Thursday, May 31, 2012


Hubs was out of town for a couple of days so this is a sight for sore eyes:

I don't mind the short work trips at all, believe me I'll take that over 2011, it's just that I can't sleep without him here.  The house is way too Nightmare on Elm Street:  hissing boa constrictor toilets, freezer dropping grenade ice bombs audible from the upstairs, and the RCA twins cocking their heads at phantom things I strain to hear too.

I'm so glad he's home.  We all slept like puppies last night.

Good thing too because my trainer completely put us through our paces at the gym today.  She is a woman who is not afraid to push us to our anaerobic limits to show us how stamina is built.  I love her for it afterward but want to throw up on her running shoes during.

After some weight work and calisthenics during what she affectionately refers to as "Boot Camp," my workout partner and I thought we were finished.

"Okay, now let's get to work," says our masochist leader.

Umm, work?  Were the twelve thousand lunges with weights at our sides a staff meeting?  

Apparently they were.

The next 25 minutes reminded me of labor.  Not so much the pain part, pain I can sort out, just the panicky-sheet-pulling-not-sure-you-can-get-to-the-end-by-yourself part of it all. 

At one point, I grunted, "Buhhhhh!" and the gentleman one treadmill over shot me the worry face.  He didn't know I was channeling warrior spirit.  Or maybe he did.  Regardless, this little House Frau ran the fastest she's ever gone before.

6.7 mph, you guys!

My pushing pace was once 4.5.  6.7 is so far away from my comfortable pace that I can't believe I did it.  I'm known to my marathoner friend as the tortoise of joggers.  I'm a slogger and before today never considered myself a runner.  Runners have three lungs, visible quad muscles, and blisters for baby toes.  Runners aren't moms with perma-muffin tops wearing their son's Puma socks.

Except they are.

Runners are those moms wearing Puma socks who have lost two inches from their hip section and one and half inch from their thighs in 10 weeks of training.


Moms are amazing, strong, resilient, endorphin junkies able to push ourselves past the limits we originally thought we had.

We can do 6.7 when someone expects us to. 

And now that I know this, I'm pushing for 8.0.

(Maybe because I look at this every morning before leaving the house.)

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

A Surprise Birthday Party

I had big plans of posting about our Memorial Day weekend.  There were going to be stories about berry picking, pretending to be Isabelle Allende at La Caraquena in Falls Church on an impromptu date with my husband, and squishing myself into a bathing suit that also doubles as a tourniquet for my neck.   (So not a summer girl.) 

Those are stories I will tell you before too long but...

...someone wasn't feeling well at school today. someone else had to be picked up early too.

And then the first someone perked right up 15 minutes after being home.

So the second someone demanded a birthday party for her baby girl, B.

 B is a favorite who has been missing from Abby's clutches for a few days.  Her brother found her which sounds suspect if you ask me but nobody cares because evidently she is back just in time for her birthday.

Of course you can't have a birthday without a cake.


We used my grandma's plug-in General Electric beater that smells like oil smoke the minute you hit "whip."  It needs to retire but I can't seem to let her rest her weary legs quite yet.

My favorite is that it makes a heart shape in the batter no matter how fast or slow you go.

And what's a party without friends perched precariously on door handles, atop birdseed, or inside a wheel barrow?

(Tillie wonders what kind of fraternity house she got herself into.)

So the stories of adulthood must wait for another day.

For you see, it's B's birthday.

 And birthdays are always more fun when nobody sees them coming.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Princess' Orders

Today the kids and I played hooky with Andy and his parents. 

We had a tour of the Pentagon where our guide, Army Staff Sgt, walked backwards to face us for almost two miles.  Impressive to say the least.  The poor man was begging us with his monotone voice to make a joke, slip on a banana peel or at the very least sneeze funny.  But no, we were a quiet crowd and listened reverently to his stories of John Adams and Thomas Jefferson's life-long competition with each other. 

So much so Jefferson purportedly paid to have a himself depicted as much more handsome than his Adams counterpart who was dutifully portrayed as a short, squat, balding man of little stature. 

Who knew this went on during the Gentleman and Generals era?

The tour took through the Memorial side of the Pentagon where all the names of the departed glowed eternal behind the thickest of glass.  I read a few before turning away to look out the window:  Steven Jacoby, Zoe Falkenburg, Dana Falkenburg...I memorized just them while staring out the window at the generous clouds and bold blue sky. That seemed a deeper sign of respect than reading through a list of hundreds of names my mind could never hold on to.

"Where is your office again, Honey?"  I asked. 

He pointed toward the ceiling.  "One floor up."

Right above the Memorial.  Whoa.  He had told me this before but being there and experiencing this was on a different level altogether. 

Andy's mom and I exchanged looks.  And goosebumps. 

Once our tour guide excused us from his watch, we were left to purchase a few knick knacks at the Gift Store.  I bought a T-shirt and a mug like the shameless tourist I am. 

Next was the long walk back through metal detectors, a dank tunnel, and two full parking lots to our car.  Abby had a major meltdown right before the tunnel so I hiked her on my hip and lost any regret I felt of skipping the gym today. 

Once back in the car, the kids and I sucked down warm juice boxes while my in-laws and Andy decided where to eat. 

The KFC sign was first and our resolve had expired so we brought our bucket of high cholestoral home to devour like sweaty angry crunchy chicken loving beasts.  Their coleslaw makes me weak in the knees.  Delish.

(Then my husband I got into a tiff right smack in front of his parents but we're going to skip right over this part and never look back.)

A day like today left me feeling heavy and somber instead of light and fortified.  Abby must've known because before too long, she invited me to a fancy ball.  Actually, ordered me to a fancy ball is more accurate.

"Put this dress on, Mommy." 

"How 'bout maybe just the tiara?" I ask squishing further into the couch cushions.

"No Mommy, you must put the dress.  Princess' orders."

And so, I of little nobility or rank, rendered the dress over my clothes and did as I was told. 

There had been lovely salon hour immediately preceding where Abby painted my nails, glossed my lips and multi-barretted my hair for a formal occasion so Abby was right, the dress did complete the look.

The look of a mom who needs a shower, hot tea and a proper pedicure.

I'm about to go collect on two out of the three before collapsing back into my couch to play Words with Friends and secure my title as a Most Horrible Hostess.

The pedicure will have to wait until Abby's paint job wears off. 

Princess' orders.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Dress Rehearsal

Man Alive, I cried in front of 15 children, their teachers, and one set of grandparents this morning. Not on purpose so points awarded for non-premeditated melodrama. Things started off normal. Dressed myslef in gym clothes, dressed kids in clothes barely scored with toothpaste and dropped each child off in their respective preschool room. Then Grayson's teacher asked if I wanted to watch the kids' dress rehearsal for their preschool "graduation" since I won't be here for the real thing (long story, future post). Without hesitation I blew off my date with a treadmill to attend a private showing by my favorite four-to-five-year-old crew. They line up in a row. Oh my how they've grown! They watch their lead teacher with eyes of an orchestra awaiting a nod from its trusted conductor. Oh how patient they've all grown to be. She nods to them and they begin to sing with voices I don't recognize. These are not the little ping pong children I see zooming past me on the playground. These are not the whispery shy "Hellos" I once got in the elevator. These voices were strong, confident, and so beautiful I felt my eyes sting. Oh sh*t, I'm going to cry. Swatting tears away, I collect myself to enjoy the show. These children who all began the year as barely four have grown into these sophisticated five year olds who not only can listen to direction but who can also carry a tune in several different languages. Where have our babies gone? The teachers smile warmly at their group of hard workers and the relationship between student and teacher is so palpable my eyes sting again. There is so much love invested in this room that it breaks my heart and fills all the cracks with admiration, pride and fear of the unknown. Things will only get more complicated from here. Our children are growing up. No more naps, no more Play-Do, no more daily reports, no more after school playground with kids he's known for two years. They are leaving the warm nest of these phenomenally intuitive caretakers and for a few seconds I am unwilling to accept it: I want him safely here where I know what to expect. I will miss the raw innocence of my son. He is five almost six now instead of four kinda still three. Time is moving him and his friends forward by leaps and bounds. All of their legs seem more baby giraffe and less pudgy bear cub. All of their faces taking on angles and a glimpse of their eventual selves; their futures no longer ushered in by parental choice but instead carved out carefully by their own inner voices. Inner voices that are singing, soaring, and pushing past a world that I've grown to understand. A dress rehearsal, indeed. Now, let me grab my big girl drawers and get ready for the real thing...I hear it's a doozy.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

The Flying Tillie

Usually my dreams tell me things I need to hear.  Last night's dreams were relentless in their messages and plum wore me out so much I overslept and got Grayson to school late this morning. 

Here's the end of the fishtail I can remember:

  • Andy and I were planning on leaving without the kids for a day trip to ???  
  • The kids were too small to leave but I couldn't do the math well enough to figure this out (Do they not have babysitters in Dreamville?)
  • The "house" we lived in was maybe twenty stories of unfurnished space
  • As I doubled back to check house for dangers (but oh wait, NOT the immediate danger of leaving children under age 6 in a house without parents), I saw a humongous cloud levitate to the seventh story bathroom window.  It had a black lab face with a dog body but silky raven wings.  
  • It startled me but I went to the window to talk to it anyway
  • Its message wasn't clear 
  • I ran toward the door to tell Andy I couldn't leave because there was a flying Tillie hovering above near the bathroom and it needed to tell me something

There was more but the other dreams swam away into the morning light before I could catch them.

Thank goodness for the Flying Tillie babysitting me through the windows of our twenty story apartment without couches or tables.  Otherwise my kids would've been left all alone in a tall house without a mom who is really bad at math.

Monday, May 21, 2012


So, wow. 

THAT was a big weekend.

We had a road trip to PA, snuck in a double date night with the siblings, attended a family reunion on Saturday, and somehow miraculously were not late to a birthday party (back in VA) on Sunday, 

Today instead of tending to the tedious life of housework, we spent all day having a lunch date which proved to be just as much fun for me as it was the kids.  I got to know a super nice new mom friend who felt more like an old buddy after a few minutes of chatting.  We have more in common than I initially thought we might.  
That never happens.  I'm so in my head all the time that conversations don't run smoothly for me.  Or they do and I just think they don't because I'm second guessing every busy syllable as its shooting out of my pie-hole.

Here are a few highlights of the weekend without the wordy wordshow to go with it.  Let me know if you need further descriptors to figure out where we are, who we are standing next to, or exactly what Abby is doing with her feet.  You'll see...

How was your weekend?

No, really.  How was it?  I am much more at ease chatting with you through a computer screen vs. real life and yes, I do care how your weekend was especially if you're taking your time to click in and see how ours might have been.  Hope yours was good and included a garage ballet performance too.

Le Weekend; DAY ONE:  Road trip to PA, dinner out with sis and bro-in law and their eldest.  No pics because we were sprinting out the door sans amoebae children and I practically forgot my purse, let alone my camera.

DAY TWO:  Family Reunion:

 Andy's aunt and cousins who I happen to think I might belong to in a previous life.  
I'm happy to reunite with them again.  
700 years is a really long time to wait.

 "Aunt J" helping Abby decorate cupcakes

Aunt J was visiting from Europe where she and her husband are soon to be the proud owners of their own bakery in France. (See what I mean?  We belong...!)
Yes, I am dusting passports to visit them soon.

 Abby picking out which cupcake she will eat first, second, third, and when I wasn't looking, a fourth!  
Carrot cake, so no damage done.

Grayson learned how to play badminton.  
Andy learned how to find lost birdies in pachysandra.

This may be the funniest picture I've ever taken.  

That is my husband hiding from the kids as they played "Sardines" wherein the first child who finds him remains there too.  
This process repeats itself with the rest of the kids until there is only one person remaining who is now looking for all the "sardines" instead of just one lonely creeper man balled up under a table. 

I love this game just for the bounty of this picture alone.  

The sibs had lots of catching up to do...


 ...but not before the ballet dance recital in the garage.  
The formal ballerinas gave a performance and then offered lessons to the little novice ballerina who had stars in her eyes when they sashayed through the air in their socks.

 Thankfully, having only bare feet did not stop her from trying new moves.

And a few old ones too. 
We all enjoyed the show very much.

 Even the canine representative.

 These ladies missed the show entirely as they were left behind to sulk for the day.  All had long walks but we still got the cold shoulder upon our thoughtless human return.

 An excellent reunion it was but as we know, all good things must come to an end.

Especially when a sleepy Abigail can no longer stand on her own ballerina feet.

DAY THREE: Garage sale!  You know I cannot let a neighborhood garage sale pass me by.  While everyone else was hiking or doing self-enrichment type healthy things, I traipsed up one street with Sadie and down the other side with Sadie and this here bigass plastic table.  Let me tell you how sexy I looked walking with that hunk-o-love hoisted high on my hip.  Catcall City.  Meee-ow.  Nevermind that it took me thirty minutes to walk past twelve houses.  I'm willing to block that load of embarrassment out forever for 7 dollars. 7 dollars!

DAY THREE in VA IMMEDIATELY following a FIVE hour ROAD TRIP:   Bday Party Time:

 I am ready to fire my secretary but the children didn't seem to notice we had done Disney World in 80 hours so whatever.

NIGHT THREE:  Husband who might be a robot goes grocery shopping at 8pm.  But leaves me this love note while I'm on the phone solidifying playdate plans for THE NEXT MORNING!

We are insane but I love every exhausting minute of it.

We consider it bonding time.

And that's never a bad thing.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Sparkles, Sunshine & Rug Burn

May your weekend be sparkly...

 ...filled with sunshine...

..and definitely end better than this did:

Happy Friday, my friends!