Friday, March 30, 2007

It's Her Birthday, I Can Cry if I Want To

Happy Birthday, Sweet Girl!

Small Fry is officially the big 0-3. I love 3-year-old birthday parties. The little guys are so easy to please at this age. Just surround me with some loved ones who can make a fuss over me, give me presents and let me lick the icing off the cake, and it's a birthday to remember. They are never disappointed if you can deliver those few things. And Princess Small Fry was a prime example of birthday contentment. She was in her element. She relished every minute of the relative fussing, icing licking, bubble blowing, present opening, costume wearing affair. She marveled over each and every gift. "Oh, look at this!" she said breathlessly every time she ripped open a new goody. She gave every guest hugs and kisses. She read stories to us and danced in her Briar Rose ( whom has now been dubbed Fire Hose by Da) costume to our delight. It was awesome. Cutie Pie and I reminisced later that night about the day she was born. I started having contractions in the middle of the night, but they were very mild, and I figured why wake everyone up? ( I think I still felt guilty about Big Stuff's birth, when Cutie Pie went something like 25 hours without sleep. ) The next day I just went about my business until my 11 am OBGYN appointment. The midwife was about to sign off on me and send me home when I said, "Well, I think I've been having contractions since last night." Sure enough, I was halfway to Ground Zero already. She told me to high-tail it to the hospital, and 5 or 6 hours later, we were holding that dear girl in our arms. And every moment since then has been the same. She just eased herself right into our lives. Sure, she can be a handful with her temper tantrums and her refusal to be distracted from the mission of the moment, whatever that may be, but when she's ready...she just up and does her thing. And we just stand back and marvel.

PS - She decided 3 is a good age to be potty trained. And, therefore, she now is. See ya later Pampers! Yes, we've been joined at the cheek for the last six years, but it's the end of an era. ( cue the evil laugh ) Thank you, Jesus!

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Let's Talk about Love, Baby

On this day, March 21, 1970:

The first Earth Day proclamation is issued by San Francisco's mayor.

Vinko Bogataj crashes during a ski-jumping championship in Germany; his image becomes that of the "agony of defeat guy" in the opening credits of ABC's Wide World of Sports. I don't know who Vinko is, but Wikipedia does.

UCLA won the 1970 NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Tournament national title with a 80-69 victory in the final game over Jacksonville University. My dad didn't get to watch the game.

Happy 37th anniversary to my most favorite couple in the world! You guys rock!

Look, Look, Look, Look!

I did it! I did it! I am master of my universe again ( at least for tonight )! I cleaned up my desk! Hooray! You inspired me. And look at my new filing system. Ugly, true, but all the many piles of paper have found their true and proper homes in neatly labeled folders. All my bills are scheduled. All my post-its are posted. My calendar is updated. My to-do list is made. Ahhhhh. I am happy again. That vicious pile of laundry is next...and it shall be conquered! And all in time to watch Lost. You can't see me, but I'm doing my happy dance right now. Oops - the blinds are open. I'm stopping my happy dance right now.


I guess technically pansies are Fall flowers, but don't they look scrumptious? The flowers and trees are beginning to bust out around here, and you can't help but notice. And maybe even take a whiff when you get a spare minute! Although I guess technically pansies don't have a scent. Oh well, the heck with technicalities! Spring is coming and there's no stopping that fine lady now!

Prayer in Spring
Robert Frost
Oh, give us pleasure in the flowers in the flowers today;
And give us not to think so far away
As the uncertain harvest; keep us here
All simply in the springing of the year.
Oh, give us pleasure in the orchard white,
Like nothing else by day, like ghosts by night;
And make us happy in the happy bees,
The swarm dilating round the perfect trees.
And make us happy in the darting bird
That suddenly above the bees is heard,
The meteor that thrusts with needle bill,
And off a blossom in mid-air stands still.
For this is love and nothing else is love,
The which it is reserved for God above
To sanctify to what far ends He will,
But which it only needs that we fulfill.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Death and Taxes

Well, my messy desk has finally gotten the best of me. It's taken on a life of its own. I have misplaced bills that needed to be paid, and I can't find many pieces of vital info I need to complete my taxes. It doesn't help that I never officially unpacked my office after the move. But, don't these people know I have much more interesting things to do than sit at this desk all day pushing paper around? Don't they know that there are blue skies to be admired, children to be played with and trips to sunny destinations to be planned? How did I get here? How did I become the "responsible party"? I used to just be the party! Yes, I am whining. It isn't the first time, and it won't be the last. Life seems to get more complicated every year. I simply must simplify. Sadly, I have no time to study simplification although I sorely need a crash course. I only have time to secretly hate Martha Stewart and anyone like her. I realize she is only trying to educate me, but I don't want to make cereal box organizers, Martha! Stop pressuring me! And speaking of ole Martha - isn't she just a hoot? She catches all kinds of hell for being a prissy Miss Perfect, and yet she doesn't take full advantage of it and make fun of herself more often. I say play it up, girl - you are ripe for comedy! Today she told Danny Glover not to stick his spatula into her mix master thing while it was mixing. He was like, DUH I'm not an idiot, Martha. But she couldn't let it go, could she? She had to keep telling him WHY he shouldn't stick his spatula into a whirling blade-like apparatus. Oh Martha, Martha. ( Bet she has someone to do her taxes....Curses!)

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Great New Song, Have you Heard it?

This was my treat this morning: (to the tune of London Bridges)

"Up the carrots, here we go, here we go, here we go. Up the carrots here we go, my Bare Lady....."

Monday, March 12, 2007

Pennsylvania or My Kids Say the Darndest Things

The other day we were riding in the car, discussing the 50 states. I don't know why. Sometimes I'm only half-listening when someone will say something that knocks my socks off. That day it was, "Does Pencil-vania have a lot of pencils?" Good one, Big Stuff! Last week at the grocery store, Small Fry was trying to wiggle herself into the cart-seat thingy. I'm like, sitdownsitdownsitdown, and she says ( in all seriousness ) "Mama, my Donald is too fat to sit in this seat." ( Donald is her new word for butt... ) I started laughing uncontrollably, and she looked at me as if I was losing my mind. ( A distinct possibility where her mother is concerned. ) She says, "Are you just going to laugh and laugh all day long?" I might, I really might. She was recently asked if everyone tells her she's cute. She corrected them, "Mema says I'm gorgeous." At Christmas, one of the cuter sayings was Big Stuff's "Partridge in a Parrot tree." Makes perfect sense, doesn't it? Also, stating the obvious, Small Fry would often say "Seenta loves children." ( Perhaps this was a mantra repeated over and over to reassure herself of that crazy old guy's intentions ) But the best was: "Angel say don't be 'fraid. Follow star."
They also have great names for their assorted animals and baby dolls. Most are rather generic and straightforward, like Baby. Or Mousey. But this particular little guy has been Sneaky Bob ever since he came to live with us. I have no idea where that came from, but it's the obvious choice, isn't it? He IS Sneaky Bob and no other name would do. This weekend they spent the night with a friend, who has a daughter Big Stuff's age. There is apparently a tradition at their house in which the dad, Bill, makes them milkshakes. This tradition has been enjoyed many times by Big Stuff, but this was Small Fry's first time. As soon as she got in the car after we picked her up, she said ( as if confirming the rumors ) "Yes, Dollar Bill does make the best milkshakes." Cutie Pie asked if he could come next time and have a milkshake, to which she firmly replied, "No, he only makes them for kids."
And here's the sweetest... last week GranJanny stopped by. We were showing her around the house, and Small Fry was pointing out items of interest. In the playroom, she told GJ about how the lightbulb went out a while back ( a rather traumatic event ). GJ: "Oh, did your daddy fix that?" SF: "Um, actually he did, and I love my daddy because he's the most nicest daddy in the whole world." GULP. Some days are really, really good days.

Friday, March 9, 2007

Methought I Heard a Voice Cry "Sleep no More!"

Here is one of my new favorite things to do. Sit in "my spot" on the couch, drink coffee drowned in Butter Pecan cream, watch the Today show and look at my birdfeeder. I know this is not a revolutionary new hobby...most people I know have been enjoying their backyard birdies for years. I am a recent convert. I didn't realize that so many different kinds and colors of birds would show up to have breakfast in my backyard. They are so pretty! I think my new interest comes now because this is probably the first time in my life that I have an hour to myself in the comes between getting one kid off to school and the other kid waking up. If I didn't have to get the first one off to school, I would just sleep until the second one woke me up. Or if the second one woke up two hours later than she does, I would just go back to bed. Before the kids, I routinely slept until the last possible minute before dragging myself out of bed to go to work. I am the Queen of the snooze button. On vacations, when I actually have the opportunity to view something beautiful in the morning, I think to myself..hey, I'm on vacation. Great opportunity to sleep in. In case you haven't caught on, I do not care for early rising. I like it in theory, but when the sun comes up, I go down...farther under the covers, shutting my eyes tight against the possibility of morning. I completely subscribe to the theory that there is a wrong side of the bed. Many a day has been ruined for me by someone or something getting me out of bed 10 minutes earlier than I intended. A few years ago, I had a neighbor who drove a truck to work. He would, without fail, each and every morning, rev his engine for 15 or 20 minutes. The 15 or 20 minutes fell about 18 minutes before my last snooze was scheduled. I don't know why he did it, except that perhaps he was an idiot. But that's another story. I literally hated that man for revving his engine in the morning. Then there was the woodpecker we had that was so stupid he mistook our gutters for a tree. Remember that Seinfeld episode when Elaine had the barking dog that kept her up all night? That was me, in my pretty, feminine nightgown, sticking my head out the window and screaming Shhhhhuuuuuuttttttt-----Uppppppppp!!!!!!!! I have mellowed a little since then. Not having to report anywhere at the ungodly hour of 8 a.m. helps. Having to feed hungry babies in the middle of the night --with motherly tenderness, not sleep-deprived, illogical anger-- helped. Anyway, I apologize here and now to the unfortunate revver man for my abject hatred. All the poor guy was trying to do was go to work. And if I would have just gotten up, I could have started enjoying the birds much earlier in life! I still don't know why you have to rev a truck for 20 blasted minutes though....

A bird does not sing because it has an answer. It sings because it has a song. Chinese Proverb

Thursday, March 8, 2007

A Fork in the Road

We got our alumni magazine yesterday. In the back was a special section about the Gainesville murders, which happened 17 years ago this fall. People had written letters about the events and feelings of the time. I don't like to dwell on or even think about those particular weeks, because it was simply horrible and hit far too close to home. I almost passed right by the article. However, I was struck by one letter, in which the writer mentioned that her roommate's parents had taken their daughter out of school and moved her back to West Palm Beach as a result of the murders. I don't know if she ever came back. Many students didn't. I couldn't help wondering about those people. What kind of turns did their lives take as a result of those events, which were totally outside of their control? What if my parents had taken me out of school? What would I be doing now and how would my life be different? For one thing, I would probably not be married to the person I am married to and, as a result, would not have the little girls that I have! I think of all the great times I was lucky enough to have in college, experiences which shaped me and which are dear to me beyond measure. To imagine all that, lost, because of one evil person's actions... That is mind-blowing. Of course, I guess there is the argument that the people who left were supposed to leave. Life unfolds the way it's meant to. Maybe that woman met her future spouse at the Palm Beach Gardens Mall. Maybe she had a great experience at some other college. I hope so. When you think about all that was taken in those few days, to imagine that it just goes on and on's too much. Do you ever stop asking: Why? And do you ever forget to be amazed (or maybe horrified) by how one person's life can touch so many others?

Friday, March 2, 2007

Acting her Age

Just look at my youngest child, would you? Is she not the cutest thing on the earth? Stop it, I am not being prejudicial. She really is the cutest thing on this earth! In this picture, she is reading Junie B. Jones to her babies. Or maybe they're her students? Actually, they are probably her audience, because no one loves an audience more than this kid. She claims to be "shy" but this is just something she says to get me to laugh. The three of us read Junie B. last night before bed, and I swear...after one hearing, she repeated it back to these dollies with amazing recollection of the story and the cute things that JB says, such as "wink, wink shy boy" and "Mrs. say there no meatball in bottom of Valentimes box." In between the coherent sentences, she just fills in with "words" that sound something like "nyum nyum nyum." It's a total stream-of-consciousness peek into a wee girl's psyche. Sometimes she will play mama and baby and I will hear her crying out "mama, mama." I say, "What, Small Fry?" And she says, "I not crying. I just tending." She also told me from her carseat today: "I just laxing, mama." That's relaxing, in case you wondered. She competes with her sister to tell the funniest knock-knock joke, although her punchlines are something like "blah blah blah..." followed by hysterical laughter. She just will not act her age. She is determined to be as old as Big Stuff, and she tells me every day "Tomorrow I go to kindergarten OK?" Easy there, sister. I'm going to wring every last bit of baby-ness I can out of you! Speaking of staying young, her birthday is coming up, and she (naturally) requested an Aurora party. That is Sleeping Beauty for anyone lacking a two-year-old in their lives (or a two-year-old's taste in movies). So I spent a couple of hours making the cutest invitations. I researched ideas for Sleeping Beauty parties. Found cake toppers, party favors and such on the internet. OK, it was not a big deal because I secretly love doing it. But do you know what she said this morning? "I no want Aurora party, mommy. I want FighterFighter (firefighter) party." Alrighty then.

Bad News Bears

Lots of bad news today. Tornadoes flattening schools, buses falling off bridges, Barbie bandits...what's next? Never mind, I don't want to know. I turned off the TV. I need a break. Just one comment on the "unnatural" disaster of the day: What in the heck were these girls doing, robbing a bank? It seems like, when you become a parent, the stories in which some child is being harmed tear at your heart even more than before...but you also become increasingly indignant when you see children acting like lunatics and idiots. I guess these girls aren't exactly children, at 19, but I can't help thinking about their moms and sympathizing. When you consider all the love and care you put into every second of a child's life, all the heart-wrenching have them throw that life away for the most ridiculous of reasons?? Ouch! Maybe their moms didn't put a lot of love and care into their lives. Maybe their moms are lunatics and idiots themselves. Maybe that's the only way a mama can think and still raise her kids without being scared to death that something she is doing, or not doing, is going to turn her kid into a crazy nut. It's all far too subjective and out-of-our-control for my liking, this raising-people thing. I know, I know. That's just the way it is.... Parenthood is designed that way. For good reason, I'm sure. But it makes my stomach hurt.