Sunday, September 28, 2008

After many sleeps

The birthday finally arrived. It has been a day long planned for and anticipated. There was organization the night before. Goody bags were stuffed with crayons, lollipops and cheap toys. The pinata was packed full of candy... or almost full... more on the pinata later. Bags were packed with buns, chips, plates and napkins. Cupcakes were baked, decorated with edible Dora faces and ready to go. The ice cream remained in the freezer, after a brief debate on the likelihood of it surviving a couple of hours in a cooler without turning into a milkshake.

Watches were synchronized for a 9:30 a.m. departure. Our spot at the park was reserved. Which was a very good thing. Since my kids aren't really into sports, I didn't plan on the park being crowded with boys and girls loaded into football pads and uniforms and tossing footballs left, right, and overhead as they waited impatiently to have their pictures taken for team photos. Oops! You'd think the words Recreational Park would have been a clue.

The birthday girl was too excited to notice. She was too concerned about when the opening of the presents would take place. It wasn't soon enough judging by the number of time I said: "After we eat, dear."

Friends and family arrived, ate lunch, sang "Happy Birthday" and applauded the generous gifts that were hastily unwrapped. Kids were lined up for the pinata fun. I even thought to provide each child with a bag for their candy. They lined up to pull the strings (one of which would open a trap door, releasing the candy). The candy.... didn't come pouring out. You see, I ignored Rob's instructions about just where to put the candy. Apparently the backpack part was indeed the correct place and Dora's massive, over-sized head was not. We had to do brain surgery on Dora and swing her about wildly to release the candy. A few kids may have gotten pinged in the head with gum and chocolate. No one complained, though.

Abby was happy. A good time was had by all and I sent children home loaded with sugar and stuffed with cake. I know their parents were grateful, so very grateful, for my thoughtfulness.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Common Sense

Is it me, or is there a shortage of not just smarts, but common sense in the world?

Rob was telling me yesterday that a study was done that proved.... that chimpanzees prefer their meat cooked. Interesting, yes. Helpful, no. I'm sure that scientists who study primates and evolution find this information fascinating, but for the population at large, it isn't really that relevant is it?

Normally, I am 100% behind all types of scientific research. I did go to college to be a science teacher after all. Times are tough, though. We are facing global emergencies that need solutions now. The money spent to fund this research could have been used to develop alternative energy sources, learn more about how to stop and correct the impact of global warming, or help developing countries develop strategies to help reduce poverty.

Apparently we need to know that should a chimpanzee visit the Four Seasons, he will be asking for a well done hunk of meat instead of the steak tartar. Doesn't that make the future seem brighter?

Monday, September 22, 2008

High Rotation

What we're listening to around our place. A LOT of Weezer's Pork and Beans. Abby adores it. Wants to hear it 101 times in a row... and wants you to "turn it up loud!" She makes up her own lyrics, but belts out the "I don't care!" bits with relish.

Both kids have been singing "We Will Rock You" frequently. I don't know why, but if it means they aren't arguing with each other, I don't care, I don't care, I don't care!

Rob is listening to.... I'm not sure what he's listening to right now. Nothing I'm listening to anyway. We have different musical tastes these days. He hasn't heard of half the artists that are on my ipod.
I think he has Phantom of the Opera going in the truck on the way to work.

I am tuning out to Bruise by the Chairlifts, Winding Wheel by Ryan Adams and Summer by India.Arie. And as always, a little Nina Simone and some Ella Fitzgerald.

Embarrassed to have on my itunes: Soft Cell's "Tainted Love" and Dexy Midnight Runner's "Come on Eileen." Sussanah may never speak to me again.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

A Day

just like any other. The sun is rising, casting its glow on the dew-covered ground. The butterflies are fluttering around the Lantana. Abby is demanding chocolate milk. J.T. has wormed his way into our bed. Sophie is scratching at the door, desperate for someone to come play with her. It is indeed a day like any other... except it isn't.

Today my calendar tells me it is September 20th. The truth is, I didn't need to look at the calendar to know that. Some dates are etched in your mind so deeply you know they are coming... months, weeks, before they arrive. Birthdays, Holidays and Anniversaries of the important people in your life. The day your brother died. Today is the third anniversary of the moment our lives were spun of course, shifted to a different path in life.

My heart feels physically heavy today. The roses are weighted by a night of dampness. They seem to echo the weight of my grief, the burden of sadness we bear. It will be a long day. There will be a lump in my throat, a shaking to my hands as I go about the business of my life today. But there will be family, friends and you, dear reader, to hold my hand. To hold my heart. To pull me, push me forward. To gently remind me to treasure the good, wrap myself in comfort and let the sadness come.

Thank you.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Life with Diva

The Diva will be turning 4 in just under two weeks. She has been excited about that for two months. The invitations (shaped like tiaras of course) have been purchased, the cake (Dora... again) has been planned, the gift (a bicycle with training wheels) has been bought and we have nought to do but wait. The hard part.

She is fiercely independent, unless she cannot get what she wants without help. Then she expects you to do it. Now. With only a reluctant "please" thrown in to appease her etiquette-loving mother. If you don't jump to do her bidding, post haste, there will ironically be a plethora of "pleases" issused rapidly and in that tone that is designed to drive mothers to insane asylums.

She empties her dresser drawers several times a week, usually in search of just the right pair of shorts or to come up with a winter fashion ensemble including sweater, boots and shorts with scarf and bikini. Even though it's hotter than the surface of Mercury in sough Georgia right now.

If things don't go her way, it is your fault. She and Rob played whiffle ball (baseball with a soft bat and a soft ball) yesterday. She struck out several times. All of which were blamed on Daddy.

The Christmas picture session from 2006:

Which is why we skipped the Christmas pictures in 2007.

Her grandparents took a trip to New England last week. When they got back yesterday she wanted to know what they got her. Then expressed her disappointment that she didn't get more. I guess that tells you have well my manners lessons have been absorbed. When I told her it was time to for us to go get Mama and Papa, she asked if they were staying home this time. Then she told Papa that maybe he could just go by himself next time. Really have to work on those manners, don't I?

Thursday, September 11, 2008

The Fruit and Vegetable Wars

I dream of children who adore broccoli. Crave carrots. Beg for peas and beans. "Oh yes, Mom, please let me have an extra helping of greens." Sounds so heavenly, doesn't it?

Alas I am left to dream. Abby will gobble down peas and beans that are hidden in chicken stew. She loves butter beans... but technically, they're not a vegetable. She eats strawberries, bananas and watermelon.

J.T. shudders at the sight of anything green, orange or yellow on his plate. Attempts to coerce him into trying them meet stiff resistance. The one bite rule has resulted in gagging and barfing. Thus far, my foe has stubbornly circled his wagons and refuses to surrender to my bombardments of handsomely cut carrots, child-friendly recipes, starving children in Africa lectures, cucumbers shapes like flowers and the last weapon in my arsenal... bribery.

I have visions of him subsisting on crackers, peanut butter and grape juice for the rest of his life. I can literally name about 10 things he eats... all marginally healthy, and not the first fruit or vegetable among them. He does like water, which is a plus, but how I wish he'd take a big bite of strawberry or munch on apples dipped in peanut butter.

Sunday, September 7, 2008


That is my response to any question asked of me while I am reading. I possess the wonderful/vexing trait of being able to completely immerse myself in anything I am reading or watching. Paradoxically, I have ADD and also do NOT possess the ability to focus intently on anything that I do not enjoy for long periods of time. Usually more than a few seconds.

Reading, writing, blogging, word puzzles... are tasks to which I can devote undivided attention. Sorting, laundry, organizing fall by the wayside. Frequently.

So it shouldn't come as any surprise that J.T. also has trouble paying attention. I was nodding my head while reading Stomper's post about Climber at school. We started the school year with a note home from his teacher about daydreaming. Like me, he is an A student. Bright enough to get by, but in a small enough class that his teacher notices when the other kids begin their word assignments and J.T. is still staring off into space, engaged in a virtual super hero vs. villain battle for the ages. Had I not come through school in the age of 30 plus kids in each class, I would probably have gotten more notice from my teachers as well. I daydreamed my way through Math, was quite attentive for Social Studies and Reading and perhaps Science... depending on the subject matter. His teacher has commented that he was completely focused and interacted during a lesson on Chameleons, but tuned out for the phonics session and wasted his morning time instead of going to the library for a new book.

It isn't fun getting notes home every other day, but I think in the long run, we will be glad that he has a teacher who holds him accountable, even if daydreaming is just part of who he is. I have had to learn some strategies to help me focus on things I don't enjoy doing like starting each day with a list detailing all of the mundane, easy to forget tasks I need to complete. He needs to start learning to cope with it now.

Believe me, I understand the frustration his teacher must experience everyday as she asks him, probably hundreds of times, to pay attention, focus, complete x or y. Rob and I spend each morning reminding him repeatedly to brush his teeth, put on his shoes, his shirt... Wait! You've got it on backwards again! Put on your socks, your shoes. Ready? WAIT! Your shorts on backwards.... again!

So hopefully, we'll make improvements this year. I say "we" because every parent knows that education is very much a "we" undertaking. And I could probably use a little more focus myself.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

A Lovely Weekend

Saturday morning picnic at the playground featuring peanut butter on whole wheat crackers, yogurt, water and semi-sweet chocolate chips for dessert served on a blanket in the shade of massive pine trees. We spent an hour or so playing on the swings, the merry-go-round, the slides and monkey bars. The kids had fun. I could tell because they were very dirty. I swear there is a direct correlation between fun and dirt. The dirtier a child is, the more fun was had.

Sunday afternoon was devoted to my niece's 11th birthday party. There was cake and ice cream. Can you ask for more from a day other than cake and ice cream? She made out like a bandit. I may ask her for a loan instead of calling the bank next time we need some cash. Abby and J.T. got not only cake and ice cream, but an afternoon playing with their cousins. So how to top off a wonderful, sugary, perfect day?

With a little art project.

And an odd looking spider.

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