Monday, December 28, 2009

White Elephants and Black Ice Part 2

We walk down the pediatric unit and I hear our baby-faced nurse joke with a co-worker about leaving early. She must not have children. I tell myself because if she had children she would know that the only person in the world right now is my limp little boy who is still riding shotgun in his Daddy's arms, unable to walk on his own. I couldn't care less who is leaving early or why. All I want to know is that my son is going to be okay.

Once the nurse situates herself in a curtained off room, she asks us to place Grayson on the hospital bed. He is still so quiet. And extremely cooperative. Any other time, at any other doctor's office I would have paid one hundred dollars minimum for such cooperation but this time it is the most disconcerting thing. I want him to protest, to resist, to be him. I hold my breath while she speaks. "We need to take his vitals and then a doctor will be right in to examine him." I still don't sense urgency in her demeanor and this bothers me.

When I was twelve years old I flipped over a bicycle and wound up on my head. Within an hour I was in a hospital that I remained in for one week with a hairline fracture to my skull. According to my mom, it was pretty bad even though most of what I remember was awful Jello and a very upset little baby who was my "roommate" for the duration. If I fell from a bicycle and got a concussion my mind was reeling with what happened to Grayson falling from the height of his father's shoulders, with nothing to break his fall.

"He looks so pale," I whisper to the nurse so Grayson won't hear me. And then I notice him responding more slowly than usual. Typically, he has a gift for gab and words flow from him freely and amusingly. This moment, however, he can hardly string together a response when the nurse or his daddy ask him where it hurts. I am crumbling into pieces on the inside. On the outside I smile at my boy and rub his sweet little hairless leg that is peeking out from his gray playpants. His eyes seem stunned to me, like he's not sure if he is asleep or awake.

"Sometimes," the nurse speaks softly back to me, "after a trauma to the head, people will be be dazed for a little while. Then they return back to normal if there is no fracture." I like her more for her optimism. It seems that she believes Grayson just got his "bell rung" pretty badly. I exhale. A little.

The doctor comes in and very warmly greets Grayson without, again, much agitation or reaction from him. Still not taking my eyes off him for a second, I feel antsy as she examines him and listens to his heart. I want to scoop him into my arms and make this whole day go away.

"He is talking. He is responding. He looks really good to me," the doctor concludes after a few minutes interacting with her patient.

"But his color..." I start.
"We will keep him and watch him for a while to be sure he returns to himself. He sustained a significant fall but I have no reason to believe he has a skull fracture and don't really want to give him a CT scan at this time."

WHAT? No scan? How will we know for sure? Why not be safe and do a scan anyway?

"We now have more evidence of these types of scans causing more harm than good in young patients who have a growing and developing brain. If you feel he is still not himself in a while then we will reconsider. For now, I feel his vitals look really good."

The husband and I exchange parental looks that beg the doctor to treat our baby as if he is her own. She senses this because she adds, "I will be back in a few minutes to talk with him. The CT scan is right there (she motioned) so we can get him seen quickly." We agree it is worth the little bit of wait time.

Grayson's soft little body sits bewildered but still on the bed. He looks toward the TV and at Handy Manny but that's all. You see, he no longer likes Handy Manny and I know if he was feeling more like himself he would've asked for a different program, "a scary show, one with scary things in it, like mong'sters," so my heart still feels like it has weights in it. We are not out of the woods and my mommy brain throbs.

Just then an angel appears. Her name is Kelly and she has bubbles for Grayson. He perks right up and smiles that charming smile. He reaches out and pops every single bubble she blows with his little boy fingers while singing, "Bubbles!" I have to put my head down to hide the tears that threaten to burst through if I'm not stubborn enough. But I am. I couldn't have him see me cry because he is just "coming to" and I'll be damned to interrupt that!

"There's our son," I say out loud to her. "He's finally acting like himself!" I lament like we have been here in this nightmare moment for days. She nods toward me, winks and says, "They usually perk up with bubbles," and that is it for me. She doesn't have fancy tests or M.D. after her name or even a chart. I don't even know if she is a nurse or a social worker. I don't care what her title is because for us, she is more than that. She has bubbles, see-through, silly, beautifully round silent orbs of nothing for our son and that brought him back to life, back to us.

"Mommy? I want to go home now."
"Me too, Sweetheart. We will. Let's talk to the doctor one more time and then we can go home." I feel the weights lift from my pumping chest.

After another hour or so of examinations, making sure food and drink stay down, and playing with a faded beat-up magnetic turtle game, we are given the green light to go home. Two doctors had observed him and both felt Grayson showed no real sign of needing the scan at that time.

"But watch him for the next 24 hours," they warn unnecessarily. I do not peel my eyes from him for the rest of the day, even with a house filled with fun visitors and frolicking children. Grayson keeps up with the rest of them. His Daddy and me? We hug each other a little tighter between hors d'ouerves, kiss him a little more often after the huge family gift exchange, and feel luckier than anyone can imagine that we can attend our own party with our little boy who loves bubbles.

White Elephants and Black Ice

and where do I even begin?

Thank you, first of all, for coming back to this lonesome little blog. It's been a few days and hopefully you forgive me for not updating recently. We've been so fortunate to have lots of family in from out of town starting on Christmas day and the dust is just now settling from all the excitement. Hopefully things have been just as frenetic for you but in the best way.

So- let's just start with the insanity that was yesterday. In case it's not abundantly clear through the many pictures of various uncles, aunts, and grandparents on here, we have an extremely diverse family - this is to say we have an abundance of relationships with step parents, half siblings, step siblings, etc. - in fact, I think the best result of multiple divorces (on both sides) is the retaining of so many new family members.

Yesterday we got the step-siblings on my dad's side together for the first time in a long while. There are six of us together (10 when you count spouses) which makes for a super fun modern day Brady Bunch vibe, minus an Alice. The siblings reunited under one roof (this one) with children in tow. The children numbered seven with ages ranging between 12 and one. Once the festivities were underway, it was nothing shy of Disneyland. There was a flurry of commotion in every corner of the house, both inside and out. There was enough kiddie eye candy to spark interest (visitors) and possessiveness (home team) for hours on end. My husband outdid himself with the menu the night before so everyone was happily grazing while I was just as happily pouring the mommies glass after glass of white "grape juice." We were all happy, mellow, and sensory overloaded. Parties like this don't come around for me every day so I did what I could to not become catatonic. The wine helped.

Flashback to two hours prior to everyone arriving:

Husband, Grayson and Sadie set out for a walk. No sooner did they reach the end of the driveway did I hear a sound that no wife ever wants to hear. It was my husband's uneven voice, about an octave lower than normal, returning to the garage with three year old in his arms, saying, "Are you okay, Grayson? Grayson, are you okaayyy?". Not good. REALLY not good. My body opened the door before my brain registered what the hell was going on. I knew for sure I was going to look down and see the bloodied version of my little boy with perhaps a nose gone sideways or a Frankenstein eyebrow split wide open. What I saw was a dazed and confused face with barely a scratch. I couldn't understand why the husband was beside himself until I heard him say Grayson hit his head.

"It's okay," I reassured him. "He's conscious, he's talking, he's alert."
"No, Honey, he hit his head HARD on the driveway. From my shoulders. I slipped on ice and didn't break his fall. His head hit first."

The trembling transferred from my husband's body to my own and I levitated upstairs with a limp Grayson in my arms. I found my boots, threw them on in milliseconds and somehow managed to arrive back downstairs with Grayson still in my arms to announce we were on our way to the ER. Grayson was growing more and more dusky colored and less and less talkative. I have never been so scared in all my life.

Maybe seven minutes later we arrive at the ER and I drop off the still shaken husband and the now noodly toddler (who is becoming increasingly and alarmingly groggy) at the front entrance while I park in what felt like Arkansas. You never saw a chubby girl run so fast in all your life. In her pajamas. Clutching her son's little puffy jacket with her own bootstraps still untied.

When I met them at the front desk, Grayson's face had lost so much pinkness and gained a sickly sage that I put the fear of a panicked mother into the man at the front desk. We told him we had a sick child with a head injury. Then I leaned in to him and said, "He's not doing well right now, please get him back there quickly." That lovely register man picked up his magic phone and got a nurse to our side in seconds. She ushered us toward the pediatric unit....(to be continued tonight- gotta go serve a house full of family their dinner.)

**** cliffhanger spoiler (he's doing fine and we are not still in the hospital- Thank you God and Christmas Angels alike ******

Wednesday, December 23, 2009


Yikes, this can't be good.

Background Story:

2 o'clock in the afternoon on December 23rd.
Little Knight and Mommy sword fighting.
During battle, Little Knight bruises bananas out of Mommy's right thumb.
Mommy rushes toward him in mock attack.
To avoid Scary Is-She-Serious-or-Kidding-I'm-Only-Three-for-God's-Sakes-Mommy, Little Knight swerves hard to the right.
Mid-swerve, Little Knight's sword snags Christmas stocking.
Willow figurine loses footing and hits the deck.
Two heads pop off and roll in opposite directions like they split amicably, worked out custody, and had a beer together afterward to celebrate.
Little Knight stands breathless.
He thinks ScaryMommy is going to lose her mind.
To his surprise and happiment, ScaryMommy instead retrieves severed heads, briefly investigates crime scene and realizes it is much worse than she originally anticipated.

Plastic. Molded, cheap, fleshy colored plastic on the inside. The horror.

Such a disappointment. With a name like Willow Tree, you (yeah you Susan Lordi designer Lady) ought to be ashamed.

So we left the gruesome twosome and went upstairs to make chocolate chip cookies. Seemed like the only thing left to do. And we ate most of them. You know, to make the pictures in our mind go away.

Her (and My) First Pigtails

I'm sure you're fine but I totally can't deal.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The Christmas Spirit

Now before you think I am all saccharine-sweet on my husband, I will confess he barely has time to read this blog and doesn't know how often I talk about him on here. It's a little inside joke I have with myself. Also, shamefully, I am much nicer to him on here than in real life. Not sure what that's about but I'm looking into it. Anyway, on with my story for today.

So you know about the Snow of the Century and how it pretty much buried this area in heaps of white powdery snowdrifts for two days. What I didn't tell you is that my husband and our son spent a good part of their day off yesterday shoveling our neighbor's driveway and walk. We don't know anyone here yet. Wow, how embarrassing to admit but there it is. We haven't met too many of our neighbors save for one nice couple next door. He seems like a southern gentlemen who claims to be pushing 85 but acts like he's barely at 70. Really, he drives his "bride" (love that!) to the Pentagon every morning in his Chevy SUV and picks her up every night, like clockwork. Even though we just met them a couple of months ago, I'm guessing this tradition of theirs has been going on for years. We've never met the Mrs. From afar I can only surmise that she is his lovely southern counterpart. Together, I bet they can polish off some whiskey and beat the socks off most youngin's at Poker.

Yesterday we noticed this lovely couples' driveway was still not shoveled. So my hubby and our little helper son did the neighborly thing and shoveled their drive and walkway for them. It took him -- I mean them as little man G was taking his job very seriously -- three solid hours because both of them pay very close attention to detail. By the time they were finished, the black of the asphalt shown through like a cummerbund to a white tuxedo. In other words, they don't do shabby work.

When the husband and little helper son finally came inside, both had rosy cheeks and tousled damp hair. I offered warm drinks but was rejected twice as they stripped down to skivvies right there in the kitchen. Apparently the 68 degrees of our home was a shock to their almost frostbit bodies.

The husband and I later joked our neighbors probably went away on vacation and wouldn't even need their driveway for a week or so. Then we went on to have dinner and trip around each other like drunk sailors on a ship at the arctic seas.

About 8:30 our doorbell rang. Husband and little helper son were the first to the door. It was our southern gentleman neighbor. All I could hear was this:

"Thank you. I had to come over and thank you in person because.... (his voice trembled, then broke) .... in all my years of living that was...(he stopped again to gather his composure) the nicest thing anyone.... has ever.... done for me."

"No Sir, it was nothing, I just didn't want you out there shoveling by yourself. This snow was deep," my husband rattled off quicker than his usual Eeyore slowspeak.

"Well, I don't know how to express my thanks properly," our appreciative neighbor went on, "I just really (he turned sideways to hide his face from my husband and little boy) thank you from the bottom of my heart."

"You're very welcome, Sir. Please don't worry about it, it was nothing."

And that, my friends, ruined me for the night. I was a weepy mess of uselessness for the next hour or so. If there is one Achilles heal in my life, it is sweet little old little sweet little southernly men. My heart almost exploded out of my chest. I thought it was just me until my husband (who had busied himself abruptly with tidying things that were already tidy) glanced over at me with wet eyes and red nose.

Merry Christmas to us, Sir. We honestly don't know how to thank you either.

Monday, December 21, 2009


Shoveling driveways (and garages)

Seeing a blizzard for the first time from inside Daddy's flannel jacket

Taking tunnels back in to "get Mommy!"

Campfires in the backyard to warm up cold hands, big and small

(while roasting nothing in particular)

Not being in a hurry but running anyway

Getting lost in the drift (can you see the tip of his blue hat and red shovel?)

Having Daddy home for three straight days

Watching it all go down from the cozy insides of a warm home

Thank you, Snow of the Century 2009. We sure needed that.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Rumor Has it

Snow! And lots of it. So I'm off to do what the rest of the believe-the-hype people are doing today: stand in line at some overcrowded market for bread, milk, diapers, dog food and 14 days' worth of Gummy Bears. Hey, if I'm trapped at home with a pin ball toddler for a few days I'm going to need some ammo.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

A Treasure

I am one of those people who believes in signs. Not like signs from another planet because well, uber creepy and so very unwelcome here. I'm also not talking supernatural things although I'm sure there are people who could make an excellent case they exist (Mom!). What I'm talking about are personal signs letting me know I am on the right track, or simply where I'm supposed to be in my life.

These signs seem to visit, like an old boyfriend (damn you facebook), when I'm no longer looking for them. They can come in the form of finding a picture of someone in an old metal Sucret's box when you've given up hope of ever coming across it, or getting into a conversation with a stranger at a thrift store who helps you slow down by talking of her impatient wait for grandchildren because her oldest (of three) is now 34 and married. "It goes so fast," she says more to herself than to me.

"I know. I am you in just a few years," I tell her with my eyes but she doesn't hear me and she doesn't say goodbye. I busy myself with keys, children, receipt and walk away before she notices us again.

Maybe she was the real sign but I had a bonus one yesterday too. It also came from that same thrift store I took the kids to yesterday but came in the form of this gorgeous crimson handbag. I fell in love right there between the dust particles and snowglobes. There she was perched awkwardly next to some other pale and understated yayas when I spotted her. "You're here!" I whispered as we shuffled our way over to her highness.

Just so you know, she is every bit as delicious as she looks with enough room to fit all the essentials and perhaps a bag or two of fruit chews. Better still? Five dollars. Booyah.

Just the presence of this little beauty let me know I had come to the right place at the right time. May seem silly but it is exactly the thing I've been looking for lately and I'm almost never "looking" for anything in stores. Although I do like to shop for my kids, I am not a woman who spends her money on the newest fashion. Just one look into my closet and you'll see I really should devote more energy in that department. When I was younger, in fact, I often wondered if something was wrong with me because I did not follow, hell I didn't even recognize or appreciate trends. One could even say I had some sort of pervasive clothing disorder. I love clothes as much as the next girl, don't get me wrong. It's just that my definition of what's "in" or "hip" usually deviates from the norm. I'm going to assume it's because I grew up looking into my grandmother's closet and when I wasn't borrowing her stuff (for the record, she was the freaking Jackie O of fashion in her time) I was making off with my uncle's sweaters and turning them into sweater dresses with boots (probably also his-I had no shame). *funny aside- There was one time a bajillion years ago when my uncle had an interview and was frantically running around the house looking for something. "Where is my tie? Where is my yellow and blue diamond tie?" he asked everyone who crossed his path. I remembered "borrowing" this to put around my waist as a belt and returned it to him post haste. Moments later he couldn't find his other brown shoe. "Where the hell is my shoe? Did you take my effing shoe too, Honey?" I didn't. He found it under a stack of Playboys minutes later but you can understand his aggravation.

So yesterday's signs were doubled which has to mean I'm good until well after Christmas. Nice to have such an early Christmas gift and feel I'm still exactly where I'm supposed to be. Who am I to argue with this ruby starlet?

Wednesday, December 16, 2009


"...and many more."

Thursday's addendum:

A synopsis of Abby's first birthday:

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

I Think I Can (Get it? Train?)

I've been doing this all wrong.

By "this" I mean this mothering thing.

I've been trying to make everything ladeeda wonderful for the children ALL the time, thus sacrificing my own adult brain to one thousand times too many games of hide and seek or by torturing my adult ears with hours upon hours of the Max & Ruby soundtrack. While cute and charming rabbit figures, that Max never says more than one word over and over again in each episode and why the kripes would I want to relive that particular nightmare over again? I already raised a two year old. Let poor Ruby be damned to that monosyllabic fate.

All of this became abundantly clear to me while driving today. Just this once I refused to play a DVD (I know, so suburbia) for Grayson while we took a 15 minute drive to the pediatrician's office. I heard a song on that grabbed me and made me smile. Then it made me carseat dance. It was the first time I'd ever heard this song and then it hit me. It was the first time I'd ever heard that song and that song has probably been in rotation for months. Maybe even years. The plucky guitar and rhythm is very Jason Mraz but the voice is all Pat Monahan. At least I could place the voice. Thank you God for letting me place the voice.

You know how we all want to be perfectly wonderful at our jobs and perfectly amazing in all other endeavors? Well that's the whole problem. Or at least it is for me. I whole heartily believe you cannot be 100% in all aspects of your life. It's illogical and mathematically unsound. When you give 100% of yourself to something then that something has all of you and you are left with a steaming pile of resentment, exhaustion and bad hair.

We all know you must take time for yourself. I'm no idiot, even I knew that intellectually. My problem has been with the follow through. Practically speaking my follow through on making time for myself has suckity suck suck sucked. I pretend I make time for myself when I'm downstairs alone and folding laundry for maybe 46 seconds before someone needs a wipe or a time out. I act like it's "me" time when I park in the driveway and snarf down the rest of Grayson's chocolate milk so the plastic bottle can be dropped right into the recylcing bucket on the way inside our house. It's all a sham. I've been yanking my own chain. I'm fooling nobody but myself on this and even myself is catching on.

All it took was hearing Train belt out, "Hey soul sister, ain't that Mister Mister on the radio, stereo, the way you move ain't fair, you know," for the old me to bob my head around like a mama hen and twinkle my fingertips toward the sky like Mariah does when she hits the dolphin notes. I was me again. I was 18, 22, 32, and me again! All except I had two stole aways who were both stunned into silence while Mommy danced off the deep end for a few minutes.


I once had dreams for myself. I once had goals for these dreams. I even went as far as paying for time in a really nice recording studio (verses the makeshift free one I had use of over the years through a very dear friend) and taking these pictures (below) for my album's cover. Just writing those words down makes me laugh because they sound silly and ridiculous and so far away from who I am now.

This girl is still here. Her dreams never died. They are just hiding under a shitload of Legos and matchbox cars. But, aside from the really heavy eyemakeup and appled cheeks, that girl in the pictures is still me and those are still passionate seeds of fun I harbor when I pay attention to them. I bet some of you are suprised to hear this (could even be hearing this for the first time in fact) and that's the point of this post. I'm not going to go on pretending (to myself mostly) I don't matter. I do matter and this is who I am and what I love. Who gives a poop if my children have to put up with Mommy who isn't playing, interacting, or directing their lives every minute of the day and is instead laying down scratch vocals or fumbling around with her guitar? I think it's high time they got to know me, the person behind the mom.

I'm not saying I'm unhappy as a mom. No, quite the opposite. I love being a mom so much that I threw myself into it all the way and just now (three years later- whew- thick skull) realized I don't have me anymore. I have a whole lotta them and I love every second of it. I just know there has to be a compromise. I think listening to Train or Pink or Martin Sexton instead of letting the kids watch another cartoon on DVD is a great start. Who knows, they might even enjoy themselves and learn something along the way!

Monday, December 14, 2009

A Little Off

We have one of those digital scales that supposedly figures out BMI using just your bare sweaty little feet. Never one to fall prey for infomercially things, I've always been skeptical of our tattle tale scale but it has been pretty accurate through the years. Up until now. You see, there is a five to six pound variant...within our bathroom. Strangely enough, when you push the scale two and a half inches up away from the toilet, it reads a number that is "less" (let's just say less than what I'd like to see a year after eating burritos for 3 consecutive months- would've been nine months but all that vomiting and excessive nausea for the first six really threw my game). When you push it back two inches or more toward the can, it's more. And why the bathroom readings, you ask? Because the scale must be on a flat, hard surface and will not work on carpet. Needless to say, I will be pushing that bad boy away from the toilet (while at the same time stripping away carpeting and adding tile) all the way to the dressing rooms of Ann Taylor if this keeps up. Come on baby, Mommy needs a new pair of mediums.

Friday, December 11, 2009

For Her

My Abby
My Lovely
My Calamity Jane
My reason for wanting to dance in the rain.

You came to us 12 months ago now
with a couple of pushes and a

I held you all night
and then the next day
I shared you with Daddy
saw his wall fall away.

You brightened the moon
with your sweet silky hair
that matched your pink face
so flawless, so fair.

We brought you home
and things went to sh*t
You cried to the heavens
to put you back in-
this cruel world was not
swooshy, not cozy, not loud
enough for your liking
we considered a shroud:

"Is she mad?"
"Is she hungry?"
"Is she lonesome at night?"
"Here's a lovey, a boobie, a turtle night lite."
It was colic we found
~whatever that meant~
you liked rigorous rocking
like a freaking mosh pit.

A year later we're here
We're still taking you in
You're the one we soak up
like the sun on our skin.
Each time I hold you
I want seventeen more
Each time I kiss you
I fall through the floor.

Your brother, your hero,
the love in your eyes.
Your Daddy, your "Shoulder,"
his vociferous sighs.
And to think we once were
just a family of three
like no star on a tree.

And now we're all done
We're right angles,
We're squared.
We're exquisite with you,
Our little elfin fair-haired.

You're the one who crashes
face first into hearts
the one with no fear
the one who will start
from this birthday forward
to become and to be
the loveliest thing to
ever crash into me.

I love you, my beautiful Abigail.
Always and forever,
Your momma

Thursday, December 10, 2009

The UnPanic Room

So the other night we were having some "struggles" (understatement alert) with our night time routine. One of those evenings when something inside each child combusted simultaneously, causing each to burst at the seams with angst, tears, and an impressive amount of random movement and noise. It was loud. It was resistant. It was 7pm.

And because I'm such a giver, I "volunteered" to run their bath thus removing myself from the insanity while also probably saving our marriage (Mommy has a hard time using nice words after depleted from the day). Sometimes you have to be proactive (run like hell and close doors behind you) in important relationships. In other words, you have to know when to fold 'em.

As I ran their bath, I closed my eyes and drifted off into an Ally McBeal Fantasy. There I was at Chez Every Child Left Behind Spa and my (hot but not straight- I am tragically faithful) masseuse was moments away from knocking on the door with almond scented oils and hot towel in hand. I could smell his aftershave, the almond oil, and expensive linen. I could feel the warm towel on my back. I could hear Enya. It was glorious and sublime. It was moments from coming to an end so I did the only thing any sane person would do.

I climbed into the tub.

Imagine Abby and Grayson's surprise when they found a (completely covered in bubbles) mommy in their bubble bath.

Something tells me Grayson will be taking showers from this day forward.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

40 Seconds

An actual telephone conversation with my husband last night. Zero exaggeration.

Him: hey.
Me: hey.
Him: ts'up?
Me: couch is ready to be picked up.
Him: yeah?
Me: they close at 6.
Him packing his bag: on my way.
Me: thought so.
Him: bye.
Me: later.

Twenty-one words and one colloquial contraction hybrid later we have a new couch in our living room. I guess what's there to talk about, really?

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Tai Chi or Something

In keeping up with the de-stressing theme I've got going on this week I wanted to share something I saw. There is a little gray haired guy (who we have named Tai Chi Man) who takes daily walks around our neighborhood. We've named him Tai Chi Man because on these daily walks he practices some moves that look Tai Chi'ish to my husband and me. Whenever he rounds the corner, I usually watch him for a few minutes amused and curious, then am swept away again with whatever chaos is underway here. The other day, however, I decided to watch him more carefully. There he was, all 5 foot 5 inches of him, walking down our street while doing this martial artsy thing that captivated me. I'll describe as best I can here. If it's too vague without visuals, I'll add an addendum to this post later with Grayson (or Sadie, whoever looks cuter in a gee) as my supermodel:

Step 1: Clap hands together quickly (4 xs) in front of you (as if saying "all done!" or) as if brushing off dust from your fingertips.

Step 2: Stretching both arms wide at your sides, make a half-circle upward until they meet above your head, clasp hands together once.

Step 3: With hands still clasped, push arms down in front of your body while exhaling every so s-l-o-w-l-y. Release hands.

Step 4: Repeat until you feel awesome.

For some reason, this really works and I have adapted it to destress myself when I'm getting all worked up about clutter, messes, or the sheer volume of it all. There is a tendency for my shoulders to rise up during the day (until I'm wearing them as accessories to my face) which leaves my shoulder blades CEMENTED to the muscles they are hired to protect. This Tai Chi move works miracles on this cemented shoulderblade syndrome. I highly recommend it while out in public too. You can never be too interesting.

Monday, December 7, 2009


Marriage is hard.

Raising children is tough.

Not eating golden Oreos when they are in your pantry is damn near impossible.

The key to muddling through all of these daily challenges with my sense of sanity and humor still in tow is to stop and listen. I only feel better (about whatever is the matter du jour) when I'm not the one talking, venting, or lashing out at tangled Christmas tree lights (word, pjmom). Nope, the only way to make the uglies that surge within when I'm too tired, too hot, or just too human, is to not say what is on the tip of my sarcastic tongue and instead just listen. To those I love. Because when I really really listen this is what I get to hear:

Husband: Do you want me to pick up anything for you on my way home?

Grayson: Mommy, I dreamed of loving Christmas, Isabelle, and you and Daddy last night.

Husband: Sit down. I will do the dishes. You will feed me ice cream by the spoonful later.

A Shrieking Abby at 1am: (once picked up) smile *big baby sigh* smile, snuggle, snooze.

Husband: Leave this for later (hurricane of toys). Come sit with me downstairs. We'll neck. (really? neck?)

Husband: Singing (an epic rarity in this house) "All my single ladies, all my single ladies. Put your hands up..."

Grayson: I'm your special boy and you're my special mommy.

Abby: Uh ohhhhhh (and for the record - her first word!)

Nice Stranger at Craft Fair: Such well behaved little helpers out with Mommy today.

It's amazing what you "hear" when you're able to turn the volume down on the running conversation (or self-criticisms) in your own head.

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go turn cartwheels because both children are fast asleep and it's before midnight! For once there is the kind of quiet in this house that beckons tip toe-ing and well, probably necking.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

His Growl

Grayson: I have to show you something, Mommy.

Mommy: What is it?

Grayson: It's my graw, you have nt seen dis every day.

Mommy: Where is it?

Grayson: It's in my mouse (mouth). Here. I will show you. grawwWWW!

Ladies and Gentlemen, run for your lives.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

The Nonie

My mom is a very private person. She is outgoing and seemingly gregarious on the outside but on the inside she is shy and wanting to snuggle down in her bed with a good book and hot cup of decaf. I don't post about her here because she is so private and doesn't like the attention (or pictures of herself) but today I wanted to throw a quick thank you and "We love you" out to my mom; The Nonie. My kids don't call her grandma because that would be too simple and simple isn't complicated enough for this family and all its lovely family tree limbs. Nonie is a family name we chose based on the insanity that comes with the panic of the first grandchild and the fact that he was going to get to know exactly three grandmas (not to mention lots of grandpas, uncles and aunts too.) So we named her Nonie and that's what we call here around here. Well, that's what Grayson calls her and Abby just smiles and wrinkles her nose a lot.

After Thanksgiving, The Nonie came to stay with me, Grayson, Abby, and Sadie while my husband carried on his family's tradition of deer hunting at the cabin they've gone to over the years.

We had such a great time hanging out and coursing through the days together. She was a trooper with a capital T. She did so many dishes we ran out of (Costco sized) dish soap within a week. Our vacuum was broken so she vacuumed our entire house with a Dust Buster. Not an easy feat at 5 foot 10. She even cleaned the kitchen up (Abby's Picasso food smears underneath her highchair especially) while I bathed the kids or got them ready for bed. I would come back downstairs to a tidy living room, sparkling sink and a running dishwasher. Music to any mom's ears and enough domestic eye candy to make any tired parent weep. She was a huge help. And funny. Man, my mom is one funny bird. She cracks me up on the phone daily but what I'm missing is her physical humor. She is Lucille Ball with her self deprecations and subtle eyebrow lifts that tell me I'm OCD'ing again and maybe Grayson won't die if he watches 60 minutes of a Disney movie at 4 o'clock in the afternoon. He didn't die. In fact, he sat for the entire movie and walked away when it was over. He walked away willingly without me threatening to throw the television into a landfill. There wasn't one histrionic, one tantrum, one tear. He even joined us for dinner. As in sat down in his chair and waited for food. Food that he normally would catapult across the table or "hide" in Sadie's mouth. But for Nonie, he sits and eats like a big boy.

So needless to say when it was time to take Nonie home on Tuesday we were all a little bummed. She has her own family to care for and I'm sure they were ready to have her back at the helm. There are a lot of mouths to feed and plenty of (canine) Picasso food smears to speak of in her own home so it was time to let her go tend to her tribe. We'll let her go for now and hope she can come back again for another stay with us here....where the walls may cave in but the fun never ends.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Bird & Beer

What happens when you give your husband the camera to "snap a few shots at Thanksgiving."

And this is what happens when you ask him to "take a few with people in it."

At least there's a sword.