Wednesday, December 31, 2008
The local botanical gardens run their Garden Festival of Lights through the second week of January. Makes it nice for those of us who just can't seem to pull it together enough to get out there before Christmas. And also for those of us who tend to get real twitchy in crowds!
One of the local model train clubs always sets up an amazing display. Jacob remembers from year to year. He enjoys the lights--this year they had spiders five feet across--but it's the trains that capture his attention and his delight.
Sunday, December 28, 2008
Not really going to go into all of the reasons 25 was so traumatic. It involved self-made drama and a sabotaged relationship. Being friends with Jose Cervo probably didn't help matters now that I look back.
I welcomed the end of my 35th year with moping and self pity. 35! The end of my early 30's and the start of checking that age box on surveys with 36-40 beside it. I looked and searched and simply couldn't find anything worth celebrating. This is what my introspective detective work found--a 35-year-old female who, although she has traveled the world over and actually has a college degree, possesses virtually no viable job skills with a resume that looks like it could double as the yellow pages. I remembered that I had all of these things that I still wanted to do with my life. Dreams of being a globe trotting documentarian. A journalist with a by-line. Someone with a paycheck.
And I forgot. I forgot that on that time line of our lives it's the long lines in between the dots that matter. That's where life happens. That's where the stuff that matters is. The dots indicating our accomplishments? Merely dots.
After a long day of wallowing in my self pity I decided to just go to bed. Go to sleep and deal with my sad, pitiful life in the morning. On my way upstairs I stopped in and checked on Jacob. Like I do every single night. Check to make sure his blankets are on. Check to see if Kitty is still within reach. Check to see him breathing. And as I stood there watching my baby boy sleep--he's so peaceful when he sleeps--it dawned on me that maybe, just maybe, this was enough. There right in front of me was my life. Everything I am. Tucked under a fleece blanket and a handmade quilt. And it was enough.
Yesterday morning that little boy came downstairs, Kitty tucked securely under his arm and hair all in bed head splendor. A huge 3-year-old hug and a "Happy Birfday, Mommy". It was enough.
For the first time in my life, I am content to stay within the lines.
Saturday, December 27, 2008
I wanted to post this before Christmas and it just didn't happen that way. So, here you go. My own birthday present to you all...a little insight into my childhood. Oh, did I not mention today was my birthday? I'll most likely have some deep thoughts later. Or not.
I learned this song around the time we first moved to Tanzania about 30 years ago.
Santa's using zebras now
to pull his Christmas sleigh
'cause a boy in Africa
wrote to him one day.
"Santa please stop by," he said,
"and bring some toys with you."
Santa's using zebras now
south of Timbuktu.
Donner, Blitzen, all the reindeer
put him on the spot -
they were used to ice and snow
but Africa was hot!
Then some zebras came along
and they pulled Santa through.
Santa's using zebras now
south of Timbuktu.
See the pyramids to by
and there's the Nile below.
Watch out for that tall giraffe;
mustn't fly too low.
the season's joy to you!
Hello Mr. Crocodile
merry Christmas too!
As they gallop over jungles
lions stop and stare,
wonderin' what those zebras could be
doing way up there.
While the reindeer wait for him
back home in their igloo,
Santa's using zebras now
south of Timbuktu.
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
Took him to the country
Fed him some gingerbread
Long came a choo choo
knocked him coo coo
Now my little monkey's dead!
I may have had something to do with teaching him that...but you need to understand that I come by the warpness naturally. You know, one of the many things I've been handed down.
My grandfather (Gramps) taught me Row, Row, Row Your Boat. Only...not...
Swiftly down the liquid solution.
Ecstatically, ecstatically, ecstatically, ecstatically
Existence is but an illusion!
Monday, December 22, 2008
I know. She...
There's one for me. One for Kyleigh. One for you and one for daddy. There's one for Maia and one for Sammy and one for Ethan and one for Donia and one for Billy!
Then I thought his head was actually going to explode when I was finally able to speak and informed him that there were presents under his Christmas tree as well!
My two children spent the night with Kokoo and Babu Saturday night. It gave the Husband and myself a chance to spend some time together, which included a delightful dinner of tapas and paella at a Spanish restaurant. It was sort of a hole in the wall place down by the university but the food was fantastic!
Before we left for dinner I called to check in on the grandparents and the children. That's when Jacob informed me about the unbelievable development regarding Kokoo's Christmas tree. He then went on to rat out his sister who had allegedly been messing with presents.
Jacob's one request last night when I brought them home was he wanted to see the presents under our tree. Then he counted them. And asked who each one was for. He then repeated all acquired information to Kitty. As he got to the last one...
But where's a present for Kitty?
Um....well...Kitty's just hasn't shown up yet.
Oh, that's awright. I'll just share mine with Kitty.
See why this child is amazing?
Now if we could only channel some of that giving spirit towards sharing toys with his sister...
Saturday, December 20, 2008
We've had our share of challenges. Long periods of separation (due to work). Long, stressful work days. Miscommunication. Lack of communication. Infertility and miscarriages. Financial crisis. Now two highly active and challenging children. We've also had far more than our share of amazing and wonderful things happen to us and for us. Through it all--even during the times when we seemed to not really like each other very much--we have remained true to those vows. Through it all we have Loved and we have Honored. We have come to learn that To Cherish is the greatest of them all.
I Cherish my husband. My family. This life that we have created for ourselves. And I look forward to writing another mushy post on our 20th anniversary! I was taught that marriages are meant to last forever. May I pass on the same legacy to my children.
Thursday, December 18, 2008
The Husband's platoon Christmas party was a couple of nights ago and we made it a family affair. While I know most of his co-workers, I really didn't know any of the other wives. I've learned, just like with Navy wives, police wives have strong opinions. Shockingly enough. I've also learned that my opinions tend to go against the stream. Yes, I know--another shocker. And since I really don't want to offend I tend to listen a whole lot more than I talk.
I sat next to one of the wives I had just met and she started chatting with Jacob.
"What do you want Santa to bring you for Christmas?"
Silence. Jacob just looked at her.
"We really don't talk about Santa too much", I tried to explain without making it sound like I thought Santa was a bad thing. Just not a big thing.
She then goes on, without hearing a word I said, about her four-year-old making multiple trips to Santa's lap because he kept thinking of more things for his list. She made it out to be this cute little story. Outside I sort of smiled with her. Inside I was all, Really? That's what your son thinks Christmas is about? Already? That's not cute. That's sad.
Then she tells me about a recent play date she and her children had with another family. A family that didn't let their children play with toy guns. She was baffled by this attitude and expressed that they would not pursue that relationship. And then she looked to me expecting to see bafflement on my part as well. Once again--not so much. My children do not have toy guns either. Neither will they. They are already learning about gun safety--which currently consists of, Don't Touch, Leave it Alone. But toy guns? No. Guns aren't toys--no matter the form.
Every now and then I receive emails from a friend from a former place we lived. Our husbands were co-workers. While we did have a lot in common--we camped and rock climbed together--we didn't share the same politics. Given the emails she forwards to me I don't know if she just didn't get that about me, or if it's a passive aggressive attempt at a conservative conversion. I simply do not subscribe to her point of view. However, I believe that individuals of different political and religious leanings can and do remain friends. Just look at my own household! Our own little micro experiment at world peace.
Anyway...the other police wife I met at the Christmas party? We didn't exchange phone numbers. It would never work between us.
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Of course, I'm simple. The first one is the one that is near and dear to my heart. The US is also the only nation to inform its government that it has no right to tell me to hold my tongue.
Sunday, December 14, 2008
I wish to lodge a complaint for the following reason. There appears to be a design flaw in Children which causes accelerated growth. I'm sure if you were to do your research you would find that most parents and grandparents are not Okay with this.
For example...my children should not have gone from this:
all within one short little year.
I'm surprised that Quality Assurance allowed such an oversight to pass unnoticed for so long. I trust that this will be corrected before I find myself writing regarding my own grandchildren.
Thank you in advance for your time and cooperation,
One Bewildered Mommy
PS...Jacob would like me to also ask that if you aren't too busy he would like snow this winter. He wants to build a snowman and serve it hot chocolate.
PPS...He would also like to ask you a question. Did you know that a caterpillar starts its life as an egg? And also dinosaurs? I explained that, yes, you probably did know all of this but he wanted to ask just in case.
Friday, December 12, 2008
I was on a whirlwind two week trip to the US. It was my one and only flight on the aircraft I worked so hard to keep up in the air. We were trading in a 40-year-old plane for a newer 30-year-old model. Since one of my best friends was Crew Chief, I was able to charm my way onto the flight.
First stop on the trip was Jacksonville, FL where I took possession of my shiny new 1995 Harley Davidson XLH Deluxe. Black and oh, so shiny. Drove the bike to the boatyard in Charleston, SC so they could ship it back to Spain. Picked up a rental car and drove through the night to my sister's in Virginia. No member of my family even knew I was in the country. Fortunately my brother-in-law hadn't purchased his shotgun yet!
The births of my nephews and niece mark major milestones in my life. The eldest nephew was born when I was in bootcamp and the youngest just months before my wedding. The week after my niece's birth I had a my first date with the man who would turn out to be the love of my life. I'd call that a fairly major milestone.
My parent's were also in the country for a few weeks during that trip and we were all able to spend time together as a family--a slightly rare occurrence. The three of us went shopping--my mom, my sister and I--and I bought a dress for the Christmas party I was attending the day after I returned home. I also found a tie for my date since he had informed me he didn't own one. With one last stop at the hospital to tell my sister and brand new, red headed niece goodbye I left and drove on up north. Spent the afternoon with my grandparents--the last time I'd see Gramps--and continued on up to Maryland to catch the flight back to Spain.
The XO (Executive Officer) of the squadron flew the new plane home. When the wheels stopped rolling he strolled past me down the aisle.
"How'd you like the flight, Mac?" he asked as he clapped me on the back.
"Honestly, Sir? I've had better landings." I replied as I clutched my full airsick bag.
See, there's that issue with authority again. I never was able to grasp and adopt the concept of respect simply due to one's rank. Not exactly a shock I didn't make a career out of the Navy. I think it was more of shock that I made it four years without my mouth getting me into trouble.
So it wasn't really a romantic date--there were actually five of us. It was our squadron's Christmas party. A rare occasion to clean the grease out from under our fingernails, get all dressed up and "purdy". Four of us girls decided to invite one of our male friends from a different command. Though I suspect it was a ploy to get the two of us together since shortly after the party I found myself alone with him. We had been friends for a while. But that night we became something more--though neither of us was willing, at the time, to put a label on this new thing.
The first time we met he didn't remember me. But that was okay. I was overweight, self conscious and, well...forgettable. My relationship history was fraught with abuse--mostly emotional, one was physical. I wasn't broken, but I wasn't whole either. Following that initial meeting I remember wondering what life would be like if someone like that were to be interested in someone like me. It made me think and re-evaluate who I was, where I was. He went off on a ship for six months. In that time I found that I was actually good at my job--even with being a girl in a male dominated field. I decided I was tired of being fat. I also discovered that I kinda liked who I was--just me. And when he returned and we met again--he remembered.
Thus began our tumultuous love affair. A relationship which had even our friends claiming doom and gloom--even after we stood in front of my dad (the minister) and promised to love and cherish each other until the cold, clammy hand of death ripped us apart. Apparently two strong willed, opinionated, passionate and stubborn people shouldn't attempt a serious relationship.
Next week we celebrate our 10 year anniversary. Guess we sure showed them.
Thursday, December 11, 2008
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
Since I have been adamantly opposed to working outside of the home and putting my children in childcare, any job prospect would have to be on the really shiny side for me to consider accepting. Something in communications (you know, like what it says on my diploma), non-corporate, laid back, enjoyable, fun and if possible--outdoors. Wow. That's a pretty tall order. Sounds like I might have better luck if my New Year's resolution was to finally acquire those last few inches taking me to my dream height of 5'7". Or maybe not...
As of January 1st I am the new Director of Advertising and Sponsorship for Running Kids. Sweet. I cannot even begin to describe my level of giddiness. It wasn't like I was out dropping off resumes and actively job searching. Truth be told, I have a lot going on right now. But a chance meeting with an old acquaintance at a local fund raiser early in November led to a job offer I couldn't refuse.
I really don't believe that everything happens for a reason--most things do, but not all. I believe in the random. Makes me feel less like a toy for the puppet master. Regardless, there's a fair bit about this opportunity that smells like a Master Plan.
When we first moved here I was very aggressively searching for employment. In the beginning I was dropping off resumes and portfolios at places I had researched and wanted to work with and for. Towards the end I was approaching anyone in the "business" who was hiring. And I was totally and completely stressed about the process. I recall one day having to pull over to the side of the road because I was having a panic attack. We needed me to have a paycheck. Immediately. But the idea of battling traffic on a daily basis to go work 40 hours a week in a box was sucking the life out of me--and I hadn't even been hired yet! So, I switched directions. I made up my mind to keep the creative side freelance and simply accept a job--any job--with a paycheck. That's about the time when the manager from Blue Ridge Mountain Sports called and offered me a full time position. It was meant to be a temporary gig until other stuff panned out--it just lasted a little longer than anticipated...by almost four years.
I made a lot of contacts in those four years. One of them being my new employer. Others being representatives of the various organizations I will be approaching for sponsorship. I know the business. I'm familiar with the outdoor industry. I'm also passionate about what the organization stands for. I can't wait until my children are old enough to participate! I'm going to do my best to take them with me to as many of the events as I can--shouldn't be too difficult since travel expenses will be paid for me and my family!
Oh, the really, really nifty part? I'm working from Home. Yep. Right here with the munchkins. In my jammies. Sometimes. Video conference days I may put on a bra.
The Husband's gauze bandage does not get along well with Velcro.
Children, like predators, can smell weakness and hone in on an injured hand like lions on helpless gazelles. He's really not having a good week!
Watching, helpless to do anything, as my daughter tumbles down the entire flight of stairs ends up being far more traumatic for me than for her. She's just sporting a few more bruises--a nice shiner under her right eye. I have an image forever imprinted on my brain.
Okay, so the last one wasn't so humorous. Sorry. It's been a long day.
Saturday, December 6, 2008
Last year my boys went out by themselves and brought home the most beautiful tree. This year we made it a family affair. The four of us bundled up this afternoon and made our way down to the same Christmas tree lot we've patroned for the past three years now. The same old man was out there to hold up the trees for inspection and then to load the chosen one up on top of the Cherokee. For as much as I've spoken against traditions--I like the ones our little family has started.
I enjoy wrapping the strings of lights around and around. I always manage to pack them up each year so they're not too tangled the next. This year I have three strings of LED lights--don't stare right at them or you'll see spots for a while! Maybe I will actually make it to one of the after Christmas sales this year and pick up a few more boxes. I feel like I defied the laws of physics--a delicate white pine should not be able to hold up all of those lights...all 600 of them!
The heavy miniature pots and teacups I found in Portugal and made into ornaments have stayed in the bin. They're too heavy for the tree this year. A few others that are far too fragile to be on display in a home with these two whirlwinds we call our children have also stayed in the bin. All of my share of the wooden ornaments my mom painted the Christmas I was born are hung up. Jacob and Kyleigh both have ornament collections started--none too fancy, just ones I've picked up that remind me of them.
Jacob helped me hang the red wooden beaded garland my mom and I picked up on one of our excursions. He was dragging the other strands around the living room like a snake.
My Christmas shopping is complete--thanks to Amazon and the internet! The space under the tree will remain vacant until the little ones go to bed Christmas Eve. Well, not exactly vacant--that tree skirt is Sebastian T. Cat's nap spot of the month. He'd be there now except he had his face buried in his food dish at the time I snapped the picture. And, no, the angel won't sit up straight. Blame it on the eggnog!
Thursday, December 4, 2008
Apparently he is now legend at the V.A hospital. The team of anesthesiologists who prepped him for surgery this morning informed him that policy changes were put into effect immediately due to the circumstances surrounding his last visit to their fine, fine surgical ward. I know we made light of it at the time, but honestly? It was a screw up of epic proportions. And I'm glad to know that they have taken steps to insure the same thing doesn't happen to someone else.
My parents arrived safe and sound--jet lagged--but on time. Oh, did I not mention they were coming back to the States for Christmas? We actually managed to keep it a secret from the grand children as well. Not an easy task, pulling something over on those five! Kyleigh, Jacob and I drove out and spent Tuesday night with them. I had supper waiting when they arrived. Then, yesterday morning--after coffee and pancakes--I left my children with Kokoo and Babu and drove home. Jacob's reaction to being left? Yeah, I love you, Mommy...bye.
The Husband and I then managed to check various items off of our "To Do" list...moulding up in the living room, move Kyleigh's crib from our room to Jacob's room, scrub the grout in the bathrooms...go on a date with your beloved...went to a movie--I know, that's just crazy! Then up at 5am to be at the V.A. by 6.
I discovered that my GPS is missing a feature. The button that says, "Bruce--GPS dude--it's 5am. Tone down the chipperness, just keep reminding me of my turns and tell me to actually get the change for the toll out of my pocket before I get to the toll plaza!" But I suppose that would be too much to put on a button.
We were once again reminded today how precious life is. There are those at the V.A. who are in far, far worse circumstances than we are. Old men in wheelchairs, a man laying on a gurney wheeled outside to smoke, veterans, missing limbs, lives shattered.
Tonight, I'm grateful. For my children upstairs--now sharing a room. For my husband--broken, yet on the mend. My parents--exhausted and jet lagged, yet still they kept my children for two days. For my bed--to which I am now going, and for the first time in over a year, a bed without a crib at its foot. *Sigh* I know. It was time. But I'll miss hearing her softly breathing, stirring.
Friday, November 28, 2008
Our new television came in today.
The children were less than thrilled...
So...maybe this year we'll save our money and just troll the trash piles after Christmas and pick them up something in cardboard!
On a different note...I happen to be one of those "Audio/Visual" techno geeks. And a girl! Technological schematics do not scare me. Programing a brand new high definition television and blue ray player (it came free with the tv--kind of a sweet deal, don'tcha think?) was a piece of cake. Done. However, placing the batteries in the remote correctly--not so much. Fortunately for all of those involved I had enough faith in my own abilities to realize that the technical difficulty we were experiencing had to be something simple. We all need a humbling moment now and then.
Oh, all right...all I did was push a few buttons and wrangled children away from cables and cords. The Dear Sweet Husband created order out of chaos in the back and plugged everything in. Told you he was my hero.
Monday, November 24, 2008
Since the Husband tagged me and has since been nagging me about this I suppose I should play...
Here are some rules:
–Share seven random or weird Book Facts about yourself.
–Then tag seven other people--yeah, well...I don't know seven people. So play along if you want. Though I'd be interested to see Marit's and Melanie's answers on this...
–Notify the seven (or not) others that they have been tagged.
2. The first time I realized I could actually decipher the words was when my dad was reading me an Asterix comic book (excuse me--Graphic Novel) and he kept skipping over panels. I called him on it. I then proceeded to read through the rest on my own.
3. Once I had devoured our collection of Asterix and Obelix graphic novels I moved on to my sister's bookshelves--Nancy Drew, Madeline L'Engle. Then my mom's library--Victoria Holt, Phylis Whitney. And then my dad's--Clive Cussler, Louie L'Amour, Tom Clancy. By the time I graduated high school I had read through RVA's entire fiction section at least once.
4. I have a stash of romance books. The historical kind. Manly men in kilts. Pirates and Strumpets. Can't tell you the last time I read one though. Kinda seems wrong to be reading about heaving bosoms while I have children clamoring for my attention.
5. In choosing books I really, really try to stay away from series. Just too much of a commitment for a book. Then there's the waiting--waiting--for the next book to come out. If it does--Robert Jordan.
6. On our bookshelves there are books that I have simply due to the fact that I drew or painted the illustrations. A coloring book. Training manuals. Reading primers. Even a story written by my mom and nephew.
7. Years ago I picked up a Judith Tarr novel in a used book store in Nairobi. Only to come to the end and realize it was merely the first in a series (grrrr....series). After several attempts to locate the follow-up novels, I gave up--these were before the days of Amazon, Google and the bookstore Super Store. Fast forward a few years...I was over at a friend's apartment and looking over his expansive book collection. And there--there was the complete trilogy. And a follow-up trilogy. That friend? Oh, yeah. I married him.
Thursday, November 20, 2008
And then...well, you can read all about his day here. It's his tale to tell. Here's a spoiler: It didn't go so good.
Oh, and he gives the back story on yesterday's court case as well.
That's about all the conversation that's in me. I'm going to bed.
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
Interesting tidbit--the advocate group that originally backed her has since dropped her case and walked away...quickly. Hmmm. Maybe if they had done their research to begin with they wouldn't have accepted her version of events in the first place. But maybe that's just me. They were just so quick to cry "Racism!" that they didn't even look into her public record. But, neither did anyone in the press for that matter.
Of course, she has filed for an appeal. Because, after all--she is merely an innocent victim here.
In other news...
The love of my life is having hand surgery tomorrow. I have to have him at the Veteran's Hospital at 6am. Sweet Shivering Shiva it's gonna be cold! Fortunately (!) we have a friend coming to spend the night in order to be here in the morning with the little ones. I'm ever so grateful I don't have to drag them out of bed, bundle them up and cart them into the VA hospital as well. What a nightmare that would be. We could manage, of course. But I'm so glad we won't have to. Did I mention I was grateful?! The shiny side of this is that he'll be on medical leave for a couple of weeks and then off of the road for a few more. We actually get normal people time together. That's just crazy! Wanna place bets on how long it takes us to run outta stuff to talk about?!
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
Hmmm...must be genetic....
Though, I didn't get my first set of Legos until the Christmas just before by 6th birthday. Even then, I had to fight off my dad (Hi, Daddy! Excellent shirt!) to actually be able to play with them.
Forget the Barbie cakes--I asked for a Lego cake. My mom (Hi, Mama!), the amazing woman that she is, managed to make Lego blocks from homemade marshmallows.
One of the boxes I pulled down out of the attic for Jacob a few days ago contained the remnants of the very same set I received that year. No small feat considering how many times I've moved in the past 30 years!
Jacob went to bed a little late tonight. We were building a bulldozer.
Edited for correction....I was just informed by a very reliable source that though it was, indeed, my mom that baked and decorated my Lego birthday cake, it was my dad that labored over the marshmallows.
- Getting used to using the word "Engaged"
-Feeling so unprepared to be married in a month's time
-Facing possible deportation from Spain
-Enjoying everyday life in the south of Spain again
5 Things on My To-Do List Today
Aside from my everyday list of keeping the kiddos alive...
-Clearing a space in the new Spear Room for JoAnna to sleep tomorrow night.
-attempting to find childcare for Thursday afternoon...what are the odds?
5 Snacks I Like
-Salt and vinegar potato chips
-Jalapeño flavored kettle chips
can't think of another one
5 Things I Would Do If I Was A Millionaire
So, ditto on my husband's answers to this one...
- Be debt-free
- Make sure the kids had money for college
- Give some back to the people who have helped us when needed
- Build the house the way we wanted
- Finally travel again
5 Places I Have Lived (for various lengths of time)
- A variety of states in the US...(North Dakota, North Carolina, Minnesota, Tennessee, Virgina)
5 Jobs I Have Had
-Radio talk show producer
-The Mommy (by far and above the toughest of all!)
Monday, November 17, 2008
The Husband and I actually manage to discuss politics and religion--both falling into the "We Don't Agree" file--with respect, honesty and courtesy. Usually. Sometimes. We have been known to bring an end to a discussion with a closing argument of, "Yeah, well. You're Wrong!" (That's the sort of debate skillz a college degree in Communications will get ya!) We managed to make it through the past year of presidential campaign on opposite sides--each for our own passionate reasons--with very little argument or debate. Religion? At the bottom of it all we believe the same things. We just put different labels on it.
Yes, see...we live in peace and harmony. Until this morning. When we discussed the weather.
The weather forecasters are forecasting snow flurries for tonight. I. Hate. Being. Cold. My base layer Capilene has joined my daily pile of clothes. They'll come off sometime around mid-March. Just saying the word Snow sends my tropical blooded self to the internet searching for great, can't-pass-me-up deals to the Seychelles. (Then our bank balance calls and suggests that maybe I just pull on another fleece.) And this Colorado native freak that I vowed to love and adore until the cold, clammy hand of Death ripped us apart? He did a little dance. Not just a little happy dance. A full on In-Your-Face dance.
The temps start leaning towards freezing and yes, it is all his fault. Somehow. Don't bring logic into this! Because then you'd be Wrong.
Oh, fine...I'm thankful that I have a roof over my head and we can afford to turn the heat up. That we weren't stupid and went for more mortgage than we could afford and would now be facing foreclosure. Though, are we going to be rewarded for that in this whole bail-out scheme of the government? No. Whatever.
Sunday, November 16, 2008
Saturday, November 15, 2008
Friday, November 14, 2008
And once again--a household repair that should have been soooooooo much easier and simpler than it was. There's a shut off valve that had been open for so long that after today's workout of close/open/close/open it is now exhausted beyond the point of fulfilling its duty of keeping all of the water contained. Husband is, as I'm typing, on his way back to Lowe's to pick up a new valve. No more work tonight though. Venturing under the house in the dark is far more than should be asked of any man. But he is on bucket emptying duty for the rest of the night. It's not like Insomnia Man was going to be able to sleep anyway.
I am thankful for the repaired--yet still dieing--hot water heater. I am also ever so thankful that the leaking, rusting appliance, along with the ancient pipes and their valves, is in the basement and can do very little water damage to its surroundings. Except create a moat around the cat box. Hmmm...a new way to Torment The Cat. We'll call that a Bonus--heh, I can be grateful for that too.
Thursday, November 13, 2008
I've been reading a good number of blogs recently where someone is struggling. Life is just a little more than they feel they can handle right now. Financially, emotionally. Does it matter? What matters is, I have friends who could use some positivity. Some happy thoughts. Just today I was reminded that everything one works for one's whole life can be gone in a heartbeat. A lifetime reduced to rubble--whether metaphorically or not--someone tonight is struggling to pick up the pieces.
For at least this month--with an effort to continue the practice--I'm going to do my best to post at least one thing I'm thankful for each and every day.
I am thankful for the time I spent playing with my family this evening after supper. All four of us in the living room, three remote control cars and Kyleigh sitting in the middle like some adorable little Godzilla in a striped onesie snatching them up if they got too close. She was quick too.
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
My niece is a beautiful girl on the cusp of womanhood. Full of feisty attitude--more than enough to drive my sister (one of the most patient and long suffering people I know) to search for that icepick to gouge out one of her own eyes in order to numb the pain--an attribute that reminds me of...well, me. A feistyness that I lost somewhere along the way. Later regained--but I can't help but wonder what pain and heartache would have been avoided if I had managed to hold on to that attitude all along. And I see that same strong spirit budding in this precious little girl just learning to walk and explore her world.
What else might we have unconsciously given to our children?
Jacob puts his sentences together like I do. Tell Kyleigh "No" and she gives that look her daddy gives when I ask one of my "you're right, I wasn't thinking" questions.
Witnessing the presidential election fallout over the last week, I hope we pass on tolerance. Acceptance of that fact that all people are created equal. Dislike someone because of their views or politics. Not because of the color of their skin or their gender.
Will they know that there are some things worth fighting for? Not a lot of things--but a few? Even fewer worth dieing for? Will they know that they are the source of their own happiness? Their own joy? Will they know to take care of what they have, what's been given to them? And to be gracious and grateful? Will they know the difference between those two words?
Will they know that they can fly? That they can soar?
All these were handed down to me. The greatest task I face in this life is insuring that my own children can say the same.
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
I am married to a veteran.
I am the daughter of a veteran.
I am the granddaughter of a veteran.
On Memorial Day we gather together to honor and remember those who went before us. Today, however, is Veteran's Day. Today we honor the living. The ones who returned--whole, scarred or wounded. The ones we served with and fought beside.
For better or for worse, thank you.
Sweetie, you have to be Dead. But that, of course, would be violating House Hold Rule #1: Don't Be Dead.
(House Hold Rule #5 is: Don't Pee On The Cat. You'd think we actually wouldn't have to write that one down, wouldn't you?)
So, when I died I'll be a ghost?
Actually, Fruit of My Womb, I think the only people who get to be ghosts are those that feel really deeply they left something undone when they died and they somehow stick around.
So, where will I be when I died?
Ohhhhh....think, think, think! Faster....FASTER....the longer I hesitate the more questions he's thinking up...THINK! Do I go into the whole Heaven and Hell thing? How can I mention Heaven without talking about Hell? And the child is 3 years old! For the love of God, is he really ready for a discussion on Judgment and Eternal Damnation?! They never discussed this in Hermeneutics. That would have been far too practical of a lesson for a Bible college.
I'd like to say that I handled the situation with style and poetic grace. I'd like to say that. Instead, I choked.
After living a very long and happy life, when you die you'll just stay died--peaceful and happy.
Apparently it was a good enough answer and he moved on.
We'll start him on Dante next year.
Friday, November 7, 2008
I may have mentioned in the past that we live in an 80-year-old house. Yes, we made the conscious decision to purchase an older home. New builds in this area had an appalling lack of character and trees. We knew, sorta, what we were getting ourselves into. The house had been renovated before we made our purchase. The contractor made it look real pretty. But a few months in we realized that he'd also made sure he didn't use up a lot of his employer's money. The best thing he did was paint over all of the horrendous color choices of the previous owner and refinished the hardwood floors (and they are beautiful). Other than that he just covered up a lot--sort of like slapping bandaids on everything. The downstairs bathroom would be a prime example.
So the latest project really wasn't huge--certainly not by our standards--but it still took time.*
There are two bedrooms downstairs. The smaller room on the back of the house was our office and the larger front (streetside) room was the guest room. Or Spear Room, as Jacob labeled it. We kept a spear in there--ergo...Spear Room. (I grew up around the Maasai. Of course I have a spear, or two.) Since my parents (Hi, Parents!) moved out and took their furniture with them the room has sort of been a catch all type place. It actually worked well as a holding room for the bathroom reconstruction. But the plan all along was to move our office into the larger room. And so, tonight I'm sitting in our new office, sprawled out on the chase lounge and enjoying my new surroundings.
Of course nothing in this house is ever as simple as that. There was a crater size hole in the plaster behind the radiator that needed fixing. We'll call that stage Fun With Plaster. And, of course, by "Fun" I mean "I'd Rather Stab Myself In the Eyeball With a Hotdog Skewer". Numerous coats of plaster later the wall is fixed and non-crumbling, painted a delightful shade of gray with a even more delightful zero VOC, non-toxic paint. The Husband and I--along with our gazillion books and two computers each--actually have room to move about and find stuff. Ahhhh.
Please don't ask me about the fate of the former office. For right now it is still home to the dust bunny colonies that managed to gain a foothold underneath the desks and bookshelves. It has been designated as a guest room. But we never have guests....
*Time for any project is of course figured by the usual formula--take the square footage of the space to be improved divided by the number of people doing the improvement and multiply that by the number of children needing constant and undivided attention, subtract the number of hours one is actually awake and then multiply that by the number of times Jacob asks for Mommy. Yeah, I'm pretty sure Home Depot wasn't using that formula when they figured that replacing a tub would only take 14 hours.
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
Thursday, October 30, 2008
How could it not be fun?!
important to establish dominance with these creatures!
at the same camera--they don't even have to smile.
Just show me a face turned in my direction!
(Yes, I realize I had my daughter out in the chilly evening without socks.
She would like you to know that socks do not go on feet
and would thank you very much to stop putting them there.
Same applies to shoes.)
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
Hi. Have we met? Of course I'm going to fret about it!
I admit that it's just been easier to give her a bottle than to sit down and work with her on eating. Ever since she discovered that she can pick up food and put it in her mouth she has refused to eat from a spoon. It's been a challenge finding finger foods that she can and will eat. I'm pretty sure that she cannot live on peas, pears, cheerios and toast alone. Though she has discovered the Food of the Gods which is Macaroni and Cheese. That one is acceptable as well.
So there we were at super tonight--warm and hearty beef stew prepared by my wonderful Husband--and Kyleigh was screaming. Shaking her high chair tray and chucking food down at the cat. And I did nothing but sat there and denied her her bottle. I eventually bribed her with a biscuit and fruit spread. When I finally did give her milk she drank like she hadn't had nourishment for days, weeks even.
I have accepted the fact that the child is determined to hold onto her bottle for a little while longer. She's been doing really well with a sippy cup for some time now--as long as it contains either water or juice. Milk Must Come With A Nipple. That is law. And so shall it be. For someone who really doesn't talk much, Kyleigh is quite capable of communicating and getting her point across. On her birthday I made the mistake of presenting her morning milk in a sippy cup. Given the distance it traveled after she hurled it across the room I'd say she gets her communication skills from me.
Just now I attempted to reason with him and explain the concept of How About We Just Make It Through Today.
No, Mommy! I won't!
It went well. About as well as when I inform him that he doesn't get to tell me what to do.
And in today's Ironic Advice file...a comment I received on my previous post regarding my chaotic life--again. The advice was to simplify. To get back to basics.
These are the basics, my friend. I am a Stay-at-Home-Mommy with no outside obligations--granted I stay at home with two highly active, highly intelligent little ones and my husband works long hours and has a crippling disease for which he is on chemotherapy for the rest of his life and there are days when I'm parenting alone from dawn until dusk and I can't recall the last time I was able to take a lengthy enough shower to shave my legs and my children eat toast and eggs for supper because I missed out on the cooking gene--my life isn't complicated, just chaotic. This is as simple as gets. I cannot prune anything else without sacrificing family members--and as tempting as that idea is at times, it's just not going to happen. The three people that I share my life with are my life blood, my oxygen. They aren't going anywhere.
The animals on the other hand--they can go. Seriously. Free to a good home, or where ever. I'm not picky.
Sunday, October 26, 2008
In the meantime, I'd thought I'd share mine and Jacob's craft project yesterday--pumpkin painting! Any craft that involves Paint and Mess is his favorite. Took them two days to dry the paint was so thick!
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
In one short year this tiny little bundle--all 6 and a half pounds of her--went from this...
And our family bonding time went from this...
to this...Kyleigh taste testing her new toys this morning.
Oh, and for the highly observant--that's Garnier Nutrisse "Sangria"
Sunday, October 19, 2008
We may be moving--rather rapidly--towards becoming a 1st world socialist country, but we'll survive that. However, when the humor is gone and we are penalized for poking fun of our leaders--then, my friends, we're in deep doodoo.
Children are occupied elsewhere--no one pulling his tail or messing with his feet. The dryer has been going all morning creating a warm, cozy kitchen. And a sun spot. What more could an old dog want?
Saturday, October 18, 2008
Not quite the "thigh high wellies" but close enough!
Yes, the glamorous life of the Navy Airman (E-3) circa 1995. Stuck in Corrosion Control washing and greasing the massive, four prop P3 airplanes from dawn until dusk--any kind of weather. I remember being out there one night in the freezing rain. At least in the burning days of August we would just soak each other to cool off--but there wasn't a thing we could do to get warm!
Oh, and a link my dad sent to me this morning...I still may get my flying car yet!
As for me today...I am armed with boxes of tissues, cups of tea, sippy cups of juice and enough Veggie Tale dvds to choke a water buffalo--bring on the dreary, rainy Saturday filled with sicklings!
Thursday, October 16, 2008
Life is funny, ain't it? Get dealt one blow...pick yourself up just in time to catch the next one on the chin.
Husband's new meds are battling for supremacy in his body--both have the side effect of insomnia. Add that to his chronic insomnia and instead of canceling each other out he's morphed into a sleep deprived zombie stomping around the house at wee hours. Fortunately we have one or two books lying around for him to pass the time with. He can't even have a glass of wine to take the edge off.
So, fine--Husband is on these stupid meds he's going to take for the rest of his life. He's also attempting to stay on top of his school courses--and work. The baby has a cold. Jacob has good days and bad days with actually making it to the toilet before he pees all over the floor. And then...the other night his phone rings (Husband's, not Jacob's--what kind of parents do you think we are?)--and has not stopped since--Dude, just to let you know...you're going to be all over the 6 o'clock news. Oh, and in the paper.
A "customer" from an incident a few weeks back filed a complaint. Excessive force. Apparently the department wasn't investigating quickly enough and she sought aid from the local advocate organization for her particular skin color. Who in turn held a press conference in her honor. And there she was--looking all victim like...small and helpless, tears streaming down her face...and accused my HUSBAND of excessive force and racial slurs. Then, then, the newspaper went and printed it along with his NAME. So not kosher. The reporter also made sure to point out that the officer was white. No. Sorry. Apparently Mr. Big City Newspaper Reporter skipped class the day they discussed checking one's facts.
Of course I am not going to stand idly by while one of mine is being attacked. Not only have I never heard a single racial slur of any kind from this man in the 14 years I've known him--he's not white. I emailed the reporter to let him know that the officer in question was actually of Native American heritage. Not white. Want to talk about a persecuted minority? Let's review, shall we?
A people group living in peace and harmony--enjoying their buffalo and trees and mountains, occasionally fighting amongst themselves and with the neighbors. Along comes Mr. Columbus--Look at this new land that I have discovered. I shall claim it for Spain. And England. Oh, all right, France can come play too--but you guys have to stay to the north, eh? All of you indigenous "Native" people--you're so stupid that you'll accept yellow fever blankets and whiskey as payment for the food that we're too stupid to know how to grow and land that you naively say belongs to no one. Bwah ha ha! Fine. Here, you may keep these little, tiny parcels of land that are useless to us anyway. But you must learn to speak like us and dress like us and you'll have no rights as a people group and you'll like it!
And that concludes the history lesson for the day. Not too shabby for having been taught American history in a British school, huh?
Where was I? Oh, yeah...the reporter replied to my email. He explained that he took the characterization of the arresting officer from the victim. She's being charged with a DUI...among other things...and he just took her word that she was harassed and assaulted by a white officer? Unbelievable. And he has yet to correct his story. Un-freakin'-believable.
The morning following the incident in question, the Husband shared the arrest report with me. Lots of facts. All by the book. He did everything he could to not fight this woman who was bound and determined to not go to jail. Later he wrote his own account of the evening. And I was able to see it through his eyes. His feelings. He is being raked over the coals for a split second decision and that one decision enabled him to come home to his family--unharmed and untouched.
The sunny side is that no one--no one--who matters...his family, his co-workers, his department...is questioning his actions or his integrity. His department is standing behind and beside him 100 percent.
The story has actually been moved off the front page--apparently there's a presidential election happening soon and the media feels the need to report on that. The newscasters didn't even bring it up last night. I'm sure someone will make sure it's brought back to everyone's attention when her court date comes around.
Until then, I've got my thigh-high wellies on and we're just weathering the storm.
Sunday, October 12, 2008
A pumpkin patch bursting with pumpkins!
Walking back to the tractor, carrying our haul.
All the pumpkins you could carry--$20.
Not a bad deal--there were no rules about having your 3-year-old
carry the little ones.
Every now and then the Photo Gods smile on me.
A perfect shot in one take!
Just don't look too close--her eye is still swollen and bruised.
Saturday, October 11, 2008
Earlier this week as I was in the other room piddling about doing nothing, my son injured my daughter--resulting in a trip to the emergency room. Actually, it was my panic that sent us to the ER. The baby was fine all along.
Perspective...a couple of days later a dear friend called to tell me she had spent the day before in the ER with her daughter (five months older then Kyleigh) who fell down a flight of stairs and landed in a still, crumpled heap. She managed to escape completely unscathed--minus a few bruises--but it took several hours of CT scans and doctor examinations to come to that conclusion.
Yes, our daughters could have been hurt much worse. Yesterday they were both laughing and enjoying picking pumpkins at the pumpkin patch together.
Almost nine years ago my husband took himself and his sore wrist to the military clinic. He was diagnosed with tendinitis and given Motrin--the Navy miracle drug. Over the years it has not only worsened, it has also spread. A civilian doctor diagnosed it as non-rheumatoid arthritis and prescribed Vioxx. Vioxx was later pulled off the market due to it's nasty side effect of killing old men--or something to do with heart attacks. Veteran's Affairs agreed that his infirmity was indeed a service related issue, granted him partial disability and the privilege of being seen at the VA hospital. Then, after all of these years of progressively getting worse, taking more and more pain medication--which was slowly eating his stomach lining--and no real answers other than, "Yep, there's something wrong, just don't know what it is", we finally got an answer.
While we were on vacation a couple of months ago Sean ended up in so much pain that he could barely walk. The second day we were at the beach, he was laying on the floor with tears in his eyes and decided that maybe it was time to go find a doctor--and I was at the door with the car keys! The elderly country doctor listened to his tale, took one look at his hands and called it. Psoriatic Arthritis. The VA doctor confirmed the diagnosis a couple of weeks ago with a round of lab work. It is a full body disease that works through the auto immune system. And if left untreated it would cripple him. One theory is that this was chemically induced. A side effect of something he was exposed to on one of his trips out to play in the desert.
Perspective...although he most likely returned with an unwelcome souvenir, he was one of the ones who returned. My children have a father who comes home to them every day and I have a husband whom I love beyond life itself. The other perspective is that this could have been a much worse prognosis. The disease, while not curable, is at least treatable.
This morning my husband began taking a medication that he will continue to take for the rest of his life. It is a form of chemotherapy that is being used as an auto immune suppressant. It has the usual side effects of chemo as well as the ability to destroy his liver. I bought him a miniature bottle of a fine 12-year-old single malt scotch that he enjoyed a couple of evenings ago. It'll be his last.
Perspective...he's on chemo lite for a form of arthritis. Not full blown chemotherapy for cancer. Once again, I get to keep my husband for a little while longer.
I grew up around war, starvation and poverty. Politicians growing rich and fat while the little people went to bed hungry. We're facing an election here. Bickering politicians are taking up far too much oxygen. But I have the right to say that. And I have the right to vote--a vote that actually matters and counts. The women who went before me made sure of that.
Tonight I sit here in comfort and peace. Two precious little ones asleep upstairs. The dog softly snoring on the floor beside me. Quiet. I am so grateful for what I have. For what my life has turned out to be. There were so many crossroads in my past where I could have gone a different way. I can't imagine that any of those futures could possibly compare to the one I chose.
Friday, October 10, 2008
So...in taking the comments to heart--I shouldn't feel too guilty regarding the black eye my daughter is now sporting? Oh, and that one was totally my fault! She was climbing over me to get to the window sill and slipped. The sill caught her right between the eyes.
Good thing her doctor's appointment isn't for an other couple of weeks--give all of those bumps and bruises time to fade. Though I'm sure she'll have a fresh crop by then!
Wednesday, October 8, 2008
She and I spent a couple of hours as the guests of St. Mary's ER--the only local hospital with a pediatric emergency room--only to be told that she was fine. I already knew that. Go home and just watch her for signs of trauma. She can go to sleep. But wake her up at some point to make sure she's responsive. Or so said the nurse practitioner with no children. If this baby goes to sleep and is sleeping--I'm not waking her up. No. You can't make me. I may check and make sure she's breathing steady, but no way am I waking her up!
Today--she's fine. She was fine last night. I just got freaked out because the wound wouldn't stop bleeding. I know head wounds bleed. The one Jacob sustained back in February that required four stitches left at least a pint on the picnic table he picked a fight with. But seeing blood gush out of my baby's head was more than enough to send my Mama Bear instincts into overdrive. These are my children. I do everything I know of and that is within my power to protect them--from everything. If I could figure out a way to stuff them back into the womb I'd probably consider it.
But all of that doesn't matter, does it? I failed to protect that baby girl in her own home. Her sanctuary. Where she should be safe. And Jacob? He felt more remorse over the fact that he lost story privileges tonight than for the fact that he hurt his sister.
Talking the ordeal over with the Husband last night he said he was just hoping that Jacob would grow out of it. Really? How old are you and your brother? Because I seem to recall some sort of ruckus last time the two of you got together. And just because you called it Showing Examples of Your Latest Martial Arts Move--it was still a sibling fight with scrapes and bruises.
Spare me the "boys will be boys" line of thinking. My sister and I fought. Vicious and dirty. The only thing that kept us from carving each other's flesh with our fingernails on into our adolescent years--other than the fact that she bit her nails and I didn't--was the fact that she was shipped off to boarding school two years before I was. And then we sort of reverted back to an odd form of parallel existence.
So is this some sort of DNA coding? Are children born with the knowledge of fighting just like they are born with the ability to throw themselves down on the grocery store floor in a full on melt down? Or was this something that I have taught him? Has he been allowed to watch too much television? Too much Star Wars? Too many episodes of The Mummy? Or is this my DNA showing through?
I can almost guarantee you that if I were to sit down and retake the Meyer's/Brigg's personality test tomorrow I'd still come out a solid INFP. Introvert, something with an N, Feeling, and something with a P. I'm ruled by my emotions. I've tried working on that the past several years. But mostly it's the emotions that pull the strings. My family can attest to that. They don't have to leave comments or anything--honestly, you don't--but they are the ones who know. My children have the DNA coding that will enable them to abruptly stand up from the dinner table, knocking their chair backwards, screaming, "Don't mock my pain!"
I knew going into this whole Motherhood thing that there would be drama. I suppose I was naive to think that maybe there would be less drama than there really is.
Yet as flippant and trite as I'm making this ordeal to sound, the guilt is almost overwhelming. I wasn't in the room with my children yesterday afternoon. I heard Kyleigh cry. But she's at the point in her life where she gets pretty pissed off if someone--her brother--takes something from her. If pushed, she will push back. I thought that's all it was. I didn't go investigate. By the time I did go see what was going on she was fine. Except for the blood caked in her hair. And blood drops everywhere--speckling various toys. Jacob was even attempting to read her a story. And she is fine. Yesterday she just wanted us to stop messing with her head--literally--and leave her alone.
But I have to live with the fact that I ignored her when she cried. For all of my "Am I doing enough to protect my children?" form of parenting, I ignored her when she needed me. And I wasn't even doing anything important. See? Emotions. Don't even try to bring logic into this because that wasn't one of the letters that showed up on my personality test. I don't do "Logic". Especially when it comes to my children. But, guilt? Oh, yeah. That one I do.