Come play in my world for awhile!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

You can call me...

No multiple choice today. I'm just telling you straight up what you can call me...

Yesterday I had to take Abby to the doctor unexpectedly. Over the years I've had to take the kids to the doctor for unplanned visits more times than I care to recall. The problem with unplanned visits is the doctors have to squeeze you in, and squeezing usually means waiting, and waiting means WAITING!

When you're trapped for an hour waiting in the exam room? Let's just say it inspires creativity. One day, during a particularly long wait, I came up with this:

Coloring on the paper that lines the exam table! When they were younger I used to trace their body and we would spend our wait adding a face and hair and clothes. Now that the kids are older we spend the time playing tic-tac-toe and hangman.

The good news is, all you need is crayons! That roll of exam paper is endless...

The bad news? First, you'll get strange looks as you leave the exam room with 12 linear miles of exam paper folded carefully under your arm. You have to take it because it's your kid's new favorite thing. You might even paint it when you get home. The kid's cranky and sick... you'll do anything for a break in the fussing. Trust me on this.

The worst news? You really need to have crayons in your bag at all times for those unexpected emergency trips. It has to be crayons. Pens and pencils will poke through the exam paper and mark on the table, which tends to make the doctors grumpy. Not good when your kids' health is on the line.

Toting crayons really isn't a big deal. They don't take up much room. In fact you'll never even know you've got them with you... unless you have a brand-new handbag... the only "nice" handbag you've ever owned in your entire life... and it gets really hot outside... fry an egg on the sidewalk hot... and you leave the crayons in your purse and they get melt-y... and you discover the melt-y crayons and pull them out in panicked haste to save your "nice" handbag... and you accidentally drag the bottom of your "nice" bag through the melt-y crayons, thereby staining the bag for all of eternity with either black wax or the oily stain said wax leaves behind... ACK!!

Just be careful with the crayons!!

But as long as you don't let the crayons get overheated?

You can call me brilliant.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Bikini body

I don't wear bikinis anymore. And it's only partially because the world would tremble in the face of the hotness that is KathyB!

Remember, this is the world according to me. I get to make the rules here. I'm allowed to pretend.

I was at our community pool yesterday standing in line to get a hot dog with my kids. One of the managers of the pool came out and was making small talk while we waited. As we chatted, a less-than-shapely woman walked by wearing less bathing suit than she needed to cover her curves. As I was making a mental note to ensure that all of my pieces and parts were adequately covered, the manager shook his head in disgust and said, "Well, that's sure not what I want to see when I step outside."

What?! I almost fell face-first into the baked beans. He did not just say that. At this point I did what I always do: Run in circles in my head trying to figure out if I really understood what was said and stand there like a fool with my eyes bugging out and mouth hanging slightly agape.

As I mechanically scooped food onto my child's plate, the manager continued on: "Really. You think they'd do something about that... It's disgusting."

At this point I'm working myself up to outraged and preparing to give him a good piece of my mind... And then I notice the hot dog and baked beans spilled all over the sidewalk... And the people walking by rather than taking a minute to help clean it up... And the fact that he's not even looking at the woman...

Can I just say thank God I run on a bit of a delay?! Can you imagine if I'd laid into him about having respect for women when he was talking about a plate of food on the ground?!

Based upon today's misinterpretation I'm trying to decide if I am:

A) Shallow and vain

B) Needing to focus completely on conversations to avoid making ridiculous leaps in logic

C) Feeling insecure in my bathing suit and projecting my insecurities into harmless conversation

D) Ever so slightly lost in my own little world.

E) Needing to change my name to CattyB! instead of KathyB!

I'm hoping it's a combination of B and D...

Monday, May 25, 2009

Keeping the memory...

Dirge for Two Veterens
By Walt Whitman
THE last sunbeam
Lightly falls from the finish'd Sabbath,
On the pavement here, and there beyond it is looking,
Down a new-made double grave.

Lo, the moon ascending,
Up from the east the silvery round moon,
Beautiful over the house-tops, ghastly, phantom moon,
Immense and silent moon.

I see a sad procession,
And I hear the sound of coming full-key'd bugles,
All the channels of the city streets they're flooding,
As with voices and with tears.

I hear the great drums pounding,
And the small drums steady whirring,
And every blow of the great convulsive drums,
Strikes me through and through.

For the son is brought with the father,
(In the foremost ranks of the fierce assault they fell,
Two veterans son and father dropt together,
And the double grave awaits them.)

Now nearer blow the bugles,
And the drums strike more convulsive,
And the daylight o'er the pavement quite has faded,
And the strong dead-march enwraps me.

In the eastern sky up-buoying,
The sorrowful vast phantom moves illumin'd,
('Tis some mother's large transparent face,
In heaven brighter growing.)

O strong dead-march you please me!
O moon immense with your silvery face you soothe me!
O my soldiers twain! O my veterans passing to burial!
What I have I also give you.

The moon gives you light,
And the bugles and the drums give you music,
And my heart, O my soldiers, my veterans,
My heart gives you love.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Sometimes, being a girl sucks!

The other day I noticed the Beaver (or Beav, our infamous pet - a rabbit/beaver hybrid) was acting strangely. She was aggressively tearing her boxes and chewing everything. This is pretty much what she does all the time, but the sheer ferocity with which she was attacking everything caught my attention. I chalked it up to the Beav needing more time to run free and went on with my business.

I didn't think more of it until I went out later and discovered she had tape adhered to her chin. Since we can't actually catch the Beav I wasn't sure how to help her. I was worried she'd get it in her mouth and choke somehow, and so I chased her around trying to get it off. I might have overreacted just a little.

Thankfully, the tape lost it's stickiness and fell off on it's own.

Her strange behavior escalated from that point forward and culminated yesterday with a bunny breakdown. She was in some sort of cardboard-shredding frenzy and proceeded to:

* Chew a good-sized hole in the box she uses to jump in and out of her cage.

* Get a long strip of cardboard wedged in her teeth.

* And finally, crawl into the hole she created in her box and get her big, fluffy, bunny-butt stuck

At this point I was more amused than concerned. Is it really such a stretch of the imagination that our slightly, ahem, eccentric family would have a pet that marched to it's own beat? I didn't think so.

However, a short time later she began ripping huge clumps of fur from her body, and that finally got my attention. It's disturbing to see a living creature literally tearing itself apart. I couldn't imagine what sort of pain was prompting this, but she was definitely agitated. I began scouring the internet for clues, but as I sped through the blogosphere I heard a strange rustling noise coming from the Beav's cage area. I dismissed it initially but it continued...

I went out to investigate:

The Beav in a bag! It was easy enough to shake her loose (the bag wasn't supposed to be in her cage. Apparently it was stuffed inside the box she'd chewed into).

My internet search quickly yielded results: false pregnancy. Symptoms include changes in temperament (especially being more aggressive or moody) and plucking fur from their bellies to line a nest with. They will also collect hay, grass and other appropriate materials to aid in nest building.


In the meantime, the normally mellow, potty-trained rabbit has turned into a hormonal beast who poops wherever she sees fit, sprays you with pee if you offend her, leaves a trail of hay all over the screened porch, and has pulled so. much. fur. from her body that there are now bunny-hair-tumbleweeds blowing willy-nilly all over the patio. I usually vacuum out there, but I'm not supposed to upset her... and she hates the vacuum... so the rabbit is now the supreme ruler of my home and dictates the loudness of my voice, whether I vacuum, how we access our backyard...

Basically I am at the mercy of a grouchy, hormonal female and tip-toeing around the house to avoid doing anything to garner her displeasure. I'm like a prisoner in my own home.

I have new respect for my husband.

Note: Getting the bunny spayed will solve this problem for her. We are looking into procedures and will DEFINITELY take measures to see that she isn't put through this again.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Hammer time!

The kids were dragging as they got ready for school this morning. I chatted with them about a baked oatmeal recipe that I was thinking of making for breakfast tomorrow, and even the prospect of a breakfast treat didn't lift their tired funk. In the world according to me, the promise of good food can usually turn a frown upside down, but not today.

I decided to pull out the big guns. I turned on a 90's music station and started bopping. I don't like to brag, but I can coax even the grumpiest person out of their deepest funk if I put my mind to it. I can prove it, too. If you ask nicely, I'll tell you about the time I humiliated myself in the middle of the grocery store cracked through one of hubby's rare surly moods in less than 30 seconds...

Really, it's a gift. Don't be jealous.

MC Hammer's U Can't Touch This came on and I quickly got into character. I couldn't have asked for a better song. I've got moves like the tin man before he gets his hinges oiled, so me doing my best MC Hammer is funny. Jaw-dropping actually might be a better description. And there's no video, so don't ask.

At this point I'm in the groove. I'm rockin' around the kitchen pulling out ingredients for tomorrow's baked oatmeal. The kids are smiling, and Abby is doing her best seat dancing. Having successfully changed the mood, I'm just having fun now... So I'm dancing along after refilling the oatmeal container from the ginormous box of Costco oatmeal. I'd tipped the ginormous Costco box delicately onto the highest-shelf-in-the-pantry-I-can-reach-without-a-stool as we arrived at this part of the song:

This is it, for a winner
Dance to this and you're gonna get thinner
Move, slide your rump
Just for a minute let's all do the bump, bump, bump

And then something went horribly wrong. I swear, I couldn't make this stuff up if I tried.

Just as we get to the bump, bump part I'm shakin' my money-maker in the doorway of the pantry and the ginormous box of oatmeal falls off the shelf, lands smack on my head, crashes to the floor, and explodes.

We will not discuss whether the shaking of said money-maker caused the oatmeal to fall.

It looked something like this... except that's not my oatmeal. Or my kitchen floor. I had to grab this from google.images because my computer has decided not to recognize my camera. My pile of oatmeal was seriously three times the size of that paltry mound. Maybe four times.

Mt. Oatmeal on the pantry floor pretty much killed the Hammer Time buzz.

And we are not having that baked oatmeal tomorrow.

Just so 'ya know.


And I also get two new awards! Ladybug Blessings gave me this:

And Shop Girl gave me this:

Be sure to check in on these fabulous girls and see what they're up to!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

This is just the tip of the iceberg, isn't it?!

You know how it goes... The kids are home from school. The house that was pristine not 30 minutes ago has been transformed into a war zone littered with last weeks homework papers, shoes, announcements from the school, dirty socks, and lunch boxes. The kids are hungry and a little bit grouchy after a long day at school. I, on the other hand, am very hungry and grouchy after a long day of starvation (1200 calories is not adequate) and laundry.

I ask, for the 9,000th time, the kids to pick up their freakin' crap that literally seems to cover every square inch of the kitchen - even the floor stuff. As the kids slowly begin gathering their belongings I can literally feel grumpiness oozing from my pores. Because really, it's like Groundhog Day, and we seem to need to replay this exact scene every. single. day.

In a move not destined to win me Mother of the Year I begin griping at the kids:

"Is it too much to ask for you kids to pick this stuff up... I ought to get a big garbage bag and just... blah, blah, blah....

Can you imagine what this household would be like if I wasn't around here bugging you guys to keep you in line?!"

At this point I had taken my rant inside my head where it belongs and wasn't really paying attention.

Note to self: In the future do not end rants with rhetorical questions that beg to be answered with unflattering comments.

I almost didn't notice when Rachel said:

"Well, if you really wanna know, there would be a lot less grouching and bossing people around, that's for sure..."

Her comment floated in the air momentarily as we locked eyes. I gave her my fiercest evil-mommy-death-stare, and then I sent her to her room for being sassy.

As she glumly plodded up the stairs I could hear her mumbling to herself that those are the kind of comments you're supposed to say in your head, and not out loud.

And I could hear the other three giggling softly around the corner...

I'm gonna be in over my head here soon!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Forever young

I've noticed a change over the last couple years, and for once I'm not talking about my less than perky breasts or the fact I affectionately refer to the loose skin on my twin-stretched stomach as my third boob. When I first had kids I was the fun mom. I genuinely liked to play monster and hide-and-go-seek and wrestle with the kids. I liked to chase them, not in Target, of course, when they've disappeared into the clothes racks, but around the backyard. I remember times when I'd play tag until I would collapse in the grass out of breath only to be buried under a pile of breathless, sweaty kids.

I'm not sure when the shift occurred. It was definitely subtle, but I've noticed the kids don't ask me to do these things much anymore. Yes, they're older but I know they still like it. That's not the reason. I think they've stopped asking because they know I don't say yes anymore. Somewhere along the way I got tired. Instead of enjoying the play I started going through the motions. And I know my kids can tell when I don't have my heart in it.

I've been thinking about this quite a bit. How do I get the energy and playfulness back? Part of it is that I'm older. I'm tired. I may be a kid at heart, but I don't act that way as much anymore. So now what? I've identified the problem, but how do I get the magic back?


Today it was a whopping 60 degrees. It was a huge bummer because Saturday was in the 80's and beautiful pool weather. The kids woke up and they wanted a repeat, but instead they got rainy and chilly. They asked if they could swim. I checked the pool temp and it was definitely on the cool end of reasonable. I told them to have fun and followed my instruction with a mental eye roll. Who swims when it's 60 degrees outside?!

I watched them leap into the pool and splash around. I reminded them to keep swimming. As long as they kept swimming they'd be fine. I remembered when I was a kid and the grown-ups would be huddled in their sweatshirts laughing and shaking their heads at the foolishness of youth. I remember laughing right back at them, too, because they were the ones missing the fun and they didn't even know it.

I don't strive to be a fool, but the foolishness of youth isn't always a bad thing. I ran upstairs to get my bathing suit as fast as I could. I had to go quickly before common sense got the better of me.

Hubby was laughing as I tested the water and dove straight in.

My face looked like this when I surfaced.

I only stayed in for about half an hour, but the kids looked like this.

I still haven't figured out the answers... How do I get the spark back? Under what rock is my playful-self hiding? And what in the heck do I have to do to get my stomach to flatten back out?

But I do know I felt a lot better after that swim today.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Isn't it ironic?

Yesterday started like any other day. I wrangled the kids into the car in spite of their moderately successful efforts to kill each other, delivered them to the school, and wandered my way down to help in the classroom.... Except yesterday after circle-time the teacher caught my attention and stage-whispered that she needed to talk to me.

I could tell this wasn't going to be a regular conversation going over my instructions for the morning. The vibe was all wrong. This was gearing up to be one of those talks. As in, let's talk about what your child has done. Given that my kids tend to be uptight, rule-followers who completely take after their parents' Type A personalities fairly well-behaved I was more curious than concerned.

The teacher didn't actually say anything at first. She simply handed me this:

I glanced furtively at the teacher out of the corner of my eye and she was clearly waiting for a response, so I shifted my eyes back to the picture. There was a brief pause and then BINGO! My eyes surely bulged a little as I snapped my head up to meet the teacher's blank gaze.

I was processing as quickly as I could but it wasn't fast enough. I stood there, mouth agape, staring at her mutely as my thoughts ran in circles....

Does that woman not have a shirt on... Clearly she doesn't... She's topless... And what is on her chest... Those can not be breasts... Does my daughter have a learning disability... Some sort of defect that prevents her from recognizing the correct proportion of objects.. She must because there's no way she has ever seen breasts like those... Those melons are as big as the poor woman's head... And where would she get such an idea... Not from looking at me, that's for sure... And why are they lopsided...

At this point the teacher, who had been expressionless just a moment ago, burst out laughing and said, "That's what I thought, too! It's not what it looks like but I wanted to see your face..."

Turns out those aren't breasts; they're puffy sleeves. And those suspicious purple nipples dots? That's decoration around the sleeve. You know, where your arm sticks out.

I got this little treat the same day I did the "For the love of art" post.

How ironic is that?!

Anyone want to guess which of my children drew this?!


On an unrelated and less juvenile note, I received this lovely award from a new bloggy friend named, Minka. Her blog, Stirring My Thoughts, is an interesting read. She is located in a land far different from mine and I enjoy her insights. Be sure to check her out!
I'm supposed to award this to 15 blogs. I have been fortunate to have good success with my traffic and followers lately.

Please visit the blogs who are newest on my follower list and see what new gems you might find...

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

For the love of art

Last Friday, as I was bee-bopping through the blogosphere, I came across something that really resonated with me. It's called We Heart Art, and it's purpose is to promote art and creativity in our lives. For more details on We Heart Art please visit:

I feel strongly about giving kids the opportunity to express themselves and be creative. Early in my mommy days I struggled with this because I don't like messes. Finger paint is not my friend. But then one day I saw sheer joy radiate from my daughter when I gave her a paint brush and encouraged her to paint with chocolate pudding. She painted the paper... and her face... and her high chair... and her body... She was joy personified, and she was proud of what she'd done, and I was converted. I still strive to minimize mess and maximize creativity, but I've never looked back.

Here are my three tips for getting creative with your kiddo-s:

* Encourage art as a process, as opposed to a defined project. I firmly believe the majority of value kids receive is from the experience of figuring it out. Allowing our children to explore the process on their own terms develops creativity and encourages them to think and solve problems independently.

* Resist the urge to show examples of what their project "should" look like. Provide supplies and general guidelines, and let them take it from there.

* Ask your child to explain their creation. I'm amazed at the nuances in their projects that I would never have observed, let alone understood. It brings your appreciation to a whole new level.

Here's a peek at some of my favorite's

Spring flowers made by the whole family (inspired by faemom)

Rachel's apple still life (watercolor pencils), age 8

Hannah's flower still life (watercolor), age 6

Mommy's still life (water color pencils), age undetectable ;)

Now, go...

Paint with pudding

Sculpt with shaving cream

Blow paint bubbles

Make art!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

I was the best... for about 5 minutes

We were driving to school today and the children were waxing poetic about Mother's Day. I was glad to hear they enjoyed it almost as much as I had. The kids were enthusiastically singing my praises.

Abby: You are the best mom in the whole wide world!

KathyB!: (needing to learn when you should keep your mouth SHUT) Really? You think I'm the best mom in the world?!

(pregnant pause)

Abby: Mom, really, you are great.

Hannah: You are REALLY good, mom!

Emily: But if you were the best, well, would there be that sticky stuff in the fridge?

Hannah: Best kinda means you can't make mistakes....

Abby: You definitely make mistakes, mom.

Hannah: Not that many... but some...

Abby: Remember last week when she burned dinner and set off the smoke alarm? That was definitely a mistake...

Hannah: But that was just because she got distracted with... and we had swim team...

Rachel: STOP! You are great, mom. Top ten for sure.

Hannah: Definitely top ten!!

KathyB!: ( SERIOUSLY?! I thought I was the GREATEST? How quickly we fall...)

Monday, May 11, 2009

My name is KathyB!, and I am a...

Yesterday started well. I got to sleep in, I was served my favorite breakfast... And I got to wear my new sleepshirt. It's a little fuzzy, but it says, "It's official, I've become my mother."

My mom gave me this shirt, inspired by <<this post>>.

I had the luxury of doing whatever I wanted yesterday. I told everyone that we were going kayaking. And I really meant it. Really. I love kayaking and the girls are old enough now to handle themselves in their own boats.

But then I went outside and the weather was fabulous. Sunny, but not hot. Definitely not humid. The perfect day to head to the nursery and load up on plants.

And I got so involved with this

And this

And this

And this (it's a little toad peeking out between my fingers)

That we never got to do this

My name is KathyB! and I am a garden-aholic.

Friday, May 8, 2009

The aftermath of a tornado

I would just like to say, right now, before I even start, that I must have been a really bad person in a previous life, and I'm being punished for it now. You don't believe me? Want some proof? Let me show you...

- Arrive home around 6:30 PM tired from schlepping kids around all day, and realize you have no plan for dinner, hubs is out of town on business, and the kids are hungry and bickering.

- Jump out of your skin when you're jolted out of your perusal of the refrigerator by both the weather alert radio and the regular radio squawking out tornado warnings simultaneously.

- Wander over to the computer for more details on the storm severity, and discover there are funnel clouds in the area. For real.

- Inform the kids, in your calmest and most unemotional voice, that we should head down to the basement to watch TV. I might as well have told them to panic. I never tell them to go watch TV, and I certainly don't send them to the basement to do it. I can't see them down there while I'm getting dinner ready. Can you imagine the trouble they could get into?! Anyway, my out-of-character instructions were a dead giveaway that something was amiss, and the questions started to fly.

- Deflect questions like a champ as you fiddle with the basement television.

- Blink eyes in confusion when you get the message "your cable box is not authorized for service." Really? That's funny because it was authorized enough for the cable company to cash my monthly check.

- Call cable company and wait on hold while continuing to deflect questions and observing the ominous gray-green color of the sky.

- Begin answering tech support questions, and ignore the flurry of frantic activity around me. This is the part that really gets me. After 11 years I like to think that my mommy radar is finely honed. How did I not notice what was going on?!

- Find yourself jammed headfirst into the entertainment console in a quest to find the cord with a serial number on it. Who knew there were so many cords back there anyway?! Decide that we will not have spaghetti for dinner.

- Miss a critical part of the kids' conversation because you're now waist-deep in the console with your butt waving in the air like the American flag... still searching for the dang-blasted cord.

- Resolve issue with cable company and take a deep breath as you worm your way back out of the console. Notice the quiet. It is really quiet. Now your mommy radar kicks in. Apparently it isn't as finely honed as you thought it was.

- Realize one of your daughters, we'll call her Chicken Little, has convinced your other daughters that a tornado is imminent and they must be prepared. In theory this would be a good idea.

- Have epiphany as you survey our "safe spot:" Tornado preparedness from a child's perspective bares no similarity to my own definition of tornado preparedness. In the 15 minutes I spent dealing with the cable company Chicken Little convinced her sisters to strip all of our beds, and cart all of their bedding and earthly possessions to the basement.

Can I just say they made amazing progress?

- Feel eyes bulge... Holy blooming mess! Forget tornadoes outside, one has clearly been through the basement from the looks of things. I grabbed the kids and tried to calm them down with my there's-no-need-to-panic speech. It was just starting to work when the newscaster on the TV behind us began gleefully dissecting a live shot of a real funnel cloud that was about 20 minutes from our house. Soooo not helpful.

- Abandon the there's-no-need-to-panic speech as the weather alert radio starts warning tornadoes have been confirmed by trained tornado spotters in Wendell... And that the tornado is heading for Lizzard Lick.

- Pause for a moment. Where is Lizzard Lick? Scratch that. What in the heckity-heck is a Lizzard-Lick?! And why don't I know whether we're east or west of it?!

- Flinch when the weather alert radio starts shrieking again. This time it's telling us all persons in the general vicinity should take cover as there is so much rain that you won't even be able to see or hear the tornado coming until it's too late... A stealth tornado?! At this point someone is yelling (that might have been me)... there is bedding and clothing everywhere thanks to the kids' emergency preparations... someone is whimpering they want daddy (and no, it wasn't me)... the radio is shrieking at us to take cover... and Rachel remembers the beaver (it's really a rabbit. Click here if you're curious) is outside in the storm and we have to save her.

- Do mental math and feel relatively certain that we have a solid 15 minutes before annihilation and run to save the beaver... Now, in addition to the above mentioned chaos, we also have a deranged rabbit going bonkers in her cage and kicking poop out of her litter box.

- Get everyone (except the rabbit. She was too busy flinging poop around to be concerned for her life) in the appropriate duck and cover position.... waiting... waiting...

Photo from this is the actual tornado!

It was close, but it missed us. Don't get me wrong. I am thankful. I fully realize that this could have ended badly.

But now that we're safe, I'm left to fully appreciate the stripped beds.... the pillows... the drawers of clothing hastily piled in corners... the rabbit poop that's gone everywhere...

the complete and utter destruction that comes in the wake

of being missed by a tornado.
Note: We were prepared for a tornado. The kids knew where to go and, hypothetically, what to do. We have candles, batteries, flashlights, a radio, blah, blah, blah. We're new to the tornado business having only arrived from California last year. Next time we'll do better. Much better.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Fairies are in our midst

Today I was at the school helping some first grade students who are struggling with their spelling and grammar. I was dictating sentences and spelling words and then checking each student's work and helping them correct their errors. As I leaned over to help a student I was unaware that the child sitting next to him was also looking over the child's work... until I heard him comment:

"Oh, man! The f**k-up fairy was all over your paper!
You got 'em all wrong."

The child had made quite a few mistakes, but I don't know that I would've phrased it quite like that. Of course, I pulled him aside and we talked about it. He didn't know it was a bad word (and I really believe him). He was contrite. I asked him where he'd heard that phrase and he replied that last night his dad was trying to fix a neighbor's car. His father had his head under the hood and announced:

"Man, the f**k-up fairy has been all over this car."

I guess I should give him points for using the statement in the right context.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

A time for every purpose under heaven

For those of you unfamiliar with Michelle Paul you need to read this post to make any sense of what's happening here.

The other day Emily went to get Michelle out of her high chair and commented that Michelle needed to start wearing a diaper because she'd pooped in her high chair.

Unfortunately, Michelle needed more than a diaper as her bum was rotting and leaving coconut goo in the highchair. She might have gotten dropped a few hundred thousand times in her short life. Or it could just be that she's a coconut and not a baby doll.

It was quickly determined that an emergency was at hand. Doctor Mommy was paged and quickly performed triage, but it didn't look good. The tissue damage was extensive. The hemorrhaging couldn't be stopped. It was clear there wasn't much time. Relatives were called in to say their good-bye's. Michelle's mother was nearly hysterical with grief.

Since Doctor Mommy is no longer allowed to use power tools (we'll discuss this another time), a specialist was called in.

Dr. Mommy explained that Michelle's time was done but if we were lucky, we could toast the coconut and sprinkle it over some vanilla ice cream with hot fudge sauce and some whipped cream. Emily, being genetically linked to Dr. Mom, heard the word ice cream and immediately calmed down.

But, alas, Michelle was too rotten to eat. Dr. Mommy worried that Emily would be scarred by her loss, but she was wrong.

Emily moved on within minutes.

She has a new baby now...

Actually, she's had several of these. Her track record is a little spotty at this point.

But, practice makes perfect.


Tuesday, May 5, 2009

So many choices, so much...

I have this problem with my neck that rears up occasionally. If I stretch my arms above my head and move at anything other than just. the right. angle. I'll hear a tiny popping noise and instantly lose the ability to move my head without excruciating pain. Inevitably I do this to myself, to some degree, every few weeks.

And so as I sat, nursing a very stiff neck and reading my friend zelzee's blog, my heart dropped when she wrote that she, "was told many years ago, that when you turn 40 you lose a body part a year" and went on to state that this prediction has become reality for her. Fabulous. I will be 40 in just a few short months. Wonder what I'll lose first?!

I began thinking of all the things I might lose as I got older: my flexibility, coordination, eyesight, smooth skin... I don't even want to think about the loss of my health. I began to feel the tiniest bit depressed, but then I really thought it through. It's not like I haven't lost things already:

My natural hair color: I started coloring my hair at 24 because I was prematurely gray. 24!

My boobs: I nursed all four kids for two years. That's a lotta mileage on the 'ole milk wagons, if you catch my drift.

My stomach: For four years I was a baby-making machine. Tacking twins on at the end? Let's just say when your doctor tells you that you can do all the sit-ups you want, and it ain't goin' back, well, it's time to throw in the towel.

My metabolism: And I miss this most of all. The other three can be resurrected with a Wonderbra, Spanx and a bottle of Lady Clairol; slow metabolism? Not so much. I swear, I live on 1200 calories a day just to maintain my weight. It's an evil curse.

As I started thinking about this I got a little fired up. I'm supposed to have 'til I'm 40 and I've already lost six things (boobs count as two, right, and we already talked about my neck). But then I started thinking... the world according to me is ruled by nothing, if not logic... and based upon my half-assed reasoning brilliant deductions I can conclude the following:

* I have a credit on my account and, therefore, I won't lose any more body parts until I'm 45!

* I will grow old, but I have decided that growing up will continue to be optional.

* I will not worry about health food. Rather, I will consume all the processed foods I want. I will need the preservatives to keep from deteriorating.

* I will ignore my well meaning friends when they tell me time is a great healer and instead rely on science for my beauty needs.

* I will acknoledge that wisdom comes with age. It just takes a detour sometimes. I feel confident that my wisdom is en route. It probably made a quick stop to see the sites in New York. I expect it will arrive any day.

And if all else fails, my lovely friend at the Un-Gourmet has told me that I can have my butt surgically removed so that I can't sit down. I imagine this will help burn calories as well as making me look slim and svelte in my jeans.

Good to know there are options... I'd hate to hit middle-age and just fall apart.

Monday, May 4, 2009

It's a little long...

After my last post I exchanged a few emails with ladies who had left comments. A consistent theme was that I don't really talk much about myself. Well, duh! With all the stupidity that is busting out around me, how am I supposed to focus on me?! Anyway, at exactly the same time my bloggy buddy at Polymer Clay Snails tagged me for a meme that just happens to be about... ME! I usually don't participate because I think I'm about as interesting as the dried goo on the stove top from when I let the pasta boil-over last week, but... if you really wanna know... I'll tell you...

What’s your current obsession?
Mexican food. I swear I could eat it 7 days a week. And put some fresh cilantro in it. Somewhere. Anywhere. Mmmmm.... And my true guilty pleasure? Taco Bell sauce. I love fresh salsa, but there is something about that processed, artificial watered-down tomato paste that just does it for me.
If you could change your name, what would it be and why?
The Duchess of... Whatever comes after that doesn't really matter. I don't want to be a queen or anything, just lower level royalty who has servants at her beck and call. It's not like I'm greedy or anything.

Why is today special?
First communion day for my eldest daughters. Better late than never, right?!

What would you like to learn to do?
I'd like to learn to speak Spanish. I hate that there are all these conversations going in which I can not participate.

What’s for dinner today?
Egg white omelet with spinach and some sliced watermelon. It was healthy, and it was the right choice.... It tasted like crap. I should have put some Taco Bell sauce on it.

What’s the last thing you bought?
A ton of really cute clothes for my girls. And groceries. I always hear stories about how little girls don't eat much. Apparently I'm raising a pack of dogs in peak lactation. Did you know that a dog in peak lactation can eat four times her body weight? Well, they can. And so can my girls. I buy a lot of groceries.

What are you listening to right now?
Slamming doors. I should really do something about that before someone loses a finger. We've come close to finger loss once or twice. From the sounds of things right now we could actually be successful this time.

What’s your most challenging goal right now?
To figure out what I want to do with my life. I quit the corporate job that I loved after I had my first baby. Then I had three more. I am good at making babies, but I can't really make a career of it. Now that my four are in school all day I'm sort of at loose ends. I need a plan.

What do you think about the person who tagged you?
I think she's as cool in real life as I am in my imagination. And in my mind I am FABULOUS.

If you could have a house totally paid for, fully furnished anywhere in the world, where would you like it to be?
Beachfront somewhere in Australia. Or New Zealand, maybe? I'm not really well enough traveled to answer this question!

What would you like to have in your hands right now?
A new baby. I'm thinking of taking in emergency foster kids. I really have a gift for infants. I'm just not sure my heart can take the circumstances. I don't know if I'm strong enough to say good-bye.

What would you like to get rid of?
All the fruits and veggies in the fridge. I'd replace it with cheesecake, ice cream and, of course, MEXICAN FOOD!

If you could go anywhere in the world for the next hour, where would you go?
Sea kayaking with my hubby on the Monterey Bay in Northern California.
What super power would you like to possess?
I would fly like Superman. I think it would be fun. And can you imagine how much stress it would relieve if you could just take a lap around the world to clear your head?!

What’s your favorite piece of clothing in your own closet?
I have a pair of black sweat pants with a hot pink stripe down the side. I have a pink top that matches the stripe and a black quilted vest that I wear with it. It's like walking around in my p.j.'s all day. Heaven.

What’s your dream job?
Back in the day I got an undergraduate degree in Biology/pre-med. I was accepted to UCLA medical school, but bailed out when a counselor mentioned that I'd be $250,000 in debt by the time I was finished. I think I would've been a kick ass doctor. In fact I almost started med. school this fall but it didn't work out and, honestly, it's not the right choice for my family. It has all the makings of a dream job.

If you had $150 now what would you spend it on?
New make-up. I'm of an age where fresh-faced doesn't look so fresh anymore. Enough said.

What fashion show would you want tickets to?
That gal with the fab sweatpants. Oh, she doesn't exist? Maybe fashion isn't my gig.

Who’s closet would you want to raid?
Not sure. I think I'd rather ask for an intervention from the folks at What Not to Wear.

What are you most proud of?
My kids, but that's not a very fun answer. My number two? I'm proud of my choices. Somewhere along the way I found a little pearl of wisdom, and it states that hard work and perseverance will get you pretty much anywhere you want to go. If you want it and you are willing to work for it, then you can do it. You just have to know what you want.

The rules:

I was supposed to delete one questions and then add a question of my own, but I inadvertently left a couple questions out. I don't understand.... I did copy... And I did paste... Why isn't it all here?! I'll take these omissions as my creative input.

I'm also supposed to tag 7 people, but I'm not going to do that. If you're still reading, you're tagged!

Friday, May 1, 2009

The winds of change

Our school year is winding down and usually by now I am dreaming of swimming pools and lazy days without schedules. But this year instead of anticipating end of year parties and warm summer days I find myself clinging to the here and now. As I flit through the blogosphere reading stories of children and mommies anticipating their first year of preschool I smile for a moment because it sounds just like me. Except my youngest children started preschool almost four years ago, and instead of anticipating a world of finger paints and ABC's and tea parties with mommy I find myself staring with apprehension at middle school.

The problem isn't middle school itself. In fact, the problem is mine. I had a group of friends in sixth grade that was a mixture of kids with whom I had long-term relationships and new friends discovered as a result of the bigger middle school environment. As I look back I see that I was a geek. I took my school work seriously, I went to bed early every night with a book, I wasn't interested in boys or the latest hairstyles or fashion. You get the idea.

One day I joined my friends in the cafeteria. I unpacked my sack lunch and began to empty a packet of mustard onto my brown paper bag. I was planning to dunk my potato chips in the mustard like all the other girls did. I wasn't really a fan of the taste but lately I'd been getting the strange feeling that I was no longer part of the inner circle.

I still remember sitting there painstakingly emptying those mustard packets and opening my bag of chips. I looked up as I completed my preparations and noticed my friends were all looking at me. The smile on my face froze as I registered the somewhat detached looks on their faces. I knew there was a problem but I wasn't sure what. I noticed some of the girls could no longer maintain eye contact and realized that I'd found the problem. It was me. One of the girls cleared her voice and announced I was no longer part of "the group." They were forming a club, and everyone was not welcome. They didn't mean any harm and they hoped I'd understand. I sat there for a moment dumbly processing the fact that these girls, some of whom I had know since the first grade, didn't want me. I don't know how long I sat there scrambling with my emotions, but it was too long. The silence morphed from awkward to uneasy. The same girl who had delivered my verdict was offended by the fact that I continued to sit like an idiot with my mustard and chips spread before me, and she icily suggested that I leave the table. A table where more than half the seats were empty.

I took my lunch and left a trail of broken chips as I numbly found my way to an empty spot far away from any other students. About halfway through lunch someone from the "popular" group came over to ask why I was sitting in the corner by myself. I offered her the brightest smile I could muster and explained myself. The popular girl made a small scene by loudly reprimanding the girls. She wanted everyone to know how terribly they had behaved. I'm sure in her heart she was vindicating me, but in my heart it only made me feel pitiful.

I sat at that table, alone, for the next two months. And then we moved to a new city. A place where no one knew me. A place where no one would ever have to know the real me. The pitiful me. I changed the way I wore my hair. I changed my clothes. I stopped acting intelligent and adopted a silly and giggly demeanor. I altered my entire presentation to the outside world, and I suppose you could say I was successful.

I managed to live a life of my own creation. I also graduated from high school a year early so that I could release myself from the hell of living a life that was not real... A life that I had manufactured to avoid being hurt and humiliated by people I trusted.

In college I found the strength to be me, and to be confident. I made friends who genuinely liked me for myself.

And I healed.

But if you were ever to catch me in a moment of raw honesty I would probably tell you that there will always be a tiny piece of my heart that waits for it to happen again. Without a doubt, this particular afternoon in middle school set off a chain reaction that shaped my life for many years.

Up until this school year I hadn't given that day, or the years that followed, a lot of thought. But as the fall draws near I have trouble mustering enthusiasm. I can only hope that my child, my baby who can't possibly be beyond preschool, is stronger than I was. That I've shown her how to have the courage to believe in herself. To be herself.

I pray she fares better than I.