Thursday, November 29, 2007

Four Going on Fourteen

Oh, the drama. How can someone so small be so dramatic?

I'm talking about my four-year-old. Four and a half, if anyone is asking. She seems to grow taller, thinner, and smarter every day. And this week, it seems as though her behavior has become more dramatic and frankly, smart-assed, and it's driving me crazy.

First of all, on the way to school yesterday morning, as we turned onto the main road, she still wasn't buckled so I firmly asked her to buckle again. And she said "Uh, do not talk to me like that."

And that isn't where it ended. She also said, sarcastically, "Thanks for making Reese cry," when I got firm with Reese when she refused her own car seat. I didn't even know Avery knew what sarcasm was. But she does.

And the drama. Oh, the drama. Tonight, she did not want to eat her dinner. It was a chicken and rice casserole that my Nana used to make and it's a time consuming and delicious meal. And it made Avery gag. Which made her get in trouble. So she finished her dinner in silence. Not happy, but she ate it. She didn't say another word about it until last night, when I was putting her to bed. She said, in the sweetest, teariest voice, "Momma, my throat is killing me. It really hurts. I think it's because I had to eat all that food tonight and some of it is still stuck there. So can you get me some medicine?"

I get the medicine, not because I believe that she has food in her throat (is there even medicine for that?), but because she has had a cough and runny nose for days and I have just been looking for an excuse to dope her up on some Tylenol Cold so I can get some peace.

After the medicine, we talk for a bit. We talked about Christmas presents and what we will do tomorrow (she doesn't want to go to the gym because "she's just so tired of it"). I made the mistake of telling her that I already had one gift for her, hidden somewhere. Will I ever learn? Sheesh. She could have won an Oscar for this performance. "Mom, why won't you just ever tell me anything? I never get to know anything. All I want is a real horse and I want you to tell me if you got it for me because I need to feed it. Mother, please. Just tell me. I have to know."

Somehow, I dug myself out of that hole by discussing what I had gotten her father. And then it was time for me to go to my own bed.

"Mom, can't you just sleep in here?" No. "Just for tonight? Just once?" No. "Mom, you used to sleep with me when I was three, so you should still sleep with me (I did not)." No. "Mom, I just can't be alone tonight. I just need to sleep in Rhett's bed with him, that's all I need. Just please, Mom." Honey, no. I'm going to bed. Good night. "(Sobbing desperately, clinging to my shoulders)Mom, I just really need you. (Sobbing stops abruptly) Can I sleep in the office tonight?" No, you're already in bed. "(Sobbing resumes)Oh Mom, I just can't be in here alone. I need to sleep with you. I just need you."

The thought that sent me to my bed sobbing desperately is this: She is only four. I'm only just beginning. And there's another one coming up behind her. I've said it before...I'm in big trouble.

The Tree

Remember when you were little and you helped decorate the Christmas tree? You would be so excited to put the ornaments on, but every time you put one on, your mom moved it and said "Honey, we need to remember to spread them out more...don't put two the same next to each other...there's already a snowman there, Honey...we need to put some near the top...don't forget about the back, and on and on and on..." and then you'd come home from school the next day and they'd all be moved to where she wanted them anyway? That always drove me crazy. I always thought "Jeez, Mom, can't you just relax? Does everything always have to be just so?"

Yeah, so last night, we decorated our tree. I'm not finicky, I said. I'm not as picky about this kind of thing as my mom is. It's their tree, I thought. I'll let them do it the way they want to do it. And here is the result.

If you come over to my house, please don't look at the top, right side, left side, or the back of our tree. There is a 2' radius of ornaments smack dab in the middle. In the front. And it looks ridiculous. And I tried to be quiet, but I found myself saying several times, "Avery, don't forget to space them out." Her response was always "I am, Mom. I know, Mom. I'm doing it, Mom."

It drives me crazy when I realize my mom was right.
(I'm moving the ornaments today, while Avery is at school. One day, in about 30 years, she'll know why.)

Wednesday, November 28, 2007


My baby boy is 6 months old. Actually, he's 6 1/2 months old now and I've just gotten around to trying to schedule his 6 month pictures. I usually take the kids to a studio for pictures, but when Avery was 6 months old, we went to a rather expensive studio and got these adorable, amazing pictures of her all in a collage-type photo. It's beautiful. And it was almost $200 for just the one picture, and I don't work anymore, so with Reese, I took several close-ups of her and created my own collage photo on Kodak Gallery. It's not bad. It's a little huge, but the pictures are good and you get a good idea of what she looked like at 6 months.

I've been trying to work on one for Rhett. I am having so much trouble. I have some here that I think are pretty cute, but then I realized he had a booger hanging out of his nose (told you they were taking over our house.) Plus, he has that little scar on the right side of his face, so I should probably take some photos without that in there. I don't need permanent evidence of my neglect.
Ok, so that's the long version of the story of these pictures. The short version is this: Look at my precious boy, who is 6 months old. These are my "rough draft" pictures, but I love them anyway!

Not my favorite, but he's still cute.

Definitely not my favorite. He appears as though he is not the sharpest knife in the drawer in this one and I feel in my heart that that is not true. You never know at this age, but I choose to believe he's brilliant unless and until proven otherwise. I'll not be framing this picture. But he's still cute.

LOVE this one. LOVE IT. Not because it's fabulous quality or anything, but because it's funny and he's so stinking cute. And he drools constantly and sucks on his lips and this one just captures him perfectly.

I like this for two, his eyes look beautiful and two, he looks like a hilarious little old man. It doesn't really even look like him, but I like it anyway.

I like this because he's just so pretty. And the booger isn't showing and neither is the scar. And I like his fat little hand.

And this is my very favorite. I'm framing this one for sure. I love it. He's so cushy and cute and funny and precious. Did I mention cute? When I look at this picture, I can hear his deep little gurgly laugh and it tickles my heart.

I love this guy. Boogers and all.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007


Yeah, this is a post about boogers. I'm terribly sorry if this is gross or inappropriate to any of you, but it's all I can think about lately. Boogers have taken over this household. I can't get away from them. I find them everywhere. I scrape my arms on the dried ones on my kids' clothes when I gather the laundry. I have a crusty shoulder at all times. At our little party the other day, I realized I had a huge, wet booger on the bottom hem of my Gap turtleneck. Don't know where (well, I guess I can narrow it down, but I don't know exactly from which nose it came) it came from and I don't know if anyone noticed. And we are now down to our last box of Kleenex and payday doesn't come until Saturday. It's reached epidemic proportions.

It started roughly two months ago with your average cough/cold/crusty booger combo. All three kids seemed to have runny noses, but as long as I had Kleenex and some Tylenol Cold nearby, I was fine. I really only had to tend to Reese and Rhett anyway because Avery figured out the shirt-sleeve-swipe pretty quickly and took care of herself. I had it under control.

But then pink eye came along. If you haven't dealt with pink eye, I'll give you two key pieces of information in case you encounter it in your future. One, it's not really that big of a deal to cure if you don't have a problem sitting on top of a two-year-old's arms in order to squeeze eye drops into sealed eyes three times a day and two, there are TONS of eye boogers involved. And we're not talking a little gook in the corner of your eye when you wake up. No, I mean, BOOGERS. Sealed shut, crusty, gooey boogers that have to be scraped off of little eyelashes with your fingernails because even a warm wash cloth won't budge those suckers first thing in the morning. Naturally, they all three got it. Separately, because it would be far too easy to just spend a day or two on Booger Patrol and then be done. No, it drug on for a solid week. And now, the pink eye seems to be gone, but the boogers remain. And, of course, Reesie has had it the worst, God bless her little middle child heart.

Here's wishing you all a booger-free Tuesday! :)

Monday, November 26, 2007

Princess Party

Princess parties are so not my oldest daughter's "thing." If you have read this blog before, you know that she, in her own words, "likes boy stuff." She wears boxers, talks in a deep boy voice and loves all things superhero. She plays all sports and is unnaturally attached to her camo-print Converse. So, when we got the invitation for a princess dress-up party, I knew I had to prepare her. She was excited about the prospect of a birthday party, but was dead-set against dressing up. But that was the whole deal. It was a pretend, dress-up princess tea party. You were supposed to send your sizes to the hostess and they would have dresses waiting for you when you got there. But Avery didn't want to wear a dress. She said "I'll go to the party, but I don't want to wear a dress." I explained that, when you are invited to someone's birthday party, that you do what they want to do. And that if she invites this little friend to her boy-ish party next May, I'm sure that friend will do what Avery wants to do even though she doesn't like boy stuff at all. Avery stewed over this all week and especially yesterday, the morning of the party. She spent some time in her room before she came in and said "Mom, can I have a Superman party when I am 5?" I said she could. She siad "I"ll invite Rylee, ok?" I said ok. "And Mom, since Rylee doesn't like boy stuff, I won't make her dress up ok? She can just come and I won't get mad if she doesn't do the stuff I like."
She's good, isn't she? I knew then that I was going to just have to play the Mommy card and quit trying to reason with her. "Avery, we can either go to the party with you participating and being nice about it, or you can stay home and I'll just take Reese." That did it. She said she would go, and she would be nice, and she would dress up, but that she wouldn't really like it. Ok, fair enough. That was our deal.
And she kept it. She was nice, she was polite, she went along with everything with a sweet little smile on her face. But I could tell she didn't like it. It was so not her.
Luckily, they had one blue dress. Blue is a boy color, you know, so that actually brightened our spirits a bit. It didn't fit her, but she didn't care. And her blue Spiderman boxers showed through the tulle skirt, but she didn't care. And she found an Ariel crown with blue, purple and green (all boy colors, in her mind), so she was relatively happy. She didn't put on makeup like the other girls and she didn't wear fake hair and jewelry, but she was happy.

I didn't say super happy. Just relatively happy. Happier than if she were say, hanging upside down by her toenails. Actually, she would probably like that. Nevermind. She was going along and being pleasant.

This was our happiest moment besides cake and party favors. We just found out there is a game. A ring toss game. What's that? A sport, you say? Finally, payoff for wearing this stupid dress.

Thank goodness.

The best part of the party came right after the battery in my camera died. I promise I will post pictures if and when any of the other moms send them to me. The style show. Yep, that's right. They had a red carpet sprinkled with flowers and all the "princesses" modeled their outfits. It was a hoot. They were all supposed to walk gracefully, spin around and pose at the end of the carpet and then move to the staging area. All of the girls were so excited. There were squeals of delight when the hostess said the words "fashion show." This was serious business. They strutted, they preened. There was even a high kick by one of the "models." It was hysterical. And then there was Avery. She came out onto the carpet, hands on hips wearing her game face. She was all business. No graceful modeling for her. Nope. She marched. Marched, hands on hips, serious face to the end of the carpet. Did she spin? No. Did she pose? Absolutely not? But was she, with her Spiderman boxers showing through the tulle, the most hilarious princess there? I think so. She is funny. And at the end, when she was back in her black track suit and carrying a balloon and bag of party favors, she said "Mom, if you ever ask me to go to a princess party and dress up like a girl again, I will do it. It was pretty fun. But I still like boy stuff." Fair enough.
And just in case you were worried that I'm running some kind of boy camp here and don't allow my girls to be, well, girly...check this one out. She LOVED this. She wouldn't stop spinning, looking in the mirror and asking me if she was pretty.

"After about 20 minutes of dancing and spinning, she started throwing a fit, trying to rip the dress off and yelling "NO, off, Momma!" and then fell asleep in my lap for an hour. Ah, such is life when you have a 2-year-old. But she is pretty, isn't she?

Sunday, November 25, 2007

All Partied Out

I have been on hiatus the last two days. Or is it three? I don't even know. I'm hungover from too much turkey, too much stuffing, too much junk food, too much beer, too much football, too much of everything! It seems like we've done lots of partying this week.

Thursday, of course, was Thanksgiving. We just had Aaron's brother's family over and there's only four of them, but it sure did seem like we had a lot of food and dishes and action going on. Here are two of our dinner guests here.

Because the grocery-store-sack-vest and headdress are such a popular Preschool/Kindergarten project this time of year, it was no surprise to learn that Avery and her cousin, at different schools in different grades, had similar Thanksgiving outfits this year. And they wore them proudly, the entire meal. Actually, the vests were hanging on the backs of their chairs because those square corners on the sack/vest jabbed them in the neck when they tried to eat, but the head bands stayed put.

Friday there wasn't much of a party, but we did meet Aaron's dad for lunch and pigged out on Olive Garden. Dad was buying, so we really did it right. Full entrees all around and a yummy pumpkin cheesecake for dessert. My sister in law and I ordered one to share and were mortified when the waitress said "Didn't you get enough pumpkin pie yesterday?" which felt like code for "Hey Fatty, it looks to me like you've had quite enough pumpkin pie, but if that's what you want, I'll bring it." Yeah, we want it. And we ate almost the whole thing. And it was good. And it's worth my pants being too tight today.

Yesterday was a real party. The OU/OSU football game was on TV yesterday. It's a big game for my husband and I because of our opposite school affiliations, so we decided to have a few people over to watch the game. Avery loves to be involved with any kind of party, so we really hammed it up yesterday. The girls wore their "Bedlam jeans", which I made using craft glue and which have completely fallen apart after one wearing. But they were cute for a minute.

Everyone in our house knows there's a party if there's curly ribbon on the light fixture (something my mom always did for us on our birthdays and a tradition I've continued for my own kids...they LOVE it), so we did red ribbon for the Sooners and orange and black for the Cowboys. (The Cowboys got beaten horribly and I don't want to talk about it, so we'll just focus on the fun parts of the party.)

We also sorted M&M's and Skittles, taking out all colors except red and orange. We had football serving platters, red plates and orange and black cups. I think Avery liked decorating as much or more than the actual party. I let her take a few pictures of "her" table. I took one of these and she took the rest...guess which ones were hers?

Avery told me that she thinks I "buy really good party stuff" and this football bowl was one of her favorites.

I like her close-ups. It probably helps that she's eye-level with the table top.

Ok, I won't bore you with any more food pictures taken by an overly excited 4-year-old. The point is, we partied. A lot. And we are all partied out. I want to spend all day laying in my jammies, watching movies like Steel Magnolias or Beaches and holding my snuggly baby boy. Ah, that sounds like Heaven. I'm going to put a movie on right n.....Oh. Wait. We have a 6-year-old's princess birthday party to attend today. (How could I forget? Avery has been whining all morning that she is going to have to dress up like a girl today.)

What's that Robert Earl Keen song? "The Road Goes on Forever and the Party Never Ends?" I don't think it's quite the rowdy, drug-induced partying that he was singing about, but it sure hits home today.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving

Since today is Thanksgiving and I've always wanted to do this, but never suggested it at a family gathering for fear of being ridiculed and laughed at, I'm going to do it today because no one is physically here to tease me for being such a dork. (No comments about me being such a dork, ok? It's a holiday, for crying out loud. Cut me some slack.)

1. I am thankful that I am here in my warm house with a turkey baking in the oven.
2. I am thankful that my sweet husband is spot cleaning the carpet because Rhett has spit up sweet potatoes for a week.
3. I am thankful that I have three of the most beautiful, happy, sweet children on all of God's green earth.
4. I am thankful I married my best friend and that he has changed my life.
5. I am thankful that he has a brother whose family is coming to hang with us today so we don't have to eat 12 pounds of turkey by ourselves.
6. I am thankful that I have family who, despite living in separate places, calls to wish us Happy Thanksgiving and whom I love so much that it almost feels like they are here.
7. I am thankful that I am not pregnant or nursing a new baby, which I have done 3 of the last 5 Thanksgivings.
8. I am thankful that I weigh 10 pounds less than I did last Thanksgiving and therefore, am not going to have to wear maternity jeans today (although I may put them on after the meal).
9. I am thankful that I am healthy enough to go for a short jog this morning and that it's nice and favorite running weather.
10. I am thankful for God for making all of the above things possible.

Happy Thanksgiving!!!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Just Sittin' Around

Yeah, I'm sitting up. I'm 6 months old and I'm big and I'm sitting. Maybe a bit unsteady at times, but I'm sitting.

See how big I am? I can sit AND pick up this football. Without falling over. I'm so big.

I mean, I could pick up the football if I wanted to. I'm still trying to decide if I want to. It's not that I have to stop and balance myself. Not at all.

See? I can get it any old time I want. I don't even need my big sister to help hold me up while I get it. She's there, but I didn't ask her to. I don't need her help at all. Really.

I decided I want to play with the football after all. And I don't need anyone's help to hold me up. I can balance with no hands. I'm so big.

Ok, for just a second, I need to set the football down. I didn't drop it because I need my hands for balance. I just don't feel like playing with it right now. I'm just going to sit here and chill. I'm not balancing. I'm not.

WHOA! Who knocked me over? I was doing just fine by myself. Avery, did you knock me down? I was just sitting here, minding my own business, trying to decide if I wanted to pick up this football again and someone knocked me down. No fair.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Musical Beds

My husband snores. Usually, it's because he's lying on his back, so all I have to do is nudge him and he'll roll over and it stops. Not last night. He was roaring like a freight train and he was already on his side. I knew it was useless to even try to sleep in our bed, so I moved to the girls' room. I'm not sure why I chose their room. I should have known that wouldn't be comfortable or enjoyable in any way, but I was tired and in the mood to snuggle.
After a couple of hours of continous wiggling, whining, and sweating, I left. I shuffled down the hall to the office/guest bed and fell into bed. Not before I saw the clock. 1:47 a.m. I still, to my knowledge, had not been to sleep. I knew I would fall asleep as soon as my head hit the pillow, unless one of the kids....yep. Avery heard me leave her bed and wanted to come in the office with me. Ok, fine. We'll bunk together in the twin. No problem. And it was fine.
Until about 3:30, when Reese realized she was alone in her bed and started howling for her daddy (she is SUCH a Daddy's girl). She wasn't pleased when she got me instead, but after a few minutes of consoling her, she went back to sleep.
But her howling had awakened her baby brother. So I got up, patted him for what seemed like an eternity, and crawled back into Reese's bed, where I slept, fitfully, for the next 4 hours until a ringing phone jolted me out of my coma.
So I'm awake, but barely. I had big plans of painting my new table and going to the grocery store for Thanksgiving food (and those Breathe Right Nose Strips for my husband. I don't care if he looks like a retired NFL player in them, he's wearing them!) but right now all I want to do is lay on the couch all day, watching old movies and pigging out on Mazzio's pizza like I used to do in the old college hangover days.
I think I can make it work...I won't be watching old movies, I'll be watching PBS Kids. And I won't be pigging out on Mazzio's because we don't have it down here, and if I did pig out on Mazzio's all day, I'd gain 42 pounds. And I won't get to lay on the couch all day, because Rhett has to be fed and changed and held (he's so demanding!). But I can make it work. Sort of. Maybe.

Sunday, November 18, 2007


Yesterday, this laundry basket had one pair of sizt 2T capris in the bottom. That's it. That's as caught up as you can be on laundry without everyone walking around naked all day, right?
This is the laundry basket today. Seriously.

How does this happen in less than 24 hours? Oh yeah. The 5 people living in this house. Who spit up, spill juice, dig in dirt, work out, sweat and bathe daily. I know this and yet, I'm still in awe of the fact that a basket of laundry, which was virtually empty a day ago, can fill to overflowing this quickly.

Thank God for last year's Valentine's Day and my two energy efficient, maximum capacity best friends in the whole world. I would hug and kiss them if it wouldn't be so weird. I mean it. I LOVE them. They are, without a doubt, the very best Valentine's Day gifts I've ever gotten in my life. (Please don't pity me for this comment. It's just that perfume, chocolates and flowers have never, ever given me a hand accomplishing household chores.)

I'll never forget the moment when, my husband woke me one Sunday morning after an early trip to Home Depot. He whispered the most beautiful words I've ever heard, words which still send a chill up my spine when I think about them. "Babe, the washer and dryer you want are on sale at Home Depot and we're going to get them today."

That basket will be empty again tonight, thanks to these bad boys. They are the only way a family of five can NOT drown in a sea of laundry. I still get excited when I think of all I can get done in one load. It's thrilling.

Ok, I changed my mind. I think it's appropriate for you to pity me now. I have officially become a desperate housewife. Still, February 14, 2007 will forever remain the best Valentine's Day ever. Unless, by some chance, they come up with a machine that folds the laundry. That would be off the charts.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Recent Pictures

While none of these pictures has much of a story on its own, I love all of them and couldn't stand not sharing them.

I'm not sure why Reese's shirts end up like this. Almost daily, she comes in all tangled up like this, begging for someone to "hep me!"

Here are the girls making cookies for Avery's school Thanksgiving feast.

Reese helped. After making a few cookies, she realized that icing the cookies with frosting and decorating with sprinkles and then eating the cookies was the long way. She decided on a more direct route. Drink sprinkles directly from bottle. Quicker sugar rush. Yum.

This picture actually has a story, but it's one I'd rather not tell. The short version is that this is my friend Erin, kissing my sweet boy on the cheek that wasn't rammed into the entertainment cabinet. Poor, sweet baby. He just wants to crawl!
On the bright side, his "scar" makes him look really menacing and tough.

Let's end on a happy note. Have a great day!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

I'm A Wreck

I am an emotional wreck lately. Monday, I found out about my Nana being sick. I sat in my hairdresser's chair and bawled for the better part of a foil highlight. Tuesday morning, my husband made a decision that he has been wrestling with for the past year. It was one of those decisions that he didn't want to ever have to make. One that, while benefitting him and our family, doesn't make anybody happy. But he did it. The relief on his face and in his voice when he stated his decision sent me to the tub to cry where he couldn't see me.
Last night, I read an article about adoption in Redbook and cried through the whole thing. This morning, I started to watch a new Brad Paisley/Sara Evans music video on YouTube and when I saw the first three seconds, with Jesus carrying the cross, bloody and exhausted, I teared up and turned it off because I don't have time to wail this morning. What is going on with me?
I haven't acted this emotionally since I was pregnant. Oh no. No way. No, I'm not. It's really not possible. I mean, I suppose it's always possible for a married woman of childbearing age. But I'm not. I'm really not. And if, by some amazing chance, I am, I know one vasectomy doctor in the DFW area who is getting a huge wedgie.

I AM NOT PREGNANT. NOT PREGNANT. For real, I'm not. Really. Just emotional. Lots going on. Holidays, family, etc. Or maybe it's pre-menopause. WAAAAAAAAAAAA.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

My Nana

My Nana is in the hospital. She was taken to the ER on Tuesday because of severe chest/abdominal pains. The doctors ruled out any heart problems and felt like it was her gall bladder and sent her to the nearby town to a bigger hospital to check it out and possibly do surgery. It turns out it was her pancreas. And she is fairly sick, but doing better. They are positive she is on the mend and will make a full recovery.
Before I heard that Nana was fine, I had a few minor panic attacks at the thought of something bad happening to her. She is, after all, 86 years old and I guess, at that age, any type of illness or surgery is a risk. And I freaked out a bit. Reality tells us that one day, if all goes according to plan, we will lose our parents and grandparents. Logically, I know this, but really, I can't imagine my life without her. I don't see her all the time anymore and we don't talk on the phone once a week like we did when I was single (she and my mom live together, so it's not like we aren't in's just not like it used to be), but Nana is such a big part of my life, whether she's there or not. Nana is like the security blanket you tote to school, but never take it out of your backpack, because you are way too grown up to need a security blanket. But it's there. And you feel safe knowing that, at any moment, if you felt sad or sick or hurt, you could grab it and snuggle up to it and know that all was right with the world.
A lot of people aren't close with their grandparents. To a lot of people, grandparents are old people in the background of their lives. They see them a few times a year when their parents force them to visit. To those people, grandparents are a check in a birthday card or something to be tolerated. Not my Nana. She is a real presence in my life. I can talk to her like she is my friend. She will sit on the back porch, have a vodka tonic with you and visit about the little things in life. Or the big things. Whatever is on your mind, you can say it to Nana. She doesn't judge anyone. She may quietly disapprove, and you may know that she disapproves, but you know she loves you anyway.
When I was in college, I started staying with Nana and Papa on the weekends I came home. I know they thought I was wild and loud and crazy. I was. I remember Papa saying one time "My, you are loud." I think I drove him a little bit crazy, but he was nothing but kind to me. And Nana seemed to like it when I was there. One time, I had a few friends over...we had a few too many drinks and I went to bed, leaving all the lights on, doors open and mess in the kitchen. It was disrespectful of me and I am ashamed to have treated my Nana's house like that, but I was 22 years old and an emotional wreck most of the time and usually drank way too much to make good decisions. You know what Nana said to me? She told me that Papa wasn't too pleased about all the unlocked doors, but Nana just said "You know, this house has needed a good party." That's so Nana. She loves music, loves to dance and loves a good party. You would never catch her drinking too much or dancing on tables or hanging from the pergola outside her house, but she'll darn sure be there watching us, laughing and shaking her little hips to the music. One Christmas night, my siblings (and my mother!) and I stayed up until about 3 in the morning, singing (yelling) karaoke, drinking beer and being silly. Nana was in her bed and we were a little worried about what she was going to say about being awakened 400 times in the middle of the night. You know what she said? "I couldn't decide whether to come tell you to be quiet or to come join you!" She's a trooper. She puts up with all of us kids now that Mom lives with her and I know, at times, that's not easy. There are 4 grown kids, 8 if you include spouses, and 6 gets wild. And she probably gets tired of it. But she just hangs right in there, checking up on us, helping us with kids, making snacks, and joining in the fun here and there.
A lot of women who are 86 years old wear polyester pantsuits and SAS shoes and sit around watching quilting shows or scooting around on a walker. Not my Nana. She shops at Chico's and wears sassy, in style clothes. She wears Stuart Weitzman heels to church and white Keds around the house. (I will never, ever see a pair of narrow, white canvas Keds without thinking of my Nana.) She wears Tommy Hilfiger jeans because she likes the way they fit. She has cute jewelry and wears make up every day (she "puts her face on" at 9:30 every morning.) She goes to art classes and yoga when they offer it and is involved in several service organizations and goes out to eat lunch every day. She still plays golf and has friends and volunteers at her church. She has her hair done once a week at the local beauty parlor. Friday at 1:30 unless there is a special occasion. She has her nails done and is perfectly groomed at all times.
I wish I could be like Nana when I grow up. She is the classiest lady I know. She doesn't cuss, she doesn't gossip, she doesn't overeat, over drink or spend money impulsively. She is kind and gentle and quietly strong. I can never measure up to her, but I do like to keep my pantry stocked and have backup toothbrushes for guests, just like Nana. She is an amazing person.
And Nana, when you get home, I hope Mom makes you read this. Because I want to tell you this: Thank you. Thank you for saving me. I know it sounds dramatic and stupid, but there were times I didn't want to go on with life anymore and when I would imagine who would care if I was gone, I always saw your face. Thank you for providing me with a safe, secure place to be. Thanks for always loving me just the way I am, even when you don't get why I'm the way I am. Thank you for making me Jello and Dream Whip and letting me eat it before it set up. Thank you for taking me to the horse races with you and Papa and drink Shirley Temples and eat mozzarella sticks (for the first time!) at Howard Johnson's. Thank you for taking me to see Annie and the ballet and thank you for the braces and prom dresses and shopping trips. And for always smiling when I "forgot" a nightgown and toothbrush every time I came to spend the night and giving me one of your old gowns and a brand new toothbrush. And for sleeping with me and reading me stories at night. And for teaching me to love reading and for buying me books and then sharing your books with me when I was older. And for buying me a wedding dress even thought you didn't want me to marry that guy (not my current husband, people.) And for letting me live with you when I couldn't live at home. Thank you for filming me at the most awkward, stupid moments of my life. Thank you for being at every football game and pep assembly, watching me cheer. Thank you for making me feel important. I love you.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Poor Baby - Post 2 for Today

As if Reesie wasn't neglected enough, what with the sleeping in chairs and on the floor.
Now, we must add her misfortune of having a mother who ignores her medical needs. Today was her 2-year-old well check visit. She was fairly whiny this morning, but today is a school day for her sister and she is almost always whiny on those days. She doesn't like to wake up early and she doesn't like leaving her sister at school, so I just thought she was being her usual "I hate Tuesdays and Thursdays" self. But when I got to the doctor and they started her checkup, the nurse looked at me and asked me if she had been sick. I said no, but at that moment, I looked at Reesie's little face and she looked sick. Fever sick. You know how they look, with that watery, glazed expression in their little eyes? That was Reesie. And God love her, I had not noticed it all morning. I had been too busy getting them dressed, making Avery's lunch for school, and getting everyone's breakfast to even really look closely at her. But she was definitely not looking good and when the nurse took her temperature, it read 101. I felt so bad. I mentioned that she had had diarrhea yesterday a couple of times, but Reese always has tummy issues and that was nothing unusual. Or so I thought.
The doctor came and looked at her and while she did have a bit of a red throat, she tested negative for strep, so he just said to keep an eye on her. Little did he know that he was talking to the most neglectful, selfish mother in the world and that I had no intention of keeping an eye on her. No sirree, instead of coming home and rocking that poor baby, I put her in the chair to watch a show while I fed Rhett and got myself some lunch. I was straightening up the kitchen and sending IMs to my sister and in general just ignoring my children, when I realized that it had been a while since I had checked on her. I was hoping that the Motrin had knocked her out so she could get some rest. Not for my own selfish reasons, of course, but because that will help her feel better.
I walked into the living room to check on her and saw that she was still awake, sucking her fingers and watching TV. I went over to ask her if she wanted some juice or yogurt and noticed that she looked kind of messy. I got closer and realized that she had thrown up all over her shirt, pants and the chair. And hadn't said a word or made so much as a whimper. Bless her little middle child heart. She has gotten so used to being ignored, that she doesn't even tell someone when she pukes. I'm so sorry, Reesie. I vow to spend the rest of today holding you and loving on you and making sure you know how important you are to me.
Except for when I have to pick up Avery. And feed your brother. And change his pants. And fold the laundry. And make the dinner.
Other than that, I'm all yours..

Poor Baby

If you hadn't just seen a post about our recent bunk bed purchase, you might wonder if this kid even has a place to sleep.
Here she is at dinner Sunday night. One minute she was talking to her sister, the next minute she was out. It was literally seconds from words to sleep. We kept waiting for her face to fall into her dinner plate, but no such luck. She held her head firm the entire time. And of course, when we carried her to bed, she lost her mind, screaming "No peep, no peep!" (No sleep) as if she wasn't tired at all and we were nuts for trying to put her to bed so early.

Here she is napping with her brother. They both fell asleep mid-cry on the living room floor. Reese was in trouble. We had spent about an hour the previous day rolling up about $80 in change and I caught Reese unrolling each roll, one by one. So she got in trouble...and went to the living room to commiserate with her brother, who was already crying b/c I had to throw him down on the floor as I ran to the kitchen to stop Reese from covering our kitchen cabinet with pennies.
It's kind of sad how they ended up here, but don't they look precious?
I've got to find out how she does this. I can't fall asleep in random spots to save my life. I take Ambien half the time just to get a good night's sleep in my own bed, for crying out loud. Maybe when she can say something more than "NO!" or "My daddy tooted!" she'll let me in on her secret.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Bunk Beds

**This blog was just updated. I had to change the picture of the beds because apparently, in the first one I posted, you could see things that you shouldn't see. I don't want to ruin her for life or be charged with child pornography, so I had to change it. I apologize to anyone whose morning was completely ruined by a 4 year old who wears loose boxers and is fairly free in her movements.

About two years ago, we were at a friend's house and my oldest was playing in their boys' rooms. She was absolutely fascinated by their bunk beds. I'm not sure if she had ever seen bunk beds before. She ran out of that room with a new declaration every 10 minutes. "There's two beds! They are on top of each other! They use a ladder to get in bed! Two people can sleep in it!" And most importantly, "Mom, I want bunk beds!!!"

We never heard the end of it. For the last two years, she has been fixated on the fact that she doesn't have bunk beds and those boys do. She doesn't even remember the boys. Just the beds. Last summer, she was playing with her friend, Jackson, who also has bunk beds. On the way home, she asked me, "Mom, are bunk beds only for boys?" No, anyone can have bunk beds. "How come we don't have bunk beds?" Maybe we'll get you bunk beds when Reese grows out of her crib and you two can share.

Well, one chunky monkey (Rhett) later, and the two girls are sharing a room. When we moved them in together, Avery's first question was "NOW, can we have bunk beds?" No, honey, Reese is still in a crib. "When can we have bunk beds?" Maybe when Reese outgrows her crib.

About a month ago, Reese, jumped, out of her crib. It was a traumatic experience for everyone. So she started sleeping in the twin bed with Avery. And Avery wondered, once again, why we didn't have bunk beds.

We wanted to buy them bunk beds, but we don't keep scads of money sitting around, just waiting for the opportunity to buy large pieces of furniture, so we weren't sure what to do. And considering the fact that I just got fired from the SAT gig, we don't have that big chunk of Christmas money we were hoping for. But my mom had once mentioned that she would go in halves with us on bunk beds, so we halfway started looking for some fairly inexpensive beds.

Honestly, I was only looking half-heartedly. I really just expected that we would wait until Aaron got his bonus in February. But Craigslist is my latest obsession, so I thought I'd just type in bunk beds for fun. And guess what? A brand new, white set of bunk beds from Pier I Kids was on there. New in box, never opened. For $400. Apparently, a wife bought them and fully intended to use them, but the controlling husband didn't approve and forced her to get rid of them before they ever opened them. Apparently, they do keep scads of money sitting around waiting to buy large pieces of furniture.

At any rate, it was the deal we were looking for. And Mom agreed to go halves. So now, after two years of wishing, asking, wondering and worrying, we have bunk beds. They are awesome.

You've never seen two kids more excited over furniture. They have climbed to the top 8,000 times. They have asked for help getting down 8,000 times. The ladder has been moved away so that they can't keep getting on top and then yelling "GET ME DOWN!!!" But we love them too.

You want to see the best part of the whole thing? My husband's latest invention. This guy thinks of everything. And makes it happen. Check this out. This is the portable DVD player, strapped to a board, which was placed under the top bunk, so that, when we want to send the kids to watch a movie so we can watch ours, they can come to their new bed to watch. It's removable, at my request, because I have a strict policy about TV in the bedroom. But this is just for fun. And it gave my husband much pleasure to do it.

Now everybody's happy. Thanks Mom, for making it happen. And thanks, Craigslist, for being so awesome. And thanks, lady who bought furniture without consulting her husband, for getting rid of perfectly good bunk beds at a great price. And most of all, thanks, Babe for setting them up and making it even more fun for the girls. You rock!

Friday, November 9, 2007

Guess What We're Doing?

(Please ignore my ratty, chipped toenails and normally slim feet that, for some reason, in these pictures look like chubby sausages with Little Smokies for toes.)

Why do we buy toys and games? Seriously, if I would do the "airplane" game with them 10 times a day, we'd all be happy. They would be constantly laughing and my legs would be so firm you could bounce quarters off of them.

This is what I love about kids. It's the little things that make them happy.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Tattle Tale

About 512 times a day, my oldest daughter tells me of some horrible offense her younger sister has committed against her. Normally, it's something like "Mom, Reese won't let me sit here!" or "Mom, Reese took my drink!" But every once in a while, it's something I have to actually respond to, like biting, hitting, ruining her school work, etc.

I think I've mentioned before that Reese is a tough one to punish. She's so dang cute, plus she's really always been such a sweet child, it's just hard to imagine her intentionally inflicting harm on another person. But, she recently turned two and has officially begun acting like it. Sweet Reesie is still in there, but at any moment, she can turn into Two Year Old Reese and she is sweet no more. But it's still hard to punish her. And here's why. She hides. Not running to hide behind the couch. That would actually annoy me. No, it's better than that. As soon as Avery begins the sing-song "Mo-ooom," Reese covers her eyes. She honestly thinks I can't see her if she covers her eyes. Last night's "Moo-oom, Reese won't let me have a turn!" resulted in this picture:

Ok, so it's so ridiculous, it's cute, right? I mean, you walk in a room, ready to dictate a time-out or a swat, and this is what you see. It's hard not to laugh. Or take a picture. I do think stopping to take a photo would possibly take away from the stern-ness of my disciplinary action, so I waited to photograph her on a minor infraction. I am not going to referee every time they don't share, take turns, etc. I'll just use it as a photo-op. But when she bit her sister yesterday, I can assure you, I did not take any pictures.

Anyway, back to the issue at hand. How do you not laugh at this? Even when it's something serious like biting or hitting, this is just funny to me. I think it's funny that, if her eyes are covered, she thinks she's invisible. And I think it's funny that she knows she did something wrong and totally gives herself away like this instead of being smooth enough to act nonchalant, as if she has no idea why her sister is screaming like an idiot. I just love the innocence of kids. It makes me smile, even when I shouldn't.

Ok, so since I took a picture and basically made a joke of the whole thing, I felt bad. I felt guilty because I looked at Avery's little sad face and she was looking at me as if she were thinking "How come when I do something bad, I get in trouble, but when Reese does something bad, she gets her picture taken?" So, I broke my rule of not refereeing dumb little spats and told Reese "No, no. You need to share with Avery or I'm going to put the game away."

And this is what I get:

This hurts my heart. She looks so sad. And all I did was tell her I might take the game away. Imagine what she does when I swat her little bottom (through a diaper so it doesn't even hurt) or make her sit in time out. It's too hard. I don't want to be the bad guy anymore. So, if anyone is interested in cruelty to small children with big, sad eyes, let me know. Frankly, I could use the help.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Out of the Mouths....

Reese has never been a big talker. In fact, I remember being at her 12 month check-up and the doctor mentioning that she probably should be saying more words and that if, by her 2 year check-up, she still wasn't saying more, we would "take action." Luckily, I never found out what that action would be, because she did start talking. We usually celebrate and get real excited about every little thing she says, probably because of our fear that she would never actually speak. She talks a lot now, and has finally started putting two or three words together. Like "Me do it!" or "No I not!" Today, she said what I consider to be her first "real" sentence using correct verbage and sentence structure.

Before I tell you what her first sentence was, I must issue this disclaimer: I do not necessarily endorse this sentence. I won't mention any names in order to protect the person named in this sentence, but alot of you will know who she is talking about anyway. I won't tell you if this sentence is accurate, only that we were in the car, so I can attest to the fact that she was not reporting something that had happened at that time because it was just the kids and me. I do not know if she was, perhaps, just making a statement about something that may or may not have occurred in her past. I have been told that certain traumatic events in a child's life will bury themselves deep within that child's psyche, only to be regurgitated at a later time when the child is ready to process said information. At any rate, this is what she yelled, clear as a bell, for no apparent reason at all:


I think, when her daddy reads this, he won't worry about being thrown under the bus. I think he'll think "Woo hoo! Our kid can really talk! No costly speech classes for us!!" That's what I thought anyway.

And Babe, if you do feel like you've been thrown under the bus, I apologize. I apologize for having such a big mouth (is it considered having a big mouth if I am typing it?). I apologize for not keeping anything in our life sacred. I apologize for producing offspring who pay more attention to bodily functions than can be considered normal.
But in all fairness, it's not my fault that she chose that to be her first sentence. I had to post it. It was such a monumental moment. And people know you're human. And a man. Love ya.

Yoga Partner

As it turns out, I'm not the only one in our family who is interested in pursuing yoga. When we got home yesterday, my youngest began practicing his own moves on the floor. Here he is practicing his "Downward Dog." I think he's quite good for one so young.

My good friend, Erin, came by yesterday afternoon. She is dating a yoga instructor and is way more experienced at all of this than we are. So I had her critique Rhett's technique and help him perfect his moves.
She thinks he has great potential.
And before you ask: No, there are no photos of Erin helping me with my Downward Dog.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Yoga Update

First of all, you may all let out a sigh of relief. I did not toot in yoga class. Nor did I wet my pants (I went to the bathroom 3 times before class started just to be sure.) Second of all, I realized this: I am sooo not a yoga person. And I also realized that I soooo need to become a yoga person. It is virtually impossible for me to "quiet my mind" and that is exactly what I need to do. Every time she would say "just relax and focus on your body," I would think "Should I just clean the bathrooms or should I try to finish painting the trim today? I really need to finish painting that trim before I start sanding and staining furniture. So should I do all that today? I need to learn to use the sander. I need to focus on this yoga stuff. I need to suck in my stomach. I need to not toot."
I really enjoyed the class, left feeling very tall, very strong and very relaxed. And very much wanting to avoid the daycare room, where it is complete pandemonium.
I will go back, as much as I possibly can. And I encourage any of you who have crazy lives, stressful lives, busy lives or just a mind like mine, that runs non stop, always worrying, wondering, thinking, to try this. You don't have to be from India or eat nothing but organic veggies and granola to enjoy it. It's a pretty cool form of exercise. I feel enlightened.


I have decided I'm going to start doing more yoga and pilates. I enjoy pilates and have done yoga a handful of times, but I've always been sort of inclined to believe that in order to get a good workout, you have to run and move and flex your muscles and finish exhausted and sweaty, with all muscles aching. It's the reason I prefer tennis to golf or running to walking. I feel like I need to work hard to get a good workout. I'm not saying that pilates and yoga don't do this (if you do them right) but I have just always seen them as more "passive" ways to exercise. I would imagine that, if you do yoga and/or pilates, you are reading this and saying "You just's much harder than you think" because the few times I've done it, that's what I've thought.
Ok, so anyway. I'm going to start doing more of it. I think I need to find a way to exercise that doesn't strain my muscles and joints as hard (I sound like an old lady) and I think I need a time each day where I can just be with myself and sort of meditate or whatever you do in there that relieves stress.
So I'm going to the 9:30 yoga class at my gym. I like the idea of going to the gym because it's not an actual yoga studio and they don't expect you to show up all yoga-ed out in your flared-leg pants with matching lotus-printed cami and carrying your color-coded mat, one for each day of the week. I can wear my sweats and feel somewhat comfortable. I'm actually excited about going. I've been trying to go to this class for about a month, but between staph infections and sick kids, we've been homebound alot. So today is an exciting day. But in the back of my mind, there is a looming thought. It plagues me whenever I hear the words yoga and pilates and imagine myself in a classroom full of women in strange poses. I think of it often and if you have had children, you may or may not understand the problem I am having. What if I toot? I don't have a lot of control over those areas right now, if you know what I mean, and although I do my doctor-recommended exercises somewhat regularly, I'm still prone to releasing something if I cough, laugh or bend too hard. So wish me luck this morning. Let's all just hope I don't humiliate myself to the point of no return. Because I have a three year contract at the gym.

Friday, November 2, 2007

I'm White Trash

I think I've secretly known this all along. I joke about it sometimes "Oh, I'm so white trash, hee hee," but I don't really think I am. Well, yesterday sealed the deal. I'm embarrassed, but apparently, too white trash to keep it under wraps, so I'll tell you about my day.
First of all, we are all sick. Not sick, sick, but coughing, snotty, up all night sick. And our nights are miserable. So the mornings are even worse. I can barely drag myself out of bed. And yesterday was a school day for Ave. When my alarm went off, I was so exhausted, I laid there, trying to think of a good reason for her to miss school. I just felt like I couldn't face getting them all dressed, getting myself ready, feeding them a good breakfast, packing them all in the car, then dragging everyone inside to drop Avery off in her classroom. I just didn't want to do it. So I tried to justify my feelings. She probably didn't get any more sleep than I did. Her cough is probably still bugging her (she is the most not sick of all of us.) She's only four and she's really smart, what's one day going to hurt? So I shut off my alarm. I just decided that I would sleep until they woke me up and I wouldn't even tell her she was missing school. Letting your kid miss school so you can sleep in is soooo white trash. I never imagined I would be that mom. I can just hear Avery now "I had to miss school because my mommy was so tired and she didn't want to get out of bed." Sounds like that movie, "When a Man Loves a Woman," like I'm hungover or something and can't function as a mom.
So anyway, the girls saved me from myself and came and got me soon after the alarm was turned off. So I drug myself out of bed and did all my motherly duties and took Ave to school. And she even looked cute and had her hair brushed. I dropped Reese off at the neighbor's so I could run by the grocery store on the way home without having to deal with an unruly 2-year-old covered in snot and we were on our way.
But I wasn't finished letting my inner white trash show. I remembered on my way home that I have Bunco Friday night. And we have to bring our own drinks. I know I probably shouldn't be drinking since I have this cough and stuff, but it might make me feel just a bit better to have a little fun and numb the pain just a tad. And there's a liquor store right around the corner from Avery's school. And I only had one kid with me, so I may as well stop and get my lime flavored vodka (it's not as strong as regular vodka, that's why I like it.) So I pull in to the parking lot and have another great debate with myself. Do I leave Rhett in the car with the windows cracked and run in? It's just right here. What is worse? Taking a baby in their car seat inside a liquor store or leaving him in the car? It's cool outside, so overheating isn't a problem. What should I do? I could just forget about the vodka, but I do still have to bring drinks tomorrow night and tomorrow I will have all three kids, so I won't be able to do THAT. I called my neighbor for advice...she said it would be ok to just leave him for 5 minutes with the windows cracked since it was a small store and I could see the car. And I did it. I ran inside, hurrying, with my eyes darting out the window looking for cops as if I was inside a crack house buying my daily fix. A cop did drive by while I was paying and I wonder if the clerk thought I was underage because I kept staring at the police car and I was so nervous I forgot to sign my debit card receipt.
I sprinted out of the store with my brown paper bag, jumped in the car, where Rhett was totally fine and sleeping soundly. I breathed a huge sigh of relief and reflected on the morning's decisions. This isn't good. I'm going down a road I really don't want to travel. I need to get myself together and be a decent mom. My white trashness needs to stop involving these poor children. Next thing you know, I'll be on the front porch, holding the baby in one hand, Colt 45 can in the other, with a cigarette hanging out of my mouth. I gotta stop.
So, I came home, made Reesie some popcorn, snuggled with her and Rhett on the couch, then organized my bathroom cabinets, picked up Avery from school and spent all evening trying to make the kids forget what a loser I can really be. They didn't seem to notice. Even when, at one point, we were all in our underwear, eating "party food" for dinner because Daddy wasn't home. Dang, these kids are easy to fool/please.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Trick or Treat

I love all of my kids equally. Seriously. But sometimes, one of them just surprises me, tickles me, impresses me, irritates me, etc. just a little more than the others. Know what I mean? It's not that one of them is better or worse than the others, it's just at times, one shines a little more than the others. Like at the Fall Festival, even though it was Reese's birthday, Avery's rock wall adventure was clearly the highlight of the evening. And like, almost every day of the week, just by sitting around being a smiling chub, Rhett is such a hit around the house.

Well, last night was Trick or Treat. And I have to say that, although all three of my kids looked (in my humble opinion) adorable, it was clearly Reesie who stole the show. Just look at her.

In case you were just born yesterday and haven't seen The Wizard of Oz 876 times, she is Dorothy. (Hey, a man actually asked who she was supposed to be last night. And he was old enough to be my father. Maybe he didn't recognize her in color.) And if you weren't born yesterday and you have seen it 876 times, is she not the most adorable Dorothy you've ever seen? (Unless, of course, you or your child were Dorothy at any point in your life. In that case, you can say Reese is the 2nd most adorable Dorothy you've ever seen.)

Reese/Dorothy was in rare form last night. The moment she put on that dress, she preened and pranced in delight. She loved her shoes and, even though I expected she would rip them out the second I put them in, she even seemed to enjoy the braids. We didn't pass any group of Trick or Treaters without her shouting out a gleeful "HEY!" or "MO CANNY!" (More Candy...she and her sister have read Jerry Seinfeld's Halloween so many times, they both have it memorized. Their favorite line is GET MORE CANDY!) I realized about 4 houses in that this was really Reese's first Halloween. Technically, it was her 3rd (her first was when she was 5 days old) but tonight was the first night she really "got it." And boy, did she get it.

We brought our double stroller, but Reese/Dorothy didn't want to ride. I was afraid these $9 red glittery shoes might rub blisters on her sensitive feet, but she didn't seem to notice. If she knew how to skip, that's what I would say she was doing. But she doesn't know how to skip. All I can say is that she looked like she was actually on the yellow brick road, swinging her basket and greeting anyone who passed.

She would walk up to someone's door, say "Teet," get her candy, come down the walk, swinging her basket, waving cheerfully and yelling "KEEK YOU MUCH!" (Thank you much!) She was precious. I don't think we passed one single group of people without at least one of them making a comment on her cuteness.

She followed her sister tirelessly. She fell once and lost her shoe about three times. But that didn't slow her down. When her big sister tripped over a huge rock in someone's yard, she came over, hugged her sister and helped her pick up her candy, saying "Hep you, A?" (Help you, Avery?) She was awesome. They all were.
I never got a picture of all three of them together because there it was just way too hectic. Rhett wanted to be carried, Reese wanted to do her own thing, and Avery was the ring leader, in too big of a hurry to stop for pics. So I just did the best I can. Here are my little Spiderman ("I'll tell everyone I'm Spiderman girl because they can't see that I'm Avery and I'm a girl"), the Cowardly Lion, who hated every (waking) minute of it and rubbed the black off of his nose and it mixed with snot so he had dried gray gunk all over his face. And he was still the cutest lion in town.

And here's one more shot of Dorothy. Enjoy! :)