Sunday, January 31, 2010

The Great White North is apparently confused...

But at least the sun came out...

And we all found things to keep us occupied indoors. Of course, the munchkins swiped my toys...Jacob playing Lego Star Wars and Kyleigh kicked back and coloring on my ipod...

Now, all is quiet...with the exception of the washing machine running so we all have clean base layers for tomorrow's fun...

Because posting comics distracts me from checking on flights to Tahiti...

Mass amounts of snow...more on the way...sub-freezing temps...two munchkins demanding entertainment...the same munchkins who were bouncing off the walls waiting, oh so patiently, to go out and play...half an hour later, covered in snow, battle scarred from a falling icicle ...dragging an almost lost mitten requesting to go back inside and drink hot chocolate...please.

Rose Is Rose

And have I mentioned I was raised in the tropics? I do not, however, vacuum.

Friday, January 29, 2010

And the snow snow snow came down down down...

When one is barely two feet tall, it's much more enjoyable to watch the snow dump down than to go play in the foot of it outside...
We were all out playing earlier...when it was only at about 5 inches and Kyleigh thoroughly enjoyed being able to move about. She shuffled her way all over the yard--laughing and giggling. Then back inside for blankets and warm chocolate milk.

Snowed in...whatever to do for lunch? Something fairly quick and using what I already have? While rationing the peanut butter and sandwich bread? Chef Tess has come to the rescue...again...Pizza muffins. One of those recipes that brings out the face palm...can't believe I've never thought of this before!

Usually there's a tub of bread dough (half and half White Whole Wheat and Unbleached Bread Flour) in my refrigerator ready and waiting...and today the remainder became pizza dough. Small balls of dough smooshed up the sides of a muffin pan, add spaghetti sauce and cheese...

Chewy, cheesy, pizza goodness...

Special Snow Day the living room watching "Finding Nemo"...

The rest of the pizza muffins are now in the freezer. Jacob is all sorts of excited about being able to take pizza to school for lunch! You know, for whenever we dig ourselves out from under all of this snow and school re-opens. I'm thinking March.

We may have to fire up the 4x4 and head out to Kimbilio for sledding tomorrow...

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Pictures saying thousands of words...and all that...

Our weather forecast...

Appropriate funnies...because if we weren't all crazy we would just go insane...

Soup To Nutz

The Buckets

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Not so lonely...

Again this morning I caught a faint whiff of pipe tobacco in the upstairs hallway. My husband doesn't smoke. I've known the man for fifteen years--one would think I'd have noticed.

Every now and then, in the quiet hours of darkness, we hear the faint tinkling of a child's toy. Our own children being fast asleep and all toys put away for the night. There have been soft footsteps on the stairs--taken for the cat, only to discover the cat already curled up, asleep on the bed.

The skittering and scratching sounds can be attributed to small critters finding their way in the lathes and plaster of these old walls. As to the can be a tad disconcerting in the darkness but for now, everyone seems friendly. And it's nice to have the company.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Brandon is home!

Just thought everyone would like to know. He was discharged yesterday with a clean bill of health and slept in his own bed last night! I'm searching for a more powerful word than, "awesome". English sometimes fails me there. Now comes the journey of finding their way as a family once again. They're up for it! Thanks everyone for your thoughts and prayers.

oh...and if you happen to live in this area, we have organized a Spaghetti Dinner pick-up on March 6th. All food is being donated which means every single penny from the ticket sales goes towards covering Brandon's medical bills. Tickets are $6 a piece and need to be purchased by Feb 26th. There's going to be a raffle drawing and a silent auction going on as well. Send me an email (smplydori at gmail dot com) and I can give you more details!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Conversations with Jacob...

"Ugh...I hate pepperoni!"

"Really? Hate? That's a very strong word. Too strong to use in reference to a food, don't you think?"

"Nope...I have a very strong mouth, Mommy. Strong enough to handle the word."

Not yet, my son. Not yet. As long as I'm still here to shield you from the world--may you never know the true meaning of hate.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Take a ride on the Peace Train...beware...opinions ahead...

Yep...just another lame-o post with song lyrics. But this came on the radio as I was dropping off the kiddos at school this morning. And it really struck a chord. I've heard the song a gazillion times (love Cat Stevens) but I don't think I've ever just let the words sink in.

And then I got to thinking...where are the war and civil unrest protest songs of this generation? Are we so sensitive about "support our troops" that we forget to protest the war that's killing off an entire generation of sons and daughters, husbands and wives, moms and dads? There's an alarming lack of protestations. For what it's worth, here's my stand...we're in a war we cannot win. The administration that started it and the administration that inherited it were and are incapable of making the bad human decisions that would make it possible to win. That's an okay thing. Not accepting and admitting it--which would be conceding a draw and letting those sons and daughters, moms and dads, husbands and wives return and live out long, un-shattered lives--is not an okay thing. So here you go...let's get the peace train rolling...
Now I've been happy lately, 
thinking about the good things to come
And I believe it could be,
something good has begun

Oh I've been smiling lately,
dreaming about the world as one
And I believe it could be,
some day it's going to come

Cause out on the edge of darkness,
there rides a peace train
Oh peace train take this country,
come take me home again

Now I've been smiling lately,
thinking about the good things to come
And I believe it could be,
something good has begun

Oh peace train sounding louder
Glide on the peace train
Come on now peace train
Yes, peace train holy roller

Everyone jump upon the peace train
Come on now peace train

Get your bags together,
go bring your good friends too
Cause it's getting nearer,
it soon will be with you

Now come and join the living,
it's not so far from you
And it's getting nearer,
soon it will all be true

Now I've been crying lately,
thinking about the world as it is
Why must we go on hating,
why can't we live in bliss

Cause out on the edge of darkness,
there rides a peace train
Oh peace train take this country,
come take me home again

Sunday, January 17, 2010

In lieu of actual content...

(inspiration from Kris)

What was the last thing you put in your mouth? Water

Can you play Guitar Hero? Baby, I would so ROCK at Guitar Hero...if we played.

How late did you stay up last night and why? 11ish...reading

If you could move somewhere else, would you? I'd move back to Spain in a heartbeat...

Have you ever been kissed under fireworks? Yep...and created even more fireworks...

Do you believe ex's can be friends? Yes.

What items could you not go without during the day? Coffee, internet

Who was the last person you visited in the hospital? Brandon and his parents.

How do you feel about your life right now? Content

If we were to look in your facebook inbox, what would we find? Old messages.

Has anyone ever called you perfect before? Not that I know of...

What song is stuck in your head? "One of these things is not like the other..."(Thanks, Donia!)

Do you think too much or too little? Some of both usually...

Do you like pickles? All sorts of pickles!

Have you ever licked the back of a CD to try to get it to work? Um...yes...and DVDs

What's the largest age difference between yourself and someone you’ve dated? 8 years...and I was the older one...

Have you ever been on a blind date? Yes, and it did not go so well...

Do you have any friends that you've known for 10 years or more? Maybe this should be changed to "20 years or more" answer would still be yes.

Are you a good tipper? Yep...too good...too many years as a waitress...

What's the most you have spent for a haircut? $60...but that included highlights and all!

Have you ever had a crush on a teacher? Oh, yeah...

Have you ever peed in public? Yes...peed on myself in public--no.

What song do you want played at your funeral? Willie Nelson, "Angel Flying Too Close to the Ground"...or James Taylor, "Sweet Baby James".

What would your last meal be before getting executed? Something deconstructed that took forever to put together and eat...Indian food or Ethiopian...make everyone wait and then have the amazing smell lingering to tease them all.

What do you do as soon as you walk in the house? Take off my shoes.

Who is the person you can count on the most? Myself

What did you dream last night? Not a clue...

Would you ever get plastic surgery? Have had and with no regrets!

Have you ever caught a fish? A few...

What is your favorite lunch meat? Fresh ham.

Do you still have your tonsils? Yes...though I really have no clue what they are or what function they serve.

What is your favorite cereal? Kashi

Do you untie your shoes when you take them off? Nope.

What is your favorite ice cream? Something with chunks of chocolate in it.

What is the first thing you notice about people? Their smile.

What book are you reading now? "Meeting at Corvalis"

What is the farthest you've been from home? Tokyo, Japan

How did you meet your spouse? At The Barn in Rota, Spain...we were introduced by a mutual friend.

Where was the last place you drove (other than home/school/work)? Just now to the grocery store.

And there you have it...insight into my oh, so exciting life!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Changes in attitudes...

Recently I've been able to get back in touch with an old friend. Several old friends in fact. But one in particular has challenged me to take a different perspective.

Two years ago this particular friend lost her husband. Their two little girls--the youngest an infant--lost their dad. Her girls are about the same ages as my children. She is now tasked with raising those two precious girls by herself. Yes, she has family and a huge support system, but ultimately it's all on her. There's no one walking in the door at 5 o'clock to give her a break. No one coming home to help her out with supper. No one coming home to help with bath time and tucking little ones into bed. She's it. And she's terrific at it. Her girls are her world and it shows in every single picture. Every single thing she does. Yes, she's tired. Yes, she has good days and bad days. And, yes, she misses her husband every single day. But she's determined to give her girls everything she can and make their world amazing.

I tend to whine a lot on facebook with status updates...Was there really a time in my life when I wasn't constantly exhausted? And...The kiddos are running laps around me this morning--where is their father? This one was a frequent one...Playing the EOD wife waiting game--again. And the biggest whinyhead post of all...Left to cook supper by myself--again.

Lately, however, I've found myself typing something and then looking at it from her perspective. And I saw just how whiny I was really being. Pathetic, really. To be fair to myself, there have been a lot of positive updates as well. But this isn't about those. I think a lot of times I use that status update/what's on your mind feature as a means of getting stuff off my chest and out of my head. Much like I use this medium. But, ironically enough, this is more private. The choice has to be made to come here and read my drivel. Facebook just pops up and it's out there--oh, look...Dori's whining about being stuck at home with a two-year-old even though it was her
choice to remain home in the first place and her husband is going to be a whole half hour late. Somehow, that all seems like stuff that should be a piece of cake. Well, not a piece of cake, but certainly survivable and not at all worth whining about. Publicly.

After all, my husband is coming home. But if the day should ever come that he doesn't, I really don't think she would begrudge me a whiny post or two. Or three.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

We now take a break from the 'flu to bring you the following funny... had me laughing my silent-still-don't-have-a-voice laugh...

Pearls Before Swine

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

And, lo...the virus cometh...

And it shall knocketh thee uponth thine butt...eth...

Seriously...nothing to see here...

Sunday, January 10, 2010

God is great...He gives us chocolate cake...

Well...more like angel food cake with chocolate frosting. Tomorrow is my big sister's birthday...but we celebrated tonight. Curry dinner and of course...cake!

Happy Birthday, Donia!

And thus marks the end of our month-long holiday season...anniversary, Christmas, my birthday, huge family Christmas and Donia's birthday. No more family birthdays until June...and then it's six right in a row--3 in June, 2 in July and 1 in August! Which reminds me, I need to stock up on cocoa.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Nothing remains quit the same...

There are situations in our lives, circumstances we live through that forever change us. Something so huge and life altering it can cause us to change our world view. To change our entire perception on life and living. Motherhood was one such thing for me. It was a monumental change in everything I knew and everything I was comfortable with.

I was 33 when Jacob came along. I had been on my own since I was 18--before that really, when one thinks about how we pretty much raised ourselves in boarding school. I was married a week before my 27th birthday. I was used to my life being all about me. I knew where my paychecks went--they went to support Me. Free time was spent playing and entertaining, well, Me. Then along comes this tiny, little human--wholly and dependent on...Me. And it was the darkest, most difficult, most challenging time of my life. It had nothing to do with postpartum depression and every thing to do with having given birth to a child who did not sleep and married to a man who was barely home.

In a heartbeat, my world was forever changed. I, as the center of my universe, no longer existed. I found myself filtering all of my decisions through that. For example...I have never been a timid driver--I learned to drive in a 3rd world country. Overnight I became a very cautious, careful driver. And it wasn't just because of the most precious passenger in the backseat. Not only was I tasked with protecting this tiny baby, but I was tasked with doing everything in my power to remain the Mommy. When Kyleigh was a newborn and needing so much of my focus I refused to go out by myself with both children. I knew I would be unable to maintain the sense of awareness necessary to keep all of us safe, at the same time providing the attention both children needed. The baby was almost four months old when we ventured out as a threesome to the park. (And ended up in the emergency room with Jacob getting four stitches in his head. And unable to get a hold of their dad. But that's a different story all together!) My point is parents our priorities shift and focus on our children. At least that's the way it's supposed to be. There are rights I had before that I no longer have. I no longer have the right to be selfish. I no longer have the right to put myself before all others. Even for those who find themselves as parents and don't want the job--that child's life comes first. Always.

I've spent a considerable amount of time this week in the pediatric ward of the hospital--the past couple of days in the pediatric intensive care unit--with Baby Brandon...who is doing fabulous, by-the-way. Yesterday afternoon I met a delightful little girl named Jenna. Her first birthday is today. The only love and attention she receives is from the picu staff--who spoil her totally and completely rotten. I don't know her full story or even why she's been in the hospital for the past three months. I do know her parents never come see her. When she leaves the hospital she'll go into foster care. I cannot even begin to fathom how a mother can abandon her child and yet, I know it happens all the time. I understand giving a child up for adoption--that's a completely different issue based on doing what is right and best for your child if you know you will be unable to care and provide for her. This is different--this is a case where a child got sick and her parents simply did not want to deal with it anymore.

This morning I sorted through some of Kyleigh's old clothes I had put aside for a friend. I washed all of the 12 month size jammies and disinfected some of the toys we had pulled out of the toy box--ones both children had outgrown. I had promised Jacob a trip out to pick up a new Lego set with some of his Christmas money. While we were out I found a small toy that a one-year-old girl might enjoy. I carried an extra bag with me tonight when I went out to visit Brandon and his parents. My first stop on the picu ward was the nurses station. I explained that I had met Jenna yesterday and my friend had told me a little about her history and that today was her birthday, I got her a small gift...if that was okay.

The gratitude, shock and amazement was overwhelming. One nurse even made a point to find me to let me know how much Jenna was enjoying her new toy. What did I do? I brought in used toys and clothes. It breaks my heart that I can't do more. That I can't bring her home.

I would like to believe that I would have felt this level of compassion and heartbreak all those years ago--but I don't know that I would have. I've recently come to accept one of my few regrets...I wish I had learned to be the woman I am now much earlier in my life. However, I know that it's because of my children I am who I am in this very moment. I like this version of me a whole lot more as well...I'm a far better person, woman, wife...human...because of these two who call me Mommy.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Officially--of course--I'm offended...

to be portrayed as a frumpy, grumpy middle age woman...I am so not frumpy!

Moderately Confused

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

If it's Tuesday...

Structure and Routine returned this morning. Sean was up and out in early dark time for a day of training and both kiddos were back in school...can Kyleigh's one morning a week playgroup really be called "school"? There were many productive things I could have done with those sacred three hours of Dori Time--most of them work or laundry related. I choose, instead, to spend them in the hospital holding a precious little baby and talking to his parents.

Brandon's parents wanted to thank everyone for their prayers and support. They have been receiving emails from people they've never met--people from all over the country and globe who heard about Brandon either through here, other bloggers like Kris who posted his story as well, facebook or who knows how these things travel. For those interested in updates I added a link to Brandon's own website over on the sidebar.

I want to thank everyone as well. I knew you wouldn't disappoint.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Overheard in our house...

"I. Am. Going. To. Freeze my bootie off," I declare as I realize I'm pulling on a fairly warm--but not warm enough--coat over short sleeves to run out on a super fast errand this evening.

"Nah. You're a Tough Chick!" my loving husband retorts.

Confession time..."Meh, not so weak, squishy interior is just cleverly disguised by an expansive and colorful vocabulary."

A slightly belated New Year's post...

On New Year's Eve, NPR radio posted a question on their facebook page:

"If you could summarize 2009 in one word, what would it be?"

My sister asked the same question on her page. Answers ranged from "Contentious" to "Emotional", "Challenging" to "Enlightening", "Expensive" and "Over".

My answer? "Blessed". 2009 will forever be known in this household as The Year of Blessings. Countless, unmeasurable, unmerited blessings. Even now, reflecting back on the year, I'm humbled by it all.

So, if you could summarize 2009 in one word, what would it be?

Sunday, January 3, 2010

I believe...

Every now and then we get the chance to hold a tiny bit of heaven...I know that it is theologically unsound to call this little one an angel, but he could certainly pass for one...
Last night I received a text message from his mom..."Brandon admitted to the hospital...high fever, blood draw, spinal tap and iv". This morning the text read "bacteria meningitis." This afternoon the text read "infection in his blood as well."

I believe in miracles. I also believe that God is God and He does what He pleases. No amount of pettiness on the part of us humans will change that. Laws against praying in schools won't keep Him out of those schools. Separation of church and state won't keep Him out of our government--just the pontificating evangelists who have no business there anyway.

I believe that children are the most precious beings on this earth. I believe there's an extra crispy level in hell for those that harm these innocent ones--whether intentionally or by some stupid, thoughtless act. I believe God agrees...suffer the little children unto me and all that.

I sneaked into the hospital tonight. Visitation is restricted, for obvious reasons. But the baby's mom is one of my dearest friends. My heart needed to watch Brandon breath in and out. To look into his tiny little eyes. To see his heartbeat. I also changed his diaper...just one more verification that this angel is still of this world. And then I watched as he closed his eyes and slept.

It's been an emotional day. Remember that line from "Tombstone"? The one where one of the deputies asks Doc Holliday why he's out fighting for Wyatt Earp when he can hardly stand himself?

Because he's my friend.

Hell, Doc...I've got lots of friends.

I don't.

I know a fairly large number of people. The ones that are in that circle I call Friends are few. And one of them has just moved into the hospital for, at the very least, two weeks to be with her 3-week-old infant son. She is blessed with a large and--more importantly--local family. Her two other children and dog moved in with her parents (and the four other siblings still living at home). Her husband is scheduled to go back to work on Friday. I have a funny feeling the nurses are going to get to know me pretty well.

Text just a few minutes ago..."spike in fever, may be transferred to picu, head ultra sound in the morning."

I believe there are a lot a people who also believe in miracles. I believe the internet is a pretty big place with a whole lot of people in it. Are prayers stronger if 1 million join together to pray than just my voice alone? I don't have a clue. But I'm certainly up for the experiment.

***Monday morning update***
Brandon had a good night. He nursed this morning...alert and active. Blood culture came back clean--no infection to be found in his blood. Doctor informed them that it'll probably be another 24 hours before they get the fever under control. Head of pediatric infectious disease at the Medical College of Virginia is looking after him. He's in good hands...physical and spiritual.

Thank you all for the prayers and positive thoughts! Someone's listening.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

House keeping...

Early spring cleaning on the computer...backing up files to an external hard pictures. Of course, just like dusting a bookshelf around here, I linger over various ones...pausing, admiring...wondering at how quickly these little ones are growing and changing. And I also find gems like this one...

No idea where it originates from...but I like it.

Break time's over...I still have somewhere around 8,000 pictures to sort and file--all made complicated by two cameras using the same file numbers. And I'm thinking I should have sprung for the 2 tb hard drive...