Thursday, December 10, 2009

...and a house finch in my Christmas Tree.

Okay, I know stuff like this happens all the time, but it doesn't make it any less startling.

A few nights ago, as we were walking out of our house on our way out to dinner, I opened the door to a whoosh and a flutter. I think a brave little house finch decided our door hung Christmas wreath would be a cozy place to spend the cold night, and when I opened my door, the poor little creature dashed away... right into my living room.

We were all standing in the hallway- boots, coats, gloves on. We looked at each other blankly as I said, "Um. I think a bird just flew in the house."

For a time, we just watched the little darling fly around wildly, searching for things to land upon. I pointed out to the children how beautiful the bird was- flying through our house. Every time it took off from a landing, Abi screeched and giggled, nervously. Braeden kept pointing and saying, "Bi-! Bi-! Bi-!" He was vexed. He didn't really understand why Mommy let a bird in the house.

A barrage of thoughts and concerns started then.
(How do I get it out?! Hmm... 'out' is not a quick and easy solution. What if I CAN'T get it out!?!? What if I have to KILL IT!?!?)

I'll sate my animal activist friends and ruin the ending now by saying no house finches were injured in the creation of this blog.

I called my dad. Well, he used to watch and band birds, so surely he would have a good suggestion for getting it out. Dad recommended chasing it with a broom.

My mother in law is visiting. She suggested turning off all the lights except the one outside, intending the bird to fly towards the light like a moth.

All I could think of was emptying a plastic tub and trying to place it over the bird... somehow.

Well, alright, I guess I couldn't hope the bird would just fly into a plastic storage tub. It sounded ridiculous to me that a bird would fly to the lights like a moth, and the last thing I wanted to do was be the crazy housewife that ran around the house with a broom in the air... but... these were the ideas presented. I sucked it up.

"Everyone in the car, and wait for me there!" I said, and they piled into the car.

I opened the door, turned on the porch light and turned off all others, and grabbed the broom from the garage (at least with the lights off, the neighbors wouldn't see me running around my house with a broom in the air). Finchy was sitting on my family heirloom wall hanging. I nudged the hanging with my broom, and he was off. Next stop, the ceiling fan. I nudged a blade, and he was off again... deeper into my dark house. The darkness surely confused him, and he was tired by this point. He flew into the highest, darkest corner of my kitchen, then plummeted down, down, down- landing on the pull down blinds on my kitchen nook window. Tub time! I emptied the clothes from a bin I happened to have sitting in my foyer, and i placed it over Finchy. He didn't budge. I slid the lid towards him, and he flitted right into his trap!

All of this transpired in less than 5 minutes, so I stunned the family when I quickly walked out of the house, having captured the intruder. Though I felt like a moron offing the lights and donning a broom... I must say it was a quick and effective catch. You may call me the Bird Whisperer.

I'm not too sure about the moral of the story. A bird in the tub is worth two in the wreath? Stupid things can synergize into solutions? The neighbor swinging around the broom might be crazy, but she can sure catch a house finch? Maybe morals are over rated.

I do recommend though that you tap your doors before opening them during these cold winter nights if you have a particularly warm and cozy door wreath.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

I'd like to thank the academy... of Pam

Some time ago, when catching up on my friends' blogs, I came across a most wonderful honor. My dear friend, Pam, gave me an award! Thank you, Pam!!!



So, here I am, proud recipient of the 'Honest Scrap' Award. Alright, here are the Award rules, so you know what it all means:

1) Present this award to 7 others whose blogs I find brilliant in content and/or design, or those who have encouraged me.
2) Tell those 7 people they’ve been awarded HONEST SCRAP and inform them of these guidelines in receiving the award.
3) Share “10 Honest Things” about myself.

I would like to re-reward this Honest Scrap to Pam, whose blog, Rambling Pam, is one of the most entertaining things i ever read. You inspire me, Pam.

The next Award goes to my darling friend, Holly. Her blog, Spleeness, endlessly tickles my spleen with deep emotion and intense hilarity.

Jennifer comes next. Friend I haven't met, and author of Niffer All Grown Up, Niff shares such sweet and witty tales of her daughters that she makes me want to be a nicer Mommy.

BizGeek, by my friend, Mike, is next. Never know what you might get from Mike... could be political commentary. Could be an obscure band. Could be something so inanely technical that I wish I was smarter.

The last award (no, I haven't miscounted. Forget 7. I'm only awarding my worthy frequent reads), I'm going to give to my friend, Jami. Her Leahy Family blog is filled with marvelous pictures and family updates! I am SO lucky to once in a while share in her adventures.

Alright, on to my "10 Honest Things":

1) Filling out the "Honest Things" part has kept me from posting this blog for a couple of weeks.

2) I love silence.

3) Sometimes my love of silence makes me wonder why on earth I decided to have children.

4) My feet are huge. I just bought new running shoes- size 11.5!

5) I'm starting to think about what I might want to be when I grow up.

6) I'm a lover AND a fighter!

7) I think I have to live in Colorado for the rest of my life. I love it.

8) I have horrible teeth. They decay from oxygen the way most decay from sugars. I love my dentist, but am afraid she is going to want to take my teeth out, so I haven't seen her in over 2 years.

9) I consider myself pretty nice, yet it's always the people closest to me that seem to remind me how cruel I am.

10) Weirdest for last- I have these strange little holes by the top of my ears, where my ears attach to my head. Some people wonder if I've had my ears pierced like this, but I've had them my whole life. I can't put earrings in them though. I've tried.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Ladies with power swords

The other day, I took the children into the small scrub oak grove that clutters the side of my property in hunt of fire kindling. The wind normally sweeps down an adequate number of ailing twigs so that we can spark a few of our fires each year from our pickings. It was a fair day, but snow and cold were in the forecast.

As we walked into the overgrown grove, Abi ran into the house to fetch a critical tool. She returned with her Hannah Montana umbrella.

"Abi, what are you doing?" I asked.

"I'm bringing my power sword!" she responded, opening her umbrella, and pulling it over her head.

"Do you mean PARASOL?"

"NO. It is my POWER SWORD!!"

She later told me she heard that from the opening number to the Musical Ragtime. The lyrics in the prologue state, "ladies with parasols, fellows with tennis balls," but really I could hardly argue with the child. Seems much smarter to me to take a power sword into the woods rather than a parasol.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Don't feed the wildlife!

Sometimes I have to wonder if people have a clue.

Driving home from taking my girl pixie to school today, I saw the postings on neighborhood traffic sign poles.

LOST KITTY!! GREY. TINY SIZE. IF FOUND CALL....

LOST DOG! (written above a black and white Xeroxed picture of a fuzzy little Lhasa Apso pup)...

Honeys, this is Colorado. Didn't you know when you were buying that "tiny size" kitty that you were really buying fox food? Didn't you know that your little Lhasa pup was really just expensive coyote kibble?

Do you not know that when you post those signs for your lost teacup pet thinking that maybe Cuddles the cat is just visiting a neighbor, you're embedding false hope into that five year old of yours? Maybe Popcorn the puppy is just camping out for a few nights? Really? Do you really want to lead your kids on that way?

Yeah. I'll help you find your pet.

Oh, Junior! A nice lady named Melissa called! She said she found your tiny baby grey kitty! She said we'd find him out on Baptist Road in the entrails of that poor red fox roadkill!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

jungle gym jungle

It was a beautiful Colorado day today. The sky was bright, the air was clear, the temperature was in the low 70's, and the wind was clamoring the Aspen leaves so they seemed to jingle like coins in a pocket.

We seemed to crash a classmate play date today when the kids and I ventured to the local playground to catch some outside time before the weather cools. Michael and Mackenzie were playing on the tire swing when we arrived, and Abi dashed to see if it was indeed Mackenzie, her latest 'best friend' from school. For a few minutes, Abi, Mackenzie, and Michael played together nicely. It's anyone's guess what transpired next, but Mackenzie was somehow put out. She fell out of the trio. I called Abi over and asked her if Mackenzie was okay. Abi said that Mackenzie didn't want to play and said she wasn't friends anymore. I told Abi to try to include Mackenzie- play all together.

I think she tried. On at least on occasion, I saw her run over to Mackenzie, and before she reached her, Mackenzie took off in the opposite direction to avoid her. When Abi tried to leave Michael and Mackenzie to play together, Michael followed behind Abi telling her to slow down. "I want to play with you, Abi!"

I think my girl is a play yard powerhouse. She is creative and confident, and I think she jumps into play- with friends or strangers- in a way that often gets other children actively involved with her. The problem is, when there are just a couple of children, it sometimes means trouble, as it did with Mackenzie today. Try as we did, none of we three moms were able to sway the dynamic. Michael's mom encouraged him to play with both girls. Mackenzie's mom tried to comfort her. I succeeded at getting all of them on a tire swing for a few minutes before Mackenzie wanted off, and went to sadly lean against a monkey bar pole.

Well, what would you have done? On the one hand, it's a life lesson, isn't it? Jump in and play. Suck it up, kid. Carry your own, bring your strong attitude, or get left behind. Yet, isn't that a cruel thing to say when you're talking about five year olds? The purely hot blooded primal creature in me is pleased that it is my daughter that is strong, confident, and clever enough to attract playmates, and draw in participation. The socialized mother in me knows she needs to be kind to the other children and not strong arm certain kids out. It's a fine line we need to walk between strength and sensitivity.

What an interesting thing it is, to watch the dynamics of these little developing people.

What an interesting thing to feel... to not want my kid to be a bully, but to, quite carnally, be proud that she's such a social tiger.

In the end, I felt badly for Mackenzie. It was clear she would be standoffish while we stayed at the playground. I cut our hour there a wee bit short, with feelings of guilt for ruining a portion of Mackenzie's play date...

... and slight, evil feelings of pride as I watched Mackenzie inch her way back into playing with Michael now that the Alpha female slunk off to another hunt...

Saturday, September 12, 2009

the scoop on school

Does it finally come to you waiting souls like a cold litre of Dasani in the middle of the Serengeti? Finally- news on how we are surviving our early school days!

Abi informed me that Friday was the 16th day of school. She then informed me that there were just four more days until the 20th day of school. I have therefore deduced that the mathematics program in her Kindergarten class is exemplary!

She handed me a picture today with two girls she had drawn. She had written across the top: SEDERELU AND ANUSDAYGU. When I asked what she had written, she told me it said Cinderella and Anastasia . Well, of COURSE it did! I have therefore deduced that the literacy program in her Kindergarten class is exemplary!

In all seriousness, Abi is having a great time in Kindergarten, and she appears to be thriving. I have seen some wonderful worksheets come home with her, and she has spoken of some fantastic activities they have done.

The second week in, they baked gingerbread cookies and read the book about the Gingerbread Man. Apparently, each child cut out his or her own gingerbread boy or girl, and they decorated one large one as a class. Well, later that morning, the principal came in and admitted he opened the oven. Wouldn't you know, that gingerbread man ran away. He left a note on the principal's desk. Bet you can guess what it said. The kids looked all weekend for that cookie. He didn't turn up until Monday.

They've worked on graphing, reading, Venn diagrams, coloring, cutting, pasting, washing their hands, crossing the street, Spanish, art, phys ed, music, library use, and (the one thing I've heard the most about) learning to be quiet. She is coming home, singing songs in Spanish, reciting her small reading books beautifully, phonetically spelling whatever she can all over the place, and writing numbers on her chalkboard just for fun.

It amazes me, really. She was clearly so ready for this, and she has jumped in full force. Yes, some days she comes home a little cranky, but when I see what they cram into three hours, I am awed that she even has the strength to walk the 3/4 of a mile home.

Oh- did I not mention that? We walk to school? About 3/4 of a mile each way? I'm sure when she's in her 60's she will recall it being up hill both ways (and parts of it are), and oh, just wait until the snow begins to fall!

As for making new friends... come on. This is Abi we're talking about. Right away she met Joy and Lauren. On day three she came out of school with a new best friend, Mackenzie. She also knows Isaac and Luke in her class, and the mom of a little boy named Sam told me that her son comes home talking about Abi all the time. She also has good friends Jakob and Kaylee in other kinder classes, and McKenna and Anna in second grade. Some days she'll tell me of some random older kid she met: Coby- the second grader on the playground, Maddy- her third grade reading buddy. You get the picture. She's not her mother's introvert. She is her father's social butterdragon.

... and those of you who try to keep tabs on me from time to time might be wondering: how is MOM handling all of this?

Well, with the extra 3-4 miles of walking each day, I am less concerned if I miss my workouts! It's nice to have a little time with Braeden, and I also really appreciate having a little quiet time each morning when Braeden naps. I miss her though. Don't get me wrong, it is easier to tolerate some things when she focuses on school for three hours each day, but... I miss her mind around here sometimes. Even though she is only five years old, given the amount of time we have spent together, she knows me so well. We read each other, and often can be what the other needs without even being asked. She knows me. And I know her. And sometimes it's nice to have that so near.

I'm pretty in touch with my kids at this point in our lives. Reading them is my job right now. It has been such a treat for me to watch Abi's mind develop, to recognize how strongly I understand her, and to sense how she flows. It could be just in simple things she says, or in how she helps or handles her brother. Even in how she gets so mad when all she wants to do is kiss Braeden and he wants no part of it. I see it coming. I see him flip out. I see her overreact, and thrash about not getting to dote on him to her fullest desires. I get a lot of pleasure from experiencing her methods of processing the world around her.

So. I miss that.

Then I think about all of the other people that are getting the chance to learn that she not only has potential to be an amazing person, but that she is, right now, an amazing person, and I am just so thrilled for the world.

What an exciting time.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

*sigh*. politics.

I am not an individual with a political mind. Once in a while I try to listen to some of the issues and make my own best judgments on the world around me. I vote, and really that's as romantic as I get with politics.

... but I am really confused about all of the hubbub around President Obama addressing children in a back to school speech.

I guess the way I feel about it is... why should it be easier for Ronald McDonald to talk to my kids than it is for the President of the country in which they live?

Monday, August 31, 2009

let's dance

the quiet room yields to the music's tempo.

he hears it begin.
he turns his head to me; a broad smile creeps upon his cheeks.
realization of the moment.
determination that this time, he will get me all to himself

i wait in my chair.

he moves to me in slow motion. stumbling over his intentions, yet his advance is so calculated.
he reaches my side. there is a fire in his eyes, inescapable.
his firm, warm hand lifts mine strongly from its gentle placing upon my lap.
he adjusts his hold to a satisfying clutch.

basking in the bliss of the moment, the trust of my hand in his, he closes his eyes, throws his head back against his shoulders with a grin of victory, and tips his weight on his hips to sway unabashedly to the pulse.


my son.
my new favourite dance partner.

Friday, August 28, 2009

school? what's school?

Alright, my lovelies, I recognize the fact that most of you have been awaiting an update on Abi's first days at school for well over a week now. I had all intentions of humoring you last week, but one thing led to another, and before I knew it, it was this week already. Oh no- not just ANY week... THIS week.

When I was in high school, I ran lighting for a couple of our drama club stage productions. The week prior to the show was dubbed "Hell Week", due to the long hours and repetitive rehearsals we put in. I have found a new Hell Week in my life, and realized that in high school, I had it goooooooooooooooooood.

Hubby left for some business travel on Monday morning- after a night we barely slept. Why did we not sleep? The baby boy started wheezing and tossing and turning in bed. In the morning, the wheezing was frighteningly loud, and I ended up spending many hours over Monday and Tuesday at the doctor's office and at the ER essentially trying to settle respiratory distress brought on by an upper respiratory infection. Braeden is so jammed with steroids, he'd get kicked out of the Olympics. Nebulizer treatments for the little guy will continue until Monday, and least.

Wednesday evening I had to stretch my mommy role when a pair of unsupervised neighbor children (maybe 8 and 11) decided to plant a few wooden stakes in their high alpine desert yard, spray them with aerosol, and light them on fire a mere inches from grass and feet from my property line.

Thursday morning I slipped from a stair in my foyer while taking out the garbage (stupid boy job), pulling muscles that weren't awake yet, and twisting my ankle.

This morning, Friday, before school, I heard a shriek from the living room where the girl had run face first into the metal leg of a dining chair. She laid on the floor clutching her head between her eyes. As she let go, I saw her forehead and the bridge of her nose begin to swell. She wanted to go to school, so we went and fortunately she did fine... and hopefully she avoided the kid who ended up vomiting in her classroom.

Please recall Satan incarnate, the sunspider. Moments ago, I discovered- yes, first hand- that they like to PLAY DEAD!!! As I went to do away with what I thought was a carcass in my family room, I found myself on the receiving end of a full fledged sunspider attack! I haven't cussed so bad in days (and the week has certainly provided ample opportunity)!

... and right now I have a busting headache, worsened by the fact that a neighbor's dog has been barking for the last three hours.

So if I do get to telling some of Abi's early school days stories, you'll likely have one of my neighbors to thank- for talking me down from jumping off of my roof ledge.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Christmas in August

The girl was ecstatic, tucked in her bed,
While visions of kinder school danced in her head.

Tomorrow is Abigail's first day of school, and she is more excited than she would be on Christmas Eve. At 7:15, 15 minutes prior to her normal bedtime, I started getting her ready for bed, anticipating that excitement would keep her up a little late.

We talked about her name tag that was in her new backpack. We talked about what shirt she'd like to wear with her new jeans tomorrow. She even tried the clothes on to make sure she was happy with how she would look. We talked about what would happen in the morning before we walked down to the school. We talked about how she would go to school Monday through Wednesday of this week, have Thursday off, then go in on Friday for testing.

We read some Ramona. We turned off the light.
I scratched her back, and told her goodnight.

Shortly after 8, she was downstairs, admitting she was too excited and couldn't sleep. Her daddy took her back upstairs, read her another story, and said goodnight. At 8:40, she was back down again.... peeking from the kitchen this time, but i heard the floorboards creak as she had lifted herself from the bed, and saw her hair wisp quickly around the corner, as i stared for her. This time, she was crying that she couldn't sleep because she was thinking about the next time she'd need a shot. Good grief. I let her lay with me on the couch until she fell asleep at 9, then her daddy carried her up into bed.

First day of school. It is an exciting thing. I can't much blame her, and I wonder how much sleep I myself will get tonight.

... and though I have utmost confidence, I am giving myself a bit of latitude. Misting up is completely acceptable on baby girl's first day. Overflowing with tears however, is completely off limits for this self respecting kinder-mommy. I think I can pull this off. Let's see that reader confidence... who's with me!?

Monday, August 10, 2009

bald eagles do not wear dancing shoes!

acknowledging my love for bald eagles, the five year old informed me that she would draw for me, a picture of a bald eagle. she set to it today. she had me draw a branch, then pursued her work.

i thought it was marvelous!



i told her so. she told me she didn't like it, and started on bald eagle #2. i went about my distracted tasks until she said, "look, mommy! i'll put her in RED DANCING SHOES!"

"bald eagles do not wear dancing shoes!"
i paused to note the ridiculous things we grown ups are caught saying to our children.

"well, i'm drawing this one, and it can be however i want!" she retorted. yeah. guess i've planted that seed.

the revised bald eagle isn't quite so bald with the hair buns and tiara:




if you're wondering what that round black item is next to the revised eagle... i've come to find out that it's a disco ball. the eagle is dancing to ballet music in red dancing shoes under a disco ball.

"how do you like it?" she asked.

"it's lovely."

don't get me wrong. i love the creativity, but i'm kind of looking forward to raising a boy next.

Monday, July 27, 2009

life without parole


last evening, i mowed my lawn. well, sort of. the word "lawn" implies... grass. i do have a trivial amount of grass, which resembles a lawn when i let it grow, and comb it sideways like a balding middle aged man hides his promiscuously stripping scalp. though i suspect it would be more appropriate to announce that last evening i mowed down dozens upon dozens of baby aspen trees that were initiating life on my property.

really, that sounds much more unpleasant a task than mowing a lawn, doesn't it? slicing down grass is essentially an expected chore of single family home residency. murdering small trees is... well... ungreen (would we call that red, per the color wheel?). i do foster the growth of some other little aspens. does that make me a better person?

i apologize to all of my crunchy granola friends for these actions i must take. consider: is murder in the name of my home owner's association justified?

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Montana

Quite spontaneously, our family decided to take a long weekend in Montana. None of us had ever been before, but hubby has a cousin who lives there. Her father planned to come to town, so she invited us for a rather tiny extended family reunion. I am all about going to new places lately. I figured that somehow the small children would muscle through the 10-12 hour drive, and we’d have a swell time. Little did I know the trip would be well worth it before we even arrived at our destination.

The drive through Wyoming was fascinating. It was like Kansas in its nothingness. At times, it seems Wyoming is inhabited wholly by cattle…. even the gas station attendants… were cattle. It did however maintain topographical interest that Kansas lacks. So it was pretty. We stayed overnight in a tiny town called Chugwater, population, 244 (and, between you and me, I think they included their horses and cows in that census data). We had to grab pre-breakfast snacks at a gas station, because there was no place to eat, but the Buffalo Lodge was a fine, clean place to stay, equipped with free wi-fi for the addicts among us (ahem).

As we drove, Todd kept seeing flocks of sheep. Only there weren’t any flocks of sheep. There were, however, scatterings of rocks in fields. There were also baled hay rolls. I think by the third time he saw a flock of sheep, I had to inform him that he needed to look a little closer. It’s become a standing family joke. Whenever we see a field of hay, we admire the flock of sheep…. so nicely spaced, and calmly standing so proper and still.

As we headed towards Northern Wyoming, we entered some foothills, and things became increasingly beautiful. An exit off the highway: Prairie Dog Creek Road….a road, named for a creek, named for a garden pest! Amazing!

We rolled through Montana, and little in the landscape changed through Billings (occasional green, occasional mountains, but mostly brown/grey rocks and little canyons). As we headed west, towards the mountains, seeing, in places, the Yellowstone River… a dream came true.

A grey, leafless skeleton of a tree stood by the river. The sun bleached trunk was thick, and what was left of the three lowest branches reached out, as though the length and lushness of what they once supported might still be remembered if the skeleton just held out a little longer. Near the end of the longest branch was an unseemly mass. Large, and not coherent with the dead tree form. We raced closer at 75mph. That was SO not a piece of dead tree. It had to be a bird, but the size! Maybe a vulture?

“OH MY GOD!!!” wait, who said that? Is that what I think it is??? That was my voice, but I don’t say that. Did I really say that?

“It’s a BALD EAGLE!!!!!! It has a white head! It’s an American Bald Eagle!!!”

I’ve never made a list of things that I want to see or do in my lifetime. It used to be because I was too afraid I’d disappoint myself. I’m not afraid of that anymore, but now I just haven’t had the interest to spend my time putting it down formally. Regardless, in my mind now, there are very few things that I would want to commit myself to seeing or doing. Seeing an American Bald Eagle though? In the WILD? That is without a doubt one of the things I would put on my nonexistent shortlist!

I have seen them in captivity, and when I am not prepared for them, they really cripple me. It might be slightly due to the fact that they are an emblem for our country. It’s more though. There is something about how large they are, how strong they’re built, how regal they look. Alright, maybe it’s dumb. Some people cry at weddings, I cry at birds of prey.

To me, it’s like… walking into Westminster Abbey and stepping over the grave of Geoffrey Chaucer. There is something moving, something breathtaking there, that somehow makes me feel both horribly insignificant and completely a part of something broader than my mind could possibly handle. It moves me.

So this was a fantastic trip even before I tried cousin Amy’s amazing vegetarian pasta dish! Oh, coming to Montana was a GOOD decision!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

some deity hates me


it came from the toy riddled side of the family room, and, smelling my fear, quite casually made its way towards my kitchen. i overcame my terror enough to smack it relatively immobile... except for the mandibles... which never stopped moving as long as it laid on my carpet. why do these things come out while my husband is away? this is one of the primary reasons i HAVE a husband. i need to return to my weeping now.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

linguistically speaking

many people have some sort of extraordinary dislike for a certain type of creature. do you have one? snakes, frogs, bees, scorpions, ants, earthworms... there's usually something.

my something is spiders. my dislike is severe. it borders on phobia. i have improved over the last few years. these days, my bloodcurdling shriek for help has been replaced with a double backward step of avoidance, followed by realization that i have to manage the encounter in a way that ensures first, the safety and security of my children, and second, that the blessed creature is not at liberty to encounter me again. that doesn't always mean certain death for mr. spider. sometimes i feel generous. usually not.

two nights ago, my family decided that they wanted to eat dinner outside. unless i'm at some patio restaurant, i don't particularly prefer eating outside. i live in colorado. it's hard to find a day that's warm enough, yet not too breezy by the front range, to eat outdoors. yet, there we were. it was pleasant enough. until abi spied a daddy long leg on the porch beneath the table.

mind you, i kept my cool. daddy long legs are still spiders, yet among the least offensive to me. they're just tiny basketballs with thread legs, after all. so i told abi to get her bug box and try to catch the spider (she has developed a fear of any bug-like creature that takes in nourishment through anything other than a proboscis. well, besides ladybugs. the bug box is my way of trying to help her. she doesn't mind them so much when they're safely enclosed). she, of course, was too frightened. she set her dad on task.

at first, he seemed pleased to help. then he realized there were wet, rotting leaves in the bottom of the box. he became grossed out. instead of clearing out the box and scooping the spider inside, he opened the 'door' and set the box down in front of the spider.

"there you go, abi," he said. "now he can just walk in."

"SURE!" i said, "we'll just tell him we put on the coffee pot, put on some gentle jazz, and lit a few candles for some nice ambiance, and he'll feel so welcomed that he'll just step right inside!"

"well, go ahead," todd said to me, "you speak spider. you tell him."

fabulous.

sure, i know what you're thinking... well, harry potter could talk to snakes, and that was kind of cool . this is SO not as cool as harry potter speaking parseltongue to snakes. as far as i could tell, though harry detested the house of slytherin, and so likely their snake bedecked crest, he was indifferent to actual snakes.

the thought of communicating with a spider is probably more horrific to me than simply having to cast my eyes upon a spider.

does this fall under the category of 'know thine enemy'? is that how it is that i came to be the family english-arachnid translator? excellent. no point in hiding my impetus for gaining a cursory knowledge of American Sign Language any longer. guess you all know how i really feel about deaf people now.

Friday, July 3, 2009

who gives this bride...?

oh, i think i've really done it this time.
abigail has informed me that she is never going to get married.

"why not?" i asked, innocently enough... secretly wondering if this is a good or bad thing to have her feel...

"because you said if i got married, you would give me away."

well, it's the truth.
i did say that to her, though i really don't remember the context of the conversation- it was so very long ago. it might have been a very casual moment when she was asking why papa was walking me down the aisle in my wedding pictures, and i explained how i was 'given away'. or, it might have been in one of my more snarky parenting moments when she told me she would stay with me forever and i admitted that she just might... until i gave her away (then defended it with something legitimate, like a wedding ceremony).

either way, she's convinced she isn't going anywhere, and will avoid any life experience that provides me the opportunity to shed her off. i mean... not like i would want to shed her off or anything. nope. not me. admitting that would be cruel. heartless.

i do of course realize she's only five, and, as she will eventually become a full fledged woman, she will develop her 'woman's prerogative'- the most distinct feature of which is the ability to change her mind. so maybe when it comes to saving for a wedding, we'll double name the fund... Abi's Wedding OR Mommy's new Jeep Wrangler fund.

who knows. maybe i'll be really disappointed if i don't end up with that new jeep wrangler.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

arrivals

if you've seen the movie Love Actually, perhaps you've considered the sentimentality of people watching at the arrivals area of an airport. prior to even seeing the movie, which has emerged as one of my all time favourites, i recall having a conversation with my mother about the very topic. we have noted how, in that very particular space, there is such emotion. such happiness.

obviously, not everyone has a waving auntie or jumping jelly bean grandchld to greet them, but where there are greetings, feelings abound. sometimes just a requisite hug, and kiss on the cheek. sometimes a deep kiss punctuated with the giving of red roses. sometimes a gallop to a tight grip that every onlooker can feel to the bones.

today i went to pick my mother in law up at the local airport, and i found myself lost in it. more so than usual, in part due to the fact that at the end of the week i will leave my family for a short time- for the longest period of time since having my babies. more significantly though, i think, was the impact of the size and location of the airport, and our area demographic.

it's smallish, the springs airport. as you wait for your arriving loved one there is time to note those sparsely scattered around you... the parents in their early forties, awaiting the return of their teen-aged sons from an early summer camp... the old man with the long hair, waiting to have his lover drop her purse and tote so he can kiss her proper... the young mother, fist full of 'welcome home' balloons, her two sons holding large pieces of construction paper carefully painted with "welcome home daddy!!"... the mother with the pigtailed princess trailing an american flag printed balloon for another soldier daddy...

... and you know, as i think on it, i believe this is what makes the springs airport arrivals gate significantly different from, say, denver or atlanta or philadelphia or newark. there is a bit less to soak in, and what saturates is the disproportionate number of servicemen and servicewomen being welcomed home. this town harbors the US air force academy, two air force bases, and an army base. so out of the five individuals or families waiting for an arrival, three of them were greeting military personnel. watching these reunions with our country's heroes is nothing short of riveting to me.

as i think about the daddy, quickening his pace to hug his sons around their hand made signs, the little girl racing into the security zone to hug her daddy home, or the woman in fatigues locking in the tightest, tearful embrace with her sister soldier, i know some of life's most important and moving moments are taking place right there in that small area, by the long hall of windows. right there, for everyone to see.

oh yeah, and it's great to see my mother in law too...

Monday, June 15, 2009

theories?

i've killed two ants and captured two moths in my kitchen today. JUST my kitchen (let's not talk about potential infestations in other parts of my household, shall we? that's a good reader...). while doing so, i was reminded of an odd occurrence that took place just prior to my last trip to Georgia.

it had been a particularly rainy week here at my colorado home. as an inhabitant of any earthly region, you likely note the behaviour of worms in such circumstances. in the east, they sprawled along sidewalks, living landmines. here, they are slightly less suicidal, but that might be only due to the reduced amount of rain we see. i don't think they get rained out nearly as frequently. let's not speculate. let's get to the meat here...

i opened my back door to let the dog outside during one of these moist, dreary days. the door is a wood frame glass slider, in desperate need of replacement (yes, todd- THIS MEANS YOU... ahem). when i slid the door closed, i saw something sitting in the track. it looked... well, almost like the root of a small sapling. dirty. swollen. i leaned closer... and sitting there in the track, wriggling slightly (no doubt damaged from being run over by mentioned glass door), was a worm.

i KNOW!
a WORM!!
IN my house!!
ON the DOOR TRACK!?!?
how does that happen? how could that POSSIBLY happen?


anyone??

Saturday, June 13, 2009

junk to the highest bidder!

well, it has turned into a lovely day for a yard sale! the annual neighborhood yard sale and clean up is happening this weekend. for a change, i find myself laptopping in my front yard. sitting in the shade in sandals and capris, but two layers of long sleeves to keep warm in the late spring breeze.

it's really so nice that the weather is nice too. because otherwise i might be inclined to focus quite completely on the fact that NO ONE WANTS MY CRAP!

okay. that might be a little harsh. i have made about $25 today selling baby clothes and a take along swing.... but i thought for sure i would have sold my old kitchen table by now. it's not in great shape. it's rather rickety. but it has four chairs and two leaves to extend it beautifully! it's solid maple and i'm only asking $80 for the WHOLE SET!! no one has even made an OFFER! and SOME very nervy soul even asked if i would be willing to sell just a couple of the CHAIRS (and whore-ishly, i recommended they check back with me at the end of the day)!

... and what about my carseat/stroller set that is... well maybe 5 or 6 years old... and i know no one recommends buying them second hand... but still... the whole travel set for only $40?! and i'll take less!!

i think we're at a disadvantage. being set at the very back of a looped road is not good for marketing. we need visibility. flashing neon signs... a hot air balloon inflated overhead.

in our cleanout, i've found the corset style strapless bra i wore to my wedding. i strongly considered putting it on (atop my two long sleeve layers, of course, given the chill) in a valiant marketing attempt. it might attract buyers, it might deter buyers... but surely we'd get a little more attention. my how the neighbors would talk...

Saturday, June 6, 2009

still, tomorrow's gonna be another working day...

some days, there is just too much to say, and not enough energy with which to say.

i am in Georgia, helping mom and dad during mom's recovery from her awful fall three weeks ago. i have been here for roughly 53 hours, and feel as though i have made a real contribution, though i suppose i can't be sure.

so many thoughts whipping through my mind- about physical incapacity, emotional capability, mortal humiliation... about saying appropriate/comforting things and doing appropriate/comforting things.

but for the now... i am directed by my tired bones to save my thoughts for later (if ever) and say only these two final words:

good night.

Friday, May 29, 2009

a cephalopod moment

I really hate complaining about the sleep patterns of children. I despise it. So I won't do it. Yet, probably in reading that, you are realizing that I likely have a reason for saying it. That in itself turns that fact that I say I don't want to complain about sleep patterns into a complaint about sleep patterns.

As my lack of complaint turns itself wholly into a complaint, I must wonder if it is the content of the complaint that irritates me, or the simple matter of there being a complaint. If the former, well then I'm in the clear, for I've shared no content. If the latter, well then I've just gone and bitten myself in the tail, haven't I.

Sometimes when I get in a thought spiral, I imagine myself circling in it so tight, logarithmically, that the thought itself develops a thick, hard, shell and encases me protectively like a nautilus.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

splish, splash

as i was bathing today, girl bathing her fairy doll in the sink, boy exploring liquid dynamics with my tub water, i found myself thinking about the babycenter message board. all of you baby bearers know babycenter, i'm sure. you dads might think of it with a groan, and you parents to be... oh, just you wait...

yes, even with baby number two, i fell victim to the community. i knew a lot more this time, and i felt i was more of a resource than the first time.

this time around, as the babes from the May birth club were entering their first few weeks of existence, i remember a particularly entertaining thread. well. probably frustrating for the poster, but entertaining for me.

the question posed:

"I CAN'T SEEM TO GET A SHOWER! HOW DO I BATHE!?!?"

baby is clingy. maybe rarely, or never sleeps off of mom. can't be put down for ten minutes without weeping, and well it's simply against mommy instinct to let the baby cry for very long.

as i recalled this thread and watched my children separately, and together, drenching and defiling my tiny bathroom, i considered... it's amazing the things you need to relearn after having a baby. things you took for granted become seemingly impossible. the act of relearning can make it feel as though time is slowing right down.

yet, time passes. you get advice. you get creative.

before you know it you're just rolling along wondering how and why something like taking a bath was ever so sacred in the first place.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

The Geography of Politics

The five year old just asked me if 'Al-Obama' is where Barack Obama lives.

I think I'm already getting calls from her teacher, and she doesn't start school until August.

Monday, May 18, 2009

fragile

we can do so very much sometimes. we can run long distances or lift heavy things or persevere through hardships or carry harsh emotional burdens. we can feel so sure and so capable, then in a single moment, simply trip and fall- over something, or nothing- and suddenly be rendered helpless. so helpless that two or three close people can not even fulfill your needs. where two minutes ago, you could sustain a household, now a small fleet must sustain you. it can all change in a moment, in a second.

saturday morning, mother woke and went to do one of her favourite things- shop at garage sales. she fell. she wasn't riding a horse or a motorcycle. she wasn't skydiving or bungee jumping. she wasn't rock climbing or skiing. she was just walking. and she tripped- and smashed her nose, broke her wrist and broke her leg. trying to move just half an inch is enough to send her screaming now. standing to even hobble is out of the question. she requires at least one surgery and hospital care.

sadly, there is irony. barely 14 hours prior, she was on the phone with me, reprimanding a decision i had made to travel to the northeast for over a week. "you have children to take care of! you can't go traveling around the world getting yourself hurt! your children need you!" i hollered at her that i would not live my life paranoid that something bad might happen to me.

then this simple, silly thing breaks her.

it might almost seem like i'm gloating, but please- that is so far from my mind. this awful accident is a small justification to me that anything can happen anywhere as much as it is a pure horror to me that this has happened to my mother- who can likely not see yet her path to recovery.

so try to be safe. try to be smart and careful, but most of all try to stretch yourself today to do as much as you are capable of doing. live fully, and try so hard to realize it as you're doing it. you're fragile too.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

HOT!

So, I think the baby boy said his first word last week while we were out to dinner with my parents in Georgia. We were at Red Robin- an appropriate enough place for a first word, I suppose.

Earlier in the week, we'd been mocking each other. He would give me an evil, "HA... Ha... HA..." laugh. I would respond in kind. He would echo.

So at Red Robin, I handed him a big, fat, hot french fry. I looked him square in the eye and said, "it's HOT!"

He looked straight at me and said, "HO-!" (no, not like Santa, like 'HOT' without the 'T' sound)

That's right. He was talking about me. You might think he was just starting his mock laughter with me again. You might even think he was echoing my observation that, indeed, the french fry was hot. But you'd be wrong. I saw it in his eye. What he meant was, "No, Mom... YOU'RE HOT!"

I know, son... I know....

Monday, April 20, 2009

Dreadful childhood habits we'd all love to wish never ever happen

One rather innocent afternoon, the five year old asked me, "Mommy? How do we make boogies?"

I gave her what I thought to be a rather scientific explanation. One that was probably somewhat true, very basic, and encouraged good habits along the way.

"You know we have to drink a lot of fluids, right? Well, we do that so our bodies stay moist where they're supposed to, like in our noses. Then, when we sleep, or breathe a lot through our nose, the mucus dries out and turns into boogies."

Kinda right. Encourages good fluid consumption. Go mom.

Two or three days later, the payout:

Sitting in a restaurant, she asks if she can drink some of my iced tea. I give her permission. Several large gulps later...

"Mommy! I drank lots and lots of fluid so my body can make more boogies so I can eat 'em!"

I might need to stop sharing my iced tea.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

EASTer

My personal religion has seen some shifting over the last few years. Occasionally, I might still refer to myself as 'Christian', but often now that's more a course of the way I was raised. A respectful nod to my upbringing as opposed to the way I practice spirituality in my life today.

Yet, without fail, as the years pass, every single Easter morning I fall back to a particular memory from my youth. Every Easter, regardless of the swayings of my personal faith, my mind plays the tune and lyrics to an old favourite hymn:

"Christ the Lord is Risen Today! Alleluia!"

Do you know it? Uplifting, that, no? I continue, throughout the day, to sing the entire first verse, though I know I get it wrong. As with most memories, I pick and choose what I recall from the whole, and concentrate it into what's meaningful for me... and sure, maybe some parts i just plain make up.

This holiday found me EASTer than I find myself normally. It was the second of the last four Easters since moving to Colorado where I have traveled and not spent the holiday in Colorado. Instead, I was EAST. This time, NJ (after a stay in NY, before a departure from PA), the state that was home for most of my life.

I was a little pensive about my visit. I hadn't missed it. I have missed people, certainly, and I have missed some things (the Ocean City boardwalk, Philadelphia, NY, good pizza, diners), but I have not missed living in New Jersey. Not visiting for a couple of years now, has not bothered me too much. It has seemed without mistake that the WESTer life is for me.

EASTer though, this past Easter... well it was nice. Fantastic, in fact.

When I awoke on Easter morning, in the home of dear friends (Ken, Debbi, and Michael Denton), I stepped out of the back door to a beautiful Easter morning, and rich memories filled my senses.

I thought about the spring there in New Jersey; the trees were budding their leaves, and the grass was soft and green. I thought of Easters with my family- colored eggs and rushes to church.
I thought about the hymn.

The day was calm and easy. Debbi prepared a wonderful little egg hunt for the kids and some bagged goodies. We played at the playground at Michael's school. Ken humored me by taking me for a ride on his motorcycle. I don't rightly know how the day could have been better.

I don't particularly want to move back to New Jersey at any point in time, but this EASTer was a reminder to me of the uplifting things of my past that continue to linger... of New Jersey, of friends and connections there, of green grass worth laying in, and the faith of my youth, complete with old resurrection hymns I still try to sing, year after year.

Monday, April 6, 2009

NYC

Ahhh… a day wrought with apple pie in the sky highs and fallen bread dough lows.

I had forgotten how truly good a bagel could be. On the surface, this could seem like a tragedy, forgetting the bliss of a perfect NY bagel. Upon careful consideration though, missing the food of a region can be a blessing. It’s better for my heart, my waistline, my potential for diabetes and cancers to be far far away from the land of amazing carbohydrates and perfect pizzas. Of course, for the next several days, I am doomed.

… and moments prior to leaving for Manhattan, during the ‘use the potty once more before we hit the road! You don’t want to have to go on the train!’ period, Abi struck up a case of diarrhea. My tiny hopes cracked. Was she really getting Braeden’s virus? Here comes the blessing… she only went maybe twice, and never complained of a sore tummy, or having to use the potty. I couldn’t believe it. Even Braeden only went once. It was nothing short of a miracle (on 34th St, right on up to Central Park).

The tension induced, however, had me feeling like a true New Yorker by the time our LIRR train hit Penn Station. My life was filled with so much shit, and I had an awful headache. Isn’t this how most city folks feel? Always? I considered for a time how perhaps I could fit into the Manhattan scene!

Then I looked around… saw the excruciating high heels pounding the bustling sidewalks, noted the designer bags tossed brilliantly over black wardrobe clad shoulders, looked in a Luis Vuitton store window, and in addition to noting the top pin-tucked seam of broad bowled leather pouch purses, I noted, also, my reflection: all terrain running sneakers under foot, suaded earthy vest buffering a North Face diaper bag/backpack across my shoulders, baby stroller just ahead of my hefty rugged frame. Yikes. Could I ever do that? Fit into the scene in NYC??

Then, by Central Park, I walked Braeden by one of the horses drawing a carriage around the park. “See baby? This is a HORSE! I don’t think you’ve seen one of these so close before... how pretty!”

A woman standing right next to me looked at the horse and said to a friend of hers, “oh, I like the way that horse is decorated! That’s pretty!” The horse was wearing a huge plume of turquoise feathers atop his head. His black leather straps were dotted with turquoise rhinestones. The strap padding around his girth and his rump was a bright and furry purple. Yes, the horse was decorated. I looked high. I looked low. I looked in the eyes of water fountain statues. I looked in the eyes of passersby. I could not find reality anywhere. What is real in a land where the beauty of a horse is in its ‘decoration’??? In Colorado, if a horse is decorated, he’s either been fancily branded, or awarded a medal of honor.

I understood at that moment that, though I’m pretty sure I can live anywhere for at least a short time, living in NYC would never be a good fit for me. I could do it. It just wouldn’t fit.

… and I think I’m okay with that.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Really?

About five days before leaving for a trip we are really looking forward to, an awful virus starting spreading itself from family member to family member.

This virus seethed its way through the most defenseless and innocent members of our family to a sloth-like pace.

I ended up taking those defenseless and innocent family members to a doctor who told me there was very little i could do on behalf of the tinies besides use her handy tongue depressors as poo scooping devices to collect feces from a horrific diaper and deposit it into a laboratory specimen canister or two.

Clad in latex gloves, I addressed a barely substantive diaper with my little wooden tool, specimen canister in hand, and I managed to fill that specimen canister just shy of the "fill to here" line before deciding I would whiff no stronger, get no closer, spy no deeper, for the sake of depositing a few more molecules of the vile in a vile.

Specimen canisters hardly ever fill at 9am, when there is plenty of time to get to the laboratory. They almost always fill at 4:45pm, when the lab closes sharply at 5, and you live precisely 15 minutes away.

Little innocents with gastrointestinal issues- well, they're still yours and you still have to love them when they decide the next best time to relieve their gastric strain is in the bathtub while you are trying to relieve their angry rashed bottoms in a soothing oatmeal bath. What's a little more meal in the oats anyway? You still need to rebathe them once you figure out how to slosh the tub to an adequate state of post-poo clean.

... but I'm sorry, what was that you were saying? About what a hard and awful day you had today? Really?? You poor thing.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Self Expression

Regardless of bedtime for my children, wake time is consistently between 6 and 7am every single day. Though that's a fine waking time for any grown adult, when we try to live like teenagers, as Todd and I do, we find it helps to have an occasional catch up day. Every weekend, Todd and I will do each other the courtesy of taking turns with the kids so the other may have a sleep in day.

Saturday, it was Todd's turn to sleep in. Abigail kept asking when she could wake Daddy.

"You CAN NOT wake Daddy," I told her.
"Well, when is he going to wake up then?" she replied.
"When he gets up!" I said.
"I want to wake him up NOW!" she said.
"I'm sorry, you may not."
"That makes me ANGRY!!!!" she crossed her arms, and stuck her nose in the air.
"I'm sorry to hear that. You're allowed to feel that way," I said.

I then continued doing something busy that felt productive, but showed no true results. A few moments later, she got up from the kitchen table, where apparently she had been coloring with her markers, and handed me a picture.

"What's this, Abi?"
"It's a picture of me pushing you!" she said.



I was very groggy and a bit grumpy myself, but even so, I saw this as quite something. Clearly she wanted to push me because she was upset. Yet she didn't push me... and that was good, right? I mean, parenthood is largely about tiny wins, yes? At the same time, it was an affront to me, her mother, albeit, a graphical affront. So, should there be a punishment for drawing out what you want to do instead of actually doing it? Well, I wasn't sure. Yet, I was grumpy enough to not let it pass without some retribution.




I picked up her marker, grabbed a piece of paper, and drew a picture of me putting her in a timeout for pushing me.

Just look how sad she was!
That'll teach her.

Monday, March 16, 2009

mortality and children's songs

my daughter is a delightful (read: INSANE) five years old. it's a fun age, five. you can almost hold a real conversation. you can count on the five year old to get herself dressed (though it might be in pink striped tights, a leopard print skirt, and a blue tank top in the middle of winter). you can count on her to do her own 'wiping', if you catch me.

... but occasionally you get the warped view into the tiny little exploratory mind, and you have to wonder where you went wrong.

abi has adapted the 'hickory dickory dock' song to meet her developmental need to vex me.

"hickory dickory dock.
the mouse ran up the clock.
he got the hiccups and then he died,
hickory dickory dock!"

if that was all, it might not be so bad. however, she mixes it up. in fact, the song is rarely about a mouse. it's more often about her brother or the dog.

"hickory dickory dock.
braeden ran up the clock.
he got the hiccups and then he died,
hickory dickory dock."

that bugs me a little more. i mean, i don't like to hear about my son dying, much less of the hiccups. talk about losing faith in the local health system.

... and sometimes it's me! sometimes i run up a clock, get the hiccups and die! i don't rightly have a scheme for how i'm going to go, but i'd be horrified if i expired from hiccuping! just think of the mortifying obituary:

melissa passed this weekend after quite randomly scaling a longcase clock. the incident misaligned her diaphragm, causing her to hiccup to death. she expired surrounded by her survivors: husband todd, son, braeden, and daughter, abigail, who prophesied this event at the age of five. services will be held on wednesday. in lieu of flowers, please send pocket watches.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

"with a capital 'T' and that rhymes with 'P' and that stands for Pool"

i've decided to start training for a sprint distance triathlon. yes, i know it's a bit ambitious, particularly for a mom of very little people who has never really been very athletic, but i'm on it! i ran some before having braeden, and helped inspire running in my sister. she, has now inspired triathlon-ing in me. well, now don't get your hopes too high, it's not like i am registered for a race or even have one picked out, but i'm taking the first steps, and well, that's something.

the thing is-- i can't swim. i mean, i'm fine at not drowning. i have the survival piece covered, but the act of propelling oneself from here to there in some organized fashion? well, i'm not much more successful than a bloated whale corpse carried on the tide. nonetheless, i have decided to try this thing, so... i am committed to aspiring to something greater than 'whale corpse'.

now, in this interest there is one very important thing that i must do, and that is SWIM. in a pool, because lakes in this part of colorado aren't swimmable for much of the year, and the last time there was an ocean in these parts, my closest DNA similar was likely a trilobyte. the local YMCA is fit to accommodate. the trouble is, it HASN'T accommodated.

on two separate occasions this week, i have made an effort to go swimming at the tri-lakes YMCA pool, and both times, my plans have been thwarted by some child who, in a most timely manner, decided to... well... defecate in the pool. responsible pool operators that they are, the Y closes the pool for some extended period of time to zap in a heavy dose of chlorine. well, and then i'm faced with a) not swimming or b) waiting until the pool opens again, if possible (not possible last night, when the kid crapped at about 8pm, and the pool was scheduled to close at 9.15 anyway), and thinking the whole time about the extra chlorine/kid poo spa treatment i'm getting. so i haven't been swimming all week.

now, come on, mothers of the tri-lakes region (and now i'm starting to sound like Professor Harold Hill in the Music Man)! if your child is still in the range of "questionably potty trained", there should be a swim diaper on that tailpipe! some other paying YMCA members have ambitions to climb up from 'whale corpse'! i consider hours i spend in the lap lane to be golden. helps me cultivate fish sense, and a cool head, and a keen eye. these pool closures are causing quite the set back. now i know all you folks are the right kind of parents. i'm gonna be perfectly frank. when you don't take enough precaution to swim diaper wrap that free-willed rear, there's more suffering than your sweet embarrassment!

i have no choice but to hope i'll find a solution that will allow me to get into a pool, but there's no doubt... we got Trouble, my friend.

Friday, March 6, 2009

another interview

a dear friend sent me a link to an interview one of her friends did with her own children. it was sweet really. i gave abi the same interview. turns out, it was un-bloggable, but upon completion, she decided it was her turn to ask ME questions. so, as a viable substitute, here is Abi's interview of ME:

Abi: How much do I love you?
Me: THIS MUCH
Abi: NO. All the way to heaven.

Abi: How do you know how much I love McDonald's?
Me: I know how much you love McDonalds because you get happy when we say we're going.
Abi: I don't get happy when we're going. I get CHEESEBURGERS.
Me: Yes, but first you get HAPPY, then you get Cheeseburgers.
Abi: Yes, but if Mom-mom's not coming in with us, I'm not coming.

Abi: How do you know that I hate taking shots?
Me: I know that you hate taking shots because you tell me so, and because you scream louder than anyone ever screams ever (she had her 5 yr old vaccinations today. oye)!

Abi: Where do you know I like to go?
Me: I know you like to go to Pump It Up.
Abi: YES, CORRECT! But a little more... I love going to Fox Run.

Abi: Where should I go when I miss you?
Me: Well, to see me, of course.
Abi: Yes, but what if you're far away?
Me: Buy a plane ticket.
Abi: But what if I don't have one?
Me; We'll BUY one.
Abi: But what if there's not any at any stores?
Me: We'll order one on the computer.
Abi: Good job! That's what I would do.

Abi: Why do I love playing in play areas in McDonalds?
Me: Because you like to make new friends.
Abi: oh, yes. good thought. but BECAUSE I LIKE PLAYING.
Me: ooooooooh.

i think she started feeling like an interview was, in fact, a test- a series of questions a person answers with distinctly right and wrong answers. well, regardless, we still had a lot of fun bouncing questions off of one another and discussing our answers. i think though that we need to start spending a little less time at mcdonalds.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

comfortable child, happy mommy

i admit it. i've been putting the book down in the interest of things closer to my heart. you know... the Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child book? it was wearing on me, you see... ever since the part about how fussy bratty babies often grow up to be fat kids (wha-!?).

in truth, though, Braeden's waking has become more frequent. not his feedings necessarily, but he wakes up three or four times between 7:00pm and 10:30pm. so okay. i admit that it's irritating. once again, i decide to pick the book up and at least see what dr. marc weissbluth suggests as a course of action for little Brae. i mean... i can always choose to ignore it if i want.

so i skip ahead to the section for children aged 5-12 months old. i'm ready to play in the dirt a little; get down to the nitty gritty. it's time for some serious action items. i read the introductory paragraph:

"Our goal is to establish sleep habits, so we don't want to get sidetracked by worrying too much about crying. When your two-year-old cries because he doesn't want his diaper changed or your one-year-old cries because he wants juice instead of milk, don't let the crying prevent you from doing what is best for him. Establishing healthy sleep habits does not mean that there will always be a lot of crying, but there may be some in protest. If you find this to be unacceptable when your child is four months old, then please reconsider this chapter when he is nine or ten months old."



see, already, they are preparing for me. from introduction they are trying to bait me into the concept that i need to ignore my initial instinct (can someone please tell me why i should be ignoring my natural maternal instinct??? right. because some doctor clever enough to be published, thinks my little lovely needs to establish sleep habits).

well, okay. let's walk through these little parental examples, because no, i'm not one to stop changing the two year old that cries for at a diaper change, or give in to the one year old who prefers juice of the apple over juice of the moo, but are these examples true paraellels? i'm an experienced mom here, people.

if the two year old kicks and screams for the diaper change, i try to soothe him/her to the best of my ability. i try to make him giggle by telling him how stinky he is. i distract her by letting her hold the clean diaper or a toy. i do it as quickly as possible, and when it's through, move right on to the next thing. i don't just plow through the change, unreactive, and walk away once it's done.

the one year old who cries without juice? i don't just give her a cup, and walk away; i try to soothe him/her to the best of my ability. if baby's smart enough to consider options, he can choose between milk or water. the choice alone takes away from the mandate, and having nothing at all is also an option. besides, how long is the thirsty baby going to cry with a sippy cup tucked in his smoocher?

the baby who wakes up crying from tummy aches or bad dreams or loneliness or whatever else causes him discomfort? i try to soothe him/her to the best of my ability. all i need to do is pick him up. hold him a little while. maybe change him or give him a bottle- stuff i do for him all the time. no games or manipulation required.

maybe it's not easy to distract the two year old from her diaper change. maybe it's not easy to make the one year old drink milk. picking up my nine month old because he's crying in the dark? easy.

already i'm less irritable about those night wakings. looks like i'm putting you down again for a while, doc. i don't think it's how you meant it to work, dr. weissbluth, but thanks for your help

Monday, March 2, 2009

has anybody seen my blog?

i can't seem to find it.
anyone?
anyone?

Saturday, February 28, 2009

so comfortable

It's been a bit of a tricky week. Dad spent some time in the hospital here for what seems to have been a TIA (Transient Ischemic Attack), and everyone's nerves have been somewhat frazzled ever since, for a multitude of reasons- concern for further episodes, tension with each other over how we handled the situations earlier in the week and the best things to do now. I've been really stuck for ways to ease any part of the discomfort.

Last night, I downloaded iTunes onto my new laptop, knowing at some point I would want or need it.

This evening, I sat down to feed Braeden a bottle (with my laptop at my side, as usual). Dad sat on the other side of the room, reading a book, and it struck me... I clicked on iTunes, and pulled up the Irish Folk Singer, Val Doonican. VAL DOONICAN!!! Were you there during my childhood? Do you know that 'Walk Tall' was one of the first songs I remember hearing EVER?! Do you know that I danced with my father at my wedding to a Val Doonican song that I transferred to cassette from the ancient album we used to play on a (get this) RECORD PLAYER!!

As iTunes allows, I played a snippet of an old favourite, O'Rafferty's Motorcar, and a smile lit his face. I told him I could download the album. We agreed that I would pluck it from iTunes for him, and now I sit here listening to Delaney's Donkey.

"You have no idea how nice it feels to sit here and read and listen to old songs from my past," Dad said. "It feels so comfortable."

Monday, February 23, 2009

flushed

once in a while i get the itch to do something outside of my usual role. for fun. for experience. to stretch myself a little bit. it's normally a smallish task. a couple years ago, i changed the tire on my truck (something i did again just this past weekend). i installed the light fixture in abi's bathroom a few months ago, and installed one in the basement this weekend.

i find a great benefit in doing things like this. first, it increases my feelings of self sufficiency. second, it gives me experience in a real life thing that some people do all the time, and other people never ever do for themselves, and once i accomplish the task, it becomes significantly easier to accomplish again.

today i did something i never thought i'd do.
today i installed a toilet.

i had a couple of hiccups in the process... a slipped T bolt when tightening it to the bowl stand; a missing gasket that instigated a quick trip to home depot to attach the tank unit to the bowl; a massive blockage that we realized was just braeden.



all in all, however, it seemed to go without issue. i do believe it was not only my first toilet installation, but perhaps it was my first time plumbing, ever!

i learned a few informational morsels that i would like to share.
  • first, carrying a toilet to a basement for installation is actually quite manageable, as long as you remember to open the box, and take the toilet downstairs in pieces. that stuff doesn't need to stay all together if you want to avoid hernia.
  • second, it's important to have the right tool for the job, and sometimes the right tool is hidden in the box with the wrong tool.
  • third, people who compile instructions for installing a toilet are stupid. limiting instructions to a sketch drawing accompanied by 5 tiny half sentences in 5 alternate complex languages seems to make peoples' brains fall out. they don't list everything that came in your box. they don't tell you where to put the "extra" parts, and sometimes they'll just throw you a picture of a circular item to put onto your bolt, but they won't tell you if it's a washer or a gasket. i've determined maybe you need to be an idiot in order to even translate the instructions. it's no wonder guys never ask for directions.
it was a wonderful project that took me only a couple of hours to complete, and ended with a great sense of satisfaction. and so far- no leaks (knock on wood, quick)!

i must admit though, it's the first time i have worked diligently on a project, focused on it, became attached to it, found pride in it, enjoyed it, then peed on it.

Friday, February 20, 2009

complain, complain!

are we nearing a full moon or something? abigail today has been complaining about everything! we're talking about a happy kid here, but i am starting to lose it!

she had some time riding in daddy's car today, so all afternoon i've been hearing how all she wants to do is sit and ride in daddy's car, or go home and watch a movie.

"sorry, honey, we have errands we have to run. if you're a good girl you can have a special treat from the food store!"

"ooooooh. i want to be in daddy's car.
i don't like this car.
this car is messy.
i want to be in daddy's car where it's clean."

grrrr. you're the reason this car is riddled with goldfish crackers, used lollipop sticks, and mildewy snowboot stains.

"i'm sorry it's so messy, honey. anytime you want to pick up some trash and make it cleaner, you go right ahead."

"i don't like the black car.
i want to be in the BLUE car.
i like blue better than black.
we should paint the car."

black and blue... the cars won't be the only things that are black and blue...

"i think you'll have a hard time getting our car painted, honey."

"i don't like a black car.
i want to get a NEW car."

well, maybe i want to get a new kid!!!!!

she's asleep in the back seat now.
really, she's just sleeping.
i swear.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

no bite!

He bit me!
Braeden bit me, the little scamp!

It's somehow more insulting this time around.

I breastfed Abigail until she was something like 12.... oh, wait.... she's only 4, so it must have only felt like 12 years. Maybe it was more like 27 eternal months. Well, as soon as she started getting teeth, and the biting started (that's right- when she'd crunch down on a breast- cringe if you must), I'd pull her off with a screech. A loud mommy that takes away food was a quick lesson for one Abigail Rose.

Since the breastfeeding with Braeden was a six week massacre, it took him until today to find a decent place on mommy to try out the new pearls (already the boy develops more slowly than the girl). Yes, the shoulder is a better place to take the blow, but this time I fell victim to six fully erupted little hammers.

So it happened that Braeden received his first bout of feedback from mommy that sent him into a fit of tears, a holler and a backward yank. It's a bittersweet thing, really. When the little one reacts with crying, I know I've made an impact. He gets that x leads to y and y is unpleasant. Yet, the little guy has a head cold right now. He felt unpleasant enough without hearing he couldn't tear off a tasty bite of mommy.

Alright, maybe just a tiny sliver off the collar bone if his fever jumps above 103.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

The Mommy Filter

It's a good thing to have, the mommy filter. It keeps me looking level when dealing with my children.

The output end of the filter delivers:
"What happened? Baby, do you need a kiss? Let me help you up,"

when from the input side, the mind pushes through something more like:

"WHAT?! You're running around like a moron in stockings, and you forget there are stairs between the hall and living room? Oh, that's right, we've only lived here for four years, you great clumsy oaf!!!"

Hooraaaaaaaay mommy filter!!

I caved.

I had to look up the Neighborhood of Make Believe characters. It seems that over time, my mind has blurred and merged puppet characters, much like the mind blurs thoughts into strange dream sequences. There was a Henrietta Pussycat AND a Daniel Tiger in the neighborhood. I think it's the Daniel Tiger that I was thinking about most prevalently, only he spoke like Henrietta Pussycat.

When I was young, my memory was succinct and reliable. My parents could depend upon it. Maybe memory is something we pass on to our children even more completely than dominant genetic traits.

Like dad always says, "She has her mother's brains... they had to go somewhere."

Saturday, February 14, 2009

What was the name?

I have been wracking my brain for half the day today trying to recall the name of that blessed little cat/tiger puppet from Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood of Make Believe. You remember the one, don't you? She (He?) lived in or near a clock? I remember the day (s)he got a little watch to wear on the wrist. I think the little kitty was really closest to Lady Aberlyn.... or however you spell her name. I'm not looking it up. I have refused to google it yet.

You see, I just know that when I think of the name of that little puppet, a soft warm feeling is going to wash over me... that feeling I used to get listening to it talk with its sweet little 'meows' (meow really wish meow could meow-member meow's name). Falsely inducing that feeling by cheating just feels so... wrong. So I need to pine over it until it comes to me.

I started running through the characters in an effort to recall... There was Lady Aberlyn, Scary looking Lady Elaine, X the owl, King Friday, Prince Tuesday, that cool Purple Panda... a dog... Bob Dog?... and this blasted little kitten. Or was she a tiger? I think Todd said Henrietta, and that was the name that seems to have come closest.

Henrietta Kitten.

Is that right?
Do you know without searching the web for it?

Monday, February 9, 2009

the worst part

it isn't the night waking.
the worst part isn't having to get up and change a diaper or a wet through outfit.
it isn't walking downstairs, half asleep, waiting for the tap water to warm up to make a bottle.
the worst part isn't bringing a baby into your bed for the night.
it isn't even the disappointment you get when your significant other doesn't pull what you feel to be his or her share of the duties in the middle of the night.

the worst part is hearing that what you're doing, what has worked just fine in your mind for somewhere between eight months and five years, is maybe not what you "should" be doing. forget whether the "should" holds any merit. the worst part is waking up at 12.30am, knowing your standard routine that keeps everyone relatively rested is now this great big question mark that could potentially be harming your child just because someone you trust, and some quack in a book told you it might be so. so now what works turns into something you doubt. something that wasn't too bad plagues you as something you maybe should avoid, morphing a manageable routine into something by which you are mildly concerned and socially judged.

the next time my pediatrician asks if my son sleeps through the night without eating, i'm just going to lie and tell her yes.

Friday, February 6, 2009

really? we need a strategy?

I think, in life, there are some things that are best strategized. How to add a new regular expense to a family budget, perhaps. Or, how a company shall manage correcting damages from the latest computer virus. Maybe even more smaller scaled things, like how to plot out a morning so all children are dressed, fed, and to school on time. But, come at me with talk of "sleep strategies", and I turn off. I simply don't want to hear it. To me, sleep is something you just do. You don't develop a plan to achieve it. If you're tired- SLEEP! If you're not tired- STAY AWAKE!

When I had Abigail, one of the earliest irritations that I stumbled across was how everyone tossed out inquiries about how she slept. For the life of me, I could not understand how on earth it was anyone's business. I started telling people that she slept fine, just so I didn't need to go into the details of how we slept in a chair for 10 months, me holding her, then half in a chair, half in a bed, co-sleeping for another 8 months. Then, she'd sleep in a crib for 3-4 hours a night, and sleep the rest of the night in my bed with me. To this day, she wakes up at least once a night, and I almost always wake up with her in my bed. She sleeps, I sleep, and Todd sleeps, so we make it work. Now, there's Braeden.

In my family, "Ferberization" might as well be a four letter word. When babies cry, they are sending you, the parent, a message. Most often, it deals with discomfort. As parents, we know we can not always, and should not always, do all we can to make our children comfortable (yes, honey, mommy would be more comfortable in a Mercedes-Benz too! Now, get on your tricycle). But when you're talking about a nine month old baby? A baby that just wants you to hold its little body close so it can feel safe and warm while falling asleep? Will someone please tell me why that is so wrong?

Wait. Scratch that. Today, someone tried to tell me why it was wrong. Namely, our pediatrician. I should state here, that I adore our pediatrician. She has been a saint, and ultimately, she encouraged me to do what's right for my family... but only after she lectured me for ten minutes on the benefits of having my baby go the night without eating, and sleep through the night in his own crib, in his own room, self-soothing if he wakes up ticked off.

It would lead to better sleep for me, she said... I don't care about sleep! I decided long ago sleep was over rated!
It would lead to better sleep for my family... if they're tired enough, they'll sleep through it!
He would nap better if he slept through the night.... grrrreat, now he's going to sleep his whole life away?

I think she sensed my wall on the topic. Several times in her discussion with me, telling me how Braeden doesn't need night feedings and should be able to sleep all night, she would seem to break out into laughter, and I think she knew that I was rubber and she was glue and her fancy shmancy sleep theories were bouncing off me and sticking to either her or the baby goo left on the exam table by the previous patient. Her reasoning just would not penetrate. It seemed to be an argument that MY life would be better if I let HIM be miserable for a few nights. Right. Because his crying is so pleasant to me.

People, there is a reason that a baby's cry is irritating as hell. It's a call for action. I want my baby to cry when he's uncomfortable just like I want my fire alarm to go off when my house is on fire.

Okay, but I need to come back to the fact that I adore my pediatrician. She wouldn't lead me astray, would she? I really like her. She has her own kids. I mean, I'm tempted to meet her before work for coffee, I dig her so much. Maybe I should give this at least a cursory glance.

She recommended this book, Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child, and i bought it today. Research never hurt anyone. She also recommended I get Braeden a little lovey toy that might help sooth him in his crib at night. Forcing comfort feels contrived, but I must admit, as I held him here on my lap at his last waking (of three in the last 2 hours), he did pull his little 'snuggy moo' toy close and suck on it as he fell asleep again.

So, I'll dote on Brae's moo cow blankie, and I'll try to keep an open mind while I read someone's strategies on sleeping... but you need to know, here and now, I'm skeptical.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

The Interview

My dear friend, Pam, is a journalist. She recently posted a crafty little fresh air blog, answering interview questions given to her by another person in an "interview chain". Well, I thought it was positively lovely learning some interesting things about her, and decided that I am certainly self-centered enough to want to be interviewed myself. Especially by thoughtful, inspirational Pam! So, here's the game. If you're interested, I'd love to pass the chain your way.

The Rules:

A.) Leave me a comment saying, “Interview Me!”
B.) I’ll respond with five questions of my choice for you to answer (and I promise to try to make them exciting and interesting.)
C.) You update your blog with the answers to the questions
D.) You include “The Rules” and offer to interview other people

... and now... Pam's interview of me:
1. If they made a movie about your life, who would you want to play you (and why)?
I would love to be played by Angelina Jolie. I think she is beautiful and spunky- things I'd like to consider myself. Then I remember that her movies are usually of the action variety. My most action packed activity of going to the grocery store goes down like milk toast. So, given she'd likely reject the role, I'd petition Laura Linney. She's beautiful too, and talented, and Todd has the hots for her. It's the least I could do for him, create a fake world in which he's married to Laura Linney.

2. What do you hope your kids do for a living when they grow up?
I just hope my kids do something that makes them happy. HA! As if! No responsibly parental packaged answers from me. I have real thoughts on the topic.
Abigail is a superstar. I hope she becomes some sort of performer- Broadway diva perhaps, or even a circus clown. I think she has the personality to pull off a life in the spotlight. She is a clever one too though, and as an intellectual, I'd also be thrilled to see her emerge as a scientist of some sort. I think science needs more smart, social, beautiful women.
I don't quite have Braeden figured out yet, but with his early signs of patience and persistence, it might be nice to see him go into education. He can teach at a local medical school between hours of treating his patients at his family practice office. That way he can make both me and his Jewish grandmother proud.

3. If you could change one thing about your husband, what would it be?
I would want him more attentive. He works hard at it, and has come such a long way in our nearly 13 years together. Still, it's no surprise to him or those that know him well that he has an attention span that's a combination between a three year old, high on cotton candy, set free in disney world and a rabid gerbil.

4. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
I would like to be able to exhibit compassion when dealing with people who need it. I have a habit of being rather caustic. It doesn't often serve me well. I wish I was better at keeping my house clean too. Can I change two things??

5. What is your dream job (without regard to schooling, experience, training, etc.)?
I have a list of dream jobs. I really wish I had just one, then I'd truly go after it hot and heavy, but with a number of things on my list, I don't know what's feasible- what I should go for, and what I should table. I'm sorry- you don't get just one answer. You get a list, or at least as much of it as I can think of right now: Equine Veterinarian, Author/Writer, Medical Doctor/Surgeon (I've always found cardiology particularly fascinating), Mathematics Instructor, Horse Trainer, Alpaca Farmer, Artist (painter or potter), Web Designer. I guess you could say my future is wide open.

Thank you, Pam!

Saturday, January 31, 2009

colorado, earth, the milky way?

last night was a much needed girls' night out for me. i went dancing with my dear friend, lady a, co-founder of our official "dance club" trio (we sorely miss our third co-founder, chou, who is now dancing her way around canada). it was really the first full blown dance night for me since becoming pregnant with braeden. we had a fantastic time.

at one point in the evening, i was dancing near this gentleman who introduced himself as marcus (i say gentleman because that's what he was. not all of those that grace a downtown dance floor are such, but marcus was genuinely a nice person). he asked me, "are you from colorado?"

"yes," i answered.

"huh!" he said. "you don't normally see girls from colorado that move like you do."

well, at first i was a little taken aback from such a comment. as opposed to a simple pick-up line, i sensed this was meant as a pure observation. he was probably right.

then i thought about the question. where was i from? what does the question mean, and what then, my answer?

"i was raised in jersey," i admitted.

"AH! alright," he said, and something seemed to click clear to him.

born in iowa, raised in new jersey, calling colorado home- where do you think i'm from?
where are you from?

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

no bunny is safe

after less than a week of learning the basic mechanics of crawling, 8 month old braeden's crawling has reached new levels. literally. we have one of those silly multi-level houses with two steps separating the carpeted family room from the hardwood floored kitchen. last night, with a ton of encouragement, and only a slight amount of help from his sister, braeden managed to climb the two stairs into the kitchen.

todd was excited about the crawling in general, but expressed some concern about braeden rushing to accomplish steps. my opinion (as if it matters, there's no stopping the growth freight train)- crawl, pull-up, stair climb, cruise, walk, go, go, GO! yes, it means more work for me to keep up with him and try to keep the electrical wires out of his teeth, but it also means less frustration for him with regards to his mobility. ultimately, i'm not one of those people who adores babies, and wants to keep them little and tender forever. i like to watch the growth. each phase comes with its own challenges, so i won't say having kids is easier than having babies, but i am comfortable in saying i just like it more once they're 2+.

admittedly, the mobility causes issues. especially as it coincides with the phase of the finger pinch grasp. now, not only crap from a two foot square area of floor can, and does, end up in his mouth. now, it's the whole damn floor acting as a giant dust bunny buffet.

abi, i believe, has come up with the perfect solution to this little problematic phase. last night i saw her sitting on top of her tall plastic laundry hamper as it sat, inverted, over a seated and confused braeden.

points for ingenuity, abi.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

did you ever have one of those naps?
one of those late in the day naps that you are sure will refresh you yet you wake in some alternate universe?
an alternate universe where it's an hour before the kids go to bed, and they still need to eat and bathe, and one kid is bouncing around like tigger on speed and the other is so spent that he just sits and cries endlessly?
one of those naps where you're quite sure a quiet, calm wake-up would have served better than the bathroom-sink-torn-up-and-the-full-glass-of-water-spilled-on-the-floor-and-the-baby-peeing-all-over-the-carpet-the-moment-you-take-the-diaper-off wake-up your alternate reality seems to be actually dealing you?
one of those naps where you think surely this isn't the messy, noisy, strung out life you imagined ever having for yourself, much less waking abruptly into?
did you?
did you ever have a nap like that?
uhh... no? um... ahem... no.
no, me neither.

Friday, January 23, 2009

liar

my dad told me this morning that in the period of a ten minute conversation, everybody lies no less than three times.

all of a sudden, i don't feel so bad.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

a new era

amazing times are upon us. things that have never happened before are splashing into the brisk waters of reality, whether welcomed or dreaded. some fear change, admitting its difficulty and avoiding it to its ever encroaching border. some embrace it, noting it as one of life's only constants and adjusting their sails for the shifting winds. i can only hope that as the coming years crash change upon my shores, i am able to proceed with vigor, stolidly carrying my passion for life like a burning torch.

abigail is newly enrolled to begin attending school this coming fall.

braeden is propelling himself mobile into a crawl.

oh, and i think i also heard a black man was sworn in as U.S. president.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

they play!

Braeden is about to turn eight months old. Abi has loved playing with him. She is a fantastic big sister. When he started laughing, she made it her business to get as many laughs from him as she possibly could. This is a task she sets upon daily. Sometimes her play is a little too rough. For me. He rarely cares unless he takes a wooden block to the face, or a wooden floor to the back of the head.

About five days ago, a beautiful thing happened. They started playing their very first game together. As equal, willing participants.

You know the one. It's a baby's favourite early game... yours too, I bet... push air out of the lungs, hum against the vocal chords, hang the lips slack and wiggle the fingers against the lips making a charmingly embarassing blub-blub-blubble sound for self enjoyment, and the enjoyment of others (because OH! look how this makes mommy SMILE)! This game, when played alone, can provide a little human with a good amount of mileage. Add into the equation a big sister that waggles her fingers against your lips FOR you, and all of a sudden you have an interactive game for two!

I have to say that, it's been a joy to see... or, hear. They mostly play their game in the car, while sitting side by side with little else to do, but I think it's wonderful that they interact this way together- both smiling. I'll try hard to remember this time when they're smacking each other with book bags and fighting over the playstation.

Friday, January 16, 2009

open mouth, insert foot

i've been called insensitive and callous more than once. no one wants to be those things. i understand that i am often received in this way. i am learning to accept it.

but really? i just want to help. that's what i really want to do. sometimes too honestly, but i'm not afraid to apologize.

hi.
i'm melissa.
i say the wrong things, and i smell like baby vomit.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

chicken salad

Necessity assisted me in mothering a new chicken salad recipe this past week, while Todd was away. Not a fan of chicken salad, at lunchtime one day, I realized I had leftover chicken breasts that I had sauteed in garlic and served over salad greens the night prior. Anyway, I remembered what my sister has told me over the last couple years- that I have cooking qi- and I pulled out a wizzbang of a hit! Well... for chicken salad.

My dog, Violet, likes it too.

I made the chicken salad again today with what was left of the chicken breasts. Chicken, chopped onion, grated carrots (OUCH! knicked my knuckle!), dried cranberries, and light mayo. Abi had finished her bowl of noodle soup. Braeden was sleeping in his swing (the lazy bum).

I like to sit on the floor sometimes. It helps me feel grounded. With no one to join me at the table, I plopped down on the fraying throw rug by my kitchen sink. The clever Violet took her spot patiently by my side. I looked into her darling little eyes. Noted how innocent she was. For some reason, my mind flashed back to a night I spent at Palm Beach Atlantic College, when a girl, then my room mate, worked very hard to search her bible to convince me that animals do not go to heaven. No animals in heaven? How can that be heaven? I looked at Violet, considering that she might not see a heaven. With a virtual smile on her face, I think she reminded me of the classic truth all little children know: All Dogs Go To Heaven.

I gave her a pet under the neck, knowing if I go to any kind of heaven, so will she. I followed the pet with a piece of chicken from my chicken salad. Lick, lick, lick, gobble. I gave her another piece of chicken. Less licks, more gobble. I noticed that knick on my knuckle had bled across my finger. I offered the bloody finger to Violet. She sniffed. Hey, aren't dogs supposed to lick our wounds? Isn't their saliva said to contain antibacterial agents? I told her so. Instructed her on her responsibility. She sniffed again. Looked away. I rinsed my finger at the sink.

So, I can say at least this for my chicken salad. It's apparently better than the prospect of consuming human blood.