Tuesday, March 31, 2009

The Make-up Lady

I was having a rough sort of morning. Madalyn climbed into bed with me at about 4:50 am, and it took me a while to realize she was slightly damp (if you know what I mean). So, I had to get her up and make her go to the bathroom and change her. After that, I just let her climb back in bed with me. She sniffed and rolled around, and I coughed and listened to the distant thunder. I knew my eyes would not close again. I was already tired from nursing mine and Madalyn's colds for the past week. Now I would begin another day even more exhausted from lying awake thinking, "Is that thunder? I knew it was supposed to rain, but not in the morning. In the afternoon. No it can't be thunder. There it is again... it must be thunder." This conversation went on with myself for quite sometime until I convinced myself that, indeed, it was thunder. And, as usual, I was right. That's what's nice about arguing with yourself. You'll always be right no matter what conclusion you come to.

Anywho - finally put in a call to the pediatrician about Madalyn. Almost ten days with congestion and green gunky stuff in the eyes is long enough to wait to call the doctor. She has a pretty nasty sinus infection and the beginning stages of an ear infection. So now I get to convince her twice a day for the next ten days that she needs to take medicine that is supposed to taste like strawberry but really doesn't at all. I needed to run a couple of errands despite the chilly rain, one of which was to pay the Belk bill. We went in and browsed a little trying to get some Easter wardrobe ideas in my head. On the way out, I asked the Estee Lauder lady to take my bill for me. She didn't seem that thrilled to do it until after she had processed the transaction. She asked in her make-up lady voice, "We are in our giveaway right now.What kind of make-up do you use?"

I was so not in the mood for the make-up lady. Or the shoe lady or jewelry lady, for that matter. I was in no mood for any lady at all. And had I not felt so sleep deprived from the past several days, I might have snapped back a clever way to get out of what I knew she wanted to do. But I was not thinking on my toes at that point. Within seconds, I found myself sitting in the white pleather stool having my make-up removed on the left side of my face so she could match my shade. Lovely.

Of all the days for someone to convince me I need my shade matched she picks the day I have a monster zit coming up on my left side - right to the left of my chin. And it's the kind that hurts. It all happened so fast that I didn't even have time to suggest that she do the right side. I mean, why would you want to try to match the side that has a big red zit on it anyway? Not a true representation of my color - or, I guess I should say shade. As she is wiping away the old and making way for the new, she asks the other dreaded question, "What kind of skin care do you use?"

I mean, does she really want to know? Does she want me to spell it all out for he in all its insanity - "I use Neutrogena Blackhead Removing cleansing pads in the morning, followed with Garnier Nutrisse eye cream and Proactiv Repair lotion. In the evening, I cleanse with a gentle Neutrogena cleanser and follow with the afore mentioned eye cream and a Neutrogena Retinol Night Cream." In other words, "I don't use your fancy, wonderful smelling face cleansing line that costs three times as much as what I buy at Wally-World. Thanks for caring, though." There's just something about when someone asks you what kind of make-up or skin care you use. It either means that you look great and they want to try to duplicate it, or that you look tired and beat down by life and they know just the thing you need.

I know what I need - I need to stop having zits in my thirties, thank you. And I need a couple of days lying on the beach in the sun with no kids around. No kids - no one else's kid running around either. Peaceful sun soaking. With sunscreen, of course. That's nothing I am going to find in a little plastic container with a gold cap on it.

Anyway - the shade was matched. I am happy to report that in the newest line of foundation Estee Lauder has to offer - Nutritious 2 - I wear the shade Prudence. And I left the store with a ten day supply to try. My zit is still there, though, but it does look refreshed. I only hope, however, that those ten vitamins and minerals in the foundation meant to nourish the skin don't cause the zit to grow even more.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Boogers

Saturday turned out to be a lovely day around here. The sun finally showed its happy face, the temperature was delightful, and we enjoyed some time in the fresh air. While the kids were playing outside, I decided I would clean out the 52 Starburst wrappers that covered the floorboard in the backseat. I know - I probably should have demanded that my kids clean it up, but it was the youngest that was responsible, and it's just easier sometimes to do it myself. Save myself the battle.

I opened up the driver's side backseat door (David's side) and started cleaning up. Something caught my eye on the inside of the door. Something on the little armrest of the door where the window controls are located. Two little things - what was it? It looked familiar, but my brain couldn't quite process. That is until I picked it off with my finger and examined it more closely.

Two boogers.

I called David over to the vehicle, and asked, "Are these boogers?"

He just looked at me like, "Do I really have to answer that?!?" He knew that I knew. He knew that he was responsible. And I could tell he was trying to find a way to justify his actions.

I kindly explained that we don't put our boogers on the inside of the car. In fact, we don't put our boogers anywhere except in a tissue or, when we find ourselves in a pickle, in a piece of paper. I mean, I have found myself in a bind before without a tissue, and I will blow my nose into a piece of paper if need be. Of course, David wasn't blowing anything at all; he was picking. But the point remains true - we don't place boogers on any inanimate object and leave them there for someone else to find.

What was David's response? "I didn't know."

Well, you know what dear, sweet, precious child of mine? I never realized I would have to tell another human being that it's inappropriate to wipe your boogers on the inside of my car. That's just a conversation I've never rehearsed. But then again, motherhood is full of the unrehearsed and unexpected. And I am amazed at every turn and bump in the road.

Boogers. Boys are so gross.

Friday, March 27, 2009

The Master Bedroom

I love to clean. You wouldn't always know that by looking at my home, but there is nothing better to me than being in a freshly cleaned home. Picked up and vacuumed floors. A perfectly made bed. A bathroom mirror with no spots of tooth paste or splashes of water. And need I mention the toilet?? Oh, how I love a clean toilet - the seat and the base and behind smelling of bleach.

There is one area of the house that suffers greatly, however - the master bedroom. It always has. I have never felt as obligated to it mainly because it's such a private area. When visitors come, they rarely go into your master bedroom. We don't really hang out in there ourselves. We spend very little time in the room, and I give it very little attention while cleaning. And today, I set out to do it justice. I dusted, and I mean I dusted well. I dusted the lamp shade and pictures and candle holders and even the blades of the ceiling fan. Then I dusted the blinds and the the casing of the windows and the interior of the little arch at the top. I did the baseboards, and I even used the vacuum attachment to get that little space where the baseboard meets the carpet. I moved the little table beside my bed and vacuumed underneath it. I got all the little stuff that had accumulated underneath the bed. I did it right. I felt like the poor room deserved it. I had really deserted it for so long. All because it's an area that no one really sees but me.

If no one sees it, the mess may not really be there.

In the midst of my cleaning rampage, it hit me like a ton of bricks. I treat our master bedroom like I do my spirituality. Not working on some of the things I need to work on because no one really knows but me. Not devoting the time each day for simple maintenance. Waiting until things are so obviously filthy to get in there and do the work. Ignoring it. Putting it off.

I just need to take more time, not only for my bedroom, but for my heart. I need to be cleaning my heart daily, and I am ashamed to admit that I am not. I pray, and I pray often. I have a faith, but I am not sure it's as strong as I need it to be. I believe in the power of God, but I am not always ready and willing to accept it. I dwell a lot in past mistakes. I worry a lot (especially as of late) about tomorrow. And if I could just focus on what needs to be done today, each day, one little day at a time, I don't think I would feel nearly as overwhelmed by life sometimes.

So there's yet another thing to work on. Another area in which I need to grow. Seems like that list gets longer and longer by the minute. Not many things I have perfected yet in this life. Well, except I can definitely clean a toilet perfectly.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Two Post Day

Sorry to all of my two readers out there - it's a two post day!!

My sister-in-law shared this website with me. And I don't know if we are the only two people that have a warped sense of humor or not, but I have been rolling in the floor this morning looking at this stuff. It's all a riff on those motivational posters and other various merchandise we have all seen in a business or our local Office Max.

My favorite reads as follows:
Challenges - I expected times like this- but I never thought they'd be so bad, so long, and so frequent.

Oh, and there's one about government and a great one about blogging (ironically).

It's good stuff, so if you think you are even half as crazy as I am, you might want to check it out for a good laugh and a great resource for your next gag gift.

Blah, blah, blah

We have been battling a little cold around here the past few days - me and the baby girl. And like all moms, when my kids are sick, I wish I could take it out of them and put it into myself. But my reasons are different with Madalyn ; she is even more difficult than usual when she is sick. She is at her worst when she is on the verge of sickness - you know, doesn't have a fever but feels bad enough to be grumpy. And trust me when I say that Madalyn is grumpy every day of the week. So one can imagine what happens when you add in a little bit of a cold with stuffy nose and gunky eyes.

Crazy Mama has been ready and willing to cause bodily harm to her own flesh and blood.

I can't figure her out. I don't quite know where she comes from. Okay - I am a little dramatic and sassy at times, but not nearly to the extreme my dear little one is. Scott is high maintenance, but it's more like he prefers everyone else to do stuff for him instead of fooling with it himself. So, I guess if you put both those personalities together, multiply it times twelve, and add in a big brother who dotes over her incessantly, you would come up with our Madalyn. And I don't have a clue what to do with her still. She is four now, and I really don't have her figured out at all. By this age with David, I could reason with him. He minded for the most part. I knew what discipline strategies worked with him. But with the little princess of the house, it changes from day to day - heck, it changes from moment to moment.

My Madalyn is a sweet girl. She is not mean by nature nor would I call her bad. She simply refuses to give into the fact that she is not Queen Bee around here. And I refuse to allow her to step into the role. Therein lies our problem - a battle for control a thousand times her size. And there are days like yesterday when I want to jump in my car and drive until it runs out of gas and pretend that I have amnesia. Instead, I locked myself in the computer room downstairs and cooled off for a minute. Well - it took about fifteen minutes, and I still wasn't completely cooled off. But I was cooled down to the point where I knew it was safe to go out.

Anyway - I am happy to report that her symptoms are much better this morning. Her nose is less stuffy, and I didn't have to get a warm wet rag to clean off her eyes this morning. So Madalyn should return to her average high maintenance self instead of the over-the-top version I have been dealing with for the past few days.

Perhaps I won't have to lock myself in any rooms today.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Buh-Bye

Did a little Google search just now to find some new exercises to help get rid of my stubborn love handles. Who knew there were so many options?? Well, obviously I didn't as mine have continued to grow and grow and grow. Anywho - stumbled across this website.

Imagine - a whole website dedicated to saying goodbye to the love handle. Or, I should say, devoted to selling a book about how to get rid of your loves handles. And it can all be mine for the newly reduced price of $27. I think that's quite a deal considering it used to be $48. There's even a picture of one satisfied client. Her face was blurred, but that is just to protect her privacy. After seeing results like hers, I ordered two copies.

I should be good as new in no time.

My Little Man

The house is still quiet this morning. Both my little people are still asleep, and that's rare around here! This past week has been pretty active, though, and I think they are completely worn out. Time to get back to our regular schedule tomorrow.

On Saturday, we traveled to Cullman for a one day baseball tournament. We had to be there at 8:00 am for warm-up for our 9:00am game. That meant leaving the house at 6:30 am. I am not a morning person at all, and these early morning games make me question our decision to leave our city park league. But when I see our boys on the field and how well they work together, it's all worth it.

Our team had a great day. Our first game was against an eight-year-old team, and we clobbered them 20-7. The second game was against a seven-year-old team, and we took them 18-1 at the end of the fourth inning. Our last game was against another eight-year-old team, and they gave our boys a good hard fight. They beat us 24-18 after six long innings of back and forth. It was a great game, however, and it was amazing to see our little guys hang in there so strong after a long day of baseball. We were all proud of their performance overall as a team. Our coaches have been working with the boys about not giving up ,shaking off their mistakes, digging in their heels and playing tough even when the chips are against them. And Saturday was proof that they are starting to understand that. They are turning into athletes - little men on the baseball field - and are learning valuable lessons that will carry them through life.

David had a good day himself. He made some fantastic snags at first base. He had a great double play during the second or third game, fielding the ball and stepping on first for the out there, and then running the ball down to home plate and tagging the runner for the out at home. He has suddenly developed a drive and poise on the field that wasn't there before. A confidence. A hunger for the ball - moving to and charging for that ball as soon as the bat makes contact. And we praised him for his efforts on the field Saturday.

At the end of our long day, after they were both clean and Madalyn had already given in to the exhaustion, David and I were lying in my bedroom floor giving the family cat some much needed attention. We were recapping his day including the big hit he took in the head at first bas in our final game of the day. The biggest boy on this team of eight-year-olds was up to bat. He hit the ball to the left side of the field (I think to shortstop), and David took his position, one foot on the bag, glove up and ready to receive, and eyes fixated on his prize - the ball. I watched in horror as this boy - who was literally three or four inches taller than David - plowed into him at first base head on just as the ball arrived in David's glove. It knocked David down, and knocked the ball to the ground. David at first popped right up, looking for the ball. But within a split second, he realized he was dazed. I could tell from where I sat that he didn't know where he was. This kid was huge, and his shoulders hit David in the side of the head. It was like a football hit, but without the helmet or pads. And I was furious. Making the situation worse was the classless first base running coach on the opposing team who didn't even pause to check on David and was yelling for his runner to advance to second. As one could imagine, Crazy Mama got a little vocal at this point. I don't know if the coach heard me or not, but I let him know how I felt about his lack of concern for my son. You just don't send a runner when there's a player down or stunned on the field.

As we sat there petting Millie, David expressed his pleasure in himself for taking that hit and shaking it off. And that he did - he collected himself within seconds and got right back to his post. He said that was his favorite part of the day. I don't know how getting plowed down by a kid twenty pounds heavier than you could be your favorite part of the day, but whatever. He was proud of his reaction to the trauma, I guess. So I told him my favorite part of the day had nothing to do with baseball at all, and he was interested to hear it. My favorite part of the whole day occurred at 6:05. His room was still dark, and the sun outside was just beginning to show up for work. I turned on the light in the hall and climbed atop the little table beside the bed to peak over the rails of his bunk bed. I rubbed his little back and talked lightly to him the same way I have since he was born. I asked to see his eyes. I always ask to see his eyes in the morning if I'm trying to wake him; this is how I know he is actually listening to me and not still in some far away dream land. He opened his sleepy eyes, gave me a sleepy smile, and said the most precious words any Crazy Mama could hear - "I love you, mama."

When I told him that was my favorite part of the day, he just laughed. He doesn't understand, and I am not sure he ever will. Watching that precious baby boy grow up from a screaming colicky infant to a poised first baseman. Rubbing the back of a sleeping toddler to wake him from a late afternoon nap to rubbing the back of a big boy to wake him for a full day of baseball. The joy of being the mother to such a great kid. I try to tell him how special he is form time to time, and I know he thinks I am crazy when I say it. But I want to make sure he knows what a joy it is to watch him grow. There are many challenges in parenting, but there are many joys as well. And watching a little boy grow up - well, it's definitely a joy.

My little man.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Being Broke Is Not Becoming

This being broke thing is totally not attractive. Not only because I can't go shopping and buy clothes (which I never really did all that much anyway), but mostly because I have been eating NONE STOP for the past two weeks. Seriously. None stop.

Uncontrollable. Constant state of nervous hunger. Continuous surge of carbs needed to get me through the day. Then I have been washing it all down at the end of the day with a couple of cocktails. Not a good combo for the waistline. Or the hips and thighs.

I have struggled with my weight since adolescence. I actually weighed more at the age of thirteen than I do now. I wasn't obese, but I was just a little chubby. But I was incredibly sensitive about it, and incredibly insecure. I remember in the ninth grade a switch went off inside me and fifteen pounds just melted away. I don't remember changing anything; I just lost weight. And then the summer before my tenth grade year I had jaw surgery. I got really skinny from that, losing another twenty pounds in a month's time. I had never been skinny except when I was five. My surgeon wanted to continue seeing me until I had gained a certain amount of the weight back, but I don't think I ever reached his goal. I didn't want to gain weight - I felt great and thought I looked so much better. And that's when the battle began - the fight to stay skinny.

Up and down. Up and down. My weight has fluctuated vastly throughout my adult life. There are the obvious ups of pregnancy. Then there were the down times - when I divorced my first husband, after I had David and worked out like a machine every day. But right now, I am definitely on the upward end of my scale, and I really don't want to deal with it. I don't want to have to worry about what I eat. I would like to be able to eat as much Cinnamon Toast Crunch and drink as many margaritas as I damn well please. I do love to eat. Food is my friend when I am lonely, a shoulder to lean on when I am stressed, a happy balloon of celebration when things are going great. That's the toughest thing with food issues - food is everywhere and a necessary part of life. Finding the balance is difficult for me.

I am always struggling with balance issues. Eating too much, drinking too much, not exercising enough, not praying enough, doing too much for my kids, not doing enough with my kids - you get the drill. I am constantly battling to find the proper balance of just enough but not too much. All I need with no left overs. How do you find the balance?

Sometimes I wonder if I ever will find the balance in any area of my life. If I can't find the balance of daily caloric intake - if I can't control how much I eat in a day's time - then how in the world will I ever figure anything else out in life?? I mean something as simple as pushing back from the plate - why is it so difficult for me??

I'm starving right now. I think it might be a long weekend.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Not Normal

Has anyone seen this massive media blitz about the lions or tigers or whichever they are?? What is the deal with all these humans associating with wild animals lately? Now we see what happens to the liberal media when a Democrat is elected - they have no Republicans to pick on, and therefore turn to reporting about humans swimming with and hugging on lions. Anyway - am I the only person who finds this behavior odd? Granted, this comes from a woman who sponge bathed her dog yesterday. But he is a domestic dog, not a ravenous wolf. See the difference?

All I am saying is that you would think by now in our modern society we would have learned that animals - especially those that outweigh us and prefer to eat meat - should not be considered our friends. Respected and revered, maybe. Protected, definitely. But friends - absolutely not.

I was also disturbed as of late about a picture in the media of our President drinking a beer at an NBA basketball game. First, I want to know who paid for the tickets and the beer. Was that from his fortune made off his books, or was that from the money my husband paid into the tax system last year? Or, is that part of the stimulus package? Just wondering. But the biggest thing I have juggled in my mind is this - is it appropriate for the President of the United States to drink a beer in such a public forum? I just don't know. I think it goes without saying that I don't have a problem with anyone drinking a beer or two. It's not the beer that bothered me; it's the fact that the President has to be on his toes all the time, ready to press the button if need be. And I think it just sends this weird signal to foreign leaders (or perhaps terrorist leaders) that our President is incredibly relaxed and unworried. Not that he needs to be dressed in sack cloth and wailing in the streets, but this is a difficult and stressful economic time for many families. And we are also a country at war. How appropriate is it for the President to be sipping suds at a basketball game? Or to appear on the Tonight Show (as he is scheduled to do so tonight)? I just don't think that's normal presidential behavior.

It is also not normal for your daughter to not have a bowel movement for three days. I know I totally changed subject here, but it promises to be a major issue in my house today. I don't think she has gone since Sunday. She is not one who will just go anywhere, and I don't exactly blame her. We have battled this issue on and off for three years. She holds it, becomes increasingly miserable, I give her the true miracle of life (Miralax), and we wait for it to do its magic. So we are sorta trapped at the house until she goes. And that's just not normal - to plan your day around your daughter's pooping schedule (or lack thereof). Oh whatever.

I am still a little upset that the Pres didn't invite me to sit court side with him at the game. Or buy me a beer. But I'll get over it.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

The third one is the one...

I have often heard the phrase (and joke), "It's the third one that does you in." The third one... the exact one I didn't want to have around here, hence the drastic move to sterilize myself after the second. Everyone kept asking, "But how do you know you don't want another one??"

Because, my friends, it's the third one that does you in. Your stomach. Your hips. Your sanity.

So, I have two kids. And now I have a dog. I have spoken at great length here about my affection for the dog - the poor lost soul who needed a home and countless dollars worth of medical attention. And I have told Scott that Buddy is the third child for which I just didn't have the patience. A dog is much easier than a child in many ways. They are cheaper, or at least I think they are supposed to be. And one doesn't actually have to share their own body with a dog to obtain them. Major plus in my book. But I will admit that having Buddy around is more like having a third child than I dreamed possible.

Buddy spends the bulk of his time on top of the deck outside my kitchen window when I am the only one at home. I would like to think he wishes to be close to me. In fact, I believe that Buddy would be in my lap for the entire day if it were allowed. At night, when Scott and I sit outside in our swing, Buddy paces back and forth in front of us until Scott gets up to go inside for a moment. And as soon as the door closes behind Scott, Buddy quickly jumps up into the two-seater swing right beside me and lays his sweet Buddy head in my lap. Precious, isn't it?? Such a sweet little heart this dog has. And he has claimed me as his own. And I love him like the third child I never wanted.

Earlier today, as I fixed a plate of food for my lunch, I looked out the kitchen window, and there he was, lying under the window, napping. Ahhh, sweet dog. Sweet, sweet Buddy. He lifted that precious head he so often lays in my lap, and I notice he has something on his face - on either side of his mouth and down his neck. I ate my lunch and then went outside to see what he had gotten himself into. It was dry, a greyish-brown. Not only was it on either side of his head, but he had some on his back - two spots. I could tell he had been wallering in something. I'll stop myself here, because, to be quite honest, I am not quite sure that wallering is really a word. If this were a game of Scrabble, I would urge you to challenge me. But it's not, so we'll continue. But do note that waller or wallering is most definitely a real word in any good, Southern lady's vernacular.

As I stated, Buddy had obviously been wallering in something. Could it have been a toy left out in the mud and rain?? I didn't think so. Could it have been dirt?? I inspected the yard and didn't find any areas that seemed to be dug up or disturbed. And then it hit me. I was horrified.

Buddy had wallered in his own poop.

But, would Buddy really do that? I mean a dog smart enough to make it all the way across I-65 without dying - would he really waller in his own waste? I did the ole' smell check and instantly confirmed my biggest fear. Indeed, it was poop. And indeed, it was all over his sweet Buddy head that would not be lying itself in my lap until it didn't smell like a day old diaper. But I couldn't remember how long I had to wait after the neutering to bathe him. They had told me, but I just couldn't remember. Surely just a week, but the last thing I need is another trip to the darn vet due to a stupid bath. So I decided to do what anyone else would do - I sponge bathed him.

I filled a big plastic bowl with dog shampoo and water, found an old rag, and I carried outside to remove evidence of the horrible deed. All the while I am scolding Buddy for wallering in his own feces. How he isn't a nasty stray dog anymore with heart worms. How he needs to act like a dog with a good home and not smell like a poopy monster. As soon as the phrase poopy monster came out of my mouth, I stood there in disbelief. I was sponge bathing a freaking dog covered in his own feces and talking to him as though he were a person.

Unbelievable.

It's definitely the third one that does you in.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Peace

I find myself longing for it constantly - peace. Quiet. Nothingness. To no one's surprise, I very seldom have the opportunity to experience it. My few moments of peace are usually spent rushing to the store or shoveling lunch into my mouth or cleaning. So the peace becomes tainted and unenjoyable. Today promises peace in the physical sense. My kids are gone. So is my husband. The TV is off. All I hear is a happy little bird outside my window and the hum of my computer.

I constantly crave this kind of moment. One in which I can just sit down and take a breath. No requests or demands. I am the kind of person who enjoys a still moment. Some busy themselves constantly, fretting about back and forth in search of something to keep themselves busy. But I have always enjoyed a still quiet moment each day. As my life has progressed, I find those moments few and far between. When my children were of napping age, I often would retreat to my bedroom and sit on the bed for a few minutes while they were asleep. But Madalyn gave up her nap over a year ago. And there is absolutely no way she would ever allow me fifteen minutes of uninterrupted time while she is in the house. She is the busying type person, and she gets it honestly from her father. They want to be in constant motion, never really longing for a moment of reflection. And I believe this is why I find myself teetering on the edge of insanity at all times around here...

I feel the blue mood of depression trying to settle into my soul. I feel it this time. Sometimes depression sneaks up on me when I am least expecting it. I think I have battled with depression from a very young age - early adolescence. Maybe it's because I was a little chubby and not-so-cute in my early teens. Maybe from the moving from one state to another and feeling out of place. But maybe it is just a part of my makeup. A little blue thread in my DNA that will weave itself into every part of my life. I can feel it work its way through, in and out of fabric of my life. I think I have it under control, but I don't think it ever really goes away. My ability to keep it in perspective is what changes. That blue thread is always there, but I am constantly trying to keep it in its place.

The good news today is that spring is here! Spring is such an amazing thing. All the seasons are really. The past few days, I have watched little sprigs of grass emerge in the yard. One by tiny one. These little sprigs of green pop up amongst the dead dry grass of winter. I always forget how truly green grass really is. But after looking at the drab brown grass for months now, those tiny sprigs of green almost glow with color. And soon, the whole world will be green. Fresh. New. The miracle of Spring. Isn't it amazing that nature has no fear - though the mornings are still quite crisp and the threat of one final freeze is possible, the little sprigs of grass of the tiny budding leaves still emerge with no fear in their maker's infinite plan. How hopeful the spring really is. That no matter what the elements may seem around us, new parts can still emerge and thrive.

The green of spring will overtake the dead of winter. I think it just may overtake the little blue thread that threatens my soul as well. How can you not be hopeful when you watch the spring overtake the winter right outside your window?? All in God's plan. How anyone can deny that there is a God is beyond me. Though sometimes the circumstances of our very human existence seem hopeless, we can look at the master plan of nature where everything works as it is intended through every changing of the season.

Now I am off to enjoy some peace. And green.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Why??



I just wonder why Millie (the cat) has torn a hole in her bag of cat food and is eating out of the hole when all she has to do is eat it out of the bowl full of the same food.


What is that about? Is it more exciting to eat from the bag?? Or, is it like me eating cereal out of the box? I'm missing something here.


Cats are strange creatures.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Dirty Word

David has been in public school for three years now. Out there, all alone with the masses. Exposed to the elements I have protected him from for so long now. Every time he has uttered the phrase, "So-an-so said the s word today," I have shuttered, waiting for the word that would follow. But when I ask what that s word might be, his response has always been shut up. Until yesterday...

I have struggled with a potty mouth for most of my adult life. I don't know where I picked it up. My parents guarded their tongues well all during my childhood. And I can't even recall my older brothers using foul language around me. Still, when David became of speaking age, I struggled with my tongue. Struggled. And I still do from time to time, but I pride myself on the ability to hold it in front of my innocent little ones.

The conversation in the car last night on the way home from baseball practice is as follows (Mr. S is the teacher, and D-man is the bad classmate):
"Mr. S says s-h-i-t is a bad word." (He spelled it out for me so as not to actually say the bad word.)
"Why, yes, it is a bad word. An ugly word."
"Well, I didn't even know it was bad word. I didn't even know it was a word until D-man told me it. And I said it..."
"YOU said it, David??"
"Yeah, I said it. But I didn't know it was bad until Mr. S told us it was bad."

Okay - let me explain about D-man. He's the boy in David's class who has a Feelings Journal because he told a little girl in the class he wanted to kill her. He's the same little boy who stole David's watch out of his desk and then two days later showed the watch to David and told him he had found it in the hall. He is the boy who raised his voice to the teacher - a male teacher, for that matter. I am horrified by this child. Horrified. This kid is only in the 2nd grade and he has a Feelings Journal?? How about he needs something more than a notebook and a mechanical pencil. Maybe a father's hand to his behind (or his a-s-s, if you want to get dirty about it). I don't know what D-man's situation is, but I can almost promise he doesn't get much discipline at home. I felt kinda sorry for him until he stole my son's watch and then lied to him about it. Now I just think he's pure trouble.

So, last night, yet again, I am in deep conversation with my son about D-man. I am explaining for the fourth time in the past month that D-man is nothing but trouble and I would just stay away from him if I were David. I have explained that as he moves through life, there will be people who seem like your friend that aren't really. But that's a hard concept to grasp at seven - well, at any age really. I even went so far as to make a prediction for D-man; I told David to watch him as I felt he would most certainly serve some time in the big house by his mid-twenties. Mark my words.

David is still so innocent. I am not saying he is perfect, because he is not. But there is no evil intent behind anything he does. But he has been taught to have a conscience about things. When he does wrong, I have been there to teach and guide him. To punish and scold him when necessary. And the thought that there are children out there who have no guidance is so scary to me. They are the kids who sit beside David at school. They have no limits, no respect for authority, and little hope for the future. I guess as a parent all I can do is pray and teach and hold my breath. I just have to do my job and hope that there are enough parents out there who do their jobs, too. So my kid can have a few friends I trust. Hopefully. And maybe he'll make it through elementary school without learning the f word.

Doubtful.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

It's Been A While

It's been a while since I have done a grateful post. And I think today more than I ever I need to pause and appreciate the little things in my life.

I am grateful we received a paycheck yesterday. It wasn't all we needed, but it was something. And these days in the car business, and in many other businesses as well, something is much better than nothing at all. There were many people in my husband's company that didn't get a paycheck yesterday. There is something that most people don't understand about car men. They tend to get a bad reputation and are typically portrayed in a negative way. But what most don't see is the long hours - eleven and twelve hour days - they work. And not easy work; it may be easy on the hands but not on the mind. Talking to people all day, being lied to about income and job status, chasing down pay stubs and proof of residency, and sometimes even locating cars and playing repo-man. My husband does it all, and he takes such great pride in what he does. To put all that time and energy into your work and have the possibility of not receiving a paycheck at all - well, you can only imagine how that would feel. So I am beyond grateful that he got something yesterday. Not only for our financial well being, but for him. For his spirit. For the man who has to get up six days a week and keep on going no matter what.

I am grateful for my husband. I have really struggled with this one lately. I recently found myself in a bad place in my heart. I was holding such resentment toward my husband. He worked too much. He wasn't attentive enough. He didn't hug me enough. Blah, blah, blah. Basically, I harped on the little things that aggravated me, forgetting all the wonderful things about him. We have been through many rough times together. But each time, we emerge stronger than ever. More committed. And today I find myself grateful for a man in my life that is as committed to me and our family as I am to him. I am grateful for a man who is willing to work his fingers to the bone to provide for his family. I am thankful he is an honest man who wants to make his living with a clear conscience. I am grateful we have matured together and come to a place in our lives where we are beginning to understand together what really matters in life. Are there things I wish I could wave my twinkly magic wand over and make perfect?? Sure. But I love him anyway. And I can't find that darn wand anywhere...

I am so grateful for this place. This little bloggy place. Some days, I feel so guilty for sitting down at the keyboard for any amount of time. I look around me and see all the things that need to be done. I often times have Madalyn leaning on me or barking requests and demands at me. In other words, it is difficult for me to put those things to the side and unload. But I just have to. I need a place to dump my baggage now more than ever. Life is this big teeter-totter for me, and I am hanging on for dear life. Things are not dreadful - we are not losing our home, the power is still on, and we will eat all three meals a day every day. But this is a precarious time for us. A time to slow down and scale back. A time when many marriages fail and families fall apart. And I need this little bloggy place to counsel myself, to reflect on the daily funnies of life, to make fun of myself (or my husband and children), to rebuke myself, or to just unwind. And I am so grateful to have this place of my own... that I happen to share with anyone in the whole wide world that wants to read it. I guess I could have chosen a yellow legal pad as I did in high school, but that wouldn't be nearly as adventurous now would it??

One last thing - I am grateful I have my wits about me. This guy that killed so many in our quiet, fair state of Alabama yesterday could not have possibly had his wits about him. I just learned that he set a dog and his mother and her house on fire yesterday before beginning his rampage on so many innocent people. This isn't normal. This is not someone that has normal mental faculties. I am so grateful I have my wits about me, because the thought that the human brain can go so haywire as to allow this behavior to take place is just horrifying to me. Just had to comment on some current events and not just on myself so as not to seem narcissistic.

Bottom line is that I am grateful for the things I have to day, and not just for the tangible things. For the family my husband and I have built together, and for the things that really matter in our life.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Everything I ever needed to know...



...I learned from Buddy.


This post will put me on the high alert list for hopping in the loony bin, I am sure. Once again, Crazy Mama is posting about a dog. Not just any dog, mind you, but the dog her husband found on the interstate and took in (heart worms and all) and spent a small fortune on to make well. A small fortune we really didn't have to share with anyone, much less a dog. But we did it any way. This morning, he is at the vet draining more money from the account. But this time is elective and much needed - Buddy is being neutered today.


So last night, Scott and I were sitting outside in the back yard enjoying the beautiful spring-like temperatures. And Scott was indulging in one of his favorite evening snacks - boiled peanuts. It really is a common snack around here, and we have plenty left from my boiling adventure and put up for future snacking. As any dog would do, Buddy was sitting right at the feet of the eater with hopes of a stray peanut or shell to come his way. He kept inching closer and closer to Scott, and soon he was nearly sitting on the tops of Scott's feet. He was begging, and Scott and I both have been trying to work on Buddy's lack of social skills. We do a lot of entertaining, especially in the summer, and we don't want Buddy jumping and begging all summer long. So Scott took the paper towel he was holding in his hand and hit Buddy's face with it and told him to back off. His voice was stern, but he didn't hurt him. It was a paper towel - there was no way it could have caused him physical pain. Buddy acted as if he had been smacked - smacked hard. He cowered down, tucked his tail, and backed up some five feet.


Scott and I both wanted to cry. The dog was so upset by such a small gesture. When Scott reached out to him to help him know everything was alright, he just kept his tail tucked and head down and inched his way back. It just broke my heart. Someone, somewhere has mistreated this dog. How anyone could look at those big brown eyes and mistreat him I will never understand. He is so sweet and so gentle. And now he is left so tender that we can barely discipline him. But then it hit me - how many times have I done this to my kids? Too many to count.


Nearly every day, I lose my patience with my children. Lately it has been more often. I am ashamed to admit it, but it is true. I have allowed the stress of everyday life to effect my mood. All these little stresses (well, some of them are big) build up inside and eventually come out in some form. I yell. I get aggravated. I hold it all in in the hopes it will just fade away, when,in truth,all the frustrations lie and wait for a small perforation in the facade to appear in which they can burst through and rear their ugly heads. And every time I lash out toward my children, I am breaking small pieces of their spirit away.


When I saw Buddy cower the way he did last night, I had a flash of my kids cowering to me. And it broke my heart. This is definitely something I need to work on. Something to pray about. I have so many things to pray about these days. It seems the list grows longer and longer. So many friends in financial struggles. So many sad stories around these days. Just so much going on. And I take it all in and try to hold on to it. That's where my wrestling problem comes in. In stead of turning my fears and stress over to God, I hold on to them. Until I feel I could explode.


I don't want to take my adult stresses out on my innocent children. I don't want them to remember me as being an impatient, yelling lunatic Crazy Mama. I don't want them to tip toe around me. I should be as angry at myself as I am at that anonymous soul who has mistreated Buddy.


So I think I know now why Buddy is here. He reminds me each day of the tenderness needed in life. A tender balance between discipline and love. Care and protection. Unconditional love. Isn't unconditional love the most beautiful thing? And it is something best demonstrated on this earth by a dog. And I often forget it is the same love of a family. And the same love from God. And who knew I needed sweet Buddy to remind me of these obvious truths.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Weekend Report

For the record, I never got my Blizzard on Friday afternoon. The hubs made it home early, and we got busy packing the car for our trip. And we got in the bed early. But yesterday I got a Frosty from Wendy's. I wouldn't put it in the same class as the Blizzard, but it was so good and definitely hit the spot.

Our first tournament for the Spring didn't end as we would have hoped. But we had such a great time. Saturday we played two games and dominated both. I think the final score for the first game was 22 - 5, and then the second game was 17- 2. We were playing on these short little fields, and three of our boys hit it over the fence on Saturday. That's exciting for anyone to see - anyone, any age, hitting the ball over any length of fence. And the boys were pumped! They are so amazing on the field! David did really well overall the whole tournament with only two errors at first as best I can recall. And then yesterday we faced an eight year old team. You wouldn't think it would make that big of a difference - just one year of experience - but it does. On the field, they didn't look as sharp as our boys. They struggled fielding ground balls, and they never made any challenging plays. But our boys weren't hitting well yesterday, and there were so many easy outs made in the air. Oh well. The final score was 10 - 5, and five of their runs were brought in by an over the fence home runs. Our boys played their little hearts out and still hung in there with kids who were a whole foot taller than them. Seriously, these boys were so big. And the funny part was that David didn't even notice. He had no idea they were an older team.

All in all, we had such a great time. On Saturday night, we ordered pizza for everybody and had a surprise party for one of our little guys. The boys had so much fun. It's fun as a parent to sit back and watch your kid make memories. Last year, at the end of the season party, I told the boys to look around and know that some of these boys will be your best friends for life. They have no idea what I am talking about now, but it is true. A core group of them will stay together for years to come. Some will come and go, but I know a handful of these boys will play together for the next several years and develop close bonds that will last a lifetime. And we are getting to know the families so much better. This is just a really fun time, not only watching your little guy play baseball, but forming friendships and making memories of your own. Good times.

So, I'm a little sluggish this morning. The time differential didn't really matter until today. I think me and Madalyn both are having a hard time getting going today. Thank goodness nothing on my agenda requires much mental function - laundry and cleaning and playing with Buddy. Hmmmm... and maybe a little sit down and relax time on the couch. But don't tell my boss.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Pitty Party

I am having a pity party for myself this afternoon, and you're all invited!! Yipee!! What fun!!

I haven't had one in a while - a pity party, that is - so today is as good a day as any. I have just been wresting with God lately. Well, let me rephrase; I am constantly wrestling with God about something, and the current issue is worldly things. I don't know what else to entitle it besides worldly things. They are the things of this world of which I have little or no control (which would be nearly anything, I guess) and that have the potential to cause financial harm. Just all kind of little things. The pool. Unexpected little fees or charges or bills that pop up. And then also falling into the category of worldly things are the unsolicited projects my husband delegates to me.

I don't know which is worse - an unexpected bill or an unsolicited project from Scott? This week's project was boiling peanuts. May not sound like a big freaking deal to some, but do you know anyone who has actually boiled peanuts?? Neither do I. And now I know the reason. All the experts (in other words, the results of my Google search) say that it only takes about three hours to boil peanuts. I strongly disagree. It takes like all day. And it makes a big yucky mess. And it smells up your house if you choose to do it on the stove. If you choose to do it outside (cause see, I've tried it both ways in the past 24 hours), you'll go through an entire tank of propane. You see, Scott had the notion to try to boil peanuts this summer. My family loves some boiled peanuts, and what better snack can you find for beside the pool on a hot summer's day?? Anywho - somehow, the peanut boiling dream got moved up to this weekend. Seems Scott wanted to take a load of peanuts to our first ball tournament. Sounds great, doesn't it?

You know what sounds great to me?? Being the person in this house that gets to dream the stuff up and not actually have to fool with it. Unfortunately, that's not my plight in life. I am the one who gets to wrastle (not wrestle - wrastle) with peanuts for two days in a row. I am the one who won't enjoy a solitary peanut this weekend because I am so freaking sick of peanuts I could scream.

The other worldly issues are just money things. Little things. Little things that add up and make a difference in this frightening time. And my patience is running thin, not that it is ever all that thick anyway. And I am wrestling with God. I am pulling and tugging. I know I have to let go of the worry and utter frustration with life, but today is one of those days that I just don't know how to do it. I am up to my elbows in boiled peanut juice and a pool in the back yard with equipment on the fritz, and I just want to behave like a toddler. Kick and scream. The whole bit. I want to act like Madalyn gets to act all the time.

So today is my pity party day. In honor of the momentous occasion, I am going to take the kids to Dairy Queen and order myself the biggest Reese's peanut butter cup Blizzard on the face of the earth. Heck - I just may order two. Because I can think of nothing I would rather drown my sorrows in than a Blizzard.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Busy Week

Wow. This week has just flown by. I have been so busy, but as I look back over the week, I can't really tell you what I did. Just the day to day that has to be done. And the baseball practice. And the pool recovery project.

All good news this week, thank goodness. David had trip number two to the orthodontist for a second opinion with a different doctor. And thankfully, we got a totally different report. This guy said David's teeth look great - they are healthy and his bite is perfect. He really sees no need for intervention at this point. The baby teeth will come out and give more room for the teeth behind them. Those teeth may come in a little crazy, but he feels it better to let nature take its course and then deal with those results later. Amen. Hallelujah. I'll go with that diagnosis. And I am happy to report that this orthodontist gives orthodontists their good name back in my book. He was dressed respectfully, and he was great with David without once using the words homey or bro. I knew it was possible. But apparently fresh coffee and cookies are now status quo in the waiting area. So apologies to my mom and dad who obviously didn't get all their money's worth in refreshments back in my orthodontic hay day.

Buddy Love, the swelling of my heart, is now a free dog. Free to play and jump and run as any dog loves to do. And he is truly a joy. I think I need Buddy more than anything. He can't ask me for anything. He will never stomp away from me in anger muttering the words, "I don't like you." He is really overly excited to see me any time of the day. He wants to be close to me during the day, staying on the deck outside the kitchen. He'll lay and nap right in front of the window or the door depending on where I am. I try to get out there to play with him a couple times a day. He just loves life. Sooooo much. And that's what me and Scott need the most right now. Someone around here that just doesn't know any better than to just love everything about life. I know the kids are kinda that way, but they sure can be so unappreciative and difficult sometimes. Poor Buddy is just excited over a fresh bowl of water and a stinking soccer ball. He needs no thrills or spills. Just love and food. And he is so sweet and cute.

We are preparing for our first tournament of the Spring baseball season. And I am excited. Anyone who knows me knows I LOVE TO WATCH MY SON PLAY BASEBALL. Love it. We had a practice game last night, and David got his first double play on his own by catching a sweet line drive up the first baseline and whipping around a tagging first base as the runner had left to head toward second. Amazing. He has come so far from the gravely insecure boy who first stepped on a field two years ago. Now I feel David feels the most confident when he is on the ball field. He just fits there. He loves everything about the sport, and he genuinely wants to learn more and do better. Not to mention he is just an incredible kid. A little bratty and whiny from time to time, but a good kid all around. And I can't wait to watch him take the field this weekend and begin a new chapter in his life. We did a little travel in the fall, but the Spring is different and more competitive. So I am anxious to see how our team does. And you know I will be reporting on Monday. Just be glad you don't have to hear about it in person and pretend that you care. Hopefully, I will be bubbling over with excitement about how well we did.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Monday Ramblings

What a weekend. Severe thunderstorms and torrential downpours all through the day on Friday. Major pool fiasco on Saturday. Several inches of snow on Sunday. I am completely worn out. Well, I am completely worn out most days, so perhaps I should just say more worn out than normal.

I am happy to report that the pool looks fantastic and almost back to normal. Again, huge props to my neighbors (him for actually doing the tedious work and her for giving him up for three hours on a Saturday morning) for all their help. When the pool guy said the remaining water would absorb back in to the soil behind the walls, I doubted him a little. But the man knows what he's talking about!! We were excited to see flat pool walls yesterday despite the added precipitation.

About the snow - I am a southerner through and through. Last year's snow was exciting as it was the first snow either of my kids had ever experience. But there was no part of me that looked forward to it this year. I kept denying the possibility all week. But Saturday afternoon, I caved in and hit the grocery store to avoid having to make a snowy or icy trip. We also rented a couple of movies to occupy the kids a little while indoors. Madalyn found a movie based on the game Candy Land. I don't think I have talked about our household fascination with Candy Land. Santa was great enough to bring it to Madalyn, and we have played Candy Land a combined total of 4,893 times since then. No exaggeration. At first, I would play it with her like three times a day. It began to wear on me, though, and I started limiting my play to once a day. She would get angry and yell and scream and cry, but my patience couldn't take any more Candy Land. I had just had enough, and I really thought playing once a day was sufficient. Especially considering her daddy and brother would often play with her at night. Anywho - Madalyn finds this crazy weird movie based on her favorite game. I think she has watched it twenty times this weekend. Happy to report that the fascination with the movie has temporarily replaced the fascination with the game; I didn't have to play all weekend.

David rented a Sponge Bob movie. I mean, why would you rent Sponge Bob? He is on every second of every single day it seems. And it has got to be the most meaningless animated show for kids. Both my kids fall into this weird trance while watching, and the reality of the world fades away and all they can hear is his annoying laugh. I stopped one day to watch it with them just to see why they like it so much. I never could figure out what the attraction to the show was, but I did feel myself fall in to that same trance-like state. My mouth opened slightly as I sat and watched. It is just mindless. Mindless entertainment. Kinda like my reality TV. So I quit fretting about it so much, because I definitely understand my attraction to mindless entertainment. However, I still feel like there could be some sort of subliminal messaging going on in the background. I just hope it's not to kill your parents or mame animals in your home. I know there are no messages to be kind to your mom and eat all your veggies. Who knows.

So, it's Monday. Laundry. Cold day. Buddy is at the vet, so everyone can stay on their toes for a health update on him tomorrow. And I ate a ton of Doritos for lunch. I have got to start eating better. I don't think Doritos are giving me all the nutrition I need to make it through the day. But they do contain corn, so that's good.