Sunday, August 31, 2008

Caffeine driven ramblings...

Jacob, go back upstairs, lay down and go to sleep!

But I don't like naps.

Well, mommy does. And today her needs come first. Go to bed.

But I'm poopy!

Are you kidding me?! For the second--
second--time today, that child pooped in his underwear. I am at a complete and total loss as to what to do. He had the whole "going in the toilet" thing down. He had it. He. Had. It. No accidents for weeks. Then, outta the blue, he starts refusing to poop in the toilet. Not one single book on child rearing, potty training, not killing your children, mention this phenomena. Then again, none of those books have a chapter labeled, Jacob Connor--the Child Who Will Test You To Your Very End.

It just seems like more and more on a daily basis I'm feeling like a complete and utter failure in this mom thing. I know no one expects me to be perfect, but most days I don't even feel like I'm doing my best. I still hear my dad's voice in my head, "Yeah, that was okay. But there's always room for improvement." Honestly, most days it's all I can do to just keep up with these two brilliant children I've been given--forget about staying a step ahead of them. And there's just no way that can be "my best."

Just a little while ago I came across this in a post from 5 Minutes For Parenting. The mom blogging today wrote:
"I am a mother with chipped edges and missing parts, a mother without a map who wonders if she should retreat rather than forge ahead. I am a mother with no clue if I’m doing all right or if I am destroying my children with my temper tantrums."

Yeah, sort of sums it up right there.

My son rarely gets balanced meals--though I do use the jelly that's just fruit so that's like smooshed up fruit on that PB&J, right? I know that my 10-month-old is supposed to be eating far more solid foods than she does, but I can no longer sit there for hours at a time coaxing her to eat--not when I need to keep her brother from wiping syrup hands all over my shirt that
was clean two seconds ago. I feel like I spend far too much of my day reprimanding instead of encouraging.

Yesterday afternoon I found myself unable to recall if I had brushed my teeth or not. I honestly do not recall the last time I had a haircut. I simply cannot make it out of the house when the haircut places are open to go sit and get a haircut. Because that's all that you do when you get a haircut. You sit. I no longer have the luxury of single tasking. Even now--I'd love to be laid out on this couch taking a nap, instead I'm listening to Jacob stomp around upstairs to where he has been banished, both washer and dryer are in full swing and Husband is snoring over the baby monitor.

And the snoring reminds me that we are
so not a normal family. The new schedule the county adopted back in February was supposed to make our lives easier. 4 nights on and 4 nights off. Sounds like a perfect schedule, right? But here's the thing. No one is upholding their end of the bargain. There's still court days scheduled on days off. There's weeks here and there where Husband teaches--at least then he's home at night all week. Except when he teaches at night and then I'm left alone for over 24 hours--outnumbered by short ones. And then there's the two days of bomb squad training every month. And mandatory working of the Nascar races when they're in town. And the state fair. And last night when he had to go in an hour early for briefing--leaving me to the arduous task of getting two small, strong willed, children fed, bathed and into bed all by myself. In fact, since the implementation of this schedule, we have only had one or two weeks where the system worked.

So, we're stuck in sort of a catch 22 situation. Husband really wouldn't be happy on any other shift. Neither would he get paid the overtime he's paid for court appearances--because then it would just be part of his regular work day. But I'm tired of sleeping alone. I'm tired of parenting alone. I'm basically just tired. I think my last truly good night of sleep was sometime the summer of 2004.

I feel like I should end this with something profound...if we shadows have offended and all that, but I got nothin'. Besides, right now I have a date with a 3-year-old and a mummy movie--that I've only seen a gazillion times!

Friday, August 29, 2008

rainy day activities

Raining for the third day in a row. While the rain was very much needed--try explaining that to a very active 3-year-old! Whatever shall we do?!

Take one great magazine...

Pick an activity--A Wiggly Caterpillar made out of construction paper and lots of imagination...two things we are not in short supply of!

And then...a very long caterpillar made out of a paper chain.
All I did was ask him to smile.

But it was a lonely caterpillar.
It needed a baby and a mommy caterpillar to go with it.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

misty water colored memories...

Yes, my fellow time travelers...another journey. If your memory failed before, Marit, does that mean you've also forgotten this?! I do have it in video format. But that's just too much evidence to prove my statement that I, did indeed, suck at playing the alto saxophone.

I'd like to point out, once again, the rolled up jeans--paired with high top sneakers this time. And the lovely ensemble Marit the Clarinetess is wearing. Only a 17-year-old with no hips could pull that one off! Hmmm...though, that
was my belt.

Not to be left out...the two blonds--one singing and the other on the bass--have indeed found their happy ever after. Such a sweet story. Though, I won't mention what
her nickname was for him in high school. Not so sweet. She'll just have to share that story on her own.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Stuck in 19...1985

Some things are allowed--encouraged even--to leave the 80's and join us today in the 21st century.

Bon Jovi
then and now (oh, my)

Andrew McCarthy
then and now
(and it wasn't just about the bike!)

But are you kidding me? This fad has gotta stay lost in the 80's! That's how we disguised the fact we were wearing missionary barrel bell bottoms that were too short! Pair that with mismatched neon socks and a pair of jelly shoes and you have my fashion statement for pretty much the entire year of 1985!

Rolled up jeans shows up on the "Hot" list for this fall fashions--fall of 2008! It wasn't a good look in 1988, so why should it be a good look 20 years later?!

Hmmm...however, I did look pretty cool in my turquoise Chucks. And we did get the only encore request in the talent show that night.

It was a rousing rendition of Louis Louis....aouh, we gotta go now.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

I had a farm in Africa...

It's a wet, dreary day here. Rainy days always remind me of home. Though, I suppose where I currently reside is home. However, in my heart, this will forever be home.

coffee plants in the rain on the slope of Mt. Kilimanjaro...

By-the-way, has anyone picked up on the fact that my titles are usually either songs or movie quotes? Extra credit today for whomever can give me the title of today's quote. Nah...too easy. Try yesterday's post title. And, no, Sean--not you. You wreck the curve!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Politics, politics, politics!

Although I am a registered member of the Libertarian political party I will be voting for the Democratic candidate in the up coming presidential election. Maybe you've heard we were holding one of those things over here. No? Then may I join you on your deserted island?

Anyhoo...I decided to show my support for the presidential candidate of my choice and order some lawn art. There's a
McCain '08 yard sign down the street. It would have been fun. Unfortunately, I have been asked to please not display something like that on our front lawn--due Husband's police cruiser parked out front. Might give someone the impression the county had an opinion. But I was planning on sticking a campaign poster in the back window of my car. A lovely Barack Obama '08 sign in blue. For the bargain price of $2.50. Then the website store calculated my shipping charge for $8.65.

Sigh. Sort of sums up American politics and economics, doesn't it?

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Drama, drama, drama!

Because a boring life would be, well--boring.

"How about we get the car packed, kids bathed and jammied and leave after supper?" I innocently asked.

"That sounds like a fine plan," Husband agreed. "You guys can all sleep and I'll drive."

"Swell!" I replied.

And then it all went so very wrong.

The car was packed--much more organized and neater than before (this will come into play later). Supper eaten and pajama clad little ones tucked into their carseats. Stuffed animals and blankets all nice and cozy. We had aimed for 7 and we pulled out of the drive at 7:04. It was all going too well.

Bruce (the GPS) decided to pay us back for completely ignoring his directions on the trip down to the beach and took us back through Deliverance country. I was far too occupied with my attempt to keep a bottle in the baby's mouth, answering Jacob's endless questions as to why we were leaving the beach and doing my best not to throw up--facing backwards in a car on winding roads does that to me--all the while grateful we were in a vehicle and not a house where I would be tempted to find a kitchen drawer with an icepick to stab myself in the eyes with because one child screaming and one child who will not be satisfied with any answer I give him all in a tiny little space was just a little bit more than I was truly capable of handling.

I failed to realize we were taking the scenic route back to the interstate until it was too late. It was getting dark and we were still winding our way through the Cape Fear river basin following Bruce's directions like the sheep that we are and just as I was getting more than a little concerned we started seeing signs for I 40. And if the name "Cape Fear" sounds familiar it's because Stephen King was so creepified by that area he wrote a book about it.

Kyleigh managed to fall asleep shortly before the interstate and Jacob was at least quieting down. I fluffed up my pillow, wrapped my fleece around me and curled up to sleep the rest of the way home. Only to be rudely awakened a couple of hours later by the smell of burning rubber. The car hitting the wake-up strips as Sean pulled off of the road woke up everyone else. (See, they do work!) Remember this picture of pre-vacation Jetta? Well, one of the laws of traveling with children is that all of the stuff one takes with them, one also needs to take home with them. Everything had to come out of the trunk (boot) to get to the spare tire.

"Love of My Life?" Sean asks so sweetly.

"Yes, Dear?"

"My flashlight's batteries appear to be dead. Where is your flashlight?"

"I don't know. Let me look under this EMERGENCY STASH OF CHEMLITES. Nope, can't find it. How about you look instead."

"Okay. First let me move this EMERGENCY STASH OF CHEMLITES."

See how nice we are to each other?

The car is pulled off on the side of I95 at 10 o'clock at night, we're back to the one child screaming and the other child asking endless questions, Sean is laying on the ground trying to locate the jack point using his CELLPHONE as a light when it hits him that we're both idiots. We had emergency lights all along. My excuse was that I had baby screams numbing the commonsense part of my brain.

My various paranoias (yes, there are many) have led me to be a very well prepared person. The car is outfitted with a fully stocked first aid bag and an emergency maintenance kit--tool box, jumper cables, zipties, emergency triangle. I even have a machine punch for breaking the windows if we end up under water. And, yes, a handfull of chemlites (the light sticks you bend and shake). One came in real handy as Sean was tightening up the last of the lugnuts and repacking the trunk.

So, even though I failed to document The Flat Tire On The Side of I95 ordeal with pictures, I would not be the journalist I was trained to be if I had also failed to take pictures of the service station we pulled into to air up the spare and repack the trunk a little better--since half ended up around my feet in our haste to leave the position of "Sitting Duck" on the side of one of the busiest interstate highways in the US.

There was no explanation given. Simply a 10 foot tall rooster leading a parade of other animals. Right there beside the service station. Of course Jacob wanted to get out and ride them. Which of course lead to another entire round of questions. He did, however, inform them all that it was nighttime and therefore time for them to be sleeping.

And I named my GPS "Bruce" since it is set with a male Australian accent. This way when he powers up I get to say, "Hallo, Bruce. How are you, Bruce? G'day, Bruce. Hiya, Bruce." Because, after all, what's a day without a Monty Python reference?

Reality bites. Yes, it really does.

Yesterday there was time for one last massive sand hole...

one last snooze with Maia on the couch..

one last popsicle on the steps...

and one final look at the ocean.

Okay, there was time for another long look out at the ocean.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

a quiet day

We're staying in today. Not all day and Jacob was down playing in the sand earlier. But the surf is high and the undertow strong. Far more stress than I care for trying to keep up with a three-year-old who has no fear of the ocean. We still have tomorrow to play in the water.

Today we can simply enjoy our view. This view. Right off of the deck of the house.

The picture really doesn't convey the strength and ferocity of the surf today. High tide was the highest it has been all week. It may calm down enough by low tide to be able to swim some. If not, it's still a magnificent view.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Wishing you were here...

My two frogmen...Jacob enjoying time in the sand this morning.

And just in case someone was wondering how a family of four can defy the laws of physics and go on vacation driving nothing more than a VW wasn't easy!

I suppose we'll have to look at bigger vehicles when they start complaining about a lack of leg room!

But doesn't it look like it was all worth it?!

Because this is the view I get to enjoy for the rest of the week. Sigh. I know. It's hard.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Toes in the sand

So, here I am. Sitting on the outside deck of our residence for the next 7 days. At the beach (sweet bliss!), enjoying the sound of the surf. Beside me is my sister--on her laptop. On the other side of me is my husband--on his laptop. Highspeed wireless. At the beach. Did I mention I was sitting here at the beach?!

A long day's drive. A very packed Jetta. A potty trained 3-year-old. We took the scenic route--a tour of public restrooms along the coast of North Carolina. Farmland. Small country villages. Churches with names such as New Zealand Pentecostal Free Will Baptist and Eastern Assembly of Disciples of Christ. Towns with names such as Zebulon and Beulah. Five hours driving through tobacco fields, peanut farms and corn.

Then...Nirvana. Topsail Beach. Looooong empty beaches.

We managed to hold off Jacob until he actually had his bathing suit on. Kyleigh managed to crawl up anyone who even attempted to put her feet in the water.

We'll see how this posting on vacation goes. I may simply sign off until next weekend. After all, I have a love affair with the Atlantic ocean to rekindle.

Thursday, August 14, 2008


That is the report I received today. From two different doctors.

On the contrary, I argued. I think my breasts are quite remarkable. Of course we must excuse the fact that the girls need synthetic fabric and re-bar re-enforcement to take them from National Geographic cover worthy to Cosmo cover worthy. But, unremarkable? That's a little harsh. mean, "Unremarkable" as in, "There's nothing to remark on" as in, "You don't have anything resembling cancer, fibrocystic lumps, calcium deposits or anything else remarkable."

Oh. Well. That's okay then.

***edited to add***
This was more than a simple routine mammogram. During my annual girl check-up the doctor found what she labeled as "suspicious lumps" in my left breast. Turned out to be nothing more serious than scar tissue from my reduction. It was just more prominent and noticeable due to extensive BBSS*. However, it did establish good baseline pictures for my next visit--in four years. And I now know what the jelly feels like in a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

*breastfeeding boob shrinkage syndrome.

Monday, August 11, 2008

And a child shall lead them...

Small feet running down the hall at 6:30 this morning. A little dinosaur jammie clad body crawling into my bed, pulling my blanket over himself and his stuffed kitty named, well what else? Kitty. Snuggling down beside me with his head on my pillow, he lets out a heavy 3-year-old sigh. Whispering, so as to not wake up daddy--even though the baby has been babbling in her crib for the past fifteen minutes, I ask him what was wrong.

Mommy?" he whispers back.

Yes, my son
does know how to whisper. He just doesn't do it often.

Yeah, Sweety?"

Mommy, the Planet Earth has a booboo."

Um....okay. Yes. It has a rather large booboo."

Far too insightful for me at daybreak.

We need to fix it."

Yes. We do.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Late night horror reading

My current, non-children's literature, read is The Inheritor by Marion Zimmer Bradley. It's a little creepy. Poltergeists and the occult. San Fransisco and invasive fog. You know, all sorts of creepy stuff.

Last night, as both children were sleeping soundly upstairs and I lay sprawled on the couch reading, I got a little spooked. An 80-year-old house emits some creepy sounds as it settles in for the night. Sean was working. There was no big, strong man to protect me. Wow, can't believe I actually got those words out. Anyway. Knowing myself and my highly overactive imagination I figured it was time to put the creepy book up and grab a comic book instead. I wandered upstairs and crawled into bed with my night light and Calvin and Hobbes.
The Revenge of the Babysat. I discovered Calvin and Hobbes when I was in high school, so we've been friends for a few years now. I always thought they were hilarious. Last night? It terrified me to my bones!

My son was in Every. Single. Panel. I kid you not. There he was toting his kitty around with him outside. Swinging with him. Swimming with him. There he was with his amazing imagination. There he was not sitting still for pictures. There he was as the adrenaline junky. And I was terrified. There was my future.

I've always wondered what was in the mom's ever present drink mug. Now I know. Because I am her. And she drinks caffeine straight up. With a caffeine chaser.

Honestly? I shouldn't have been that surprised. The night I was introduced to my babies' daddy he was introduced as "Calvin". Yep, I picked a bad decade to stop drinking.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Conversations With Jacob. Vol. II


Ah, the delicate voice of my first born--raising in frustration.

"What, my beloved child? How may I be of service?"

Fine. So I paraphrased a little...

"Where ARE they?"

"Where are what, Sweet Carrier of My Genetics?

"My BALLS, Mommy! Where are they?!"

And that's when I left the room. And if I had said balls, they would have been laughed off.

Thursday, August 7, 2008


After several accident free weeks, Jacob has regressed in the potty training and has peed all over the floor today. I'm on the fourth load of laundry because we ran out of rag towels and clean underwear.

Kyleigh decided there wasn't enough drama in the house already and decided to stay up half of last night and then not really nap today. However, she is now happily situated on her daddy's lap practicing waving and saying, "Da da". Fine. Cuteness wins.

I just want normal. A normal family with a normal schedule. A normal life where my husband is at home at night. And my children are in bed by 8 and sleep until morning. I want a dog who doesn't constantly shed a new self every single night. I want a cat who doesn't pee on the new bathroom floor. Okay, that last one is partly my fault because I advocated to keep him alive when he was diagnosed with feline diabetes. You would think he'd be just a
tad more grateful.

And there were lima beans for supper. I hate lima beans. There was kissing on tv. I hate kissing. My bath was too hot. I got soap in my eyes. And I had to wear my railroad pajamas. I hate my railroad pajamas. Sigh.

See, if you didn't get that the last bit was
Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good Very Bad Day--well, then it just comes across as odd. And didn't I say I wanted normal?

Oh, and on the list of "Things I Learned Today": if one never actually turns the washing machine on, the laundry won't be clean. And one still won't have clean underwear.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008


Every now and then we are given a gift. A precious gift. A friend.

One particular friend that I was given didn't seem so special at first. After all, she
was my boss. Amy was the wait staff manager of the small pub I worked at where we lived before we lived here. Okay, so there were only three of us to manage--but she was technically our boss. Somehow, amongst the Guinness and Irish folk music, a friendship emerged. And to this day--9 years later--she remains one of my dearest and bestest friends.

Her daughter--our adorable god daughter, Amanda--was and is Jacob's first love. He ignored his presents on his first birthday just to flirt with the cute blond.

Even now--as long as Jacob isn't screaming or making other loud noises--they enjoy being together. Last week they caught fish
This Big!

Right here, captured on film--or memory card--the dynamic that summarizes the two days these two spent together. Jacob being wild, splashing and loud. Amanda hoping and praying that the new baby is a girl!

Oh, did I not tell you that Amy is pregnant? After two years of hoping and trying. Two years of disappointment and pain. There will be a new baby in their house late February. We are thrilled, to say the least.

A progress report...sort of

It's been a busy summer--some days busier than others--so I thought I'd just write myself a short progress report. Like in school, but without all of the "C" grades!

Our bathroom is still being renovated. Sean has taken the next two weeks off from work--and court--so we might actually have a chance to go in to plaster and paint the walls since that's all that remains. We managed to agree on a paint color. I said, "I want this color." And he said, "Really? How about this color?" And then we went with my color. See how well we work together?

Jacob has decided that he's ready to be out of diapers. Like everything else in his life--walking, sleeping, giving up the bottle--he followed his own time table. No amount of coaxing, prompting or harassing on my part have made a difference. He had to decide for himself and that's what he did!

And I have to resign myself to the fact that this is the state the toilet paper will remain in for the next couple of years.

Oh, and his cousins taught him how to pee outside. I finally stepped in and said, well, if that's what you're going to do then at least wait to pull down your shorts until you are positioned at the bush or tree you wish to pee on. Once again--obviously something they covered in that parenting class we skipped!

Friday, August 1, 2008

Buying a home is a huge step--for normal people. For someone like me whose only roots are those bits that show between hair colors, making the decision to settle, put down real roots and purchase a house was a step of astronomical proportions. There was a permanence about it. An end to my nomad days. And acceptance of the fact that this is now where I'm to be "from". I now live here. Here takes my taxes. Here is where my children will be educated.

We found this house in the winter. Crunching over left over snow to explore the back yard. Jumping up and down on the floorboards to see just how badly they squeak upstairs. Expressing horror at the last owner's choice in colors and light fixtures. All the while feeling like we had come home.

Then came spring and the yard exploded in colorful surprises. Azaleas blooming. Lilies popping up
everywhere. Dandelions. Hostas. Roses--that would have made Gramps smile.

then, came the summer...

And I discovered a couple of Hibiscus plants in the back yard. I had no idea the plant could survive in this climate. Did not know it was perennial. The discovery was like a gift. An affirmation. If one tropical native could survive--and
thrive--here, well then, so could I.