Navigating the sticky, jam-covered road of life.  

Thursday, September 3, 2009

That tornado running through Party City today? Yeah. That was my kid.

Yes.  Today my kids were those kids.  Those kids who were practically out of control.  And I was that mom.  That mom who let her kids run wild in a public place.  Only I wasn't by myself.  I was with another mom.  And her kid was just as unruly as mine.  Not that that makes it any better.  

Today I saw Sunshine totally devolve from that sweet, quiet, respectful kid that I often suspect is actually older than her birthdate would suggest; into a whining, petulant 4 year old.  All in the interest of doing exactly what her friend was doing.  I saw mob mentality in action.  And no matter how many times I told her to lower her voice or to come back to me, she did not listen.  I practically had an I will not be ignored, Dan moment, and she still didn't listen.  

I can't believe that I didn't drag her puny butt back home.  I can't believe that I didn't cancel the joint birthday party that we were out shopping for.  I failed her today.  And it's too late to go back.  I will not get that little opportunity for a lesson back.  At least not for a while.  Because it will be a while before I take her out with me again.  And we will most certainly not be accompanied by a friend.  

I've been listening to the controversy surrounding the man who slapped a 2 year old in Walmart because she was crying.  And when it comes to crying 2 year olds, I think that there is very little that you can do.  And, not knowing most of the circumstances, I think the best that mother could have done would be to finish her shopping as quickly as possible and leave.  Because a 2 year old will not necessarily understand leaving, and because leaving is probably what they want most of all.  And that would be rewarding the behavior.  (And just an aside... if that man had slapped one of my kids?  Well, let's just say that he wouldn't be walking away, and he would be minus a set of balls.   No one hits my child.  I don't hit my child.)

But my kid was 4 not 2, and she was acting like a turd.  And so was I.  It was my responsibility to leave.  I'm usually so hypersensitive to those around me.  I have no idea what I was thinking. 

I'm not going to beat myself up over it anymore though.  Sunshine and I had a long talk about how she didn't have to (AND SHOULDN'T) do what a friend was doing if it was wrong.  And what proper store behavior looks like.  And what will happen if I ever see her behaving like this again.  And that she's tremendously lucky that I didn't cancel the birthday party.  

And I hope she got the message, because next time?  Next time, I will not be ignored. 





Friday, August 28, 2009

Memories

I have this one really intense memory.  Well, if you ask my Mom, she'd tell you that I have lots of memories.  That I'm practically an elephant and peanuts are my favorite snack.  And I do.  I have a fabulous memory for all things associated with my childhood.  Now the location of my husband's keys, or perhaps what happened 20 minutes ago, those memories aren't so strong.  

Anyway, I'm digressing.  Back to this memory.  I was just a bit older than Sunshine is now.  And I believe we were living in Charleston.  My mom was getting ready for a bunch of ladies to come over to the house.  Probably the ladies she worked with, but I'm not certain.  I really wanted nothing more than to be with my Mom in the kitchen, and I happened upon this wonderful idea of cleaning the sink.  I could make it beautiful, and I could be there in the kitchen with my mom.  Maybe if I were useful, I wouldn't get relegated to my room to play.  

So clean the sink I did.  Scrubbing.  Bubbles.  Hot water.  I remember being so proud of myself, exclaiming to my Mom that everyone would see how beautiful the sink looked, and that they would know that I cleaned it.  She completely agreed with me, and didn't fail to tell everyone who came that it was I who cleaned the sink.  

That memory came flying back to me tonight as I was cooking dinner.  Sunshine got up on her stool and suggested that she could clean our sink.  She put all her heart and soul into cleaning that sink, much like I remember doing myself.  And she was so proud of herself when she looked at the finished product.

And because we don't have anyone coming over to our house tonight... I'm telling you all.  Sunshine was the one who cleaned the sink tonight.  She worked so hard on it, and she is so very proud of herself.  And so am I.  

Thursday, August 27, 2009

See One, Do One, Teach One

To My Wonderful Husband?  Boss?  Partner? (Damn.  It gets confusing when some of those lines get crossed.)

I think I'm ready to quit.  I think I've tried really hard to help you.  I was somewhat understanding when you demanded that I get letters out on a Sunday morning.  Because hey, even though the Post Office is closed and those letters won't get sent until Monday morning, they absolutely must be ready on Sunday-freaking-morning.  OK.  So maybe I wasn't all that understanding.  But you get the point.  You did finally concede that it was probably the wrong time to get them out.  But only after I sent you a few passive aggressive murderous looks while typing away on the computer, listening to the children run wild, and thinking about the nasty breakfast dishes that were awaiting me while I worked on your letters.  

But this?  This is just downright obnoxious.  You ask me complete a relatively important task, but you only give me part of the information required.  You want me to figure it out on my own.  Because apparently it's important that I keep my brain functioning.  Which would be fine.  If I had four hours to figure it out on my own.  Four hours where I wasn't listening to one or both of my children yell that they wanted to play games, pee on the floor, pee in the potty, eat an ice cream, or just to please, please, please put down the computer because they hate the computer.  But frankly, I'll be damned if I spend so many precious hours on a project that you will toss when I show it to you because it's not what you wanted.  It's called training, dude.  And I could use a little bit of it.  I don't throw my kids off the deep end to teach them how to swim.  

And honey, if you want a letter.  Say L-E-T-T-E-R.  If you want a form.  Say F-O-R-M.  No more of these amorphous emails.  Clarity.  That's where the law is headed.  Embrace it.  Practice it.  Love it.  For the love of God, and your tired, slightly overwhelmed wife.  

Seriously?  I don't want to quit.  And I do want to help.  But I've got two active kids, a house that doesn't clean itself, breakfasts, lunches, and dinners to cook, laundry to do, school meetings to attend, carpool to do all by myself (because YOU conveniently planned early meetings all week).  I just don't have the time to figure out what you want.  Just freaking tell me.  Spell it out.  I know you've got a ton of work to do too, but we'll be a bigger help to each other if we aren't resentful.  

OK. Rant over. 

***

This was the first week of school.  Hallelujah.  Sunshine was ready.  I was ready.  I think that I must have repressed the memory of what school mornings could be like though.  And it's not over arguments about clothing or hairstyle.  Sunshine and I?  We just move at two different rates of speed.  And I hate to be late.  

***

We're turning Ladybug's world upside down.  Last week it was the sippy cups.  They're gone.  Every single one of them.  Really, she just got in the habit of losing them, or hiding them for me to find later, usually still filled with congealed milk.  But we've been freed.  And Ladybug has been tethered to the kitchen table.  Well, she is if she wants something to drink.  This week though, it's the diapers.  If I've any hope of Ladybug being ready for school in January, it's time.  Of course these changes are exponentially increasing the amount of mopping and laundry I'm doing.  Fabulous.  No matter what I do I create work for myself.  


First day of school goodness.  Sunshine is thrilled to go.  Ladybug wants to go so badly.  Soon.  

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

I so knew this was going to happen. And I have a bruise on my butt and a knot on my head to prove it.

I knew this was going to happen.  A little background perhaps.  I have two small children, one of which who is learning how to use the bathroom.  It's messy business, raising children.  Consequently, our little bathroom downstairs, the one all of our guests use, often smells like I have two children who use the bathroom.  I hate it.  

A little while ago we were staying with some family who had a delightful pomegranate oil with reed diffusers in their bathroom.  It smelled so good.  Surely something like that could improve our little bathroom.  Right? 

But I knew it.  The kids could never leave it alone.  As I was purchasing one, watching the saleswoman scan the UPC code, I knew its days would be numbered sitting on the top of the commode (which by the way is one of my least favorite words in the English language).   But such was my desire for a pleasant smelling bathroom that I bought it anyways.

So yesterday it was placed in the bathroom, and proceeded to work its magic.  The bathroom was smelling just delightful.  Such a lovely combination of pomegranate and mango has never been smelled before in our house.  I knew it was too good to last.

And I was right.  I knew it.  I heard one of the two little mischief-makers fooling around in the bathroom.  And I heard some glass fall to the floor.  Forgetting that there was a lot of (expensive) oil in said glass container, I ran into the bathroom and... wait for it... I totally bit it in the oil.  My feet went up, my rear went down, my head slammed onto the floor.  So there I was: bruised and covered in pomegranate mango oil.  And now my bathroom?  Well it reeks of pomegranate mango oil just about as much as I do.  And the floor?  Well lets just say that I'm still slipping everywhere.  

The moral of the story?  I don't think I can have nicely smelling things until my children have left the nest.  Sigh.  It'll be a while.


Monday, August 17, 2009

Strangely Weird and Weirdly Strange Part 1

 Sometimes I think I'm surrounded by quirkiness.  Ladybug HAS to sleep with two extremely hot, fuzzy blankets.  Said blankets must be perfectly straight.  Heaven forbid they fall because there will be hell to pay.  Oh, and baby.  Or WaWa as Ladybug likes to call her.  WaWa has to be tucked in next to Ladybug, under her own blanket, but not disturbing Ladybug's blankets.  And the water?  Oh, the water.  It must be ice cold.  And tucked neatly under the fuzzy, hot blankets.  Afternoon sleep will only occur if all of the above stated conditions are met.  But sometimes not even then.  Today being one of those days.  

The fearless Ladybug.  The one who bravely climbs to the top of the playground equipment all by herself, sliding down poles and slides that her sister is hesitant around.  This fearless Ladybug squeals like the little girl that she is if she thinks that a bug might even be in the nearby vicinity.  I have to try so hard not to laugh, because that would embarrass her.  But seeing her throw back her head and howl THE BUG! THE BUG! is funny beyond words.  

Sunshine is no less quirky.  It starts every morning with the panties.  Should she wear these panties?  But she might want to save them for a play date.  And does the pink in this pair match the dress that she wants to wear?  The pattern doesn't matter, just the color.  Stripes with polka dots?  Great, as long as they have the same color.  Then it's the outfit.  She wants to be pretty, but not messy pretty.  I'm still not sure what messy pretty is, but I'm fairly positive it's an unintended consequence of our infrequent America's Next Top Model rerun watching.  Daytime TV really is lousy.  But it's better than her walking up to someone on the street and asking if they know who their baby daddy is.  I do have standards.

She likes her drinking water served warm, and her shower water cold.  I know.  She can't possibly be my kid, right?  She'll devour weird seafood like squid and octopus.  But chicken?  Only when Mars and Jupiter are in alignment on the 2nd day of the 5th month, and it's raining. She keeps me constantly on my toes.  I just never know how she'll respond to something.  Today she spent much time telling me that she wanted to be a mom and a cook when she grows up, but only if she doesn't have to have any children.  Because then her tummy would grow big, and so she just wants to be a mom to dog children.  Apparently having a big tummy would not be messy pretty. 

And that brings me to my dear husband who also always keeps me on my toes.  Apparently our laughing over the photo I posted on Saturday was supposed to tell me that he didn't want me to post it.  Ooops.  Must have missed that.  Selective hearing, you know.  So, honey, this is for you.  

*Sorry, Mom.  But you have to admit, we do look a lot alike!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Honey, You Had To Know I Would Post This.

I have it, folks.  Proof positive that my daughter's posing is descendant not from occasional screenings of America's Next Top Model...

But from her Dad.  


I'm sure I will pay dearly for this.  But man, I love genetics and flipping through old photos.



Tuesday, August 11, 2009

What I Wouldn't Give For An Instant Teleportation Device

We're almost there. Tomorrow we leave on what will be the longest leg of our journey, but it will be the one that brings us home. We've had such a wonderful time, but I can barely contain myself. My own bed is calling, and I can't wait to get the children back into the completely dark room that keeps them sleeping beyond 6 am.

The trip home tomorrow should be interesting. I'm knee deep in a fantastic book, which likely means that I will ignore the pleadings of my children for something to drink, and when are we going to get there, until they are so loudly high-pitched that dogs 10 miles away are cringing.

We'll probably be leaving at around 4 am, which means I get to drive the first shift. I love that time. The car is (usually) quiet, and then I can turn on NPR at 5. I should get an hour or two of Morning Edition in before my husband wakes up and starts muttering about bias in the media and the kids come out of their early-morning stupor and start demanding, not requesting, liquids. I'm really tempted to put tin foil up over the kids' windows to keep them quiet a little longer. And what is it about road trips that encourages my children to drink as much as possible? I don't serve salty snacks. Really, I'm just trying to avoid stopping at every nasty gas station between New Jersey and Atlanta. You'd think they were camels and this is their only opportunity to drink for the next 30 days.

We'll stop for breakfast, and people will stare at me a little funny because Good Lord, it's 9 am and those children are out in public, but still not out of their jammies. What kind of mother am I? And then I'll be able to relinquish the driver's seat which means I'll finally be able to get back to the book that I haven't been able to put down for the last 2 days.

The rest of the day will be spent fending off requests for drinks, begging the girls to keep their feet to themselves, passing out gummy bears to stave off grumpy attitudes, and trying furtively to sneak looks at my book while my husband looks at me out of the corner of his eye, wishing I would put it down and keep him company. And yes, the book really is that good. There will also be a very healthy smattering of Ladybug singing I like to move it, move it. Because we were smart enough (?) to rent Madagascar 2 for the trip from VA to CT.

With luck we should be home by bedtime. Just in time to attempt to convince the girls that it is indeed time to go to bed. Any bets on how likely that scenario looks?

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

We're leaving (not) On a Jet Plane

Oh my G-d.  I am packing for a trip with four different destinations and I think my head may just explode from the logistical nightmare of it.  Snacks to pack.  Toys to pack.  Things for the beach.  Things for a garden party.  And how many pairs of shoes do I need?  The entire summer contents of my shoe wardrobe?  Sure.  Why not?  Because hey, we're not flying on an airplane.  But we are driving in a car 36 freakin' hours.  Not all at once, of course.  But I don't think that matters to the kids.  One hour in the car is just the same as the next.  And I think I may need to relax my 2 movies/10 hours driving time rule because I just don't think I can handle the whining.  Red Box, anyone?  

Sigh.  Breathe.  

Repeating slowly to myself.  There are stores where we are going.  If there's anything we need, we can pick it up.  There are stores where we are going.  If there's anything we need, we can pick it up.  

I will inevitably spend the first part of the trip worrying.  Did we actually set the alarm?  We didn't leave any of the windows unlocked, did we?  We did let the cats out of the bathroom that we stuck them in while we packed the car, right?  They didn't get outside, did they?  And the lights.  We turned them all off, right?  And shut the curtains.  Did we leave the water running? 'Cause hey, we left at 4 am.  Who the hell knows what the house looked like?  

And then 8 am will roll around, and I'll be able to call our lovely neighbor.  And she will assure me that everything is in perfect working order.  And I will be amazed, because hey, we left at 4 am.  And of course we had to watch True Blood the night before so we didn't actually get to bed until 11 pm.  

And I think this is where anti-anxiety meds just might come in handy.  

Back to packing and that mental list that I'm making that just keeps getting longer and longer.  Underwear, nighttime diapers, pull-ups, swim diapers, bathing suits, dresses, laptop, charger, phone charger, makeup (Although why this?  Because I never use it...), pictures, presents, alcohol (not to be used while driving, yes, I know), blankets, pillows, ...., ...., ...., 



Sunday, August 2, 2009

I feel pretty, oh so pretty...

Lately I've been getting too many peeks at my daughter's rapidly approaching adolescence.  I'm mean she's four, almost five, with the attitude of a 13 year old.  This should be the fun, inquisitive stage.  Not the moody, emotional stage where she'll stamp her foot, growl (yes, this kid growls), and slam her toys down at the smallest perceived slight.  She's a tiny little emotional roller coaster, bursting into tears if her favorite skirt isn't ready to wear when she wants it because, and I quote, "she wants to be pretty, not messy pretty."  

It occurred to me today that we could probably use some serious mother-daughter bonding time.  So we set off on an adventure.  An adventure that took us to a place filled with medieval torture devices, otherwise known as a nail salon.  Now I am sadly the sort of person who just doesn't take care of herself.  I go too long between visits to the hair dresser.  I don't wear makeup.  And I just don't get pedicures all that often.  But I don't want Sunshine to be like me.  At least not in that respect.  

I should have said stop the moment I heard the lady say something about an ingrown toenail.  But I didn't.  And then my big toe was attacked with a long, skinny, stabbing instrument and something that looked and felt a little like a pair of pliers, and it felt like she was actually trying to rip my toenail off.  And all the while I'm trying to sit there and smile and politely answer my daughter when she asks me why I'm gritting my teeth and making that weird noise.  And when the nail tech had finally removed the offending portion of my toenail, she put it on my toe and laughed at how big it was.  She left it there to mock me and my lack of foot hygiene.  Then she discovered three more, and I'm trying desperately to forget that portion of this afternoon's events.  

Sunshine loved her mani/pedi.  She decided that purple, with a top coat of purple sparkles would be perfect for her feet, while her fingers were just screaming for blue, with a top coat of blue sparkles.  And while I think that we bonded a bit during the time we sat next to each other in those comfy chairs, I can't really remember talking much.  At least her choice of colors reminds me of the child I think she should act like.  Gives me hope that we're just in the middle of some funky transitional stage.  That I'll get my non-snarky kiddo back.  The one who doesn't roll her eyes at every one of my suggestions.  I mean she's only four, right?


Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Breakfast: The Most Important Meal of the Day

Important?  Definitely.  I mean the USDA wouldn't steer us wrong.  But breakfast here drives me nothing short of nuts.    These girls will beg and plead for what it is they decide they want for breakfast.  I'll painstakingly prepare what it is that they request and place it lovingly in front of them only to have them eat two bites.  And then declare themselves done.  And honestly that wouldn't bother me.  I mean, I don't like the wasted food, but I won't force them to eat anything.   It's the constant requests/demands/whining for snacks that starts about an hour after they've turned their noses up at whatever was placed on the breakfast table.  

I really don't think the issue is that they're not hungry in the morning.  I think that they just like the idea of snacks.  I have been trying, with lousy results, to get them to understand that our day is not just an uninterrupted stream of snacks.  I know they're hungry.  They have to be.  They only ate 2 bites for breakfast.  But I'm done.  I'm done with snacks.  You don't finish breakfast, you don't get snacks.  

This morning though? Almost broke me.  It was almost comical.  Well, maybe only in hindsight.  I had both girls following me around the house, begging for food for almost 30 minutes.  Literally 2 steps from my ankles.  Almost whining in unison.  While I was on the phone.  I almost dug their eggs out of the trash and served them on a platter.  


Monday, July 27, 2009

Family Date Nights. Hot or not?

Ladies and Gentlemen, I think we've hit an all time low.  The last time Todd and I had a date night might have been way back in February when we went to San Francisco.  We were a bit desperate for one.  So on Saturday night, we packed the girls up and took them with us.  Yeah.  I know.  Totally defeats the purpose.  But desperate times call for desperate measures.  

All in all, the drive-in isn't a bad place for a date night that you have to drag children too.  We saw the new Harry Potter.  And aside from the slightly-more-than-sporadic interruptions from the peanut gallery requesting more popcorn, it was fairly successful.  There was only a 10 minute screaming fit, complements of Ladybug, that required the rolling up of windows.  Both girls did even fall asleep, eventually.   Although Sunshine has recounted for me the entire scene where the Weasley's house burns.  Oops.  

I would love the chance to actually go out.  With my husband.  Without my children.  But frankly, neither of us can stand to shell out $15/hour for a sitter.  We'd rather pack them up and pray they fall asleep before the movie starts and save the sitter money to pay for things like food and electricity.  

I've tried to float the idea of a co-op with the other parents in our neighborhood.  Nobody really seems interested.  Of course they don't know what Sunshine can do with a bottle of diluted vinegar.  Perhaps that might sweeten the deal.  Watch my kids for a few hours, and she'll clean every mirror, window, and baseboard in your house.  That wouldn't violate child labor laws.  Would it? 


Sunday, July 26, 2009

Off the Beaten Path

We love hiking.  Ever since college really.  I remember my first time visiting the Devil's Marbleyard in Virginia.  Gosh, that was years ago.  I actually think that was also the site of my first anxiety attack.  Halfway up, and all I could picture was us falling to the bottom.  But that didn't stop us.  Well, we did start choosing hikes with lower elevations.  

We found Edwin Warner in Nashville.  It was only 3 minutes from our apartment, and it was perfect.  First it was just the two of us.  And truthfully, now I can't even remember what it was like when it was just the two of us.  We added our dog, Macy, in short order.  This tiny puppy who wouldn't come near us at the SPCA, wouldn't stray farther away then the back of our heels at Edwin Warner.  Well, at least for the first six months.  After that we barely saw her on our hikes.  Every now and again we'd see a black streak fly across the ridge in search of squirrels.  

After the arrival of our oldest daughter, our hiking stopped.  Just didn't seem feasible to carry everything that was required to sustain our tiny daughter, our dog, and ourselves.  Now that Ladybug is capable of doing a nice 2-2.5 mile hike, we've started back up again.  

And let me tell you, we've learned a lot since we've started hiking with the girls.  First? Grunters.  You know those people at the gym who grunt impossibly loudly when lifting weights or hitting a squash ball?  Well, they're born that way.  And we know that because Ladybug is a grunter.  Every rock or step that she climbs is accompanied by the loudest grunt.  She just can't help it.  And I feel for her a little, she'll probably be glared at by tons of gym goers when she's grown up.  Second? I squeal like a little girl when bugs fly into my ear.  Yes, that's right.  And then the girls will spend the next hour repeating it, and any chance we have of spotting wildlife is gone.  But when they're super quiet, and they certainly were today, we catch glimpses like this... 

By the way, nursing mothers are everywhere!

Third?  We move at two different speeds, the girls and I.  Especially when hiking.  The girls?  They meander.  Every ant, rock, grain of sand, and leaf is worthy of their undivided attention.  And truly?  That's the way it should be.  I have to fight my inner need to walk at warp speed like I'm shopping on Black Friday.  And anyone who knows my mother and Black Friday knows what I'm talking about.  

Our hikes are different now.  Less hand holding with my husband.  More hand holding with our children.  Less talk about our future.  More talk about peeing in the woods, and why it's only done in an absolute emergency.  Ladybug has this strange idea that it's the absolute best place to pee.  Although Sunshine did steer the conversation today towards her fervent desire for a baby brother.  Ha!  Not exactly something you put on a birthday list, kid.  

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

525,600 Minutes

We moved back to Atlanta just a little over a year ago.  And since then, I've been thinking a lot about this past year.  I know I keep harping on it.  Maybe I just don't know how to let go.  Tumultuous.  I guess that's my best description for it.  We've been though so many changes.  So how exactly do I measure this year?

In the miles traveled to reach home? 
In the number of phone calls to my sisters? (Thank God we have the same cell phone provider.)
In the number of friends we made and reconnected with?
In the number of times I've yelled at my girls?  (Far too many.)
In the number of times those girls have made my heart melt?  
In the phone calls to my husband, praying that his day was going well?
In the smiles that I now see on his face since leaving that hell hole of a law firm?
In the number of tomato plants I have killed this year? (Just too damn hot on that porch.)
In the number of tantrums my kids have thrown in public?
In pots of tea?  (Hot Cinnamon Spice only, please.)
In the number of books I've read?
In the number of times I've reread my favorites?
In blog entries?  (Ha.  Not these last few months.)

Perhaps the better question would be how does this last year measure me?  I'm a little scared to ask that question.  Part of me thinks that I've spent quite a bit of time pretending to be a zombie.  I'm not sure anyone would notice.  I think I fake it quite well.  Maybe not these last few months though.  

But I swear.  This is the end.  I'm done taking stock of this past year.  This is the last whining post I'll write.  At least for a while.  




Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Dear Mr. Grocery Store Bagger

Yes.  I am the first to admit it.  I am anal retentive.  If you see that I have painstakingly separated out my groceries according to their temperature requirements on the conveyer belt, you can assume that I expect you to bag them accordingly.  Come on.  All of my freezer things are together.  How hard is it to put all of them in the same bag?  Instead I find that I have one freezer item, one refrigerated item, and three pantry items per bag.  And what's really fun is finding cleaning products in the same bag as my milk.  Or even better.  Raw meat in the same bag as my fresh produce.  Are you kidding me?  And yes.  Every time you do it I will insist that you take the package of raw chicken out of the bag, return the grapes, and wait while I go pick out some more.  

Sincerely,
Your incredibly annoyed, and more than a little disgusted, Grocery Store Shopper

Ok.  Rant over.

***

We'd been doing so well.  The last time we had it was more than three years ago.  We'd grown complacent.  And then it hit us.  The stomach flu.  Again.  Sunshine came down with the symptoms last Thursday, Ladybug on Monday night.  It seemed to pass quickly.

And then Tuesday morning came.  By 5 am, I knew.  It was going to hit me.  I can't even begin to explain how awful it is.  But taking care of two very active children while barely able to crawl off the couch?  Damn near close to impossible.  

I am embarrassed by the amount of television my children watched yesterday.  But frankly, it was the only way I could cope.  And believe me.  I paid for it dearly today.  They fully expected to be watching the television all day today too.  

The high point of my day was Todd coming home at lunch time to feed the girls.  Because I know I could not have done it.  He even made a fort for them to play in.  Which occupied them for about 10 minutes, until I realized that they'd brought the Maglite  into the tent to help them see.  Even in my half-conscious state I knew that wasn't a good idea.  

My fever finally broke around midnight, and today I dealt with the aftermath.  Toys, crayons, books and blankets that were strewn everywhere have been cleaned up.  The stockpiles of gingerale, crackers and immodium have been replenished.  My fierce determination to never have to go through that again has been renewed.  

My one good memory about yesterday?  Sunshine sitting next to me, rubbing my head, telling me that it will be alright and that I'll feel better soon.  She's going to make such a great mom some day.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Hubris

Today's one of those days where I thought I had it all figured out.  But the universe.  Ahh, the universe.  Well, it had different plans for me.  

It began early, which was a good thing.  I have a ton of stuff to do in preparation for our somewhat impromptu trip tomorrow.  And the kids?  Well, the kids needed to be run hard.  It's been way hot here, and we've spent too many  days inside.  I had this lovely day planned.  A stop at the Botanical Gardens to play in the water garden, a trip to Trader Joe's to pick up snacks for tomorrow, Walmart, laundry, and hopefully a nap for the kids.  And lets not forget packing, because I've yet to pack a single item of clothing.

We were doing so well.  Nap time arrived with its usual fanfare.  Yells of I'm not tired.  I'm not going to sleep.  Fine.  I'll go upstairs.  But I'm bringing the entire contents of our four bookshelves with me.  What?  You expect me to actually get in bed.  I thought I could take my nap sitting at the top of the stairs, asking every two minutes if it's time to get out of bed yet.  And that's just Sunshine.  Usually I don't ask her to take a nap.  But she got up early this morning, and frankly her attitude demanded it.  

But oddly enough Sunshine wasn't the issue today.  Ladybug was.  My sweet, 3-hour napping Ladybug refused to take a nap.  On the day that I REALLY needed her to nap.  I'd put her upstairs and not two minutes later, I'd hear her door open and the pitter of her little feet as left her room.  I kept finding her in the guest room with her baby doll, each time trying to lug something else in there.  Finally, the fifth time I headed upstairs, I decided that I would let her finish her task.  It turns out that she though baby needed a diaper and wardrobe change.  She changed baby.  We both felt better.  I put her to bed, and I congratulated myself on figuring out the problem and solving it without tears.

And then I was all prepared to come downstairs and write a post about how all we have to do is sometimes follow their lead.  But today the universe was laughing at me just a little.  After I'd retrieved a snack and the computer, I had some problems getting online.  Wouldn't you know.  Ladybug was back out of bed, this time playing with the router in the guest room.  Since then I've been up there at least five more times.  

The baby gate is going up tonight.  

***

I also wanted to thank everyone for their kind wishes about not getting the job.  I do know that it's for the best.  It would have been incredibly hard for me to leave Ladybug with someone else, regardless of how fantastic that person it.  It's a blessing in disguise.  We were still about a year away from really being ready for me to go back to work anyways.  But sometimes you have to jump on the opportunities that might come your way.  I would have been disappointed with myself for not trying.  

***

We're heading up to the Beach tomorrow to help my mom, who will be recovering from surgery.  Any thoughts and prayers for my mom's speedy recovery, and my sanity on the 10 hour trip to the Beach with the kids. Alone.  Well, they would be greatly appreciated!  

Thursday, June 18, 2009

And Then There Was One

I have spent the better part of the last six weeks trying to get the perfect job at Sunshine's school.

Over the weeks the candidates were whittled down to 2.  Me and someone else.

I didn't get it.

I'm crushed.

The End. 

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Happy Birthday, Ladybug Part II

I think it's safe to say that Ladybug totally and completely loved her birthday.  Made even better because Daddy could take the day off.  We started out with a lovely trip to the Zoo.  Of course Baby had to join us as well.  







Her first carousel ride.  

Happy 2nd Birthday, Ladybug!

Happy Birthday, Ladybug

My darling Ladybug,

Today you're two.  And boy do I know it.  Your turbulent twos started yesterday.  Defiance meet spitting and hitting.  That's OK though.  You're just testing your limits.  It would be lovely if you could limit it to the morning hours.  It tends to make me grumpy at night. 
 

You're absolutely fearless.  You hang on monkey bars, plunge headfirst down slides, insist on swinging as high as possible, on the big girl swings.   You never hesitate to follow your sister, copying her movements.  You also never hesitate to tell her when she's wrong about something.  I'm so glad that you can hold your own with her.  

You love to be in Sunshine's bed.  Sometimes I find you there during nap time.  And lately?  Sunshine has been complaining that you get into her bed at night.  I know you just love to cuddle with her.  You never hesitate to comfort Sunshine if you think she needs a hug.  


You recently learned how to say I love you.  And I couldn't be more thrilled.  I can't begin to tell you how it feels to hear you say I love you too, Mom.  And yes, you call me Mom.  You picked it up from Sunshine, and no matter how many times I tell you Mommy, you still call me Mom.  What's in name though?


Potty training you depends on the day.  There are some days where all you want to do is use that bathroom.  And then there are others.  Those other days?  Well, you will stand in front of the bathroom, stare me down with your arms crossed, and pee on the floor.  A little stock tip for you?  Sparkle paper towels.  Going to be worth a fortune soon.  

You delight in all things animal.  You're so gentle with Macy, Jake, and Emmit that they don't run away when you approach them.  They don't even cower.  I'm waiting for the day when one of them decides that it's you they want to cuddle with at night.  

Well, you're going to be up any moment now.  Your first request will probably be for tea.  Your second, oatmeal.  And this morning?  You won't have to wait on the internet.  


Love you to the moon and back!
Mom

  

Friday, June 5, 2009

Today I feel grumpy. I've no patience for anything. My tomato plants are all dying, and my teapot just broke.

Oh Good Lord.  It's been one of those days.  And is it really only 3pm?  Because that means I still have way too many hours in the day to go before it's over.  It's the kind of day that makes me want to curl up on the couch with a cup of tea and a really good movie.  Alas, I broke my teapot, and the girls are awake.  We try really hard not to watch TV during the day.  Because if we do; the requests...  No, the demands for TV will drive me to the point of insanity.  Please, please, please, Mom.  Can I watch a movie?  Can I watch the Tinker Bell movie?  Can I watch Caillou?  You're not listening to me.  You won't let me watch TV.  I don't want to be your kid anymore.   And really, what is it with Caillou anyways?  Is he not the whiniest kid on television?  It's just far easier not to turn it on at all. 

I'm really excited about this weekend though.  We're having company.  And I love having company.  So on that note, I'm going to snap out of this lousy mood I'm in and start cleaning the bathroom.  

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Holy Crow! It's Summer, Already? What Happened to the School Year?

At some point, I feel asleep, woke up, and it was summer.  Holy No More School, Batman.  The end of the school year came with its flurry of meetings, play dates, promises of play dates during the summer, and wow, is it really summer?  Already?    

I had a few moments of quiet while waiting to pick up Sunshine on her last day of school.  I was looking at Ladybug, swinging by herself on the big girl swings, and I got to thinking about all the changes that the girls have gone through during the school year.  The other moms and nannies that I see everyday on the playground have been telling me for a while how much the girls have grown.  But I just didn't see it until then.

Sunshine has grown inches taller and significantly more loquacious.  I didn't think that was possible.  I foresee a column regarding my inability to keep her in pants and shoes in the near future.  She's also suddenly a huge fan of potty humor.  She's a girl though.  This phase shouldn't last long.  Crossing fingers and toes.   

She's also grown a little quirky.  I brought her a new pack of panties not too long ago.  She was thrilled.  Several days later she complained that she had no panties left.  Going into her drawer, I found one last clean pair of new panties.  She explained to me that she had a play date coming up, and she wanted to save her last pair for her play date.  Now some little girls save their favorite dress for a special outing.  My little girl saves her favorite pair of panties.  In all fairness, they did have castles and princesses on them.  

Really though, she seems a lot less confident than she did at this time last year.  It's like she realized that there's a big, bad world out there and she needs to hold my hand for a while.  I notice Sunshine watching others.  Observing them before trying something herself.  She seems cautious.  I think it's a good thing.  She's a little wiser, a little less headstrong.  

I don't even know how to describe the changes in Ladybug.  It's more than just the inches she's grown.  And she has grown by leaps and bounds.  She's going to be tall.  Ladybug's gone from a supremely quiet, shy baby to a brazen I-know-exactly-what-I-want-and-I'm-not-afraid-to-tell-you-exactly-what-it-is toddler.  She even seems offended when Sunshine tries to talk for her.  Going so far as to correct her when she's wrong.  No, Sunshine, I don't want orange juice, I want LEMONADE.  

I'm actually having fun with Ladybug and this whole potty training bit.  Now that school is out, we've started training in earnest.  She's in panties during the day, and every 20 minutes that timer goes off and onto the potty she goes.  She insists on the adult toilet.  No baby potties for this little girl.  I am a little concerned that she might be developing a Pavlov's dog response with the kitchen timer though.  I can see it now.  Every time she hears a beep-beep-beep, she pees.  A truck backs up, she pees.  The microwave goes off, she pees.  

I'm thinking that it should be a lovely summer.  We've got some plans, nothing too big though.  We've got some friends, and hopefully some home-grown veggies.  We've got Todd, who is infinitely happier and less stressed.  Oh, and wine.  Thanks to Trader Joe's, we've got wine.  Don't think I could make it through the summer without it.   

Monday, May 11, 2009

Photos from the Best Mother's Day trip ever.


The look on Sunshine's face when she looked up at this gorgeous waterfall was priceless.  She was so excited by it that we decided to climb all the way to the top.  




Ladybug managed to climb the 175 steps to the bottom of the waterfall, and then the additional 425 steps to the top.  She carried her snack bag the entire way.


Ladybug also decided that she HAD TO USE THE POTTY.  RIGHT THEN.  Yeah.  That was fun.  Little did she know that she was giving us great material to use in oh, say, 14 or 15 years.  


Sunday, May 10, 2009

Artichokes and Moms

There's a little something special that we try to do as often as we can.  A tradition, if you will.  We like to lounge around the dinner table after dinner and share something.  A piece of fruit usually.  Or, if we're really lucky, an artichoke.  Todd's grandfather taught him how to eat a raw artichoke when he was just a child.  He shared it with me.  It was an acquired taste, but I've come to love it. 

We sit around the table.  Todd carefully peels off the leaves and hands them out, one by one.  We talk.  We laugh.  We dip them in olive oil.  We watch Ladybug learning how to bite the ends off of the leaves.  We listen to Sunshine haggle for the biggest pieces.  Todd chops up the heart, and hands it out, bite by bite.  I always get the last piece.  Not to seem sacrilegious, but it's almost like a communion.  Bite by bite, our kids are learning patience.  Eating an artichoke is not fast.  They know that, even though they look like a lot of work, there's something in there worth fighting for.   It's my favorite part of the day.

***

Today is Mother's Day.  I have to say that my husband and kids totally rock.  They planned the best Mother's Day I could possibly imagine.  They took me for a hike and picnic in the North Georgia mountains. The weather was perfect.  Ladybug climbed 604 steps to make it to the top of Amicalola Falls.  Sunshine counted the first 175 steps that we climbed.  We dodged poison ivy, and waved hello to every dog we saw.  It was a perfect day.  

I want to say THANK YOU to all the Moms in my life who have shown me the joy that is being a mother.  I am learning so much.   A few quick ones...  To my Aunt Kris, thank you so much for sending me that photo.  It was the perfect gift.  To my mother-in-law, Denise, thank you for raising Todd.  He is an incredible man, and I thank my lucky stars every day that I met and married him.  

To my own lovely mother, what can I say?  You're amazing.  I wish I could be there to give you the biggest hug.  I've been thinking about it all day.  Thank you for always being there for me.  For always supporting me, even if you thought I was making a mistake.  For being the girly influence that my daughters so desperately need.  For always being the best Mom and Mimi we could ever ask for.  I love you!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Respect the Child

One of the major tenets of Montessori philosophy is Respect the Child.  And I think it's also the one I have the hardest time swallowing.  I was raised to understand that respect was earned, and generally not given to children.  I have to tell myself to knock on her bedroom door.  I've essentially given up control over her wardrobe and hair.  Special functions excluded, of course.  I try to respect what she feels beautiful in. 

Now this totally doesn't mean that she runs around crazy all the time, with me respecting her decision to run around like a crazy person.  She is responsible for her decisions, and the ramifications of those decisions.  If she wants to bring a big book into the store, she is responsible for carrying that book around the whole time.  There's no leaving it in Mommy's purse.  If she decides not to use the bathroom before leaving the house, I respect that.  But I also don't stop the car five minutes after we leave the house so that she can use a gas station restroom.  

Anyways, I'm following tangents today.  Respect the child.  Sunshine came downstairs this morning.  She told me she didn't feel well, and she didn't want to go to school.  Everything in me screamed to send her to school.  She didn't have a fever.  She didn't look sick.  But she loves school, and I had to respect that she would know if her body didn't feel well.  Sunshine stayed home.  I debated that choice all morning.  She seemed fine, happy even.  But when we went upstairs to take a shower, she wanted to lay in bed instead.  And at around 2:30, she walked her little tush upstairs, and went to bed.  Without even telling me.  I don't think that's ever happened before.  

So I'm going to say that I feel like a better mom for listening to her, respecting her.  I'm trying to raise her to make good judgements.  How can I do that without letting her flex her little judgement muscles.  That's the way they get stronger, right?  

There are people who would say that I give her a little too much freedom.  She walked out of the house the other day wearing a pair of bermuda shorts, socks pulled up to her knees, and patent leather shoes.  Oh, and her socks were 2 different colors.  (Mom, I can practically hear you groaning, from hundreds of miles away.)  But really, peer pressure will be upon us in the not too distant future.  And then she will spend entire mornings stressing about what to wear.  She feels beautiful now.  And trust me, every other kid in her class comes to school dressed just as strangely.  It's wonderful to have a class with such like-minded parents.  

The bottom line is that I hope this will eventually translate into a healthy respect between the two of us.  And in the short term, there are far fewer tears in the morning.  Sweet. 



Tuesday, May 5, 2009

What Big Sisters Are For

I'd like to think I was this good a big sister to my little sisters, but I don't think that I was.  Sunshine will read tirelessly to Ladybug when she's sitting on the potty.  And she's on the potty A LOT.


I remember when Sunshine was potty training.  She had to have Curious George Visits the Zoo read to her each and every time.  I don't know what it was about that book, but it became her potty book.  Luckily Ladybug isn't quite so specific about which book is read, as long as a book is read.  Although I think that if she did want the same book, Sunshine wouldn't mind reading it over, and over, and over, and over.  Definitely one of the perks of having a big sister.  I'm jealous. 


Monday, May 4, 2009

Lately

I'm sure most of you have noticed that I'm having a lot of difficulty managing this new lifestyle.  One the one hand this is the most exhilarating time of our lives.  It's terribly exciting, this business of creating a business.  On the other, it's terrifying.  I've spent too much time worrying lately.  Have I filled out this form?  What else can I do?  Will this work?  It's consumming.  But enough about that...

***

I saw something on the way home today that has bothered me all day long.  I pass a small church, and on their marquee it read, "The Best Academy is A Mother's Knee."  I know discipline is such a personal topic in families.  And I would never dream of telling someone else how to parent their children.  It just makes me sad that they're telling everyone who passes by that it's OK to hit a child.  Disciplining a child is so very important, but the method is even more so.  I mean, come on, teaching a child not to hit by hitting them?  That's just so very confusing.  We try really hard to make the punishment fit the crime.  It takes a ton of creativity, but so, so, so much more effective than spanking.

***

Our little girls have suddenly become night owls.  Used to be I could put them to bed at 7:30 and not hear from them again until 7 am.  The other night we found Sunshine sitting at the top of the stairs at 10:30.  How she managed to keep herself quiet while we ate popcorn is beyond me.  Now I know we are not immune from the after bed requests for water, food, one more story, cuddles, and world peace.  Makes me think the makers of Ambien should invest a little R&D in a child version.  

***

The girls and I had a picnic the other day with one of her classmates.  Sunshine and her little friend got into a huge tiff not too long after we finished eating.  The problem?  Sunshine wanted to play horse, and her little friend wanted to play pony.  They compromised by playing mice.  Seriously?  I couldn't make this stuff up.

***

We finished up our garden planting last week.  Yippee.  I'm so excited about having fresh tomatoes again.  We're branching out this year:  eggplant, squash, cucumbers.  Thanks to the copious amounts of rain we've gotten lately, you can almost see the plants growing.  Drought?  Who says we're in a drought?  The bad news about the last few years of drought and the tons of rain we've gotten lately is that the trees are falling.  In very large numbers.  Along my route, or any route for that matter, to Sunshine's school.  And because we're not too bright here in Georgia, none of the power lines are buried.  So they're coming down too.  I actually saw someone standing on their RV holding up a power line so that others could drive under it.  Like I said, lots of candidates for the Darwin Awards down here.  


***

Thanks for bearing with me lately.  I promise I'll eventually get back into the swing of things.  I might even post pictures tomorrow!




  

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Feels like it was just yesterday and forever ago all at the same time.

Six years ago, this past Sunday, I married an incredible man.  You know, I really don't remember most of the details.  That day flew by in a blur.  My clearest memory is actually of scooting our chairs together before the Mass had started.  Sounds weird, but the chairs were like 2.5 feet apart.  We sat down, took one look at each other, stood up, and moved the chairs closer.  I just couldn't bear to be sitting that far away from him.  That hasn't changed.  Not even a bit.  

There isn't any place I'd rather be, or anyone else I'd rather be with.  I can't fathom that there would ever be a better partner for me out there.  

Happy Anniversary, Babe.  Love you so much!  


Tuesday, April 21, 2009

MOTHERHOOD = FAIL, PART II

I'm relatively relieved that there are no grades given for parenting.  No semester reports.  There is one major final grade given, but that's years away.  Good thing too, because I'm totally failing.  

Exhibit A: 

Sunshine woke up with a bad dream last night.  It took me a while to get to her because I had incorporated her crying into my dream.  I actually have no idea how long she was crying.  It was easy to put her back to bed though, and I didn't think about it again until this morning.  After we had cuddled for a moment, I asked her about her dream.  Apparently I was chasing a crab.  And trying to kill it.  Because I wanted to eat it.  And she didn't want me to.  

Wow.  I'm the source of my kid's bad dream.  I'm actually giving her nightmares.  I just don't know how I feel about this.  Is this a sign that I need to maybe knock off the ethnic food a little?  Get back to the mac and cheese?  

Exhibit B:

Ladybug and I picked up Todd for a trip the printer's this morning.  I had the radio on, and what song does Ladybug start singing?  Give You Hell by the All American Rejects.  That's right, ladies and gentlemen.  My 22-month old can sing Give You Hell.  

In my defense, she can sing her ABCs too.  And it could be worse... we heard one little girl singing We all just want to be big rock stars at the park about a year ago.  Life is about balance, right?  At least that's what I'm going to tell myself tonight.  Maybe I'll get it right tomorrow. 




Monday, April 20, 2009

Monday morning

I absolutely despise installing car seats.  I would rather do laundry than install car seats.  That's saying a lot.  Installing Sunshine's gi-normous car seat?  Well, lets just say that I'd rather invite 5 of her friends here to spend the day.  

But I spent yesterday doing it anyways.  Cleaned out the car too.  It needed to be done.  We're going to sell it soon, and while it needs to be detailed, the books were starting to multiply.  No kidding, I pulled 45 books out of the car.  Nearly that many hair bows too.  

So this morning, when Sunshine met me at the door, book in hand; I told her that there were no more books in the car.  It's a short ride to school, and she could do without it.  The fit that ensued?  Oscar-worthy.  Because telling her that she can't bring a book somewhere is akin to cutting off a limb.  

We finally made it out to the car, sans book.  She climbs into her car seat, and holds out a board book smaller than my palm.  "Moooommmm.  You must have missed this one."  The sarcasm?  She was dripping with it.  The only thing missing was a dumba** at the end.  Something tells me I'm going to need a metric ton of patience.  A lot sooner than I had anticipated.    

And by the way... oatmeal should NEVER be served on a Monday morning.  Ever.  

Friday, April 17, 2009

The Lost Month of April

So most of you probably realize that there must be big things going on at the Poole house.  You would be correct.  And no, there are no babies involved.  Unless you consider the brand new law firm that my brilliant husband has just opened a baby.  I guess it could kind of be considered that.  We've been working on it for quite a while.  It hasn't come without pain or joy.  Only this time it wasn't me in the driver's seat.  Thank goodness for that.  I, however, have taken over the role of the support person.  What can I get for you, dear?  Anything I can do to help?  Sure, I'll get right on that.  Talk about a total role reversal.  

Truthfully, I couldn't be more thrilled.  My husband is happy working.  I haven't seen him happy in his work for a very long time.  Now don't get me wrong, he actually works for longer hours now.  But they're his hours.  Working for his baby.  I couldn't be prouder.  

Scary as Hell?  Yes.  That too.  I've been working for the last two weeks on attaining health care.  Wow.  Un-freaking-believable.  It's so depressing that I've actually had to put it away several times.  I just can't bear to look at it.  There are actual policies out there that cost me $300/month just so I can have the privilege of paying for absolutely everything myself.  Preventative care, office visits?  Nada.  Until you hit the deductible of approximately a billion dollars.  Maternity coverage?  Hahahahahaha.  There's nothing that covers maternity anymore. And if you do want to purchase a special maternity rider?  There's a 12 month waiting period before you can even think about getting pregnant.  You get to pay for that lovely policy for 12 freaking months before you can use any benefit.  All I can say is that all those people out there practicing Natural Family Planning had better be very, very frightened.  

It's all worth it, though.    Just to see Todd thrilled about something other than the kids and me.  It's changing the person that I am.  By nature, I don't deal well with uncertainties.  This is forcing me to confront that fear of the unknown.  I have no idea where we'll be in a  year, or two.  I know where I hope we'll be.  And we're working like crazy to get there.  Sometimes I have to remind myself to slow down and enjoy the journey.  This is big.  Building something that is wholly our own.  

I'm not sure where this blog is going to fit in with the next few months of our life.  It will fit in.  But I think that it will have to come after being an assistant, secretary, courier, wife, and mother.  I guess I'm just saying that I will be slow.  And I hate that.  I love this blog.  So, I'm sorry that I lost the first half of April.  I hope I don't lose the second half.  

So... in the interest of supporting our family... anyone need a lawyer?

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Anyone want to make a delicious dish to showcase the cuisine of Spain? Oops, err, Europe?

When we enrolled Sunshine in school, we made it very clear to the school that we were not wealthy.  Our contributions to the school would, barring a lottery win, most likely not come in the form of large monetary donations.  We would, however, be more than happy to donate our time and talents.  

And to that end, we've been exemplary parents.  Todd has written articles for the monthly newsletter.  I've done everything from watching other people's kids while they help in the classroom to helping create the auction project for our class.  I've done photo projects, hosted a brunch, made plenty of hors d'oeurvres for different parent functions.  I'm generally there if people need a volunteer.  I've even taken home projects to complete for Sunshine's teacher.  So when a good friend of mine asked that I head up a continent for our school's World's Food Day, I said yes.  

Now I was a little reluctant.  April is just a really busy month for us.    And I'd never done anything like this.  I thought that perhaps someone who had actually attended the event once might be a better choice.  But I said yes, and I was given the task of finding people to cook dishes representing the countries of Europe.  Now I'm not sure how many of you have pulled out your map of the world in a while, but Europe...  Well, Europe has a lot of different countries, all with very different flavor profiles.  

But I sent out my nice little email requesting help for this fantastic event which would showcase delicious food from all over the world.  And almost immediately, I received three requests to cook for Spain.  But because I'm a novice at this and apparently lack all skills diplomatic, I made a crucial mistake.  I suggested that someone (the 3rd someone who had volunteered to cook for Spain) perhaps make an Italian frittata instead of a Spanish omelette.  She said sure, and then I never heard another word.  Until yesterday.

Apparently, there has been a whole flurry of emails going around about that mean coordinator from Europe and how she didn't want a Spanish omelette, she wanted an Italian frittata.  And did anyone else want help with their continent instead?  And really, yesterday was a terrible day to deal with this kind of beaurocratic BS.  

Silly me, I thought that the point of this event was to try to showcase as many different countries as possible.  So I did what any good, loyal parent would do.  I ate humble pie, a humongous serving of it.  I wrote the nicest email, copied to everyone on her little list.  I apologized for it taking me all afternoon to get back to her, that I've had a really sick little one.  I said that this was my first year at this school,  and that I was mistakenly looking at things a little differently.  That I was wrong for asking her to not cook for Spain.  And finally, that the omelette sounded delicious, and we would love anything that she would like to cook.  

And you know what I got back?  A terse email saying not to put her on Europe's list, she was still waiting to hear from Asia.  

Lovely.

Lucky for me, the coordinator of the entire event intervened and requested that she stay with Europe. So now I have three dishes coming from Spain, and that's it.  

I'm guessing that by the time this fantastic event showcasing delicious food from all over the world comes around, I'm going to be huddled in the corner, banging my head against the wall. 


Tuesday, March 31, 2009

The Hits Just Keep On Coming

I found my first gray hair tonight.  I think I'm officially sad.  

Sigh...

It's going to be one of those days, folks.  Sunshine is the lucky recipient of a raging ear infection, and I've only had about 3 hours of sleep.  Any bets on when Ladybug starts the descent into feverish, ear-clutching, crying madness? 

On the bright side, it happened this week, as opposed to next week.  When we're scheduled to visit the fam in VA.  Not feeling much of the bright side at the moment though.  


Monday, March 30, 2009

Whimpering

There's something about raising small children that instills in you the hearing of a super hero.   You hear it all.  The muttered protests of your preschooler at bath time.  Your child's cry from across the playground.  The small thud your toddler makes when she falls out of her newly converted crib.  (No worries.  It's less than a foot of the ground, and there's a comforter on the floor to soften the landing.)  The whimpering of a child, well past bedtime, from the top of the stairs.  I do think though, that it only applies in parenting situations.  I still can't hear my cellphone when it rings inside my handbag.  

It was the whimpering that we heard last night.  I was engrossed in the  Sex and the City movie.  I've only been waiting a year to see it.  But then I heard it.  Actually I should say that we heard it.  Now, my kids are sleepers.  Heavy, heavy sleepers.  So when one of them is whimpering at the top of the stairs almost three hours after they went to bed, there's a pretty big problem. 

 Todd, who has a far better back than I do, practically leapt up the stairs and had Sunshine in the bathroom before I made it to the top of the stairs.  I went to check the bedroom, and sure enough, everything needed to be changed.  Unfortunately I had just changed her sheets and duvet that morning.  But because I was on top of things, I had already washed and dried the extras.  Thank goodness I was productive this weekend.  

The speed with which Todd managed to get Sunshine showered and changed was matched by the speed with which I got her bed stripped and remade, and the carpet cleaned.  It astounded me.  Fast reflexes.  Add that to the list of skills that parenting sharpens.  

Poor Sunshine.  She did enjoy staying up a bit with us last night though.  Just needed to make sure that the situation wasn't going to repeat itself.  I was all out of clean sheets.  She was crushed that I had to cancel the play date we'd scheduled with one of her friends, but I think she's enjoyed being home today.  

***

In other news, the rigmarole that the Sate of Georgia puts you through in order to register your car is astounding.  We've put this off for this long just because the sheer amount of paperwork is astronomical.  And we can't even procure some of it because our bank wants things done differently from the DMV.  Lovely.  Neither side is willing to budge.  I love being caught in a lousy bureaucratic circle.  I'm hoping it's resolved soon.  I have no desire to drive to Virginia with expired Virginia tags.  

***

I'm so ready for March Madness to be over.  I can't stress enough how much I truly hate basketball.  Just have no patience for it.  And it drives me insane when I think about how my wonderful husband must watch EACH AND EVERY GAME, even though he doesn't watch basketball at any other time during the year.  It can't end soon enough.  

 

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Laundry, Church, and Chickens

I think I've been having one of those weeks.  You know.  Those weeks where you just look at yourself and think, Is this really my life?  Not in a bad way, mind you.  Just in a reflective way.  I mean, I could have spent all week describing the mountains of clean laundry that are mutating out of my laundry room, taking over my house and threatening my children.  Or perhaps you might have liked to hear about the dozens of chickens that have sacrificed their lives in my crusade to roast the perfect chicken.  Because seriously, it seems like that is the sum total of my life these days.  Laundry and chicken.  Actually, I shouldn't say that.  It's laundry, chicken, husband, children with a small smattering of play dates, teacher conferences, and rain.  Somehow that doesn't sound much better.  I guess I've just felt like I haven't had much to write about lately.  

But, enough about that.  

We've been going to church lately.  I'm still not sure how I feel about that.  I'm leaning toward not wanting to raise my children as Catholics, but I'm giving it another try.  If we do decide to remain in the Catholic Church; I think it will be something that I struggle with on a daily basis.  That, and I will probably become a permanent nursery helper.  All in all, it's not a bad parish.  The people seem normal enough.  But there's a school there.  And that almost automatically means that my children will be left out because they will NEVER attend the school.  Nothing against people whose children do, it's just not for us.  

But, as part of our attempt to give it our best shot, we attended the Lenten fish fry dinner on Friday night.  I won't go into the fact that the only veggie on the plate was the ketchup.  That could happen anywhere.  The priest came over to us while we were watching the girls play after dinner.  He had already introduced himself to Todd, and was coming over to introduce himself to me.  We made small talk about how we had just moved from Virginia, and he quickly said that Of course Sunshine would start at the church school next fall.  Well, no.  I said that she was a student at a really wonderful Montessori school, that she was thriving there, and that I would like to, at some point, get my Montessori teaching license.  You would think, that after all that, he would have left it alone.  But no.  He had to then tell me how much trouble Montessori children had when transferring to Catholic school.  Wow.  Really, Sherlock?  No Montessori parent in their right mind would ever consider a Catholic school when faced with having to transfer their child.  Talk about totally different theories of education.  

I think this just irked me on a lot of different levels.  Sure, it might take a little while to get used to having to sit at a desk all day.  But Montessori kids are actually incredibly adaptable.  They can manage their own time, and they're incredibly free-thinking.  And I may be guessing here, but I think that was what the priest was talking about.  And that's not even mentioning the misguided attempt to up their enrollment numbers.  I was polite though, and said it was very nice to meet him.  After he left, Todd made a comment about how that was on his Top Ten List on How NOT to Endear Yourself to My Wife.  

Wow.  Well, right now I'm thinking that this was so NOT how I'd imagined this post going.  

On a lighter note, we sat down to chicken chili tacos for dinner last night.  Delicious.  And it gave my kids a chance to chow down on sour cream.  Because, given the chance, they will eat it by the spoonful.  And yes, I give them lots of greek yogurt.  Most of the time they don't realize that it's not sour cream.  And it's handy to have around for dips.  But I had the real thing out last night.  I took my eye off the container for one quick second.   Turning around, I thought I caught the sour cream spoon coming out of Sunshine's mouth.  A quick talk about no licking the serving spoon, a trip back to the silverware drawer, and we were back to eating dinner.  Not two minutes later, the spoon was coming out of her mouth again.  NO LICKING THE SPOON, I said.  Oh, but Mommy.  I didn't lick the spoon.  I put the whole spoon in my mouth, she said primly.  Lovely.  Looks like we're going to have to be much more technically correct in the future.  

It's been a busy weekend here.  I dealt with the mountains of clean laundry.  And even started on the mountains of not-so-clean clothes.  Bonus points for me.  Sadly, dealing with the latter leads to more of the former.  Oh well.  We did convert the dining room into an office.  Because we've only used it once.  And while that event was a success (no one cried), I can't imagine Todd would want to repeat it.  I'm actually sitting in the office right now, and it's beautiful.  Perhaps having our filing cabinets downstairs will actually make it a little easier to, you know, file all the stuff that gets sent here.  

By the way... I made this for dinner tonight.  It was amazing.  I roasted the chicken whole, instead of cutting it up.  I know, I'm lazy, but I can't stand cutting up chicken and it's so much cheaper to buy it whole.  I also added some diced butternut squash to the sweet onions.  I didn't have orzo, so I substituted Israeli couscous, and the kids couldn't get enough of it.  Huge success.  And the smoked paprika is so important to this dish.  Definitely worth a try.  I guess that's just one more chicken.  Well, it was a good way to go.  For a chicken.  

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Crying Over Spilled Dirt

I bought Sunshine a pot of gorgeous hot pink gerbera daisies a couple of days ago.  They're her responsibility, and she's taking it quite seriously.  They stay in the girls' room, which gets some beautiful morning sunlight.  But during nap time, because Ladybug can now get out of her bed, Sunshine likes to take her flowers elsewhere for safekeeping.  

Both girls needed a nap today.  Well, Sunshine needed a rest.  It was heavily protested, but she grudgingly carried her daisies and a few books into our room.  Thirty minutes of listening to her dance around upstairs, we let her down.  

Later tonight, just after we'd put the girls to bed, I found a rather large pile of dirt on the floor.  Covered up by my pillow.  I had Todd get Sunshine out of bed.  She came in with her head hung low.  "But Mommy, I knocked it with my elbow.  I didn't want you to be mad at me."  We very quietly talked about how I wasn't upset at all, I just didn't want her to cover it up.  That spills happen all the time.  But that she should tell us, even if it's just so we can help clean it up.  

So what did I do to make my daughter so afraid to tell me that she'd spilled a little dirt?  We never get upset about spills.  Okay, well maybe if she's really goofing around.  It's possible that she was really goofing around during rest time.  But still, I don't want her to be afraid of me.  That makes me incredibly sad.  I hope our little chat tonight will help lessen her fears of coming to me. Fear can fester and grow, and I so desperately don't want to have this kind of relationship with my daughter when she's a teenager.  


Wednesday, March 18, 2009

When Ladybug Has a Blowout, or How I Spent My Day Today

When Ladybug has a blowout, you might notice the stench that seems to be everywhere.  You look for the source.

When you finally do pinpoint the source, you see that she has leaked everywhere.  You moved towards her carefully, for a closer inspection.

When you move in for a closer inspection, you realize that she has rubbed it all over her hair.  You decide that a shower is imperative.

You take her up to the shower, dripping everywhere, and carrying her as far away from your body as humanly possible.  

When you get to the bathroom and start carefully undressing Ladybug, you realize that you have zero change of getting out of this without a shower yourself.  You also realize that you are making a miserable mess.  You yell to Sunshine to bring wipes, and plenty of them.  And a plastic bag, don't forget the plastic bag.

After showering, dressing, cleaning the floor, and putting Ladybug down for a nap; you head downstairs to deal with the aftermath.

You start by calling to Sunshine to PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE start cleaning the playroom.  

When you've established that she is, indeed, picking up the playroom, you start to concentrate on the carpet spots.  

As you clean the carpet, you realize that your floors are in desperate need of sweeping and mopping.

You drag out the broom, dustpan, and mop.  You move all the furniture and rugs.  You start to sweep. 

As you are sweeping, you notice that the baseboards could use a wash.  Of course, you make a mental note if it because you are in the middle of sweeping.  You also knock you head on the hanging light fixture, because there is no kitchen table, or husband, to warn you that it is there.  You curse the light fixture.

After you curse the light fixture and finish sweeping, you start to mop.  As you mop, you realize that there are lots of marker marks on the floor.  You make a mental note to drag out the Magic Eraser.  You put place holders down by each mark, making the room look eerily similar to a crime scene.  In the process, you knock you head on the light fixture yet again, cursing it a little louder this time.

After you finish cursing again, you realize that Sunshine has finished picking up the playroom and would like another task.  You give her a full bottle of diluted vinegar, a roll of paper towels, and ask her to clean the windows.  You proceed to vacuum, sweep, and mop the playroom and living room.  While you're on your way to throw the sweepings outside, you knock your head on that damn light fixture again.  At this point the cursing can probably be heard in the development next to yours.  

As the throbbing in your head subsides a little, you realize that Sunshine has finished with the windows.  You let her loose on the baseboards.  As she sprays vinegar all over the house, you notice the shocking number of foam stickers that are stuck on various surfaces.  As you painstakingly scrape each and everyone on of them off, you silently curse the person who decided that the adhesive on said stickers should be NASA grade.  

After you're done scraping stickers, you realize that Sunshine has run out of vinegar after cleaning the baseboards, doors, and kitchen cabinets.  You wisely decide not to refill the bottle, and you both sit down to relax for a moment.  Just as you sit down, you hear Ladybug's voice.  She's awake and she needs a diaper change.  

And honestly, after all this, all I could think was THANK GOD WE DIDN'T GO TO THE AQUARIUM THIS AFTERNOON.  



1-2-3 Magic

I hate how difficult the early evenings could be.  I would love to spend them cuddled up with my kids, reading a book.  But they're tired, and hungry, and I've got dinner to make.  It's really become my witching hour.  I try so hard not to lose my patience with the girls, probably just as hard as they try not to lose their patience with me.  

Then they both want to stand on the one stool that we have and help cook.  So with one on each side of me, I do my best to not yell at both of them to find some work to do.  Out of the kitchen.   

Monday night was particularly fun.  It was late, dangerously close to the girls' bedtime when we sat down to dinner.  The girls had been especially difficult, impatiently waiting for Daddy to come home.  When we finally sat down to dinner, the cat started howling to go out.  I mean, the kids were finally quiet so I guess he felt the need to make the house as noisy as possible again.  Sunshine opened the door to let him out.  He balked, and kept howling.  Incredibly frustrated, I opened the door, told him I was going to count to three.  He could either leave the house, or I was going to throw him out.  

I still can't believe that I told my cat that he had till the count of three to leave the house or be quiet.  I think I've lost it.  So does my cat.  

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Cha-Cha-Cha-Cha-Changes

Ladybug is changing so fast.  It seems like just yesterday she was nursing, sleeping all the time, so content to cuddle in the sling with me all day.  Now?  Now she is her own person.  And she is not shy about telling you exactly what she wants.  Or doesn't want.  Or REALLY, REALLY DOESN'T WANT.  

So now she really, really loves sleeping in our version of a big girl bed.  I do find it totally fascinating that she has no interest in getting out of the bed.  Just getting into it.  I'm sure that will change though.  Perhaps just the option to get out of bed is enough at the moment.  Of course, I do think that she spends a good portion of the night sleeping on the floor.  



There's also been an explosion in both her desire to use the potty and her language.  So now she can tell us that she has to go.  Or that she already went.  Or that she likes going.  Or that SHE DOES NOT WANT HER DIAPER CHANGED.  Unless she gets to wipe her bottom by herself.  Then she REALLY, REALLY wants to change her diaper, like five minutes ago already.  

She also lets me know on an almost hourly basis her total and absolute preference for chocolate milk.  Anything else is totally and completely unacceptable.  That really presents quite a problem, as chocolate milk just isn't served that often here.  

And for all of you that can't stand her hair in her face... she is now also ready for pigtails.  I know, it's adorable.  However, she likes me doing her hair about as much as her big sister.  
No hurt me Mommy, she cries.  And I know it doesn't hurt.  Her hair is still so baby soft, and doesn't really get tangles.  She's just parroting her sister.  Just one more thing to make our mornings slightly more complicated.  


It's amazing to watch her grow though.  I just don't remember it happening so fast with Sunshine.  I feel like she'll be asking me for the keys to the car tomorrow.  

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Happy Weekend!






I hope a wonderful weekend is had by all.  We're going to enjoy a lot of laundry, popcorn, and movies.  Probably not in that order!

By the way... there are to be NO comments on the hair in the face.  I can see you rolling your eyes, Mom.  Just not a battle I want to wage, especially after school's out for the afternoon.  They look beautiful, hair in the eyes or not!  

Friday, March 13, 2009

More tales from the playground

Sunshine's school dismisses from the playground.  Normally, it's nice.  I get to have an adult conversation with some besides my husband.  Although it's usually punctuated with requests that the older children please try hard not to scare the younger ones when they play velociraptors or fire breathing dragons.  And the kids get to expend a little energy.  Love that.  

There's a dad there though that bugs the everlovin' crap out of me.  He insists on calling my kid a weird nickname, even after I told him that her name was SUNSHINE.   His kid ALWAYS comes to school with the greenest, runniest nose.    (Just a pet peeve of mine.  I mean, this guy stays home so there shouldn't be any question about keeping his sick kid at home.)  But today took the cake.  

I had noticed that this particular little girl had been out for the last few days.  But she was back today.  That's fine.  No big deal.  But her dad brought her obviously sick, much older brother onto the playground.  He was fine for a minute, and terrorized a few of the younger kids.  But then he stopped.  And vomited.  All over the place.  Not 3 feet from me.  And then, they STAYED ON THE PLAYGROUND so the little girl could play.  

Now seriously.  This kid is 10.  I'm not saying leave him at home, but at least leave him in the car.  Quickly pick up your other child, and leave.  Heck, any of the other parents would have been more than willing to bring this little girl up to her father and brother.  You just don't bring such a sick kid onto the playground.  And then, you don't stay after he gets sick just so that your other child can play.  

Have some respect for the other parents who are trying to keep their children healthy.  The last thing we need is to be hit with the stomach bug.  Especially after this week.  Maybe I'm overreacting, but but the stomach bug is something that I just don't play around with.  And frankly I'm ticked off that this particular parent seems to have so little regard for the health of any of these kids.  And if Sunshine gets sick... I just might suggest a play date at their house.  Probably not, but a mom can dream.