Monday, December 31, 2007

Fresh Beginning

I can hardly believe that yet another year has come and gone. And, oh, what a year it was! Full of many great blessings, of course, but full of many challenges as well. I must be frank - I am glad to see this year come to a close. And I don't know why I hang on to the belief that indeed it is a fresh start. But it only seems logical, you know, that with a new year comes a new beginning of sorts. That this year, I will get it right. I will yell less at my kids, I might enjoy the little moments more, or that I will somehow perfect the little imperfections of me. I guess one can dream...

I hate resolutions. Mainly because I truly suck at keeping them and then I just feel guilty and disappointed in myself and that makes me want to eat more, which usually a part of my resolutions for the year is to eat less. I am sure you get my point despite the rambling nature of the thought. And thus the vicious cycle continues. This year I just want to keep it simple with my goals. Scott and I set our family goal as going to church more. This will be the most difficult for us, not because we are heathens or anything. But the nature of my husband's job is difficult, and the only day he is guaranteed off a week is Sunday. And often times, we find ourselves wanting to relax on that day and not have to get up and get dressed and have anywhere specific to be. And Scott likes to go to the 9:30 service, and that's just really not up my alley to be up and at 'em and ready for show at that hour of the morning. I mean, I am always up and moving by that time, but not very attractive. So we have both agreed that this will be our commitment - to take our children to church as much as possible. And I know that we can do it, but I will have to take the reins and have everything ready on Sunday mornings.

My personal goal is to just relax. This year has been so stressful. Money, sickness, surgery, money, money, money.... I just want to sit down and take a breath and realize that all the stuff of life doesn't matter. Accept myself for who I am and where I am, physically, spiritually, mentally. I want to just enjoy life more, instead of rushing here and there and making sure every little thing is just so. Compare myself to others less, live for myself a little more, stop analyzing as much. I thought I said I was keeping my goal simple.

I want to just relax. Trust and know that the good Lord above has it all in his hands and he actually knows what he's doing, unlike us people down here who can find a way to screw up anything. I feel like if I could trust more, relax more, strengthen my faith, that everything else will fall into place. And I think I am fooling myself by thinking that this is a simple thing to do.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Just Playing Doctor

Well we made it through the holidays here at the Blair household, and now all I have to do is get the kids back in working order. We have had no schedule, no routine, no order for the past week, and boy, oh boy, is it beginning to take its toll on all. Yesterday, I had to threaten Madalyn's life for her to lie down in her bed and take a nap. It only took an hour and twenty minutes and eleven spankings for her to realize that I meant business. The jury is still out for today - we are only thirty minutes into it now.

On Thursday, we went and saw Alvin and the Chipmunks, which I enjoyed as much as the kids. I grew up watching them, and I remember watching the Christmas special every year. It was Madalyn's first trip to the movies, and she really did great. And that night, David went over to his friend's house to spend the night. I had a long conversation with David before leaving about using the manners - extra manners, better than usual manners - and being extra kind to his friend's little sister. I told him that she would want to play with them and for him to remember to be nice to her and include her. So, that evening, I called to check on how they were doing, how many times they had played the four wheeler game on the PlayStation, how many pieces of gum they had chewed for ten seconds then spit out and replaced. You know, the usual stuff six year old boys do. Apparently, the mom had just caught David and the sister in the Spider Man tent together. When she asked them what they were doing, the sister ran off and she said that David got embarrassed. Upon further investigation, the two confessed that they were playing doctor. I mean, I told the kid to be nice to the sister, but did he have to take it that far?

Thank God these are our friends. But, I was still absolutely mortified that my child was hiding in the tent with a little girl playing doctor. I asked him about it when he got home, and it went a little something like this:

"So, what were you doing in the tent?"

"Nothing. Really, nothing."

"Then why were you in the tent and not playing with your friend?"

"We were just playing, mom, seriously. We were just playing doctor. Just regular doctor."

Okay, I know I am old and far removed form my exploratory days of childhood. But could anyone explain the difference between regular doctor and irregular doctor? I mean, I think I just need a bit of clarification here.

Pray for me.

So then I had to go into my whole, "Your body is your body, and no one else has the right to touch you. And that applies to everyone else as well" bit. Blah blah blah blah blah. I hate these conversations. I don't know what I am going to do as these children get older and hormonal and really psycho. I only think they are crazy now. Just wait until they get some real hormones flowing through them. I need to change the subject before I vomit.

One more thing about David that is driving me up the wall these days is the crafting stage. I don't know what it is about crafts that has wet his whistle lately, but the boy wants to make things of paper, tape and string every second of the day. Crazy stuff. Like yesterday, he makes a necklace out of blue and red construction paper. He made like a little cross shaped thing and punched a hole in it and put some curling ribbon through it and calls it a necklace. I mean, I think I'll pull fifty-two leaves off the tree in the backyard, put it in a paper sack, and call it a million dollars. I am not trying to be ugly, but it is driving me crazy. He will come and get me and be looking for the strangest things. And the mess involved in being a one man crafting machine is unbelievable. Like for my Christmas gift, he made me a paper stocking. It was made of orange and blue construction paper that he cut out in the shape of a stocking, and then he punched holes around the edges and put string through the holes to hold it together. It was sweet, yes, but when I walked downstairs and saw the mess he had left behind, I wanted to wring his little neck. If you make someone a gift, shouldn't you clean the remnants up off the carpet?

I think the kids need to go back to school soon. At least then, David can get his crafting done there, and his teacher can clean up the freaking mess.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Madalyn's First Post

Though I have been the subject of many, I have never actually authored a blog post. My crazy mama is especially neurotic today. And I must admit I am a little mad at her. For some reason she says we have to take down all the fun Christmas stuff. I don't know what I will do now that I don't have any ornaments to pull off the trees or that cool little light up train thing that I broke last week. Anyway - here's a little about me:

1. I am high maintenance. I will admit it in a hurry. I can only drink juice out of a Take and Toss cup and milk only out of a regular sippy cup. Do not get this confused. Oh, and after you fix me both, because I never can really decide what I want, I will probably demand a cup of water - in a Take and Toss cup. Also, I will not sit in a tub with anything floating in the water. Whether it be a blade of grass, a bath toy, a hair off my own head, or a small piece of a leaf, I will scream at the top of my lungs and climb out of the tub. And when you get there to save me from all that floats in the water, I will be standing there, bare hiney and all, shivering to death. There's more, but my attention span is pretty short too.

2. I love my budder. He is the coolest person in the world. And everything he says and does is funny, unless, of course, he takes something from me or won't give me what I want or won't let me have my way. Then I just scream and if I do this long enough, he will eventually give me what I want. But no matter what, I have to give my budder a kiss and a hug before bed. Even if my face is still wet with tears from a recent squabble.

3. I don't really need any toys. I find other ways to entertain myself. That's why I am so distressed about the Christmas stuff coming down. But I will be creative and find other things to occupy my time. Like this past May when I found that green Sharpie (mom still doesn't know where it came from) and colored all over my legs and arms and the wall and some on the carpet. Then mama found me and I thought she would hit the roof she was so mad. But she never stays mad for long. If she did, she would always be mad at me. Oh, and just today I was playing with my ham and mustard sandwich in the bathroom sink. Did anybody know that when you put water on a sandwich it gets all mushy? Oh and the mustard makes everything around it yellow, not that I know my colors or anything.

4. I have just learned that if I look at mom or dad and tell them you love them - just out of the blue, for no reason - they just turn to putty in my hands. Or I can always bat my eyes a little if that doesn't work. I have them figured out. Especially Daddy.

5. I love pink. And sparkle. And Cinderella and princess. Anything girly-girly. Especially my new pink Mustang I got from Santa this year. Well, at first Santa brought me a little one-seater jeep, but it couldn't make it up the hill of the drive way. Daddy said I needed more horsepower. Luckily, daddy worked a deal with Toys R Us and they said they would exchange it out for a shiny new Mustang. I love it, mainly because my daddy has a real Mustang and mine is just like his - except the pink. A Mustang is the only car I recognize and point out on the street by name. I'll say, "Hook at that Mustang!" (that's how I say look - hook - and mama and daddy both will be disappointed when I start to say it right)

Well enough about me. My mom's trying to teach me some manners these days. It is so hard to remember it all. That reminds me - thank you to Ella for tagging me to do this post.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Sick and Tired

David is sick, and I am tired as we were up most of the night with a fever and sore throat. A visit to the doctor today proved Strep to be the culprit. The one advantage to Strep is that after a few doses of the antibiotic you usually feel much better. If only they had something I could take for exhaustion.

This is the same way we began our Christmas break last year. David was sick with Strep throat on the same exact date I think. And thankfully, the doctor went ahead and wrote a script for Madalyn too since it is so close to the holidays. At least we will have it on hand for her in case the fever strikes.

So to all my readers (my many, many readers), Merry Christmas! Hope everyone has a wonderful holiday and that Santa is good to us all!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Trip to the Galleria

There is nothing better than a trip to the Galleria with your two children to visit Santa and polish off the shopping list. We waited in line for a little over an hour to see the man in red and got a cute little picture. This year, they nixed the package I normally get - the 5x7 for $14.99. I know, I am cheap, but seriously, how many people in this world want a picture of my children with Santa? So I was disappointed that I had to spend more than fifteen bucks, but at least this year their Gammie and their Nana can both get one, too. And the kids had to relay their wishes to Santa. Madalyn's most important request has been consistent for about three weeks now. A big puppy dog. Not a real one, mind you. Because we know that is not going to happen. David's wishes change with the tides and the winds. He wants a PlayStation 2, some days a dirt bike, some days a gas-powered four wheeler, some days a laptop (my stars, the things these children ask for these days). And we have talked on multiple occasions about the fact that Santa knows what he needs, what would be the most fun and useful, etc. So, I was pleased to hear, after much thought and deliberation from David during the hour long wait that he finally decided to ask for the PlayStation. I wanted to shout to the roof tops, "Good thing, kiddos, because Santa is freaking finished! He ain't going back to Toys 'R Us another freaking time this year!" But I somehow refrained from any outbursts at the mall, and the children left quite pleased with their visit.

Trying to buy the father a Christmas present was quite a different experience all together. Basically, I picked out the gift so the tag might as well have my name on it, not the kids. Today was definitely a reminder of why I do not like to take David shopping with me anymore. If I had heard him sigh one more time I think I could have picked him up and thrown him clear to Arkansas. Thank God the shopping is through.

On a totally unrelated note, I have the biggest freaking zit on my chin that I think I have ever had in my acne-stricken existence. Hello - I am thirty-one years old and I still have this painful cystic acne from time to time. Don't get me wrong, I am a die-hard Proactiv fan. But every now and again, one of those persistent little bastards breaks through the front lines Proactiv has formed. I don't think this one will ever go away. I am trying every dermatological trick I know in hopes that it will at least be a little less red by our Christmas party on Saturday night. If only it were on my nose. Wouldn't that be festive?

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

9:04 AM

9:04 AM - the precise time when Madalyn tore the paper on one of her Christmas presents under the tree. Mind you, I just wrapped them last night and put them under the tree after the kids went to bed. And let's not leave out the fact that Madalyn did not wake up until 7:30 this morning. So, that left her approximately an hour and a half to notice the presents and tear the paper and have them put up in the top of my closet for the rest of the day. I will have to do some rewrapping on the one, and we will try it again tomorrow. And I told her that if she tore it again, they would be put up until Christmas morning.

Sometimes, I feel as though my efforts are in vain. Not one specific effort, but all of them. I bought her Disney Princess wrapping paper because I knew she would love it. That's where I went wrong. I should have bought her some plain brown craft paper and written her name in black Sharpie. Who am I kidding? She would have done the same thing.

Let's get this Christmas show on the road so my kids will leave me alone for a couple of days!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Somebody make me a double...

What a day, what a day, what a day!!! Two parties in one day is a bit much for anyone to handle. One at the preschool with eight two year olds eating cheetos and playing "Pin the Jesus on the Manger" (seriously - I wish I were joking). The other with eighteen first graders rotating between four different craft tables. Somehow, I got stuck on the most difficult table - probably because I am a novice at this, this being my eldest child. I was at the table making Christmas cards. Doesn't sound that involved, right? It wouldn't have been except these cards were made by either making a Santa out of a hand print or three reindeer faces made from thumbprints. Oh, did I mention the craft paint? Four different colors of it. Oh, and the little tiny reindeer noses and googly eyes we had to glue on one by one. Multiply that by eighteen, and I think you get a double shot of Captain Morgan (Private Stock, of course) mixed with a little Diet Coke. Hopefully I can hold off until eight tonight when the kids are safely tucked in. To be determined.

And I do have a little confession to make. Our preschool is a little - this may sound a little funny, seeing as it is a church and all, but - hyper-religious. We are not allowed to even mention anything secular about Christmas. No Santa, no Rudolph. You can do reindeer, because they are animals, but no reindeer with red noses. Seriously. We got this lenghty memo after Halloween this year and they went through each holiday one by one and explained specifically what is acceptable and what is not. For instance, Halloween. Spiders, cats, bats, and pumpkins are acceptable because they are made by God. But jackolanterns, ghosts, and witches are not. You get the drift. So at Christmas, they really try to emphasise the birth of Jesus, which I think is wonderful. Please do not get me wrong. But there is something that feels a little strange, and perhaps slightly sacrilegious to me about playing "Pin the Jesus on the Manger" and singing Happy Birthday to Jesus. It just feels weird to me. But they try to make it fun for the kids and still put the emphasis on Jesus. So - here's my confession -I was in charge of the cake. Just a simple sheet cake large enough to put the little plastic nativity scene on it. So, the assistant director came around passing out the little nativity figurines to each class and we got stuck with the clear one. It took five minutes for me to figure out who was who and where I should place them. And I thought the baby Jesus looked a little strange, but like I said, they were small and clear plastic, so they all looked a little weird. So I got them all on and we sang Happy Birthday to Jesus and I started to take all the figurines off the cake and realized the reason why baby Jesus looked so strange was because he was upside down. I had put poor little baby Jesus, peacefully asleep in the manger, face down in Classic White Pillsbury frosting. I am already a person with little faith in my personal salvation. I really didn't need the Jesus incident. I just thought for a split second that it would surely be a strike against me. But then I realized that it really didn't matter seeing as I was the only person in the room that realized he was upside down anyway. I feel certain at this juncture that the good Lord has forgiven me for much worse than that.

But you know, there is something about preschool moms that just scares me. I feel certain that they are hanging on my every word, waiting on me to say something that doesn't quite fit the "No Santas Allowed" preschool. Like today, me and two other moms were discussing our children and I said something like Madalyn is way more mischievous than David ever was. And then I said, "Don't get me wrong - David gets on my nerves..." And seriously, one of the moms gasped. Not a good gasp, but a mouth wide open gasp with her eyes about to pop out of her head. I wanted to tell her that I had pushed his practically nine pound body out of a rather small area of my anatomy and that gives me every right in the world to say that he gets on my nerves. But I opted not to go there in the midst of the b'day party for Jesus and redeemed myself by saying, "Well, he just talks so much." With this, she gave me the nod of approval. It just gripes me how condescending other moms can be sometimes. And I really try to be the most accepting person I can be to everyone because I cannot stand to feel judged by others. I never want someone else to feel judged by me. I mean, come on - I am a woman who likes a cocktail from time to time. And I have no problem with saying so. My kids get on my nerves, sometimes I yell at them, I don't go to church as much as I should, I don't volunteer as much as I could at my kid's school because I really don't want to be around those kids all the time, I don't kiss the rear ends of any other moms or my children's teachers. What you see is what you get with me. But every now and again, I will let my personal insecurities get the better of me and think that my personal success as a mom is dependant on how I compare to the other moms around me. And today was one of those trying days. But, I think I made it though another year of Christmas parties a wiser and better mom.

I certainly learned my lesson about craft time. Choose your craft table wisely.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Grandaddy's Shoes

My husband is a man of fairly small stature. He stands five foot, nine inches tall and weighs a mere 160 pounds. My hands are as big as his hands - literally. His "little" brother and sister are both taller than him and just all around built larger. But I guess he gets his build from his maternal grandmother, who has a petite frame. And his grandfather that just passed had a very small frame, too, even though they were not biologically related. You see, Scott's grandmother had been married before and with that husband had his mother and his aunt. Unfortunately, it was an extremely volatile and unhealthy marriage, and though it was not widely socially accepted at the time, she divorced the father of her children and went it alone. I can't imagine the stress of that experience in an age where divorced women were shunned by the church and the rest of society. Somehow, Scott's grandparent's were reconnected, because as we learned yesterday, they had known each other in school. He married her and adopted the two young girls and you would never know that they were not his.

Fast forward to this Thanksgiving Day when we were so glad grandaddy was feeling up to joining us for our meal. He had just started a new round of chemo, but was feeling good enough to come. When he came in, I hugged his neck and looked down at his shoes. They were surprisingly stylish and I had to tell him so. We got a good laugh about it and I mentioned that he dressed more stylish than his grandson. Scott really enjoyed his grandfather that day and they shot several games of pool together downstairs in our game room. They visited most of the afternoon, and we now know that it was the last visit we would have with him.

On Friday, we got the news early that morning about Scott's grandfather. He headed down to Millbrook to be with his family. At some point during the day, his grandmother called him into their bedroom and pulled out the shoes that grandaddy was wearing on Thanksgiving Day. His grandmother said that was the only time they had been worn. She wanted him to have them, mainly because of the memory we shared about them. But partly, too, I am sure, because Scott is the only one in the family built like his grandfather. He tried them on, and they fit perfectly. It really touched him, I know, and I don't know when he will be able to actually wear them. But when he does, I am sure he will fill them well.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Christmas With the Angels

Scott's grandfather passed away this morning after just a few months of battling lung cancer. He took a turn for the worst about a week and a half ago and was admitted to the hospital. He had lost a tremendous amount of weight due to the aggressive chemo treatments he had just started, and we really didn't know how much longer he could hold on. On Tuesday, he was able to go home and had the help of Hospice care. This morning, Scott's mom called to let us know he had passed.

It is still so scary to me - death. I don't have a good grasp on it; I don't have an understanding. Probably because I am so fortunate to have not experienced any great personal loss. My grandfather died shortly after my son was born, and that's the only death I have experienced. I know how it felt when my mother was diagnosed with "the biggest stage three cancer you can have without it being a stage four" (that's how the doctor explained its magnitude to us). I know that fear - the fear that she would suffer, the fear that I would lose her. But praise God, I have not felt the pain of the loss yet. All this being said, I can't imagine what Scott's grandmother is going through right now. They were married fifty-two years, I think. He had the most gentle spirit I had ever experienced. I never heard his voice raised at all, not even in excitement and certainly not in anger. He adored his wife, the way all women wish they could be adored. I don't know how she will get along without him. She is the one that needs constant prayer right now. Sure, the whole family hurts for the loss, but she will ache for the rest of her life.

I told David last week that his great-grandaddy was very sick. I told him that he would probably pass on to heaven soon and I didn't want him to be surprised when I told him the news. So, this morning, I told him that grandaddy had gone to heaven and that his daddy was a little sad because that was really his grandaddy. David was very quiet, and I could see his little brain trying to process is and understand it. So I said to him, trying to make it a positive thing, "Wow, he gets to spend Christmas in heaven." David looked at me with questions in his eyes. A couple of months ago we heard a sermon about what heaven is like, and David does not really like to go to Bible class, so he normally sits with us in the service. He talked about heaven a lot in the weeks after that sermon as though he had soaked in every word. He clearly understood what the pastor had talked about that Sunday. So I said to him, "Can you imagine what it would be like to have Christmas in heaven?" He responded, "But I don't know." I said to David, "Well, you know how great it is here during Christmas. Can you imagine how great it would be in heaven?" David smiled from ear to ear. And, so did I.

Christmas... in heaven. Surrounded by the presence of God. Surrounded with the angels in eternal praise of Jesus, our Saviour. The sounds, the sights, the experience. Certainly a better way to think about today's loss.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

What a day...

I just overheard my son telling my daughter that he hates her. What? He had no idea that I had heard him.

Here lately, I just really want to throw in the towel - drive away, change my name, and never look back. There are days like today that bring out those feelings. But it wouldn't be fair, it wouldn't be right, and it certainly isn't the kind of mother I really am. But the passing thought is there. I guess I am only human. I just hope I am really cut out for this, the whole motherhood thing. And I am really glad I had my tubes tied. I wish I were the kind of woman who could have seven and love each one with such passion and have unlimited patience. But I am not. Sometimes I can't even handle the two I have. I just hope they know I love them, and I hope that in the end they will turn out to be good people. Right now, it just seems crazy around here. I can't imagine what things will be like when they are teenagers.

Round Two

Well, round two with the cable people today. Basically, the first guy just didn't do it right the first time, which would have been easier on us all. What I failed to mention before about the new phone service is that our alarm was not working properly with it. So I had to call them back out to get that straightened out. And this morning, they came and stayed for over two hours. There is something to be said about how it feels to be trapped in your own home while strangers are there. With a toddler. Needless to say, I was so glad when they finally left and I feel as though I need to bum a sedative from someone. All that being said, our alarm is now communicating with our phone line, or vice versa. And the unsightly wires are now in the garage and I think everyone will be happier.

Yesterday, Scott was off work, and we had breakfast by ourselves and went out and found David a new bike. Last week, David took it upon himself to write Santa a list of all the things he wanted, most of which had already been purchased and some that were just completely out of the question but still dreams of his. But the one thing that we really hadn't thought about was a new bike. David had has his current bike for almost two years now, and he has completely outgrown it. We were trying to wait for his birthday in June, but when we saw it on his list, both of us were dying to buy one. Like I told Scott, being Santa is the one time of year you can spoil your children and not take the blame. I mean, it all came from Santa, right? So to Toys R Us we went and found the perfect one - orange and blue and flames to boot. He will absolutely love it, I am sure. And he rides his bike everyday. I have finally started allowing him to ride it down the street and he turns around and rides back to the house. I know the day is coming soon that he will ask to ride to some one's house or around the corner where I don't have a visual on him. He is growing up so fast. When we were looking at the bikes, we just kept saying that it looked too big for him but we knew it wasn't because it was the next size up. Anyway, Santa is broke and absolutely done with this household. And I feel it safe to say that we will have two very happy children on Christmas morning.

Other than that, not much else going on. I have been dealing with the daughter since about four this morning. She came and climbed in bed with me and not wanting to fight her, I let her stay. Between her hogging the bed and the husband snoring, I didn't get much sleep at all. And now she is crying in her bed trying to fight a nap she so desperately needs. I hope there is enough patience to last through the day today. Sometimes, I wonder.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Club Libby Lu

I always say, "I would never go back!" I have never really wanted to relive my childhood, mainly because of adolescence. But after attending a birthday party at Libby Lu yesterday, my opinion has changed. I would definitely go back, as long as I knew I could go to Libby Lu a few times a year! Where were these places when I was a child? The only kind of stinking birthday parties we got to go to were Chucky Cheese or skating parties. No one did stuff like this! And I certainly never had a party away from home. We never had the money to do anything like that. Come to think of it, my kids have never had a birthday party away from home either. But David did get to have a swim party this year, so that counts for something. I digress...

It was so much fun to watch little Madalyn's experience yesterday! There were ten girls at the party, so it took a while for them to get their hair done and their nails painted and their makeup on. Madalyn has never sat so still and so patient before. She sat on one of the stools and didn't say a word, and I kept going over to her and asking her if she was okay. She would just nod her head and say, "I want to sit in that chair." She was referring to the seat you sat in to get your hair done. So, first, she got her makeup done and her nails painted. She was so proud of her little finger nails and still is. I have caught her several times just looking at them. Then they sprayed almost an entire bottle of hairspray in her pitiful excuse for hair and twisted and turned it up and placed a tiara on her tiny little head. She really believed that she was Cinderella. If I could take her once a month, I would. She had so much fun, and then when she got to take a goody bag home filled with all these cute little things, I thought her head would pop right off with excitement.

I can remember as a little girl playing in my mom's closet. I would try on her shoes and get her purses out and pretend to be big. And my grandmother had this big makeup kit with the most horrible colors of eyeshadow you could ever imagine. You would wet the brush and put it on. And it had all these different shades of lipstick. My cousin and I would play for hours with the makeup and a box of old clothes she had in her closet. It is just something little girls love to do. And it was so funny yesterday to watch these little girls in age range from late twos to five all react the same way. It is just born in us. The same way that you don't have to show a little boy how to push a toy car or truck - they just know. We just know to close our eyes when someone is smearing blue eyeshadow across our eyelids.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

True Colors

My husband seems to think that I have neglected my second child. And, admittedly, I will say that, no, I have not taken up as much time with her as I did with David. I mean, hello! It was easier when it was just me and David. I would sit with him and read books to him and teach him things. By age two, he could sing the ABC song and knew his colors and could count to twenty and knew most of his shapes. But he also walked at nine months and could communicate very simply when he was just a year old. Basically, David was born running and just had, and still has, a zeal for learning. Madalyn is quite the opposite. And being the intuitive mother I am, I notice those differences and don't stress about it at all. For what Madalyn lacks in zeal for learning, she makes up in the art of manipulation and just plain common sense. She will be my child that struggles with school, not because she isn't able, but just because she could care less. She doesn't want to sit and read a book, but would rather hide out and plan her next attack on the pantry. These attack are daily, sometimes multiple times a day, and she will pull anything that she can climb onto and stand on in front of the pantry so that she can get what she wants. In fact, she has already done it once this morning and is probably as we speak plotting her next attempt. That's the tenacity that she exhibits. Not for learning, but for cunning.

All this being said, Madalyn does not know her colors. I mean, not at all. She just doesn't get the concept. And I could really care less. I mean, seriously, where in the book does it say children must know their colors before they turn three? Well, apparently Scott's edition of the book states it clearly. This tends to be the topic of discussion around our house at least once a week. Scott will tell me how I ought to be ashamed of myself that I haven't taught Madalyn her colors. And I will just laugh at him and tell him that it really doesn't matter. She will not enter the work force confusing red with green, of that I am certain.

Yesterday morning, I was in the bathroom getting my makeup on, and of course I had company, because there are no sacred places or moments when you have children. And Madalyn had something in her hand - I can't remember what - and I asked her what color it was.

"Green and whipe (replacing the t with a p)," she replies confidently.
I say, "No, baby girl, that's blue."
"No, mama. It's whipe."
"Okay, so what color is your shirt?" (Her shirt is red, and I am thinking surely she will get this one. She always recognizes red.)
"It's brownie."

Does anyone see my dilemma here? First of all, any time I try to teach her the colors, she freaking argues with me. So here I am, a thirty-one year old woman, arguing about the fact that something is blue and not whipe. Secondly, she actually believes that there is a color called brownie. Granted, she does have a little of me in her if she is confusing sweet treats with colors. But this is just a battle I think I will save for her preschool teacher.

On a totally different note, my son took his first shower this morning. This may sound odd to some, but for my child who was so totally petrified of getting a drop of water in his precious eyes from the time he was six months old, this is a big accomplishment. And it was all his idea. Just out of nowhere he asked to take a shower. Of course, he had to have a towel on the side of the tub so that he could wipe his face off, but it was a legitimate shower. He is just growing up all the sudden. His legs are almost as long as mine. It won't be long and he'll be as tall as me. Parenthood is so scary. Rewarding sometimes, frustrating at others, but scary always.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Merry Christmas To All!

Last night, I bit the bullet and bathed the kids early, dried their hair (a rarity for me), put on their Christmas pajamas, and snapped some photos in front of the tree for my cards this year. I was pleasantly surprised that they were excited about it. Madalyn exclaimed, "Yay!! I be nice to you mama and take de picture." And, as usual, Mr. Cool Daddy himself never has trouble posing for the camera. I only had to snap about ten and I got one that I think will look great! Phew. Mark that one thing off my list of 229 things to do in the next two weeks.

Now, on to current events. What is the deal with the crazies out there? I mean, I know they are out there living their crazy, chaotic lives. But why does crazy himself have to step into a department store full of innocent workers and shoppers during the Christmas season and open fire with an assault rifle? Oh, I am sorry - he lost his job at McDonald's and broke up with his girlfriend all in the same week. That's reason enough for anyone to go absolutely freaking bananas. Come on, folks out there who are not reading this blog. Let's pull ourselves together. Let's take care of our children and each other. Let's lend an ear when someone needs to talk. Let's offer support when it is due. And when someone shows you their new assault rifle they have just purchased, don't dismiss it. Perhaps take that as a clue that they may need some professional help and force them to find it. Because, this morning, in the news it was reported that he had shown his new rifle to the family he was staying with and they just dismissed it because the gun looked old and they assumed it did not work (true or not, I am not sure - but if it is true, this is quite disturbing). Are you freaking kidding me? If anyone showed me a rifle they had just purchased, unless they were an avid collector of some sort, and they had a troubled past like this kid's, I think I might take that as grounds for committal. Wouldn't you classify that as being a danger to yourself or others? I'm sorry. Normally I am quite sympathetic during these kinds of tragedies. And in a way, I am incredibly sympathetic - to those in this world who are suffering every day with mental illness and for one reason or another do not receive the help they need. Because, obviously, this kid was mentally ill. Obviously, he needed something along the way that he just didn't get. And I believe that we, as a society, need to start taking more responsibility for these people and paying attention to the little signs along the way that lead down this horrific path to violence.

I am just a little let down by the human race right now. It just seems we are all just spiraling down. My neighbor actually had her wallet stolen twice this week. Not once, but two separate times. The first time from her car (she guesses she accidentally left her doors unlocked) and the second from her own office where she works. In the second case, the man was actually caught and arrested. But still, what is the world coming to. I just have to keep reminding myself that this is nothing new - sin has existed long before I was thought of. But sometimes, the world just seems so saturated with evil that you just don't have much hope in mankind.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

The Cost of Being Cheap

It's no secret that we are broke right now. Two main factors make this a fact: the ever-changing economical environment's effect on the car business and the construction of our massive pool this past Spring. The economy is completely out of our hands, and you just sort of learn to accept that when you are in the car business. And the pool - oh yes, the pool that started out small and ended up the size of a small pond and double the price we originally wanted to spend. We do love the pool, especially when it is warm and you can actually swim in it instead of just fish millions upon millions of leaves out of it. We will certainly enjoy the pool for years and years to come. But had we have known just how bad this year would be, we certainly would have scaled back our plans and gone with something, well, a little less costly.

All that being said, I have been searching for ways to cut back the monthly expenses where I can. I shop the sales, especially the buy one get one free deals at Publix. And when a telemarketer called a few weeks ago and I actually decided to answer it and it was my beloved cable provider offering me an exceptional deal on phone service, I felt it was divine intervention. You see, I have been paying around $80 a month for local, unlimited long distance, and caller id. My cable company is giving me the low introductory rate of $14.95 for the first year. Who could resist?

So, this morning, my technician arrived at 10:00, well within his "from 8:00 am to 12:00 pm" window. This was impressive in and of itself. He began to work, and asked me to help him get the lights on properly down the stairs. He busied himself for about an hour and brought me the slip to sign verifying the work done. After he left, I went downstairs to turn off all the lights and see what damage had been done. And I always check to make sure all the doors are still locked. I am always afraid someone will unlock the door and plan to come back to do me ill will. Anyway - I was shocked and horrified at the sight he left behind. The picture below is what I saw. I don't know what I am supposed to do with all that crap. I am so disappointed. And I cannot believe that he didn't even ask me if I had a preference for where all this crap would go. I mean, I so obviously would not have chosen for this crap to just be sitting in the middle of the floor. My husband is going to freak when he sees this mess. I guess the old adage is true - you get what you pay for. That's what I get for fifteen bucks a month.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Just When You Think

Just when I thought my day couldn't possibly get any better, my soon to be three year old precious little girl looks at me and says:

"I don't like you."

Lord, give me strength.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Black Hole

I feel as though I have been sucked into a black hole or something. I haven't checked my email or blogger since Thursday and I just feel completely out of touch. Lost. Hope everyone is doing well.

I have just been so busy, like most American households I am sure, getting all the Christmas decorations put out. And, of course, vacuuming like everyday because there are little green fake tree needles all over the house. And the house has been in such disarray that I dedicated Friday to finishing the inside. Now I have to put boxes in the attic and pull my fantastically cheap lighted reindeer down and wrestle with them today. So that will be an adventure, I am sure. And wouldn't you know that the wind is whipping and the high is only supposed to be in the low fifties today. Great day to be putting Christmas stuff out in the yard, right? Yesterday, we did yard work. Like hours of yard work. I raked about a billion leaves and trimmed shrubs and cut some grass and it seemed like the fun would never stop. It can be enjoyable, yard work, especially when you step back at the end of the day and see how nice everything looks. But when you wake up the next morning and the wind has blown all night and now you have millions of leaves back in the yard, one thinks to them self, "Why in the hell did we do all that work?" But that's my husband's philosophy - if you keep up with it all along, it is less work to do. I say that if you just wait until all the leaves fall, it is still the same amount of work, it is just all in one day. But whatever. My husband is slightly anal-retentive about certain things. And I am about others. We just happen to not be anal-retentive about the same things. Which just makes our life more interesting.

My eldest brother stopped by last night with his new girlfriend. Now, let me start by saying that this is the brother that has been married three times. He seems to be fatally attracted to the same type of woman over and over and over again. Because in between the marriages, we have had the girlfriends that just didn't make it that long. And they have all seemed the same. One of my constant prayers is that he could find someone - a woman close to his age that is settled down that could be a good companion for him. No one wants to be alone. And my oldest brother certainly does not like to be alone. And this is the longest he has gone without being in some sort of relationship. I think it has been over a year now. You know what, I really like this one. She is unlike any woman he has ever introduced me to, which is refreshing to say the least. Very genuine, classy, a little reserved, but very easy to talk to. And she is his age, which is nothing short of a miracle. The last one he wanted me to meet was like 23. Seriously, he is 39. I kept trying to tell him that she was a child and he a grown man; that would never work. And, of course, it did not. But he was just pulling at straws. He has become so lonely for a partner that he was willing to try anyone who came his way that seemed like it might could possibly stick. So I will hold my breath on this one. Because I really like her. And now, instead of telling my brother not to get his hopes up, it will be my hopes I will try to keep in check.

Thursday, November 29, 2007


I have been fighting nausea for the past couple of days now. At first, I thought it was just all a part of my fibro crap because I get nauseated from time to time. But by Tuesday night, my stomach burned and was almost tender to the touch. I just feel soured. That is such a gross word. It is either what Madalyn had last week or a freaking stomach ulcer. I just feel absolutely blah. Blah, blah, blah. Of course, Scott doesn't even want to be in the same room with me. Funny, he shakes hands with dozens of people a day passing millions of germs by the minute, and he won't come within a ten foot radius of me when I am slightly ill.

This morning was an adventure. And, note to self for next year, I do not intend on taking both the children in for their flu shots at the same time again. This is David's first year to have one. Please do not call DHR. I have always kept David's other immunizations up to date, but I never really believed in the flu shot. Madalyn had one from the time she was able because of her nasty, germ infested brother coming home from school and breathing all over her. But this year, since David was hospitalized with that asthma flare up, he needed one. Since it was his first time, he had to have a booster thirty days after the original. Well, I didn't even tell him he would have to go back until last night. He absolutely freaked out when they gave him the first dose. I had to threaten calling his father if he didn't calm down. So last night, I broke the news. He was not pleased. But I told him that this time, Madalyn would have to get one too and I needed him to be brave for her. Well, that was an idea, but definitely not reality. He was okay until he saw the syringe. He wouldn't lay down on the table, he was crying, and the nurse and I both had to hold him down so she could give him the shot. I was so embarrassed. Of course Madalyn was fine until the actual stick. But once the tears started, I didn't think they would ever stop. Then I took them back to school for their teachers to deal with them. I cannot believe the flu shots had to interfere with my few hours off for the week. But it was definitely necessary. We got the flu last year, and I would be willing to do most anything to prevent that occurrence again.

But next year, I think I'll take them one at a time.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

But what does it do?

The common conversation around households everywhere, I am sure - Mom or Dad to little child, "Look at this. Isn't this cool?" Child's response, "Yes, but what does it do?" It doesn't matter if it is a perfect replica of the White House down to every doorknob and window pane, if it doesn't light up or make hideous noises, they don't believe it is of value. A couple of weeks ago, my mom and me and the kids made our annual trek to the Hallmark store to purchase ornaments. My mom has bought me a Winnie the Pooh Christmas ornament for I don't know how many years. And even though my adoration for the Pooh Bear is waning, I still look forward to the ornament each year as well as unpacking my entire collection. I guess it is just the little girl that still breathes somewhere deep inside me. So this year, David was having major decision issues. He really wanted the ornament that was a PlayStation controller mainly because that's what he really wants for Christmas. And that would have been perfect, but they were out of that one. Then he starts looking at all these crazy ones. One was an ESPN TV that played that goofy little tune when you pressed the button. How ridiculous, I thought, but how wonderful was David's response. I told him he ought to pick something that meant something, that signified a part of his life for that year. And then I showed him this adorable little golf cart ornament. You see, David played in his first golf tournament this past summer, and what better way to remember it by than with a Hallmark Keepsakes ornament (I can't believe I didn't get paid for that last statement). And his freaking response was, "But what does it do?" Are you kidding me? It is a Christmas ornament not an entertainment device. Is this how far we've come? Has it really come to this? So then I had to explain the purpose of an Ornament - to adorn the tree, not make noise and light up - and after about fifteen more minutes of his internal deliberation, he finally picked up the golf cart and sealed the deal.

It was brought back to my mind as this morning, I had to explain an age-old concept to Madalyn. You see, the power inexplicably went off. What made it so funny is that it went off midway of shutting the power operated garage door. So I had to get the step stool and manually pull it down. Of course little Madalyn was so confused. "What you doing, mama?" She has never really experienced the power being out, or at least has never been fully aware. And I knew there would be hell to pay when she discovered that she couldn't watch Dora. I had to go around from room to room showing Madalyn that nothing worked. Not the lights, not the fans, and certainly not the TV. And then, she looked at me with those big brown eyes, and I could tell she was thinking, "Well, what the heck am I supposed to do now?"

Being the great mom that I am (HA!) I reminded her of the big wagon of mega blocks in her brother's room. She quickly agreed that was a fantastic idea. So we dumped them all out and combined them with the set that she has and we built a house for Cinderella and had a big time. But it does make you realize how dependent we have gotten on all the electronic things. I admit that even I was a bit frustrated when the power went out. I couldn't vacuum, I couldn't wash clothes. You just feel a but helpless. Thank goodness it only happens every once in a while! So we made it through the outage in time for Diego. And that makes any two year old happier than you can imagine!

Monday, November 26, 2007

Still pooped!

We had a great time in Auburn this weekend! The only thing that would have made it any better is a pair of fifty yard line tickets. But we didn't have that, so watching on a TV beside a cozy fire was the next best thing. And we really enjoyed it. I must say that there was probably a record setting crowd this weekend. I have never seen that many people in one area before. I would dare say that there were just as many people there to go into the game as were there just to tailgate. Some good friends of ours were also there, so we walked back and forth between tailgates and walked all over the campus and watched all the crazy college kids. We had a great time. But of course, we came home completely exhausted. I had forgotten how loud hotels really are. On Friday evening, our neighbors decided to sit up and chit chat until three in the morning. I couldn't understand what they were saying, but I could hear their voices and I could not go to sleep to save my life. Surprisingly, Saturday night was relatively quiet with the exception of the phone call we had in the middle of the night looking for Rex. Needless to say, last night, when we laid down in our bed at 9:00, I passed out and didn't wake up until 7:00 this morning when Scott woke me up. I think I could have slept until noon.

So today, my house is in complete disarray as I am putting away the pumpkins and pulling out the Christmas decorations. I have already got the tree up downstairs. We have a bonus room in our basement and my husband has made it his Auburn room. So last year I bought a white tree with white lights and I decorate it all in orange and blue. Too much fun!! And today I am working upstairs getting everything out. And of course Madalyn has been right in the middle of it all. This will probably be her first year to really be excited about it all. Last year, she really still didn't quite understand what was going on. And I know that our days of David believing in Santa are waning. He really started asking questions last year - Is he real? How does he get to every body's house? Is that the real Santa at the mall? And I am determined not to tell him. I plan never to tell him that Santa is not real. My mom told me that Santa wasn't real when I was five. I can remember it like it was yesterday. I sat in her lap, looking at the Service Merchandise book, showing her all the things I wanted Santa to bring, and instead of telling me that even Santa would not bring me everything I wanted, she told me the cold, hard truth. She doesn't even know it, but I don't think I have ever forgiven her for that. How could you tell a five year old that Santa is not real? Why wouldn't you want to stretch my childhood out as far as you possibly could? But, for whatever reason, that is what she decided to do. And I don't really harbor any resentment for it, but it has definitely been one of those things that stuck in my mind and helped me be the parent I am. No matter how smart David is, no matter how mature or disciplined he can be, he is still in fact a mere child. with hopes and dreams and a huge imagination. And he still believes in Santa. And instead of telling him that we don't have the money to buy him everything he wants, I just tell him that Santa knows what he needs, what he wants, and what he can handle. And that no one can have everything they want at any point in their life - Christmas or otherwise. So this year, I am sure we will have even more in depth questions, and I will answer the best I can. But I will never come out and say those words. I just don't think I will ever be able to bring myself to say it.

Friday, November 23, 2007


I am just plain worn out. From the minute I woke up to the time Grey's came on last night, I ran like a mad dog. But you know, I definitely stopped for my favorite show. And I am most grateful for the fact that Thanksgiving is over, and I won't have to do it again for a whole year. Everything turned out great, and we had a big crowd. But I am always glad to see them go and change into my sweatpants and get everything put away and then sit down. It is rewarding but exhausting. And I do wish that I could do it for just my family one year. This all started for Scott's family, and I still invite my parents and my oldest brother because they live close enough to come. But it would be great to have just my family together at my house. Or to be able to go to my grandmother's house. Those are really my fondest childhood memories - times spent at my maternal grandmother's house. But I have traded off with Scott about the holidays - I do Thanksgiving here for his family, and every year, no matter what, as long as she is alive, I will be at my grandmother's house on Christmas Eve. That's a part of this wondrous thing called marriage. Give and take. Compromise. Fun, fun, fun!

So, yesterday, my oldest nephew came with my brother. The last time I saw him, he was not quite as tall as me. Now he is about two inches taller that me and will turn sixteen in a few weeks. Okay, first of all, am I really old enough to have a nephew that is sixteen? I remember when he was born. I was studying in the waiting room for my physical science exam. And it is almost like I blinked my eyes and now I have two kids of my own. It just seems so strange sometimes how my life has evolved. Sometimes it doesn't even seem like my own. I still feel like an awkward teenager inside sometimes, and I have to remind myself that I, indeed, am grown up. Anyway, I don't think I have the energy to get all deep and psychological today. I would really like to go and take a nap, but there is so much to do. Scott and I are supposed to be leaving tonight when he gets off work to go to Auburn for the weekend. We don't have tickets to the game; we are just going to be some of those crazy people who go just for the atmosphere. Actually, one of the managers at Scott's car lot has a son who played for Auburn several years ago. He and his family started a big tailgating tradition, and we went last year the Friday night before the game. Tons of food, tents, heaters, big screen TV, the works. And they are just really great people. So, somehow, we swung a babysitter, and I am really glad. I need to get out of this house and have a change in environment. I think we will have a good time, and hopefully we won't freeze to death!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Did you know?

Did you know that poison oak has this beautiful foliage in the fall? Doesn't seem quite right, does it? I didn't realize it myself until this year. It is amazing what one can learn when they slow down and pay attention to things. And it helps when your neighbor has an enormous growth of the pesky vine on a tree in his front yard. I have been watching it grow to mammoth proportions through the summer and was surprised to see it change to this beautiful color weeks ago. It was one of the natural ironies I thought I should share.

Anyway, you (whoever you are out there) won't be hearing anything from me for the next few days. I will be elbow deep in either vomit or turkey. Have a great holiday everyone!

The Importance of Vinyl Flooring in Our Modern Society

When Scott and I found our house, it was as near being complete as it could be without being so. The only thing that was not finished was the flooring. And we instantly fell in love. It had everything we needed, and most importantly, it could be finished and ready for us to move in in three weeks - the scheduled closing on our home in Montgomery. But we were disappointed when we found out that the builder had planned to put vinyl flooring in the kitchen and all the bathrooms. We really wanted tile, but changing the plans would cost us extra money and time, neither of which we had. So vinyl flooring it was, and still is today.

Not until this morning did I fully appreciate vinyl flooring. Its versatility, resilience, durability. Madalyn threw up all over the kitchen floor this morning. When I say all over, I mean all over. She emptied the contents of her stomach, which mainly consisted of strawberry milk and her own saliva. What an easy clean-up! Just a few paper towels - well, several paper towels - followed up by a cleaning with the Lysol Kitchen disinfecting spray, and voila! Good as new. No pesky grout lines for vomit to stick to and fester germs. May not be the best of quality, but it's definitely a good choice for young families with children who do not know yet how to hang their head over the toilet or trashcan to vomit.

In case any of my two readers has not noticed, Madalyn has impeccable timing for her illnesses. She always has. And she is one of those whiny sick kids who wants you to sit and hold her and be with her all the time. And that would be fine if I didn't have like twenty people coming here day after tomorrow. But I guess it will all work out. It always does. Now, I just have to pray that the entire house isn't hugging the toilet by week's end.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Cornbread and Laundry

The house is a bustle today with activity. I am getting ready for Thanksgiving in the midst of all the laundry that Monday always has to offer. I am already on my third load and I also have my third skillet of cornbread in the oven. I always prepare the cornbread on Monday so that it's out of the way. And tomorrow, Madalyn has her Thanksgiving Musical at her preschool. That should be interesting. She can be quite the entertainer in the privacy of our own home, but something tells me that when she sees all those people in the audience, she will completely shut down. One extreme or the other, though, guaranteed. David has his Thanksgiving lunch tomorrow, so Madalyn and I will get our dose of public school lunch food. Surprisingly, it wasn't that bad last year. The dressing was a little strange and runny, but the rest was quite good. Nothing like my feast however!

This will be the fifth year I have hosted Thanksgiving dinner at my house and done the bulk of the cooking. I do turkey, ham, green bean casserole, veggies, and dressing, of course. I don't do giblet gray, however, and never will. I don't boil turkey innards and do anything with them. Despite the fact that I will be completely worn out by the end of the week, I actually enjoy it all. There is something so satisfying about planning and preparing and pulling off a meal of that magnitude. Last year was a light crowd, but this year we will be at full capacity. Scott's grandfather is suffering from stage four lung cancer, and this may be his last Thanksgiving with us. Very sad, but it seems a bit ironic because he has battled emphysema for over a decade now. So, I am sure that this year will be a special one. And I think that's what satisfies me most. That for one day of the year, my house can be transformed into a place of love and laughter. And these are the memories my children and the rest of our family will have forever.

I'm a loser, baby

If you are looking for something a little less intimidating, try my blog! I am surprised it rated as highly as it did seeing as my reading level still remains somewhere around the fourth grade. Isn't that average for Alabama though?
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Thursday, November 15, 2007

Cha Ching

I just got back home from my first Christmas shopping experience of the season! Toy's R Us has some great prices right now, by the by, on all the necessities of the season for this household. I racked up today, seriously. And it was so much fun! I love Christmas!!!!! It's one of the very few times of the year that - the only time of the year - that I just get giddy with excitement. I have so much fun shopping for my kids, though they both need absolutely nothing at all and play with the same things all the time. I love to find something that I know will be a big hit because I can imagine their excitement and smile as they see it for the first time. See, I really do love my kids. Just don't like them all the time.

I had been holding out on shopping, but Thanksgiving is next week and then the major countdown starts. I don't mind scavenging around for adult gifts. You can always give a gift card if need be. But the kids are different. They are what Christmas is all about. And with only one retail toy store in the entire Birmingham metro area, I had to come off the cash before everything gets gone! Scott had given me some money about a month ago earmarking it specifically for Christmas. So that's all that sits in our poor excuse for a savings account. And now even less sits in it, but that's okay. I don't know what I would do if we weren't broke!

One good thing about this year: This will be the first year in about three years that I will not have to purchase a freaking Power Ranger toy of any kind. Perhaps we are finally outgrowing the Power Ranger era of our life? Praise the Lord!!!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007


I don't understand the attraction or fascination with marshmallows lately, but David has definitely gotten out of control. Monday they became a huge issue, as he wanted to "build a structure" (which seemed an odd wording for a six year old) with them. Apparently his class did an "experiment" (one of David's favorite words right now)with marshmallows last week. They were given ten marshmallows and toothpicks and were to build a structure. This is right up David's alley at the moment - he is all about discovery, especially science, and was so excited about his structure. So, yesterday, I opened David's backpack to get his folder and things out for homework and found a ziploc bag with a smooshed marshmallow/toothpick structure. I just left it in his backpack and tried to ignore it. Now, I know that children take an enormous amount of pride in things they have done, and I really try to respect that. But the amount of crap - for lack of a better term - that comes home from school is a bit ridiculous, and the majority of it ends up in the trash. The teachers send it home, I believe, so that they do not have to face the wrath of eighteen angry children in the classroom upon finding their precious creations in the trash. It would be a revolt! And I am sure that the teacher would not come out victorious. I just could not believe that these now hard marshmallows were sent home. Thank you, 1st grade teacher, for sparking an argument between me and my sassy six year old this morning. As if we need any help in that department.

This morning, as I opened his backpack and had my pretend discovery of said marshmallow whatever, I praised him for his efforts and expressed true admiration for his work. Followed quickly, of course, with, "You know we will have to throw this away." You would have thought I had cut off an appendage and tossed it in the trash. David has developed the most annoying whine since starting public school. I don't know if it is a part of the formal education or not, but if he received a grade on it, I am sure it would be an A+. And we can't forget about the huge attitude he has mainly toward me - his mother. I always try to explain things as best I can to David, despite the fact I want to just scream at him, "Because I said so and I am your mother!!" So I went into my spill about how marshmallows are made of sugar and that bugs are attracted to sugar and we just can't have that sort of thing sitting around in the house. I wanted to say, "You know, son, that's probably why your teacher sent it here. She doesn't want a family of roaches or ants infesting her classroom, same as I don't want them in my house. It's freaking gross." But I refrained from the latter and stuck to the purely logical explanation. And upon asking him if all of that made sense, he was forced to agree. But still the attitude. And then, in walks dad. "What's the deal? What's your problem, David?" So, we go over it and dad agrees with me. Luckily, when dad agrees with me, everything tends to go much smoother. I don't get that. Why does David think that I am a complete moron until his father agrees with me. Then I make perfect sense. I explained to him that it is simply unfair to me to get angry with me about things I can't control. I just can't wait until he's thirteen. I can't imagine what a joy it will be to have a conversation with him then if we are already having this much fun.

On a totally different note, I believe that Celine Dion is taking over the world. I don't know if anyone else has noticed this, so I thought I might put the warning out. She's everywhere. Every channel. Every meaningless show. And it has made me realize, though I never knew I had a formal opinion on Celine Dion, that I only like her when I cannot see her. The sight of her singing and moving in her robotic sort of way just makes me nauseated. But listening to her on the radio is perfectly acceptable.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Rise and Shine!

I had an interesting start to my morning today. Madalyn hopped in bed with us around 5:45 this morning toting along her blanket, piggy, and cup of morning strawberry milk. She cuddled up with me, as usual, and sucked down the entire cup of milk. And then, she began to cough. And cough, and cough, and cough. And then she gagged. I suppose she has inherited my hatred for vomiting because, somehow, she maintained composure and did not toss the cookies. Or, should I say milk? But then I could hear her holding back and gagging in her throat, and I knew that it was inevitable. So I made her sit up and I got a towel and told her that if she had anything in her mouth, she needed to spit it out. I was trying to prevent the vomit from ending up all over me. So she sat up and coughed some more, and out it came. All of it. All nine ounces of strawberry milk mixed with a lot of mucous. Beautiful way to start the day. And I know that my husband got incredibly irritated with me. He thought I was being a little rough on her. Perhaps I was. I had to get a little loud with her to make her sit up. She is so stubborn. I can't get her to blow her nose, so everything is just rolling down her throat and going to her stomach. And just the thought of that is enough to make me want to throw up.

I just feel like I am losing all control. I honestly feel like I am in a fog right now. I am in the midst of a "flare up" of my beloved fibromyalgia - a diagnosis that I received almost two years ago, and that I don't talk about that much at all. I first noticed that things were different after David was born. I just never felt like anything got back to normal. The pregnancy fatigue lingered, and at first I chalked it up to having a new baby. But after six or seven months, I knew something wasn't right. It took four years and many, many crazy tests to get to the bottom of things. And I wanted to resist a formal diagnosis of fibromyalgia. I wanted something that could be fixed. I wanted the doctor to give me the magic medication to make me feel good again. But that's not what I got. Not at all. And so I will live with this crazy disease for the rest of my life. And that's fine; I feel so relieved to know that whatever is going on inside my body is not causing any permanent damage to my organs or joints. But during times like these - when I haven't been taking care of myself, when I am feeling the most fatigued, when I am wanting to just lie in the bed all day - that I have no patience. And I always take it out on my children. And that is something I am definitely not proud of. And I am praying about it and searching my soul. Because I know that the patience is there. I know that God has given me everything I need. But during these times especially, I feel like I just can't tap into it. But I will get through this one. And I will feel better, and I know my kids love me despite my imperfections. At least, I hope they do!

Monday, November 12, 2007

My kids don't like to share...

So, I discovered this morning as I enjoyed the last few hours of my dear friends visit that my children do not like to share their crazy mama! On any given normal day off, the kids will wake up and watch cartoons and eventually eat some breakfast. We just relax and do nothing. Usually by lunch time, I have managed to look respectable and we may run out on an errand or go play outside. I am just not an entertaining type of mom. Never have been. So this morning was nothing new, except for Erika. The kids watched their cartoons, I actually made muffins - two different kinds, which is most impressive for me - and Erika and I, who were both feeling a little crappy, just sat on the couch and talked and drank our coffee and ate thirteen muffins. Perhaps thirteen is a bit of an exaggeration, but you get the gist. David became incredibly irritated with me just out of no where. He wanted to make something out of marshmallows and toothpicks and I just didn't think that a very good idea with a two year old around. Toothpicks and two year olds don't mix very well in my opinion. And he was bored, he said, and he sat at the kitchen table for thirty minutes with his head laid down and sighing and the works. And then he laid in the living room floor between me and Erika and hit his feet on the floor so jealous of the fact that I, for once in my poor pitiful existence, actually had another real live human adult with whom to hold conversation. I mean get over it, seriously. Come on, kiddos. I live for you both! I can't take a crap without one of you in the bathroom with me. I can't sit down for a minute without your needs and wants being shouted across the airwaves. I can't think about anything for the noise and the whining and Madalyn's infamous shriek. So for a day and a half I get crazy and decide to think about myself and now I believe the whole family unit is compromised. David is mad. Madalyn is exhausted. And I am sure that I owe my husband all kinds of sexual favors for bathing the children and attempting to keep them out of my hair yesterday. All that aside, I had a great weekend with my buddy and already can't wait to see her again!

Friday, November 9, 2007

My Best Friend

I have been busy the last two days doing laundry and mopping floors and running errands. In case anyone who actually does read this blog does not know it yet, my best friend Erika is flying in tonight and spending the weekend with me. And , of course, I have to have the house clean to further promote the mythical belief in the All-American Housewife that is able to maintain spotless floors and wrinkle free clothing. But the most important thing is that I not have anything else to do while she is here. So we can hang out and do what most friends get to do, face to face. Which is talk, laugh, eat, shop, drink coffee, etc. This may not sound like much to some, but for me it is a part of friendship I truly miss.

I remember when Erika left Alabama for the chance at love and marriage with Larry. I was hopeful and excited about her future, but I hated to see her go. I was in my first marriage at that time, and she was the only one in the world that knew as well as I did that it would not last. She was probably the only person that hoped we would divorce, that I would find a way to get away from him. He simply did not love me, and already in our very fresh marriage had done things that were not acceptable. And I remember the day shortly before she moved when I took her a gift - a memory box. I felt so empty as I drove home that day. I felt so alone and so uncertain of our future as friends. I mean moving that far away meant that we would rarely see each other and when you are so young you never know what the future holds. We had always said in our naivety that we would get married and live next door to each other. Didn't work out as planned, as so many things never do.

And ten years later after the move, we remain the best of friends. We have been through so much together, mainly over the phone. And it seems so strange to feel so close to someone that I never see. She is the one person that knows me beyond a doubt. We don't have to explain our comments to each other. We don't have to try. She is the closest thing I have to a sister. We are truly best friends. And I am so excited to hang out with her this weekend!

Thursday, November 8, 2007

In the Wee Small Hours

I woke to the sound of little feet around 1 am this morning. It was Madalyn, and when I picked her up, I could instantly feel she had fever. So we made our way to the kitchen and took a dose of Motrin and I then laid down with her in her bed. It's moments like these that are so sweet. The moments where she is my child, someone who needs me and wants me there. No yelling, no squealing. Just cuddling and digging her little feet into my legs. She can be so sweet. Of course no one likes to wake up in the middle of the night and deal with a sick child. But right now with Madalyn, I am open to any time with her that I can actually enjoy her. We laid there for probably an hour and she talked to me in the sweetest little whisper and showed me all her friends that sleep with her in the bed. And finally, when I could tell that her fever was starting to go down, I told her that I was going back to my bed. Of course she got up a few times to try to join me, but finally drifted back to sleep. She has become some a force to be reckoned with during the day that it was so nice to have such a positive moment with her at such an unlikely time.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Conversation with my husband...

"I mean, you know you have to keep your eyes on her and make sure she's not getting into something. Because you know she will, right? You know she'll get into something. I am counting on you to hold the fort down for thirty minutes."

"I understand."

"I just want to make sure that you understand that you have to pay attention to what she's doing. This is why I don't walk on the treadmill while she's awake anymore. Because I can't hear what she's doing."

"I understand, Tamara."

"Just making sure."

I am amazed to report that the house still stands.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

I need a break!

I just really need some time away from these children. More than a few hours. More than I have been getting. The days are getting longer and longer, and it's just me. There's no back-up, no second shift coming in to relieve me. It is me from 7:30 in the morning to 7:30 at night. I am just plain weary. Scott will be taking his first day off (other than Sunday) in about a month on tomorrow, so that will be nice not only to have some time with him that I need, but to have another parent around that can fetch things and answer screams from upstairs and calm siblings entangled in war. I hate feeling this way. I feel like I get to a point - so rundown, so aggravated, so insane - where I become this horrible mother. Right now, there's not much about them I enjoy. Even bedtime has become a way for Madalyn to terrorize me. I am in and out of that room fifteen times before she will go to sleep. Oh, and that's at naptime, too. Every few days or so, I will tell Scott to give her one of his "peptalks". It is amazing how much better she responds to him than to me. And what is up with that? How insulting is that? I mean, we shared a body. I housed her in my womb, very uncomfortably at times, and then pushed her out... I'll just stop there. Why will she not listen to me? Why have I not figured her out yet? What in the hell makes her tick?????

She has started laughing at me. And it just makes me angry. There are so many afternoons that I just have to walk out of the room because I am afraid of what I might do if I don't get away from her. I try to remind myself of the things I was taught in my childhood. Imagine me saying this in the best southern preacher voice I could possibly do: "The Lord will never give you more than you can handle." Well, I just have one question. Do you reckon even he might get someone confused for someone else every now and again? I mean, there are a whole lot of people in the world. Surely this child was meant for someone with much more patience, much more energy, much more creativity.

As I write, the children are above me, running from room to room, and Madalyn is screaming, "STOP!!!! STOP!!!" And David and screaming back, "Be quiet!!" And I am thinking I agree with David. Also, a fly is buzzing around my head and won't leave me alone. I don't know which is worse, honestly. There is hope however, because my dearest friend in the whole world is coming this weekend. And the brightest, most glorious part of that news is that my children will be going to spend the night away that Saturday evening. I plan to be very selfish this weekend. And I plan to inform my husband of that fact. He is just going to have to play mama for the weekend. Minus the crazy, of course.

Monday, November 5, 2007


Today is my first full day of not being "thirty" but "thirty-something". It's a very strange thing turning thirty-one. I don't know why it feels so much older than thirty, but it just does. Last year was almost a relief - I am finally leaving those wretched twenties and entering a new decade, more certain of who I am and what I want. But thirty-one just seems like another year older and much less monumental. But leave it to me, and I'll make thirty-one as monumental as I can!

I can remember watching a TV show called "Thirty Something" in my childhood, and then I used to watch its reruns on Lifetime all the time. Then, the show seemed like an imaginary world where adults had children and stressed about bills and worked through the difficulties of marriage. It was all foreign to me then. But now I find myself living in that world. I am thirty-something with all that comes along with this decade. The stress, oh, the stress of money and children and marriage. And this past year has definitely been full to the brink of all those stresses! But it has also granted me so many joys and so many blessings. And through it all, the one constant is my God. And I think the older I get, the more I realize just how solid and true the Lord is. He has carried me and my family through many trials and will continue to do so. Last year was full of adventure, and tomorrow holds even more in store for us I am sure. So here's to another year of laughter and tears, of joy and pain, of memories that will last a lifetime.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Just call me Grace

I just fell down the stairs. Don't be alarmed, if anyone is really reading this. I have done this about two or three times a year since we moved to a house with stairs. The first time I fell was when I was pregnant with Madalyn. Isn't that lovely? Just stepped wrong going down and down I went. You don't really think about it until it happens to you, but it is not that difficult to fall down stairs. I don't find any difficulty in doing it, that's for sure.

So today, I happened to be toting the vacuum cleaner in my left hand. I still can't tell you exactly how it happened, but there I went and I landed on my right side, like the ribcage area. And somehow hit my foot on the vacuum cleaner simultaneously. What skill and grace! As soon as I hit, I started crying. And then it went into one of those weepy cries. And the kids were just standing there looking at me. David kept asking what happened and I really couldn't get it out for all the weeping. And Madalyn just said, "You hurt you foot?" And they just watched over me as I cried and as soon as the tears subsided, they went about their business. It felt good to cry - not to fall, but to cry. Really cry. Just to get out some frustration and built up tension and worry that has seemed to consume me the past couple of weeks. I don't think you realize how bad you need a good cry until you have it. No matter what brings it on. But now I am exhausted and I think I will try to just lie down for a while and quiet my mind. If that is at all possible in a house with two kids and four TV's. On another day, I'll have to share my phone call I received last night from the credit card company. I had a good cry then, too. No wonder why I feel so exhausted.

Friday, November 2, 2007

"Canny, chwochwate, and loddypops!"

Those are the words of Madalyn, and I tried to be as phonetically accurate as I could be. Though I am sure my spell check will go crazy! That's what my little Cinderella got in her pumpkin on Halloween. At least after I convinced her that it was okay to get out there in the dark around boys and girls dressed in scary masks. Once she walked up to the first door and realized that they were giving out "canny", that was all she wrote! And David was in rare form. He woke up on a sugar high, I promise! His school, for some crazy reason, scheduled a field trip for that day to the Children's Theater. So he had twice the excitement pulsing through his veins for the day. I was sure that his head would pop right off or he would have to move his clip at school. I am happy to report that neither occurred.

We had a good time, as we went for the first year outside our neighborhood and trick or treated with friends this year. It is so strange now that David has begun to make his own friends. And I am especially glad that we get along great with his parents. Of course, would I really have allowed him to cultivate such a great friendship with a kid if I didn't like their parents? I think not. One of the advantages to having a young child - you can still control their life without them really realizing it. As usual, I always get a little blue around these types of "holidays". And I do use that term loosely with Halloween. I am always by myself with the kids. That is just the way it has always been. Scott is in the car business and that equals very long hours, especially at the end of the month when you are on the crunch to get as many cars out for the month as you can. He did make it there for the tricking and treating around eight, but there is always that time before he gets there that I look around and see all these families together and I just get a little frustrated. But what are we supposed to do? That is the life we have. And for the majority of the time, we do fine. But there are those times when I secretly wish that our lives were normal. That he just worked five days a week and got home by six every night. But if that were the case, I would probably not be able to stay at home with my children anymore. Everything's a trade-off, I always say. So I am better today after I vented all of my frustrations out on my dear friend's ears. And I just have to remind myself that even on its worst day, my life is truly wonderful!
And this is just a snapshot from yesterday. No, I did not allow my 2 year-old daughter to dress as a street walker for Halloween! I just let her do that in the privacy of our own home.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Sugar Day!

Today is probably one of the hardest days for me to endure. Halloween. I will be surrounded by endless numbers of confections of various kinds. Chocolate, sour, and sweet. For those of you that don't already know, I have a bit of a food issue. I am not only into spicy things, but I will also eat nearly anything with sugar listed as its primary ingredient. Yesterday was especially difficult as I spent the day mixing a batch of Boo Mix (Chex mix with candy corn and M&M's thrown in for good measure). As I filled goody bags, I nibbled on M&M's and pretzels. Quite a tasty combo, if you haven't already tried it. And that is pretty much all I ate the whole day. And I mean "whole day" in its literal sense. Every time I went through the kitchen or past the kitchen or around the kitchen, I had to stop for just a few. Thank God I have been blessed with a relatively high metabolism. I am fortunate to eat these vast quantities of food and not be obese... yet. I fear that my bad habits will soon catch up with me.
After David, I had no problem losing weight. In fact, I got very tiny - as tiny as I was in high school. But while pregnant with Madalyn, though I gained a very reasonable amount of weight, I feasted on powdered doughnuts, Little Debbie snack cakes, and other carbs of the like. And I am still carrying ten pounds from that pregnancy. And then add that five pounds that fluctuate back and forth. Well, you understand what I am saying. I just need to get my rear in gear and get back to a healthier lifestyle. And this is the hardest time of year to do that. It's Halloween, then Thanksgiving, and then Christmas. So, I will give it my best shot. On our local NBC news last Sunday evening, they did a segment about a book written by a lady here in Birmingham about the Bible and health and it's teachings on how we should eat and exercise. I am going to try to find out the title and author and give it a shot. That would be great reading. You can learn about the Bible and healthy living all in one shot.
But here's the good news for the day: The leaves are starting to turn and it is just beautiful. Not quite as pretty as last year because so many of the trees around here did an early shedding due to our severe drought conditions. This is by far my favorite time of year. I love to open the windows and have the fresh air fill the house. And it is definitely great to not have the air running - or running up the power bill - for a change.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007


I just saw an interview with one of the few survivors of the tragic fire in South Carolina. Seven young people lost. Six young survivors. And they are very young. Eighteen, nineteen and twenty... when you are that age, you believe yourself to be grown-up. But you aren't. You are still trying to figure it all out. Heck, at thirty I am still trying to figure it out, too. I don't remember his last name, but his first was Tripp. I don't think I have ever been moved like that before nor seen pure, raw grief displayed. He was poised and articulate, but he said he simply wanted to let the world know what kind of people those lost really were and honor them. Sometimes in tragedy we are forced to assume a much more mature role than we ever dreamed capable. Tripp lost his two best friends from grammar school along with his girlfriend he met on his first day of college classes. And he will live forever, I am sure, with horrific memories of that night. He will never be the same. He might rise above his grief and become someone far greater than he ever dreamed possible, but never the same.

And that's life. Ever changing, swiftly moving. Seems cruel sometimes that the world does not stop for your grief, your pain, your shame or guilt. I have never lost someone so dear to me. My grandfather died shortly after David was born, but it was his time to go. He was in his eighties and suffered a massive stroke. But what do you make of young death? How do you resolve that in your heart, in your mind? My only experience with young death was that of a childhood fixture in my life. He was not a friend, per say, but a constant in my life from the time I was seven, I think. We lived in the same neighborhood, went to the same school, our older brothers were friends and played sports together, and I had a never ending, heart breaking crush on him that lasted into my high school years. And then he was taken from the world tragically. And I know how that impacted me at the age of sixteen to have to face the fact that we will all surely die, this world is not permanent nor guaranteed. And it seemed so cruel at the time to watch life continue. I remember driving to the funeral and thinking how crazy it seemed that other people were still going on with things around me. Did they not know? But that's just the way life is. And there are millions of people grieving that like in the country today. Countless across the world. And it doesn't have to be about death. It's love lost through divorce, jobs lost, financial problems, the list could go on forever. I had the same feeling after my divorce. Shame, hurt, sadness like I had never experienced before. And everywhere I looked, life just kept going despite the fact I wanted it to stop so I could curl in a ball and cry myself to sleep. Those times, the tragedies of life, they shape us into who we are truly destined to be. They make us question life and ourselves. They make us question God. They test our souls and make us stronger. But they hurt. And the hurt never really goes away.

I cry as I write this, knowing that so many lives will never be the same from this one tragic house fire. So many young lives lost. For each is a family and a group of friends and teachers who have been touched by their young spirits. And it is nothing new. It happens all around us, everyday. Today, I pray for all those touched by this fire. But I also pray for those that are hurting who don't get the media coverage. For those suffering through the everyday tragedies of life.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Hot Stuff

If I didn't know any better, I would think that I am pregnant. I can't seem to get enough heat in my life right now! Jalapenos, hot wings - somebody help me! This is exactly what I did when I was pregnant with David. Anything spicy. The hotter, the better. Saturday night I made up some taco meat and made myself a huge taco salad and topped it off with some jalapenos, of course. Not quite as many as the Saturday before, though. Yesterday, I was starving for something spicy and melted some cheese on top of some tortilla chips and then added a few jalapenos to that. Then last night, we grilled some wings and I tossed mine with some hot sauce. My mouth is watering as we speak. Maybe I should call my OB and make sure they tied those tubes real tight while they were in there!

Also, I have just been so exhausted. I just think this is the long-term repercussions of my two prior pregnancies. You know, the children. They have just beat me down lately. I told Scott Saturday night that I could not remember a time when I felt more tired. I feel like all my efforts to try to hold on to some control of this household and these kids are failing. I am definitely in a mommy slump. I just look at my children and think, "What am I doing wrong?" They are great for everyone else. David has had all smiley faces in conduct this year. He has only had to "move his clip" twice as a warning. And Madalyn, well everyone adores her. I mean all she has to do is look at you with those big brown eyes and she has moved her way into your heart. And they are great kids, don't get me wrong. And I do love them dearly. But lately, it seems that every request, whether big or small, is being fought. It is the attitude, the disrespect from David. And Madalyn is just plain unenjoyable. She runs when I want to get her dressed, she screams when she doesn't get her way, she cries about everything, she climbs on top of chairs and gets in to things she shouldn't, she washes her hands fifty times a day and gets water all over the bathroom, and she refuses to toilet train. She has outsmarted me. I know it is just a part of raising kids, but I am so worn out right now. I need a fill up, you know. A recharging of the batteries. Good thing my bestest friend in the whole world is coming in a week in a half. And hopefully, I can pawn the kids off on an unsuspecting grandparent and I can enjoy a little quality friend time. And if that doesn't help, I'll stow away in her luggage and disappear.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Busy, busy!

We have been a little busy the last couple of days. And I must report that both the children are still alive. Madalyn and I went back to Belk on Thursday morning to buy the pajamas that we had to leave behind on Wednesday. When I opened up the back gate of my gas-guzzler, I was stunned to see that the stroller was not there. I started freaking out internally. But then I realized it was a sign - one of those signs that you really don't want to read. We were just going to have to do this walking. So I lovingly told my Madalyn what we were about to do - walk in the store, get the pajamas, hold the hand - and what would happen to her if she didn't mind. Yes, I agree in corporal punishment. Spare the rod, spoil the child. I needn't say more. And we made it. No fits, no running, no screaming, no tears (from either of us). I was so relieved. I think it helped that her brother, aka cohort, partner in crime was not with us.

On Thursday evening, we headed to the school cafeteria for the 1st grade production of The Share Bears. I didn't really believe that pajamas, a painted on nose, and construction paper ears would make anyone look like a bear. But when you get about 300 of them all together on risers, it was quite convincing. Teachers amaze me. They are true miracles of humanity. I cannot imagine a day in my life where I would have the mental capacity or the fortitude to be around that many children. Much less teach them a musical and have them all stand on risers and sing together. Amazing. And I owe them the world, because I got this incredible picture of my son dressed as a bear. It will be priceless one day - oh, the bribery that could take place with this picture once puberty strikes. I love it!

On Friday, Madalyn's preschool had their Fall Festival. They have various little games and each class travels the second floor of the church from room to room doing the activities and getting little toys and candy. Our class was in charge of the Treasure Chest game. Real difficult - reach in the chest full of toys hidden by styrofoam peanuts. At least one child from each class walked up to the chest and picked up one of the styrofoam peanuts and put it in their bag. Too funny. Then we had to explain that there were actually things in the chest more exciting than a piece of styrofoam. And then there was the one child in every group that had to dig and dig and dig and dig and dig and pull up every toy he touched only to put it back and pull another hoping to find the coolest twenty cent toy in the box. Children are incredible creatures. They are each so different yet so much alike. It was enjoyable watching each group come in and do their thing. The best part, however, was watching each class walk out the door leaving a trail of styrofoam behind them.