Reasons why a hotel is every kid's dream come true

10. No excuse but to co-sleep.
9. Uninhibited TV access.
8. More people to wake up at the crack of dawn.
7. Breakfast includes cereals that mommy would NEVER buy for us at home. Lucky Charms, anyone?
6. Texas-shaped waffles and a bacon pile worthy of inclusion on a topographical map of the state.
5. TV during breakfast. (Which Melody saw and exclaimed, "My favorite show in the universe! It's The Weather!")
4. Long hallways.
3. Multiple swimming options with plenty of free time in which to use them.
2. Miniature coffee makers, hair dryers and tissues that vend from the side of bathroom counter.
1. No one makes you clean your room.


Growing Girls

Yesterday was preschool graduation. I am almost the mother to two kindergarteners. Boy, does time fly.

I'll post pics later.

I only have about two more weeks of insane amounts of work. I'm quitting one job so that I can see my family more and feel crazy less, so you'll see more of me, too.


Slumbering Ballerinas

Dowlan and the diseased children stayed home from church this morning. I went, but only because I was teaching and, well, I wanted out.

I came home from work and from hanging out with work friends after work very late Friday night to have Dowlan give me the gruesome news: Dixie picked up pinworms at preschool. Also, Charlie isn't breathing so well.

Do not google images of pinworms.

Fortunately, the treatment is fairly simple. One dose of medicine per household member now and another fourteen days later. Stay away from other people for a day or two to let it kick in. Wash all the bedding.

Keeping three children indoors on a beautiful spring weekend is much more complicated. No swimming, no playing in our yard because we share our playground with the neighbors behind us. No going to the park or having friends over. Instead, we watched way too much TV and destroyed home furnishings for entertainment.

See why I needed out? I can find a sub for teaching a lot more easily than I can find a better excuse to leave the house for a bit.

I came home to find the girls dressed up in their fluff and stuff and watching Prokofiev's ballet of Romeo and Juliet on PBS. At one point, Melody wore her self out twirling and laid down to nap on the couch. Dixie, needing a deux for her pas de deux grabbed the cat instead, then complained bewilderedly, "Mo-om! Abb . . . y is clawing me!"

[Abb . . . y is the name of our calico. She has no tail, so her name is Abbreviated Kitty. Abb . . . y is the abbreviated version of Abbreviated Kitty and my personal preference is to use ellipses to show the dropped letters because Abb'y is just too Wal*mart for my tastes.]

[Wal*Mart names, on my mommy board, are children's names that are kre8tiv in spelling and often include random punctuation.]

[I think that's all.]



And the winner is . . .

Trace! From Little Patch of Clover. Her guess of $312.15 was only a smidgeon off from the total of $307.72 (but I wish some of you optimists had been closer to right!)

If you'll email me at tuba_g@hotmail.com with a name and address, I will get a prize sent out.

And here's what I won!

home decorating

I've had three cabinets in the living room for over a year and have been waiting for the spare cash to buy two more. Now my living room looks like this:


Look, ma! No visible toys!

And, to answer the question on the last entry:
Dixie's fear of heights made Melody's claim of the top bunk pretty easy to accept. Melody's thrilled because she gets a tent and Dixie's happy because she gets a little cave. I'm thinking of sewing her some curtains.


Monkeys and Bunkeys

I had no idea the girls could do any of this:



Soon, they had company:

So they moved to the monkey bars. I REALLY didn't know they could do this:

They can't make it completely across, but four or five rungs is still pretty impressive. Charlie hung out with my coworker Scott. Recognize the RAWR shirt?

We went home to sleep in their new bunks:
bunks,home decorating

bunks,home decorating

bunks,home decorating

Thanks Oma, Papa, Kris-kreen and Tasha for the bunk funds!


A picture of the wagon wheel wreath I made out of a pool noodle, three dowels, a roll of purple duct tape, three spools of gold ribbon, a roll of green sequins on a string, 6 bunches of fake flowers and two bouquets of real ones:


And a link to her obituary:

Don't forget to vote on my inheritance total:

A time I was a good friend

So I've read a lot of papers lately about 'A Time I Was A Good Friend' and would like to write my own.

I was a good friend when I had these goofy co-workers and I made them things. First, I made them bread and homemade jam:


Then, I made them dinosaur shirts because one of the papers we read had a picture of a dinosaur. It said RAWR and that "RAWR means I love you in dinosaur."

Scott got the first shirt:

I got the second:

And they both said, on the back:

And now I have more shirts to make this weekend. That is how I was a good friend.

(Okay, I upped the essay quality by quite a bit by actually spelling my words correctly and using the occasional bit of punctuation.)


My fifth job: Child Psychologist

A ways back, I wrote about the perils of having a small piece of Velcro sleeping in my bed. I had hoped that the introduction of larger mattresses would help with my Velcro problem, and, for the first two nights, it worked.

But last night, my little blonde Velcro came in in the middle of the night and crawled in between us, announcing, "I'm scared."

It wasn't a dream, a noise, or a monster. It was just fear that could not be put into words.

While we were gone to Baton Rouge, Melody behaved rather monstrously. Some were behaviors we'd seen peeking out at home that magnified in the absence of her usual parental authority. Some of it was defiance on a whole new level. From five hundred miles away, I tried to figure out what was going on with my most long-term patient in my practice as a child psychologist. (Fortunately, this practice is full at only three clients and the youngest is still too little to do anything overly weird . . . yet.)

As I wrestled to figure it out, I realized that I had no idea what was going on in her head.

I would like to point out that I have always understood the inside of Melody's head. Dixie has taken some real head-scratching and pontification to figure out and Charlie is pretty true to the 'for every action, there is a reaction' approach and I can usually do the physics required for that one. But Melody? I have always felt like I understood implicitly.

Not knowing what was going on in her head didn't feel so good.

When I got home and finally saw my babygirl, she was just sad. She was the saddest child I've ever seen. She snuggled in and didn't want to let go. She quietly begged to not go to school and for mommy to not go to work. I wish I could have gone along with that plan.

My crazy schedule and multiple jobs are really taking their toll on us. Throw in two funerals in four days, and the patients are starting to revolt against the asylum.


I just cashed in my inheritance

I forgot to get pics of all this, but Aunt Carol had this giant ceramic piggy bank she'd painted and it was her 'emergency fund' so to speak. I remember laying on the floor at her old house as a kid, looking up at the pig next to me. I remember dressing it up and playing with it.

As I got older, she would tease me. "Honey, your inheritance is whatever is left in that pig when I'm done with it." Her brother Gary (who showed up to the funeral sporting pneumonia) got to keep the pig itself, but promised that he'd fill it back up for me. My brother and sister-in-law emptied the change into two very full crown royal bags that weighed in at 85 pounds. I just got home from taking the bags to the bank and they'll have to ship it off to San Antonio for counting. I should know by next Wednesday how much is in there.

To help kill time and build suspense, I'm going to have my first-ever blog contest. Post a comment with your guess and whoever is closest to the dollar amount will win a prize.


Miss me?

We got back home around 3:30 this morning. Brought a few things in, went to sleep, then got up with the girls at 7. Snuggled and talked and loved on them a bit, then left for work about half an hour later and Charlie was still asleep. When I got home at the end of my 12 hour day away, I was just aching to see that silly boof. He was in the mood to snuggle and I was glad for it.

We brought back twin mattresses from my aunt's house and the girls are no longer on crib sized mattresses! No bed frames yet, but I'm content to let them sleep on the floor until they get big enough for bunks.



The rest of their room, while it's clean-er-ish:


There were some other things we brought home from Carol's that I need to get listed here eventually. I know you guys find me entertaining, but the main purpose of this blog is for my children to have a record of their childhoods and I figure it's as good a place as any to let them know later what belonged to their great aunt. I'm too tired to think of that now, but I will mention one thing.

Around Christmas, I lost my engagement ring and it was driving me crazy. My ring didn't cost us much, but it was from the 1920s and really beautiful. I looked for years for a wedding band to match, but never really found the right one. Now Aunt Carol had a very specific style and all of her other jewelry matched her, but the one odd man out was this:


It is almost exactly my engagement ring. AND it has the band I could never seem to find. I was told it was mine, if I would promise to not lose this one.


Thanks, Carol. I needed that.

Unfortunately, during her funeral, my mom's Uncle Buddy passed. He was another amazing person.

It does look like Grandpa has rallied for a bit. I'm glad for many reasons, one of them that I don't think I can handle three funerals in three states in one week. Thanks for all the prayers. It's been a long few days.


Out of circulation for a few days

I'm in Baton Rouge helping go through stuff.

In other news, my grandpa on the other side of the family is not doing so well. We might be going on an extended tour here.


I can't really bring myself to write much about this now

but my Aunt Carol passed away today.

Melody Anne was named for Carol Anne and I am so glad that they finally got to meet this past Christmas.


More Melody dreams

Melody: I dreamed an ordinary girl dream. It was ridiculous.


I don't know if I should consider this

an update to yesterday's post or perhaps just more fuel for the fire:

This morning was another priceless morning at church. before we made it to the second song, Charlie crawled under the pew, made it to the aisle and made a break for it. I chased him, grabbed him and continued down the aisle as his NOO! NOOOOO! NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! echoed through the otherwise silent auditorium.

I am enjoying the looks on everyone's faces as they enjoy the spectacle. I'm nearly to the back before I lose it and can no longer contain my laughter. I turn around to wave at the preacher who laughs and says, 'I think someone is disapproving of something here.'

I deliver him to the nursery and return to sing with Melody. We named her well. For the first time in awhile, I truly worshiped. I held her and we sang together and her sweet, clear voice just got more and more confident. We were near the front and the song leader kept sneaking glimpses of her joyous song. At the end of one song, she didn't cut off the held note and the entire church could hear my Melody's melody.

I feel compelled to add a note about yesterday's post on worship. It was a composite of several weeks. Not every week is that bad (or that good) and I really am amazed and awed by how well we are loved and cared for by the people of that community. It isn't that I am ungrateful; rather that I am tired. We're actually getting by pretty well, for the moment. It's just the waiting that has worn me down.

FMIPW: Small Step #2

Today, I hung out in the kitchen, making miracles out of produce. It started out like this:


With ten pounds of apples, four pounds of strawberries and a pineapple. There were a few changes along the way:



And I ended up with this:

7 half-pints of pear-applesauce. 5 half-pints and 3 pints of pineapple-applesauce.

9 pints of strawberry jam:

But, see? That's not all. That's the stuff for the next few months. I know the $15 on jars, $17 on produce, 4 hours in the kitchen and lovely scalding of my forearm don't exactly make it a bargain for 9 pints of applesauce and 9 pints of jelly. The real long-term investments are in the recyclable parts. 2 dozen reusable jars that may next hold something that grew in our own garden or blackberries we picked at a local farm or pears from Emily and Brendan's trees. Then there's this:

What at one time would have been trash in this house is now added to the compost pile where it will decompose and then be added to next year's garden to add nutrients to the things that may end up in those jars the fourth time they go around.

For the distant, future, I have this:

See? It's the top of my pineapple:

In about three weeks, with frequent water changes, it will have a full set of roots to be transplanted into a pot. A bit after that, I will have a lovely tree started that I will put into my yard to grow and provide beauty, shade, and (2-3 years from now, if all goes well) another pineapple.

I love the circle.


I am a bit reluctant to post this.

As a writer, I am always acutely aware of my audience. In this environment, it is hard to have that awareness, but I keep a list of names in my head. If content is questionable, I run their faces by my brain and think, "Would I say this to their faces?" It helps the line of what to include and exclude generally crystal clear.

I wrote something last night that I've shared with many of my online friends, but I am reluctant to share here because, well . . . I am concerned about offending because it gets a little too honest in parts.

I've been sitting on this a day and have gotten positive response from my test audiences, so I will (with mild editing) include it here.

I say I know the God I worship. I talk about Him enough. I read about Him. I tell about Him. But talking to Him? Nah, that's dangerous stuff, so I save it for mealtimes and bedtime prayers (or the most desperate of situations). Sometimes I don't even know if I believe what I teach my children, so I don't always know why I scrub them and spruce them up, strap them into their car seats and shush their way through a service that, face it . . . it's been years since I had any idea what that man up front there was talking about.

I tell my girls, 'We're here to worship God. Sing with me and STOP THAT.' I tell my boy, 'Stop meowing and stand up and, for an hour, forget that you're two.' I prod my husband to wake up and lose my place in the song and my sharp awareness of the stares wears me down.

But these are the people who love me, right? This is my family. Who cares for me, watches out for me and supports me in all my parenting decisions (except for the ones that, well, we didn't do it that way when our kids were little).

I try to sing the next song, then realize that it's time to take Charlie down to the nursery so that I can come back for the sermon. I come back and spend six minutes arguing with Dixie about why she can't go potty (because she just went).

Again, I nudge the sleeping husband.

The man stands up to speak and I intend to know what he's saying. But then Melody wants to know where to find JONAH in the word search and Dixie took her crayon. Fumbling, I drop the crayon and crawl under the pew to retrieve it.

I pass out the change out of the corners of my purse. I hope we don't need it in the next few days and evenly distribute it to the girls and help them not lose it during the prayer. I fuss at them for dropping the coins in one at a time and then later for missing the one under the shoe they took off.

Then communion comes and my prayer is, "God, please do not let Melody choose ever again to use this silent and reflective time to ask, 'But Mommy? How did Daddy and God get the seed IN your tummy when they created my baby brother?' in such a loud, clear voice. I'm too busy keeping their clumsy, grabbing paws off the trays to think about this blood and body I partake of. The singing starts again and I am relieved that we've almost made it through alive. Again.

I open the Order of Worship (because all Worship must have Order) and I groan at the realization that the most long-winded of the elders will give the announcements and closing prayer and GAH!, there's a baptism after that.

What about the stuff in the crock pot at home? When they make this plan, they never take my crock pot into consideration!

We shake hands and make polite conversation. I, for the millionth time say, "No, eleven months and still no job. We're okay. We'll let you know if we need anything." (Will I let them know? I don't know. I secretly prefer it when they silently slip us money because I just don't know how to say, "I can't figure it out this month.")

It takes a rise in my blood pressure, some shouting and a few threatened spankings to get to the parking garage and argue over who gets to push which button in the elevator on the way down. The straggling scruffy children who started out the day so scrubbed and spruced are again strapped into their car seats. I turn on NPR and hope that Garrison Keillor can drown out all their backseat ramblings.

I'm so glad we worshiped God today.

hee hee hee

Melody: Mommy, I need more . . .
Mommy: Cowbell?
Melody: No. I tried the cowbell, and I didn't like it. It was okay on the chicken, but not on the fries.