Archives for May 2007

It’s 4 p.m. – Do You Know Where Your Kids Are?

MY kids are in their brand new (to them) play room. A happy related effect of Hubby and I moving into our new bedroom is that our old bedroom now becomes (drum roll, please): The PLAYROOM!

All the oodles and piles of toys that have been living in my living room for the past… oh… almost FIVE years have now been relocated to the room formerly known as the master bedroom.


I know that now this room will always look like Toys R Us exploded in it, but I really don’t care (for now) because I can just shut the door and not look at the chaos. You can’t just do that when the chaos is in your living room. I’ve painted a chalkboard on one wall, and we picked up a bunch of yardsticks to “frame” the chalkboard. We may tweak and perk the place up some, but basically – I’m not too worried. I am ready to reclaim my living room.

The House is DONE!

I’ll have more pictures to post soon, but the above is a shot of my closet, a few weeks ago when I had only put SOME stuff in it – and it was still nice and neat. By the way, the closet is symmetrical, meaning that it looks exactly the same to the right of the little cubbies – that’s Hubby’s side – but I don’t like the way he folds clothes, so you don’t get a picture of it. I thought I would share the shining ray of light in an other wise gloom filled time:
My. House. Is. Done.
Okay – there are a few minor things yet to do (some paint touch ups, a nail popped through the drywall in a spot, and the like), but for the most part: Done.
Tonight, Hubby and I moved our bed and all of our stuff from our OLD bedroom into our NEW bedroom. That’s going to be weird. After five years, sleeping somewhere else. To further change things up a bit, we’re switching sides of the bed (do y’all have your own “sides”?). I have no idea if that’s going to work. I’d like to think I’m still going to sleep okay – but we’ll see. Maybe it won’t work and tomorrow we’ll move our nightstands and switch back to our “regular” sides.
I’m worried I’m going to wake up at 2 a.m. and be confused about where I am.
But who cares?! The house is DONE!!!

Yeah. I Don’t Get It Either.

Tonight, I was kicking back with a pile of work to do, making up for last week. It took me quite some time to get Pumpkin to bed tonight, and Hubby had The Princess with him at Stepson’s baseball game. Pumpkin was twenty minutes past her bedtime when I finally settled her in her crib – and not minutes after that, the doorbell rang.

It was the kid who lives in the house behind us. I don’t think I’ve mentioned him (but I should have) – but he’s got this new hobby of standing in his backyard, on top of a ladder and trying to tip it over so he can stage these elaborate stunt-like falls (have I mentioned how glad I am that I have daughters? Boys are weird).

I said hello and figured he was going to ask if Stepson was home, as they are sort of friends.


“Do you want some fish? I have a whole bunch.”

Um, no.

Door to door fish sales. Just one more quality of living in a small town.

Finding Laughter Through Tears

As predicted, yesterday was difficult. I knew it would be. I wasn’t surprised. I felt like I was spread unbelievably thin, both in reality with a massively crunched schedule, and emotionally feeling like I wasn’t where I needed to be. On our calendar yesterday was getting my hair done for my stepbrother’s wedding (yes, I had a wedding to attend on top of everything), doing The Princess’s hair in curls (again) for the full dress rehearsal, attending the actual dress rehearsal, knowing the funeral was going on, getting home from rehearsal in time to jot down some notes for the babysitter, get dressed and hightail it out the door to try to make it to the wedding reception in time for dinner (we missed the ceremony due to the rehearsal – which is fine by me).

As I arrived at the auditorium with The Princess (who had all the makeup and hair thing going on), we sat to watch some of the other classes perform while we waited for her class’s turn. I am punctual to a fault – in fact, we arrived twenty minutes early (and that was with a Starbucks detour) – so imagine my annoyance at finding that the studio was about forty-five minutes behind schedule. That pushed The Princess’s production rehearsal from 1:30 to 2:15. As I sat there in the dark watching kids get attacked with massive stage fright, I kept looking at the time on my cell phone knowing that it was getting closer to time for the funeral and just feeling very overwhelmed and that I wasn’t where I needed to be, and that I didn’t know why I was in the land of overly made up preschoolers.

They finally called for the Strawberry Shortcake girls (that would be the group of five classes dancing to songs from Strawberry Shortcake), and I excused myself and headed to the restroom for what Oprah would call “an ugly cry”. Gave myself a few minutes of being an emotional wreck, splashed some water on my face, and headed back into the auditorium in time to see the girls being positioned on the stage for their numbers. I sat in the dark just feeling terrible – until my girl took the stage.

Watching four and five year olds on stage is a laugh and a half anyway – they were all a bit “off” – but there was this fun feeling I had watching her and having her there in front of me while I was feeling so down. There is a part to the dance that the girls all screw up every time (it’s a weird shuffle-jump-step thing… Hard to describe, and I think it’s a bit beyond this class) – but my Princess was the only one on stage who got it right during rehearsals, and I was so stinking proud of her that I had a big grin on my face and felt a bit lighter in my heart. She’s such a ham that I know she was eating up her moments in the spotlight. And part of me knew that my grandmother would be smiling down at her – because frankly, The Princess was amazing (and I totally toned down the makeup stuff, so she wasn’t in full-on Jon Benet). The rest of rehearsal went pretty smoothly – midway through, Hubby came to take over sitting and waiting, and I went home with Pumpkin so I could get ready for the reception.

I got all gussied up, left notes for the sitter, and we went to the party not really knowing what to expect. My stepbrother and his (now) wife are a bit “rough around the edges” – and the antics that ensued at the reception certainly were true to that. While I never would have expected some of that stuff… I’m not entirely surprised. I was able to hit the dance floor a bit, eat some really tasty almond cake, and have some snarky laughs on behalf of the bridesmaid in the strapless gown with three enormous tattoos on her back who was a little on the drunk and rowdy side (the bride apparently wanted to ask her to cover the tattoos up with makeup, but was scared to ask).

I came home and my girls were sleeping soundly, and the sitter had even cleaned my microwave (which was embarrassingly nasty, I have to admit, and if I had realized last night that she had done it, we’d have totally paid her more). Today, my girls and Hubby have showered me with cards, and a great gift, and a yummy trip out for breakfast. I’m feeling loved and I’m feeling better. I’m doing okay.

Hanging In There…

The funeral is tomorrow and it’s really hard for me, knowing that I’m not there with my dad and my family. In fact, while they are honoring my grandma’s life, I’ll be sitting in an auditorium, watching the decked-out JonBenet’s go through the full dress rehearsal for next weekend’s recital. I canNot believe it.

This has been an “interesting” week – and I say interesting for complete and total lack of a better word. A week ago tonight, my dad was calling me to tell me he’d be on his way to Florida, that my grandmother was just not doing well. And days later? I mean, it just happened so fast once it started.

I always feel in my life when I’m going through something difficult that I need to take stock of things – I end up evaluating the people and places and friendships in my life, because it’s the tough stuff we deal with that makes it apparent who we can count on when the chips are down, when tears are falling and when you feel that things suck and you’re stuck up to your knees in quicksand and can’t get out.

I have several amazing friends who I know would pull me out of quicksand. I know it because of cards received, messages sent, and other ways of letting me know they care. But it’s surprising to find there are people who walk on by when you’re hurting. I was really surprised, actually. I’m going to give it time – let myself decompress from the week and reevaluate how I’m feeling. Admittedly, I’m feeling a bit keyed up still. Like a train wreck.

This morning, I logged onto my computer and the internet wasn’t working. I stood in the kitchen on the edge of tears because, as I griped to Hubby: “I canNOT handle one more thing not going right. I just can’t.”

My dad was telling me today that the women of my grandmother’s church are all baking cookies for after the service tomorrow. The program reads: “Following the service, please go eat your dessert. Minerva would have wanted you to eat cookies. Lots of them.”

So, that is probably what I’ll do: Eat cookies and remember my grandmother. (Feel free to join in eating the cookies – she would have liked to have a cookie-eating movement, I just know it).

Questions from Zann

Zann was gracious enough to share some questions with me because it seems we all have blogger’s block lately – and frankly, I definitely needed the distraction from life.

1. What invention that has not yet been invented other than in your head or imagination would you like to see invented?
A robot that changes poopy diapers would be fantastic. I really hate that – I have a freakish sense of smell, and it offends my olfactory senses to be right up in there changing the stink. Self cleaning toilets would be great too (and without that weird freaky stuff that turns the water blue, because I really don’t like that). I’m not much for the potty chores. I’m all for inventions that eliminate my dealings with it!

2. Who would you trade places with (like in Freaky Friday) for one week if it was possible to do so?
I could be vain and say I’d love to be someone known for her looks (but not Angelina Jolie because she has like 100 children and if I’m gonna be someone else, I don’t want to be bogged down with MORE kids), because I’d love to know that people who are thought to be so gorgeous maybe have not so good days too. But that sounds superficial (hey, I never said I wasn’t). I could be serious and say The President, because in a week I think if I had a position of power, I could do some good…
Hard question. My brain hurts.

3. What is your favorite Children’s book from your childhood? From your children’s childhood?
I have always loved reading. As a kid, I remember my mom reading “Goodnight Moon” to me. I still adore that book. Once I was able to read on my own, I fell in love with the Betsy books, then Beverly Cleary’s Ramona books, and then anything by Judy Blume. I cannot wait til my girls are old enough to read the Ramona books.

Needless to say, we have LOTS of kids’ books in our house. Reading is so so so important to me, and I’m trying to instill the love of reading in my kids. The Princess has a book called “Don’t Grownups Ever Have Fun” – which is hilarious. I love reading it because it is so true to life – the kids wake up mom and dad early (“We don’t waste time sleeping when there’s a zillion things to do!”), they hate cleaning, they want to “help” around the house… It’s adorable. We also have a book called “I Like Myself” by Karen Beaumont, which is to sort of instill a self esteem and sense that the exterior stuff doesn’t matter – that it’s all the amazing things on the inside that make a person who they are. (I should practice what I preach, eh?). But I do adore that book. Great illustrations, great message.

4. You get to choose your superpower – what would it be?
I think I might like to read minds. I know that when I ask Hubby what he’s thinking and he says, “nothing” that he’s really thinking SOMETHING. And I want to know what it is.

Or maybe I don’t.

5. You are on death row (don’t ask me what you did) what would you request as your last meal?
I just read a book that said that the last meal has a dollar limit (at least in Oklahoma – the prison system being discussed in this book). The dollar amount there is about $15. I figure I’m not getting a gourmet last meal for $15. BUT.

Fifteen bucks could buy a decent amount of ice cream and brownies and whipped cream. I would want a humongous brownie sundae. And then I would want them to quick put me out of my misery before I got that post-dessert-oh-I-ate-too-much bloat.

Another Angel On My Side Now

My dad called me Friday night to tell me he was flying down to Florida on Saturday. My grandmother was unwell, has been unwell for quite some time now, and he wanted to be with her. Sunday, he called me and told me Grandma would be going into hospice. My grandmother died last night, just hours after my aunt’s flight from Germany made it to the states – she had waited to see her.

Four years ago at this time, my grandmother had a heart attack. The Princess was about to turn one, and every indication we had was that she would not make it much more than a few more months. Hubby and I flew down to Sarasota with The Princess for a visit – to make sure we had gotten to have some time with her. And miraculously enough, she was wonderful. I remember she was bustling around cooking for us, baking for us, wanting to take care of us. And she made it through four more years.

Last summer, she was in Michigan to spend some time at her cottage up north, and the fear then was that she would not live much longer. I was able to take the girls to see her and spend time with her, and get pictures of her with them. She got to see Pumpkin and hold her.

By Christmas, she was unwell. Several small strokes left her struggling to find words. In a phone call, she kept referring to my dad as my grandfather, and finally, dad had to help her find the words to tell me goodbye. Between the strokes and colon cancer, her health has been deteriorating for some time. Having had so many “this is it” moments in the past four years, I guess I didn’t think it would ever happen. My grandmother died exactly a month, to the day, after her sister did.

My grandmother was a loving, warm woman who lived to please people. To her, food is love. The one time I remember her getting upset with me was when she had baked a cake – I didn’t want a piece of it. By refusing her cake, it was as though I was refusing her love. I was a kid, I didn’t get it. I didn’t realize that that was her love language… but I learned.

One summer, she asked my brother what his favorite food was, and he told her macaroni and cheese – so she made him mac and cheese from scratch. And he hated it. He wanted the stuff in the box. She taught me the importance of writing thank you notes. Her molasses cookies were legendary (a cookie company even manufactured her recipe for awhile). She taught me how to bake.

She had a squirrel outside her cottage that she fed daily and she named him Algernon.

We would stay at her cottage and she would be up well before the sun, bustling around in the kitchen. In the evenings, she would sit at the piano and play for us. My family has always been full of music.

My heart hurts today – not just because my grandma died, but that my dad has lost his mother, just days before Mother’s Day.


1. What is the best free advice you have to offer?
“If you really want to be happy, no one can stop you.” – Sister Mary Tricky
I have a hard time remembering this one sometimes – that I am the one holding the reins on how I’m feeling, that I am the one who is in control. Too often, I think, “She made me mad!” when really, it was ME who let SHE get under my skin. I think it’s important to remind myself that I am the one who is in control of my happiness.

2. Someone has given you a million dollars. What would you do with it?
The practical side of me would first pay off the house, pay off the car, pay off Hubby’s student loan (because I already paid all mine – YAAAAAHOOOOOO!), max out my IRA for the year, max out the kids’ college funds for the year.


I need a vacation. So I would probably do that. I also have a list of things I would like. I’m not usually a “I want…” kind of person, but lately it seems I have a few things I would like – like a new digital camera (because I’m convinced it’s not that I take crappy pictures, but that I have a crappy camera), a laptop because Hubby’s accounting software bogs down our shared PC so much that it drives me buggy, and other assorted gadgety things.

And then I would probably donate some to charity because I’m not entirely a greedy, me-me-me beast.

"Someone’s Got a Case of the Mondays!"

Unless you would rather I blog again about how tired I am (so tired), how much teething sucks (so much) and how I’m really just in a funk because there is stuff going on in my family, please send me more questions a la Emily, and I’ll answer them. I’m dealing with a pretty severe case of writer’s block the past few days, and I think letting my brain do some work would help.

; )

The One Where Sarah Talks More About Sarah

Maybe it’s just my over inflated sense of self-importance, but when Emily asked on her blog if anyone wanted her to interview them, I was all, “Ooh, me! Me! Pick me! Pick me!” Because you should all care, right?

1. Name one event or moment in your life that changed you forever.
I feel like I should say here, the birth of my daughters, but well, duh. Of course that changed me forever. Like, I can’t sleep through the whole night anymore. I can’t pee alone. Oh, and I have my little smoochy daughters who give kisses and all that stuff. It’s great. Yes, life is changed. But… The UNEXPECTED answer would probably be going away to college. I went to high school in a small town where I’d say a good percent of people didn’t go away to school – either attended community college or local colleges that didn’t require a move, or a change in lifestyle. Not me. I moved about two hours away and spent my freshman and sophomore years at University of Michigan (GO BLUE!). It cost an arm and a leg, and it challenged me beyond belief (I still wonder why they accepted me – everyone there seemed so accomplished and smarter than me). But, I got to expand my circle of friends (I still keep in touch with several friends I made there) . I got to embrace diversity in a way not possible in this town, and I got to taste independence. Wouldn’t trade it for anything.

2. What in yourself do you hope to see in your children? How do you hope they do not take after you?
We’ll start with the easy part. I hope they don’t get my self-esteem or lack of it. I’m pretty tough on myself. I hate that. My girls are such amazing and smart and beautiful beings, I hope they are able to embrace in a positive way all that they are and all they have to offer without beating themselves down.

Okay… the toughy. What do I want them to get from me? I am a good hearted person. I like to believe the best about people and I am pretty forgiving. I hope they get that.

3. What is the story of you and your husband? Meeting, length of courtship, proposal?
Hubby and I met in high school – my sophomore year, his junior year. We met by a mutual friend’s locker (Note: neither of us know where this guy ended up in life. Haven’t seen him since graduation). We became friends. Dated briefly. Had a theatrical high school break up after two weeks of dating (during which time, he wowed my mom with his sense of humor when he picked me up for a date, she told him to be careful — he looked at my younger sister and said, “Why? You’ve got a spare?!” Hardy har har). After the breakup, we didn’t speak for several months – maybe even longer. We became friends, he entered the military, I went away to college and we corresponded by mail and renewed our friendship. He met and married the Ex (Little known fact: I was AT that wedding). It ended at some point, and at my friend’s 21st birthday party in 1997… there he was. He spilled his drink in my shoe.

We began dating and he proposed to me in the dorms on Keesler AFB in Biloxi, MS in February 1999. We got hitched in August 2000.

4. Would you want your girls to be like you were when you were a teenager? Why or why not?
Actually, I should be so lucky! I was one of those goody-goodies who was so scared of getting caught, I pretty much steered clear of trouble. I wasn’t a drinker, didn’t smoke, wasn’t doing any of those things that I worry about my kids doing when they become teenagers. As far as that kind of thing, I doubt my mother lost much sleep over me.

Having said that, I hope that my daughters and I have a stronger relationship than my mom and I did. My friends always felt they could tell mom everything. I felt that she would judge, get mad, or otherwise react to things going on, so while I wasn’t off doing anything “bad” – I didn’t really talk to my mom about much of anything. I really hope my girls don’t feel that way about me.

5. What’s your favorite song? Why? Include any special lyrics.
This is a question that I could go on ALL day about, but won’t. There are two songs that immediately pop into my head as favorites: “Anna Begins” by the Counting Crows is one. The second is “The Rainbow Connection” from the Muppet Movie.

I have to say that I pretty much adore ALL Counting Crows songs because I love the way Adam Duritz writes – and when I start to try to come up with special lyrics, I could darn near type word for word the whole song… it just rocks my socks. But there are two parts especially that get me everytime:

“The time when kindness falls like rain
It washes me away and Anna begins to change my mind
And every time she sneezes I believe it’s love and
Oh lord, I’m not ready for this sort of thing

She’s talking in her sleep
It’s keeping me awake and Anna begins to toss and turn
And every word is nonsense but I understand and
Oh, lord, I’m not ready for this sort of thing.”

Pumpkin was very close to being named Anna. I don’t know what it is about this song – just the realization of being in love – how it hits you smack! Upside the head. When you’re not expecting it. Man.

“The Rainbow Connection” is slightly more sentimental to me. My dad is a pianist – and when I was a kid he worked nights, playing in bars, resaurants, that type of thing. Sometimes, on his breaks he would call me and I would ask him to play that song – MY song. To this day, it remind sme of my dad, and of being a kid. Love it.

“What’s so amazing that keeps us star-gazing?
And what do we think we might see?
Someday we’ll find it, the rainbow connection
The lovers, dreamers and me…”

Honorable mentions to:
“Elsewhere” by Sarah McLachlan (“I believe this is heaven to no one else but me…”)
“American Pie” by Don McLean (who can name just one lyric – the song is like a year long!)