1 year, 364 days

Since Dixie became My Girl. It doesn't seem possible that she was ever NOT mine.

When we first brought her home I talked to a friend of mine who has worked with children placed into foster care or adopted post-babyhood or even uprooted and replanted by a parent re-marrying and blending a family. She told me that it really takes two years before the kids really believe that this is their home forever and forget that it ever really was any other way. It seemed like such a long time when she said that, but she was completely right. Dixie's defenses are finally down and she really sees me as her mother.

She'll never forget her birthmother completely or her home at grandma's, nor do I want her to. Sometimes it seems as though it would all be simpler if she would just never look back. Instead, I try to help her remember the good things, enjoy having a grandmother-grandchild relationship with Gma instead of a parent-child one and remind her constantly of how loved that little girl is.

We call it Sister Day--the day that everyone got a sister. Melody and Charlie would be so lost without that sister. So would I.


We're at the in-laws' house and everyone went off to look at Christmas lights. It feels funny being in a very quiet house that, minutes ago, was a very noisy house.

While here, I get to meetup with Mamalicious and some other imaginary friends of mine. I can't hardly wait.


Dixie is hysterical with sorrow

I just told her The Truth. She is inconsolable with her grief and mourning. I didn't mean to break it to her, but she had to know, at some point, that all the dinosaurs died a very long time ago and that she will never, ever see one in a zoo.


Charlie's campaign to spend holidays in the hospital

is gaining speed. He has been in the ER or hospital on Juneteenth, July Fourth, Halloween/All Saints' Day and now he is pulling for Christmas.

Baby boy has pneumonia, but not yet badly enough for the doc to want to keep him, so we're heading out of town as planned with a mountain o' meds.


Sleep in Heavenly peace

With everything going on, it hasn't felt like Christmas yet. Our worries have been outweighed by the kindness of those around us, but they still weigh there. It has been six months since Dowlan's last paycheck and unemployment payments don't always come when they should come or go as far as they should go. We are blessed--we have no needs unmet, no bills unpaid and no sacrifices yet called for, but the weight of it all has made this season less merry.

My mother-in-law made a Christmas songbook for Melody a few years ago. It is one of those pre-printed fabric books with stuffed pages. One of the girls chose it for a bedtime story. But before they got in bed for stories, they wanted to check the advent calendar to see how many doors are left. When they realized there were only two, Melody jumped at least a foot in the air and squealed, "Christmas is really going to come!" and then two ecstatic girls hugged each other.

Earlier, the girls eyes widened as they saw wrapped package after package be loaded into the van, followed by bag after bag of baked goods, shoes, jammies and fluffy dresses. They have renamed PennyVann, with her back seat removed and crammed full of gifts. She is now Santa's Sleigh.

Now Dowlan's voice is joined with two tiny voices, singing Silent Night. You just can't beat that song for sweetness. It really does feel like Christmas is here.

The perfect morning

I didn't realize how frustrating it has been to get Dixie to school every morning until I woke up this morning. I was instantly happy when I woke up and realized that no body had to go anywhere--no school, church, early morning chiro appts, classes at the gym or work. We could just stay in our warmed pajama-ed haven from the cold.

Dowlan got up and fed the kids breakfast while I clutched my pillow. He sat next to me and asked which I'd prefer: a pile of bacon, french toast and coffee or more sleep. I told him 'you' and we snuggled for an hour, half-asleep. Every now and then a kid or a cat would hop in and cuddle, then get bored with our inertness.

It is 10:30 and nothing has been done. No one is dressed. Nothing is cleaned. No errands run or phonecalls made. Life is so good.

edited to add: I just saw that the high today is 36ºF. I think we'll maintain this status as long as possible.


I have nothing to say, really

Charlie is sick. Feverish and wheezing. Melody has a sinus/ear infection. Dixie is perfectly healthy and annoyed that no one wants to play. My back hurts. Dowlan's in fine health, but really annoying.

Getting ready to go to my mom's for Christmas reminded me of this classic tale of sisterly woe.


One of the hardest things to accept about adult-hood? filling my own stocking.

We got married in March and pregnant in April. On Christmas Eve, I was 9 months pregnant. my family had come in the weekend before to celebrate with us, but they were long gone.

We went to Christmas Eve service, which was lovely and amazing. I was struck by the thought that, while I may be very pregnant and miserable, at least I didn't have to go anywhere on a donkey. We went to a friend's house and had dinner and enjoyed their traditions (including the neighbor who gets drunk, dresses up like Santa and goes to visit all the neighborhood kids). The next day, we had another church family to go visit.

But that night, I just felt alone. It wasn't right to not be at my mom's house for Christmas, especially in our empty house that didn't have any children in it yet. I woke up at three a.m. to the sound of the door closing and my husband leaving. I somehow got the idea in my head that he was leaving me and our unborn child, and on Christmas Eve, and began sobbing.

When I woke up the next morning, I realized he had realized that there was nothing to put in our stockings, so he ran to the only open store: 7-11. That year, we had the finest stocking stuffers they had to offer. Thank Heaven for Seven-Eleven!


Wrong white oblong liquid receptacle, Charlie

Charlie has, for months now, sat on the potty every day and said, "Psssss! Pssssss!" and is proud to do so. He stands up, claps and cheers for himself, grabs toilet paper, sits on the toilet, drops the paper in the toilet, stands up and flushes. He runs over and says 'washands!' in one word, hands reaching towards the sink.

Only problem? He never actually produces anything.

On more than one occasion, his potty-sitting has coincidentally coincided with an actual need to use the facilities. When this happens, he hops up off the bathroom, crouches down and uses the tile floor. Immediately, he hops back to the toilet and resumes his "Pssss!"ing.

Last night, it finally happend. He peed in the actual potty. The entire family cheered on his behalf. He was rewarded with new Handy Manny jammies (you know, the ones I was about to put on him either way) and the adoration of parents and siblings alike.

Tonight, Dowlan is changing his diaper when he asks Charlie if he wants to pee-pee in the potty. Charlie, excited, hops up, runs into bathroom, scales the tub wall, crouches down and lets it loose.


Well, we thought he had a job

but he doesn't.



Last night I dreamt

that I woke up and tiny squiggles of red sharpie covered every inch of the living room.


Ha-bee Birf DAEEEE!

Is how Charlie heralded the morning. This is me, on my 30th birf-daeeee:

Warning--this is me, straight out of bed, unbrushed, unkempt and jammied. But I do have a cute prop on my shoulder.



For all my fellow former Abilenians

Melody: Mommy, what do you call people who are from the town your mom and dad live in?
G: Abilenians.
M: Abilens?
G: Abilenians.
M: So you used to be an Abilenian, but now you're a Christian?
G: Something like that.


. . . kill . . . kill . . . kill . . .

Dowlan turned on the wrong burner.

The burner he turned on was NOT the burner under the kettle. The burner he turned on was the one under the chocolate cake I'd JUST taken out of the oven and was still sitting, in it's Pyrex dish, on the stove top to cool.

Then he leaves to go take out the trash. I guess he subconsciously knew that the earning of points was going to be vital to his existence.

I am on the other side of the kitchen, working on the second of the three cakes, carefully destroying it and mashing it, forming it into balls.

I smell burning chocolate cake. I turn to see smoke rising. I grab mitts, pick it up, set it on the burner on the other side of the stove top because it is so hot that I can't get it any farther and I am afraid that it will harm my countertop.

I stick them the mitts back in the drawer and turn to walk back to my cake balling when I hear a POP.

I turn to find that the pyrex has exploded. Shards of broken glass litter the stovetop, the floor and the eighty tiny and perfectly-formed spheres of cake-y goodness that were awaiting dipping.

Barter FAIL

I know a lady who cleans houses. She knows that I tutor. She asked if I would help her son in math in exchange for her doing some housework for me. I told her that, now that I'm working, I really can't keep up and Dowlan just can't handle the kids AND dinner AND the house, and that this seemed like a great idea.

My main issue is laundry. We average nine loads a week. It never ends. I used to have a really good rhythm going, but going to work every afternoon and then coming home to un-do the damage done in my absence is taking all my efforts right now.

So laundry for homework help. Homework help for for laundry. Beautiful plan, right?

Tonight, I go over to her house for my first hour and I realize, after seeing this woman's pristine living conditions that I can NEVER allow her in my home.


Melody is NOT tired.

Melody will NOT go to bed. She will play The Very Hungry Caterpillar game ALL night long. And if no one will play with her, she will just SIT. In this chair. And NOT move. EVER. She will sit in this chair for the REST OF HER LIFE if that is what it takes. Because she did NOT win the last game. She only won two games. That is NOT making her happy.

Twenty minutes later:


It is so tempting to just leave her there.


Nicknaming gone wrong

Melody: I bought you a surprise while you were at school.
Dixie: Really? What did you get?
M: They are magnets that you paint. And when the paint is dry, you put them on the refrigerator.
D: Oh, wow! What is on the magnets?
M: I started to think you would really like a shark and a fish and an octopus, but then thought, "Dixie doesn't LOVE sharks like she loves octopusses. I will get her a fish and two octopusses."
D: Thank you, Melody! I don't like sharkies, but I love pussies!


Errr . . .

Dixie: Guess what, Daddy? I'm running super fast! And I have scissors. I bet you can't ca--OUCH!

Since I got no pics

Here's the boy-in-a-box.


With bonus shot of teenage-niece-in-a-box