Monday, April 30, 2007

He's going to start to notice

That there is a correlation between the cleanliness of the family room and the days that Oprah has her guilt-inducing clutter shows. I start to look around and think about what my space says about me, and I think it says, "you're a mess!"

Sunday, April 29, 2007

at the end of the day

On lazy, beautiful days, with all the windows open, and nothing important to do, I feel like my children have really lived when they turn their bathwater brown.

They smell like sunshine, they are sticky with sweat and they are filthy. They have imagined, they have run, they have jumped, swung and dug in the dirt. They have been children, without a care in the world.

Those are the days that I feel like I've done this mothering thing right.

on being a woman in her thirties

I never guessed when I was a teenager that one day I would have zits AND wrinkles. And stretch marks. I wouldn't have complained so much about my two zits a month.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

board games


The best part about playing board games with my kids is that after you've played a round or two, they are tired of playing with it the proper way and make up new games with the pieces.


I can count on one hand the number of times I've played "Life" with my kids, but they've gotten hours of entertainment from that game. They play, they pretend, my daughter has a carload of baby girls, they could go on for hours. They do go on for hours.


This morning, we played chess, because I'm a proper suburban mother who forces "smart-y" games down her children's throats, and after one round, where my opponent *claimed* to have forgotten that you have to say "check" when you're about to cream someone's king, the kids decided that they wanted to play together. So completely fine by me. They gathered up all the chess pieces and the checkers/backgammon pieces from the world's cheapest set ever made and played and played and played.


This is how it goes, everytime we get out board games, until one of them decides to kill the other one off, then there's mutiny and arguing and fighting and I tell them to go outside and play before I make them play me in Blink.

there's something in the air at WalMart

It makes children crazy. They act in ways they act in no other place but Wal-Mart. I think they pump it in, so that parents will fill their cart with candy and toys and junk food and other ridiculousness that was not on their list when they walked in the store, just so their children will shut up.

We needed a few things - famous last words, right? - so we went to Wal-Mart. The brand-spankin-new-even-I-probably-won't-get-a-cart-with-a-wobbly-wheel new one. They must have really upped their usage of the crazy gas they pump in there, because my children were at an all new level of crazy.

Fortunately, we've moved past the tantrum effects of the crazy gas and onto the "put on a show for all the people within 100 feet of us" stage. Cue the wild giggles, the crazy antics, falling down on the filthy floor, where I'm sure vomit was just cleaned up from, strange sound effects and beating ourselves on the head (them, not me, though I considered it). Oh, and burping. That's the newest one. They're almost old enough where I can walk away and pretend I don't know them and give them dirty "where are you're parents, and what planet are they from?" looks. But not old enough yet. However, they HAVE discovered that the more they yell "hey, mom, hey, mom, look at me" that it's really funny to watch mom turn every shade of red and then purple.

My mom always said that it was a mother's job to embarass their children. Clearly my children didn't get *that* memo.

to the lady on Oprah...

who's never farted in front of her husband, in 35 years - I say this, "whatever."

Seriously.

On our second date, we had a belching contest. Really, it was a litmus test that I put him through to see if he could handle it. Not to see if he could win, because I knew he couldn't -- hello, he was raised with manners, and class - he was raised to say ma'am and sir -- certainly not belch in front of a girl on their second date! I, on the other hand, had few manners - but I'd embraced that, and knew that I needed a guy with manners, so that our children had half a chance, but that could also handle the fact that I had none.

I knew he was a keeper after that date.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

crazy eights, crazy moms

The LONGEST game of crazy eights, ever. We've been playing cards before bedtime, and crazy eights has been the game of choice. Mostly because it doesn't involve adding, so we can all play. And we all know who can't add. *cough*grownups*cough*

But seriously, the younger two folded, and then, we started cheating just to help the others get rid of their cards, so it would be over. If we would have timed it, it would have been a contender for the Guinness Book.

Maybe slap jack tomorrow.

overheard

I was downstairs, Sarge and the oldest were upstairs. The oldest was taking off his army uniform, getting ready for bath. He says, "I don't want it to be washed. It's okay if it smells like B.O., because real army uniforms smell like B.O."

Oh, yeah, this parenting thing is a fun ride.

Four reasons I'd never have a cleaning lady

1. If I have to get the house tidy enough to be able to clean, I'm going to go that last mile and take the credit. Cleaning up all the clutter is like 75% of the work in this joint. I'd hate to do 3/4 of the work and then let someone else have all the glory.

2. I knew that I'd been known to say to my son, "watch what you're doing when you pee!" "don't look at me while you pee!" and "just where do you think the toilet is, young man?" But wow. Far too embarrassed to let anyone else see that. I'd have to clean it first, before she came.

3. It is on my list of jobs that I'd like to do, right after scooping elephant poo and scouring garbage dumpsters. I couldn't ask someone else to do a job that I would rather live in a box than do.

4. I'm just too cheap. Let's be honest - that's the real reason. At least the only one that I would have the hardest time getting over.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

because I've always wanted to win something

I've never played the lottery, and I'm not one to enter drawings, because I'm always just so sure I'll never win. Just.not.a.gambler.

But this one intrigued me - it's not something for nothing, I have to work for it! And it's one of my favorite blogs. Ever.

At the simple dollar he's giving away books. I love books. But, I need to tell you about a particular post of his that I liked and evoked a response from me. There were several to choose from, but my favorite was this:

The Money-Free Weekend

So, Trent, here goes. Forgive my inability to write.

When we were younger, we used to go on "no spending sprees" where we would only spend money absolutely necessary, usually when I was feeling poor. No, books weren't necessary, nor were shoes, clothing or craft projects. We'd go for a month or more, and when I thought of something that I really wanted, or would have ordinarily purchased without much thought, I'd write it on a list on the fridge. And usually, when the spree was over, I'd find that I didn't really want most of the things on the list. We did it several times, over the space of a couple of years.

I love the idea of not spending any money for an entire weekend. I love what it would teach my children. We could go hiking and bring a picnic, or for a bike ride, or play board games. We could cook together, using things that we already have, with the kids helping to plan the meal, with the only requirement being that they had to use what we already had in the house. We could work in the yard, because Lord knows, it could use some work. Library. Oh, the ideas keep coming!

What I like most about the idea is that all of the plans for this type of weekend involve time spent together as a family. Not going off and doing our own thing, not shopping or running never-ending errands that make me crabby. The errands can wait, or be skipped. We won't get time with our children back, and it can't be done another day. They are growing, fast (you should see their pants, all about three inches too short) and we won't get the time back.

But maybe we'll start on a weekend Dad's working. He'd be grouchy if he couldn't go out for lunch after church.

confessions

I read the obituaries every day. Like wouldn't miss them.

I scan for little babies first, because it's so heartbreaking. I love the elderly people who's loved ones put in a picture of them when they were young. Especially the really old military pictures.

I love reading the stories, about how people lived their lives and all the people who loved them. It's like a little token of respect, to me, to read what someone carefully crafted about the person that they loved so much.

And, because I'm morbid, I want to hear how they died. But, I guess it's how you lived that matters most, not how you died.

It makes you wonder, though, what your own obituary will say. Or, at least, it does me.

more bad weather

I checked the mail this morning, and surmised to myself, outloud, that I guess the mailman doesn't deliver the mail when it rains.

The oldest child said, "Mom, I thought the mailman was supposed to deliver the mail, even in inclement weather."

That kid is a dictionary and encyclopedia, wrapped in a sixty pound package.

Oh, yeah, and did you know, that technically, you could fit the entire population of the world into the state of Rhode Island? I didn't think so either, but was proven wrong by the same eight year old.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

bad weather

I hate bad weather in Texas. Not for the reasons you think. Mostly because of the news coverage. Honestly, they'll go on and on about which streets they suspect are being hit by a tornado at that moment. THOSE PEOPLE AREN'T WATCHING. THEY ARE HIDING IN A CLOSET. Seriously. Let me watch Dancing with the Stars.

We used to yell at the TV, when they'd interrupt NYPD Blue. I mean yell. Our roof could have been torn off our house, and we'd still be watching it. We wouldn't have moved. I promise. But yet, there was always bad weather on Tuesday nights. It never failed.

And, once the storm is over, they'll go on and on with stories from people who are so stunned they can't speak, because they are busy living the worst day of their lives. And with the pictures of flooding. Okay, we get it. Move on.

But, on a positive note, my vegetables are thoroughly watered. Thoroughly.

my finishing year

As a crafter, I often have heaps and heaps of projects in different stages of finished-ness. I like to knit, crochet, cross-stich and, of course, sew. I am a collector of fabric. I am a collector of craft projects.

One year, before my sewing thing really got to the point it is now (read: ridiculously busy, feel guilty when I do anything but sew), I was short on extra cash, so I decided that I needed no more new projects, that I would simply finish ones that I have partly finished, or I had all the materials for.

Anyhow, I took a year and purchased no new projects. I allowed myself to purchase things that I needed in order to finish a project, like a zipper or final touches for a cross stich. I had more fun that year, crafting. It was fulfilling, it was so productive, and it was such a great way to save money! I'd already spent it! Just use it!

I made a list at the beginning, categorized by type of project. Because, as you know, different situations call for different projects. I think I had close to thirty projects on the list, about six or seven major projects.

I finished them all, save a queen sized quilt that I was handquilting. That I began right after I moved to Texas. In 1997. It's out of style now, so the motivation is minimal. Fortunately, it will come back in style, and I'll get it done. Back to the things I actually finished - I can't even remember them all.

I've recently been doing something similar, but mostly what I've been collecting is fabric and ideas. I LOVE remnants, so I've a large collection of smallish pieces of fabric. Fortunately, I do most of my sewing for smallish people. But, I made my little girl a nightgown and a dress (which she calls her fabric dress - she can't wrap her head around the fact that all dresses are made of fabric). I've got her a pair of pants in the pipeline, as well as matching PJ's for the boys. And some more matching shirts and dress for the little people, because nothing says "I love you" like matching clothes. I'd better start saving for therapy.

But I should get some other things finished first. Gah.

on the use of boobs

Why is it that no one ever tells you how hard it is to breastfeed your baby? All you ever see is these moms who've been doing it a while and can do it with their eyes closed or in the dark (or both - been there! done that!). One never sees the beginning. The cracks, the pain, the bleeding, the general misery, and the crying. Oh the crying. Sometimes you can get the whole room crying.

I remember one friend, when she first tried, would warn the whole room. "I'm about to start. I will probably have my whole shirt off before I'm finished. Leave now, if you can't handle it."

It's a mess. There's far too much boob, far too much milk and a little tiny baby. It hurts. I remember crying every time my little girl would latch on. I dreaded it.

So many moms quit right when it really gets easy, about six weeks. Oh, no, I want to say, don't stop now, this is the reward for all the work! No bottle to wash! No formula to mix! The baby will start sleeping through the night soon! Don't stop now - you've done all that work for nothing if you stop now!

I hate how easy the hospitals make it to quit - the ones here stress moms out SO much about the baby's weight gain that many moms start supplementing right away, which make it so easy to quit. Not to worry - the baby will gain plenty! I took a tiny six-pounder to twenty pounds in just four months!! It can be done!!

The formula companies send you formula "just in case" which means, "when you get too fed up, we'll make it easy for you to quit!"

It's so hard at first. But it's so easy, once you get the hang of it. And your baby gets the hang of it. I was so unprepared when I started - I was so sure it was going to be easy. In fact, I never worried about how I was going to feed my baby. I just assumed I could and I would and went from there. I guess maybe I should have asked.

killing time

We had the day to ourselves. Sarge had the day off, and three little children were at school. He calls it "killing time," which aggravates me to no end, someone who is constantly running out of time and wishing she had more. So I'll call it "quality time."

We went to get coffee together, intending to sit and conversate (like adults! unheard of!), but the place was packed, so we took our coffees and acted like the suburban adults that we are, who go nowhere between the hours of 9:00 am and 10:00 without their store-bought latte with a cutesy little insulator thingie. We ran errands that we had absolutely no need to run, but it was time together, talking like adults (!) and enjoying one another's company.

And, we went to the library. I was so pathetic at the library. It's been so long since I've been able to look at books without pictures that I don't even know where to begin. We browsed a long time. Sarge knew just where to go, just the books and authors he knew he wanted to read or not. I looked at non-fiction, I looked at fiction, I looked at romances, and inspirational fiction. I'm too old for romances. I'm likely to fall asleep over non-fiction. I haven't had enough strife in my life to identify with so many fictional characters - it seems so many revolve around the aftermath of the death of a child, and frankly, I just can't handle that. Or career women. Because I totally can't relate to that.

I guess, however, there are no stories of happily married women with (mostly) normal children. Because our lives are just not interesting enough to fill up a book. But that's not really a bad thing, now is it?

Monday, April 23, 2007

things that make me happy


There are three bare patches of grass in my yard. They happen to be under three swings, where my three favorite children lay on their bellies and pretend to fly. They are under the swings where two of them beg to be pushed, and the third, swinging high, will stop and push the other two. They are under the swings where those children twist themselves up so much that their feet don't touch the ground anymore then giggle madly as they untwist and feel so dizzy. They are under the swing where the girl has discovered that she can lay back and put her feet in the air let go with her hands and still swing.


I love those bare patches. I've watched them grow since the swingset was erected just a few months ago. But, what I love most about those patches is that my husband noticed them and didn't grumble about the lack of grass in that section of the yard. In fact, he smiled and said he liked them, without me having said a word about how much I like them.

the power of suggestion

I was in a house earlier today that had a lice problem. Not a huge problem, but it had been on the heads of two of the little people that lived there earlier in the week.

I did not rub heads with those people, nor did I even touch them. I didn't go in their rooms or hug their stuffed animals or even really have any contact with them, aside from casual, how-are-you sort of contact.

I itch. My head itches, my legs itch, my feet itch, my fingernails itch. Oh, how I hate the power of suggestion.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

check that child's pockets!

The middle child loves critters. All kinds of critters. She names the worms she finds in the garden, and she currently has a green caterpillar that's named "cattie" that she's forbidden to bring inside.

This is the child who was baiting fish hooks at three. This is the child who BEGGED her father to stop the car next time he saw a prarie dog that had been hit by a car, then when he actually did, was absolutely fascinated and thrilled by it's guts. She still talks about this, and it was nearly a year ago. At summer camp, she was the only kid who wanted to feed the iguana the crickets. If she could have placed the cricket in it's mouth, I'm sure she would have.

In a perfect example of her dichotomous nature, she was carrying Cattie the green caterpillar in a sweet yellow teacup.

She made it all the way upstairs to her room with her smaller brother and shut the door, before I realized that there had been no production made about saying goodbye to cattie, and no wailing and gnashing of teeth about having to leave it outside. That's when I suspected that the caterpillar had to be upstairs. I called to her, only to receive no answer. That's when I *knew* the caterpillar was upstairs. I called again. She came down, knowing that she'd been caught, with the caterpillar in the teacup and returned outside, as she wasn't ready to say goodbye.

Of all my children, she will be the one with a toad in her pocket and a lizard in her hand.

nuisances

I went to two banks today to make a deposit and neither ATM machine was working.

When you start a new set of checks, you have to tear off like five pieces of advertising to get to the actual check.

I'm sure I can think of more, but I'm too annoyed right now.

; )

Saturday, April 21, 2007

the attic snatcher

When we were kids, the attic snatcher used to come and take toys that were left out on the floor while we slept. She didn't come very often, but she came without warning, as I recall. It's one of those things that you hated as a kid, but once you become your mother, er, I mean, A mother, you realize the brilliance of it all.

My kids are still little enough that I warn them when she's coming to our house. And they know it's me, because I really don't want them to develop any nightmare issues - that would be worse than a messy playroom. And, really, I use it as a reason to get them moving to clean up their toys. And to flush out the ones they really don't care about, because they are lazy enough to say "whatever" to a toy and not bother to clean it up.

She's actually only had to come once, but I've used her several times as a threat (oh, say, today) to get them to clean up their toys, just so I can please, please, please vacuum! And, if there's any random toys laying around, they are MINE!

Oh, and the toys that the attic snatcher got when I was little? We usually got them back, from the attic, of course, after a period of desperation and room-cleaning. But, once, much later after we'd moved, my sister and I discovered a box in the garage, brilliantly labelled "attic snatcher." There were toys in there that we hadn't seen for YEARS.

commando

Recently, we purchased some camoflauge clothing for my youngest son. The well meaning clerk at the store asked him if he was going to be a commando.

"No, I'm wearing underwear today" the four year old replied.

Friday, April 20, 2007

the thanks I get

I have to wake my children up on school mornings.

On this particular morning, I go to the oldest first and wake him. Upon his waking, he toots at me. Okay, fine, whatever, as long as you get yourself dressed.

I woke the middle one next. She aimed at me and giggled. Ugh, this is going to be a great morning.

I went to wake the baby - okay, he's not a baby, but he's my baby - and he really worked one up. They all about passed out from laughing so hard.

What on earth have I done to deserve being farted at by three different little people first thing in the morning??

She loves me!


My mother really does love me. I asked for hand knitted socks for Christmas. All of the other ones that she and my sister had made for me had giant holes in them, yet I continued to wear them all winter long. I loved them and they were so cozy and in my overzealous attempt at keeping the gas bill down, my house was freezing and I needed them. Really I needed a full body wool sock, but that would take even more yarn than my mother has.


I mentioned it again when my birthday rolled around, but my mother's notorious for having 38 different knitting projects, each for a specific knitting "time," like in the car, watching TV, etc. (If you think that's bad, my grandmother used to keep a knitting project on the back of the toilet - hey, quit snickering, she was a mother of seven, she wasn't about to waste a minute!) Anyhow, I hoped for socks, but was still eeking out the last days of my old socks.


And, you know, the weather here has been unseasonably cold, but it's finally warming up to a proper three-day Texas spring. And today, in my mailbox, were the most fabulous socks you've ever seen. Seriously, these were no TV watching socks, these were concentrating socks. I really want to wear them, but in my overzealous attempt to keep my electric bill down, my house is far too warm, and my feet far too sweaty.


So now, here I am, with un-holey socks, and it's too warm to even wear socks at all. Oh, yeah, karma's totally got my number.

3:27

That's the time the first fight broke out. We'd been home less than 15 minutes. If that's not karma, I don't know what is.

Friends, neighbors and playdates.

When we moved to this neighborhood about a year ago, I prayed for good friends and neighbors. I hoped my children would find good friends that would last them a lifetime. Until recently, I was so disappointed.

We live in one of those neighborhoods that has a reputation for being filled with children, like in a you-can't-throw-a-rock-and-not-hit-one kind of ways. Like, if I didn't have children I would shudder to think about living here. We live a hop, skip and a jump from an elementary school, so close that I'm embarassed to drive there - it takes about the same amount of time to drive as it does to walk there. It's close. I was shocked to find that the number of elementary age children, not including my own, who's houses we could see, could be counted on two fingers. There are lots of babies and kids younger than elementary age, and heaps of houses full of people with no children. Not what I had hoped for, at all.

However, I've persevered - gotten involved, spent time outside with my kids, riding bikes, which tends to draw other people outside. We've gone to birthday parties, field trips, school functions, and PTA meetings, all in the hopes of meeting friends for all of us. And, so we have.

We've had three playdates this week, two of which included all of us. Like, real, honest-to-goodness let the kids play upstairs/outside while the moms chat about mom stuff. And I loved it. And the oldest went to a friend's house one afternoon and hung out there for several hours. And we're all going to a birthday party tonight, again with the kids playing and moms talking thing.

So, my prayers really have been answered. But here's the problem. I'm tired. I want to be in my house for an afternoon with just me and my kids. Clean laundry is nearly unheard of (Thank goodness the weather has been such that pants AND shorts have been options this week, otherwise there would have been underwear-clad children at school, and we wouldn't have to worry about having friends anymore). Honestly, it's been crazy around here with all the friends and playing and mom-talking. And then the next problem is that it makes me feel really guilty that I'm acting all ungrateful for our newfound fun and friends.

But the plan is, for Saturday, while Dad's at work, to not leave the house, to get up late, to wear pajamas into the afternoon. I'm sure that the children that I remember as perfect angels will be back to arguing with each other, and I'll be wishing for another knock at the door.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

things that make me happy, #2


Work makes me happy. Sometimes.

I have the joy of having one of those jobs that give people something that they want, it's a bit of a luxury, and it's often something that they feel is out of reach.

So, when I deliver a set of curtains and hang it, the satisfaction of a clients happy face is worth all the stress that my job also gives me. I can transform a room in a few short hours. Usually the client and I have chosen a style together, then they've gone shopping for just the right fabric. Then I make their curtains. It takes me a long time - I have a lot of curtains to make - so sometimes they've even forgotten what their fabric looks like (!) and so they have a pleasant surprise. And then, I put it all together. What a joy.

Sometimes, things go wrong, the curtains need to come back to my workroom for a little tweaking. Disappointing, but the nature of the business, I think. Only rarely, is there a client who in entirely unhappy. In fact, I can count them on one hand, in eight years of doing this. It breaks my heart when that happens, and it breaks my spirit some, too, because what I do is also who I am.

But, when someone grins and tells me how much they love their curtains, my heart is lifted, and I love my job.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

who do you love most, mommy?

You know that question is inevitable. All three children sitting at the table, and the oldest one posed that question. The others were curious. They wanted to know too, hoping that they were the one.

The shock on their faces when I picked was unforgettable. My favorite was their dad. My husband is the person on this earth that I love most. "But, mommy," their pitiful faces asked, "what about us?" "Oh, I love the three of you next, but daddy is my favorite"

They were devastated for a while, but I think they've gotten used to it, and they are okay with it. They are next, but without my favorite friend in the whole world, I'm not as good a mother or woman. He makes me better, and our friendship is priceless.

I love you, Sarge.

while I'm on a confessions roll...

Here's another one. You know those little bottles they give you after you've had a baby to, um, clean yourself? Well, I now use them to fill my iron.

confessions

My babies all slept on their bellies. There. Happy? I am officially a Bad Mother, and have been for quite some time.

I actually don't like admitting that too often, because the looks of horror I get are hard to take. But, now that my children have all lived through it, it's a little easier to admit. I know, I know, all their diapers told me to put them on their backs, and so did the doctor, and so did the two parenting books I actually read.

I tried. I really did, but my first one couldn't sleep like that. And then I couldn't sleep. And, quite honestly, I decided that the exhaustion was far more dangerous than putting him on his belly to sleep. And he had a mattress that was like a block of wood, and no blankets or stuffed animals, and I did everything else I was supposed to. But he slept like a champ on his belly.

I didn't hold out nearly as long with the second, because I had all that residual exhaustion left over from the 2 1/2 year old. And with the third, I may have tried for a day or two, but not much longer, because, well, there were three of them at that point, and no one had even had a fourth birthday by the time he'd come around.

So, there you have it. I'll start a therapy fund right alongside that college fund, because there are plenty more of those confessions. Oh, and I'll get this one out of the way now: they all eat french fries, and probably all ate them before their first birthdays. You can pick your chin off the floor, now, thankyouverymuch.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

on the surface

I've found that tears seem to be close to the surface today. I know it's just because I've been torturing myself, watching the news, hoping, in some sick way, that if I take on a teensy tiny bit of the pain that people at Virginia Tech are feeling, it will transfer to me and it won't hurt as bad for them - because they have so much, can't they just transfer just a little to me?

Anyhow, I found myself tearing up while watching the convocation, later when talking with a friend about it, again later when talking with my husband about it. I found myself welling up when I went to go pick up little ones from school, knowing that there were others who couldn't hug their children, even though they aren't little anymore. Heck, I found myself trying not to cry while watching dancing with the stars, and I'm trying not to now.

They used to call me waterworks. No one can cry alone, when I'm around. I'm always game to join in. Not even on TV - they cry and I'm right there with them. It's a gift, I tell you.

I'll have to think of brighter things, in between prayers. Like, maybe, my tiny crush on Jimmy Kimmel.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Defining moments

Each of us has a moment, or even moments, in our lives that define who we are and sometimes change who we are. Mine are normal, like getting married, and having babies.

I feel so sad, so unbelievably sad, for those who's defining moments are painful. They are the moments that you have to tell strangers before they can become your friends, that you have to relive each time you tell them. Those are moments that keep you distant from others, who might become your friends, just so you can avoid the pain, but really just prolonging the pain and isolation.

Recently, a woman in our community was attacked. Like the kind of attack that will make you scared to do normal things, like, oh, I don't know, LIVE. She was so unbelievably strong, as she was left for dead, but survived, and I feel she will be instrumental in finding this creature that has hurt her and others before her. I admire her so much, I admire her will to live. But, I worry about her life after the news goes away, and the physical scars heal, and friends either decide to stick by her side or are too horrified and scared to stay her friend.

I am so sad, that before she can marry someone, she'll have to relive this moment, and worry whether the man will stay or go. I am so sad, that she will have to tell her children, when they are old enough. I am so sad, that she will have to return to the scene of the crime, choosing whether she will stay or pack up and find a new place to live. I am so sad that she will have to return to her job and suffer through the well meaning looks and questions, and that people will be nervous to speak to her.

I don't pity her. She doesn't deserve my pity - she's a far stronger woman than I. I just feel sad that her life has changed, not by any choices that she made, and that she will never be the same again. My life has only changed because of choices that I made, and I am only happy to share the memories I have of those life-changing moments. I hate that everyone is not as lucky as I am.

Knock knock!

Friends knocked on our door today. We invited them in to come play. I did the obligitory "oh, come in, I'm so sorry the place is such a wreck!" And she did the obligitory, "oh, my goodness, don't worry a bit, you should see my place!" But then she thought, "wow, what a sty. I should check for roaches before I let my kid play here." I'm sure of it.

But, as soon as she left, I started tidying my house like mad. Like picking up socks and shoes, and other things that had been laying in the hallway for a week, but I hadn't bothered to move. Why do I not do those things before someone knocks on my door? We live in the kind of neighborhood where you might have unexpected guests, and the kind of neighborhood where everyone has a housekeeper and a nanny and keeps their house immaculate, but then apologizes for the mess. But no one except me has the giant mess, and I should know that someone could come to my door and be invited in and expect to have a place to sit, without having to brush the crumbs off first.

It was found!

I found it hidden under some fabric in the sewing room. Go figure.

He kissed the oven tonight. There were cookies in there. If I'd have thought of it, I would have done it first.

Tales from the woop.


It is still lost.

My four year old has a woop. He named it when he was about fifteen months old, in fact it was one of his first words, we just didn't know what it meant. It is a burp cloth that I applied some cute ricrac to. There were two at one time, but the "red woop" got washed with some red clothes and was no longer acceptable, as it was not white with red stripes on it. Then there was just the "orange woop," but that one has some serious issues, and is a little out of favor. I had made a replacement red woop, but it was unacceptable, until the orange one was left at Granny's, and it was a week before it returned to us, but then it didn't smell right, so I took my time washing it, in the hopes that he'd lose interest. He didn't.

The first time I remember NEEDING the woop was when we were in the emergency room when he was about nine months old (most of my memories of his baby-hood involve the hospital or doctor, incidentally) and he was exhausted. It was just me and the three children, as daddy was at work. We'd been there for hours, and he was getting really tired, but I was wearing a black shirt, and each time he'd put his thumb to his mouth and grab for my shirt, he'd see the color and turn away and cry. It was enough to make me cry (I've cried a lot in emergency rooms, quite honestly, usually involving stress and exhaustion). That's when I thought to myself that I'd never leave home without that thing.

Fast forward a year or so, and we were in the emergency room again, but this time, I'd left in such a hurry (a baby turning blue will do that to you) that I forgot it. Things had calmed some, but we were still instructed to spend the night. That's when I got a little desperate and begged my husband to call our friends to come over to watch the other sleeping little ones and bring me that woop. Seriously, not desperate for a toothbrush or a change of clothes, those were secondary, but BRING ME THAT WOOP!

One time he dropped it in a store. We left the store, went to a few other stores, then when we got to the car, he realized it was GONE. We went back to each store, retraced our steps in each one, finally returning to the first store, when we had to ask the teenaged cashier, "um, have you seen a filthy rag with orange stripes and some marker on it?" Indeed he had, and he produced it from under the counter and handed it to us as if it were toxic waste. Grateful AND embarassed!

Recently, he allowed me to wash it. Anyone who's ever had a blankie will know that washing this thing that takes hours to get back to smelling properly of snot and drool and a little bit of Apple Jacks knows what a huge sacrifice this was for him. Too bad after the washing machine was finished, something upset him and he NEEDED his woop. I tried, to no avail, to explain that it was wet and that it needed to go in the dryer. He snatched it out of my hands, while transferring it to the dryer and tried, desperately, to use his woop while he sucked his thumb, but it was so wet that it just made things worse. He hid it from me, I cajoled, he cried, then finally, after I promised that it would only take as long as "one Diego" (because that's a unit of time in four-year-old) and it would be ready for him.

Anyhow, it's currently lost. Fortunately, the pediatrician just a had a man-to-man sit down with him about sucking his thumb, so he's thinking he can go without. He went three nights without his woop, and we made such a to-do about it, and he was so proud of himself, but then last night, he decided that the old orange woop would have to do, he was desperate. He clearly gets his willpower from his mother. After three days on a diet, last Halloween's leftover's look pretty good to me.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

why?

Why do I close my eyes when I'm walking in the dark? I close them really tightly, like if I run into something it won't hurt as much. Why don't I open them to attempt to see something, anything, like a dog or a full laundry basket or a, oh, I don't know, bed?

things that make me happy




My master bathroom makes me happy. It's ridiculously large - in fact, when we moved in here, I told my husband that I thought that we would need our own toothpastes, our sinks were so far apart.

Also, when we were building the house and they painted the bathroom, I almost cried, because it looked like someone had thrown baby food peas all over the walls. The builder even felt so bad for me that he offered to have the painters come back and repaint it the same color as the rest of the house.


But, I sucked it up, because that was the color that I had chosen and started decorating. I am now in love with that bathroom. I found the fabric for the curtain forever ago, but was looking for just the right fringe. And I found it. You can't tell from the picture, but the colors are the same as the walls and the fabric, with a little golden brown thrown in for good measure. And, the little acorns look like little turds, but if you can just wrap your mind around the fact that they are little acorns, it helps.


Now, if only I could try to stop hating the big fat cushy towels that I treated myself to, and stop using the old ratty thin ones, I could really feel like I lived in luxury!

olympics

I was scrubbing the kitchen floor, like honest-to-goodness hands and knees with a scrubbrush, scrubbing. My two younger children were watching from the displaced chairs in the next room. My sister calls, and I lament that my children won't go and play, that they were watching me like I was performing in the olympics.

She says, "well, it does only happen every four years."

Everyone needs someone in their life that will tell them the truth, whether they want to hear it or not.

on cooking

I've made two REALLY bad meals in my eleven year career as a wife. Oh, no, I've made plenty of bad meals, but there have been two that were REALLY bad.

The first was when we were newlyweds. I had all the new fancy kitchen equipment, I had cookbooks that I studied, and I had the time an inclination to try new flavors. So, I thought, that any recipe that made it to a book that included chicken, paprika, canned tomatoes, cinnamon and dark chocolate had to be good. I mean, really, if those ridiculous flavors were put together and people actually cooked it and liked it, then it had to be amazing, right?

I'm not sure I'd ever been so wrong about anything. I had the blender going, the chicken cooking, stirring, chopping, can-opening. Then my new husband came downstairs and asked, "what's that smell?" And not in the "oh, wow, I can't wait to eat that yummy thing," but more of the "oh my gosh, what has died in our kitchen and how long ago was it?" way. I was crushed - I'd spent at least an hour working on this dinner that I'd shopped for and prepared for. But, at that moment, I had to admit that it really smelled awful. So bad that I'd already opened the window in the kitchen, but still was hopeful that it was going to get better. My sweet husband informed me that he would take me out to eat that night, and that he'd take care of disposing of the meal in the *outside* trash can. And that we should clean up before we go. And that we should leave the window open while we were gone.

We still laugh about that meal, and compare bad meals to my famous chicken mole. But I think we might have a runner-up. This one's a little closer in time to the last one, so I'm not quite ready to laugh about it. But I made a brisket. 'Cause we've lived in Texas now a long time, and I've still not made a brisket.

This was a brisket that was done in the oven, which apparently, was my first mistake. And, there were cans of tomatoes, which again, was another mistake. And I cooked it for a really long time and added potatoes and there was a lot of seasoning. But, my children balked when it was placed on their plates. My husband took a bite and then pushed his plate away, saying he was glad he wasn't all that hungry. The middle child ate all her meat, but she really wanted a cupcake for dessert, so she was willing to eat just about anything to get that cupcake.

Again, my sweet husband helped me remove the evidence from the kitchen and appreciated my effort, just not the results of my effort. I was thankful that we had a really yummy cake from his aunt to eat for dinner. I was thankful that I hadn't made the recipe as I'd intended days earlier for my in-laws, because my father-in-law wouldn't have been as gracious as my husband. In fact, we laughed, and said the he would have found an excuse to "go to the store" and then would have gone to Sonic and eaten a meal there.

Oh, yeah, and it was his birthday dinner, too. That man is a prize. He ate cake for his birthday dinner and didn't even complain. Okay, neither did I - that cake was really, really good. I'd like some for breakfast, too.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

someone

Will someone tie my shoes?

Will someone get me milk?

Will someone wipe me?

MY NAME IS NOT SOMEONE!

more posting about laundry...

My littlest one was asking about the tooth fairy, and who she was. I don't like to lie to my children, so I told him I was the tooth fairy. He said, clearly exasperated with my stupidity, "NO, mommy, not the laundry fairy, the TOOTH fairy!!"

"Oh," I said, "the tooth fairy. I guess I don't know, then."

The Laundry Fairy

There's a laundry fairy that comes to my childrens' bedrooms at night and deposits clean clothes in their drawers and closets. It's no secret that I'm the laundry fairy, and sometimes it's my husband, though he strenuously objects to any name including the word "fairy" being ascribed to him.

Recently, though, the laundry fairy's been a little bit slacker-ish, and so the children have been invited to the laundry fairy's lair to find their clothes, which they think is hysterical. In fact, one morning, the eldest was directed to the lair, and the middle one was VERY angry that her clothing had been brought to her and decided that she WOULD NOT wear those clothes that day, that she needed something else that was not in her bedroom. So she giggled down to the lair.

Unfortunately, the lair is also where I sleep, so the clothing has to be removed every evening before bed, deposited back into the baskets on the floor, then in the morning they are thrown back on to the bed. I've used more energy moving the laundry than I would have had I just folded the darn stuff in the first place. And now, I'm on another round of laundry, not having put away the first round. Oh, I hate being behind on laundry.

Now, if only I could find a toilet scrubbing fairy. 'Cause Lord knows I'm not it.

Friday, April 13, 2007

muttered from the backseat

While the oldest was busy freaking out about some perceived slight, the youngest one muttered, "shut up, you big mouth." Twice. The oldest was so busy being a big mouth that he didn't even notice what was said, and why his mother was busy trying not to giggle.

It's so hard to discipline your children when they are funny.

Put a red hat on her...


She just doesn't care anymore.

My ten year old dog is wearing a T-shirt. And she's not even embarrassed. I think that's the part that makes me the saddest. She's got skin issues and she won't stop chewing and scratching her skin, so I thought that covering it might help. It does, but I thought she'd be a little more bothered by the shirt. She's not.

When it comes time to put it on, she doesn't run away. In fact, she sits quietly and lifts up her paws when asked. You'd think that my dog was well trained, but she's really not. She jumps on new people when they come in my door, she scratches the back door when she wants in, and she'll even bark when there's not room for her on the couch. But she'll sit patiently while I put her T-shirt on and then wear it around like she's a little purse dog wearing a swanky sweater.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

sleepwalking

He only does it when he's tired. Really tired. But then, about an hour after he falls asleep, he's shouting and hollering and wandering aimlessly up and down the hall, sometimes down the stairs. He hollers for me, sometimes he goes to the bathroom, but he's always so confused. And hard to console.

I hate it. He's just so not himself, even though they are his eyes looking at me, and his sweet trusting face, looking to mine for consolation. He's a bright boy, but when he's sleepwalking, he's not. He's confused, doesn't understand me and he needs to be treated so differently.

Once I get him back into his bed, he always calms when he's wrapped in his blanket. His breaths slow down, he stops crying. And he never remembers in the morning. He thinks I'm joking, but then says he thinks it's cool that he walks around when he's asleep. Yeah, they'll think it's cool when he's in college and they can make him do crazy stuff in the dorms. I can't wait.

field trip!

WHY????

We went to the petting zoo for a field trip for the school today. Cute idea, right? Except that when you're looking at those cute little potbellied pigs, you're right next to the sausage making plant. It's a little disturbing!

Good news, though, I didn't have to wipe anyone's nose, only got a little snot on me, and the only slobber that I had to touch was from the longhorn. AND, no one threw up on the bus, much to my little one's chagrin.

As my kids get older, the more grossed out I am by all the bodily fluids these creatures emit. Maybe it's because I'm not knee deep in them anymore, and can really step back and see all of the glory.

laundry

There's something comforting about hanging laundry on the line outside. Then, watching it blow in the wind. And hoping it won't fall in the dog poop under it. I like to use lots of clothespins. Lots of them.