Monday, December 21, 2009

Lessons

I suppose I'll never be too old to learn. For instance, this week, and the past few months, I've learned that blogging has taken a back seat. More than a back seat...it's being dragged by rope through the mud.

See, I like to take 45 minutes to write a post. I know...pick yourself up off the floor: it takes me that long to come up with this genius. But over the last few months, since moving to the new house and a host of other excuses, 45 quiet, uninterrupted minutes only occur at 3:00 in the morning, or during desperation clothes laundering.

So the painful lesson, people, is that I must learn to post a here-and-there update without waiting for the coveted 45 minutes. It's that...or the blog shall be no more (let me grab a Kleenex). I have to learn that in my mind I want to post rich content for the masses to print and post on their refrigerators and forward to all their friends. In my heart...meh...the desire to take from so many other areas of my life in order to make that happen just isn't there.

Lesson learned, I suppose. I just hope you'll stay with me for those posts that might offer you something useful.

Or maybe just a diversion from your everyday.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

One pesky test and Salt is Evil

Mom is doing much better and she will probably be going home today. We are waiting for the doctor to assess the results of one last blood test and then discharge her.

Today we have had a barrage of professionals telling my mom what she can and can't do when she leaves here. Mostly what she can't: can't lift anything heavy, can't exert herself in any way for at least a couple of weeks, and can't be friends with Salt anymore. Apparently salt is bad at letting the body rid itself of fluids. And extra fluid is a dangerous thing. And mom's heart is pumping out fluid at a rate of 35% when it should be in the range of 65%. (That is the watered-down version, no pun intended, of what's going on...but I'm not a medical professional so that'll have to do ya.)

The good thing is that mom is already sensitive to the amount of salt she eats: no shaking it on her food and she really limits processed foods and eating out. A lot of us would have been more than a little disappointed to learn that salt in our lives was virtually banned, but I think mom will handle it just fine.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

That'll give her something to write about

Dear Mom,

I know I've been scarce around here. I know you are painfully unaware of the goings on in my life since I haven't posted in so long. I understand your disappointment each time you come here to see if I've awakened from my bloogging slumber to grace your screen with new (albeit mundane) material. I get it mom...and I'm sorry.,

Don't go having a heart attack or anything.

Seriously.

Wait, really, mom, surely there's a better way to coax me into posting.

But if you insist on using a heart attack to get me to surface out here, so be it.

And the post I write will seem like it's all about me, but trust me: it's not.

It's all about you...and you getting better so you can ask me when I'm going to post my nothingness again.

And it's about you getting better so you can boss your kids around during the Christmas festivities. We are ready to be bossed, believe me.

And it's about your health, and your well-being, and your determination to get out of the hospital so you can get back to the business of mothering, and grandmothering, and mother-in-lawing, etc. And doing all that in a way that causes your heart ZERO stress.

Yep, this post is all about you.

So get better, know that in the last 24 hours your family has been through shock, and fear, and anxiousness, and hope, and now relief. And we'd like to stay here please.

And I'd like to know that for a long, long time, you're going to look forward to my posts of nothingness...which are always something to you.

Love you mom...


(For those of you who didn't know, my mom had a heart attack yesterday morning, actually during the night. Her prognosis is good: no surgery but lots of rest and monitoring. She'll probably endure another three or so days in the hospital. After that she'll just have to deal with her family getting all in her stuff so she doesn't have to exert herself for a long time.)

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The everything post

Here we go: kind of like the Everything Bagel, which I never get because I'm not sure if it's supposed to be eaten for breakfast or for a snack.

But this post...it's good all day. And probably for the next week if I'm gonna be consistently scarce out here.

To update you on the Home Team's goings on:

1. My new nephew Stetson is still cute. Is it possible to desperately miss a baby when it isn't yours and you've only spent an hour with him? I'm sayin' it is...

2. I won a drawing! I hope this'll be the start of a contest winning streak for me...it's been way too long since I got sumpin' for nuttin'. My latest gift from the Internets is a gorgeous piece of Frankoma bakeware, made right here in Oklahoma. Somewhere close to Tulsa, too, but I have no idea where. Anyway, Frankoma's been around forever, and their pottery is great quality. In spite of the fact that it's "very easy to use," it came with two pages of instructions. Maybe I'll just look at it for a long time.

But the prize isn't the fun part of the prize here. The fun part is that I won it from Cook Time with Remmi. Little Remmi Smith is the daughter of a fabulous woman I used to work for in my previous life. She was my boss's boss but I was lucky enough to work directly with her on many writing assignments. Hmm, maybe I should rephrase: she gave me writing assignments and I did them. Happily.

But, like me, she moved on from the corporate world. She's helping her daughter help kids develop a love for cooking and for healthy dishes. Check out their site, and put your kids to work in the kitchen!

3. My friend Lori sent me this Xerox-sponsored link to thank our troops. It's legit. It's easy. It's free. No excuses. Thanks, Lori!

4. I ordered a personalized Christmas gift and received it yesterday. I was basking in the glow of having ordered it so far in advance and also the fact that I created it...until I realized it has a typo. This kept me awake last night. Then it gave me nightmares. I should just think of this item before I sit down to a meal and I will instantly lose my appetite. Should I reorder it at a cost of $35 or patch it? Frankly, neither of those options settle my stomach.

5. I went to have my eyebrows shaped for the first time. I'll save you the long story: the short story is the woman wanted me to come back in three weeks, and during that time I was not to tweeze at all. I lasted three days. Was she serious?!

6. My dear husband subjected me to Paul Blart: Mall Cop last night. When should I forgive him? If you see this movie anywhere, please spend that hour and a half scrubbing your toilet with a toothbrush...you'll feel a lot better afterward.

Ya'll have a good Wednesday!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Stetson = Sweetness


Great Grandma. How many babies have those arms cradled?

Is there anything more perfect than a newborn's toes?

Self-inflicted scratching already. And apparently those little mittens can keep ears warm, too.

Guess which one is pretending to sleep. Ahhh, and the Swee' Pea gown! May rival his toes for cuteness.

24 hours old. One day down...that wasn't so hard, was it?

Monday, November 09, 2009

Yee-haw! Stetson is here!

My great nephew arrived today at about 4:50 p.m. Little Stetson weighed a strappin' 9 lbs. 11 oz. Even though he was bound to be running out of room in his temporary housing, he still held on for several hours even after the door was...

Ew. Never mind.

It was a lengthy process.

But he's here and beautiful. And my nephew was floating around the halls grinning. And so was his mom. And his dad. And his two sisters. We were all floating around the hospital corridors...it was a happy time.

Especially when he caught his waiting-room-weary entourage off guard and burst into the room:

"...he's a big boy!!"

You'd have thought someone had yelled "FIRE!"

Oh, and since this blog is about me, I must publicly thank my good friend Amy who picked up Mickey from school and took him to her house for two hours or more while I waited for Stetson to come. And she did so with a smile on her face. I didn't actually see her but I know Amy and she lovingly helps people who barge in on her with 30 minutes' notice. So thanks, Amy...you truly are priceless.

Yep, and Alex waited it out with me and other assorted family members, even one who is engaged to the family...er, my niece. Aaron very generously turned over the reigns of his IPhone to Alex for most of the wait. Without his help I'd have been searching the hallways of the hospital for a mild sedative. For me and Alex.

So thanks to the people who helped me today.

But even if this blog is about me, today was SO not.

It was about a milestone my nephew and his wife will never forget. It was about them meeting their little boy for the first time. It was about two people suddenly realizing there's a life on this planet more important than their own. At least they'll feel that way...they're parents now.

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Great Monday!

Already November?! Let's pretend I posted cute Halloween pics and beautiful photos of fall leaves from our backyard. That's not so hard is it?

The big news in our family for November is that I'm going to be a great-aunt for the...hmmm, third time, and the little one arrives tomorrow. Being a great-aunt has nothing to do with one's age, by the way. It just means I'm great.

Yep, my nephew will be a first-time daddy...I can't even stand the anticipation of seeing him hold his baby in his arms. Oh, my. Why is it that I can remember him as a newborn like it was yesterday but I cannot remember what I had for breakfast yesterday? The years...they just fly by, and yet our memories capture the important moments and let us keep them forever. Thank goodness.

So they'll be starting their journey as parents tomorrow morning at 5:30 a.m. Good practice, since it could be five or six years before they get to sleep in again.

Best of luck to you W and L. Keep your baby, and your memories, close forever.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Book character day

In lieu of Halloween costumes, my son's school has Book Character Day today. So the kids still get to dress up in a costume, but they're required to find their inspiration in a book so maybe they get a little more creative than Batman and Spiderman (but check back here after Halloween for those staple costumes).

So Mickey chose Mike Mulligan of Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel.** What an awesome story this is...Mike Mulligan has confidence that his Steam Shovel (who he gave the woman's name of Mary Ann) can live up to his lofty expectations, even though he wasn't sure until she was put to the test. I love that: a man laying staking his entire reputation on the confidence he has in a woman...er...Steam Shovel.

But that message is lost to Mickey, of course. I think he just likes how much of the book revolves around digging in dirt.

As for the costume, my friend Julie came through with the hard hat, thankfully. Pete just called from school, however, and said Mickey thought the hat was too uncomfortable to wear. Oh, well...

I got a couple of pictures, though, before he realized that.



**Thanks to my sis Judy. She passed along to me a shopping bag full of books one day and made it a point to recommend MM.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Note to self

Don't leave blogging interface open.

Without locking my office door.

Or my boy in the closet.
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Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Wait, we have movement

Who knows why I'm compelled to post a video here tonight. More of "talking to myself" I suppose.

And this one has way too much information in it when you consider I haven't even posted my boys' real names. Just disregard that stuff. And realize I did not prompt him to repeat it, either.

Try to also disregard the lack of pitch, rhythm, and tune.

And pay attention to the cute.

Just make sure your good wine glass isn't too close to your speakers.


video

Is it still shopping if you don't buy anything?

Shopping alone is rare for me. I usually have at least one of the boys or...the horror...the whole family waiting impatiently for me in the car or on the other side of JCPenney.

So when I do go by myself...ah, the bliss. I can browse and compare prices and visualize to my heart's content. Except I don't do that because I can't relax because I'm flipping open my cellphone every ten minutes to see what time it is so I don't forget to pick someone up (you'd think I had ten kids or something. Truly it's a miracle I wasn't left somewhere to be raised by truck drivers when I was a kid.).

All that mess to say: I try to have a definite plan when I shop. A carefully crafted mission considering the needed item and the amount of time I have to find it.

I had that all that today...mission miserably failed.

All I wanted in the world was a plain red long-sleeved T-shirt for Mickey to wear as part of his costume. But those are not to be had anywhere, since boys' clothing makers tend to puke graphic designs of monster trucks and boxy superheros on the fronts of all shirts.

So looks like Mickey gets to wear one of Alex's red shirts, which will probably still fit him anyway.

The other part of his costume I needed was a hard hat. Like a construction hard hat. Little boys like to wear hard hats, don't they? Well, apparently not enough for Giant Halloween Store to stock them. But fake rubber b r e a s t s must certainly be in demand, since a couple of versions of those were available. And big axes shoved into rubber masks...thank goodness no one will have to go without those this Halloween. (Note to self: wait ten years to take boys to Halloween store.)

It's a very real possibility I'll have to buy an entire Bob the Builder costume in order to get the stinkin' hat. And I'll have to go to Walmart for it. Ugh.

And I'll probably be dragging people with me when I go.

I may be the one who needs the hard hat...

Sunday, October 25, 2009

I wanna talk to me again

It's amazing how a subject can occupy so much of your thoughts and yet your actions toward it are non-existent.

Like blogging.

And working out.

And unpacking those last two boxes from our move three months ago.

But we all know which of these concerns me at this moment.

And unfortunately it has nothing to do with a treadmill.

Yeah, lately I've thought about blogging at least ten times every day, but for some reason the urge isn't quite enough to actually do it. I think I'm in that funk again where I'm analyzing it way too much...as I told a friend the other day: every word I type out here I imagine some one person I know reading it. But it's difficult to consider your audience as individuals when you blog; there are too many people who read me from different areas of my life, and trying to write directly to every individual is a fruitless concept, to say the least.

So I suppose I should just get back to the basics, and start writing for myself again. I'll be breaking a number one rule of any type of writing, and that is to consider your audience.

And ya'll will just have to listen in while I talk to myself.

Friday, October 09, 2009

Surprises

My boy has blond hair. Is that "blond" or "blonde"? I'm really not sure. But I really forget that it's blond(e) until I see pictures like this one from a year ago.


It's not that long anymore, for sure.

Blond(e)? Still. But getting darker.

Maybe I take a lot of pictures of him because I'm afraid I'll look up one day and it'll be chocolate-y. And because his blonde-ness still confuses me. Although he has a smattering of blond-y cousins...equally confusing. But it makes the whole clan look a little more interesting during get togethers.

His blue eyes...they're still confounding me, too.

A lot about this boy confounds me, come to think of it.

He's just looking the part.


Thursday, October 08, 2009

Parlez-vous soccer?

Mickey had his first soccer game last weekend. Yes, it's Thursday and I'm just getting around to alerting you of this news. I hope you made it through the week okay.

Nonetheless, it is new territory for me: Mickey's playing an organized team sport and I know absolutely nothing about it. Basketball, baseball, even football, I believe I could come up with one or two valuable pearls for him to take with him on the field.

Soccer?

Soccer is like a foreign language to me.

I know there's a ball. And the players chase it and try to score. Like basketball. And football. And they chase a ball in baseball, too, come to think of it.

Maybe it's not that foreign after all.

All I know is just before his first game, I struggled to come up with any pregame advice for him, since I had no idea what he's actually supposed to do. So I just said "...run fast. And listen to your coach."

Hafta' keep that one in my hip pocket for future foreign sports.

Patience x 10 = Coach Chad

...or, could be he's sneaking in a keyboarding lesson.

Whatever he told them, it was riveting to most players.

Somebody had different ideas...

Oh, pleeeease let the ball come my way.

Yeah, baby!

Not in my house!


Goalie gloves and jersey: ready!

That's what I said...

Saturday, October 03, 2009

It's all in how you make up words

So today was a particularly long day for the Home Team with a lot of activities, and I began it at 5:30. A. M.

It's SATURDAY.

Anyway, by the end of the day I was just a smidge on the edgy side and not in the mood to cook so I brought home Chinese food for the family (okay, for Pete and I. The boys just stared at it.)

At the end of the meal, I asked Pete to read my fortune cookie since he'd opened it for me. Not because he was being extra sweet, but because I said "give me half of that." My fortune, as read by Pete:

"The love of your life will get you through any circumstance."

I had to laugh at that, loudly, given my current mood.

Then Pete informed me he'd read it wrong; it actually said:

"Your love of life will get you through..."

Hmm, I think I'll bank on the first version.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Storyteller

Here's proof that I do have people in my life other than Mickey and Alex and their daddy.


I'll start in the middle: that's my mom Rosemary. Isn't she pretty? She really hasn't changed much in the last...forever. I was about 25 before I appreciated anything she did for me (is that what I can expect from my boys?).

The lady on the left: that's Dorthy, my mom's next door neighbor of, let's see, how old am I...almost 44 years. She's a part of our family, too, whether she likes it or not. I think she's still trying to get over the shock of seeing a family of 13 move in next door. True, we all moved out eventually, but then we brought more little kids back to visit.

The gentleman on the right, that's my brother-in-law Roy. He and my sister have been married about 31 years (and a charming couple they are!) He owns a construction business based in Smalltown, Oklahoma, where he was born, by the way.

Roy is the storyteller in the family. Real or fiction (and sometimes a very gray line in between) the man's favorite thing in the world is to weave a tale in front of a rapt audience. And they're usually worth your attention, and usually involve a reptile or horse or some type of equipment (possibly an injury, too). In spite of living in a small town, the man has met so many people throughout his life, had so many experiences at home and traveling...and manages to recount his adventures like a Western novelist.

Telling stories, the interesting kind, is a skill I've never had; I stumble over reciting what I had for breakfast.

Not Roy. I've wondered how he got so good at it. Maybe his dad taught him, or he learned it from his brothers. Maybe it's spending countless hours at the local restaurants or rodeos or family gatherings. It does seem like cowboys in general gravitate toward...each other. And when they do, they stand around with an arm propped up on a corral gate, a booted toe dug into the dirt, and the stories flow, usually with laughter at the end.

Wherever he learned it, storytelling is something he continues to practice on anyone who'll give him a chance. Mom and Dorthy, they've heard hundreds of his stories over the years, maybe the good ones more than once.

Interestingly, he's getting ready to be a grandpa pretty soon...

...and he'll have a whole new audience.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

To be. Is to run.

...and splash.

And enjoy a 90-degree September day.

For $7.87 from the K-Mart clearance rack.




And run some more.

Running, running, running...

And remember you have a brother now and again...

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Overheard: the wistful 5-year-old

Today Mickey's kindergarten class got to attend an assembly put on by some of the older kids at his school. The kids were singing and dancing and wore costumes...a very colorful production (I peeked in the gym myself). Later I asked him if he enjoyed it:

"oooohhhh, mom, you would have loved the girls. They all wore bows! They were sooooo pretty! I could have looked at them alllll daaaaay looooong..."

I don't know whether to be amused or worried...

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Your kids look blah, and it's for sale!

Last weekend I took the boys to have their pictures taken; religiously I've taken them to Big Department Store Portrait Studio on or around their birthdays to preserve the moment and their newest outfit in a photo. I've taken them there so I can get decent photos at a good price, and I've been happy with the result for the most part.

Until now.

Their most recent pictures were mediocre and I'm being kind. The boys were set up in the same poses they've been rehearsing for the last several sessions...so much so I think all their portraits are starting to look alike. And to my horror, the "photographer" had them saying things like "fuzzy pickles" and "cheeeese." Just typing that makes me cringe. Neither was enough to get a genuine smile out of either boy, and Mickey even looked to be grimacing.

I thought maybe they'd look better when I sat down with the "photographer" to review them. No. She'd prettied them up with enhancements (at nine dollars per enhancement) and written words on them...I suppose in an effort to soften Alex's all-teeth facial stretch. And then she tried to convince me that a package, complete with royalty-free CD (as if I'd want copies of the mediocrity), for $129.99 was by far my best deal.

At this pitch I told her "the pictures aren't that good." Then I wanted to scream "...and I'm their mother!!"

She didn't try anymore upselling.

I still left having ordered several sheets of average photos...because average is still good if your kids' faces are there. And I'd fought to get them dressed and to the appointment and having to reschedule the whole thing somewhere else was not an attractive option.

But now I'm determined even more to figure out Behemoth DSLR and take my own photos of the boys. Or pay a premium for a photographer who sells skill and artfulness instead of...meh...

Kids' faces deserve better.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Pizza's fourth cousin twice removed

If you've ever wondered how far you can possibly get from a pizza-like food, and yet still give it a name with "pizza" in it, look no further.

...and then wonder why I was compelled to tell the Internet about it.

Love ya, BC, but please, back to the drawing board.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Four: the cake

Yes, the non-toddler had a birthday cake. Yes, I made it. Yes, I'm in Year 6 as The Mother Who Refuses to Pay for a Bakery Birthday Cake for Her Kids.

But for Alex's #4, maybe I shouldn't have been that mother.

I made the very big mistake of committing to making Alex a Lego cake. So I got reminded of it every day for a week. When am I going to learn that my boys have brains like steel traps when it comes to promises from their parents?

So I was in it whether I liked it or not. The very simple and exquisite example that enticed me so is pictured here. (Aside: does anyone know how they could have possibly gotten that well-defined edge around all the bumps when marshmallows are curved?)

My version wasn't exquisite. Or simple. It took me six hours. And I sweat (not on the cake, though, since I moved a fan into the kitchen). Seems those little blocks required freezing between layers of icing, and the little round thingies (big marshmallows halved) needed to be frosted indi-freakin-vidually.

I can't complain too much, really. I knew without a doubt it would be a challenge even with the simple design. Especially when I amped up the recipe to two cake mixes and making my own buttercream icing.

But for some reason I wanted the Lego cake to happen anyway. And happen it did.


Alex loved looking at it, although he refused to eat any of it. Thanks, honey.

In the car today I decided to throw caution to the wind and ask him what kind of cake he wanted next year.

"Transformers."

"Uh, yeah, that'll be a half-sheet ready for pick-up on September 16..."

Four



As of today my house is void of toddlers.

Excuse me a minute while I collect myself.

My littlest is Four today. I capitalize the word because I feel it's deserving...at least in my little mind. See, Four seems like the end of all things babyish. All things toddler-y. Pretty soon his softness will be replaced with lean, wiry limbs like his brother's. And it'll all happen overnight.

Just like his first four years.

I have one of his baby pictures on my wallpaper and Pete wandered by and asked me whose baby it was.

His OWN baby.

Think four years is a long time?

I think it isn't. Not nearly long enough...

Happy Birthday, sweet. I want to pinch those cheeks forever.

Monday, September 14, 2009

So, how've you been?

Hi, blog. Yes, I know it's been a while...not much, how 'bout you? I'm not sure why I called I guess I really just wanted to talk to you. Well, I was thinking maybe later on...we could get together for a while. It's been such a long time and I really do miss your smile...

...I'm not talkin' 'bout millennium. And I don't want to change your mind. But there's a warm wind blowin' the stars are round.

And I'd really like to find time to write.

Happy Monday peoples...

Friday, September 04, 2009

Storming

Sent Pete and Mickey on their way this morning with umbrellas and jackets. Alex and I hover under the eves and wave them off. Doesn't take long for Alex to start weighing too much for me to hold, so I put him down and he scurries inside to the recliner and Super Why. And somehow he cuddles a Lego-built helicopter, too.

And I'm doing laundry, and cleaning up breakfast dishes, and doing various other mundane things.

My job, in other words...

It's Friday, the end of the work week, but that doesn't really matter much to a stay-home mom. Our job is where we live. We don't get to stop doing it for two days every week.

And I'm happy about that.

Especially when it's raining and I get to retreat back inside my house with a soft three-year-old.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Another first day...

I do have another son. He started back to Mother's Day Out this week...same school he's been visiting a couple of times a week since he was nine months old.

One of his teachers is a former teacher of Mickey's. The other...the incredibly sweet mother of one of Mickey's good friends.

I felt like kicking back with my hands clasped behind my head. Ohhhh, yeeaahhhh...

Pics from the day...sometimes I wonder if he assumes his non-expressive, staring into space look especially for me and my camera. I'm not really sure I should even post these; the boy looks like he's dreading it with every fiber of his being. I assure you...this IS his happy face.






Ten reasons Wipeout should stay on the air

Have ya'll seen this show? Wipeout has to be the most fun on TV right now. I don't spend time trying to figure out show line-ups, but I'm guessing its days are numbered since summer's almost over.

But I think they should keep it around, and here's why:


1. The only show, ever, that makes my entire family laugh...genuinely.

2. Gratuitous and witty innuendo that keeps adults happy, and little kids happily clueless.

3. Muddy water. Then clear water that cleans off all the mud. I love this. Yeah, it's a little weird.

4. Fun to watch the boys fashion their own "sweeper arms" at home.

5. Host John Anderson used to be on one of our local TV stations. Nothing to do with the show, I know.

6. It's truly the only show we all watch where I don't have to worry about the boys seeing something that makes me cringe.

7. Comes on at 7:00 p.m. Still time for getting the boys to bed on time.

8. When it's on the boys say "Big Balls" a lot...more laughs for Pete and I.

...oh, shoot, I can only think of eight reasons.

Seriously, that should be enough.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

C'mon, learn something!

Alrighty, then.

Fifth day of school for Mickey. Wouldn't it be funny if I posted something every day about Mickey's kindergarten year? I could post what he said at the end of each day, what he brought home in his backpack, and what he had for lunch.

(Please tell me no one thinks I'm serious. Talk about the best way to lose all seven of you as readers.)

But really, it's that little stuff is all I've been thinking about lately. As far as what he's actually learning, maybe he's keeping that to himself for some big reveal in the future. The way far off future, I suspect.

Thing is, we new parents were instructed to let the information lie for a while...don't ask too many questions, don't pressure the kids to recount every minute of their day.

Easier said than done. But I'm learning.

For now I refrain from "what did you learn today" and gobble up the tidbits that do come forth from time to time ("we got to choose a book to take home today...").

I'm just impatient to know how he's going to do...what he'll accomplish in school and what he'll need help with. It's almost like when he was a baby and I wondered what he'd be like as a five-year-old.

Yikes...that means the time right now, right this minute, is going to pass in a flash.

Scary.

Monday, August 24, 2009

The first day

Maybe by now I can write about Mickey's first day of Kindergarten without losing it. And I got The Big Camera out of its big case and put it to work (the mourning for The Little Camera continues).

In case you're needing to get to work or school and don't have time to read the rest of this post, the synopsis is that Mickey's first day of kindergarten was harder on me than it was on him. The whole family escorted him to his room where he dutifully took his place on the fun carpet with the other kids. Then we all just stared. Us at him, the other parents at their kids, him at the other kids, the other kids at him. Everyone just seemed to be waiting for some action to begin.

The only action, though, was me snapping photos. And after an awkward amount of time I finally decided to say goodbye, only when I approached Mickey and tried to call his name, I couldn't get the word out. Deep breath, deep breath, I'm thinking...please just look over here so I don't have to say anything. Finally I squeaked out something and he turned to me, which didn't help my state much.

But amidst the tears I gave him a hug and told him I loved him, and he gave me a really confused look...and then sat back down to await the action.

And then I beat it outta there with Pete and the ever-flitting-about Alex.

At the end of the day I tried not to badger him with too many questions because I could tell he was tired. On the way home he recounted a couple of details, and then, before we even got out of the parking lot: "...Mamma, when am I going golfing with Daddy?"

I'm thinking that's a sign of a multitasking brain, right?

No one was too happy about getting up and out the door so early.


A big pancake and sausage, as promised.

How old do kids get when they stop getting dressed in the living room?

Sorta looks like a mug shot, but I wasn't being picky. It looks dark outside because it was pouring down rain. Nice...

Pete said he was not nervous about Mickey's first day. But he's the one who put liquid Comet in the dishwasher that morning...

Ahhh, the new school supplies...seemed to be beckoning little hands to begin creating things.

It's as if they're saying: I'm a little unsure so I'm keeping to myself here. And waiting for some action...

...but in the meantime Alex can tackle me and loosen things up.

So here we go...Mickey's ready, I just hope I am.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

My poor littlest. Whatever.

I decided to start a new tradition with Mickey when school starts: he gets to go to the bookstore and pick out a new book. In order to protect Alex from the trauma he would surely suffer while watching Mickey get all this attention, I told him we would go to Target and he could choose a new CD. He's lovin' his music these days, especially putting in the CD and turning it on himself.

So after we took Mickey to school this morning (details on that later) off we went to Target to accomplish the task. Alex chose The Imagination Movers and talked about it the whole way home. He eagerly trekked off to his room, inserted the CD, and listened to exactly one-half a song.

Then he took the CD out and put in one of his old ones. And fifteen minutes later he's still in there listening to it.

So much for impending trauma...

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Night before The First Day

I had prepared another post mourning the loss of My Little Camera...it was a doozey, too, all about how sometimes losing things is not as much about the value of the item, but the inconvenience of replacing it, and how the thug who took it (which is the only remaining possibility) will get his payback when he looks up how much the camera is worth and realizes it may not be enough to buy his Vega a tank of gas. Yeah, had that post ready to go until more important thoughts started clouding my head, like

my oldest boy starting kindergarten. Tomorrow.

I thought to myself, my goodness, if this mommy blog doesn't have some sort of salute to that momentous occasion, then I say...what blog?

So I'm determined to post something about it, even if it takes me all night long to get it written. Although I have to get up earlier tomorrow than I have in several years to make The First Day happen with as little angst as possible.

There's laying out his the new clothes...uniform-wear, I should say. And I actually asked Mickey "what do you want to wear tomorrow..." Whoops.

And positioning the new backpack by the door, which is empty this first trip but for the new lunchbox. Mickey has informed me he wants to try the cafeteria selections, though...and soon.

Then there's the pancakes and sausage I've promised him...and for some reason he has requested a bigger pancake than Alex's. Doesn't make much difference if Alex is eating two pancakes to his one, but "okay," I told him.

And getting The Big Camera ready to go. And its battery charged. And getting my name and address on the bag and a small cluster of ink bombs stashed inside that will explode if it gets more than ten feet away from me.

And, tonight, trying not to think of this as an emotional thing. Trying to remind myself that very soon we'll have this school thing down-pat: the schedule, the homework, the activities. It'll all become second nature. Pete and I, and Alex for that matter, will slide into the school environment and the magnitude of the first day will soon fade in the shadow of the next milestone.

But I wonder if I can actually accomplish that last task: I think of myself as pretty level-headed when it comes to emotions. And then my nephews go off to college...and I get emotional not for me or them but for their parents saying goodbye to them. And I think of my niece recently becoming engaged, and I tear up not when she delivers me the wonderful news, but later when I celebrate it on the phone with her mother.

So how am I supposed to keep it together when I'm seeing my own son through a milestone? I truly don't know. I truly hope there will be at least one other parent taking it worse than me, someone else in the group who didn't wear mascara on purpose. Then maybe no one won't see me ugly-crying into a bank of lockers. 'Cause it's gonna happen...I can just about guarantee it.

But contrary to my rambling here, the day is so not about me. It's about Mickey and his First Day...one that I hope he remembers forever.

Or at least the sausage and the big pancake...

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Sicker

Today the boys and I went to the restaurant where I thought I left my camera to see if the person who looked for it was incompetent. She wasn't. No luck.

So I called Mickey's school. We'd been there that day for a function where I used my lost camera to take pictures...the whole reason I had it with me. No luck.

I really can't think of anywhere else to look, unless I've completely lost my head and stashed it somewhere in this still-unorganized house. Which could mean we don't find it until we move again. And by that time I'll be able to sell it to a museum for a lot of money.

So now I guess I'm forced to either by a new camera or learn to use The Big One properly.

Hmm, wonder which one Pete will vote for...

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Sick

That's the best way to describe how I'm feeling: I think I've lost my digital camera. Not my big one I just bought...no one could misplace that thing. My little point-and-shoot. I think I left it in a restaurant last Friday during lunchtime. The workers there looked once but didn't find it. I'm sick. There were a hundred or so pics on it...of the move, etc. And of the boys in our old house on the last day we were there.

I suppose it could be worse: the camera itself isn't worth a hundred dollars: it's almost five years old and it's limping along. If someone swiped it from the restaurant booth they'll be sorely disappointed in their loot. Good.

I'm almost as upset about losing the camera case it was in: a red Tamrac I've owned for probably fifteen years. It's been on every vacation, to and from the Caribbean a few times, countless kid and family events...and not a scratch or tear anywhere on it. They don't even make the model anymore.

And to finish me off...the fact that the case also contained misc. equipment that goes to my video camera. That'll be a cinch to replace.

I'm heading to the restaurant tomorrow morning to conduct my own search. And probably come home empty handed.

Sick, sick, sick...

Monday, August 10, 2009

Boxes and stuff

I'm starting to wonder if the boxes that have yet to be unpacked really need to be. After all, the last few I've unleashed were full of things I forgot I even owned. Could that be a sign I don't need them? Wait, one of them was full of old cheerleading uniforms...surely they will be of some use to me again someday.

The boys are lovin' their playroom. And as long as I hear them up there running back and forth periodically I don't worry. It's when the quiet ensues that I feel the need to check on them. Is that a universal parenting thing??

Little by little we are getting settled, but my word, it's gonna be weeks before I don't have something to put away. Although it seemed I was forever doing that at the old house so I suppose nothing much will change.

Alex asked me the other day when we were going back to the old house. I tried to explain as gently as I could that someone bought it from us and she's now living there, and we have a new house.

"Oh."

I know the questions will get more complex when they get older; for now I'm going to enjoy answering the easy ones.

So...eleven days until my oldest starts kindergarten and just a few days until two nephews and a niece start college.

And starts a new chapter on this blog...I hope.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

We're in, but that's about it

(I had a post completely written about the new house, but I'm writing from the library and something happened when I hit "publish." Thanks, library...)

Monday, July 20, 2009

A moving experience

One week from today we'll be sitting at a big conference table with cricks in our hands from signing papers on our new house.

One week and one hour from today we'll be sweating in the July sun moving our entire lives under a new roof.

One week and a day from today, I'll bring the boys home from Grandma's, and instead of turning onto Gary Pl., we'll veer north a bit to their new home for the rest of their childhoods. (Really makes me wonder if Alex, just shy of four years old, will have memories of this house and how it was the only thing he knew for so long.)

It's the calm before the storm, folks, and here's how it's going to play out:

Friday: take the boys to Grandma and Grandpa's a little north of here. While we're there, we'll pick up a ginormous box truck belonging to Brother-in-Law, kiss our babies goodbye, and rumble back south to Tulsa. The boys will spend the night there. When we get home we'll begin loading onto it whatever we can fit...and lift.

Saturday: keep loading the box truck. Have two or three arguments with Pete about how I don't what my photo albums on it until the last minute since I don't want them baking in the heat. In the late afternoon Pete will go to Grandma and Grandpa's and pick up the boys. How he's getting there is still a mystery...since the box truck will be loaded up, etc.

Saturday evening: walk to church for the last time.

Saturday night: enjoy our last night together in this house. Pete will look at me funny when I start reminiscing...especially when I talk about when, on our wedding day, we walked over in all our wedding finery to have our photo taken in front of it. And when I talk about how he pounded a sign the size of a billboard in our front yard announcing Mickey's birth. He'll shush me when I tell him we'll remember the driveway where Mickey learned to ride his bike, and where Alex wore out his Little Tikes basketball goal. Then the whole family will fall into the remaining bed in the house...exhausted, and excited at our new chapter about to begin.

Sunday morning: try to get up before the movers get here at 8:30 a.m. Gather up the boys and shuttle them to their other Grandma's, where they'll be until Tuesday. Race back to Tulsa and clean, clean, clean. Sunday night Pete and I will head to a hotel for the night, since we have to have everything completely outta here and I'm not sleeping on the floor.

Monday morning: close on the houses in the a.m. Movers will meet us and our box truck at the new home...and the real fun begins.

That's the plan; I'm pretty sure there will be changes (ya think?). I will probably not be online for several days, either. To take advantage of having the thing disconnected, I'm taking the computer to the shop next week to have it tuned up and de-virused, etc.

So if I'm MIA for a while...um...you'll think everything's completely normal.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

What's your best time?

I'm 43 years old and I've finally realized I need to listen to myself: I am productive, eager, enthusiastic, and patient...

...in the morning.

I tend to get up before anyone in the house by an hour or more. I shower, put on makeup, do my hair, and get dressed before anyone's even awake. I go downstairs, make coffee, have breakfast while reading a cookbook, put in a load of laundry, empty the dishwasher, lay out the boys' clothes, fix their lunches if it's a school day, check my email and the news, and start planning the week's meals (okay, lying about that last one but doesn't it sound good?).

I do more before 9:00 as a stay home mom than I used to in a whole day at my day job. At least there toward the end of my cubicle career anyway...

I maintain that ferocious ambition at home for several hours.

And about 4:00, the wheels on the production bus fall off. By five, I'm skidding. 6:00, wow, pity the phone solicitor that draws up my number. I'm short with the boys, trying to fix dinner without letting the TV babysit them, and wondering if Pete's "I'm on my way home..." means he's in the truck with the motor running or he's "finishing up" an email. Big difference between those two scenarios.

So I've learned that if I'm going to try to accomplish something that will be especially taxing, like shopping for a week's worth of groceries with both boys, it needs to happen in the a.m. when I'm at my best. If you ever see me at Walmart after 4:00, might be in your best interest to pretend you didn't...

It sounds crazy, but I'm just now realizing this to the point of changing the way I do things during the day. Things that are easy, like letting the boys play on the computer or watch a video, need to happen during that witching hour at 4:00 or so. In fact, I believe they, too, begin to get bored with the day...probably a lot of kids do. So I used to blame that stress-filled time on them until I realized, hey! I have a not-so-great time of day, too. Who knew?

So what's your best time of day? Morning? Midnight? When do you have the most energy and what do you do to get yourself through the times of day when you're dragging? (And I already know about coffee.)

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Overheard: Frightening

Scary words from Mickey to start the day:

"...hey Alex, let's play Wipeout!"

(And happy 500th post to me!)

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Mishmash

-- I've started packing...hooray! How do you say goodbye to baby clothes? The boys have some I just can't part with, and I know I'm going to end up shuffling them around a hundred times before I find space for them. But I just can't put them in the giveaway box now...or ever, if you want to know the truth.

-- Mickey has a couple of new phrases that make me grin when I hear them. "...Grandma's house is so decorational..." and "...Mom, it's soakin' hot out here!" I think they work!

-- I used chipotle peppers in adobo sauce for the first time the other day in a chicken taco recipe. (Go ahead, say "adobo" a bunch of times...fun!) Then I noticed "chilpotle" on the label and I wondered if any other glaring errors had been made in the production of this can. Of course this blog is not perfect, but I try to avoid paying people to make mistakes.


-- Ya'll...Pete's in the middle of a horrendous travel week. Think about him and pray his travels are safe and he can get some decent rest soon. And his friend's wife is in the hospital suffering with a pulmonary embolism, which, given his history with that demon, has him visiting her in the hospital as much as he can. Her husband was out of state when she went in the hospital...can you imagine. Anyway, he's having a very draining week and I hope he'll be able to have a relaxing weekend...

-- ...after I go see the Harry Potter movie on Friday night with my moms! Woo-hoo!!

-- In my frenzied weekend, I missed a traveling Titanic artifacts visit which my good friend frantically called me to tell me about. And I missed it. I'm a little sick about that one...

Monday, July 13, 2009

The new house!

I'm starting to wonder if I'll have everything packed in time for the move two weeks from today, but then I realize I don't have much choice in the matter. I'm feeling a little like back in college when I procrastinated for weeks before a final then crammed all my studying into the 18 hours before test time (for whatever reason I know a few college freshmen who read my blog; ya'll don't do that, mmmkay?)

As promised, however, here are some pics of our soon-to-be home sweet home. I'm calling them "before" shots, since we have a list a mile long of improvements we want to make:



Raining when I took this shot, so I wasn't getting out of the car to get the whole house.

Does anyone know the technical term for this thing? Looks like something that will require climbing on rooftops someday.
I love the bay windows. There are three sets in the house!

'Cause you needed to see the stone close-up.

Must. Be. Climbed.

Handwashing sink in utility room. Weeee!

Unfinished kitchen cabinets that will soon be "ginger." Better known as medium brownish-y.

"Hey, let's put granite in, but that means we have no budget for a backsplash. Maybe The Hometeam won't notice..."

The third bay window in the dining room just off the kitchen. This one looks out onto the...ready for this...BACKYARD! (Which I have no pics of...sorry.)

Formal dining room. But we're not calling it that because we're not formal (suggestions for other names welcome).

Den. With a weird closet thing that we'll have to define sometime.

Sort of a shot of the yard. It has a fence and trees. I'm livin' the dream, I tell ya.

...and the house has a front door.

With a window like this in the office, I'm sure to write some inspired blog posts for once. Right now I'd settle for just writing.

Stairs...which I don't really like having, except I love these since they lead to...

...a gameroom!

More gameroom.

My favorite bathroom feature: they all have these bureau-type vanities.

Guest room upstairs, too. Crooked ceiling fan included.

Boys' room downstairs next to ours. They'll be rooming together until further notice. Or the fighting starts leaving scars.

"Oooo, and let's not replace any ceiling fans. We can call them vintage!"

The bad news: all the closets are small like this. The good news: there's four of them.

New appliances. Yay!

Storage in garage. I'm very excited about this since we won't have as large a utility room in the new house.

I'm also excited about having a screen door in the garage. Oh the little things...

Spot for our second fridge. I still have mine from my single life. Seriously, save a couple hundred and buy one for your garage. Priceless for summer time drinks and frozen treats, stocking bottled water, trays of party food.

Ceiling fan in the garage. I'm sure there's a sweet spot somewhere those three blades will cool...

Mickey's very intrigued by the mail drop set-up. When he saw this picture he asked "...what happens to the mail when the garage door goes up?" Hmm...

Not looking forward to fitting all my pots and pans in here.

The utility room sink again. I'm in love with it.

I may even leave one remaining piece of "vintage" in the house.