Thursday, December 31, 2009

Starting

Kevin has declared 2009 the year in which nothing was finished. My new shiny outlook gets to declare 2009 the year in which many things began.

Either way, we still have major construction going on at our house.

It's going to be lovely when it's done.

That's my mantra. I say it three times as I breath slowly and stare out the back into the mud and mess. Really, it's not that bad. It is going to be lovely, and Rob, our contractor, is an amazing miracle worker. Truly.

2010 will be the year for finishing a lot of thing though. The house will get finished. Our family will be complete. Kevin will finish up a lot of lingering projects at work. He's really looking forward to it.

I'm okay with not being finished though. I'm kind of looking forward to starting a bunch more new things in 2010. Here are a few that come to mind:

1. Becoming a mama of two boys.
2. Learning to live without the extreme highs and lows I've had.
3. Tandem nursing.
4. Writing and recording again finally.
5. Getting back in shape.

Lovely will be starting high school. Little Bird will be starting multiple days of preschool. And my littlest boy will be starting life.

So here's to never completely finishing and finding plenty of new things to start in 2010.

Happy New Year, everyone.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

None of us is the only one

Why is that during the times I have the most to say, I find it hardest to say anything at all?

Two weeks ago, I had the most productive appointment with a health care professional that I've ever had in my life. I left it feeling defeated and broken. I thought I had received terrible news that would pigeon hole me and leave me with an unshakable stigma.

It only took four days after that for me to realize that I didn't care about the pigeon hole or the stigma. I felt so much better in just four days that I couldn't believe I ever cared about any of that.

I have clinical depression, but I don't look like those commercials you see on TV. I don't sit around in my pajamas and ignore all of the people around me. Mine manifests itself in anger, anxiety, and irrational reactions to stuff that should roll off my back.

When Sarah suggested that I start Zoloft, she might as well have said to me, "You are a complete failure, and you aren't capable of managing your life." I didn't want to hear that my issues weren't something that I could fix myself. Of course, that was some seriously small minded thinking. Because I am fixing them myself. Starting with an itty bity dose of Zoloft every night.

Four days. That's all it took for me to pull out of the black place I was in, look around, and realize that I should have done this so so so much sooner. It's not going to completely fix me, but it's helping me become a better mother and wife and person by allowing me to stand firmly on both feet. It's given me some stability.

It's taken me two weeks to write about this because I wasn't sure that I wanted it out there for everyone in the world to see. However, when I was feeling at my lowest after that appointment, I only knew one person to call for advice. Lucky for me, she answered the phone and talked to me as long as I needed to.

Since then, though, I've found out that I'm really not alone in this. More friends have stepped up with, "Me too." None of us is the only one.

So I'm out, and I'm saying that this is one of the better decisions in my life. A tiny little pill. A whole lot of clear headedness.

I'm on my way to being the wife and mother I should have been all along. It's a great feeling.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

My 12 days of Christmas

On the first day of Christmas
My true love gave to me
A broken washing machine.

On the second day of Christmas
My true love gave to me
Bird's double ear infection
And a broken washing machine.

On the third day of Christmas
My true love gave to me
A broken toe on the left foot
Bird's double ear infection
And a broken washing machine.

On the fourth day of Christmas
My true love gave to me
A sprained ankle on the right foot
A broken toe on the left foot
Bird's double ear infection
And a broken washing machine.

On the fifth day of Christmas
My true love gave to me
Thirty days of Zoloft
A sprained ankle on the right foot
A broken toe on the left foot
Bird's double ear infection
And a broken washing machine.

On the sixth day of Christmas
My true love gave to me
More rain in the forecast
Thirty days of Zoloft
A sprained ankle on the right foot
A broken toe on the left foot
Bird's double ear infection
And a broken washing machine.

On the seventh day of Christmas
My true love gave to me
No energy for baking
More rain in the forecast
Thirty days of Zoloft
A sprained ankle on the right foot
A broken toe on the left foot
Bird's double ear infection
And a broken washing machine.

On the eighth day of Christmas
My true love gave to me
A dirty dirty house
No energy for baking
More rain in the forecast
Thirty days of Zoloft
A sprained ankle on the right foot
A broken toe on the left foot
Bird's double ear infection
And a broken washing machine.

On the ninth day of Christmas
My true love gave to me
A daddy in the hospital
A dirty dirty house
No energy for baking
More rain in the forecast
Thirty days of Zoloft
A sprained ankle on the right foot
A broken toe on the left foot
Bird's double ear infection
And a broken washing machine.

On the tenth day of Christmas
My true love gave to me
Braxton Hicks contractions
A daddy in the hospital
A dirty dirty house
No energy for baking
More rain in the forecast
Thirty days of Zoloft
A sprained ankle on the right foot
A broken toe on the left foot
Bird's double ear infection
And a broken washing machine.

On the eleventh day of Christmas
My true love gave to me
Dog poop on the floor
Braxton Hicks contractions
A daddy in the hospital
A dirty dirty house
No energy for baking
More rain in the forecast
Thirty days of Zoloft
A sprained ankle on the right foot
A broken toe on the left foot
Bird's double ear infection
And a broken washing machine.

On the twelfth day of Christmas
My true love gave to me.
A high of 65
Dog poop on the floor
Braxton Hicks contractions
A daddy in the hospital
A dirty dirty house
No energy for baking
More rain in the forecast
Thirty days of Zoloft
A sprained ankle on the right foot
A broken toe on the left foot
Bird's double ear infection
And a broken washing machine.

Ho, ho, freaking ho. Thank goodness for the fifth day of Christmas.

Here's to time with whatever part of your family you get to be with, whatever food you get to eat, and however full your stockings are. Christmas is coming tomorrow whether I like it or not. Might as well enjoy it as it is.

Merry Christmas, everybody.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Twas the night before Christmas Eve

The stockings are hung by the chimney with care.

The presents are wrapped and under the tree.

The pirogi are in the fridge and Papa has bought the ham.

And none of the rushing around or planning matters because Little Bird has a fever of 102. Funny how all of the sudden I don't care about finishing the family's pajama pants when my little boy just needs me to hold him while he fretfully sleeps.

All I want for Christmas is for my little boy to get well and stay well. Poor Little Bird.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

I'm still no scrooge, but . . .

I have a confession to make.

I'm not really in the Christmas spirit. I know. I'm supposed to be the jolliest elf of them all with my trees, my Santas, the celebration of each day of Advent, the baking, the wrapping, the Little People Nativity every day. I'm supposed to be the annoying holiday neighbor.

But I'm just not. I haven't been playing much Christmas music. I've baked one batch of cookies. The outside of the house isn't decorated because the yard is so destroyed and nasty right now - I just don't feel like calling even more attention to with lights in the dogwood and the adorable animated elephant I bought last year.

I'm so tired. The thought of baking everything I usually bake makes me want to cry. It's just not going to happen. My poor lingering two students came and went today without even a card from me. That's never happened before.

I didn't mail our Christmas cards until today. They've never been that late before. I think it's fine - except for the one headed to Sweden.

Kevin asked me to not cook for Christmas. This usually would have insulted me greatly, but this year I was actually relieved. I'm probably going to buy the pirogi from The Fresh Market and spend the energy I would have used making them to hunt down some decent pickled herring. That card that is going to Sweden? Is going to the woman who made me a pickled herring fan. It was really awesome, but she's not here anymore. I just cannot go back to the jar from Costco.

Christmas day, Papa is going to cook a ham. I'll do some cheese grits, but other than that, nothing special. Some fruit. Some pastries, that I'll buy. It's all just too tiring.

This is so not like me. I love the holidays and all of the busyness that comes with them. I love the baking and the shopping and the wrapping and the getting to everything at church that happens. But between Little Bird being sick all of last week and how absolutely miserable I feel now, I just can't live up to my own expectations.

So I guess I'll just have to lower them a little. That will be alright for this year.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Forgotten birthday

Today was my father-in-law's birthday, and we completely forgot. It's just another stupid thing I've done this week. I can't keep anything straight and keep making the dumbest mistakes. I don't remember being this flaky when I was pregnant with Bird. Maybe I should check my archives.

I teach on Wednesday afternoons, getting done at 5:30. Tonight, I finished up and asked Papa if he was going to stay for dinner. He said he would if he was invited. Of course he was. He had picked Lovely up from school and brought her home. Then the two of them were helping with Bird while I finished teaching. Dinner was the least I could do. Except that I had completely forgotten that he eats with us every other Wednesday, and had only thawed two chicken breasts for dinner.

Luckily, while Papa and Bird were in the other room, Lovely said quietly to me, "Did you know today is Papa's birthday?"

Oh, crap. I had forgotten. Totally forgotten. I started to cry. It's my job to remember these things, and if we don't celebrate Papa's birthday, then who will? I felt awful.

Here's where I got creative. Perhaps I should have just told him that I forgot both dinner and his birthday and moved on, but I just couldn't. I cut the chicken into tenderloins so that it could be shared by all of us. I pulled the turnips from last week and this week's CSA delivery and roasted them all. I tossed in some of the green onions, and steamed the greens from the turnips to bed it all on. Then, just in case, I heated up some English peas, because I didn't think Papa liked greens very much. While all of that was going, I made a chocolate chip pound cake, but poured it in a sheet cake pan so it would bake faster.

After everything in the kitchen was put together and the table set, I ran upstairs and raided the stocking stuffers I had already bought for him. I pulled the movie that was supposed to go in his stocking and wrapped it for his birthday instead. I can always buy another movie before Christmas. I put it on the table in front of his place.

A phone call to Kevin while he was commuting home served as a warning that we had forgotten Papa's birthday, but don't let on.

We sang to him. Even Bird helped out by wishing him, "Happy DAY! Happy DAY cake!!!" He opened his present. Then we said good night and bid farewell.

I'm too chicken to ask him if he could tell we forgot. I hope that he didn't. Because forgetting his birthday is not how we really feel about him. You don't forget the birthdays of people you love. And we love our Papa.

Next year I'll make it up to him. I hope.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

So it's not a tradition. That's alright.

I love traditions. I especially love long time traditions, but I'll take the new ones too. This time of year is full of traditions, and having children makes me want to establish even more.

Last year, Lovely and I took Bird to see Santa. She is such a good sport, and even sat on Santa's lap with her little brother. While we were waiting for Santa to finish his lunch break, we went to Build-a-Bear and got reindeer with twinkling lights on their antlers. It was a really fun afternoon, and I declared it a tradition.

Today, we attempted the second year of this tradition and included Kevin. Can I just say that doing this on a Sunday close to Christmas was not a great idea? Plus, it was Bird's first outing since he's been sick, and he got tired pretty quickly.

When we arrived at Santa's lair, the line wound all the way around, and Santa was nowhere to be seen. I'm not sure how I'm so adept at showing up when he goes on break.

So we decided to go to Build-a-Bear first. I'm pretty sure that a good time was had by all, which is good, since we went back to an even longer line at Santa and went home with no pictures. Lucky for us, Santa is going to the Great Wolf Lodge at the exact same time we are! I think we'll just wait for our pictures then. I declare the mall off limits from now until January.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Necessary cuddling

My absence here was necessitated by the need to be holding my child with both hands and arms for the past three days. On Tuesday morning, he woke up with a fever of 101.4 and it didn't go down until last night. By Wednesday night it was spiking up near 104, so Little Bird came to bed with me, and I basically watched him sleep all night long.

I have to admit. He has been so snuggly this week, and sleeping with him was so awesome. Granted, I didn't sleep, but having him cuddle up to me and sleep with his little head on my shoulder was heavenly. Poor Kevin had to sleep on the couch because Bird pretty much slept perpendicular in the bed, but still. One night of snuggle blissdom. I'm just sorry that it had to be because Bird was so sick.

He's better today, although I'm sneaking in a blog post during a very unusual morning nap. I'm just glad he's sleeping. He woke up without a fever this morning, but still with no appetite and no desire to do anything but be held by Mama and watch the Charlie Brown Christmas special over and over and over again.

I guess one more couch day with the remote and a stack of books won't kill either of us.

If you are wondering where my usually ridiculous prompt Christmas cards are though, they are still sitting unsealed and unstamped in the chair across the room. I have had some cuddling come up that just couldn't be ignored.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Cookies, anyone?

Last night, after Little Bird was in bed, I started making my first batch of Christmas cookies. There was a cookie exchange for my woman's circle at the church this morning, and I was supposed to bring 10 dozen cookies.

Best laid plans, right?

I went to get started, opened the fridge and found that I only had one stick of butter. I needed five. My dear, sweet, wonderful husband changed out of his pajama pants and went to the store at 8:30 at night.

By 11:00, I was finally finishing up baking the cookies. I still had to turn them into oh so delicious little double doozies with my frosting, and roll them in my crushed candy canes, but I went to bed instead. Figured I could do that part in the morning.

This morning, Bird woke up with 101.4 fever. That meant no school for him, no cookie exchange for me, and a trip to the doctor.

I can't decide if I'm upset by the 120 chewy chocolate double doozies on my counter or thrilled to death. A little of both, I believe.

Cookies, anyone?

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Acceptance

We have an interim minister at our church right now. I don't envy his position at all. There is a huge staff and the previous senior pastor had been at the church for a long time. His delivery is stiff and not particularly inviting. He looks and sounds more like a Baptist minister, if you know what I mean.

Not that any of this is relevant. Other than, regardless of his demeanor, he struck a chord in me today.

The Advent liturgy always stumbles through John the Baptist. Like the brussel sprouts you have to eat before you can have your figgy pudding, you have to have a Sunday in Advent where somebody talks about John the Baptist.

Today though, I realized that I really don't mind it. Adding in the repentance in Advent actually is something to enjoy. A clean slate. A dumping of the baggage you've been carrying. It makes it far easier to celebrate when you've had a good helping of repentance.

What Bill said this morning that was so striking was about victims. It wasn't a main point of the morning, rather just something he was mentioning on his way to repentance. He said that it is all too common today for people to have no concept of repentance because it's always someone else's fault. Our society is full of victims who aren't really victims.

I should have taken notes, because that's not exactly it, but it's close.

I guess that's why I don't mind the repentance part though. I like to own it all, the good and the bad. Even when I was in therapy trying to work through the emotional and sexual abuse I endured my senior year of high school - even then, when we got to the part about how none of it was my fault and I was the victim - that was when I stopped. I had to own the fact that I chose to stay silent. I had to own the knowledge that regardless of the threats made against me, I knew I could find help, and I didn't.

There have been plenty of mistakes in my life. Mistakes that I've made. Some of them I'll be happy to drag out into the public eye, and others I'll keep between me and God and Kevin if he wants the laundry list.

There is only one aspect of my life in which I truly feel like a victim. Where there was nothing I could have done to change things. Nothing I did to have such a horrible outcome. Nothing that I could have done to stop it.

That would be the pregnancies I have lost.

After that first loss, I tried. I tried so hard to figure out a way to own it. I wanted to find a reason that I could place the blame on myself so that I wouldn't be a victim.

I hate being the victim.

But then I lost another. And another. And I began to accept the fact that there really was nothing I could do or could have done.

I guess it's December, and I'm going to be thinking about the babies that will never be along with some of my other friends. And I repent how I was arrogant enough to believe that I had complete control over my pregnancies. It just doesn't work that way.

I'm ready to quit trying to own it now and let the victims just be victims.

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Unfiltered

The birth center called. My thyroid test came back normal. I'm thinking I'm supposed to be glad about that, and I am in regards to no drugs and baby is okay. However, the flip side to that is that if everything is normal, then I'm just a little bit crazy. Awesome.

I suppose if my dear family can hang with me until about June of next year, I'll be leveling out again by then. I'm pretty sure Kevin can hang that long. Poor Papa may not make it though. He is so lucky that I'm comfortable enough around him that I don't feel like I have to fake things. Yes, that was sarcasm.

If I could just get a filter, things would be better. Things that actually are annoying, I tend to just call as they are instead of filtering a socially acceptable response. As in, the neighbor who was talking to another neighbor and her two dogs IN my driveway AT naptime. True, it was annoying to have them choose my driveway to stand in with the dogs, thereby driving my dogs insane and waking up Little Bird. However, I wish I could have thought of something to say other than, "Hey, y'all. I'm trying to get my child to sleep and you are driving my dogs insane. Could you please move?" Something nicer. I can only think of meaner things, not nicer ones.

I'm harsh. I know it. No filters. It makes for the crazy to come across even crazier. Awesome.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Twitchy

It's been awhile since I've had a really soul bearing session here. I have to admit, ever since I linked up to Facebook and also found out that not everyone in the blogosphere who claims to be your friend, isn't after all? I haven't been so free to just let it all out here. It's still my space though, and some days, I need to use it like I need to use it. Now is one of those times.

In short, I gots me some issues.

Pregnancy exacerbates the problems. I've thought many times that it's a good thing this is our last baby. I don't think I could do this again.

I have highs and lows that are driving me and poor Kevin crazy. Anxiety and panic attacks. I'm exhausted, but I can't sit still.

The biggest problem is that it comes and goes. I'll have a great week and then an awful week. So just when I convince myself to do something about it, I get better again and forget about it.

Then, I crash.

Lucky for me, I crashed today when I had a midwife appointment. After giving Kevin all sorts of hell before I left the house, I show up for my appointment and have to wait 45 minutes with a toddler at his lunchtime. There was no way for me to hide how upset I was, but instead of just being angry about waiting, something prodded me to just tell her about the crashing. Explain that I was angry at everything, even puppies and sunshine.

When she asked me if I had anything I needed help with today, I believe my exact words were, "Yes. My legs and ankles are really swollen, and I seem to be a bitch, but I don't want to be."

She didn't blow me off or offer me someone to talk to or a pill to take. I liked that. She did mention that it sounded like a thyroid issue and we could do some blood work to check. I liked that too. It felt proactive.

For now, I'm continuing feeding my ridiculous chocolate obsession and have just finished some hot tea with the Rescue Remedy I had stowed away for former foster dogs. I do feel better.

Still twitchy though. And still crying for no reason. And okay, I'm still kind of pissed off at the world when the world hasn't really done anything to me. Most of it anyway. There are a few places where I could be justifiably irritated, but right now I'm too tired to think about it.

Maybe I can sleep straight through until the next high. That would be nice.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Here comes Santa Claus

It's December 1st. All neighborhood pumpkins are on notice. Starting with these.

The Christmas season is upon us, and I have plenty of felt. Loads of it.

Ho.

Ho.

Ho.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Squirmy Wormy

Dear Butterbean,

You are such a little squirmer. Your big brother earned the name Mr. Kicky while still in the womb, and has lived up to it ever since. You, on the other hand, are not so much a kicker as you are a squirmer.

My belly popped out a stretch mark immediately after you decided to do what felt like a full somersault last week. I can sit and stare down at this enormous belly you've helped me create and just watch you swim. Alien belly. I wonder how this will translate when you are here - outside.

I'm trying so hard not to wish away this pregnancy; this being my last pregnancy. I want to enjoy every moment that I have you completely to myself. It's hard though. I am so much bigger this time. I am so much more uncomfortable. Being sick twice has left me fighting to catch my breath even after just going up the stairs once. I've decided it's time to change my attitude.

You see, I certainly don't want you to come early. I want you to stay right where you are, baking away until you are good and ready for the world. So I'm changing my tune as of right now. Slowing down to enjoy this time with you scarf dancing in your little nest.

I have to admit though, that I'm getting really excited to meet you. I've been pulling out your clothes. They are so incredibly small. I've been thinking about where exactly you will fit into this family. We are ready for you. Your daddy, your big sister, your big brother, both big dogs, and me. We are all looking forward to meeting you.

Love,
Your Mama

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Stinky feet

Little Bird has upped the foot game. Adding to his "eat the feet" routine, he is now "smelling the feet." Apparently, the girl who watches him while I teach taught him this game. It's better than what his daddy taught him to say the other day.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Where I decide I'm too cheap

I guess with the holidays now in full swing, I'm going to be a little more active on my craft blog. Today you can read about how sometimes you should just buy it.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Tree day

And so it is written: one day is turkey day, and the next day is tree day. Amen.

There was a whole lot of chasing in and out of the trees. Thank goodness Lovely was with us.




















There was some joyful merry-go-round riding. Again, compliments of his big sister.














Wagoner's wants us to have a "treemendous" holiday season. I'm just sharing how "treemendously" huge I've become.




















Lovely caught this shot of her daddy taking the second tree off the roof of the Jeep.














Little Bird was much more intersted in taking the ornaments off the tree at first, but his big sister was patient with him. She kept putting them back and showing him how.














He just about got the hang of it, but in the end, he thought it was much more fun to just get them from Mama and take them to Sister until she had a huge handful all at once. Heh.




















We almost finished this one. It needs a topper, and I'm going to have to make something. I don't know what we've been putting on top of our multi-colored tree, but I can't find anything among our Christmas things, so I guess I'm going to get crafty. Because I refuse to go buy decorations at full price before Christmas. The world would stop on its axis for sure.




















This is our smaller tree in the living room - the blue and silver tree. Not a great picture; maybe I'll try again when there is daylight coming in. It's good enough to see that Kevin wasn't smiling when he put the star on. Anyone knows that if you don't smile when you put the star on top that it will be crooked. We'll have to work on that tomorrow. I think I've squeezed enough Christmas cheer out of him for one day though.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Crafty me

Today's post is over at Specraftular. I've been appliqueing again. Be very afraid.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

You can hang it on your wall

There was an interesting article in the paper this morning. Recently, a banker here in Raleigh was convicted in a ponzi scheme. He and his family have disappeared, and last week, all of his belongings were auctioned off to recoup some of the money he stole.

A Mercedes convertible went for around $107,000, and a diamond wedding ring was sold for around $170,000. There were several "big name" handbags that sold for a couple thousand each, and some designer shoes that seemed to have been in my size. Oh, darn.

The article in the paper this morning focused in on the "artwork" that was sold though. To be specific, the Thomas Kinkade "paintings" auctioned off to the highest sucker. I mean bidder.

One of the paintings was sold for $15,500. Wise, the rogue businessman, paid $85,000 for it originally. Apparently, it was so expensive because Kinkade himself painted it. Which is such an absurd thing to say in the first place. It's hard to even make a joke about it because it's so stupid. A painting is worth more because the painter actually painted it. That's hilarious.

The woman in charge of fine art at the auction house had this to say,

"Thomas Kinkade paints pictures that are very pleasing and are accessible to a large number of people. He's painting decorative pictures; you can hang them on your wall."

Again, it's hard to turn that into a joke. It's so funny on it's own. "You can hang them on your wall." That's one of the benefits of a Thomas Kinkade painting. How can you not snicker at that?

The article also goes on to say that Kinkade "offers a touchstone for art buyers who want security." I'm kind of wondering though, in an auction where people were willing to pay $2500 for a used Louis Vuitton handbag, where is the security in an $85,000 painting selling for $15,500?

It doesn't really matter. The paintings are complete crap, and Thomas Kinkade is a crook. His company sold paintings to gallery owners who were required to sell them for a minimum retail price while the company, and even Kinkade himself, undercut those prices on cable TV. The gallery owners sued and won.

My father-in-law likes to buy original artwork. It is one of his endearing qualities. He also likes for it to be from local artists. He's a cool Papa. His tastes vary from mine, and that is alright. Sitting in my living room one day, he looks up at "Bird Tropolis", by Anna Podris, and says, "Well, that's pretty, and I know you like it, but I like scenes. You know, paintings of scenes." I told him that technically, it was a scene, a cityscape, if you will, but he wasn't buying it. That's totally fine. There's a wide span between people with different tastes and those with no taste.

Of course, I think if Thomas Kinkade makes you happy, and you don't know any better, then by all means, hang him or someone who paints what he tells them to paint on your wall. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder after all. What grabbed me about this story is that this banker was obviously attempting to "invest" in art by purchasing Thomas Kinkade paintings. Which is ridiculous.

I admit, one of the reasons I saved my pennies to buy Anna's work is because a gallery owner who knew that I already liked it told me that she was the Raleigh artist with the greatest potential for investment. I liked that little bit of information. Granted, if you tried to take one of my paintings from me now, I would never sell them for any amount. I love them, which is the real reason to buy original artwork.

We also have a Jason Craighead and a Bob Rankin. Kevin and I both loved the Craighead at the exact moment we saw it, and quite frankly, the Rankin just went nicely in our guest bathroom. There is also one of Keith Norval's owls upstairs by Lovely's room. Some other artists grace our walls, but from out of state.

I can't tell you if anything we've purchased will go up in value monetarily or not. What I can tell you is this:

  • I know who painted it.
  • I like who painted it.
  • The money we paid for it stayed in our community.
  • The money we paid for it went to support a real artist.
  • We like the work.
  • We intend on teaching our children that artists, like musicians, deserve to be paid well for good original work.
All of which is in direct contrast to the painter of light. Who makes me shudder.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

I got your gDiapers coupons right here

We've been using gDiapers on Little Bird since he was born. We don't use them exclusively, but I do prefer them to anything else during the day.

They don't sponsor me, and I haven't been given free gDiapers to pimp my blog out. I just like them.

That's why when they were looking for moms and dads to join their gMum program, I signed up. Of course, I'm not even taking the time to look up the right label for that. I'm awesome. Basically it means that they send me a stack of coupons and a little happy (this time it was some Dropps detergent to try).

I share the coupons with friends, and I stop by the local Babies'R'Us and try to straighten up the disaster area that usually is where they keep the gDiapers. I don't know what it is about the gDiapers that make people want to plow through them like animals, but it's always a wreck. I'm the crazy woman you might see hanging back up the little gPants and trying to put back together the starter packs.

The starter packs are a cool way to just try out gDiapers, and I've got coupons for $10 off of one. If you would like one of those, or a $2 off any product, just leave me a comment. Of course, I need to be able to email you back, so please hook up your email with your comment.

Share the love.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Blink of an eye

This morning, as Bird danced joyfully to Andy Williams on the Sirius Holiday channel in our living room, he looked like a little boy. Not a baby. A little boy.

I must say, it happened so fast.

While I was in the attic today getting out my giant stockpot (hello, turkey stock!), I found a bag of Bird's newborn clothes. I went ahead and tossed them down, knowing that I'll need them sooner rather than later at this point.

I must say, they are so very tiny.

At dinner tonight, Bird was talking in two word sentence structure. "Daddy eat," "Yogurt gone," and my favorite, "Love you." Hearing him develop vocabulary and start to use a rough subject-verb relationship is amazing.

I must say, I think he is incredibly smart.

These cliches keep swooping down upon me, and I hear them leaving my mouth before I can think of something more original to say.

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The passing of time as a mother overwhelms me.

There are days that drag on so slowly, causing me to call Kevin at lunchtime and ask him when he might be coming home. The whining and tantrums make the minutes crawl by, tempting me to turn on Elmo and hit repeat.

But then there are days when I look at Bird, and I wonder how on earth we got from tiny baby to little boy so quickly. And my heart aches for the days to slow down; for him to fit more easily in my lap again as I rock him before bedtime.

Soon, we will have that baby when Butterbean arrives. In a matter of weeks, the tiny clothes will be washed and ready to outfit a brand new little boy. I'm nervous, remembering how hard the first few months with Bird were. I was so tired and so incredibly sensitive to the crying. It nearly undid me.

I keep telling Kevin that when it gets bad, or if I start to perceive it as unbearable - I'm asking him to remind me of how quickly the newborn will be gone. How quickly Butterbean will be a little boy. And how I will ache for him to fit in my lap more easily, and how I will mourn the dis-assemblage of the crib, and how I will miss nursing my boys.

It's a fair trade though. I know that the newborn stage is hard, and at the same time, I know that I will miss it when it's gone. But nothing in the world can replace having my Little Bird pop off my breast just before being put down for the night, reach up for my cheek, look in my eyes, and say, "Love you."

He's not even born yet, and I know Butterbean will be there all too soon.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Shirley's Shoepeg Corn Casserole

One of the things I make each year for the Boo-Shamoopie annual Thanksgiving blowout is this Shoepeg Corn Casserole. I almost feel guilty printing the recipe because it is so stinking easy, that this part of the meal feels like a cop out on my part. But Boo's husband loves it, and I've been making it every Thanksgiving dinner for over a decade now.

If you need something to take with you to a dinner, this is super easy, impossible to mess up, and you can make it the night before. Just wait to add the Ritz crackers until you are ready to bake it, and remember that if you have a refrigerated Pyrex dish, you want to put it in the cold oven and let it heat up as the oven preheats. Lest your Pyrex shatter. Which would be bad.

Shirley's Shoepeg Corn Casserole

1/2 C chopped celery
1/2 C chopped onion
1/4 C chopped bell pepper (I use orange because it's pretty and I hate green ones)
1 can cream of celery soup
8 oz. sour cream
1 C grated cheese (I usually use cheddar, but have been known to just use a combo of whatever was in the fridge at the time)
2 cans shoepeg corn, drained
1 can French style green beans, drained
1 sleeve Ritz crackers
1 stick melted butter

Mix first 8 ingredients. Pour into a long, shallow baking dish (I use a 9x13, but I also don't measure very well, so I often am just dumping random amounts of the ingredients into a bowl until it looks good, so I'm not much help there, am I?). Top with crushed crackers. Drizzle melted butter over the top. Bake 45 minutes at 350 degrees.

See? Isn't that embarrassing? So incredibly easy, but I promise, people will love it. Unless your people are like my father-in-law, who doesn't like anything. But says he does. Well, he doesn't like this, or rice, or grits, or mushrooms, or several other things that appear on my table frequently. But he eats them anyway. Except mushrooms.

Papa does approve of The Pie, however, and I think you should click on over and remind yourself of said pie and how good it looks. It's something else you should add to your Thanksgiving table fo' sho'.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Meal planning

If I don't plan ahead, there is likely to be pizza on the table or a trip to Torrero's. I just am not one of those people who can walk in the kitchen and throw something together.

So I meal plan. Often for a month at a time. I didn't mean to do it that way, but I got this awesome book, a Busy Body Book, at Blogher in 2008, and it just lended itself to compulsive meal planning. I know I'm not using it how they had in mind, but because of how I'm using it, I'm inclined to say it's the best planner I've had (although I'm waiting to see what Molly comes up with next, you know, supporting local moms and all!).

Here is what a week looks like:














The columns on the right hand side, I use for 1)Meals 2)People eating them 3)Notes 4)Weekly appointments 5)One-time appointments. The "people eating them" column may sound strange, but my stepdaughter is only here 50% of the time, and we like to have Papa eat with us whenever we can. Also, we meal share with a neighbor, so every other week, I make double and take part of it across the street, so I need to keep up with who I'm feeding nightly.

That's a terrible scan above, but the book is too big for my scanner. What you can't see on the far left is a lovely blank space where I put a list of what's in the freezer, Target lists, Trader Joes list, Costco list, or even copy down a new recipe I want to try. You can see the lines where I make my main grocery list.

About once every six weeks, I'll make a Costco run and buy meat. I'll divide it up into portions and freeze it, keeping a tally of what I've put on the menu plan. Other freezer basics are buttermilk biscuits, a frozen meal from Trader Joes for emergencies, a frozen pizza, a couple of casseroles, soup, stock, fat back for veggies (don't tell my Yankee husband about that though), twice baked potatoes that I make a couple dozen at a time, and summer vegetables put up for the winter. Basically.

That's it in a nutshell. If I follow the system, it works really well. I remember to take things out of the freezer in time for dinner, and I usually only have to go to Harris Teeter once a week. I feel better about how I'm running the household, the budget, and as a wife and mother.

And then there are weeks like this past one where I let it all slip through the cracks and barely made it to the store to get milk.

I like the organized weeks much better.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Not for granted

More of the plague. Poor Little Bird woke up yesterday morning with a nasty ear infection. He had been crying through the night off and on, but he would quiet down as soon as I rocked him a little bit.

When I went to get him up for the morning, he was just laying on his back, eyes glassed over, and his bottom lip trembling. It was enough to squash my heart into a pulp. His fever was 101.4, the highest it has ever been.

At first I thought it was the flu, but then I realized that the night time crying and the cough that lingered from the cold he had last week pointed more to ear infection. So we went in to see the doctor who told us that Bird had a nasty ear infection.

You know though, one dose of antibiotics and he was noticeably on the mend. By the end of today, he didn't seem sick at all. I'm grateful for healing and my healthy child. It's not something I take for granted, and sometimes it deserves to be said out loud.

I'm grateful.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Here come the holidays

When do the holidays start at your house? Are you already listening to Christmas music? Is there a tree up at your house yet?

Have you at least had a Peppermint Mocha from Starbucks? Because that counts, you know.

We're talking about it over at Triangle Mamas. Well, at least I am. Come join me.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

For Anissa

I'm watching Glee. It's not going to be nearly as much fun tonight without the Tweets from Anissa throughout.

There are so many people praying for Anissa right now. I am just one of many. Please join me in that many.

Anissa is fighting for her life tonight after suffering a massive stroke yesterday. It isn't her first stroke. She has made it through before. She is ridiculously strong.

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At the Type A Mom Conference, Abby and I attended one of the speaker dinners. Anissa was there. She was sitting at the other end of the table with Heather, Janet, and Brittany. There were about 10 of us at the table, and it was hard to converse with anyone but the people you were sitting beside. Which was all good, because I was sitting with cool people.

But that wasn't quite enough for Anissa. She wanted to visit with everyone. Maybe she didn't think that was a big deal, but Abby and I both commented on it. After Casey left for an impromptu Asheville photo walk, Anissa came down and took her seat so that she could get to know the people at the opposite end of the table from her.

It was a simple gesture, but sums up everything I think about her. Anissa is a people person. A kind person. A genuine person. She wants to make connections, and you want to connect with her.

All these connections you've made, Anissa, are standing together with you now. Holding you and your family as tight as we can from all around the world.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

More birthdays, please.

More birthdays. That's what we keep getting with my momma. It's pretty awesome. There have been so many times when we've been told there would be no more birthdays, and yet today, here she goes again, getting older.

And I thank God everyday that she is.

I'm not just thankful for her birthdays. I'm thankful that she is here for my birthdays, Little Bird's birthdays, everyone's birthdays.

When I was seven, Momma was diagnosed with breast cancer and not given great odds. Then, in 2004 (I think, it's hard to even keep track now), she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Both diagnosis came with the very real threat of no more birthdays.

Yet, here she is, turning a glorious and beautiful 69 years old today. Happy birthday, Reverend Mother.

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Ironically enough, today the U.S. Preventative Services Task Force issued a recommendation against routine mammograms for women in their 40's. They also poo-pooed the idea of regular clinical breast exams and educating women on monthly self breast exams.

From my wording, you can obviously tell that I'm extremely opposed to their recommendations. You can find a slightly less leaning and far more intelligent explanation of their study over at Toddler Planet. It's no surprise that my best friend is once again the voice of reason while I flame emotional.

I have the same emotional reaction to the lack of funding for Inflammatory Breast Cancer research. It doesn't get the funding or attention because not enough women die from it. I dare you to tell the women from Mothers With Cancer that NOT ENOUGH women die from IBC.

It's the same premise that the USPSTF is following though. Meh, only 3% more women died of breast cancer, and HEY! Look at all the money we save not doing routine mammograms on women in their 40's!

Bottom line. Frankly, I think you have to be a real asshole to only be able to see the bottom line. That was supposed to be a pun. I don't think it worked very well.

The American Cancer Society has started promoting "breast awareness" above the "monthly self breast exam." That's still dangerous, because you are really just playing with words there, but it's not the same as recommending that none of it is really that important because only 3% more women died.

Here's the thing, and I totally am stealing this thing from Susan. You have two breasts. If one of them starts to look different than the other, get thee to the doctor that very day. That's breast awareness.

Here's the other thing. I had my first mammogram on my 30th birthday. I haven't had one in about three years now due to pregnancy and breastfeeding, and I probably won't have another one until I'm 40 for the same reasons. But you - all my female friends - you need to be getting them. You need to be checking your boobies, and if you have any family history, tell your doctor you want your mammograms now. Get that baseline and then repeat every year. Your doctor can help you fight your insurance company if you need to. But start now before the world goes INSANE and starts listening to the USPSTF.

Just 3% more. Go ahead. Tell that to the 3%'s families who won't be getting any more birthdays with their loved ones.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Trouble on my mind

It's been like an episode of Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom here today. Mama is down and out with no voice and the lung capacity of a gnat leaving Little Bird to prey upon her. Take out the sick and weak.

At the midwife today, we were down in one of the birthing rooms because it was busy upstairs. Bird kept running to the tub and turning on the water. I gave him the first try of, "Hands off," as I turned the water off. We made it to, "No sir," and an even more firm, "Mama said NO. Do you understand? Look at me, please. Hands off, sir."

He giggled and touched my mouth. My mouth that wasn't working right. Raspy and only half the words actually forming soundwaves. He giggled, touched my mouth, and then turned the water on again.

Prey on the weak.

He was like that all day. There is still one word that will stop him, thank goodness.

Trouble.

Turns out Little Bird hates to be "in trouble." When he knows he's in trouble, he will run to the nearest softie (in order: his sister, me, Daddy) and hangs his head while saying softly, "Trwouble."

It's ridiculously cute and sad and endearing and dang it, it just melts me.

I don't even know where he learned the word in that way. Usually I use "time out" for the warning. "Do you want to be in time out?" And he shapes up for a few seconds.

But now, "Do you want to be in trouble?" seems to hit home.

Trwouble. Hangs head and shakes it. Looks up with those big baby blues. It's hard to stay tough against that. I'm afraid I'm in the running for the biggest softie in the house, and with his big sister only here half the time, I need to stay tough.

And give hugs. Lots and lots of hugs. Because nobody likes to be in trwouble.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Medic!

My throat feels like I swallowed a rabid cat and it's trying to claw it's way back up again. My chest feels like I've got an anvil sitting on it. This is the second upper respiratory infection I've had this pregnancy, and I would like to state for the record, that it sucks.

Thank you, and good night.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

We interrupt this program . . .

Again, not up for much today. Kevin took the kids out for the morning and ran errands. I lay on the couch like a lump. A big lumpy lump.

Now, we are trying to watch the Carolina game on TV, but the commercials are frustrating me. The commercials for primetime TV are scary and not something I want my toddler seeing. So I keep jumping for the remote and hoping that the game on the next channel over is on while the non-family friendly commercials are on.

We did see one commercial though that makes me happy. It's the commercial that features Kevin's work and the amazing research they are doing. I'm so stinking proud of him. Yeah, the hours are long, and I hate it when he has to travel, but he is doing work that is impacting lives positively. And he's smart. S-M-R-T. Smart.

Time to fix dinner. And by fix dinner, I mean order pizza. It's that kind of night.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Making beautiful music together

I have a cold (I hope). Little fever, lotta snot, yucky aches. So today you just get this video. Of course "just" this video is way cuter than anything I could think of to write.

This is Little Bird and his friend Pip, playing a duet. There will be a neighborhood band forming soon. I just know it.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Etiquette questions

I have etiquette questions. Not necessarily Emily Post questions, since I don't think she covered Twitter or what's the best way to tell someone to shut up. But questions nonetheless. Feel free to leave me all the assvice you can muster in the comments.

  1. Is it rude to simply copy someone's Tweet and not retweet it properly? Like word for word?
  2. Is it rude to DM someone on Twitter if you don't follow them? So you can't DM them back?
  3. Is there a way to politely let someone know they are constantly spamming you with Facebook and Twitter DM's? I'm assuming I can't start off with, "Hey, stupid."
  4. Non computer related, what do you do when someone constantly pummels your toddler with questions that he can't answer? Over and over and over? Like, "What did you do today? Huh? Huh? What did you do? Did you go to school? Did you play? Huh? Huh? What did you do today?" Not that said toddler would have had time to answer even if he could, but do you step in and answer for him?
  5. On the dairy aisle, where you can't pass other people, what do you do when some dude is coming at you full on with his cart and doesn't cross over when he has the chance? Do you back up and let him through? Stare him down?
  6. What do you say to the person who keeps referring to all the colds your child has had, even though he hasn't had colds, he's just been teething? And you've told him this numerous times?
  7. Is it rude to tell the old man from up the street that if he is going to wander through the construction in your home, that you prefer him to knock first? Since sometimes you like to walk through the completely exposed kitchen in your freaking underwear?
You see, my hormones are out of control and I'm a little sensitive lately. So go ahead, coach me.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Thank you

Today is the day I always think, "I'm lucky to be here." Not just in North Carolina or the United States of America, but here as in existing.

From what I understand, my daddy wanted to be a chaplain in the Army. Then came Vietnam. Then came the Battle of Ong Thanh. After that, Daddy decided to become a lawyer. Took the LSAT in Saigon and came home to go to Ole Miss.

Any connection I'm making to those things is all my own. He has not said that they are related.

So in addition to thanking him for serving, I also always thank him for stopping. I much prefer him being around for Veteran's Day instead of being remembered on Memorial Day.

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If you want to know more about the ambush that happened in October, 1967 - the one that the news reported as an American victory - check out They Marched Into Sunlight by David Maraniss. It parallels the story of the Battle of Ong Thanh and a protest at the University of Wisconsin-Madison that happened a day apart. Universal is set to release a movie based on the book in 2010.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Honest crap. I mean, scrap.

Another thing I have time for in the month of blog everyday is award memes. I had stopped doing them not because I'm completely ungrateful, but because I had become a lazy, time restricted blogger. I should have taken up Stimey's lead and just made up my own catch all award and written something funny and self deprecating, but I was too lazy to even do that.

Never fear, though, blog everyday this month, month, is here.

My across the street neighbor is also a blogger. When Kevin and I were thinking of moving, I tried really hard not to get to know her because I knew I was going to like her so much, and it would suck moving away. Ha ha on me - we got to stay put, meaning I wasted a bunch of time not hanging out with her and becoming cooler via osmosis.

She graciously bestowed upon me the Honest Scrap award. Instead of being an ungracious slob, I'm supposed to do these things:

1) Say thanks and give a link to the presenter of the award.
Thanks, Cyndi! I'm hoping lots of people (you know, all 13 who read this) go on over and pay you a well deserved visit. they will be glad they did.

2) Share "10 Honest Things" about myself.
I'll get to that in a minute.

3) Present this award to 7 others whose blogs I find brilliant in content and/or design, or those who have encouraged me. That's hard, because I'm going to leave someone out which is another reason I have been slack on responding. Guilt. But here goes:

  • Fertile Mertile ~ She's BAAAAAACK!
  • Stimey ~ Because she's the most hilarious ever, I love her, and I could possibly receive one of her handmade buttons about not posting buttons.
  • Abby ~ For giving me things to do with my toddler and being a great friend.
  • JC and Tara ~ my preggo buddies
  • Momma ~ Why not? She's my momma, and my momma rocks.
  • Amo ~ Because she's the world's greatest commenter and has an adorable kiddo. Go see.
4) Tell those 7 people they've been awarded HONEST SCRAP and inform them of these guidelines in receiving. I hope they are checking their stats for links, because I'm not sure I have the stamina to do much more. Again with the lazy.

Alrighty then. Ten honest things. As if I haven't spilled enough into this space over the past three years as it is. I'll try not to repeat myself, but remember, you're getting what you pay for.
  1. The construction at my home is driving me batshit crazy. I've tried not to let it, but as of today, I'm admitting defeat.
  2. Some days I let Little Bird watch a little more TV just because he's sitting with me on the couch in a perfect snuggle position.
  3. I don't like vegetables when I'm pregnant.
  4. I have drank more Diet Coke than I should have this pregnancy. Fountain ones from McDonald's. They are the best, you know.
  5. I'm almost 200 pounds and still have 10 weeks to go. Oy.
  6. I don't practice anymore. Or rarely.
  7. I hate musicals.
  8. Most of my dreams lately have had me starring in them as a tall, skinny, shiny haired brunette with much smaller boobs. Not hard to read into that one.
  9. Right now I'm glad this is my last pregnancy.
  10. I miss my Daddy. The way he used to be.
So there you have it. It's only day 10 too. Aren't you loving the month of November?

Monday, November 09, 2009

Granddaddy's cornbread

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite days of the year. In my previous life, I always hosted an Orphans' Thanksgiving at our house. I would buy the biggest bird I could find, gather all of our friends who were stuck in town with no family, and we would throw down for the day and into the next.

I started cooking days in advance. There were no fewer than four dozen biscuits coming out of my oven. I made a giant pitcher of cajun bloody mary's that we started in on first thing in the morning. Sometimes people would bring their favorite family dish to share, but most of the time, I cooked all of it - because that was the way I liked it.

By midnight, the leftovers had been put away, pulled out and perused, and put away all over again. There was a stock pot with the turkey carcass simmering away on the stove so that my freezer would be well stocked with stock. The pies sat out on the table tempting those who had any sliver of room left, and no one cared if they were using their same wine glass that they started with earlier in the day.

I have a stash of recipes that I used every year with the exception of the turkey. I always looked for a new turkey recipe to try. Kept things a little fresh each year.

Now we have a more traditional family Thanksgiving that we share every year with our good friends Boo and Tom. Sometimes her family comes up from Florida as well. This year, we will have four children at our table, three grandparents, and three couples. Boo will have bird duty, and I think she's leaning towards a brine. Yummy.

Blogging everyday in November gives me a chance to share some of my favorite recipes for Thanksgiving. I'm starting with this recipe that I need to laminate at some point. It is in my granddaddy's hand writing and is the first step in recreating my grandmomma's dressing.

Editorial note for all y'all non-Southerners reading: Dressing is what you would call stuffing, except you don't put it in the bird's butthole, and it's way more moist and tasty.

Cornbread

1 Cup flour
1 Cup yellow cornmeal*
2-4 Tbsp sugar (I use only 2)
1 Tbsp Baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 eggs
1 cup milk
1/4 cup cooking oil or shortening**

In one bowl, stir and blend flour, cornmeal, sugar, salt, and baking powder. In another bowl, beat together eggs, milk, and oil. Mix meal mix with egg mix, and stir until batter is smooth. Do not over beat.
Bake at 425 in well greased 9x9x2 pan*** for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown.

* If you can get locally ground, it really does make a difference, and Granddaddy actually says you can use yellow, white, or blue
** I use canola oil, and a little less than called for because I melt about 2 Tbsp of butter in the iron skillet that I've heated up before pouring in the batter.
***I never cook cornbread in anything but cast iron. This recipe calls for your biggest skillet most likely.

You'll need to make this a few days before you plan to put your dressing together because you have to let it sit out and get stale.

Next, we'll talk about my grandmomma's dressing which my brother and I have tried tirelessly to recreate. We've both come up with yummy dressing, but I don't think either of us have hit it spot on yet.

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Jackson. It is what it is.

I finally got a chance to read The Help this week. Kathryn is my big brother's age. They went to school together from kindergarten until the 12th grade. So many of us in Jackson did. First Presbyterian Day School followed by Prep. I swear, Jackson, Mississippi could put out it's own version of the game Life.

The book was great, I thought. What struck me the most though, was the very end, where Kathryn talks about why she wrote the book. She talked about the woman who helped raise her - her family's own help.

It makes sense. I don't know anyone who didn't have a maid growing up, or at least not that I can remember. And when First Presbyterian Day School arranged for the kids who lived out further in the new part of town to ride the city bus to the Colonial Country Club to be picked up by our moms? We shared those buses with the domestic help. The women who spent their days in the homes of Northeast Jackson taking care of white families and their evenings on the other side of Woodrow Wilson taking care of their own families.

But Kathryn set the book in the 1960's. Not in the 1980's, when we were growing up in Jackson.

I'm certainly not saying that it was the same in the '80's as it was in the '60's. But it wasn't as different as someone who didn't grow up there would imagine it would be. It was the same enough for me to be caught blushing with shame at identifying too well at times throughout the book.

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There is something else that I associate with Jackson. It's probably not inherent to the place, but having been gone from there for over a decade now, it seems unique to the local to me. I have so much more confidence here in Raleigh. The mean girls just seemed meaner there.

The way the circles of friendships revolved around who your parents were and the Junior League made it impossible for lines to be crossed. I know I've mentioned before how I derailed my own track to debutante when I found out my best friend wasn't even allowed to utter the word because she was Jewish.

My father has never looked so relieved and yet altogether disappointed in the same expression as when I told him that I didn't want him to pursue it further. I think it was the moment he realized that I had no intentions of staying in Jackson.

Like Kathryn said though, I'm allowed to say whatever I want to about it. It's backwards, it bears bitter bitter fruit. It will never be as important as it thinks it is. I can talk some smack about Jackson, but don't you dare try. It's wonderful and quirky and full of surprises.

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I've received multiple suggestions lately that I friend a woman named Mary Katherine on Facebook. I will do no such thing. Kevin can't believe that I can hold a grudge for 23 years. I disagree that it's a grudge.

In seventh grade, I was one of the last girls to figure out that you didn't get to just be nice to everyone, regardless of what they wore, what they looked like, or who they hung out with. As a result, after being burned a few times, and having the world's meanest carpool (seriously, Facebook, don't even think of recommending those girls), I just started being generally harsh on the outside. Protection measures, you know.

Anyway, one day before the Great Wall of Teenagedom went up, I passed Mary Katherine in the hallway. She was tall and gangly. Her hair was brillo pad curly, and I don't think I have ever seen her smile without sneering. She was on my ironic list of kids I felt sorry for. Ironic because I was so far down on the food chain, pity from me inspired ire in people.

"Hi, Kacky!" I smiled as she approached.

"My name is Mary Katherine," she hissed, cutting her eyes to see if anyone was watching her speak to me.

"Oh. I thought your friends called you 'Kacky,' I'm sorry." I thought I had made a mistake. We hadn't gone to elementary school together, so I didn't know her well.

"My friends do." she tossed over her shoulder at me.

I couldn't tell anyone why I hated her so much because it was too humiliating. I just made sure never to sit near her or hang with any of her friends and generally avoided any situation where I would have to be in her presence. Not an easy task in a school our size.

It's not like that one incident gave me reason to hold a grudge for 23 years really. She just never changed towards me. She never gave me any reason not to feel differently about her. For six years, all I saw was that sneer, and her walking in the back of her crowd most of the time. Like she was just following along. Like the moms were orchestrating the friendships and her mom just had the right clout to make sure she had the right friends.

In all honesty, I continued to feel sorry for her. But I would be damned if I ever put myself out there for her to spit on ever again.

So it's not really a grudge, it's just that old protection mechanism that's urging me to not only not friend her on Facebook, but to just block her and continue to pretend like it's a happy slappy world without people as mean as she was in it. Besides, I can guarantee that she doesn't care about being Facebook friends with me.

Of course, the grown up in me knows that is ridiculous. I'm sure she is a nice person, and I just never got the chance to see it. I don't imagine I ever will either because I'm not willing to try. That's really kind of sad.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

I'm so crafty

Today's post, which will be yesterday's post by the time anyone reads this was on Specraftular. Just a little something about some zippered pouches that I see myself making quite a few of in the future.

Tomorrow's post, which will be today's post by the time anyone reads this will be insightful and inspiring, I'm sure.

Friday, November 06, 2009

Wonder Pets. Yes, the Wonder Pets.

Seeing as how I'm posting every day in November, I now can feel justified in wasting, I mean, writing a post about the Wonder Pets. Not just about the Wonder Pets, but about how much I freaking love the Wonder Pets. Which apparently, is a very odd thing amongst parents.

I can't help myself though. Ever since Noggin changed their schedule to put Yo Gabba Gabba on right in the MIDDLE of Little Bird's naptime (for which I will never forgive them and will remain bitter forever), the only thing we have watched on TV is Wonder Pets (and the occasional Sesame Street). Bird loves it so much, and he knows that it comes on at the end of our day. When we've finished our afternoon errands, or if he sees me starting dinner, he starts asking for "Pets! Pets! Pets!" And I don't mind letting him watch it.

The music is wonderful. The three Wonder Pets, a guinea pig, a duckling, and a turtle, are voiced by children who sing, like children. While that might sound like a stupid statement, just take a step back and think about all the kids you hear singing on Disney or even on the Backyardigans (granted, I've only heard two songs from that show, but the two I heard were enough). The kids singing on those show are not using their pure voices. It sells, but it's not natural, and it's not good for their voices in the long run.

There is no pitch correction or auto tuning. They don't scoop or sing through their noses. It's just lovely little kid voices who sing in tune most of the time.

They sing a lot. Most of the show is sung, and is in the style of an opera. A good bit of the dialogue is done in recitative, and the music is recorded by a live orchestra. As in real people playing real instruments. As in, no midi. Hoorah.

Even though the style of the show is modeled after opera, the different adventures the Wonder Pets have leads to different styles of music. Today, Bird and I heard the blues and Broadway in two episodes. We've heard reggae and jazz, and my favorite was the dinosaur episode when they used chant like music with lots of open fifths. It was brilliant.

Finally, there is plenty of repetition for learning. But even though the Pets sing mostly the same thing at the beginning of every episode, there are usually subtle changes within the songs. Maybe the duck will sing what the turtle usually sings. Maybe they will change a word at the end of a phrase. Maybe they will sing things a little bit out of order.

These subtle changes are training Bird's ears. He can sing most of the Wonder Pets main theme song with me, but if you watch him closely while the show is on, you'll see him actively listening for the changes. It's pretty cool, and it works too. If you have ever learned music with a toddler, you know that the first thing they give back to you is the last word of the phrase. They also start picking up on the rhythm. By subtly changing these elements, Bird's ears are being challenged, and he is learning to recognize musical patterns. If you simply tap out the rhythm to their mantra, "What's gonna work?" without words or pitches, he knows to call out "Teamwork!" That is cool.

Of course, the fact that Bird and I have been going to Music Together classes since he was seven weeks old has something to do with how quickly he picks up on the musical aspects of the Wonder Pets. Our time in the car is spent listening to those Music Together CD's, practicing rhythm patterns, pitch patterns, and speech patterns. That, and just having a good time singing. I really do believe that the best thing I can do to be developing that little brain of his is to be teaching him through music and reading.

Yeah, I'm a little obsessed with exposing my children to music. I don't play Mozart at bedtime (or anytime actually), and I don't put on Bach during dinner. But at 21 months, Bird can identify a piano, a violin, a guitar, and drums by sound alone. He can keep a steady beat for about two measures. He can match pitch. He knows several songs, and the last words of phrases for dozens more. I think he's doing great.

So I confess, I love the Wonder Pets. What can I say? I'm also just a sucker for a cute guinea pig.

Just in case you were wondering, which I highly doubt you were, I received no compensation for this sappy love letter to the Wonder Pets. However, if Nickelodeon were to feel enough gratitude to send us a flyboat with the bobble head Wonder Pets in it, I wouldn't turn it down. Bird's crocodile tears when we left Target without it today were almost too much to resist.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Big sisters are awesome

Little Bird's big sister is 13. You wouldn't know it by hanging out with her - at least, not in the stereotypical 13 year old girl way. She is rarely moody, does what she is asked, and loves to spend time with her little brother. We really couldn't ask for more.

I was surprised that she didn't ask to do anything with her friends for Halloween. I asked her if they were getting together or having a party or anything. She rattled off different plans that they all had, but didn't mention missing out on anything. Hadn't she wanted to go do something with them on Halloween?

"No," she said. "I wanted to go trick-or-treating with Bird."

Cue me melting into a gooey mess of warm fuzzies.

They are two peas in a pod. Just so you can get a small glimpse of the joy my wonderful children fill this house with, here is a video of them pretending to eat their daddy's feet. The laughter is beyond contagious.


Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Don't take that tone with me

It was a look and tone I was used to getting at the OB's office. It was what initially turned me off on their idea of care in the first place. I was surprised to get it from a midwife yesterday.

It has occurred to me that it might be me. I know, big fat duh. I don't mean though, that it is all me. Just that I might be a little overly sensitive at times (insert the raucous laughter of my husband here). Even so, that look and tone irk me.

The head cocks to one side. The eyebrows raise. The back of the pallette raises and they start their next sentence with "You knoooooooow, you are going to have to . . ."

Dude. I really really hate that.

Yesterday it was in regards to tandem nursing and making sure that Little Bird knows that when the baby comes, Mama's milk is for him.

Fine. Valid point. But my issue is that I've ALREADY BEEN THINKING ABOUT THAT. I don't need the cock and eyebrow. I don't need the tone of "I'm sure you are a moron who hasn't done any of your own preparation." I don't need the assumption that because you are my healthcare provider, you are a deity and need to preach to me.

Sensitive? I suppose so. It just bugs me.

There could be a much better approach. The question could be posed, "Have you thought about how you will help Bird understand what the baby needs when he gets here?" or "Do you think you will have any issues with Bird's nursing once the baby is here?" Something along those lines would start the same conversation, and would also validate the fact that I'm not a dumb ass.

Did I say any of that though? No. I'm such a weakling in an exam room. I should have said something. Instead I just reminded her that Bird is not even two yet, but that yes, we were reading books about new babies and talking about how he will have to share the na-na's because the baby will need them.

It felt like this midwife was telling me not to tandem nurse though, and that really surprised me. Last month, the midwife I saw practically gave me a bear hug when she asked how long I had nursed Bird and I said, "You mean this morning? About 10 minutes." She was really supportive of tandem nursing.

In the end, I guess I just have to stop being so damn sensitive and stop caring what anyone else thinks. It's not that I mean to care - I get a few hours away from it and realize that I've been wasting a bunch of time caring. It's stupid.

I'm going to make decisions that my OB wouldn't have liked. I'm going to make decisions that the midwives won't like. I'm a middle of the road mama, what can I say?

But the head cocking, eyebrow raising, here comes a lecture? I can totally do without that from anyone.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Triangle Mamas Halloween round up

I wasn't going to count this as a post for the month, but seeing as how it took me all freaking evening to put together (because of my lack of Typepad skillz), I'm counting it.

Day three can be found at Triangle Mamas. Also, some incredibly cute kids.

Monday, November 02, 2009

NaBloPoMo. Whatever.

I don't even really know what it exactly stands for. National Blog Posting Month? Maybe? All I know is that I've ignored it three times now. This year? I'm not going to ignore it, but I'm not making any promises either.

I'll give it a shot. I won't post here everyday, but I'm going to try and post here, at Triangle Mamas, or at Specraftular everyday.

Today, it's at Specraftular, on the making of Little Bird's Halloween costume. Go have a peek if you like.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Boo-less Halloween

Fall is my favorite time of year. Everything could be pumpkin scented and in a palette of red, gold, and brown all year long as far as I'm concerned.

Well, except for Christmas. You know, if we could have six months of fall and six months of Christmas, then I would be completely happy. Totally and completely.

Every year, I try my best to get into Halloween. Last year, I went all out on Pirate costumes for the family. This year, I went for the handmade costume, but just for Little Bird. Kevin and I didn't dress up.

However, we decorated outside more. I thought I might get into the spirit more . . . but not so much. I just don't get into the gore side of Halloween. I like the pumpkins, the cute costumes, and the sweet part - pun intended. I just can't seem to like the blood and guts part of the holiday.

I have a feeling this is not going to serve me well as the mother of boys and a husband who can't wait to turn our garage into a haunted house. While I can, I'm going to enjoy my very vanilla version of Halloween. For however short a time that it lasts.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Thank you linky love

There are a few thank yous that I need to offer up, left over from the Type A Mom Conference. I'm not a review blogger, nor do I accept items for review for this blog. I was given these things as a conference attendee, and would simply like to extend my thanks.

Mabels Labels sent me a set of iron labels for Little Bird's clothes and some labels for his shoes and sippy cups (or whatever I want to put them on). The thing about the sippy cup labels is that I totally missed the fact that they are stickers, but they ARE DISHWASHER SAFE. How cool is that? I can't wait to put my Sharpie away and start labeling Bird's stuff in style.

They also sent some pink bag tags for me because mine at the conference were green, and that was the BOY color. It really didn't bother me at all - especially because the little icon was a pair of headphones - but they felt badly. And then did something about it. Which I think speaks volumes of a company. The whole package was just lovely, and you can bet I'll be ordering more from them and telling my friends (as in like right now).

Tiffany at Lattes and Life wasn't a conference sponsor, but she brought some of the giveaways from her blog right to the conference. It was the best giveaway ever. I didn't have to Tweet anything, leave a dozen comments, fan something on Facebook, or go to a website and find out when the company was created. I just had to find her and ask for it. "Hey Tiffany, can I have a Halo Sleep Sack?" And booyah, she handed me one. It was awesome.

I also met Drew, from Eden Fantasys. He's a super nice guy. He gets a link because he's that nice, but that's all I'm saying about that because my momma reads this blog.

Little Debbie was at the conference passing out their yummy new chocolate cupcakes. They had the cupcakes and then a coupon for more cupcakes when I got home. Nice. Happy pregnant woman.

Creative Memories gave me a copy of their software which I honestly haven't opened yet. I thought about giving it to a friend, but I think I'll keep it and eventually use it. You know, in my mountains of free time. I'm certainly not going to start scrapbooking, but maybe if it was digital I would do something. We'll see.

Chick-fil-a provided lunch and coupons, which was nice of them. So, thank you to them too.

There were other sponsors and freebies, but those are the ones that made an impression, and that deserved some linky love from me.

So there you have it. Not terribly interesting, but sincere. And seriously, go check out Mabels Labels. It's the coolest.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

27 Weeks

Dear Butterbean,

Still no new blog name for you. I'm thinking you're just stuck with it. That will probably happen a lot - getting stuck with things. I apologize in advance.

There are some new things in your future. Clothes that are just yours. I didn't have very many warm clothes for your brother when he was itty bity. We just didn't go out much. You and I won't have the luxury of hiding out at home, so I've bought you some warm and cozy things. You'll be nicely dressed for all of your brother's activities which you will have to attend.

Just this morning, your daddy and I were talking about how you don't kick as much as your big brother did. I said that you didn't kick as often, but you kicked harder. And you do. Some nights you take my breath away with one single whack to my belly. You also squirm more. It's interesting how different you already are from Bird.

Then, in a great attempt to prove me wrong, you went to town in your cocoon this afternoon. You respond most to your brother. When he climbed in my lap this afternoon, you went nuts. I wish you could have seen his face when you started punching up near my rib cage. He felt it first and then looked down and saw it. Then he said, "Baby!"

I know he doesn't fully understand the fact that you are a little person and that you won't always be in my belly, but it's cool to see him making a connection in his own way. You are making a connection too. By whacking at him whenever he's near my belly. Which, by the way, is not so helpful while I'm trying to rock him to sleep.

You are taking up more and more room everyday. I'm getting heartburn from a glass of water. When I stand up, I immediately have to pee, even if I'm standing up from the toilet. It's bizarre. I'm absolutely starving, and then when I go to eat, I get full entirely too quickly. These are things I remember about the end of pregnancy.

It's not the end though. Today we are at 27 weeks. We have just gotten to that point where I'm keenly aware of you all of the time. I'm glad it's not the end. I'm enjoying having you all to myself, and knowing that this is my last pregnancy, I'm trying to savor it a little bit more.

You know, your brother may have been my first born, but you'll be my last, and that's making me love you in your own special way too. Not too much longer, little BB. I hope you're cozy in there.

Love,
Your Mama

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Adventures turned traditions

Last year I wasn't blogging in October. Let's hear it for internet stalkers! There was this one afternoon last October that I took off with Little Bird on an adventure, and I never wrote about it. I wanted to, because it was like this great turning point with us. We were a team, out to find the fun in life.

Granted, it was just a pumpkin patch, but for this mama, who barely left the house the first six months of Bird's life, it was more than that. It was freedom.

Bird and I hit the farm and rode the train, watched the goats, took a hayride, and picked out the most perfect pumpkin we could find. We left the stroller at home in favor of snuggling in a sling. Bird passed out on the way home, exhausted with I hope was sheer joy. It was also the first time I had that feeling of wishing he would remember the things we did together - that long term memory.

This year, Kevin wanted to join us. Since Lovely is tracked out in October, we planned the trip for when she was with us. The day was cold, windy, and it kept misting. It was not a great day for a pumpkin patch visit in Kevin's eyes, but I thought it was perfect. I love it when the weather starts to foreshadow the winter to come. We bundled up, piled in the Jeep and headed to Youngsville.

Bird may not remember our trip there last year, and he may not remember the one this year, but we will. We'll remember how he stomped out ahead of us all, leading the way to the train. We'll remember how he bounced in the hay and waited for me or Lovely to hold his hands, count to three, and help him jump. We'll remember how he ran through the rows of pumpkins, pointing at pumpkin after pumpkin, shouting "PUMKIN" like we wouldn't see them if he didn't tell us about them.

Fun afternoons and adventures are turning into traditions. Family traditions. I really love that.