December 13, 2009

Blowfish

"... Blowfish have the ability to inflate rapidly, Thus, a hungry predator stalking the blowfish may suddenly find itself facing what seems to be a much larger fish..."

I've kept my head down and my mouth shut, silently... and sometimes not so silently, cursing the overwhelming majority of crazy in my life.  However,  I recentlty discovered that the overwhelming majority of crazy is really an overwhelming minority. There has sort of been this insane mob surrounding my life and the mob seemed big and loud and everywhere, but it's realy not and the few are like blowfish - They puff themselves up so big that is seems to be so much, so many more. 

With that said, I've made up my mind to once again live my life out in the sun.  But with a healthy awareness that while being the antagonist, a role I often relish - is not always so smart.  Even though a blowfish is a smaller, slower, weaker creature - Once you've discovered the fasle bravado of a belly full of air, it is still unwise to take a bite - Blowfish are poisionous....

I've missed having a place to document my life and the crazy, happy, silly, stupid mishaps... I'm back!

Not ready to make nice...

Forgive, sounds good
Forget, I'm not sure I could
They say time heals everything
But I'm still waiting...

I’m through with doubt
There’s nothing left for me to figure out
I’ve paid a price
And I’ll keep paying

I’m not ready to make nice
I’m not ready to back down
I’m still mad as hell and
I don’t have time to go round and round and round
It’s too late to make it right
I probably wouldn’t if I could
‘Cause I’m mad as hell
Can’t bring myself to do what it is you think I should

I know you said
"Can't you just get over it?"
It turned my whole world around
And I kind of like it
I made my bed and I sleep like a baby
With no regrets and I don’t mind sayin’
It’s a sad sad story when a mother will teach her
Daughter that she ought to hate a perfect stranger
And how in the world can the words that I said
Send somebody so over the edge
That they’d write me a letter
Sayin’ that I better shut up and sing
Or my life will be over

I’m not ready to make nice
I’m not ready to back down
I’m still mad as hell and
I don’t have time to go round and round and round
It’s too late to make it right
I probably wouldn’t if I could
‘Cause I’m mad as hell
Can’t bring myself to do what it is you think I should

I’m not ready to make nice
I’m not ready to back down
I’m still mad as hell and
I don’t have time to go round and round and round
It’s too late to make it right
I probably wouldn’t if I could
‘Cause I’m mad as hell
Can’t bring myself to do what it is you think I should
What it is you think I should

Forgive, sounds good
Forget, I’m not sure I could
They say time heals everything
But I’m still waiting....

~Natalie Maines


August 18, 2009

Good Night

Good night and good night,
Good night if you please,
All I need is some water,
A kiss and a squeeze.
All I need is a story,
Some milk and some pie,
And to talk while we rock,
And a long lullaby.
Did I mention some hugs?
Just a hundred or so, And a back scratch, a head scratch,
And tickle my toe.
So good night and good night...
May I have some cake?
How can you be tired
When I'm wide awake?

~Paul Kortepeter


This bedtime poem is practically our night time routine to the letter... So I thought I would share.

August 2, 2009

Change

I am not a fan of change...

This sounds funny to me since we've lived in 4 states in the last decade. After leaving Massachusetts we lived 4 different places in Houston. Then after moving to Southern California we lived in 3 different places. Since moving to Arizona in 2006 I have live in 3 different places. So if you only consider the moving aspect of change I have experienced quite a lot of it in just 10 short years. New England, Texas, Southern California and Arizona have nothing in common. The last three places only share a lack of snow. So - tons of change. Lived country, city and suburb. I've changed jobs, changed careers and career paths from one end of the spectrum to the other and tried all the things in between. Had two children - anyone who has children knows that they are in a constant state of change... For someone who is not a fan of change there is a whole hell of a lot of it in my life.

So... I have been in a funk as of late. It's almost been a welcome disaster that my computer crashed and I have not had a computer; Since I don't have the mental strength to keep up with the usual stuff on facebook and aol and all my friends and neighbors blogs. I find my self utterly with out empathy for all the 'drama' in everyone's lives. I want to say "Really? You think you've got it bad??? My sanity is moving to St Louis!" I find myself saying snide things under my breath about their posts and their comments and their status updates and blah... blah... blah... I'm just so agitated and angry that I don't have it in me to even think nice thoughts, let alone say nice things. So I don't respond and I shut the laptop and walk away thinking "Get a life!" but my "friends" have done nothing wrong and I am sure have lives...

I've said it before, I moved to the 'burbs and though I had found the best place on earth! Then the shine and the newness wears off and people reveal their true selves and live goes on. Essential once the novelty is gone you are left with what? Disappointment. But out of my disappointment there were a few dear, true, honest friends. First one left my neighborhood and now another. After months of painful, draggin on and on house hunting, in and out of my community, finally made an offer on a house a few minutes from mine - and - is now, instead is moving back to Missouri. WHAT?!?! I cannot take it any more! What's worse is not that I am losing a dear, dear friend to another state, it's that her daughter and my Grace are the same age and inseparable. I never expected to be friends with my children's friends mothers... But this was a dream come true. The perfect scenario.

So I have been mourning her loss all week and preparing for 'the big good-bye' next week and all together too sad and too tired and too unprepared for it. I have been happily hiding from the world both online and in reality for the last week. Hoping that once I finally felt ready to shed this cocoon I have woven, I would find it was all a bad dream, or a big joke. The girls have kept me sane to whatever extent I still am. Lily is clapping for herself all the time. She cheers for just about everything she does, from the mundane to the big. Grace is a whirlwind of entertainment. Singing, counting, spelling, dancing, acrobatics, swimming, anything she can do to get attention and cheers or laughter she will do. She is a bigger ham everyday. And really at this point in my life, nothing else matters. My little cocoon of kids and husband is all that I should be focusing on. Teaching the girls everything I possible can every spare minute of the day, but it's so hard when my heart is breaking... God I hate change!

July 19, 2009

What does it say...?

What does it say about you or about your child(ren) when your copy of The Discipline Book is scribbled on and chewed up?? Pretty embarrassing huh? I must say, for the most part Grace is a well behaved child. Until Lily came along she was a non-violent child but sibling rivalry or jealousy can bring out the worst in even saint. Her biggest issues are with listening and I suppose in part that has a lot to do with being two years old, but the bigger concern is ADD or worse still, ADHD...

My girls come from a family filled with ADD and a few cases of ADHD. To say that they are going to be non-ADD children is a hope beyond all hope. The odds, I am well aware, are stacked against them. Thankfully I was diagnosed at a very young age and long before ADD was the most over diagnosed childhood issue. I am aware of what it takes to parent and teach a child with ADD/ADHD. My parents started the process of getting me diagnosed with whatever it might have been when I was in the first grade. That would be way back in 1982. They spent the next six and a half years shuttling me back and forth from Western Massachusetts to Boston Children's and to the University of Massachusetts at Amherst Psychology departments for testing. At the end of six years and after more tests than I think even a lab rat goes through, I was diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder. In 1988 Attention Deficit was not something that too many people knew about. It was not widely tested for and Ritalin was a fairly new drug. It was determined that I would be put on Ritalin but should be monitored very closely since the side effects of the drug were not clear. Funny huh? Now a days more children are on Ritalin than not; most misdiagnosed, and ADD/ADHD are so over diagnosed it it not funny.

Not long after my diagnosis, my brothers Rory and Sean were diagnosed with ADD and ADHD respectively. Then my mother was diagnosed with ADD and we were all on a Ritalin. It happened, for my family to be a miracle drug. School became less of a nightmare for me. My brothers were able to focus and calm down, home life improved, it was all around a good thing. That is until I outgrew Ritalin. There chemical in the ADD brain that is not produced (sounds a lot like diabetes of the brain) this missing chemical is what helps you to focus, that is where Ritalin comes in. But the adolescent and adult brain changes and Ritalin is no longer effective. Which is why there is now three or four other drugs out there for ADD/ADHD. Ritalin is effectively a form of speed, and while this form of speed can calm a hyperactive child it acts just like plain old speed to an adult or adolescent. Taking Ritalin in college was a nightmare. I was jittery and had no appetite, it no longer helped me focus, since I could not sit still in class... In short... it sucked.

I know from living with ADD on a personal level, as well as living with a parent and siblings with ADD/ADHD what it looks like and I can say with near certainty that Grace has ADD... Here's the crappy part, even knowing this there is nothing at the moment that I can do. It will take every ounce of patience that Brian and I can muster to make it through until she is three to tell her doctor we need to begin testing. If I were to walk into my Pediatrician now and say "Hey Doc, Grace has ADD where do we start?" He'd laugh me out of his office. So I will bite my tongue, and try very hard not to lose my cool when I have to say "Stop..." "Go..." "Get..." Don't....again" a million times before she actually gets it.

It is what it is, my girls do or don't have it, it's not a 'disability'. It will only determine how we parent and how we get them through school. I would just prefer to know sooner than later so they don't have to waste time spinning their wheels. For now I will keep reading the discipline books and hoping to find a way to get through to Grace faster than telling her to do or stop something a million times. At the very least I better find myself a doctor and get back on Adderall. It's going to take every ounce of my attention for to keep my girls on task. Hey if nothing else, my house might be better organized!!

July 13, 2009

"Time to feed the horses!!"

You know better than to tell a two year old something too far in advance. You know better than to give her ammo for the next 24 hours to drive you insane, but she is being too rough with her little sister and you have tried everything to curb this behavior, even for just a few hours. So you break down and get down to her level and get her attention and proceed to - Bribe her!

"Grace, if you are a good girl, and nice to your sister. - You need to be gentle, show mommy what gentle looks like. - So if you are a good girl and nice and gentle with your sister we will go to Auntie Dot and Uncle Buck's tomorrow night". We were going to Scottsdale to have dinner with the family anyway and will still go even if she is naughty, so I am hoping she behaves.

"And we are gonna' feed the horses carrots Mommy?"

"Yes, if you are a good girl, you can feed the horses carrots."

And so the rest of the evening Grace asks, when we are going to feed the horses? Is it time to feed the horses yet? Can we go feed the horses now? Announcing that she is going to feed the horses, and talking about the dogs. It goes on like this until bedtime. I have told her tomorrow, tomorrow, tomorrow, but two year olds do not have a sense of time. It's almost bedtime, by the time morning rolls around, she will have forgotten all about the horses.

She gets up in the morning and not a word about horses or dogs, Dottie or Chuck. "Wheew!" Then after breakfast it starts. She needs and apple, she is going to feed the horses. She needs to get some carrots, it's time to feed the horses. She is a woman obsessed. I finally convince her that we will go feed the horses after nap time. It seems to work and with only a few reminders of 'after nap time', I have curbed the incessant horse talk. I know, I brought this upon myself. I was desperate and now I am paying the price.

Nap time comes and Grace goes down with very little fight. She reminds me that she is going to feed the horses after nap time and goes to sleep. An hour and a half later and about an hour sooner than I had hoped I hear through the monitor in her room...
"I'm Awake! Time to feed to horses!"

So we slowly get ready to leave. Pack a bag, load the car get changed and washed and all at a painstakingly slow pace. Grace is so excited it is adorable. She talks about the horses and the dogs the entire 30 plus minute drive to Scottsdale. We pull in Dottie and Chuck's driveway and she is cheering and squealing. We get in the front door, Grace asks "Auntie Dot - We go feed the horses carrots?!?" Dottie says, "Yes, let's go" And Grace refuses... Yes, flat out, terrified, refuses to go outside. In part because for all her talking about the dogs, and as much as she loves Molly a big, beautiful, gentle giant of a Golden; Danny the Springer Spaniel terrifies her and Tally the Lab jumps on her and Dublin is just big, gentle and kind but a solid, big Golden and coupled with the other two the dogs they are big and overwhelming and outside. So even with someone holding her up and out of reach of the dogs, she refuses to go out into the yard.

We play, eat, visit, it's almost time to go. Grace has asked to and refused to feed the horses a handful of times. Finally Uncle Buck picks her up and walks to the paddock. Dottie opens the gate and the horses come over for their treat and Grace turns her back and clings to Uncle Buck for dear life. Not even looking at the horses, forget feeding them. Don't worry though, the best part of the story is, the entire car ride home, Grace told me, in her most proud little voice, about how she fed the horses carrots. And she laughed as she told me and told Lily she fed them and made the sound effects that go along with a horse eating carrots "Chomp, Chomp, Chomp". In her mind she did it and it was so exciting.

She cracks me up!

July 4, 2009

Baby Stuff

Recently I have been trying to make some room and a few bucks as well. I have gone through all the baby gear that is just sitting around collecting dust and decided it was time for it to go. I had entertained the thought of donating it, or giving it to friends who have new little ones, but selfishly - I paid good money for this stuff and selling it would allow me to purchase the next phase of "stuff". That's all it really is... "Stuff" - but I like being able to give my kids these things.

It started with a stroller and the infant car seat. On a trip to Florida last year my stroller broke. Not broke as in unusable, but broke as in, required a little effort to open and close. Brian and I contacted Chicco (Love them!) and they sent us a new stroller. Just like that! More than a year after purchasing the stroller yet they still sent a new one, no strings attached. Brian and I decided to use the existing stroller until it was really damaged beyond use. After six months of using the stroller it just became normal to take the extra little step to open and close so we decided to sell the new one. Anyone who expressed interest in the stroller only wanted it if it came with the infant car seat as well. Lily would need and then was using the car seat so getting rid of it was not an option. Last month Lily graduated to the "big girl" car seat and I sold the stroller and infant carrier to a nice couple expecting their first child today. It felt good to sell it and have a few extra bucks in my pocket. But bittersweet to be getting rid of baby stuff. It really drove home the fact that once Lily is not longer a baby, we're done with 'baby'. Since she is our last I have to rember to savor all the milestones. They'll be the last firsts of their kind. Does that make sense?

Well, I didn't stay melancholy long - Next up and gone, one of the Pack n Plays, the Baby Bjorn, the Jumperoo, Bumbo, two Bouncy Seats, the Swing, the Old stroller - Okay, I might have an addiction to selling stuff. I can't seem to find anything else to sell and it's driving me crazy! It feels so good! Our neighborhood association only allows 'yard sales', 'garage sales' I call them 'Tag Sales' once a year and you have to sign up. So the once a year was back in April - I am not sure I can wait a whole year! Craigslist has rocked!

I now understand my mother's need to sell all our stuff at her annual tag sale every year. There are more toys and crap all over my house... I just want to scoop it all up and get rid of it! Where did it come from? Why do we have it? Do the kids even need it? Do they play with it? Or, do they just drag it out and leave it all over the house? We do have a few 'toys' that I really like, they are however, the toys that I think almost never get used. I keep telling myself that another big plus to having my children so close together in age is that I can get rid of stuff sooner. They will almost outgrow things together! So for now, I'm wandering my house looking for crap to sell! Good thing we have taken such great care of our things...

On the subject of baby stuff, but not with regards to selling it Grace is potty trained. I decided that if we were going to do it, and she was showing signs of being ready to do it - we would full on dive in and just do it! So I bought the 3 Day Potty Training book and on Wednesday we started and sure enough by Friday she was potty trained! It was possibly the longest, most physically and emotionally draining 3 days of my life, but so worth it! I would in a heartbeat do it again, and I will with Lily! Now we have yet to be 100% successful with staying dry at nap and bed times - and we have not ventured out in public yet. But Grace stayed dry all day yesterday (Friday) and so far today has not had a single accident!

I am not sure how I feel. I am with out a doubt proud beyond my wildest dreams of Grace. This is such an exciting milestone, but it is like the last remnants of Grace being a baby. She's a grown up little girl now. Not even a toddler anymore all at the tender age of 2 (25 months)! She speaks in full sentences, swims like a fish, climbs like a monkey and is so independent. Being Grace's other is the most amazing thing I have ever experienced. She is the best thing I have ever done, next to Lily.

I Love Being A Mother!

Lily decided today that she would figure out how to climb the stairs. I do not remember how old Grace was when she could do that, but I am pretty sure she was older than 7 months! My girls... I love them to pieces with out a doubt, but they give me such grey hairs at the same time!

June 26, 2009

A Month

It has been a long month. Brian had been on the road all but 4 days from June 1st until today. On June 3rd he headed off into the sunset and with the exception of a quick 36 hour trip home, had been gone straight through, weekends and all. Lots of things happened in all that time, but finding time to sit down and put thoughts on paper, or computer rather, was not happening. In a little over three weeks, Grace learned to swim, Lily to walk and 4 new teeth arrived on the scene - two for Lily and two for Grace. Mattresses were swapped and sleeping arrangement made, changed and rearranged. Dear friends bought a house and began the process of moving out of our neighborhood. Potty training plans were made and broken. Looking back it takes my breath away so much has happened, changed and wow...


I have been, for the last several weeks, so excited for our big potty training weekend. I bought the book '3 Day Potty Training' and got all the things we would need to facilitate the graduation from diapers to underwear. I thought that 3 days dedicated to 110% focus on Grace would be nice. Brian and I could tag team with Lily and Grace would get some much needed personal time with us. But after the last several weeks of Brian on the road, it seemed more important to have family time all together. Grace needs to go to the pool and show daddy all her new skills. We need to take evening walks to the playground and be out of the house as a family. This is not conducive to the 3 Day Potty Training method. So next weekend, 4th of July weekend, when we will be doing our damnedest to avoid public places and the throngs of people at all costs, we will hunker down, rent a few of Grace's favorite movies and knock this potty training out! I think we should stop and enjoy all the progress the girls have made these last three or four weeks and just celebrate acknowledge all they have done so far before we move on to the next milestone!

June 9, 2009

~ Lily ~

It is probably fair to say that my mommy story is filled with more mishaps than milestones. At least it feels that way to me. I am sure that I not only thrive on the drama, I create it, attract it and would be lost with out it. My husband would mostly likely agree with that statement whole hearted. I realize that I need to take a moment and really acknowledge those days that are milestone days. They may not truly be as few and far between as I think, but they certainly deserve as much notice as my days filled with spilled milk and forgotten appointments. Today, well, today was a milestone day.

First let me start with an update on my Tiger Lily. Lily is on the mend, in fact, knock on wood, she is healthy again. It has been a very long month of illness and I am going to be on the war path about germs for a while. No more dirty kids playing with my girls and slobbering all over their toys. Seriously, no more Mrs. Nice Mom! From now on if you don't wipe your kids noses, wash their hands and faces, back off! You will be told and rather bluntly, that your kids cannot be in my kids' space. It might mean no more softball games and leaving the playground if it's too crowded, but I just don't think I could stand another bout of illness like the one we just went through.

I did end up breaking down last week, after 27 hours of fever and brought Lily to the pediatrician. He said exactly what I expected him to. "It's a 'virus' and it just has to run it's course." It did. And after three long, sleepless days and nights Lily's fever broke for good and we have been three days healthy. Not our normal happy self, but healthy.

Lily is just learning new and amazing things everyday! She started crawling a bit shy of a month ago. Before that she had only just mastered sitting up on her own. Today, She crawled up to the ottoman, reached up with her hands and pulled herself up to a standing position! I am now sure beyond my running joke that she will walk at 9 months! Not to escape her sister like I have been saying but just because she is that good!

She eats reasonably well. I think baby food is more work than she wants to put forth at times, but she eats. He new favorite thing is teething biscuits. They make a horrible pasty mess, but she loves them! I've moved her from her infant carrier into a big girl car seat. It's all happening so fast! Just a few weeks from now Grace will start her potty training boot camp and I know in the blink of an eye it will be Lily's turn...

A very sweet couple came by today to look at some of Lily's stuff that I am selling. They bought an extra stroller that we had, still in the box, never used. I suppose, if you want to be technical, it was not Lily's. But the infant carrier that I sold with it most certainly was. Grace was in that car seat until she was 11 months old. Lily isn't really all that much bigger than Grace and she could have easily sat in the car seat a few more months. Unfortunately, I was finding that anyone looking to buy the stroller I had to sell also wanted the car seat that went with it. I have to admit, I was not prepared to be as emotional about the selling of "baby things" as I find myself at this moment. I always knew that I wanted two and only two children. There is no part of me, not even a small one that doubts that fact. It is one of the few certainties in my life. But the idea that this "babyhood" is passing by... Each of Lily's milestones, growth spurts and new abilities comes with a hint of melancholy...

So today was a good day, Lily stood up all by herself and I have a few extra bucks in my pocket, but tonight as I crawl into bed and reflect on the day, it was a little bittersweet and tomorrow I am sure there will be new skills mastered and new challenges conquered. I will always be the loudest cheerleader for my girls, I just might do the cheering with a lump in my throat.

June 3, 2009

Do I?... Don't I?... One scary night

The girls have been sick for three weeks now. It started off as a cold, then turned into ear infections and they have been on antibiotics for 7 days now. I feel like I have healthy kids, comparatively I know I have healthy kids, but looking back they are sick a lot. I know this comes from being around other kids so much. In fact, I am sure that this cold that has reeked havoc on us for the last few weeks was a gift brought by one of Grace's birthday party guests... ahh, the joys of parenting. That said, after two years of motherhood, I feel reasonably equip to handle illness. I know more often than not when the doctor needs to be involved and when something just needs to run it's course. I have been a fairly laid back, don't panic at every little bump and cough type of mother. To be honest this has been a source of pride for me. While Grace has been in the ER three times in her two years of life, the first time was a double ear infection, the second time was a virus that caused a high, high fever that would not come down and the last was for hand, foot and mouth while on vacation, so the ER was our only option. But last night I spent a frightening evening paralyzed not knowing what to do.

Yesterday Lily spiked a fever. 101. 7, low grade, I know she's teething, not worried. Off to the pool, sure the cool water would do her good. She seemed fine. After our swim she took a nap, but a fitful nap, so I offered her Tylenol. She was fussy and still running a temp. She slept again a little better, but not much. After Grace's nap and an early supper I though we should go for another swim, it was only 5 o'clock and the girls and I were both restless. Lily still felt warm and I was sure that again the cool water would be a good thing. Lily floated in her boat, subdued and not her usual happy, splashing self. But it was closing in on the end of the day, I had given her Tylenol and I was not too concerned. Grace swam like a fish, constantly underwater and happy that Lily was allowing such undivided attention from mom. While we dried off Grace got to play on the playground and Lily just sort of whimpered.

Once home I took Lily's temp again. If she still had a fever and it felt like she did, she would need more Tylenol. 103.1! What??? What is wrong with her?? No wonder she's whimpering, she must feel horrible. More Tylenol, a pinch over the recommended dosage, and I know how dangerous that can be to the liver, but this fever is high! Straight into a cool bath, this time, head wet and a cool cloth on her armpits and groin. After 15 minutes she is shivering, but she feels better and I take her out. Dry, dress, no lotion, I know how gross your skin feels when you have a fever, lotion just did not sound soothing and she was shivering already. Then a bottle and recheck her temp. 102.5... Okay, it's coming down, not a lot, but coming down. Lily relaxes a bit and lays on the floor watching her big sister play. Neither of the girls wanted to go to bed and I did not feel like fighting, so we played on the floor until 9 o'clock. Milk for Grace, another bottle for Lily and she was asleep. Tucked both girls in and.... breath... Poor Lily, hopefully she'll get a good nights sleep and feel better.

1 o'clock in the morning, crying...
Not the usual baby chatter that lets me know she's awake and would like something to eat, full-fledged-crying. Sprint to her room to get her before she wakes her big sister, and I touch fire!
She is burning my hands right through the onesie she is sleeping in. So quick to the bathroom, strip her down and check her temperature. 103. 3!!! Oh my God! Okay, focus...Tylenol, luke warm bath, cool her down and sooth her. We both get into the tub and the poor girls is just whimpering. After about 15 minutes the water is too cool and she is shivering again, so we get out of the tub and I fill the sink with cold water and a few wash clothes. I try to cool her down more with cool cloths on her head, under her arms and on her neck.

Almost 2 o'clock, she still feels so hot...
Pack her up, get Grace in the car and drive to the Pediatric Urgent Care??? Are they going to tell me it's just a virus and to keep her on Tylenol? Will I have dragged both girls out in the middle of the night for nothing? ...Stay?... Go?... Wait?... I wait...
Let's try a bottle and the rocking chair. No clothes, just a diaper. Let's try skin to skin...

Almost 3 o'clock in the morning...
She's not sleeping, not eating and still feels so hot.... What do I do? What do I do? Check her temperature again, see if there has been any change, then decide.... 102.1... Check again, just to be sure the thermometer is working properly.... 102.2.... Hmm??? I know it's only a tenth of a degree, but it was different, try again. Poor thing, she's not feeling well and I am taking her rectal temp over and over and over, that cannot be fun.... 102.2.... Okay, so it's down more than a degree. Something must be working, let's keep rocking a bit longer and see.

3:30am... she's asleep.
Lay her in bed next to me and that way I am right here if anything changes. She sleeps until almost 4:30am. She still feels so hot, but not worse than before. Fix another bottle, fluids right? With a body temp so hot I should be pushing fluids... right?? Back to the rocking chair, another bottle. Should we go? It's 7:30am on the east coast, should I call one of the grandparents and ask them what to do? And... she's asleep again. Okay, lay her back in my bed and see what happens.

5:40am I am drenched...why is it so wet? Lily is sweating all over me, she's soaked and she's soaking me. Sweat, that's a good thing? You don't sweat when you have a fever, you sweat when it breaks... right?? Okay get her out of the puddle she's creating and dry her off a bit. She's still sound asleep. Poor thing must be exhausted. Into the pack 'n play and close my eyes for a few minutes before Grace is up. We made it!

8 o'clock, Lily is up and feels a bit less like fire. Her temperature is 101.7. Okay, that's progress. More Tylenol and see if she'll take a bottle. Crap!! Grace has a swim lesson... Go?... Don't go?.... Wow! This is the theme of the last 24 hours isn't it? I can admit this, fully aware that I will be judged; hell I'd be judging any other mother who told me a story like the one I just did and then said this... We went to swim lessons. I know, maybe not the best decision I've ever made, but we've been couped up in this house for so long, we need to take every opportunity out we can get, especially since Lily's night last night is not going to allow for a swim or the playground today.

The girls are napping, Lily is almost fever free and that was one of the most stressful nights I have spent as a parent. I know it's the first of many, but boy was that hard!

May 31, 2009

Enter the Suburban Housewife

I am fortunate enough to have lived a small town life, a metropolitan life and most recently the suburban life. I am not naive to the fact that most people, are born and raised, live and die in the same place. Either never given or taking the opportunity to travel, see other places, live other places or experience something different. I do not often take my life for granted, but when I do, I catch myself.

Now that I am a mother I am bound and determined to do it different from my mother, her mother and her mother’s mother. It is not that I am saying my mother, grandmother and great-grandmother were bad mothers. They did the best that they could. It is that I simply have a different set of priorities. In my life I have opportunities they did not. Coming from a long line of working mothers I am happy to be able to break that cycle. My husband and I are fortunate enough to allow me to be a stay at home mom and are in a position to pay the bills save some money and live comfortably on one salary. This is a luxury that none of the mothers in my family before me could afford and I am grateful everyday. It is something that I try very hard not take for granted. To be able to witness the daily changes, the growing, the learning, the exploring, all of the firsts continues to be one of the greatest joys in my life.

For as far back as I can remember I wanted to be a mother. I have always enjoyed kids; I spent years babysitting and teaching swimming. My favorite jobs always were the ones working with kids, from camp counselor to lifeguard to physical education teacher. It was one of those things I knew deep down from an early age that I was meant to do. I also knew that I did not want to be a working mother. I would do it if I had too; I would not hesitate to find work if my husband’s and my situation were to change, but for now, the most important thing is my kids and being here for them. This is where the difference in priorities comes in. My mother and her mother before her not only worked, and had to, but thought the priority was their home, white sneakers, what others saw and perceived about their families and homes. For me, it’s simply the kids. Kids, homes, sneakers, they all get dirty. It’s not the end of the world, it’s not worth stressing or wasting time trying to fix. Spending hours a day cleaning my home, hours that I could spend playing with my kids, teaching my kids, showering my kids with love, is crazy to me. Someone once said… “My kids won’t remember the day I cleaned the house, but they will remember the day I took them on a picnic.” I try to live that philosophy daily. I do however, know enough to be embarrassed when my home if full of clutter and the neighbors come knocking, my mother taught me better than that! Even still, I do not feel that cleaning is the priority. The dishes are washed daily, toys are put away and laundry is deposited into the hamper. After that, the sweeping, mopping, dusting, happens around the kids’ schedule, not the other way around.

In the picture I had of my future, the one where I imagined having kids and staying home with them, Arizona, suburbia, is not exactly where I thought I would be. Although I have been fighting my husband’s desire to return to New England for years, I think, I always pictured raising my kids in a place similar to the one I grew up in. Somewhere that fostered the same values and truths that I knew growing up. I pictured a place where you might hear but not see your next door neighbors. In this picture in my head, there were trees and rivers and fields, fire-flies, and frogs and seasons. Do not misunderstand, I picked Arizona, not my husband; I am the one who has resisted the return to New England for so long. We found out we were going to have our first child and I packed up, left our 675 square foot home in Southern California and moved here in search of a new home. And that, is how I became a suburban housewife. I would say stay tuned for our next move, but with the housing market in the toilet, it looks like we will be here a while…

May 19, 2009

I believe

in order for me to explain what I believe I had to think about why I believe what I do. I grew up, as I said, in a small college town in Western Massachusetts. I suppose by it's very nature Massachusetts tends to be a more liberal state, so while I have never fancied myself to be political, I am of the more liberal persuasion.

My town, city in name, but town by any other standard was, for me, a bubble. I was sure that every other place, city, town, state was just like where I grew up. We had, I can not honestly say, how many churches. The French Church, Polish Church and at least three other Catholic churches. The First Church, a Protestant Church, Episcopalian and Unitarian Churches. One Temple and I lived for a while around the corner from a Jehovah's Witness Hall. I am sure there were every other kind of worship services held somewhere within the city limits. Everyone went, or didn't, no one talked about it. Sure we all hid from the occasional Jehovah's Witness knocking on the door, but it just was not a big topic of discussion. My family rasied my brothers and me in the Catholic Church. I was baptized Catholic, received my first communion, participated in catechism and in my senior year of high school was confirmed. I can remember sitting in the pew week after week and listened to the readings and the homily. I heard the church say that abortion and being gay were mortal sins, but I never felt that anyone really believed it, not deep down in their bones with any conviction, believed it.

In school, I sat through history class and learned about the Civil Rights movement. I remember being dismayed that anyone had ever been treated in such a manner. I watched 'Eyes on the Prise' and 'Roots'. I felt guilt and sadness. I understood that it was a long and horrible struggle for freedom. In my book, to the best of my knowledge and as far I as I could see, the war was over. Good prevailed over evil. It no longer mattered what color your skin was, or your gender. Everyone was equal, everyone had the same opportunities. What a shock when I moved to Texas. The doctors and Lawyers and College Professors of every ethnic background, creed and gender, living, working and raising families in my hometown did not seem exist on the same levels in Texas. At least not all over Texas. It was not long before I discovered that they only seem to exist in pockets and metropolitan areas of the country.

I grew up where Barbara Walters once called 'Lesbianville USA'. I thought that was rather funny. I might even go so far as to say that I felt pride. Pride in belonging to a safe haven; I was part of a community that embraced everyone and valued them for who they were and what they had to offer. Are you giving love? Getting love? In love? What does it matter who you love, it's love right? And your partner in life, skin color, gender are only part of who you are. The big picture is what is important. Are you a good person, a productive member of society? I don't much remember it being something that one would say about someone with any.... "He's gay", or "she's gay"... It was not something one felt compelled to say when talking about someone . Being gay was simply normal. Frankly it still is to me. I am sure, deep down sure, that I would feel this way even if I did not have a gay sibling. I can say that because I felt this way before I even knew I had a gay sibling.

Then I left my bubble * pop! * and moved to the south. WAKE UP CALL! Racism... Seriously? Why, what does it matter? Guns!?... You can carry a concealed weapon in Texas? Everyone does? Why?... Death Penalty?... The news talks about another prisoner 'put to death' weekly, at least monthly. Murder and car jacking.... High speed police chases and crime everywhere.... But in Texas, football was religion. Okay, I can get behind that. High School football. Sure it's just a game, and it's taken way to serious...but it a great way to spend a Friday night!

California felt more like home, more liberal, laid back, go with the flow. Save the whales and the ocean and the beaches. But litter everywhere. Save the planet and drive hybrids but oil rigs off the coast and on the beaches. All pretty hypocritical, but no one got their feathers too ruffled. Hell they ousted Grey Davis and elected the Terminator. To me it all seemed a bit out of a movie. "Let's stage a big coup and oust the sitting Governor. Then let's elect an barely literate aging action film star and maybe it will all have a big Hollywood ending..." To be honest my kind of politics, state you have an issue, but don't take it too seriously.

Then we moved here, to the 'burbs. Beige homes with young families. Stay-at-home moms and 2.5 children, or whatever the percentage is they say. On the surface it was very exciting. I was going to know my neighbors for the first time since I was a kid. They were all roughly my age, same income bracket, same age children.... Yippe!! I was so sure that this move was the absolute best thing ever! My husband travels all the time, we're going to have play dates and margaritas and I won't miss my girls in Cali so much. It's a transient state. No one is 'from' here everyone moves here. To be honest, I soon started to fell like we either missed a memo or were allowed in accidentally.

The first few months were great. It was a new neighborhood and a lot of the home sites were still empty lots. There had been a welcome wagon of sorts when we moved in and it was exciting to knock on new neighbors' doors and drop of a baked good and say "welcome". More and more young families, new babies, babies on the way. It just seemed so good. Grace was only 2 months old when we moved in and the hot weather was upon us. A lot of that first summer was spent indoors hiding my baby from the heat. Then a ladies social, plans for neighborhood activities, a Fall festival/block party I was on cloud 9! But little things started to feel uncomfortable. Almost all of the families that I was spending time with went to the same church. They all labeled themselves 'Christian' and spent a lot of time talking about the church. In my life I'd never heard so much conversation about church, but am aware and always have been that fellowship is not a strong suit of the Catholic church.

I had left the Catholic church about the time I left Massachusetts. I felt I did not agree with a lot of what the church was saying. Then the whole scandal with priests and altar boys was the last straw. I decided that a man, a fallible, child molesting man, was not suitable to tell me what my relationship was, should be or how it will play out with my God... or whatever. I would not be judged or dictated to by the priest or the church. It was about this time that if I though about religion, which was not often ,I concluded that religion divides and faith unites. Too many wars, murders and other hateful, atrocious, acts had occurred based upon religion and I wanted no part of it!

I now have formed relationships with these families that are very involved in their church. Admirable., and I mean that. I believe in the freedom of religion. I believe that no one religion is right. I do not believe in judging anyone based upon their beliefs. But I strongly believe that faith is a personal thing. It's between you and your God, or Gods, and has nothing to do with me. I do not believe in recruiting or spreading the word. I have been trapped in my share of airplanes with a Mormon trying to convert me. You go about your religious business and I'll go about my life and we'll get along just fine. I do not need to or want to be saved. If I do or do not know Jesus is none of your business.

Then little things start to be said... About being Christian and how life should be lead, but actions and words do not always seem to be one and the same. Judgements are made about how others should live. Then mention of needing to know Jesus or spend eternity in Hell... Political views are right wing, and right wing because of religious views/values. This scares me... We have separation of church and state for a reason... The local Christian church is everywhere and invading my life. My circle dwindles based upon acceptance of me. Fine by me, I'd rather you leave me for my heretical views. Saves me from looking like the ass who bases friendships upon religious views. I have never had a need to defend my religious or non-religious views before, but the topic continues to be raised... Suffice it to say, I don't fit in with the ultra Christian neighbors and I do not want to.

So what do I believe?

I believe in freedom of religion but do not personally believe in religion.
I believe that everyone should have the same opportunities regardless of race, gender or social status. I believe in saving the planet. I believe in wind and solar power. I believe we share this planet and destroying habitats or killing armadillo because they are digging in your yard, is wrong ~ you know who you are! lol ~ I believe that not enough emphasis is put on education. I believe that too many parents check out when their kids go off to school and the most important teacher a child ever has is their parent. I don't believe in having hate in my heart or in violence but want to physically pummel stupid, narrow minded, judgemental, needing to look in a mirror, people.

I am sarcastic, faithful to my friends, passive aggressive, messy, Irish tempered, Red Sox loving and full of faults. But I know who I am. I know what I want. And I don't have time for stupid. I will however have time to bitch about stupid so... here goes ~

May 18, 2009

Introduction

My story, well this part of it anyway, begins in June 1996, in a small college town in Western Massachusetts. I was 19 years old and on my way out for the night with the girls. I'd been in the sun and chlorine all day lifeguarding; convinced that there was no one left in this town to impress, I pealed off my suit, pulled on a pair of cut-offs and well worn t-shirt and off I went. Nothing out of the ordinary, a small get together at a friend's house. The usual guys that we'd known forever. Beer, cards, nothing special. In retrospect all big things seem to happen when you least expect them too. This is the night I met my husband. To be completely honest, I knew my husband from a few years before. He went to high school, played soccer, basketball and baseball with one of my cousins. They had in fact been friends. He was however almost five years older. Long story short, we got to talking and we have been together ever since.

Just about two years later I was living in Boston, he was living in New Haven, CT and he was offered a job in Texas. It was, for him, an opportunity he could not refuse and he had to go. There was not much in Massachusetts keeping me there. No career worth giving up the opportunity to live someplace else. Family, but it's not as if there are no planes, trains, or ways to visit. So I left my family, took a job with an airline as a Flight Attendant and joined my then boyfriend, future husband in Texas. We spent the next few years there, traveling, enjoying city life and living with my husband's brother who had been in Texas for several years already.

Then another job opportunity. This one was with the same company but it would require a move to California. My job was in Texas and I could try to transfer to LA, but this move was not going to be as easy. In the midst of our preparations to move 9/11 happened. I had the opportunity to take a company offered leave and we moved to Southern California. The next five years were spent in beautiful, sunny Southern California. We created a life and a family there. Lived with friends from back east, drank in the ocean air, beautiful sunsets, night life, culture, landscape and complained about the traffic like everyone else! A beach bungalow, a wedding, friends, maybe roots.... Almost two years after our 2004 wedding, on Labor Day weekend, we found out we were expecting a baby. Suddenly our 675 square foot beach bungalow, that was barely practical for two people, was an impossible living situation to be adding a baby to. So bye-bye Beach Bungalow, Southern California and our friends and hello desert home. Grace was born in May 2007 then 18 months later, to the day, Lily joined our family.

After Grace was born I stopped working and much to my joy I became a full time stay-at-home mom. We built a house in the suburbs and moved into a neighborhood filled with young families and young children. We have two beautiful daughters and have agreed that our family is now complete, except, for the possibility of a dog in the future.

And that is how my life went from Happy Hour to Story Hour in a nut shell.
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