Thursday, June 30, 2011

Doctor Doctor

It took us four hours to get out of the house to buy groceries yesterday. One of those hours was spent with me "under the knife" in a mock surgery with Drs. Abigail and Grayson. I was a good patient as bobby pins grazed my eardrums and nail clippers slid across my belly. The best part was when Dr. Abigail combed my hair to remove all the booboos. I will put booboos in my hair for that kind of spa treatment any day of the week, I was in heaven. Dr. Grayson had the best bedside manner, however, as he brought a Dixie cup of ice water and a granola bar to help with the "making Mommy all better" portion of the treatment. I had the best gurney in the house until someone unveiled a Spiderman ice pack and stuck it down my shirt. Game over. Operation complete.

Today, we had a similar procedure but this time the patient was Sadie and she deserves more than a granola bar for her role In the sick bay. Denver The Guilty Dog may have style but our Sadie has more patience than humanly or canine-ly possible. Watch for yourself...Sadie's Sick Day

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Going the Night Night

Big brother takes it upon himself to ensure little sister gets to sleep finally.

Camping out (press link to view)

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Home Again?

We recently went back to our hold neighborhood and it took about three minutes to realize you really can't go home again once you left. Our house looked great, it wasn't that. Our old neighbors and friends were still friendly, it wasn't that either. It was mostly us. We all felt like spies on a secret mission, maintaining a low profile and trying to blend.

The kids were too little to remember anything about that house at all, which shouldn't have surprised me but it did. Hubs was pretty mechanical walking around the inside of our old house, getting it ready for the new tenants. Even I was shockingly not twisted in an emotional ball if yarn by revisiting our past while changing lightbulbs. I knew I was in there somewhere so I took a minute to stand in our empty living room. It was all there: contractions, Christmas trees, American Idol nights with Marni, picnics, 4th of July parties, blue and pink hydrangeas, Chinese take out, long walks to see the horses, fighting, making up, all of it. At that moment, I wanted it back. We lived (and at times I felt like I was dying) in that little living room. Our boy potty trained in those bathrooms. Our Sadie nested on the mulch piles under the prettiest sunsets I've ever seen. We brought both our babies home to that house and for me that alone will always make that home a little bit sacred.

But, as much as I might want to make it otherwise, life moves in one direction and one direction only: forward.

No telling what forward means for us and our family or even geographically where that will put us in a year. What we do know is that our "home" keeps changing every couple of years and we change right along with it. I suppose this is true of most people in this day and age. I'm not the same girl who couldn't locate her spatula in her own kitchen a couple years ago. My husband is not the same man who had a clear vision for his career path, un-muddied by other familial factors. Even Sadie is not the same manic pup who climbed people to greet them. We are all older, more experienced, and different.

In one way I am comforted by knowing we are all moving forward because I feel that is a natural way of transitioning through life phases. In another respect, though, I am sad to learn the place I called home in that storybook house is already just a memory.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Flying Lanterns

When the fireflies flicker like Christmas candles on the lawn, I watch my little boy clap them in his hands - missing then catching, missing then catching. His quick wiry boy arms follow the tease of their bodies without one ounce of a plan. He follows their blinking path with his entire heart. What a happy accidental game of cat and mouse.

He disappears behind the side of our house and I am suspended in hope. Hope for his hands to be full of those magical glow bugs. Hope for each one to tickle his fingers before they push their dark bodies through the hole in his four year old grasp and fly away.

He is persistent though and resurfaces with three live wires barely yellowing within the walls of his tightly closed hands.

"I need my jar, Mommy," and he's off to apparently see to that himself while I am left behind, perched barefoot on our driveway.

Fireflies not caught still pine for each other in the sweet spot inches above our too long grass. They seem indifferent to being captured and jarred as momentary nightstand pets. Their indifference gives me the courage to believe that not everything worries about what comes next.

But still.

Who can fall asleep with those little romantics so trapped and forever unassuming?

Not me.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Changing Majors

I can remember the way the leaves showed me their light green bellies as I walked up to the biology building in 1996. My feet moved forward but my heart stayed with the trees. My body executed movement but my mind swayed like a fat hammock in the space between stone and dirt. My mouth practiced the words to the dean of Animal Sciences but my thoughts mellowed over the rhythmic bounce of a student's backpack on his tailbone. Everyone seemed so sure of where they were going.

I changed majors that day.

Went from Liberal Arts to Animal Sciences in my fourth year of college.

I went home and cried my eyes out. Practicality won and my gypsy soul was shattered.

I took one course about cow stomachs and horse hooves. We all sat shoulder to shoulder in a bleacher filled for the final exam. There was a boy motioning to me in the hallway. I couldn't concentrate on the test question about liver enzymes. I pointed to the girl next to me, he shook his head no. I pointed to the boy on my other side, and he shook his head no. He wanted me. I smiled. I finished my exam, wrote a poem about tree nuts then turned in my paper to the front desk before looking for the boy in the hallway who wanted me to join him.

Of course, he was gone.

But I knew what I had to do.

The next day I changed my major again. Then I submitted a poem (not about tree nuts) to a writing contest for the English Dept. I did not win first or second or even third place. I did, however, earn honorable mention. I accepted the invitation for the award's ceremony, then walked out before filling up my water glass because really, it was only honorable mention, probably a consolation prize for the other poor dejected applicants.

One year and several writing courses later, I learned there were hundreds of submissions to that little poetry contest I tried out for and there was only one honorable mention. Me...the one who ditched the party for a walk around a music shop and a visit with my favorite golden retriever through a wire fence.

All this to say, sometimes you need to change majors even when you don't fully understand why.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Glass Half Full

So my son has all but given up dinner. He sits, against his will, at the dinner table like the actor he is. This is when the shenanigans begin. Textbook shenanigans. He rubs his eyes.

Eat, Grayson.

He stares blankly ahead as if begging a mysterious force to compassionately suck his dinner plate into its mouth, spork and all.

It's getting cold, Grayson.

His body tilts sideways to now direct his desperate gaze out the window. He reaches up to unlatch the locks. Hot steamy broccoli demons are released into the stratosphere, perilously close to his unadulterated nostrils. That was a close one.

Just eat your dinner, Dude.

He pushes his plate one centimeter this way, half a centimeter that way and then jiggles it for good measure. No doubt this dinner dance will result in ranch dip, M&Ms, and probably gummy sharks falling from the sky, thus smothering all offensive proteins and cooked green mushy evil on his plate.

"I'll be right back," Tom Hanks announces as he bolts upstairs and disappears into the bathroom. We call it Area 51. Nobody really knows what goes on in there but we all have our suspicions it's probably not good.

He returns a few minutes later. Obviously after giving the go ahead to launch another spy plane over great planes and deep valleys. He looks older, wiser, less hungry even. There is no time for applesauce, people are dying out there, Woman.

Your dinner is cold now, Grayson.

It's okay, Mommy, he seems to reassure with a quick nod and firm squeeze of Foxy Loxy's tail.

There will be no dishes tonight.

Friday, June 17, 2011


For the last two weeks I've felt the synapses in my brain responsible for multi-tasking have been on holiday. They have been called upon a lot recently and no response, straight to voicemail. This was very worrisome (super irritating) until I came across a paragraph or two about "nerves shedding their old skin" in the effort to leave behind an useless paradigm of thinking that is no longer effective for the person who could once cook dinner while bathing the dog AND planting petunias without batting an eye. I'm a mom, it's what we do. Now? I cannot fold socks and talk on the phone simultaneously to save my soul. No joke, you guys, I can't even boil water on the stove and apply lip balm, something would melt or I would wind up moisturizing my cornea.

Basically, my brainwaves are having a mid-life crisis. They have realized it's time to implement a new process because the old way is no longer bringing fulfillment to the entire team. Reinvention time, inspired by my own chemical makeup. Reassuring because I'm not sure I could go platinum blonde and work out sixteen hours a day like Madonna did...does?

So yes, it's a tad disconcerting to have your mind renovate without your permission but I figure it will upgrade tastefully. I'll think of my brain as Jeff Lewis and I just need to trust Jeffy because the end result will be brilliant, sleek, and more than I even knew I wanted....or needed.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Time Out

Because life gives you liver and onions after you've had a big plate of peach cobbler, today has been bad. So bad, in fact, that my two year old put me in a time out. She was not happy with the discipline action I took with her brother. Neither was I but sending him to his room so he would climb out of my hair follicles is sometimes a necessary evil with that child. Apparently my tone was wrong and my word choice was not up to her standard because I received a lengthy stay on the edge of my bed while she "cleaned up" all the while admonishing me for my infraction. Which is to say walked around with her Daddy's gym socks, a pair of his khaki shorts, and a Candyland pawn whilst utterly butt naked. As if the sight of her making "neat piles" in her birthday suit wasn't enough, the littany of reasons why I should not behave this way again were plentiful and, frankly, quite sound.

"You may not talk loud at my little boy, Mommy. You might want to but you cannot."

She has a point.

"You are in a time out for using mean words to my little boy, Mommy."

Can't argue with that.

"You will have to sit on your bed for thirty eleven nine seven o'clock."

Dear heavens, that can't be good.

"Why don't you go tell your brother you put Mommy in a time out, I think he will like that," I say forgetting my place.

"I will not. You are not done just yet." Apparently I am not be trusted. At any moment I could pull a fast one, dig a tunnel with my eyeliner, and run off through the peonies to a minivan waiting for me in the cul-de-sac.

"Will you tell me when I'm finished here?" I ask honestly perturbed.

"Yes I will. After I put this lotion on your legs, Mommy. You cannot get up until I'm done."

And I thought she'd be a gymnast.

The irony? It worked. I sat stone still on the edge of my bed for so long (oh, the torture of it all!) that I really did have time to think about the way I handled things. Before long, I came up with several other avenues of redirection that could've been implemented in lieu of the lazy mom's way of remove and desist. I was wrong. Barney Fife was right. Naked Barney Fife was right.

Andy Griffith would be proud.

I know I am.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

On a Lark

Yesterday we woke without one minute of direction for our day. Never a good idea around here. It can furiously turn into one o'clock before we even look for the frozen waffles if we're not careful.

"Wanna go to the pool, guys?" Too breezy.
"Wanna take Sadie for a walk?" Too boring. Problem was, it was also much too sunny to feel good about indoor war and princess brigades. We made eggs, we ate eggs, we washed dishes, we clunked about the first floor in jammies until the phone rang. It was 8am. I (very uncharacteristically) answered.

"Hello, would you all like to join us for a jaunt to a botanical garden this afternoon?"

Hell to the yeah, we would.

One hour later we exited our abode with toothpaste on our T-shirts (kids) and hot cocoa on our mind (yours truly). We got there a bit late but our friends were waiting patiently in the atrium eating snacks and lounging on a turtle shaped ottoman. A leather foot rest in homage to a painted turtle? This was about to be our kind of afternoon.

First, I feasted on the botanicalness. There was Nikon candy everywhere!

Then I turned the camera on the little ones who might as well have fallen down the rabbit hole.

(Who says little boys don't love a hot cup of black wire tea?)

They were enchanted.

We moms might have been to.

There were more exotic flowers to sniff than Abby's dear little sniffer could handle.

The wild life was hungry so we showered them with stale wheat bread pieces.

At one point there was an absolute feeding frenzy and I saw the mossiest, oldest, wisest turtle (this guy, here) capsize a younger one like a champ.

He might have been 100 years old in turtle years but he was The Godfather of breadcrumbs, no doubt about it.

Lastly, it was our turn to grub so we closed the afternoon picnicking while the boys played tug-of-war with the picnic blanket. The girls mixed it up in between bites of red pepper (not Abby) and chocolate chip cookies (yep, we shared one).

I am still reveling in the pictures. Grayson's still talking about playing with his buddy from school. Abby's favorite thing was when Ms. T swung her around underneath the trees. My favorite was answering the phone at 8am to get this entire day rolling.

Friends are a gift.

I'm so happy my kids are learning this in the most organic way possible -

over rolling hills...

..and under green canopies.

Ya gotta have friends.

Monday, June 13, 2011


There is lots to chat about but my mind is numbed with The Drowsies today. Always best to keep it light when that's the case. In an effort to keep from pontificating badly on the merits of cotton over synthetic fibers or diatribing heinously about the Ahhhh Bra (getting one, btw!), I'm stealing something I saw on someone else's blog. Can't remember who, can't remember where so thank you, Mystery Internetter, for posting something fun and covetable.

Things You May Not (Want to) Know About Me:

  • only chew with the left side of my mouth
  • will curl up like a hamster on our carpet in the last window of daylight, with or without Sadie
  • have contemplated buying seat covers (kitchen chairs - maybe $35.00?) for a year or more but just bought the same exact shirt as the seven others just like it in the same exact berry pink color
  • return clothes (weekly, ahem) instead of waiting in line to try them on in the first place
  • now realize Bermuda shorts make me look like that Phi Sig guy
  • took our pet Betta fish on vacation with us
  • refuse to wear black
  • refuse less vehemently to wear white
  • think white sandals are terrible. They illogically give me the Heebie Jeebies.
  • do not go to the mall. Ever.
  • is proud of my stubborn streak - It reminds me of my grandfather.
  • is currently sporting an unforgivable/early 80's side bang mullet fiasco until it grows out
  • always get my hair cut just when it's starting to look long even though long hair is all I've wanted since the 7th grade.
  • don't feel almost 40
  • don't feel anything after 4:00pm
  • am still just as freaking tired as before The Major got home
  • am still just as freaking thankful and happy The Major got home
  • am super decisive ... until my husband walks into the room (?!?!? Seriously, I don't get it.)
  • daydream quite often of becoming a vet tech on the weekends just so I don't have to plan anything for the weekends involving children, menu, or parenting in general.
  • have flirted with caffeine lately
  • try to eat a rainbow of food daily but still have trouble with red
  • have decided to make a (month or two worth) box of food for storage "just in case"
  • read the news and hear reports about the Great Great Depression ahead of us which makes me want to run to Switzerland and milk cows
  • have found Abigail to be a natural hoarder
  • have found Grayson to be a natural naturalist, except for dogs. I know - the DNA results are inconclusive
  • rock Abby much longer than she really needs just to feel her little warm body in my arms
  • tickle Grayson much longer than he really needs just to get him to laugh that little crazy chipmunk laugh
  • have many years to go but wells up with tears every time an empty nester talks about her empty nest
  • have saturated my desire to take pictures well
  • now obsess over taking them artfully
  • cannot stand anything touching the area above my chest and below my neck
  • will harm you if you put anything freezing on my skin because you think it's funny
  • love socks (white ones!)
  • need hot chocolate to be nice
  • want to make you laugh
  • hope for sunshine
  • pray for rain
  • want to be a nurse, farm hand, dog whisperer, professor, photographer, columnist, welder, lounge singer, therapist, and glass blower when I grow up
  • would move, right now, to BRAVOwood if it existed

Friday, June 10, 2011

Belly Fat

An Ode to Belly Fat - sung to the tune of "Smelly Cat" by Phoebe Buffay.
D minor.

Belly Fat,
Belly Fat,
What is she feeding you?

Belly Fat,
Ohhh, Belly Fat,
It's not your fault.

She won't take you to the beach.
She dresses you like Stacey Keach.
You may not be in a medium.
You suffer from chocolate milk tedium.

Belly Fat,
Belly Fat,
What isn't she feeding you?

Belly Fat,
Belly Fat,
It's not your fault.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011


"Blow on your toes and that will dry them, Honey."

Everything's possible.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Separation Anxiety

My Sadie girl is getting her teeth cleaned at the vet today. She is going under anesthesia because she may need a tooth pulled (probably b/c of this picture - we think she got a piece of wood lodged in her gum and now there's a small slumber party of infection going on under her gumline. Poor baby.) The bad part isn't so much that she's in pain (I've had her on pain meds since we've been back from vacation), it's leaving her at the vet all day long in a crate where she probably is losing her mind.

She isn't exactly an enclosable beast. When we first adopted Sadie, she came loaded with love and a severe phobia of all things crate. We learned of this quickly after she gnawed her way out of her first (and last) metal crate on four separate occasions when she was a year old. She was quicker than Houdini with barely a silver stripe on her ivory teeth as tell tale that there was not an extra key to her prison stashed inside her purple collar.

Then there was the time she got stuck in the master bathroom of our townhouse (rental) where she took out copious feet of carpet, door handles, door jams, sliding glass door handles, curtains, if memory serves a fan blade somehow Dear God I don't know how, and basically anything standing in the way between her and the great outdoors. We stopped trying to crate her after she ripped off her dewclaw.

Ah, but yes I recall a few years ago, maybe for good measure and as a reminder to her thoughtless owners who dared leave her alone in unfamiliar surroundings, she chewed her way out of drywall, door jams, and a wood floor in my brother's house. It was probably her greatest escape. Even my brother, who has seen some professional demolition in his life, asked if she was for hire. Thankfully he was renovating that bathroom or else he would not have been so cool about "Marley" with her Jaws of Steel.

When the kids and I had to turn and walk away from her this morning, I did what they always warn you not to do. I cried. She knew it. I could see the panic in her beautiful maple eyes. She yipped and bucked in the hands of the vet staff and gave him a good yank before I rushed us all out the door and into the van.

"Are you going to cry all day long?" asked Grayson who is more boy each day.

"I miss her already," says the little Animal Rescuer Girl.

Me too. My phone cannot ring fast enough.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

From the Middle

There was an article I read a while ago that matched your personality type with how you read a book. I wish I could remember what it said but will assume it probably can't bode well when you start in the middle and fan out either side like a new juicy gossip magazine.

This read pictured above? I finally had a chance to pour through it at the cabin and it was so much better than any article about weight loss or blinding pics of Kim Kardashian's new engagement ring.

(Thank you again FamGossGirl.)

So, tell me, how do you read your books? When do you read your books? What is on your list of must haves and would you pay money for Steven Tyler's new memoir: Does the Noise in My Head Bother You? Don't tell my husband, but he's getting that for his birthday. He and I fell in love with the frontman's Riddler style on American Idol this season and I think Hubs will crack up when he opens up to find Mister Tyler's sunglassed mug on his birthday. If not, someone else (c'est moi?!) just might have to read it before it hits the donation pile.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Collective Heart

One night at our cabin in the woods, Hubby was getting Grayson ready for bed. He peeled off his sweaty little socks and announced, "Honey, G has a case of the black toe." I went in for a look and wouldn't you know, kid totally had a black toe. The rest of the toes were fine and flesh toned. Big toe? All charcoal with a hint of red dye No. 5.

"Does it hurt?" No.
"Is it a bruise?" Not really.
"Does it hurt?" We covered that already Mom and still, no.
"Hmm, weird. Let me get a washcloth."

Wouldn't wipe off.
"Let me get some soap."
Not coming off in the slightest.
"Let me get some more soap with bleach."
Not budging.
Dude still had one very black toe.

We looked at each other with a giant question mark surfing over our heads and decided we would get it checked out first thing in the morning if that big toe was indeed still jet black.

All night long I tossed and turned with haunting parental thoughts scratching at my mind: What causes such a thing? Looks like a bruise but doesn't hurt? How it is the rest of the toes are completely normal and this one is dark as soot? Why doesn't it hurt? Why won't it wipe off? What the $#&@?

So we took him to the ER next day. For a black toe.

"Hmm. Weird," said the nurse.
"That's odd," said Doctor Number One.
"Does it hurt?" asked Doctor Number Two.

After three hours in the ER waiting and watching Transformers, waiting and watching Transformers two doctors finally pulled the curtain to announce that what Grayson had was a discoloration in his great toe due to unknown factors. The End.

Then they proceeded to warn us about other possible random bruising to look for should this be a precursor for horrible things to come. Petechiae they called it. They never said the "C" word. They never gave anything super scary a name at all, in fact. They simply alluded and gave us things to look out for and what would be a sign for other "worse" things to come, ..."not that they will, mind you, just a possibility since we cannot determine the origin of his discoloration."

It was a very quiet ride back home.

That was a week ago. Luck had us solid in her arms though and two nights ago we went swimming in a chlorinated pool and voila ~ most of the black is now gone! There is only a shadow of it left on the upper pad but certainly enough has been sloughed off that we both feel it must have been dye or stain of some sort. Mr. Black Toe must've stuck that little digit somewhere in the cabin only he, the centipedes, and the guilty grease spot know about. Truth be told, Hubby and I both slept soundly for the first time in days that night. No uneasy thoughts about medical unknowns gnawing at the back of our thoughts, making us worried and preoccupied.


There is one problem with being lucky, however. When luck chooses you, she ignores someone else altogether and they are left somewhere in their kitchen, stunned by horrific news and in shock while stirring macaroni noodles for dinner. There is no good fortune to make things okay. There is no luck to help her process platelet numbers and what it all means. There is no chlorinated pool for her baby to slough off what mystery ails her.

In this case, that someone else is a very good friend of mine. A very dear friend - someone I have known since elementary school - who I call to complain to when my kids annoy me. She is someone I turn to when I need a great laugh because her timing is perfect and her sense of humor so dry you could strike a match on her pregnant pauses alone. She always remembers to ask about Sadie before we hang up. This woman and I cuss like sailors to each other and feign shock when our babies mimic our foul mouths.

This close friend and fellow mom just learned her baby has a condition that will not get better with medication. And as if that's not inconceivable enough, it gets more complicated. Her little beautiful happy baby will not get better at all unless her other older child is a perfect match for a bone marrow transplant. Her new baby's life depends on her first born. It is enough to make you need a paper bag and a sedative if you have a heart. A shot of gin if you do not.

As her friend and as a mom of the same aged children, I am speechless. I had a few days of needless worry about my son's weird dark toe. She has had weeks and weeks of stress and real worry about tests leading up to the worst news of her life.

I talked with her last night. She is amazing and strong but very much still in shock. She was comforting me and telling me not to worry because the doctors are all so good. I was muddy and she was clairvoyant. She snapped me from my grief by saying something that gave me the power to help her. She says she needs prayers, or energy, or anything positive for her baby girl right now. That, I am all over. Prayers, good energy, positive ju-ju, you got it! I think I can do even better. Will you help me? Even if you don't believe in God but do believe in energy, then please pause long enough to send your good energy to her and her children. And if you are so inclined, kindly leave a comment stating where you are in this world (as in state, coast, planet, whatever) and a short message saying her babies are in your thoughts. I will send them all for her to read when she is ready and in need of others' strength. We may not be able to heal her baby but we can fortify her heart for the impossible decisions facing her and her family. An unthinkable mountain to climb has to be easier with a village of people carrying her high on the shoulders of our thoughts, don't you think?

There is power in a collective heart, I just know it.

For her, there has to be.

Thank you for reading, commenting, and pausing long enough to send wishes to someone who is close to my heart and if I had to guess, probably yours now too.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Home Sweet Lake House

Our little family vacation was the best we've ever had.

It was also the only one we've ever had but who's counting.

Without too many intrusive verbosities, I wanted to share some highlights of our time at the cabin in the woods.

But there are so many that I cannot choose.

So instead, here is a mosaic of our days.

Rest assured, there are only 953 more images to narrate if these don't tickle your fancy.

You probably wish I were kidding.


Hello Little home away from home. We have missed you so.

The fish cannot say the feelings are mutual, however.

But the dogga was mighty happy.

And somewhere Jimmy Buffet was smiling.

(while karma was giggling - he was trying to get me and soaked himself in the process.)

I call this one Alice in Wonderland.
..even if she is more of a Penelope Rose.

Can you spot the blond bombshell?

We are so lucky to have this place to run to.

To play in.

To smile about.

To explore around.

To love simply and without makeup.

To reconnect.

I am so very lucky.