Monday, August 31, 2009


Dear Blue Cross Blue Shield,

Thank you for having not one, but two very nice ladies available to help me over the phone today. I now understand better why I had to shell out a large chunk of money for my one routine ultrasound that is supposed to be included in my global maternity plan.

While your customer service people were nice and helpful, it doesn't change the fact that I'm getting screwed here. Having switched from an OB to a midwife will save you a huge amounts of money. The three days that I won't spend in the hospital this time? Will save you a huge amount of money. All of the decisions that I am making in this pregnancy happen to save you huge amounts of money.

So why is it that it's costing me so much more?

Just another American frustrated with health care and insurance companies

Dear Jardin people,

You make a lovely crib. I did not mean to break it when I was so pissed off earlier today. I now know that I can't yank the rail up that hard. At least not without breaking the little plastic parts on the bottom.

The fact that you are sending me the new parts free of charge and so quickly is very nice, and it makes me wonder if you realize that it's my own damn fault the thing broke in the first place.

A mommy who seriously needs a break

Dear Glenn,

I'm guessing that working at Babies'R'Us in the furniture department is not your dream job. Maybe you had your sights set on something white collar, 8-5, that came with a company car. I don't know. Maybe, you are really good at retail.

However, I for one, am grateful that you work there. You probably just thought you were doing your job, but unless your job description includes dealing with insanely hormonal pregnant women who cry on the phone to you while their toddlers scream and throw things in the background? Unless it includes that, you went way above and beyond today.

I didn't know the brand, the model number, or where it was made. You knew your cribs so well, that you helped me identify it over the phone by describing a couple of specific parts on it. When you realized that I still had one child using the crib, you asked if you could call me back so you could see if there were parts you could take off a crib in stock so I could have them today.

When you couldn't actually get the parts for me today, you instead gave me the part numbers and phone number and everything else I needed to order them myself so they would get to me faster. You did pretty much everything but come to my house and dial the phone for me.

My day sucked. You not only helped my fix Bird's crib, you helped fix my day. I should probably tell your boss.

That same mommy who seriously needs a break

Thursday, August 27, 2009

My boys

Dear Little Bean,

I think you need a new name. I'm not sure what it's going to be yet, but Butterbean just doesn't fit you. You, the kicking, twisting, must be made known, you.

You actually do have a new name. As of today, we know what we will call you when you are born because we know that you are a boy. Oh boy, do we know you are a boy.

The ultrasound tech didn't have that wand on my tummy for more that 5 seconds when you mooned us, threw your legs open, and showed us all of your glory. She didn't have to tell us what you were; I started laughing and said, "Is that what I think it is?" And it was. My little exhibitionist.

I guess it's safe to say now how very much I wanted you to be a boy. There are both pragmatic and emotional reasons involved. The pragmatic is obvious: I already have all the clothes you need in the proper season. Score.

The emotional reasons are a little more complicated. One reason is that I didn't want for your big sister to feel like she was being replaced with a new little girl. Maybe she wouldn't have. She's pretty amazing, and I think - I hope - that she is secure in how much she is loved. But I'm glad for that reason.

Also, knowing that you are a little boy reassures me that I know what to do with you. While I know that you won't come out just a carbon copy of your big brother, I feel like I know how to love a little boy and take care of a little boy. That might never make sense to you, since you won't ever be somebody's mama, but it makes sense to me.

My heart melts when I think about "my boys" now. I love saying it. I love finding reasons to say it. I can't wait until you get here and I get to say, "Today, me and the boys . . . " which is of course terrible grammar, but I love the way it sounds.

My boys. My boys.

My heart.

I am so in for it.

Your Mama

Monday, August 24, 2009

The kid's gonna be alright

I hover. It comes naturally to me. A smidge of control freak mixed in with an annoying amount of always being right sets poor Little Bird up for a lifetime of me up in his business.

Already, I'm consciously trying to let go where I can. He runs in the play area at the pool while I watch without chasing. He climbs up and goes down the Little Tykes slide without me holding his hand. He is learning everyday how to do more without me hovering.

This weekend, I stopped by my favorite maternity store to see what might be on sale and capable of making me feel cute - in other words, miracles. She keeps some toys in a little play area. Bird remembered right where they were and ran to them, leaving me to shop blissfully. It's a very small store, so I didn't think twice about leaving him to play while I tried on tops in the dressing room right next to the play area.

There were also two sisters there with their mother and a little girl who was about three. One of the sisters was pregnant and shopping, the other left to go to the china shop next door, and the grandma was giving fashion advice. Bird and the little girl were playing.

At least, I thought they were.

The little girl looked so sweet in her smocked dress with matching hair bow. It never occurred to me that she was a little three year old piranha.

As I was checking out, Bird came over and stood by me. The little girl followed him and started to whack him in the face with her fists. I let out an instinctive, "No," as I scooped up my child who was just standing there, being pummeled.

It happens. I wasn't upset, and I didn't think ill of the girl or her grandma. It could have just as easily been my child who has thrown a tantrum over a train. I just picked him up, and we moved on. No big deal.

Until we got home and I noticed his arm.

Bright red bite mark. Clear as day. It could have been used to trace her through dental records if needed. That little girl bit my Bird. Hard.

At first, I was all over myself about not watching him closely enough. How could I have let that happen? I made vows all night long to never let him out of my sight again - to never let go of his hand - to never stop hovering.

Then, the next morning, the bite mark was gone.

It dawned on me that he was alright. That really, he was going to be alright.

In a couple of weeks, we go to Mother's Morning Out for the first time. Bird won't just be out of my sight, he'll be out of my reach. I'll pack his lunch and backpack, and drop him off. As in leave him. As in get back in my car and drive away without him.

He might get pummeled. He might get bit on the arm. Or, God forbid, he might be the pummeler or the biter. I don't know what will happen.

But I do know that he is going to be alright.

Friday, August 21, 2009

To my dance partner

Dear Butterbean,

Next week we find out if you are a boy or a girl. I'm very excited. If you are a boy, then I have a lot less work to do to get ready for you. If you are a girl, then we get to use the name that I love so much for you.

I will be happy either way.

Last night you kept me awake as I lay in bed next to your daddy. The little flutter dance you did was undoubtedly adorable, if not just slightly ill-timed. I was alright with it though, because I'm enjoying having you show me your presence.

One of your brother's favorite words is "baby." He has noticed my protruding belly, and likes to poke it. A lot. So, I taught him to say "baby" when he pokes it or when I ask him what is in my belly. It's much better than people just thinking that he's poking my beer gut.

Every night we pray for you and we pray for all the people we know who are expecting new babies. When Bird hears "Ms. Heather and Mr. Mike," or "Ms. Tara," he stops nursing just long enough to say "Baby!" I hope that his enthusiasm for babies continues after you get here.

You will have a lot of people love you when you come into this world. You know, you have a lot of people who love you already.

Keep dancing, little one.

Your Mama

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Best friends

After my oldest dog, Chelsea, died in December, Bird seemed to lose interest in dogs for awhile. The other dogs are so much bigger than Chelsea was, and with Bird just learning to walk, he was leary of them.

I can't say that I blame him. Gibson and his big chocolate lab tail can still knock him down with one exuberant wag.

This summer, he has become inseparable from the two big dummies, as we affectionately call them. "Dog" is constantly coming out of his mouth.

He hears them in the backyard, barking, and he runs to the door to help let them in.

He likes to help feed them by carrying their bowls to the utility room where we keep their food.

He also like to help them eat by squatting next to their bowls and putting the little pieces of kibble that they drop back into the bowl for them.

This week, Bird learned how to give them cookies. Now, he will go into the kitchen and put both arms up towards the cookie jar and say "dogdogdogdogdog" until I get two dog biscuits for him to share with his best friends.

I think I love it best when he sits with them on the dog beds. Just one of the pups.

I think the Setter loves him too.

Monday, August 17, 2009


He's taunting me. I leave the front door open to let in the sunlight through the storm door. When I walk by, he doesn't budge. He dares me to come running out the door, cursing and waving my fists at him.

Sometimes I chase him all the way to the dogwood tree, shaking it until he runs up into the neighboring pine.

Sometimes I just sigh in defeat and kick the storm door. Those times, he sits still on the railing, staring me down, never missing a beat in the rhythmic devouring of the leaf he has stripped from my hibiscus.

I hate that damn squirrel.

"Squirrel" is the newest word in Little Bird's vocabulary. He has learned to go to the front door and yell it out to me, just to see me come running to save another branch of my soon to be naked topiaries. He steps aside and chants, "Squirrel, squirrel, squirrel," rolling the r's in that odd little baby way that he does. He likes it when I make it all the way to the tree shaking.

Gibson stands next to him, drooling. I should let him take care of that squirrel.

It was only the one on the right for awhile. However, today, when I opened the front door for the first time, there he was, hiding behind the planter on the left. He peeped around it, and I swear on my grandmother's box of handwritten recipes, he waved.

I really hate that damn squirrel.

Two weeks ago, my front stoop was flanked by two beautiful hibiscus topiaries full of lovely deep pink blossoms. Today, I didn't even bother to sweep it off or pull the weeds before taking pictures. It wouldn't have mattered. My flowers have been ravaged.

The biggest surprised is that the squirrel didn't stop and pose as I snapped photos of the devastation he has wrought.

He had better watch out. I'm planning my revenge at this very moment, and he just might find himself making a lovely rug for some Barbie's Dream House living room.

Damn squirrel.

Sunday, August 16, 2009


Because I don't want to forget this moment . . .

I'm sitting in the living room watching my children play. Lovely is shaking her hair and hands at Little Bird while he lays on the floor, laughing until his mouth is just open with no sound coming out. That laugh of so much joy that he can't get anymore out.

They occasionally stop to hug, but mainly it is just play play play. Almost every toy has been emptied from the basket. Bird has spun in a circle until he falls down, just to make Lovely laugh some more.

For this, we skipped church, and I'm so glad we did.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

No more baby mullet

Little Bird has been sporting a mullet. I know this and admit it willingly, but I have been loathe to cut it. It curled up in the back, and I knew, even though my momma said, "Cutting it will bring the curl out more," I knew that the curls would be gone.

And they are.

It's still not a "little boy" haircut. He just doesn't have enough on top yet, so it's still a little baby.

A little.

He wouldn't sit in the chair by himself, and Trish kind of had to cut when she could because he was so wriggly, but all in all, it was a good experience. He really liked the big brush she used to brush away the hair from his neck.

I didn't shed a tear. But only because he needed me not to.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009


Dear Butterbean,

You aren't even here yet, and I already feel like a failure as your mother. By this time in my pregnancy with Little Bird, he had dozens of posts about him. I thought of him constantly. I never felt alone. Even when he was still in my belly, I thought of "me and the baby."

I must confess, I don't think of you that way. Or at least I haven't started to yet. Sometimes, in my food and drink choices, I even forget for a moment that I'm pregnant. Then, as a second child myself, I replacing forgetting with an overwhelming guilt.

I think things are turning around though. Just a few days ago, I felt you move. Your big brother was climbing on me while we were having book time on the couch. He stepped on my belly, and you answered back with a little nudge.

It was the first time that I felt like the mother of two.

In about two weeks, we will find out if you are a boy or a girl. We already have names picked out for either case, and I will be happy no matter what. But I think of you in terms of a brother or a sister instead of my little boy or little girl.

I guess that's because your big brother is right here in front of me. You won't understand this for a long time, but he is still just a baby himself. He still wears diapers. He still eats with his fingers. He still sleeps in the crib that will become yours, and he still nurses from the same "nuh-nuh's" that will feed you.

He is still my baby.

But you will be my baby too. And I'm learning a little better every day how to love you both. In the meantime, keep nudging me. Every little flutter nudges my heart closer to you.

I can't wait to see you again at the end of August. I do love you.

Your mama

Friday, August 07, 2009

The right path

I don't want to sleep there, I'm not particularly interested in peeing there, and I certainly don't want to cook there, but I do love the woods. I love mountains specifically, and I love streams.

I'm not sure why we don't do more hiking. We have the dogs for it. We have the kid for it. We have the love for it. We just don't get around to it.

Kevin is a doer. There is always a project either in full swing or in planning mode. It is one thing I love about him. He finishes what he starts, and he starts big things. His plans are not lightly made nor are they easy to finish. Right now, he is adding onto the house. Just he and the contractor. When he comes home from work , he works some more. On the weekends, he's building. I'm excited for the new spaces, but I think I am more excited for him to finish so that I have some of his time and attention back.

All this to say, I think this is why we don't hike. We do things together as much as possible, but this is a stage in our life where Kevin is determined to get things in order. I love him for that. I miss him, but I love him.

While we were in the mountains, I had him back to myself one day. He wanted to know what I wanted to do, and I chose this hike. We packed a backpack full of snacks, water, and diapers. The dogs got to tag along and tap into their inner hunters. Gibby ran out about 10 feet ahead with his tail pointed straight up. He even helped corral Little Bird when he got too far ahead of us.

We miss a turn along the way - rather, I missed a turn, and we ended up about 40 minutes off track. Luckily, we had also packed our Babyhawk, so tired Bird could ride on his daddy's back when he got tired. And after playing nekkid in the creek for awhile?

Bird was really really tired.

It was a great day with my boys, my dogs, and a trail in the mountains.

Monday, August 03, 2009

Time enough to know

My brother and I grew up about a mile from on set of grandparents and just across town from our other grandmother. We saw them regularly. Spent every holiday with them. Had sleepovers with them. Ate Sunday dinners with them.

Now, my parents are 12 hours away. They live around the corner from my brother and his family. Momma talks about the grandchildren coming to play in their backyard. She tells me about the meals they share. Even the Fourth of July was a family gathering complete with a new croquet set for the grandparents' backyard. Bro's kids are taking full advantage of having their grandparents so close by, and that really makes me happy. They are growing up like I remember growing up. Close to family.

My children will have to do things a little differently. We will have to have phone calls and pictures. Emails and blogs replace time around the table. We have to cram a whole lot of loving into short bursts of time.

That's what we did last week. Little Bird spent the week with his Nana and Gee. They were a willing audience and always had a lap available for book time. They were initiated into the Yo Gabba Gabba fan club. Bird was quickly following his Gee around, knocking persistently on the bedroom door when Gee would manage to escape for a moment. There were hugs and kisses and "night night's" for everyone.

Today, Bird and I spent some time looking at pictures on the computer. We got to one of him sitting on Nana's lap, and he pointed while he said, "Nana."

"Yes, that's your Nana, Sweetie. Good job."

We got the the picture above, and I pointed to my daddy.

"Who is that?"


"Yes, and who is that with Baby?"


He called them both by name. I kissed his head and sent up a little thankful prayer that it was enough time for him to know them.

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Play me that mountain music

We're back. I know, you missed me and didn't even know I was going somewhere. Well, I did. We just got back from spending the week in the mountains. Surprised? Good. I learned the hard way not to tell the internet where I was going and when I would be there.

Last Saturday, Kevin, Little Bird, and I met my parents in Black Mountain, North Carolina, for a week long visit. We loaded up the dogs and most everything else we owned and headed west to our favorite place on earth.

While we were gone, Bird seemed to have a developmental explosion. He added more new words than we could keep count of, and his communication skills overall made him a much easier child to please and to discipline. He had his first Popsicle, his first hike, his first trip to the Biltmore, his first skinny dip, and his first berry picking outing. Even the days that his gums bled from the molars busting through were mostly filled with complete toddler joy.

There are pictures and stories to share, but for tonight, I'm just checking in for a quick hello. There was no cell phone or internet for the week. I have as much reading to do as I do writing. Hope you have all been well.