Tuesday, August 31, 2010

My Heart -- Seeping Blood

Here is one thing I know about being a mommy:

When one of your children is struggling, going through a rough patch or hurting, it's a horrible understatement to say that it makes your heart hurt.  It's true but words can't capture how deep the emotion runs or how every cell in the mommy-body aches for them.  Feeling their pain is excruiating. 

In the last month, I've had two totally separate "rough patches", both with different kids.   Maybe that's part of the reason for the long blogging hiatus.  And for the self imposed grounding from social networking.  I don't want to advertise their hurt.  I don't want to broadcast our aches.  I don't want sympathy.  Or advice. 

Thankfully, I hope, we're on an upswing (times two) and I'm feeling the flood of relief begin to cleanse my tired soul.  Point being . . . we're beginning to exhale.  Slowly.  And we're moving into the healing mode.  Which means:  Why did this happen?  What were we supposed to learn?  How can this whole experience make us better?  What are we going to do next time?  Can we prevent or do we just need to cope better?  Who are your friends, REALLY?  What does that mean?  How will you know?   Also . . . What IS your dream?  Is it really?  Or is it what you think people want you to do?  What do you do with physical pain?  And how do you deal with the mind-block that comes with it?  What's the tradeoff?  What's your dream worth?

Monday, August 30, 2010

Alpine Slide

Highly, highly, HIGHLY recommend. 

First, you park your car in a lower lot.  It's not crowded, and it's well planned, so you get to park four cars from the entrance to the gondola.

Oop, I let it slide.  Then, you ride a gondola to the base of Peak Eight.  It's a totally clear carriage that rockets you up the side of a moutain.  There are amazing views of scenery, wildlife & the most amazing six-million dollar houses ever.  When you arrive, two turns later, you are officially in sub-alpine heaven.  There is putt-putt and a real-life human maze.  Just like on Survivor.  There is a bungee-trampoline, a garhugic bounce house, more ski lifts.  You can take your bike up and ride down.  How fun would that be?  I'm DYING to do that!!

But here's the "bestest thing E-B-E-R" (right out of Mimi's mouth):  The Alpine Slide.  You ride a two-person lift up . . um . . a L-O-N-G way.  At the top you, sit on a scooter-like gizmo and haul ass down a concrete trough.  I think we hit about 40 miles per hour.  My first trip, I rode with Little.  He said "yeah" all the way down and giggled his "I'm-having-so-much-fun-I-might-pee" giggle.  It made me and all of the people above us riding the lift up laugh out loud.  My second trip, I rode with Mimi, who "whee-heed" all the way down and outright laughed when we banked hard and I over-corrected.  We raced MOTH and Little.  They had a painfully slow foreigner in front of them and were forced to come to a screeching halt twice.  Tee hee.  Big and Middle are both old enough to ride on their own, and that makes them feel OH, SO entitled and B.I.G!! 

Anyway -- highly recommend.  What fun!!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Angry, Fabulous Cardio

The weather this morning was cool and crisp and it smelled like autumn.  It was glorious.  My carpool mom wanted to drive this morning.  I opted to break out umbrellas and breathe cool mountain air.  The kids didn't even complain.  The path wasn't even muddy.  My intention was to hit the gym after drop off time.  But, in light of the perfectly cool weather, I altered my plan for this week and did some very angry (and absolutely fabulous) cardio this morning.  A little over ten miles of biking in the rain, through massive mud puddles, under weepy trees that were dripping sweaty rain, off rocks, through gutters, across gravel ditches worn away from rain runoff.  I hopped curbs, buzzed through weeds and went way too fast.  I came home filthy dirty, splattered in mud, soaked with rain and sweat . . and on top of the world.  It felt so, so, so good to put all that energy into biking, instead of eating muffins . . . .

What have I been doing?

What HAVE I been doing?  I've been busy as hell, doing, well, stuff. 

The big schmiddos have been in school for a week as of tomorrow.  I've cleaned, sorted, pitched, Goodwilled, purged.  I've re-labeled, cleared my desk, organized stuff for PTA and stuff for my daddy program at school.  I launched a groupsite, revised the paperwork and solicited donations for event night.   I've cleaned fish tanks, the drawers of the fridge and the toilets.  I've washed sheets, towels and every piece of laundry.  There were two precious hours last week, between noon and 2 o'clock in the afternoon where every single thing in my house had been laundered.  Sweet Jesus.  That's one for the record books.  I've been to the gym, been to the grocery store and played a few hours of "let's play play-doh" with Mimi.  I've taken Barbie baths, paired Polly shoes and returned library books.  I've done a million things, in no particular order. 

Here's one thing I did:  I grounded myself from the internet.  Aside from work, all personal stuff was banned.  I grounded myself from blogging, any and all social networking, any news connections, anything not work-related.  Sometime this week, I'll catch up on reading a few favorite blogs & will make a few posts.  I'll come back to personal stuff later.  I needed a week away from social networking, for sure.  It was a little lesson in what's up . . . most of my social network buddies went back to work when school started, so what's the point . . . they aren't there either, right?  Truthfully, I guess I didn't miss it much.  I didn't wonder even once if someone ate a bagel.   Hmm.  I'm thinking it can be an unhealthy addiction.

Okay, so . . . after my grounding . . . I'm back to the 'real world'. 

What's for dinner??

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

1st Day of School, 2010

For as much as I struggled yesterday, it was a beautiful morning.  One of the things I love, love, love about school is being the first one up and being the one to wake the kids.  Yes, Big wakes to an alarm.  But not on the first day.  I treasure the dark and cool mornings when I sneak into their rooms and rub their backs.  I love to be the first one to see their eyes flutter open.  I love to see their arms unfurl like baby bird wings and watch them welcome the morning with a long, lovely stretch.   Spending two minutes each morning waking each kid with backrubs and "good morning"!  That's the best part. 

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Oh Crap.

Oh, Crap.  And I mean it.  In less than 24 hours, seventy-five percent of my kids will be back in school.  Full-time.  All day.  Eek. 

For the first 'back to school' time in my entire life as a parent . . . I'M NOT READY!!!

We've had such a good summer.  We've been stayin' up late and sleepin' past 7 am.  We've been riding bikes late and having fun all day long, and all night long.  I'm not ready for that to end.  The big kids are awsome with Mimi and I'm not ready to be the sole entertainment committee!!  I'm not ready for her to be lonely and sad.  I'm not ready for getting to bed on time, waking to an alarm, packing backpacks & lunches.  I'm not ready for spelling homework, planners and the routine of school!! 

Ack!!  Just one more week??  This morning, I'm pleading to the heavens for just a little more time. . . . what a totally futile waste of energy.  It's out of my hands . . .  but, still.  I'm so sad!!!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Now they've just gone TOO far . . .

Here's a nauseating thought to brighten up Monday:


Click that.  And if it doesn't work, or you're just plain lazy . . . here is the jist of it, becasue I have to make some comments.

This new taste test is the brain child of KFC.  Okay, if the letters K plus F plus C don't make you feel a little queasy and make your tummy kind of tighten in that "I shouldn't have eaten that" sort of way, then this might not impact you the way it does me.  If you are a big chicken fan, this may not impact you the way that it does me.  If you think the best part of chicken is the skin, you're about to find heaven.

Now, let's talk about me. 

My thoughts on chicken:  Ick.  I can stomach chicken about once per week.  It has to be bought BY ME.  It has to be handled BY ME.  I meticulously pick every piece of fat off of it before it's cooked.  It's how I roll.  There absolutely postively can NOT be (a) bones or (b) skin present.  No way.  No how.  It makes me gag.

My thoughts on cheese:  I like cheese.  But not all kinds.  I like colby jack, provelone and swiss.  ONLY.  I used to live on cheese.  Cheese and crackers.  Cheese and everything.  Any cheese.  All cheese.  Any time . . . cheese.  Now, I eat most things without.  Pizza is the only real exception.  I don't miss it.

My thoughts on bacon:  I love the flavor of bacon.  I love the smell of bacon.  Knowing what it is and where it comes from makes bile rise in my throat.

So, back to KFC's taste test.  The Skinwich.  It's five layers of fried chicken skin with cheese and bacon on a bun. 

I have to go vomit now.

Sunday, August 15, 2010


Hiking.  Mimi says, "we go walkin' in da moutunzzz?"  We trekked up and back . . . . Mimi walked a big chunk of the way up.  She and her Barbie hopped rocks, jumped logs & played follow the leader with the me and the big kids.  Good times :)

Tee hee.  I made NO promises that I wouldn't post this picture.  I think he saw a chipmunk!!

That's just cute. No doubt about it.

Mimi has her own Camelback for packing her own water and snack, and it has a convenient side pocket so Barbie can ride along.  She's gonna be a good hiker!!

Our Super Cool Pilot Cousin . . . . And Little

Little spent the week in "I'm-not-the-only-boy-in-this-house HEAVEN!"  Our Super Cool Pilot Cousin played and played & was the very best sport . . . he only got about two hours of "alone time" from the time his feet hit Colorado soil until we dropped him at the airport seven days later.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Friday, August 13, 2010

Daddy Let Me Drive!!!

My Brown Eyed Girl . . .

Hey where did we go,

Days when the rains came

Down in the hollow,

Playin' a new game,

Laughing and a running hey, hey

Skipping and a jumping

In the misty morning fog with

Our hearts a thumpin' and you

My brown eyed girl,

You my brown eyed girl.

"That Tiny Baby Boy . . . "

One of my old college room mates visited last week.  She was in town to (gasp!) have a baby . . . .

Mimi LOVED the baby, and is STILL talking about how "that . . . tiny . . . baby . . sat in my lap!!"

Today's talk of the baby happened in the bathroom.  We were in the stall next to Middle and Mimi said, "that . . tiny . . . baby boy . . . had a WEE-nis!!"

Volleyball Camp . . . Here She Comes


Busy.  That's all there really is to tell.  This week has been a complete whirlwind of activity . . . one of those weeks where I've been so busy, I'm not sure if I've lost my horse or found a rope. 

We've had our super cool Pilot Cousin visiting from Chicago.  Five kids in the house has made for a whole lot of crazy.  We've played kickball, bounced and bounced and bounced on the trampoline, done an amusement park, a long mountain hike, been out for dinner a time or two & been to the pool.  We've played tug-o-war with our giant dog, taken tons of pictures, stayed up late and slept in.  We've watched movies, read books, been shopping and run errands.  We've been riding bikes every night.  We've had backyard fires, eaten s'mores and played just about every board game in the closet.  I've been to the doctor, been to the gym & had hula hoop contests with everyone.  Yes, I am the reigning champion.  I forced our super cool Pilot Cousin to join me in daily circuit training.  He was not happy the first two days.  Now, he's diggin' it, too.  

We laughed when Mimi said our Pilot Cousin's name for the first time, loud and clear.  We lauged even louder when she started saying "nine-thousand", like Pilot Cousin.  We laughed until we cried when she said, "holy moly" followed by "piss off."  Piss off, incidentally, has nothing to do with Pilot Cousin.  That's a MOTH-ism, loud and clear.

I've been up to my eyeballs in school prep already.  Kicking off the school year is always crazy busy.  I'm thrilled, thrilled, thrilled with the class lists that bost my kids' names.  Woo-hoo  . . . couldn't be happier.  Big has my first pick . . . not only a family friend, but a faculty advisor of one of my programs, and a personal friend of MOTH.  She's in very loving and capable hands.  Middle also has my first pick . . . a hilarious, strict, effective, wonderful teacher.  Little has one of my dearest friends who will love him to pieces and teach him to love reading.  Yippee!!

Pictures to come . . . .

Monday, August 09, 2010

Recent Books . . .

A random sampling of James Patterson books, including re-reading the Maximum Ride books, the first two anyway, because my girls want to read them . . . .

These two Scott Westerfield books.  Ironic, since I was also reading Women Food God by Geneen Roth.  I hated them at first, but it turns out I really like them, and am going to pick up the third as soon as I get a new Borders coupon in my email inbox.   It takes a pretty mature reader to understand the sub-plots and underlying themes.  I've back-burned them for my daughters, at least for now.  

The third book in the Suzanne Collins series, Mockingjay,  comes out on August 24th.  I might just be in line at midnight to pick up my copy.  They were that good.  Big just finished the second, too.   I didn't realize they were young adult novels at first, so I re-read the first for good measure.

Scarpetta . . . . pretty good, but I'm a bit tired of the characters.  I think they've evolved as much as might be possible.

I'm nearly finished with Water for Elephants and am really, really, loving it.  It will be a great movie, if it's done right and I'm excited to see it.

Oh, I knew I was missing one:  A Year of Living Biblically . . . AJ Jacobs.  Very funny and something I totally enjoyed. 

Read this.

Every now and then, something comes along that changes your life.  It can be as subtle as the whisper of an angel or as heavy as a sledge swinging to the top of a giant bell at the circus.  At any rate, it has happened to me.  With this book.   There are some amazing revelations within.  Things to really make me, you, anyone think.   It takes a while to read, anyway for me, it did . . . because some parts are kind of heavy and deep, and I found myself putting it down so that I could ponder my past, my present and my future. 

Anyway, it's a strong recommendation for anyone and everyone.

Woo-hoo, woo-who, whoooo-hooooo!!!

Lookie!! Lookie!! Lookie!!  I'm posting a picture of my race bib, but NOT of me.  I still believe in keeping a minimal visual footprint of myself.  This is my first race bib since Middle was a wee-baby and I did the 5K St. Paddy's Day Run for Fun.    There were many years between St. Paddy's Run for Fun and Saturday's Race for Rwanda . . and for most of those years, I was crippled with pain, forbidden to run, sometimes struggling to walk and truly believed that I'd NEVER do another race. 

Posting my bib, tacking it up on my cork board & finding a whole new list of things that I CAN do feels fabulous.  I didn't break any records on Saturday.  But, I did have a butt-load of fun.  I got a brand new race t-shirt.  I completed it with friends and we laughed our way through the back half of the course.  We stopped to take a picture of the peak and dump water on each other . . . it was jolly good fun!

From the mommy standpoint, it was a very sweet moment in my life to cross that finish line and fall into the waiting embrace of my kiddos.  They "ew, mom, you're sweating" and pulled away . . but still . . . . it was  good.  On  a side note, all three of my big kids ran the kids' race that morning, too, and each received a darling little medal for finishing.  Big jogged part of the way holding hands with Little.  Such an "awwww" moment.


Thursday, August 05, 2010


I used to post -isms as they appeared in our house.  I have to start again because my mommy-memory is becomming full to capacity with extraneous information.

Middle-ism:  (while looking at a garden slug), "Mom, it's so totally RAD.  It has the most wicked retractable antlers!!"

Mimi-ism:  (while collecting garden slugs and rollie-pollie bugs), "Fff-lugggs and poll-poll-ees"

Mimi-ism:  (while preparing for afternoon nap), "I not tired, Mo-o-om, I HAPPY!!"

Mimi-ism:  "Where is Kevin? Where is Kevin?   Where is Kevin?"

Post Costco

Okay, so I had a flare for the dramatic this morning.   I retract my analogy between Guantamo Bay and Costo with kids.  But, I still think it COULD be an Olympic sport.

It wasn't that bad.  It was actually really good.  Well, except that it was almost a two-cart expedition and I only had one cart.  And that I couldn't see over the top of the twin peaks of toilet paper projecting out of my cart . . . but it was good for a major shopping mission, school shorts for Little, new glasses for Middle & enough lunch packing provisions to make it through August.  We didn't lose an iPod, only had to make one bathroom run and managed to make it through in less than sixty minutes.  Bonus:  lunch under a little umbrella table, enough lemonade to float a barge and a fun mommy-and-kids-outing.

Ooh, ooh.  And they have a digital piano.  If I don't score one at auction tomorrow, it's nice to know I can get a brand new one from our local Costco, for just about half of what my top price point is.  Bonus.


The time has come.  My last trip to Costco was on June 4th.  I've been putting it off and putting it off.  When I finish putting it off, I put it off some more.  I try to think about it tomorrow.  But, we're critically low on supply.  How critically?

Well, we've got half a roll of toilet paper.  We can only pee in the downstairs potty, or you have to take your own bum-wipe.  The kids have been using tissue.  Note to self:  don't use menthol vicks tissue.  Yowza . . . a slightly unpleasant tingly sensation that lasts for hours.  It's like camping in our house.  I'm out of everything in the fridge.  It looks like we are moving.  For the last two weeks, I've been making classic forager dinners.  I've used up rigatoni and a frozen lasagna.  I've used up a can of tuna, some peaches and I made an enchilada pizza concoction that was actually quite yummy.  But today, the resonating thought is, "what can I make with black olives, cream of mushroom soup and a tube of expired biscuits?"  Dangerously close to illiciting my gag reflex, I'll brave the aisles of Costco this morn.

With the four fabulous youngin's. 

Guantanamo Bay should consider such torture.

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Marrying Bottles.

Time for 'fessin up.  I've been marrying bottles.  It's one of my many, many obsessions.  Mimi is suddenly back into taking very long bubble baths with every Barbie in our house.  She stacks them like cord wood in the corners and does their hair over and over and over.  She stays in until she is wrinkly and folded like a lavender scented flower petal.  I love it.  Her long bath routine has given me tons of time lately to clean bathroom cabinets.   And marry bottles.   

Yes, I sometimes mix shampoo.  I sometimes marry lotions of different scents.  It makes me happy to rinse out a bottle and recycle it.   My plan today was to tackle the "meds" basket.  How appropriate that this popped up on my screen first thing this morning. 


I'm one of the billion Americans that spent hundreds of dollars looking for weight-loss help in the form of a pill.  Months ago, I flushed all but one bottle of Green Tea.  I actually think I lost a pound or two just getting it out of my house, and out of my head.  As of now, that's down the toilet, too. 
Here's what my medicine basket is down to:

Midol.  Must have.
Ibuprofen.  Must have.  Back surgery worked, and worked well.  It's bad juju NOT to have a bottle of ibuprofen around.  As soon as you are out, the most attrocious headache will appear.  Along with muscle pain, a little nerve involvement and some swelling.
Aleve.  For MOTH.
Glucosamine.  For MOTH.
My multi-vitamin.  I tossed the old pre-natals.  That was a big step.
Gas X.  Go figure.
Immodium.  Again, throwing it out would be inviting the bad juju in.
Airborne.  School starts in 16 days.  That means every kid begins their daily dose of 1/2 an airborne next Monday.  I'm not joking.

That's it.  It feels good!

Monday, August 02, 2010

Hilary Cooper said . . .

"Life is not measured by the number
of breaths we take;
but by the moments that take our breath away."

Hilary Cooper  . . . . a well known portrait painter who spent some time in a wheelchair after she broke her neck is well known for her waist-up portraits that fail to let the chair define the subject.  She's known for her quote, above, that was first used on a greeting card in 1970.

It's one of my favorites.  I have a mental-running-list of life's moments, MY life's moments that have taken my breath away.  Add this to the list:

Last week on Thursday, I was hustling about running errands between dropping Middle off at gymnastics and picking Big up from volleyball.  We arrived for Middle pick-up about 15 minutes early and just as I was settling in to play barbies in the car with Mimi, she had a sudden attack of the "I need to tinkles."  We high-tailed it into the gym and bee-lined to the overlook, where the bathroom is located.  As we passed in front of the windows, I caught of glimpse of my little girl.  She was down in the gym, in the bar section, on the "pit bar", wrists strapped in, doing giant swings.  My little girl.   Straight little body, beautiful line, tummy pulled in, toes pointed and doing complete swings all the way around the bar.  The breath left me . . . .

 . . . and I haven't found words for it until today . . . .