Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Drumroll Please....

So I actually held out until Christmas morning - and did NOT peek at the results of our ultrasound. (Can you believe it?) And, we found out - definatively - that this baby is indeed a



Yep, his little pee pee was in clear shot in the ultrasound photo - if I can ever figure out how to use the scanner I'll scan the picture and post here.

As for his name - well that is still under debate. Not that we're having a huge debate over it - we just don't know for sure what his name will be. We wanted to use family names for the first two kids - now we're opening it up to any name that suits - which can be a bit overwhelming.

A - by the way - wants to call him 'snowflake.'

A's reaction to the news she was having a new baby brother was less than enthusiastic. She actually cried Christmas morning - in the middle of unwrapping a present - to say 'but I wanted a baby sister!' We told her we had not control over it - and that she would love being the only girl in the house. Eventually she came around - and is getting used to the idea.

Or so I thought...

Sunday night at dinner she looks at me and says:
"Mommy? That baby in your tummy is a boy, right?"
"Yes, A, it is."
"Well, can we have a girl next time?"

pause - while mommy chokes...

"Uh, no sweetheart - there will be no more babies in this house after your new brother is born."
"Well, mommy can't have anymore babies."

I'll spare her the lesson in tubal ligations for now...

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Christmas Cuties

Check out these super cute outfits I ordered from http://www.palmettokids.net/ They are wonderful! I know I know - I need to get over my 'matchy matchy' problem - but they're just too cute in their matching outfits not to make them wear them!
* Notice diva A - diving into J's picture along with him! Poor boy - he'll probably never get a picture alone given A's propensity to steal the limelight!

Christmas Cookies at Our House

Christmas just wouldn't be Christmas in my world without certain cookies - made from long withstanding family recipes. The first are the traditional sugar cookie cut-outs. I remember making these every year with my mom - she'd make the dough from her original Better Homes and Gardens cookbook from the '60's (remember the ringed binder one with the plaid hard cover?) She'd roll the dough, then let me help cut out trees and santas. Once they came out of the oven we'd cool them on our Burnt Orange formica counter top on paper grocery bags that we'd cut apart to spread open. Finally she'd mix frosting (powdered sugar and milk) and let me help ice them - completing with task with multi-colored sprinkles that she always said looked like little colored Christmas lights on the green trees.

This year, A helped me make and ice the cookies - she's getting to the age where she not only wants to help out - but is interested in the stories behind the cookies. She asked lots of questions and listened intently as I told her the tale of making cookies with her Nonna. She sprinkled her cookies with artistic flair - alternating the colors and designs and making each cookie unique.

Another traditional cookie I grew up with is the pizelle. My grandmother used to make these Italian treats by the armful - and she always had them stashed throughout her house - stored in old coffee cans (which are the perfect size and shape for storing these delicate cookies.) A and J were delighted - A of course wanted to help - but when she realized mommy wasn't kidding about the burning hot pizelle iron, she was content to sit and watch and snitch a cookie or two.

J, however, he kept reaching for everything in sight - repeating "hot" when he got near to the iron (but still reaching nonetheless) - and was in pure sugar heaven to enjoy his first taste of this traditional family cookie. (As evidenced by his face in the picture below.)

It always makes me feel closer to my family when I make these treats - the recipes are a part of our family now - and I'm thrilled to be sharing them with my children, and making memories for them to one day share with their own families.

It also makes me a bit melancholy ....

Thursday, December 18, 2008

A's Trip to see the President's Wife

The President of USC's wife that is - apparently some confusion was a-brewing throughout A's 4-year old pre-school class when they were told they were going on a field trip to the President's house. Many of the kiddies thought they were going to see either George W. or Obama - I was proud that most of them actually knew who the president and president-elect were!

Anyway, several other moms and one dad (yeah L's Daddy!) chaperoned the class trip across campus to the President's house for a "holiday" party with the university president's wife. We hauled the kids up the hill through campus to the historic Horseshoe where the kids had a chance to run and play before the party actually started.

It was great fun, the house was decorated to the nines for the holiday season - with fresh magnolia and evergreen boughs draped over anything standing still, a beautiful Christmas tree, and several different religions decorations (nods to the different holidays.) Mrs. Pastides read several stories to the kids who enjoyed milk (or juice) and cookies and song singing.

The one downfall for my dear daughter A was the delight of many of the other children. Cocky made a guest appearance, to "read" a story to the kids (actually pantomime out while a 'friend' read the story), visit, and hand out books for the kids to take home. A is desperately afraid of all large costumed creatures, and even though she had been sufficiently prepared, and had told mommy and daddy at breakfast that she was going to be a 'brave girl' and even give Cocky a hug - she completely dissolved at the site of him.

Yes, that would be my child trembling in fear, screaming at the top of her lungs, and begging and pleading with me to take her home. That would be the same child that dove under the table and floor-length tablecloth in fear when Cocky came within ten feet of her.

That would also be the same child who blew kisses at Cocky, waved at him, and giggled at his flirting with her (from afar) as Mrs. Pastides was reading stories.


When it was all over and we were heading back to her pre-school, I asked her if it was really that bad. She said "no, Cocky is pretty silly, actually - and he's really just a man in a big chicken costume."

Monday, December 15, 2008

Happy Holiday Weekend

We survived the busiest holiday weekend our household will have this season - and actually had some fun despite the harried pace!

Friday night was my corporate Christmas party - we're a small, laid back office, so it was a nice evening out at one of the city's nicest restaurants. Good food, good drink (I heard), good laughs. It was the first time D and I had been out alone - without the kids - in I don't know how long. Seriously. I think the last time we had adult time away from the kids was sometime - lord - I honestly can't remember! Horrible. At any rate, it was nice to get away - but came at a premium. I know I totally overpay babysitters, but the people I choose to let watch my kids aren't the neighborhood teenage girl who will sit on her behind, chew gum, talk on the phone, and watch movies. (I know - I was once a teenage babysitter...) No, we hire the teachers from the kids' school, and they come at a premium. Which is probably why we don't get out that often.

Saturday D took J for his second big boy haircut. Ms. Yolanda did another great job - it's kinda short - but he looks so grown up! We hosted my book club Christmas party Saturday night, so there were a lot of preparations to take place and a lot of cleaning/picking up to do. Thankfully one of A's classmates had a birthday party to attend in the evening (pizza included) and J was allowed to attend - so D had both kids out of the house for 2 hours before our party started. It was amazing all that I could accomplish with both kids out of the house for two solid hours! It was odd though - the silence that resonated throughout the walls...

The party Sat. night was nice - nice to see people I hadn't seen in a long time, to catch up, visit, eat some good eats. The only drawback was that A didn't go to sleep until the last guest left - so she was up well until 11pm. Which made for a grumpy little girl the next day.

D and I are visiting a new church - the reasons why we're not happy with our current church are the subject of another post - but we've committed to visiting this new place of worship through Advent. A and I went last week (D stayed home with J and his tummy issues). Both of us loved it - so we returned as a family this week. Three of us enjoyed it - the littlest one HATED the nursery. I don't think it was the place or the caregiver - just that it was new and he has separation anxiety. It was horrible. I haven't seen my son cry like that - ever.

So we made it through the Sunday school portion - but had to bail out of the church service early - which made me sad as it was the Lessons and Carols service that I always find so beautiful.

And then, Sunday afternoon, my good friend J and her two girls, A, and I all attended the Nutcracker. It was amazing - and A loved every minute of it. I loved watching my favorite ballet of all times through her eyes. It was lovely.

Of course I was emotional and teary when the first strains of the Overture started and the curtain rose - because seeing the Nutcracker is a tradition my mom and I started years ago.

I miss her.

We topped the weekend off with dinner out with our friends - and finally put one overtired A and one overtired J into their respective beds.


Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Getting Ready for the Holidays

So started the holiday decorating extravaganza at our house. So far, the bottom third of the lights on our "fake" pre-lit Christmas tree (that we put in the den) have gone out (to be replaced by more colored lights OVER the string that is out in true classy style, half of the lights we tried to put on our "real" tree in the living room do not work at all, most all of the outdoor light displays are in various stages of not working... yes, the makings of a wonderful holiday season...
I'm trying to stay focused, not lose my temper when these things happen, but its hard. I just want everything to be finished, put up, boxes stored away - instead of looking like Christmas threw up all over our house.
I'd really like to focus on the fun things this holiday season (like making gingerbread houses) which was fun (after I had to remind A that she may not like every type of candy that came in the kit to decorate the house - it doesn't matter - it's not to be eaten). I'm looking forward to making Christmas cookies with her (when I ever have time) and taking her to see the Nutcracker (which is scheduled for this weekend.)
J is a little bit harder to celebrate the season with, being only 19 months old. He does enjoy the lights though - last Friday we took them through the Saluda Shoals Park Christmas lights display - he had a ball - although I think what he really enjoyed was being released from his car seat to sit on daddy's lap and help 'drive' the car (we were going less than 10 miles an hour and wanted the kids to see the display - so what for safety rules, right??)
All in all, it is a busy time of year -but one that I hope we can enjoy as a family. Even if it kills me.

Christmas is Coming...

... and it's not the goose that's getting fat - it's me! I've popped out with this pregnancy - which is early for me - usually I'm farther along before I look SO pregnant. Someone asked me the other day how far I am - when I said 20 weeks they asked that horrible question that people ask - thinking they are being funny but really being irritatingly obnoxious - "are you sure there's just one in there?" Ha ha ha. I'm laughing. Seriously.

Actually, my weight gain has been minimal - probably due to how sick I've been and not wanting to eat much - but all seems well.

We had our "big" ultrasound last week - and everything looked good. No worries - it always puts me at ease once that milestone is behind us - that the baby is developing and growing as he/she should.

Speaking of gender, yes, we did have the technician note the gender of this baby - but no, we don't know what that gender is yet. D and I decided to have it written down on a card - that we'll open together Christmas morning. We're not exchanging big gifts this year - mostly focusing on the kids and trying to get ready for this new baby - so what better gift to eachother than the knowledge of us having a son or a daughter.

(My money is on another boy - by the way - just a thought - for a while I thought girl - but now am feeling boy...)

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Time to be Thankful

The Thanksgiving holiday is rapidly approaching. We have many things to be thankful for - our health, our home, our children, this growing baby. We have food on our table, books to read to our kids, fresh air in which to play outside, and time.

So why is it that with all I have to be thankful for, my heart feels so heavy? I suppose it has something to do with the whole holiday season - and my being prone to sentimentality.

Thanksgiving was my dad's favorite holiday. Of course - it centered around food, wine, and family. As a kid, we always celebrated Thanksgiving with my uncle (my dad's older brother) and his family. They lived in Portland, Oregon, we lived in Eastern Washington, and we'd alternate houses - one year we'd go there, the next they'd come to our house. I remember my mom and my aunt spending time in the kitchen, cooking and telling stories, and sharing sneaks of food as the turkey cooked. I remember running round outside in the cold northwest weather with my cousins - getting into all sorts of trouble - and finally coming inside before dinner to warm up, change our clothes, and eat our feast.

The years preceding my dad's death his side of the family gathered for a big family reunion - dad, his wife, my brother, my uncle and his family, and my aunt (dad's little sister) and her family. I never attended. I came up with some excuse or another - it was too expensive to travel to Washington or Oregon or California (the three siblings rotated houses each year) - it was too much time from work - I had a new baby to care for - it was too much trouble. I always thought I'd have more time.

Time. Time with my dad. Time to be a part of my family traditions.

I put my husband's family first - cooking elaborate meals for them full of the dishes and scents and tastes of my childhood, setting a beautiful table with fine china, crystal and linens. It was a feast and a table my dad would have been proud of.

I never in a million years thought my dad would die so young. I always thought to myself "next year - we'll go next year." Then, suddenly, "next year" wasn't there anymore. It wasn't an option. Dad was gone.

And every excuse I came up with all those years seems like the stupidest excuse in the world. Regret is a hard thing to live with. I don't know that I'll ever forgive myself for not being with my family during the holidays - and always putting D's family first.

The whole issue is exacerbated by D's family now. What was once seemingly appreciated and enjoyed is now forgotten. It's too much trouble for D's family to come to our house on holidays - the reasons why I can't even begin to explain. Our house will be silent this Thanksgiving. The traditions and tastes and smells of the Thanksgivings of my childhood will remain a memory. The traditions I wanted to create for my children - holidays of playing outside with cousins and trying to grab a sneaky bite or two of dinner - will not occur. The memories I have of sitting around a beautiful table, loaded with special dishes, while family laughs and eats and tells stories so loudly and all at the same time that it is hard to distinguish who is talking will remain memories.

It's hard to accept that the holidays I desperately tried to re-create for my children with D's family aren't now - and will never - occur. It's hard to look at my dining room with the china and crystal slowly accumulating dust.

I know in my head I should be thankful. And I am. For many things. But for many others, I'm not.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


The day of A's big birthday party was also one of a few "firsts" - for both A and J.

Both had their first haircuts - and A had her first manicure (complete with PINK nailpolish.) Ms. Yolanda did a great job - and A keeps asking when she gets to go back again.

A loved being pampered - and had no issue with her hair being cut (or trimmed, rather.) J - not so much. He did okay - until they got the clippers out - he didn't like the buzzing sound on his neck or behind his ears.

Aren't they adorable!

A's Fourth Birthday

One of the other 'moms' at school came up with the brilliant idea this year to pool resources and have one collective birthday party for our three kids whose birthdays are only several weeks apart. She reasoned that we invite the same kids to each separate birthday party, so we figured why not go all out, host a huge fall extravaganza, and split it three ways?

I had a great time planning with N and S - getting all of the goodies together for a fall themed party was too much fun, as was picking out the birthday cake. The best part though, was that the venue took care of everything - as in - none of us mommies were running around trying to get everything coordinated.
It was a huge success. The three birthday honorees had a wonderful time. A's bff EG and D (who she swears she's going to marry someday) took turns riding ponies, petting all kids of funny animals (including a pig that grunted and a floppy-eared bunny), going on a hayride, picking pumpkins, having a hot-dog roast, s'mores by the fire, caramel apples, candy corn, all followed by birthday cake. What more could a kid ask for! I can't remember how many were there in all - but it was enough to require TWO hayrides for all the kids, siblings, mommies, and daddies.
A is already asking when she will turn five....
A and one of her best buds E.

A - brave girl on the pony ride.

A, J, EG, D - the 'gang' that has been in the same class at school since they were babies, propped up in the boppy pillows.

On the hayride!

Birthday cake splendor - complete with s'mores for the girls!

A and J on the fun wagon!

Cowboy J - we couldn't keep him off the horses!

Apples, Apples, Apples

We took our third annual apple picking trip this fall with our dear friends from North Carolina. We met them about half way between our respective homes, just outside of Hendersonville, NC. It was a wonderful time - all FOUR kids had more fun than I can properly articulate running around the apple orchards, eating every apple they could get their hands on, playing in the rental house, looking at the river beneath the deck at the rental house, picking pumpkins, oh - the makings of a perfect fall weekend.

I look forward to this weekend every year. It's a chance to get away, to spend time with another family that has the same values and fundamental beliefs we do (as in - they don't let their kids get away with crap either), to get ready for the fall season, and to enjoy the mountain air.

I met my friend L online - some may pooh pooh that as a good way to meet people - but she and I met years ago on a "trying to concieve" website. We were both in the throws of trying to have a family - wondering when we would be blessed with children of our own. Through support of each other during trying times, we developed a friendship that has seen me through some of the most joyous times of my life (the births of my two children) as well as the most devastating time of my life (the deaths of my father and grandmother, the brain injury of my mother, and two miscarriages.) She held me up when it seemed that no-one else could. She was the lifeline that most all of my friends "in real life" couldn't be. She wasn't afraid of my hurting. She let me cry. She let me be sad. She "held" my hand through her words on my computer screen moreso than my friends did who just didn't know what to say. She knew that sometimes not saying anything at all except "I'm here for you" was better than any of the cliche crap that I was fed over the years.

We now each have two beautiful children, and our annual trip is a time not only to pick up where we left off and visit just the two of us (thank you B and D for watching the kiddies so we could go out - even if it was just to get lost in Wal Mart), but also a time to see how our children have grown.

This year was no exception - the weather was perfect, the house was kinda weird in layout and certainly not kid-friendly - but it worked, and the companionship was the best.

A wonderful three days together. I can't wait until next time!

And now, pictures!

J - double fisting.

J - first bites of whole apples.

This is what A and J did the entire apple picking trip - ate apples!

A - finally cooperating to take a picture.

A, J, and mommy - being silly with the scarecrow!

Catching Up....

Wow. It's been forever since I've updated the blog... what have we been up to since the last posting you ask? Well, a trip to North Carolina to pick apples with some dear friends (pictures to come), A's fourth birthday extravaganza at Country Adventures (pictures to come), Halloween (pictures to come), oh, yeah, and that little (ahem) big piece of news I've been keeping quiet for some time...

We're expecting Baby #3!

We weren't really preventing, certainly not trying, yet were completely caught off guard with the news that this little one was on the way. It's such a blessing, yet I think it's safe to say D and I are both scared to death.

I have a long drawn out post in my head about that - all of the feelings of this new little one - but that is for a later time. Right now I want to announce the news with all of the joy such an announcement can bring.

Baby Long - due to arrive sometime around (probably before) May 4, 2009.

Monday, September 22, 2008


Four years ago today, I was waiting waiting waiting for sweet A to arrive. We didn't know if she was a boy or a girl - but I suspected girl. We didn't know labor would continue all - day - long and into the night. Then, gloriously, she was here. Our sweet bundle of pink joy.

A - you are a precocious little girl, with the vocabulary of one twice your age. You are headstrong (that sometimes makes my head spin) and witty and funny and smart. You test your boundaries daily (that also makes my head spin) but follow it up with the sweetest hugs and kisses.

I didn't know how much I could love another - until the day you were placed in my arms. I didn't understand how much my mother loved me - until the day you were placed in my arms. You are the light of my life, the joy of my heart, the smile on my face, and sometimes, the tears in my eyes. You are the unending joy of your little brother's life - he wants to just want you do - and it is lovely seeing you be a doting sister to him.

It is truly bittersweet to see you grow up into the little girl you are - but I wouldn't change it for the world.

Thank you for being my sweet little A. I love you.
Happy Birthday!

Monday, September 15, 2008

My Little Monkey

I'm not sure if I posted this a while back - but several months ago J discovered his ability to climb out of his crib. We thought D put an end to it the night he hid behind the crib and when J started to climb out, sternly said "J - get back in your crib!" I think it startled him so that J hasn't attempted to climb out again... until this weekend.

For some reason, starting Thursday night, J has had a hard time going down. We thought we were over the hurdle of making him cry it out - he was in the routine of reading several books, snuggling with his puppies, and then going into his crib and either talking or singing himself to sleep. Then, he decided he didn't want to go to bed - didn't want to go to sleep - and started screaming - SCREAMING - bloody murder until one of us went back in, patted him on the back and settled him down.

So Friday night, we do the routine - put him down - he cries a little - then silence. We breathe a sigh of relief thinking he's finally back to going to sleep on his own. Nope. The silence was then followed by the rattle-rattle-rattle of the crib - then the thud of his little feet hitting the floor.

He's not climbing out too much in the night - but he does arise early - around 6 or so - we hear the rattle rattle rattle on the monitor, then the soft thud, then our door being pushed open and little J standing there waiting to be picked up.

It's not all bad though - I think he really wants a morning snuggle - because the last few mornings he's snuggled right in and drifted to sleep - and honestly, I can't say that I mind that!

Except for the fact that I don't get back to sleep - but sleep is over-rated when you're holding a wee one in your arms.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Still here...

I'm still here - I haven't had a chance to post recently - things have accelerated to super-crazy at our house. I can't disclose what is making me so nutty lately - because I'm still coming to terms with it. It is nothing bad - in fact it is something wonderful - but something unexpected. And I'm navigating uncharted waters.

More to come....

Friday, August 29, 2008

Eighteen Months

My baby boy is eighteen months. It seems like yesterday that you were a little peanut, sitting in the bouncy seat on the kitchen table smiling at the hummingbirds. Now you are running, walking, climbing, getting into everything and being a mischievous little boy. Hearing your first words are music to my ears.

I love watching you try to poke every one's belly button, and then squealing with delight. I love cuddling with you in those precious few moments that you will let me before you are off and running again. I love watching you try to figure things out - and seeing you get angry in frustration is kind of funny! Your gusto when eating is wonderful, as is your delight in throwing balls, and roaring like a lion.

J's 18-month check up at the pediatrician was wonderful. He is right on target at 50% height, 50% weight, with a 25% head (you've been saddled with your mother's pea-sized head.) The concerns I voiced with the MD regarding your quirky habits (running on tip toe, occasionally rocking of your head for no apparent reason, and odd hand movements) were nothing to be concerned about. Dr. Google scared me when I searched - and saw that those were early signs of autism - but Dr. Ted assured me that J is very interactive and focused and did not have any major signs to be concerned about.


God, I love this boy!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Heart and Soul

My paternal grandmother was a whiz on the organ. She had an old organ in her living room, and loved to crank it up when we would come to visit. I remember watching her fingers fly over the two tiers of keys, her feet moving over all the pedals, and her eyes twinkling as she peered at us over her glasses.

Her love of music transposed to my dad, who played the piano and the trombone. One of the first songs he ever taught me to play on the piano was 'Heart and Soul.' It was fun because one of us would play the upper part, and the other the lower. You may remember this song from the movie "Big." It's the song Tom Hanks played with his boss on the floor piano at FAO Schwartz.

I didn't think much about the song until today. Our new spiffy Honda Pilot came equipped with XM Satellite Radio (and a complimentary three-month membership.) One of the stations I've come to adore is the 40's station - where they play all those cool WWII era songs, Bing, Rosemary, Frank - that somehow always remind me of Christmas carols.

After dropping the kids at daycare this morning (and untangling myself from A who uncharacteristically wanted to cling and yell 'mommy!' repeatedly as I left the room - actually I could hear her all the way down the hall after I left) I tuned the XM to the 40's station from the Kids station we'd listened to on our trek to the University. The song that was playing? Heart and Soul.

I'd never heard the 'real' version of it, only what my grandmother cranked out on the organ or what my dad and I plunked out on the piano. It was wonderful. It made me smile.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Ashes to Ashes

When my dad died, we followed his wishes concerning his 'funeral' and burial. That is, we did not have an actual funeral - you know, where you have a visitation followed by a service where the family actually gets closure. No, his wife opted to have a 'memorial' service - held at his local yacht club. She didn't want any flowers or memorials - she didn't want a big 'to do' - and she said it was what dad wanted. I'm not so sure.

Of course I didn't follow the rules - I showed up with a huge arrangement of pink flowers and roses (the same flowers my daddy used to bring me occasionally) with a simple card attached that said "I Love You Daddy." I stuck it on the table at the entrance to the yacht club for everyone to see - much to dad's widow's dismay.

The 'service' entailed people boozing it up and then coming up to a podium set in the corner of the room telling funny stories about dad. Oh, that was nice and all - but was not the closure I wanted or needed - or how I felt we should honor my dad's memory.

But nobody asked me - I was the discounted younger daughter that moved to South Carolina and was never heard from again - at least that is what my dad's widow and my brother would have you think.

Anyway, following the 'service' there was a big lunch - people ate and drank - and it was nice and all. A few days later, we drove to the Tri-Cities, my 'hometown'. Dad had requested that when he passed away that he be cremated, and his ashes scattered at the confluence of the Columbia and Snake Rivers - his favorite place to anchor our old boat, tie up to friends' boats, and wile away the hot summer afternoons.

We did - it was hot that day. Excrutiatingly hot. My brother drove his boat, and he along with his best childhood friend, my dad's widow, and I all rode along with him. D and A (who was 11 months old at the time) did not get to attend. They had to stay back at the hotel. No one thought ahead to try and find a life-jacket small enough for an 11-month old, and I was too worried about her boating without one.

My dad's widow had the honors of actually scattering the ashes off the end of the boat. Actually, it was more like dumping. She opened up the box, pulled out the plastic bag, and dumped all five pounds of ashes in the river - very unceremoniously I might add.

I had removed the petals from the arrangement I insisted on bringing to the memorial 'service' and scattered them on top of his ashes. As a final gesture, I floated the "I Love You Daddy" card on top.

Then we motored away.

I haven't been back since.

I realized this gray drizzly morning as I was driving the kids to daycare that I think part of my seemingly endless grieving is that 1) I had no real closure - no real funeral in my mind to say goodbye and 2) there is no grave where I can visit my dad. I can't even visit the rivers where his ashes were scattered. (Okay, maybe we can but not easily - as the Tri-Cities, WA is not exactly convenient to get to.) And I hate that. I want to go back, sit by my dad's grave - talk to him, tell him what's been going on - feel close to him. I feel like I'm a million miles away. Like maybe, somehow, I am that daughter who moved too far away and didn't matter anymore.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Football Widow

Thursday evening marks the start of Carolina football - and thus begins my tenure as a football widow. Before D and I were married, we made a big "to do" about the games - tailgating for hours with the best of them, with huge platters of food, sometimes a beaufort stew cooked right there in the parking lot, and lots of yummy mixed drinks. We were quite festive - before we became old married-with-kids-people.

I haven't been to a football game since 2003 - the year we were trying to conceive A. She was born in September 2004, and I was too big and pregnant and scared of going into labor the few games before her due date to waddle up to the east upper deck of Williams-Brice Stadium.

Ever since then, I've been too wrapped up in kids to leave them with a sitter for hours on end to go to a game. My feeling is that they are in daycare all day Monday through Friday - so to stick them with a sitter for the better part of a Saturday just wasn't right.

I still don't.

But, D has convinced me to do so this Thursday night. The hope is to have the sitter (who is a teacher at the kids' daycare) either take them home with her after work at 4:30 or have me pick up and bring them home with her following. They'll be in bed at 8 (the game starts at 7:30) so they shouldn't miss mommy and daddy too much.

And, I'll actually get to attend ONE game this season - which still isn't fair after I write the ridiculous check of $960 for the gamecock club membership and tickets. I've told D that he should get to go to a few games and take a friend with my ticket - and I should get to go to a few games with a friend on his ticket - yeah - the chances of that happening are about as good as USC going to the SEC championship...

But I digress....

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Office Ettiquete

Rule Number 1 - no matter how much you enjoy your seemingly spectacular fish stew for dinner (haddock and shrimp apparently) - do NOT bring it in for leftovers the next day. Your colleagues may not appreciate the smell of rotting fish permeating the office walls as much as you do.

But I digress.....

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

I love my child, I love my child, I love my child...

Repeat several hundred times.

Pause and breathe.

Repeat several hundred times more.

Then regroup, try to focus, and try yet again to communicate with said female child.

I know she's stubborn. I know she gets completely absorbed in whatever she's doing at that particular moment in time. I know she's hard headed.

What I CANNOT stand is talking to her, seeing her eyes wander off, asking her what I JUST said, only to hear 'I don't know mommy.' It is infuriating.

It gets even better when she gets mad about something, starts screaming bloody murder, and I can't get her to calm down to even LISTEN to reason.

I find myself losing my temper. Getting very angry with her. Wishing I could stop the screaming - get her to reason - reminding myself that reason and accountability don't exist in the world of A.

Everyone told me 'threes are the new twos - but once your kid reaches four it's like an epiphany and they become lovely.'

If that's the case, September 21 should be the magical day.

I'm not holding my breath.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Fashion Sense?

I think Clinton and Stacey from 'What Not To Wear' will be visiting my child in the very near future... when asked to go get ready for bed, this is what A came up with...

Not the one purple sock, one too tight black tap shoe, and one too tight white patent leather shoe from Easter last year...

Brookgreen Gardens

Before we headed home from the beach on Sunday, we visited Brookgreen Gardens. It was our first trip into the gardens, with an exception of a wedding which we attended several years ago - but we only attended the wedding and did not view any of the gardens.

They are beautiful, full of enormous live oak trees dripping in spanish moss, unique and gorgeous statues, fountains, ponds and flowers. Additionally, they have a wildlife preserve and nature exhibits.

The kids had a ball. I don't think J knew what to think about the trees - they must have seemed out-of-this-world large to his little body.

A, well she had fun prancing around pretending to be a princess - but that is one for par in our house.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Home Sweet Home

We're home. I was sad to leave our little oasis - our little space away from everything. I came to enjoy our laid back pace - of waking to the sounds of J's babbling in the pack-and-play near our bed, seeing A come padding out of her room with her hair askew and lighter in color every day from the sun, enjoying lazy breakfasts of pancakes or eggs, then seeing J get ancy as he protested it taking so long to get our bathing suits on so we could head to the beach.

I came to love our mornings - doused in sunscreen and sand and salty water as the kids ran up and down the beach, and dug big holes in the sand and A collected a little pile of tiny seashells that she proudly toted home every afternoon.

I looked forward to lunches in the condo followed by naps - then an afternoon spent splashing around the pools. The kids adored the 'yellow submarine' which is the prominent feature of the kiddie pool at Litchfield - where the kids could stomp around in 1 foot deep pool water, then climb in and out and around a big submarine, complete with water guns and spray nozzles, guaranteed to completely soak whoever was near. I loved holding a on my lap while D held J - and we floated around the lazy river, waving at all the people nearby.

I enjoyed cooking dinners of fresh shrimp and corn and potatoes or crab cakes from the famous 'crab cake lady' and seeing the kids gobble up every bite - their appetites enlarged by their activities of the day.

I loved snuggling with A in her bed - reading her books about Hermy the Hermit Crab or the Hungry Gator, purchased especially for this trip so she could learn about the low country of our state.

I truly hated to pack up and leave yesterday.

Back to the grind now - work, school, activities - refreshed, yes. Exhausted from all of the fun in the sun, definitely.

Scenes From The Beach

Look at our choo choo train!

Smiley J - clean and bathed and ready for bed.

Pawleys Island at sunset.


With our friend E and E who came down for the night on Friday.

Discovering the queen sized beds in the condo.

Bathing beauty A.

Cool dude J.

Sitting on the sandpile that Daddy created for us.

Reading our new "Hermy the Hermit Crab" books.