Being a grownup

Dixie: I can't wait to be a grownup and do whatever I want to do.
Melody: But even grownups have to do what their boss says.
Dixie: Mommy, do you have a boss?
Mommy: Yes, I have a boss at work.
Dixie? What about at home?
Mommy: Well, Daddy and I are kind of like bosses for each other. We help each other make sure that we're doing the right thing and that everything gets done the way it needs to get done. And then God also tells us how to make the right choices and do the right things.
Dixie: But Grandma doesn't have a boss. She lives by herself and does work for herself. So I sometimes have to be Grandma's boss.

Hear that, Grandma?



Charlie can do any math problem, as long as the answer is two. He can count anything, as long as there are only three of them.

Melody is reading basic 3 letter words.

My calf was cramping tonight and Dixie hopped down on the floor to show me some 'basic stretches you can do to feel better, Mommy.'

Dowlan got a call about a potential job today.

I have made it to the gym twice this week, and have everything ready to go in the morning.

And the house is clean.


Melody's First Day of School

First, a small update on Dixie's first day.

You see, Dixie was eager to go to school, just not eager to have her mom follow her around like a dork, taking pictures. Every time she saw the camera, the scowl replaced her big grin. I think her biggest concern was having a new class and teacher--she was very attached to her previous teacher. She also informed me upon arrival that, "Mommy, I'm done learning. I know all I need to know, so why am I here?"

Apparently, she was still lacking in a bit of knowledge. When asked what she learned yesterday, she reported proudly that, " 'Train' starts with 'I' and so does 'Indian'. And at lunch, we had five more minutes, and I couldn't finish it in that time. And that you shouldn't talk and eat at the same time because our teacher did and got to coughing."

See, this is why we pay the big bucks for private preschool. You can't just learn this stuff anywhere.

I had wondered if today would be harder for me than yesterday. Dixie went to school last year, but Melody did not and Melody has been my near-constant companion for over five years (counting gestation). Dixie is more attached to Daddy.

My schedule looked like this:
  • 7:30 chiropractor
  • 7:50 go home, get dressed and get girls loaded
  • 8:15 drop-off girls at school
  • 8:30 water class at the gym
  • 9:30 hot tub and shower
  • 10:30 come home and lie in my nifty traction device.
I was a bit anxious about this all going smoothly. Especially when Melody climbed into my bed this morning because she "Needs very much to snuggle with you, Mommy." I barely got out of bed by 7 and out the door by 7:15. (I go to the chiropractor in my jammies because it is less awkward to twist and flip about on his narrow, slippery table). I came home from the chiropractor to get the girls and apparently, Melody headed out almost the moment I got home because, after I was done getting dressed, Dixie and I couldn't find her. When I did finally locate her, she was standing on the ground next to the van door, backpack forgotten, shoes already on the wrong feet, ready to go:



I insisted on the 'ready to go' pose:


as well as the 'we actually like each other' pose:


Here they are going into the school:

and here is Melody, ready to learn:


I did make it to everything on time. Water class about killed me. The instructor recently went to a seminar to learn new things to do. She did not choose to introduce the changes gradually. Yeouch.

Also, today was my first day to lie in my little traction kit. I was very disappointed that I did not get to hang upside down, strapped on the back of the door like on 80's sitcoms and then have someone shut the door and trap me in a closet or room alone and leave me there all night, forgotten. Instead, I lie on this foam wedge with this tube pinning my head down for gradually increasing increments of time.

It was the longest five minutes of my life. It left me dizzy and had my neck positively throbbing. I am almost certain I had positioned it exactly right, because only a device designed for PT (Pain and Torture, NOT Physical Therapy) could bring such carefully calculated and targeted pain.

After sleeping off my rough five minutes (did I mention that Charlie was riding my knee like a horse while I was trying to do this?) I went to get girls. Melody gets picked up inside the foyer. The Mother's Day Out classes come out in a line, backpacks on, very orderly and quiet, and sit against a wall while they get checked out.

I barely recognized Melody. I wish I'd had my camera to show you--she just looked so grown up with her dress and leggings and matching bow, her shoes switched to the correct feet, the backpack hanging from her shoulders, her back straight, her eyes at attention and her head high. Surely this could not be my tiny baby girl.

And then there was the contrast of her next to those other big kids. Melody is the oldest in her class by several months, yet is clearly the tiniest. She looked like a miniature with her little face, scrawny arms, legs so tiny that her leggings sagged and bunched. I realized just how tiny a 31-pound four-and-a-half-year-old is when I saw her next to the three-year-old giants.

She greeted me with a hug and announced, "I am going to tell you about absolutely everything that I learned and did today." She began to dictate a rather lengthy list as we got in the van and went through the pick-up line to get Dixie. Dixie got in the van and began the litany of her day and I thought about how nice it was this morning to have calm and still and quiet, but also how dreadfully boring. When Melody and Dixie re-entered my day, it sprang to life again. The sun shone again. Their sweet little chatter just filled me.

Until the bickering resumed.


Dixie's first day of school

One of us is distinctly happier about this occasion than the other:

But I knew it was really time for school to start and summer to end when, yesterday, Melody started listing the people she knows who don't have a sister and wondering if they'd be interested in taking Dixie off our hands. I think the girls need some time apart from each other.

Dixie will be in Pre-K five mornings a week. Melody will be in Mother's Day Out on Mondays and Wednesdays. Because school starts on a Tuesday, they each get their own first day of school.

Dixie doesn't like when a big fuss is made over things. She does the 'Oh, Mo-om!' look quite well. See?

She also has rather perfected the 'Mommy-is-Making-Me-Do-This' look:

But I DID get a smile eventually:

Dixie has a few of the same classmates as last year and her new teacher is working on her Master's and has taught pre-K for six years. By the end of the year, Dixie should be reading, adding and doing all those other big-kid things. But, for now, she's still practicing her sulk:

To keep Melody from suffering too much in her sister's absence, I tried to make today a little special for her, too. After we took Dixie to school, we took an exciting trip to Wal*Mart to buy cantaloupe, kale, panties for the girls, milk, a new hairdryer for mommy (duct taping them doesn't work so well because of how they heat up and make the adhesive gooey) and some juice. Oh, and the new Little Mermaid Movie. The DVD came with a bonus crown, comb and brush. And Melody was already wearing the Little Mermaid dress I'd made her about a month ago:



And here is a picture of Charlie from yesterday. All he needs is pink horns and a pink bifurcated tail to go with his pink goatee and pink laser eyes:

Tomorrow, Dixie AND Melody will be at school. And I will look like this:


He's a boy.

Charlie's new trick? Spitting. Not just spitting, no, that wouldn't be irritating enough. He loves to take several bites, chew them up, then send them spraying. He did this last night, so we put him in the crib for time-out. The idea was, that when he stopped spitting, he could come out.

That never happened.

He jumped up and down in his crib for an HOUR, making spit noises. Then we moved him to a chair, where he spit. He likes to make whoopee cushion noises as he runs in circles around the house, making his little spit/fart (spart?) noise with every step.

His sisters NEVER did this.

And Cindy--can you put the link to Leah's blog in my comments? I used to read often, but I haven't been in a few months.


It hurts

By 'it' I mean 'all of it.'

In German, they add the word pain, schmertzen, to the name of the body part hurting. Fußschmertzen, Augeschmertzen, Kopfschmertzen translate to foot pain, eye pain, head pain.

After losing my recent battles with office furniture (did I mention that, in addition to losing the fight with not one but TWO separate chairs, I ran into the edge of a open filing cabinet drawer at work today and gouged my hairy calf?) I have what can only be described as Gretchenschmertzen.

Gretchen Vs The Chairs

Yesterday, I sat down on my office chair, sat back too far in it, and flipped over backwards. No, I was not leaning back.

About ten minutes ago, I needed something off the upper shelves of my craft closet. My stool was in the other room, so I stood on the folding chair. This is when I learned that padded Cosco folding chairs are do not have a metal base, but rather a paperboard one. But I only had one foot on it--my other foot was still coming off the ground when I started falling through, and it somehow ended up that I was straddling the back of the chair as I sunk to the ground.

My foot caught a few metal things on the way down and hurts in three places. My other hip is a little disjointed and my back and shoulder feel very sore. Whatever good the chiropractor did for me this morning is now un-done.

This is what I get for making fun of Dowlan's decrepitude.


On a side note, one of my imaginary friends started this blog recently. I LOL'd.



I think this may be a sign that I am tired

I sat down, opened up my blog, saw that there were no new posts, and, disappointed, shut the window.


A follow-up

I realized that I didn't share my response to, "Can we have Moon Pies for breakfast?"

Bill Cosby's logic about chocolate cake for breakfast immediately came to mind. It probably has eggs. Milk. Wheat. Yes there is also the chocolate to contend with, and the marshmallow, but it is probably no worse than Count Chocula, right? And, while I am not one of them, there are moms all across this great nation who think nothing of feeding that to their [s]obese[/s] children for breakfast.

Combine that with the fact that Dowlan and I are both skilled practitioners of 'sleep logic' and 'snooze button logic.' The idea behind both is that, when you're still mostly asleep, any decision that would result in you sleeping longer is always a good idea.

So the answer, naturally, was "Yes. Yes you may."

While on the topic, I should share what Melody told me this morning: Mommy, when I woke up, my eyes were cranky, so I shut them, and they slept a little more. And when I opened them up, they were still a little cranky, so I shut them again. And then I shut them just one more time after that. But then I opened them again and, guess what? I was awake!


I am officially a trophy wife.

My husband is an old, old man.

Last night, our friends gathered to celebrate his 40th birthday. But even more importantly, we were there to celebrate that we were NOT forty. I remember about six years ago, a friend of ours was mourning her thirtieth birthday and found great comfort in the fact that, no matter how old she got, she would never be older than Dowlan.

Did I mention I am still in my twenties, even if for a few short months? That makes me a trophy wife, by my estimation.

Earlier this summer, I was trying to figure out how in the world we would throw three birthday parties in ten days' time with no money. So we held Dixie's at a free event and fed everyone cheaply, we held Charlie's at our house at a time when no one would expect us to feed them, but those were kid parties. A fortieth party should be big.

So I decided to have a 'hard times' party.

Featured were the hobo costume contest with Boone's Farm apple wine for prizes (genuine hobo fragrance optional):



A make-your-own cardboard sign station:

BYOCG (bring your won canned good) to make hobo stew, eaten out of real tin cans:


And lots of drinking out of paper bags:


As for the cake, it was the finest any convenience store had to offer:



After it was done, I slept harder and more soundly than any hobo ever dreamed of. And this morning I woke up to the voice of Dixie saying, "Mommy the children's tummies are not full. They are empty. Is it all right if we have Moon Pies for breakfast?"


Melody's bad dream.

"I dreamed that I died and became a ghost and was all lonely because no one could hug me and I couldn't eat or play. And then Daddy sold our home and moved away and I couldn't go with him and I was left all alone."

and more Deep Thoughts, with Melody:

We were watching the opening ceremony of the olympics. During one part, they showed the outside of the arena, where they had massive footprint-shaped fireworks timed to look like they were walking up the streets of Beijing.

Melody watches a bit, cocks her head and says, "Mommy, I think God is walking to the place and those are his footprints."


Things I never thought I'd have to explain

Melody LOVES zip-up footed winter jammies. I have to hide them from her ten months out of the year, or she will sweat to death, insisting that she wants to leave them on. She would be much happier living in arctic climes, which would provide opportunity for arctic jammies.

In the Great Closet Upheaval of '08, some have apparently resurfaced.

A few details about Melody's anatomy would be pertinent here: Melody is a tiny child. Her weight barely registers at the bottom of growth charts, her height is slightly below average. Her elbow is the widest part of her arm, ditto her knee and her leg.For the longest time, she had a round belly. It was not chubby, though. It was round due to the need to hold organs. But even the belly has slimmed down. She has no butt. No hips. Basically, she resembles a fairy.

The 0-3 month sized clothes that most babies wear for a few short weeks, she wore for nine months. And when I was 9 months pregnant with Charlie and took her shopping to buy a homecoming outfit for a boy and one for a girl, she came home to show daddy the clothes, decided she wanted the girl one, and put the newly born infant sized clothing on her two-and-a-half-year-old body and it fit.

Melody also walked super early. She was nine months and five days old. She weighed all of sixteen pounds. I attribute her early walking to three things: she'd always been really healthy, and had no bouts of illness to set her back; she had no bulk to her and needed no muscle mass to move her tiny self; she is stubborn (like her mother).

So Melody, at age four-and-a-half was trying to wear a pair of size 2T footed jammies. Were it not for the feet, they would have worked as a pair of wooly capris. So I coaxed her into trying a pair of size 3 instead.

They zipped. Barely.

They were stretched taught from tiptoe to shoulder. So tight, that when she laid down on the living room floor in them, she kind of fell in a straight stick form to the ground, where she found herself unable to move. She reached out one arm, and I gave her a boost. She was unbending in her rise from the ground.

She tried to take a step, but ended up on the ground again. I hoisted her up and she goose-stepped around the living room a bit. I could have painted her up to be a nutcracker, really.

After a good stretch of this, she had finally decided that this wasn't working. So she came to me to unzip her jammies, and the following conversation ensued.

Gretchen: Girl, those jammies are so tight, I can see your shoulderblades and your buttcrack.
Melody: What's a buttcrack?

Seriously? She's made it this far and doesn't know what a buttcrack is?

G: Your crack is the . . . well, it is the little crack between the, er, sides of your, well. Huh.
M: I want to see!

Melody, who is unzipped at this point, starts looking for the crack on her jammies. Of course, they have disappeared, much like the lap you lose when you stand up.

G: Well, you can't see them once they're not on . . . Let me show you.

Did I mention that I have a friend over? And, while Christine is a very close friend, she's still a human being with NO interest in seeing what is about to happen next. I stand up, then turn around.

G:See how my booty has two sides to it? And there's a space in the middle? That's my butt crack. And when my jammy bottoms are loose, you really can't see it. But then I give myself a wedgie and, voila!, my buttcrack is revealed.
M: Oh.

And then Melody, wearing naught but a pair of very saggy panties, starts searching for her butt crack with both hands. She is craning her neck, grabbing her rear, trying to twist and turn, but to no avail.

In retrospect, I should have handed her a flashlight.


I'm not sure why mommy is laughing so hard

but at the lunch table, Melody just said, "The sun is shiny in the sky, IF God cleans the sky!"



I've been working a little more lately

And it has been hard to see my kids enough to know how cute they are to have something to tell you about.

So, I'm passing the torch along. There is someone else who is in this house day in, day out. He knows everything that happens and has a great sense of humor.

Presenting my blog's newest author:



Yes, your majesty

Melody was getting dressed in the princess costume that grandma gave Dixie for her birthday. People kept touching her to try to fix things, and she was getting irritated, so I explained that true princesses are surrounded by people who are always tying them, fluffing them, and fixing their hair to keep them perfect and beautiful at all times.

So Melody comes up to me so that I can put her necklace on. As I am fastening the clasp, she turns her head and says, "Mommy, you are my servant now."

Now? Now? Honey, I've been your servant for YEARS. You just figured that out?


We survived the weekend.


The parties were great, but exhausting. The day we had Dixie's outdoor birthday party, it was 106º. We didn't start until 6:30, so it had cooled down quite a bit, but it was still wild.

Earlier that day, Melody announced that, 'My hiccups are rather awkward.' What, does this kid live in the Hundred Acre Woods or something?

We go to Zilker park and play on the playground. Only it is so hot, no one wants to play. So instead, we eat.

Then we go to the outdoor free summer musical. This year, it is Beauty and The Beast. I gotta tell you--taking a little girl on her fifth birthday to see her first musical AND it is a princess musical--THAT is a cool birthday party.

At intermission, we did cake and presents. My friend Tracy got the announcer to announce her birthday, which was really cool.


The musical itself was spectacular. But it was HOT, breeze-less and the hill was jam-packed. Still, we got pics afterwards:



And some of the kids on stage:


The musical was over at 11:30 and it was well past midnight by the time we were home. We had a LOT of stuff to load and the van was very far away. So we skipped church *gasp* to sleep in and then hurriedly get ready for Charlie's party the next day.


Charlie was so funny. He opened his first gift, then went off to play with it. There was no convincing him to open anything else. I briefly considered letting him open them later, but I know that kids like to see their gift get opened. So I let the other kids open the gifts. They loved it. I'd include pics, but I don't want to show other people's kids on my blog.

The coolest gift of all was a huge Mr. Potato Head (MPH) with pirate accessories that contained a regular sized MPH and two baby PHs. There are some of the traditional accessories, but also mermaid fins and baby pirate gear. I have always wanted an MPH. Always. My time has come.

SO we made it alive through the parties. And we never could have done it were it not for my incredible friends who will help with anything, apparently (although I'm not planning to test that theory.)

The whole weekend left me so tired that, well, I forgot that I have a job. And I didn't go Monday because, well, I wasn't really aware that it WAS Monday or that I was employed.


Fortunately, I am still employed. And still very, very tired.

BUT, I did get the dining room finished. Here is the version that is more kid-friendly:

The grown-up version:

I LOVE my dining room table (which is why it is usually covered with a vinyl tablecloth):


He's TWO!




The very angry princess was denied cake. Photobucket


Ta da!

(Cue: 'Reveal' music from Trading Spaces)



(I swear the box reads 'shoes,' not 'hoes.')

And now for the Dark Side. I wonder if Paige Davis leaves the rest of the house looking like this.

for Karina:


for Emily:

for the dumpster at Tracy's apartment complex:

for me to figure out:

and for . . . yeah, no idea.


I'm soooooo tired. But guess what else I get to do today?




Then I covered the whole back with blue. I'd show you, but it's pretty boring.

Tomorrow, I'll bake a cake, then flip the transfer onto the cake. I'll show you tomorrow--and have LOTS of five-year-old birthday party and two-year-old birthday party pics by Monday!