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.