame someone right now . . . can't we work together to clean up the flippin' mess and fix what needs fixin'? Surely, our index fingers will work for pointing LATER!!) Anyhow, I bailed water into the window well, spoke in tongues to the men, kept from electrocuting myself, kept the kids from inhaling insulation or stepping on nails and still managed to negotiate the day.

c. Until the power went out. All of it, all over the neighborhood. Which, I actually really like -- the sound of silence is one of my favorites, no question! But what I don't like is power outage when I'm late getting out the door for a softball game . . . kids with no shoes . . missing mitts . . and now MOTH coming home to tend the salty habit-hobby instead of coming with me to said game . . . to assist with Angry Butterflies.

d. The 4th of July . . . . . not my favorite holiday, folks. Kind of bitter and bummed about the kind of money spent on fireworks. I like fireworks, don't get me wrong. What I don't like is seeing THOUSANDS of dollars go up in blasts of colorful smoke and loud bangs. What I don't like is un-safe venues. And what I REALLY don't like is being out past my bedtime. Heck, I'm still recovering!

Is there more? Maybe . . Probably . . . . but I'm done ranting . . . . I'm slinking back into my role of quiet resolution. Yeah, right.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Paris said something smart!!

Here is one of my true ironies. I absolutely DESPISE being watched. I'd make a rotten celebrity. I DESPISE being talked about, photographed (yes, even a family picture is like Chinese water torture to me), or judged.

The irony is that I LOVE People magazine. Seriously. Love. I love the pictures . . . and (like Playboy, I suppose) -- I love the articles. I truely love the letters to the editor with everyone's comments. Ballsy, brazen women with stong opinions on almost everything. It makes me chuckle.

Anyway, Paris Hilton on the cover. Poor sweetie got sent to jail. And she to eat bologna and peanut butter. She had to wear orange and poop on a toilet right by her bed. I imagine jail to be a horrid experience. I imagine it to be ten-fold worse for a woman like Paris Hilton.

So, People did this post prison interview, dissected her journals, talked ... . and she actually said something smart -- intuitive . . . . whole. Here is the quote, page 61 of the July 9, 2007 issue:

"It's made me realize that there are people I want to cut in my life and people who I want closer to me." And, when asked who to cut . . . she replies, "People who don't have my best interest in mind. People who are negative."

Glory be . . . . . can't we all use a little of that profound insight??

Monday, July 02, 2007

The New York Times

So, The New York Times interviewed us last week. I say "us" as in me and my business partner. It was a surreal experience. It was a short interview. But this week, we've received the update that they ARE (indeed), going to run a story about "us".

The reporter wanted something funny. She wanted antecdotal. She wanted humor. And y'all know, I AM ALL ABOUT HUMOR .. .

But, in the business world, it's very difficult to take what I do . . . as in, my livlihood, the business, our heart and soul .. and minimize it into antecdotal and humorous. Don't get me wrong, I can tell ALL KINDS of great stories about women who call who've managed to get their pregnant asses wedged in rocking chairs and can't figure out how to extract themselves. I can tell honest and true stories about women who wake at 2 am, craving tuna fish . .. the pad to the kitchen and prep a bowl of Chicken of the Sea, chow the whole thing down . . and then can't get back to sleep because they think the mercury in the tuna will kill the baby.

I'm a small town girl. Self admitted. And, my business partner's upbringing makes me look like I was raised in Metropolis. So, when we tell the story of "The Birth of our Business" . . it is REALLY hard NOT to make it sound like we threw the tires down off of the roof, and just happened to be using them for desks.

New York Times or not ... . it's a feather in our cap. And, ain't nuthin' wrong with a trailer. Heck, I grew up in a nice pea-green colored double wide.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

A very good night.

A very good night tonight . . . .

Softball game started out blustery, cold and whippy windy with icy little pellets of rain pelting the backs of legs . . . . . cold little girls bundled in jackets and hats . . . . but with the best attitudes in the WORLD . . . . And . . . though nobody keeps score . . they won . . . .

Our girls hit . . . and they ran . . and they fielded. The made plays at every base. My own player had an out at first base, hit a line drive right past short stop, and scored. My buttons are bursting with pride . . not only as her mom . . but as the assistant coach of this team. This team -- with first time players who -- only 3 weeks ago, could sometimes throw, but not always on target . . . could catch, but only sometimes . . . and couldn't hit the ball off a tee much less a coach pitch ball! I'm SO proud of these girls!

And a very good night kept right on going tonight through chicken soft tacos for supper . . . amid giggles and laughs from the kids, who laughed with each other, joked and played through dinner. Gelatto topped off the night . . . . along with the most hilarious car ride home. Middle was in RARE form with jokes rolling off of her tongue like a stand up comic. She even had her MOTH laughing . . . .

Such, a good, good night . . . no hesitations, no reserves . . it's been a long time since MY family has been together laughing and having true, grade A, honest to goodness fun. And I'm reminded: don't we all deserve it? Isn't it nice to put everything else aside!!!

Monday, June 18, 2007

My Son.

My son is a good pretender. My son, when he pretends, embodies and truly believes that he is INSIDE the story line he is pretending. If you've been reading my blog . . you know he's been dubbed the Bipolar Pretender. One day, he truly believes he is Clifford. He eats on the floor, directly from a plate, and wears a dog leash clipped to his beltloops. He communicates only in woofs and whines and wants to be scratched behind his ears. The next day, he's become Superman -- and will tie a dishtowel to his neckline and zoom around the house rescuing damsels in distress. He will go into closets to "change in", emerging minutes later with hands on his hips, chest protruding and exclaim, "I'm here to SAVE you!"

My son, lately, is Captain America. Every red, white and blue starred and striped thing is a "Captain America" flag. Imagine his delight in the dollar row at Target . .(what, with July 4th coming so quickly!!) He believes the Gods of the Boy Toys have sent these Captain America themed objects especially for his viewing pleasure. Captain America has a shield. And, my son doesn't. Lucky for me, his ingenuity and willingness to improvise has kicked in, and he is tossing paper plates around. Captain America is also known to have a sword from time to time. My son uses a long handled shoe horn . . . (you know, for mothers who have herniated disks in their backs.)

So, I've set the stage .. here is the script.

My son has effectively taught himself a game of fetch. It's lovely. He's self entertained, self-sustained . . and can go for hours. First, he pushes his sword-shoe-horn down one leg of his pants, in the back side of course. MOTH and I have a knack for making stubby children, so keep in mind that his sword-horn is the exact length of his stubby little leg. It's most humerous to see him run -- peg-legging through the house or across the yard. Next, he finds a plate. He puts on his best hero voice, proclaims that he's "going out on patrol" and proudly slides the screen door over. He surveys the backyard for "signs of trouble" . . and then begins "the game." In the game, he first uses one weapon, then the other . . as he fights his way across the lawn to fetch the first object. Yes, folks, we are throwing paper plates across the lawn -- then fetching them as we use a shoe horn for protection.

The funny thing here . . . is that this had become normal to me. I was on the phone with Homestead explaining what he was doing . . . and she nearly crashed the car she was laughing so hard. I've a tilted sense of normalcy, I reckon.

Although, I (personally), think the funniest thing happened today -- when he asked for a snack. I provided it to him . . then looked out the window to see him scooping fruit snacks off of his shield-plate . . into his mouth . . using his sword-horn.

Aim Low and Be Right on the Mark, I say.

Remember dating? Remember when you thought you might like to date somebody . . . but didn't want to take that step? Remember when you thought you might want to TRY and spend some more time with someone - but didn't want it to be in a dark movie theatre, where conversation would be nil and the lack of light would heighten other senses. Remember thinking dinner was too much of a commitment . . because what if, just what if .. . they were a complete yutz .. and then you'd be stuck with sucky company and a bill, compounded by the excruciatingly painful process of completing a meal.

Remember that moment when coffee got popular and provided everyone with the perfect first date? Could be short, could go long. Not too expensive, just a delightful taste of potential conversation . . . and heck, it could drag into to a muffin or scone, right.

And remember the sense of relief that washed over knowing that you didn't have to have a dinner date . . didn't have to "dress" for it .. . didn't have to "dress up" for it . . didn't have to put on the mask of who you weren't. Remember thinking, "I can wear whatever I want when I go for coffee." And remember thinking with relief and accomplishment, as you walked away from the coffee shop, "Hmmm, that was just right . . .and it was a damn good latte, too."

So, the point of this illustration in reminiscing .. . is that our expectations of those dates and what we prepare ourselves for both outlines and defines the entire experience. And that . . sometimes, it really is best to aim low and be right on the mark. It can be much more satisfying that setting the bar high and continually failing.. . don't you think?

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Operation Basement

Operation Basement is now underway . . . .

These things are done: bidding, estimates, choosing a dude to do the job, floorplan, layout, little details and pricing.

Walkthrough with the framer guys . . . .
Walkthrough with the blue print lady. . .
Measuring, measuring and more measuring . . . .
The kids thought watching the forklift deliver framing supplies yesterday was GREAT fun.
The kids think watching the guys take the supplies through the window is GREAT fun.

Framing starts today . . . . Yippee Kai Yi Yay! I can't wait to see walls up! I'm gaining 2 bedrooms, a rec room, what has been dubbed "the theatre room", an unfinished storage space and a bathroom. Did I say yee haw???

I love this print so much . . . I ordered it and wake to it EVERY morning.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

In Middle-Land

Slug bug has become a popular game in our car.

"Slug bug, blue."
"Slug bug, white."
"Slug bug, light yellow . . . "

"I've got 3."
"I've got 3."
"I've got 3."

"No, you don't, you didn't see the white one, you only copied me. You only have 2."
"Yes, I did. "
"Didn't."
"Did."

"Fine."
"Slug bug, Invisible."

"You can't call invisibles."
"Yes I can. Slug bug, Invisible."

Middle: "Well, in middle-land, I can call Slug Bug Invisibles."

I'm pondering this:

I had a conversation with a person . . . she who shall remain un-named . . . about friends. Girlfriends, to be specific. She (and I) , the un-named one ( and me), are making the transition from acquaintances to friends. She's a a reliable kind of friend . . who responds with honesty and insight into most every inquiry. She (in my opinion) has a grounded take on life in general. Life with kids. . . . life as a working mom . . life as a woman, life as a partner in relationships that have both blossomed and flopped.

She started this thinking escapade with a comment something to the tune of . . . being disappointed in some things because she thought she was getting into a place where women would and could support other women . . bounce things off each other . . be honest, help and interact with each other. Only part of that can actually be quoted . . but you know, it's the jist.

And, that sparked lots of conversation about editing . . . about this perception that we project . . . ironically, to those both close to us and those who are far away. Lots of conversation followed about how stifling it can be to constantly censor, to feel tamped out by the impression and the judgement that will surely follow.

So, for days, I've been pondering this, and I have tangential and somewhat unrelated thoughts on lots of semi-similar topics. And, a few resolutions. Heck, it's half a new-year gone by . . time for some new resolutions. I'm 20 pounds lighter and did a good job with my January 1st set!!

Thoughts on me. I'm a fun person. I used the life of the party. I didn't get out much as a kid, didn't break rules and didn't push boundaries or limits. When lots of my friends were smoking and eating watermelon soaked in vodka at night, I was just playing golf by moonlight. I have a pretty good sense of humor and I'm confident. I'm well spoken, fairly well written and have a good sense of justice, peace and good. I worry less now about what people think of me that I have in previous decades. Ironically, I'm more judged and less defended now, too. And that part really sucks. In my college days, I was surrounded by equally witty and lovely women, who would defend me. Now, many of the people who surround me are powerful people -- very capable of exerting or extending and opinion . . and having it stick. The powerheads around me now are better listeners to THEIR other friends than they are to ME ... . and I often feel like that's in direct opposition to the things I provide them with. So, I find, I'm increasingly bothered by being judged. I'm growing a tougher skin. Most unfortunately, I'm also becomming a tad bitter.

Thoughts on girlfriends. I believe and practice this. There is a true and distinct difference between a friend and an acquiantance. They are not to be confused, and not to be taken lightly. I have 3 girlfriends. I'm not certain I am capable of adequatley maintaining more than that. The stakes of SOME friendships are very high. One of my FRIENDS, has a (reported) FRIEND who called her last week and ripped her up one side and down the other . . . . . for working (thus, ignoring the friendship.) Heeellloooo??? WTF? This is not a friend I could keep . . see, maintenance fees are too high. On the flip side .... I have a friend, whom I have known, for um .. . . well . .. 16 years, I think. We try to see each other annually -- and while we both long for more, when we get together, time stands still. Minimal maintenance and maximum payoff. THIS is a friend I can keep. I'm honest when I say that I think she'd say the same . . . I don't think she's disappointed with the way our lives have paralleled, support from me . . . or, well, really anything I can put my finger on.

And here is something else. I'm a generally likeable person. For the most part, when I meet new people, there is some sort of a connection. I'd say I'm an extrovert. I'm easy to talk to and simple to interact with. In previous decades, my feelings could be a touch hurt when someone really didn't like me. I remember distinctly one "friendship" that ended when my college next-door-roomate and I had a disagreement . . that went south . . . and then further south from there . . and then struck a polar ice-cap and stayed. The most painful radiating effect of the whole sour friendship was that she was a talker (therefore had a wide circle of influence, and her opinions of me were known both far and wide in a small college community.) I, was not a talker. I tried my level best to come from a place of higher ground, thinking I hated what she was doing, and wouldn't stoop to that level . . . wouldn't play by those rules . . wouldn't be a part of that game. Lo and behold, it took me about 3 years to recover. Now, typing this, there's a painful twang of memory -- and I wonder if there has been recovery? Ooh, still tender there now that I drudged that up. And the moral of that story - is that some friendships are not meant to be. And that, is okay.

I'm resolved, suddenly and needingly to: have thicker skin. I will not be hurt and wounded when I'm not liked or approved.

I'm resolved, today . . but not always . . . to speak. I bite my tongue frequently and firmly to keep from hurting feelings. Then kick myself later for having not spoken my mind. I'm done biting my tongue. My THREE friends pretty well understand not to ask my my opinion if they don't REALLY want an honest opinion. I believe I'll adapt this with my acquaintances as well. I plan to practice it at PTA tomorrow.

I'm resolved today . . that I don't need more friends or higher maintenance fees. I really am good with what I've got . . . my blessings abound and I want not.

I resolve today, too . . . to censor wisely but not completely.

Finally, the image we project . . . the image I project. I'm not always okay. I'm not always strong. I don't always have it together. Sometimes, I need to call a friend a be teary. I need support, too. Truth is: I really don't know what image I project. I imagine (but I'm not sure) that I seem stable . . . okay . . together . . . strong most days. But the truth is . . I'm tired. Today, I'm overwhelmed . . . . I've had a long day full of kid stuff and mom stuff. My husband has been working since 5 am. It's 8:42 and he doesn't think he'll be home for another hour. I'm in the home stretch with the kids . . and it's been a good day, but I'm tired. My back is hurting, my eyes are burning . . . . I have to rise early to accomplish my "work" tasks before the kids rise. I have a list of tasks to get through tomorrow -- NONE of which can be delegated or avoided. Here's the deal with how I feel tonight, though . . . pretty damn good. . . . I should feel tired. And I should be overwhelmed. But when I reach down deep -- I'm damn proud of myself for all the stuff I did today and all the crap I accomplished . . so tired and overwhelmed seems pretty realistic. And tired and overwhelmed to me doesn't mean I want to stop swimming. I don't need drinks and I don't want any drugs. Just a pillow . . .

. . . . and it would be nice if these gale force winds would stop blowing.

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Soccer's Ultimate Defender


Soccer Mascot


Soccer Star


I've become "that mother"

Here is a memory from when I was the mother of ONE timid toddler at playland in the mall.

My timid toddler would watch with wide and wondering eyes as big kids stood on top of the trees and jumped off of the playhouse room. My timid toddler, I thought, was in danger of being smashed like a pancake by any one, if not all, of the rambuncous, over-bearing, poorly-supervised, too-big-for-playland-at the mall kids.

I remember, as the mother of that one timid toddler, shooting looks at the mothers of those too-big-for-playland kids. That kind of "what up, woman?" look .. mixed with a eyebrow hint of "watch your kid, lady."

I remember saying out loud and often, "watch out for the littler ones." I still say it today, to my own kids.

I remember, when I was the mother of that one timid toddler, those kids being damn big. Like, 10 years old size. Like, 3rd grade size. Clearly too big for playland, rigth? (So, this defends me here in a minute).

Anyway, now I am the mother of 3 not-so-timed, nobody-could-really-be-called-a-toddler kids. Last week, we were at playland at the mall. I parked with my latte on a comfy bench near the exit, (yes, as to smartly supervise any escape artists). See, mine don't escape .. . but I worry about the other little ones still -- that nobody is watching. Plus, it's my method and rhythm to choose a spot by the exit. This is true for weddings, church, airplanes and playland.

I'm drinking my coffee. I'm supervising. I see my big kids playing with other little kids. My big kids, by the way, are still small enough to BE at playland at the mall. I see my big kids initiate a game of tag. Lucky for me, I am base. Also lucky for me, I've consumed enough of my coffee that it won't slosh and spill when they coming ramming home shouting "I'm on base, I'm on base." Playland is fun. It's a good day at playland.

Something then happened. Perhaps I lost my focus. Perhaps I spied some dryer lint on my pants or a long unruly hair. Perhaps my cell phone rang. I honestly can't recall. But what I do recall, is catching out of the corner of my eye, Middle, in mid-air ... looking remarkably similar to flying squirrel -- arms and legs spread wide as she lept from the roof the house . .. and glommed onto the tree next to it. Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls .. . it was a good, long, award-winning leap. Probaby 8 feet. With hangtime. In mid-air. And executed with the finest form I have ever seen.

But, the point is that I have become that mother. The collective mothering gasp of the onlookers at playland hung in mid-air, just like my daughter. Missing was the clapping and cheering (like when an olympic gymnast sticks her landing.) Instead, you guessed it, the looks began. All of the mothers of the one-timid toddlers were shooting looks. The "what up, woman?" look. The "crikey, who are you, mother of the year . . . supervise your kid -- stop picking lint off of your pants."

And, this week ... . . when Homestead was here, we loaded all of the chaos into only one large car , and went to Pump It Up. Been there, anyone? Heard of it? It's two giant rooms full of garhugic inflatatbles, like you would see at a carnival or fair. Bounce houses, as it were. We went to pop-in play time . . which is smart, y'all . . especially if you have little people (because kids under 2 and parents are FREE, one of my favorite words). So, Big, MIddle and Little are playing the Sweet Boy . . . . not wild, definately not out of control -- they are just "doing" the inflatables. Going through the obstacle course, falling down, getting up, having fun. Darling Girl is chewing on a shoe and watching the bright colors from a spot not too far from the bosom. But, soon, the giant slide called. And they did the slide. Again, and again, and again. Soon, Middle figured out how to jump at the top, executing a full twist prior to her inital land, then twist again on the rebound, and finally slide to the base. Listen, I was impressed. So much so, that I needed to see that again. I encouraged it. It was phenominal body awareness (and a damn cool trick.) Then, I see Little. He has discovered that if he scoots back at the top, he had time to execute a front flip/arial somersault before he slides. He's good at it. He does it with nice form and the smile on his face tells the whole story.

Point: a lady at Pump it up slid right over to me .... "Are those your kamikaze kids?" she asked. And I proundy responded, "YES, THEY ARE!"
Oh, the sadness is beginning to set in. Homestead left today . . . this morning, actually only a few minutes ago – sad, sad, sad. We've both learned from previous visits and departures that it sucks to be the stayer. Still, it is so nice to have a friend, you know . . . some other person on the planet that “gets it” – sees the need for snacks and predicts sippy cup usage . . . and help just loading all the kids . . .. someone who understands laundry and dishes . . . and who will sit and pull weeds and thin yarrow . . .without complaining and needing more, more, more. . . .

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Happy Mother's Day

This came home to me from Big's teacher. I like it so much . . .

This is for the mothers who have sat up all night with sick toddlers in their arms, wiping up barf laced with Oscar Mayer weiners and cherry Kool-Aid saying, "It's okay, honey, Mommy's here."

Who have sat in rocking chairs for hours on end soothing crying babies who can't be comforted.

This is for all the mothers who show up at work with spit-up in their hair and milk stains on their blouses, and diapers in their purses.

For all the mothers who run carpools and make cookies and sew Halloween costumes. And for all the mothers who DON'T.

This is for all the mothers who gave birth to babies they'll never see. And the mothers who took those babies and gave them a home.

This is for the mothers whose priceless art collections are hanging on their refrigerator doors.

And for all the mothers who froze their buns on metal bleachers at football or soccer game instead of watching from the warmth of the cars.

And that when their kids asked, "Did you see me, Mom?" they could say, "Of course, I wouldn't have missed it for the world," and mean it.

This is for all the mothers who yell at their kids in the grocery store and swat them in dispair when they stomp their feet and scream for ice cream before dinner. And for all the mothers who count to ten instead, but realize how child abuse happens.

This is for all the mothers who go hungry, so their children can eat.

For all the mothers who read "Goodnight Moon" twice a night for a year. And then read it "just one more time."

This is for all the mothers who taught their children to tie their shoelaces before they started school. And for all the mothers who opted for velcro instead.

This is for all the mothers who teach their sons to cook and their daughers to sink a jump shot.

This is for every mother whose head turns automatically when a little voice calls "mom?" in a crowd, even thought they know their own offspring ara at home, or even away at college.

This is for all the mothers who sent thier kids to school with stomachaches, assuring them they'd be just FINE once they got there, only to get calls from the school nurse an hour later, asking them to please pick them up. Right away.

This is for mothers whose children have gone astray, who can't find the words to reach them.

For all the mothrs who bite their lips until they bleed when their 14 year old dyes their hair green.

For all the mothers of the victims of recent school shootings, and the mothers of those who did the shooting.

For the mothers of survivors, and the mothers who sat in front of their TVs in horror, hugging their child who just came home safely.

This is for all the mothers who taught their children how to be peaceful, and now pray they come home safely from a war.

What makes a good Mother anyway? Is it patience? Compassion? Broad hips? The ability to nurse a baby, cook dinner, and sew a butoon on a shirt, all at the same time? Or is it in her heart? Is it the ache you feel when you watch your son or daughter disappear down the streeet, walking to school for the very first time?

The jolt that takes you from sleep to dread, from bed to crib at 2 am, only to put your hand on the back of a sleeping baby?

The panic, years later, that comes again at 2 am, when you just want to hear their key in the door and know that they are safe at home?

Or the need to flee from wherever you are and hug your child when you hear news of a fire, car accident, or a child dying?

The emotions of motherhood are universal and so our thoughts are for young mothers stumbling through diaper changes and sleep deprivation . . . and mature mothers learning to let go.

For working mothers, stay at home mothers, and work-from-home mothers.

Single mothers and married mothers.

Mothers with money, mothers without.

It's for you, it's for us, all of us . . . hang in there. In the end, we do the best we can. Tell them every day that we love them.