Monday, February 28, 2011

These Daffodils

I bought these daffodils to give away
Then kept them for my home
A selfish act, to hold them close,
not sharing when I should.

But all would not be sitting long
Vased up for eternity
This little yellow-haired girl climbed so high
to see what she could see

In due time, these daffodils
held together in her small fist
She loosened one to give to me...

...look what I could have missed?

Happy March 1st.
Buy some flowers.
And then keep them.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Screw You Keurig

Turns out coffee is very addictive, you guys. Not just a demure little habit to buy into because it looks super cute with a fringe scarf. It's pretty dangerous stuff. More insidious than Orbit gum and puppies even. It's actually really hard to stop. For me, I realized I had to stop. The day my Keurig machine froze up and I literally considered finding a babysitter at that moment so I could run out to replace the damn thing was when I knew I had larger fish to fry in my sad pond of hazelnut creamer than even I thought. Then there was the time I gave a full bodied girl scream when the UPS man rang my doorbell at 2pm....during a playdate. Yeah, that was another clue that I was a tad bit edgy. Edgy as a barbed wire fence on an electric slingshot. Mama needs less crack in her crockpot or someone is going to lose an eye during bath time.

Not one to relish the weaning process (two nursed babies and deflated tatas later - oh the memories) I chose to go cold turkey from all coffee on Friday. Let me tell you how glad you are you were not invited to that party. So much noise in my head my neighbors probably wondered when they should bust through the door with wooden crosses and police back up. The headache began at preschool pick-up. "I'm caffeine-free today," I shyly wince to a lady staring at me while I massage my temples like I'm caffeine-free and Amy Winehouse.

One hour later I get the kids home and diapered up for what I pray will be some miracle napping and I do it all with my eyes completely closed. Because any ray of light is an act of pure and vial hatred to my eyeballs and connecting neurons. Even my children's sweet laughter quickly becomes vacuum cleaner high carpet cycle to my ear canals and Abby's girly high pitched voice makes me hurry so fast to the underside of my own covers that I completely neglect to tuck her in. From my bedroom, I talk her through it with a loud whisper and lots of "Mommy is so proud of her big girl," until I can hear her switch on her own lullaby music since I forgot that too.

I had found my new low. And we were about to spoon.

While my blankets protect me from the sun and the sounds, nothing can protect my body from searching for the drug it always has and coming up empty. Frankly, it was more than a little pissed off about the whole setup. The process continues: search and no rescue, search and no rescue until my stomach churns with sickness and my skin prickles with chills and desperation. No coffee in those veins since Thursday night and someone is about to pay.

And pay I do with one wicked slamming headache and a residual up-chuck as my stomach attempts to gut itself in an effort to find more coffee beans.

Some time during this hell ride through self rehab, my children show up begging for something to eat. "I'm hungeeeee," says the little one.
"Abby's reaaaaaaaaalllly hungry," echoes the bigger one.
"We neeed snack," redemands Two.
"Grayson, please go get..." I say so hushed I'm quite sure I'm asleep, "please go get some Goldfish crackers and feed them to Abby. Mommy can't get up right now."

And they disappear down the hall and hopefully to the kitchen pantry. I wouldn't know because I pass out.

60 MINUTES LATER the kids are snuggled up next to me watching TV. Abby is on my left. She has a chocolate mustache. Grayson is flinging around one of my favorite bracelets with the arm of his Spiderman action hero on my right. My children have done God knows what for over an hour without me.

All because I believed kicking coffee in one day was going to be a walk in the park. I sincerely believed it was as simple as changing face soap. I knew my skin would itch or I would even break out for a day or so but overall a painless ordeal.

Not. Even. In. The. Slightest.

Next to my husband's deployment, this goes down as the second biggest Suckfest ever.

But. BUT???

It's almost over. I'm eating extra strength Tylenol like it's wheat germ and Kit Kats like they might have medicinal qualities richer than their point 7 grams of caffeine too. At least I haven't revved up that evil Keurig in 48 hours. And if I do? You can bet the farm it's going to be decaf tea because I never want to smell another medium dark roasted organically blended cinnamon infused with caramel or chocolate undertones coffee bean in this house ever again.

My throbbing head will remember what this anarchy feels like loooonnnngg after the memory of the last Chai latte K cup fades away.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Holy Wednesday Batman

Wow. Today was just one of those days that left me feeling stupid by the end of it. You know that jostled about and banged up feeling you sometimes (all the time) get at night? Well today I tapped out twice - once at 2pm and then again at 4pm and still the day stomped on my ribcage until I snorted for air.

Yes, there are lots of things happening and happening all at once (pardon the vague) but none of it is entirely insurmountable. Just stuff we'll figure out, get through, get past. You know, stuff that feels big and scary at first but loses its venom a few weeks later.

But today? I am an old tattered, shredded, gnawed on, wrinkly, chewed up bag of bacon strips left in the middle of the kitchen floor.

(Yes, Sadie still infiltrates the pantry when we leave her at home.)

I think the real issue here is why do I still buy the bacon strips?

Tuesday, February 22, 2011


"The GPS says take a left at the blue mailbox."

"K, we're here already. President's Day, no traffic."

Monday, February 21, 2011


With my Ninjas (Nam, Pop) and very good friend, Marni, in town this weekend, I had a chance to be child-free. And you know what? I didn't forget how to do it. Oh, at first I stuttered. I ran around shoving clean clothes into drawers because my kids were otherwise loved and entertained (read: not in me bum). Then, I even gutted my closet in the name of finding something cute to wear. Marni just patiently waited for the latte to soften its grip while she silently held kitchen bags open for donate-able items.

Finally, we spritzed ourselves with hair gloss, then perfume and were on our way to Old Town, Alexandria. Haven't been there in years and let me say it has not lost its charm in the least. Would've preferred a little less crazy wind and a lot more loose knit jacket but I only have my vanity to blame for the latter. Black anorak Alaskan gear just didn't feel right for a day on cobblestone. I'm not sure blue lips was the answer either.

First stop was lunch. We went to Ireland. Or a little Irish pub that served crab cakes and bacon burgers, same difference. We intensely hashed over problems already hashed over on the car ride down. She let me over analyze my child rearing and I let her order a condiment-free, "on the side" meal so not even the salt granules rubbed shoulders. She and Grayson have that in common. We giggled about the underclassmen perpetuating the Irish bar stereotype. There was one who had Heath Ledger hair and an Italian profile. Another reminded us both of the B characters in Good Will Hunting who probably had one pint too many by noon. He had some volume going and his friends were already lifting their chins in that subconscious push to hush their boy.

Check please! Next stop, off to shop. There was a consignment shop where I tried on two dresses and bought two dresses - score! There was a pet store where I fell in love with a blaze orange Wacky Walker dogleash that is pretty much a bungee cord with a clip. Right. A big day-glo orange bungee cord dogleash and I had to have it (by the way...a-MAY-zing!). Next we walked through a fancy schmancy childrens' boutique where Marni fell in love with a darling bohemian girl (Abby) outfit that cost more than two bungee cords plus consignment dresses combined. I attempted to talk her out of buying anything as I fawned over ridiculously expensive leather plush owl bookends. My credibility took a hit but we both managed to leave without spending a dime. A few doors down, there was a cool Byzantine store that had the most colorful and alluring flatware I'd ever seen. Beautiful bowls, pretty plates, and sexy serving dishes galore but the store owner began stalking Marn the moment we walked in. She held her own. She always does. Sexy dishes or not, I wasn't giving Sir Creepsalot my cash.

Then there was Bittersweet: the cupcake store. It was really a cafe of sorts but for two girls with no agenda and a love of all things excessively frosted we only saw cake. I got the kids a pink one and a peanut butter/chocolate one. Then I got myself a vanilla looking one with coconut sprinkled on top. I don't even like coconut. That's how freaking good that cupcake looked. Here's what was left 49 seconds after Marni left me alone in the car with it while she innocently went into the drugstore for a drink.

I have no shame. And P.S. coconut was the boss of that cupcake.

Finally, we stole off into a coffeehause and managed to create our own Scene One Act Two of: Married Girls Gone Old Towne. Marni had a (pretend) monologue with a gritty looking musician type pouring skim milk into his black roast. Things weren't going well so she ended it with him in front of the register and he (pretendly) stormed out the door to cry in his Morrissey CD. Then I ponied up to the cashier next to my (pretend) first date (who just so happened to - in real life - resemble my pathetically loyal am I?). Things did go (pretendishly) well and we made another date for the following Sunday. Same coffeehause. We both liked their French roast and laid back atmosphere. End (Pretend) Scene.

All in all, I had myself one fabulously carefree weekend with my girl, Marni. I'm just happy to have spent time remembering what it's like to be someone else's goofy half. Who else, other than her, would walk in silence with me for a block or two, suddenly stop in the middle of a street and yell, "It's banana, chocolate AND cream cheese!" as my thought bubble is saying "I can't WAIT to try out this new dogleash on Sadie!"

We are simple. We are hungry. We are girlfriends. Spending the weekend with her was just icing on my excessively frosted cake.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

I Don't Know How They Do It

When the kids were sick and waking up every two hours in the night for weeks on end, I was a single parent with a deployed spouse.

When the dog got chunky because I couldn't figure out how to boil spaghetti, fold laundry, and walk her all at the same time, I was a sorry dog owner with a deployed spouse.

When I declined invitations to dinner, weekend playdates or impromptu gatherings because I hadn't one more ounce of giddy in my up to spare, I was Survival Mode wife of a deployed spouse.

When the kids and I had to squint to brush our teeth at night because I hadn't gotten around to replacing burnt out light bulbs, I was a lackluster House Manager with a deployed spouse.

When we made smoothies out of rotting fruit and ice chips because I hadn't been to the grocery store yet, I was a resourceful menu planner with a deployed spouse.

When I got to email, Skype, talk with my husband almost daily I was a lonesome bride missing her deployed spouse.

When I didn't hear from him for four days while watching the news about the political climate in areas he was expected to be traveling, I was no longer just a so-and-so whatever with a deployed spouse.

I became a Marine Wife today. It became real. I became anxious. We became involved.

Today my mind is not here doling out sippy cups and dog food (kids, dog respectively). My heart is not reading Biscuit Goes to School before bed. I am half here in my world of normal and half there on his foreign land of civil unrest.

And the last four days not hearing from him and not really knowing where he was or how he was doing? Not even close to what other military spouses go through. What I experienced for four days is only the smallest tenth of a percentage of what other spouses must feel when their loved one is incommunicado, in "the fight," or on a secret mission somewhere undisclosed for months and months on end.

I can honestly say I cannot imagine what they must go through on a daily basis.

I can also say with certainty that I never want to feel how that felt again.

We are all in this crazy messy politically ugly deployment together and as of today, I will never forget the people who go through the scary parts filled with the kind of worry and fear that preoccupies your heart and makes the air go narrow in your chest for an entire year. You are the heroes to me and if the anxiety I was feeling this week was anything close to how you feel every single day, then I will gladly babysit your children, walk your dog or make you baked ziti to put in your freezer. You deserve more than half a heart to work with while you maintain some semblance of calm for yourself and your family. The least I can do is call myself out on not providing my thanks for all you feel, deal with and sacrifice more often than I do. Thank you and may yours come home to you soon.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Backhanded Compliment

Sometimes it's not about what you did right.

Sometimes it's about what you did not do wrong.

Today I celebrate all the things I did not do wrong over the last few days:
  • did not choose to surrender Sadie to PetSmart(after coming home to find trail of rainbow dogprints all over the entire house. Think Dennis the Menace and mud but with four feet and finger paint.)
  • did not choose to auction off daughter on Ebay (after she woke me up three times last night because she was a) sooo thirsty b) not tired anymore c) wondering where her pig was)
  • did not cry when I missed my husband's Valentine's Day phone call by three minutes
  • did not show up late to a dinner date with my Otter
  • did not throw a tantrum about children giving up afternoon naps
  • did not give up my own free time as a result
  • did not just ask what that horrible noise was because the non nappers are entertaining themselves during newly instituted "leave Mommy the @*& alone time"
  • did not teach anyone new bad words this week (a personal lofty goal)
  • did not go down the shoe aisle today in Target
  • did not stop by McD's or Starbucks on the way home for a venti cup of steamy foamy empty calories
  • did not put the laundry away yet (because the basket works as well as their dresser)
  • did not crush the huge cardboard box for recycling (because it makes an awesome Bat cave)
  • did not forget to clean Snapper's tank
  • did not forget Sadie's Heartguard and Frontline
  • did not go to Panera Bread more than once this week
  • did not stay up until 2am dorking around online or watching TV
  • did not teach anyone how to read, tie their shoe, use the potty, or write their name BUT....
  • did not have to take anyone to the pharmacy, doctor or Emergency Room so all in all it's been a banner week of parenting if I don't forget what I did not do.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011


Sorry for all the crickets since our last meeting. I've decided to omit the two part posts from now on because apparently I avoid finishing them like it's my job. I'm quite dedicated to my job, aren't I? I should also probably never take up knitting. We'd have a truckload of pewter colored O rings around here. Somewhere a little yarn city of English Purl trucks needs me.

To wrap up the FB Philosophies post, I will say that I loved these quotes:
"Times of advancement are preceded by times of disorder. Success comes to those who can weather the storm."
"We must free ourselves of the hope that the seas will ever rest - we must learn to sail in high winds."

because I find them both very relevant and timely. For months I've been bullying through the days and sometimes entire weeks just to reach the Promised Land of Peace. Then, when we run aground on a little calm, I see it never lasts for more time than it takes to find the restroom. After so many months of bumping heavily into one another like drunken manatees instead of sweetly gliding together like seagulls in the wind, I can only assume we have hit the stormy part of life. Stormy as in active "weather" approaching and "weather" of course being Abigail and Grayson. Add to that our daily grind, socks that fit deprivation, and my inability to eat whilst sitting down and we're all about surviving in the high winds of change.

Which brings me to my next post within a post - Stand

During dinner my kids will sit for about 4 minutes and 20 seconds. Then they stand. Sometimes Grayson rocks his body back and forth like a scarecrow on meth. Most of the time Abby stands straight up in her chair wobbling on her blue booster seat like any second will result in a cool ER story to tell her future boyfriends. This has baffled me. I keep asking them to sit down. They do but like a turkey thermometer, they pop right back up seconds later. They don't play with stuff. They don't even really stop eating. They just want to stand.


Right. You got it before even finishing that paragraph. Wonder why it took me so long to catch on. They are doing what I do. I do not sit down while they eat dinner. I lean near the sink to refill mac'n'cheese, chip away at dishes, or de-skin an apple for preschool lunch. All the while standing during dinner. Modeling the behavior of not sitting has worked. They are quick studies and astute observers. Being excellent students has not been easy for them as their Headmaster constantly forces them to their seats for the first few agonizing minutes. Those minutes are long, sweaty and rebellious until they can free themselves and stand like the proper little mimes they are. A plus kiddos. F minus to you, Headmaster.

Next up, modeling alone time and independent play. Oh yeah. I'm already looking forward to writing those lesson plans. And tonight? I will sit during dinner, eat what is on the menu, and probably confuse the poor little schoolmates entirely.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Facebook Philosophies

One of the many reasons I love Facebook is that you get to learn more about the people you never knew that well in high school. Since we've established I spent more time hiding from social circles than being in them, it will come as no surprise to you that I knew few people really well. Facebook is beginning to change that.

I love to read what my friends are saying to each other. It's the voyeur in me but probably why everyone loves this networking site so much too; it's the fun part. Also, there are a few friends I have really grown to admire and look up to even though I didn't know them well 20 years ago (seriously, how has it been two decades ago?!). And even now, I almost never comment on their wall or get in contact with them at all. There's a fine line between high school esteem and real world self image. They have both matured yet both have developed a few wrinkles and bad habits of their own. Regardless, I wanted to share something with you that has really resonated with me lately. It's a quote taken from a FB friend. She is not only gorgeous on the outside but she is all lady on the inside too. She often posts inspiring famous quotes as her status updates. These alone are fun to read but the best part is that one of our mutual FB friends always responds with a similar famous quote. He is witty, scary smart, and sometimes a little salty but almost always responds in kind. Here is one of their recent famous quote exchanges.
Her: "Times of advancement are preceded by times of disorder. Success comes to those who can weather the storm."
Him: "We must free ourselves of the hope that the seas will ever rest - we must learn to sail in high winds."

And here's another one just to show off their public tete-a-tete relationship:

Her: "The question isn't whether you are or afraid or not, it's what you do with that fear."

Him: "Yeah, though I walk through the valley of death I will fear no evil, for I am the meanest son of a bitch in the valley." - Joel Rosenberg
stolen, ahem... borrowed, from a web site - sorry, was too good not to share... :-)

I love and look forward to these philosophical chats and will expound further on the first one when I can devote more thought. Right now I'm only half here because Abby is dining on crackers and pear slices alone in the kitchen; patiently awaiting parental supervision. With that, I hope later this afternoon- post preschool pick-up and nap drop-off I can revisit this post and explain why I love the first couple of quotes so much. At least, let's hope there's a nap drop-off. There should be if what Grayson told me first this morning is true (click on toolbar tab above on He Said/She Said if you're curious.) Till then, Happy Friday you guys!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Bird Nests

Someone's weaned herself completely from bah-poos. In its stead she has one trillion tiny little hair nests from absent-mindedly curling and twirling her hair. Detangler is her little black dress. Goodbye bottles. Hello Cher hair.