Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Panic Mode

Well, maybe this post shouldn't be named only Panic Mode. It's more like "Panic Mode . . . then, talk myself off a cliff . . . then anxiety . . . then, hmm . . where's the chocolate?" But that would be too long, so, just Panic Mode won.

I did all of my pre-op stuff yesterday. And all of the testing for medical clearance. Blood draws, pre-admission. Smart planning for a hospital. No, I really wouldn't want to do all of that paperwork at 5:30 am on the day of surgery.

Here's the part that stuck in my craw, among the 45 minutes of other teaching that the very fabulous office nurse did with me. (Luckily, the special ways to get into and out of bed, how to sit down, pain management & wound care, along with general "here's what's wrong with you" were no-brainers for me.)

NO LIFTING, BENDING, PUSHING OR PULLING OVER FIVE POUNDS FOR 6 WEEKS.
YOU CAN SHAMPOO YOUR HAIR, BUT CAN'T REACH ABOVE YOUR HEAD FOR 6 WEEKS.

With that very strict and rigid 5 pound weight limit, my mind went into "oh shit" mode. I came home and put my purse on the bathroom scale. It weighs more than 5 pounds. Mimi and I had a little science project in the kitchen. Did you know that a gallon of milk weighs 8 pounds?? Just getting the scale from the upstairs bathroom to the kitchen broke the bending AND lifting rules.

And then I started looking around at patterns & habits. I came in and dropped my purse on the floor. The coffee cups are on the second shelf. That's over my 5 foot 4 inch head. I moved those down right away. The sippy cups are on the bottom shelf. The cereal is in the bottom of the pantry. Lunch packing supplies are at stooping level. Loading and unloading the bottom rack of the dishwasher are out. Mimi's chocolately brown eyes peering up at me, "up", turned a knife in my heart.

I went through the whole rest of my day with post-surgical glasses on, thinking all along, "What will I be able to do? What will I need to modify?" I was able to answer those questions with quickspeed. I will be able to do: NOTHING. I will need to modify: EVERYTHING.

I can't walk the dog. I can't push the stroller. Even if Mimi crawls up in all by herself and buckles herself in. I can't push it. I can't push an empty grocery cart. I can't pull the wagon. Definately not with Mimi in it. I won't be able to drive for at least a week. Hmm. Which brings up: two soccer practices and a game for Middle, two gymnastics practices for Middle, one volleyball practice and one game for Big and one soccer practice and one game for Little. Oh, and I overlooked the simple assumption that I could get them to school!!

But alas, I must change Panic Mode into a Can-Do Attitude today, so I'm arranging carpools, getting groceries done in advance and moving the things that must be moved. And, I have a big red circle on May 19. That's exactly 6 weeks. Lord, please let me be HEALED!!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Writing a Book

I've always wanted to write a book. I've always had some sort of secret longing to be an author, see my name in print. I would do book signings at Borders or Barnes & Noble, or some local hole-in-the-wall bookstore. I've always wanted to peruse the aisles of a library and discover a tattered and torn book of MINE, authored by ME. It's pages would be frayed and yellow. It would have fingerprints. The edges of the hardcover would be round. It would have been dropped and stuffed in backpacks, taken to parks and curled up with. It would smell like lavender and lemons, candles and coffee.

About a dozen times per week, I start my book. In my head. It's always in my head. Sometimes, it's based on true story. Sometimes, it's not. It's just the product of dreamy fantasy.

This week's book-start is all true and it goes like this:

The Biggest one is quietly curled up on the couch, her nose burried in a Series of Unfortunate Events. The Middle one spends much of her time upside down, so she is upside down, holding a handstand tight against the back of a chair. An outsider, I suppose, might wonder why there is a battery operated clock, with just a second hand, hung upside down at eye level across the wall from that chair. For us, it's just another normal thing in an abnormal world. The Little one is playing with the Mimi. They have bam-bams from our last outing to a local college hockey game. They are chasing each other around the racetrack of our house, shouting 'bam-bam' and wailing each other's asses. I am loading the dishwasher, cleaning up breakfast, thinking about writing, ticking through a mental to-do list that is three quarters of a mile long. Pick up volleyball jersey, register for summer camp, pay gymnastics tuition before the crotchity old lady at the front tacks on a late fee, send a birthday card, find a sitter for my pre-op appointment, nail down help on the day of surgery, gee, what FUN thing can we do today??

And just as suddenly as everyone was occupied, they are un-occupied. Little comes to me, eyes wide, "Mom, do you think I'm a mutant?" Mimi's standing on the dishwasher door now, "uh-oh, poopie". A loud crash comes from the handstander. Mimi wants to call Abby now. That's Grandma. Never mind that Abby is actually the name of her King Charles Cavelier Spaniel. She's got her preverbial wires crosses somewhere. She calls her grandma Abby. She's asking to call Abby. She's banging the phone on the dishwasher door. A country tune is rolling through my head, "there's bubble gum in the baby's hair, sweet potatoes in my lazy chair . . been crazy all day long". Unlike that song, it's Thursday here, and it's only 8:30 am.

Minutes later, Mimi's diaper is changed. Big's into her book. Middle's is in middle splits on the shaggy rug in the front room. "Are they flat yet, Mom?" Little's back in my face with another question, "Mom, do you know any wizards?" I answer him and Middle in the same sentence, "yes, they are flat and I hear there are wizards on Waverly Place." The phone rings. It's Abby. Get out of my head, I think.

Mimi's on the phone. She doesn't talk, she just listens. She requires adult coaching from the speaker.
"Say hello to Abbby," I coach her.
"Lunch?", she says in toddler talk.
"Talk to momma," I hear. And I'm on the phone with Abby-slash-grandma-slash-Mom.
"No lunch today," Abby-slash-Grandma tells me. She tells me she has a date. I'm not taken back. She regularly has lunch with the ladies who also live singly in her complex.
"Okay, no problem, call me when you are done with lunch . . . we are picking up meds at Target, too," I tell her.
She slips in, "I'm eating with a man from church."

A slightly long pause and semi-awkward silence follow. I'm secretly hoping she knows him. I have chaperoned dates before. Not been visible, but have gone to eat at the same restarant, same time, just to make sure it's not a date with The Undertaker or an Axe Murderer. I'm having honest and self-centered thoughts about how THAT'S not the kind of lunch I had planned today.

She fills the silence with, "It's seafood buffet at Golden Corral."

And I am left speechless. A wave of nausea rolls over me. My mind, reeling fast, thinks, now THAT is the beginning of a good book.

Friday, March 26, 2010

What am I reading?

Someone actually emailed me. Wow. I'm flattered. And asked, "what are you reading?" There hasn't been a post for a while. So, here you have it. And, from the very bottom of my book stack, THANK YOU FOR THE EMAIL!!!

I turned the final page of Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightening Thief last night. Good read. I highly recommend. Can't wait to dive into the second book. I was reading that to the kids so I try to compartmentalize the story.

I'm also about finished with James Pattersons' Max . I'm somewhat addicted to the page turning Patterson books. I love the Maximum Ride Novels. Such creativity & drama, and with just enough adventure mixed in. If you are just started, take my advice & read them in order.

I just finished James Patterson's Cross Country. Never sorry to read a Patterson novel.

My last voyage to the library, I felt a need to step outside of my comfort zone, so I turned Mimi loose and said, "find me a book." We landed in last name by author "H" section and I pulled down a random book from an author I have never read. I ended up with The Ice Queen by Alice Hoffman. Wowza. Sometimes a book or a song lands in your lap because it is meant for you to read. It's not a warm and fuzzy, happy book (well, so far), but it is intensely sensual and her style is very vivid, so descriptive & almost painfully emotional. I like it. I'll read more of her works. Here is a passage that I read twice (and will probably read again):

"People hide under their truest natures. I understood that; I even applauded it. What sort of world would it be if peole bled all over the sidewalks, if they wept under trees, smacked whomever they despised, kissed strangers, revealed themselves? Keep a cloak, that was fine, the thing you do; present a disguise, the outside you, the one you want people to believe." (The Ice Queen, p. 105, Hoffman, A.)

I have a feeling this book will leave a lasting impact on my heart, the way a new song can touch your soul. Literature and music have a way of capturing our senses, don't they. I wore red this week because of this book. And, I stopped to look at some red roses at Albertsons.

Also from my library voyage, and now waiting in my reading queue are: Patterson's Swimsuit and A Tourists Guide to Belize.

Ta-da!! Now, what are YOU reading?

Such a Good Kid!

Highly Skilled & Olympic Bound

Boy . . . Through and Through

Tender & Sweet

I love these guys!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Meet Gretchen.



Well, actually pictured is Mimi WITH Gretchen. Gretchen is the ethnic beauty tightly nestled in the crook of Mimi's pit. Gretchen goes everywhere with us. She's super cool and we like her alot. Sometimes she goes potty. Sometimes she eats, although she doesn't like eggs. She always does "night-night" and watches Wonder Pets with Mimi. This week, Big helped fashion the most fantastic sleeping situation for Gretchen. Shoeboxes rock. Mimi and Gretchen are virtually inseparble right now. See below, they even have the same ooowies.



Are you scratching your head? In our house, we know that the name Gretchen might imply a taller, more pale complected baby. Maybe one with blond hair or blue eyes. But, we are all for tolerance and appreciating the masses. So, our Gretchen is ethnic. Trick is: I think Mimi said "Gretchen" clearly, well, maybe a half dozen times. Long enough, for me to (without a doubt) agree to name this baby. Apparently, after six times, Gretchen didn't form in her mouth or roll off her tongue the same way, cause now, Mimi says "Bitchin". She takes Bitchin EVERYWHERE. Do you KNOW . . can you IMAGINE how many little old lady lavendars stop and comment on an adorable little girl toting a tiny baby? They ALWAYS coo and say, "ooh, what's her name." Mimi moves the paci to the side or pops it out long enough to say, "Bitchin". Their eyes go wide. This is my life.

But wait, it gets better. Remember this guy (see photo below)?? When Little was about 2, I wondered who the hell named this train Percy. Geez Louise, toddlers have lisps as their language develops, so he is Pussy. Not Percy.



Mmm-hmmm. You gueessed it. Mimi. Playing trains. With Gretchen. And Percy.

"Bitchin' Pussy", she keeps repeating. She's like a tiny parrot. "Bitchin' Pussy." THIS is my life!!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Toddler Logic.

Here's Mimi's remedy for a "tummy-ache":


Psych Consult

Today, I sat in the waiting room. And waited. And waited. And waited.

As I waiting, my mind began spinning quite a story fueled by nerves and unknowingness. In the last week, I've had repeat films done for my back and a repeat MRI. Today's appointment was to compare new MRI scans to those that are a year old and determine a treatment course.

The hardest party of having these kinds of appointments is:
1. Admitting pain is really difficult for me. I feel weak and whiny just saying out loud that I have been hurting.
2. My doctor, and his PA always ask: "How are you doing now?" The hardest question and most loaded question in the whole world to answer. "Compared to what? Compared to this morning? Compared to last week? Compared to last year? Compared to when I was 20?"

In my mind today, I justified my extended wait time in the lobby. I thought maybe it was taking forever because my doc was on the phone reviewing my case with Guiness Book of World Records. I could see the headline: "Miracle Mom Shouldn't be able to Walk." Then I thought maybe it wasn't Guiness Book. Maybe it was a shrink office. He's nurse would call me back to the patient room. He would walk in, looking dapper in his argyle v-sweater, matching socks, shiny shoes & new haircut. He would look knowingly at me and say, "There's nothing wrong. You have spontaneously healed. It's all in your head. I want you to see a psychologist. And, I've arranged for an ambulance to transport you in a straightjacket over to a special home for people like you." He would scream at me, "YOU'VE GONE BONKERS!!"

Turns out, I was right for part of it. His nurse did call me back. His shoes were very shiny. He had a new haircut. But, I was way off on the rest. Whew. I'm NOT bonkers!!

Precious.


I have a huge project going. Creating digital image copies of school work for the kids. I'm organizing by year and scan, scan, scanning so I can pitch some of it and use the space better.

Working though a stack this morning, I found this. Mmm-mmm. Delicious and precious!




Monday, March 22, 2010

Bowling is fun.

We went bowling on Saturday. Bowling is fun. It's cheap. A buck and a half per game. We bowled for, I don't know, hours. It was cheap. Even with food. For the masses.

Mimi bowled. One word: Hilarious. Love the ramp. She conned Middle into hefting a huge ball up the ramp for her, because she wanted a red one. At this alley, red equals sixteen pounds. Come to find out, that wasn't such a bad idea. It takes f.o.r.e.v.e.r. for an itty tiny 6 pound ball to roll down the lane when only the force from rolling it down the ramp is working on it. A sixteen-pounder can move down the lane at a pretty good clip.

MOTH and I bounced back and forth between kids, moving ramps & lifting balls. We cheered and clapped & had a great time. At one point, he came over and whispered to me, "Check out Little, he's using The Force." Sure enough, Little struggles up to the line with his ball, spreads his legs wide and tosses a granny ball down the lane, then stands up, spreads his fingers wide and starts hissing out of the gap in his front teeth. And, damn the luck, would you know -- that's the ball he picked up a spare with. A splitter, even!

Today, I think . . . .

War is stupid.
Healthcare is smart.
Now, if we can just focus on education . . . .

The Washington Post says: $12-$16 billion per month to fund a war on foreign soil. Compare that to $1 billion to help 32 million un-insured. No contest, in my mind.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

The Kip-Cake


My budding young gymnast nailed a tricky stunt at team this week. The Kip. An ever evasive, timing critical gliding move that is a parallel bar essential. Six weeks into the new class, she's got it.
When a new young one "gets it" for the first time, the gym comes to a screeching halt. The team coaches announce her success, applause takes over the gym, and there are hugs and chalky butt pats for everyone.
The next practice, a kip-cake is supplied by the team coach to the girl in honor. Here is Middle's kip-cake, and the proud smile, too. We're so, so, so happy (and proud) of her!!

Friday, March 19, 2010

The Grammar Police

I woke up this morning with a radio commercial running through my head. It's for an injury lawyer. A client gives a testimonial about how much money the lawyer was able to get for her. The point is: she makes a gigantic grammatical error. And I'm troubled by that. I'm troubled by: "I was in a car accident and it was MYSELF, my son and my husband." Seriously. In the spirit of simplification, my life creed, what's wrong with "I was in a car accidnet with my son and husband." See, the detail that YOU were in the car is understood. Does anyone remember "you, understood" from 7th grade, diagramming sentences?

Here's another one. A major chain of gas station/convenenience stores has a sticker on every gas pump. It says, "Please pre-pay in advance after dark." Hmm? Is pre-paying and completing that task in advance redundant as all hell? What are they asking? Should customers call ahead and pre-pay, in advance of their arrival at the gas pump? Huh?

One more. While I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE country music, the English teacher's daughter in me comes out in full force when I hear double negatives and words put together that are intentionally wrong and make people sound stupid. I can't stand hearing my kids sing lyrics when the grammar is wrong. There's a new song out right now (thankfully, not one I love anyway), but "lover, lover, lover, you don't treat me no good no more." Really. That's what it says. It blows the idea of a double negative out of the water. A triple negative does not cancel out the double and make it singly right.

Ok, one more, just for fun. "Your guyeses". Heck, I don't even know how to spell it. Here is 'your guyeses' fries or 'your guyeses papers'. What?
YOUR. Just say YOUR. Here are YOUR fries. Here are YOUR papers.

Grammar police and the ultimate proof reader come through every now and then. Loose is not the same as lose. You're is not the same as your. Now that I have that out of my system, it will be years (okay, maybe months) before another grammar rant comes to life.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Redefining Relationships.

I've been thinking about this today: Sometimes, redefining relationships is good.

Sometimes, of course, it sucks eggs. High school breakups, divorce, custody battles. Those suck.

But here are some good things:

I've been in a relationship for many, many years. There were times that it was a good relationship, but for the most part, it was disfunctional and unhealthy. There was competition and hurt feelings, resentment and a pulling back on both parts. We are still in communication and still have a relationship, but it is different. And that is good. Better. Much better.

MOTH recently had a some changes to his co-workers. That's going to work out for the better, too. The fella who resigned made a good choice for his family, and the world keeps turning. They'll find a new guy. And it will work out just fine. In the end, it will be just fine.

My relationship with my mother has been redefined. As I've become a mommy and have grown, things have changed between us.

From the moment my dad got sick & was placed in nursing home care, my relationship with him was redefined.

Can I even count the number of times my life with MOTH, the roles we play and the intracasies of our life together have been redefined.

The kids: wow, think about that. And am I ever glad that my mommy role has evolved with them! Because, while I loved every minute of being their everything . . holding, nurturing and being their vessel & lifestring . . . who really wants to live their WHOLE life as the source of milk?

Redefining roles, I think, is a sign of a change-worthy, healthy evolution. I've convinced myself, today (anyway) that redefining relationships is good. Ponder that.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Leprechaun Traps

We stayed up extra late tonight (it's 8:56!) putting the finishing touches on our leprechaun traps.

Big constructed a shoe box creation rigged with a timing trip wire and a peanut butter/chocolate lure. Inside her trap, she made a leprechaun bed and a tiny potty.

Middle has a standard upside-down box trap with a toilet paper tube prop. It's set with a whole series of M&M's, the final ones tied to the trip tube. She, sweetheart that she is, also included a really nice note to the leprechaun telling him not to be afraid of her trap. She spent some time writing about her intentions to only get money out of the crafty little devil . . . or if he was out of money from the other traps, he could simply "magic" an ipod touch into her trap instead.

Little built the most wonderful pyramid trap out of legos. It is complete with a swinging trap door at the top. He left breathing holes and baited it with chocolate mini wheats.

And now I'm rummaging through boxes looking for gold and random coins so I can spring their traps & leave treasures. What fun!!

Monday, March 15, 2010

This is one of my girlfriends' status updates from Facebook. Too funny not to pass along, plus a perfect description of my day:

You are sitting on the toilet in a public restroom and you realize your ass is wet. But, you know your ass wasn't wet when you pulled your pants down, so that must mean you are sitting in some strangers piss.

Hate Mail

Mail. Everyone gets mail. If you're playing Survivor, you get Tree Mail. If you are a lover, you get Love Letters. If you watch Blue's Clues, Mailbox brings letters and you sing a song when they arrive.

But we, in our house, Me and MOTH -- we get a special kind of mail. A special kind of letter from a special lady in our lives. Periodically, she sends us mail of a different kind. She sends us handwritten letters on yellow notebook paper. They tell us how unfair we are and what a terrible job we are doing as parents. They are blaming, hateful letters filled with anger. Sentences start with YOU. It's possible to see the pressure of the pen bearing down on the paper. The words drip with condesencion and under the scrawl, the word "martyr" is what is most easily read.

It must be a generational thing. I recall my late Grandmother sending similar letters to my mom when I was a child. I never understood why my mom kept those letters, folded neatly in the original envelopes. She thought they were safely stashed in the bread box. Now, I get it. It's proof for future generations. One of Grammy's letters was brazen enough to include an invoice, with an enormous sum and past due balance. The crazy old lady had taken time to figure out how much it cost to raise a child . . . and then billed my mom for her time and effort.

But, like I said, it must be a generational thing. 'Cause in MY generation, we use words and speak to each other in dialogue. We communicate with each other -- because that's what separates us from the apes. We use the Golden Rule that we learned in kindergarten. And here, in OUR house, the house that MOTH and I have built, the place we are raising OUR children, there are no martyrs allowed.

Be respectful, be responsible. Or don't come around. Don't be near. Please, just stay away.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

The Most Wonderful Invitation


I received the most wonderful invitation of all this weekend.


It was from Little. He has big plans to be the REAL Batman when he grows up. This weekend, he asked me for help making his new costume. And, oh, by the way -- it needs to be fireproof.


And in the process of sketching up a Batsuit better than any previous Batman, my Little Man invited me to visit his Bat House. He said I could come over and take care of the Bat Babies (but please don't feed them onion dip for breakfast.) He said I could chill-ax (yes, he used that word) with his Bat Babe in the Bat Kitchen. And, during my stay, I'm on strict orders to stay out of his Bat Office. He says that he's afraid I'll push buttons and "x-out-of-programs" on his computer console. (Gee, I wonder where THAT came from, er, um, resonating sound of a throat clearing, cough . . MOTH!)

Here's the truth.

Well, one truth. I love blogging. It's a personal journey that brings me immense satisfaction. It's good for me. And the truth about that truth is: it's hard to balance the desire for new readers or followers with the desire to be anonymous. I love having readers. Both of you :)

Deep down, though, sometimes there is a powerful desire to be anonymous. Blogging for (or to) people whom you know forces the facade to continue. Sure, it's mostly upbeat and happy stuff. That's honest. I'm generally pretty square. But sometimes, I would like to let some of my dark and twisty side out. Some of the pain and secrets longings and lost loves that live buried deep in my subconscious. Blogging doesn't really allow you to be hard on yourself, pissed at your husband or angry with your mother (or mother-in-law). Can you imagine the length and depth of this thing if it DID? Blogging doesn't allow the truths about close relationships that shape who you are to come out. You have to swallow some reality and paste on a happy face . . . . and that kindof sucks.

I guess I've been blogging forever. Everytime I log in, I get an invitation to turn my blog into a book. I'm tempted. I'd kind of like to read on paper what I have written. Maybe. But there's fear and insecurity imbedded in that, too. Long after I'm dead, will my blog-book be found? Read? By whom? Will they think I've gone completely crackers and should have my head in a gas oven like Sylvia Plath? Will generations to come blame their children's children's mental troubles on the torrid writings of a recreational blogger?

Hmm.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Almost Finished . . .


I have a whole lot of staining to do . . . need nice weather so the fumes don't kill too many brain cells. I'm so happy to have a spot for my baby lamp! Also missing one hinge & new pot lights up top. But it's really close :)

Thankful . . .

I've been playing the Thankful game lately. Sharing some thoughts but mostly making an internal list.

Here's a thought worth sharing:

I'm thankful for the variety of books that make being different okay. Reading them with my kids has spurred on such fabulous conversations about being who you are and celebrating differences. Percy Jackson. A half-blood demigod, son of Poisodon: doesn't reading about his magical ballpoint pen sword make losing your eraser at school seem small? Harry Potter. If losing both of your parents to a dark Lord so creepy that his name can't be uttered doesn't make you glad your mom and dad kiss you and tuck you in at night, nothin' will. Hank Zipzer. Talking about a learning disability that lives in the minds of kids who appear normal is ingenious. It's the perfect combination of real world school atmosphere with a healthy dose of frustration and challenges.

There you go . . . today I'm thankful for books. For knowledge and knowing and seeing a glimmer of understanding and compassion in the young eyes I'm raising -- because of books.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

I met my school aged children midway through their walk home. Hugs all around with lots of 'how was your day . . . how was your day?' Each one gets a snuggle.

Middle, "Mom, your boobs smell like gummie bears."

Credit Card

My mom's invitation for us to join her at church on Easter Sunday made me remember this story.

We haven't always been a non-church going family. There were many, many years in our early marriage and while we had little kids that we did attend church. Regularly. To be quite honest, I'd like to go back. At a time when I can spend the time in worship instead of being summoned back to the nursery for a crying child. At a time when MOTH is ready. He's been ruined on church, so that day may not come soon, but that's another post.

At any rate. We were in church. MOTH, Big and me. It was before Middle, Little and Mimi came to us. Big hated the nursery. She hated being away from mom and dad. She hated the spell of diaper cream and the old lady attendants. She hated the teenage volunteers. She pretty much hated all of it. So, we took her into worship with us. And then worked for a solid hour to keep her quiet. She colored. And we would pack a whole bin of animals and stuffies for her to play with on the floor. Sometimes that worked, and sometimes it didn't. When it didn't, we could pass her back and forth, bounce her and, if needed, one of us would leave the santuary to play in the lobby.

One church day, we stood to pray. It was deathly quiet. The prayer began and we were were "folding our arms and bowing our heads" -- the phrase we still use today for tots in prayer-time training. And right as the silence was deafening and I was holding my breath that my little kid would stay silent through the prayer, she took her little toddler hand, made it flat like a knife hand, swiped it down the crack of my ass and shouted "credit card!"

Monday, March 08, 2010

Me-Me Puppy Now

I'm talking about Mimi. And her words. They come forth fluidly now. And linked together, which is such a relief. And so stressful.

This morning, we were knee deep in the Monday morning routine. Laundry, dishwasher, bath, shower, cleaning, sorting, piling, pitching. At 9:45, I'm working toward getting out the door, to clearly put us at the entrance of Costco, right at 10 AM. Right when doors open is how I like it.

She's helping with shoes. She's wearing Little's underwear. Big's hat. She's getting herself ready. We're moving along, when she begins turning in circles attempting to hook the dog leash to the back of her pants. Frustration is setting in because, obviously, she can't do it. She's having what I call a "riverdance moment" . . . . beginning to cry, stompin' those little size 7's as she continues to turn in circles shouting "me-me puppy now". Even if she didn't have a fuzzy jacket way-too-big in size bulking her up, or her hat wasn't hanging crook-a-dilly across both eyes, she wouldn't be able to twist her tiny torso around to clip that hook.

But she was hellbent. Two year old toddler hellbent. "Me-me, puppy, now."

Well, being the "yes mom" that I am, and knowing there was not a way in hell I was gonna talk her out of wearing that leash, I hooked her up. And away we went.

Despite my best efforts to slip the leash off of her pants during carseat loading time, I failed. She was on to me. Despite my best efforts to get a buggy in the parking lot, quickly load and buckle her to avoid the side long glances of the mostly senior citizen, 10 am Costco crowd, I failed. I could practically hear the mutterings, "back in my day . . . " , " . . . . mothers these days . . . " , " . . . child on a leash!", "can you imagine?" But she walked into Costco with me holding the blue dog leash attached to her ass. And as people looked at me (and her), she barked. She "woof-woofed" the lady checking cards. And she "woof-woofed" every passerby. She hung her tongue out of her mouth and panted at other mothers and store clerks. I was oh-so-thankful to distract her with the privledge of sitting in the back, on the milk box, when she cried out from the back, "uh-oh, puppy poopie."

Sidenote: never, never, ever has she needed to stop moving and cop a squat to pass a turd. But today, at Costco, while wearing a dog leash, in the middle of the frozen foods, she insisted on getting OUT of the buggy, and squatting on the floor to crap. Seriously.

Looking like a new dog owner impatiently tapping my foot as a terrier turd-ed, it dawned on me, "uh-oh, I didn't bring a diaper. And I have no wipes." (Rewind to yesterday. I got a wild hair yesterday to clean my car out. I removed loads of laundry, half a pantry of snacks, and all of the emergency supplies. I KNOW I didn't reload or restock. There are no diapers in the car.)

What was supposed to be a fast trip up to Costco for milk turned into a marathon doggie-dukie training experience. And the price tag . . . .

milk, two 2-gallon boxes, $3.79 each
an entire bail of diapers -- $39.00
an entire case of diaper wipes - $29.00

And the icing on the cake . . . . we lost the damn dog leash!!

Dear JBG,

Thought of you this weekend. It went like this:

Little at the dinner table, looking kind of sad. "What up, Little Man? Why the long face?"

"Girls are complicated," he replied.
"Yes, yes, they are," I said.

Long silence of head nodding and knowingness. Then,

Little, "I switched around today, Mom."
Me, (Choking on carrots), "What do you mean, Buddy?"
Little, "Well, if boys could marry boys, I'd marry Cameron."
Me, (guzzling water and planning a homosexual marriage in California) and (silence . . . sometimes quiet is all that needs to be said)
Little, "Well, Olivia yelled at me today and rolled her eyes at me, and I don't think I can put up with much of that. So, she's history mom. She still has a good head on her shoulders, but I think I'm moving on."

Me, "Okay, Buddy, but you can't always dump your gal over little tiffs. The day will come when you'll have to stand by her side, even if she's being difficult."
Little, "Roger that, Mom. But today's not that day."

And with that, he went to play legos. It left me thinking of you. Simple vs. Complicated. Complicated to him. Complicated to you. And, mostly, don't you wish you could just go play legos??

Sunday, March 07, 2010

Ever had one of these conversations?

Big came into the kitchen groggy and wiping sleep out of her eyes. "What's for brekk-trist?" she asked.
The other one said, "It's not brekk-TRIST . .. it's brekk-FIXXT."
"Whatever," said the Big one, "are we having those flat things?"
"You mean pancakes," says the Middle one.
"I want cereal," says the Little one.
"Wamples," says the Mimi.
"Are you doing that walk, Mom?" says the Middle one, "And can I have peanut butter?"
"Where's that cereal with Fred Flintsone on the box," Little says.
"Wamples," says Mimi.
"What walk?" asks Big.
"A Walk from Obesity," says Middle to Big.
"Where's Obesity?" asks Big.

MOTH starts chuckling.

"Yeah, where IS Obesity?" chimes in Middle
"What's OH-beast-itty?" asks Little
"Wamples," says Mimi

"Obesity is a city in Kansas," I say to them all.
"And we're walking from there???" says Big, now slightly alarmed.
"Yes," chimes in MOTH, "I'll drop you off and you guys will walk home."

"WHY?", now they are all listening.
"To raise money for Obesity," I reply.
"What happened in Obesity?" Middle's talking.
"Yeah," now Little, "was it a tsunami?"
"There was another earthquake???", Middle talking now.
"We raised money at school for Haiti ... I bet we could do it again for Obesity."

MOTH is choking. I'm chuckling.

"Everyone, shhh, and take a bite of round things." I say.

And the conversation is still going on, nine hours later.

Monday, March 01, 2010

The Brown Bag Blues . . .

I spent some time in the kitchen today. Well, alot of time actually. It was painful and positively endless.

It's that time of year where school lunches get so drab and boring. Is it the food that bores me? The selection? The packaging? Does MY opinion even matter? For six months now, we've been packing, packing, packing. Folding napkins, finding a drink, choosing something from each bin . . . . (revisit our lunch packing system) . . .

Little has been taking cereal in his lunch for six months. Six. Long. Months. And I'm tired of it. I'm tired of nutella sandwiches and veggie straws. Clementines are killing me with monotony.

So, I spent some time in the kitchen making an oh, so noble effort to pop some punch into the packing routine. My "pick & pack" lunch bins are replenished with some jazzy new things. But I fear it won't be enough to drive home the last three months of the year.

But, here's what I came up with on the fly:

a. Cantalope wedges. I cut them into super thin, just-a-bit-more-than-a-bite slivers and packaged them five to a snack bag . . . added them to the fridge bin.
b. Hammy rolls . . . with cream cheese and a pickle. I know it sounds terrible, but . . . my mother in law makes this holiday appetizer thingy with roast beef & cream cheese. The two are wrapped around a tiny dill party pickle and speared with a pick. My kids eat them by the plateful. Well, that foray into appetizers made me think, "hmm, what other appetizers could I prep ahead & pack for lunches?" That led to:
c. Mozzarella sticks. Who doesn't love those? Hot or cold, really. It's a modified recipe from Jessica Seinfeld's book, so it sneaks veggies in, too. Pack those with pizza sauce. Yum.
d. Southwest chicken and corn eggrolls. They are fabulous cold.
e. This crazy concoction I make with cheese and whole black olives & pepperonis. The kids love them. It's a wacky appetizer, but it beats PB&J on a day when PB&J sounds terrible.
f. Veggie packs. I happened to have carrots & celery today, so that's what's in the fridge bin. Made up some sauce packets. My kids will eat just about anything if they can disguise it's wholesomeness with dunking. Well, except Little. He eats no veggies. Which is why Jessica Seinfeld and I have become friends.
g. And, I changed the appearance & packaging of a few things. Open a granola bar, cut it into chunks & wrap it in tin foil, and wha-laa!! The same tired old granola bar that's been at the bottom of the bin for a month is suddenly a snacktime surprise.

Ahhh . . . and now, when I'm desperately ready to be done in the kitchen, it's time to start dinner. Heavy, heavy sigh.

Took a Walk Down Memory Lane Today

I took a walk down memory lane today. I didn't mean to . . . I was synching my phone and accidentally clicked pictures. Which brought all of my five HUNDRED and ninety two pictures from my phone over to my computer. Having never done that before, leafing through them for the sake of fun swallowed an hour of my afternoon. But, seriously . . . what fun to look back into two years of spontaneous memories. These are the shots that touched my heart for some reason . . . . it was a moment of, "oh, hand me my phone" . . .