Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Tagged: My A-B-C's

Aimee tagged me for this meme:

A. Attached or Single? Attached to Brian, my husband of six or so years.

B. Best Friend? My sister-in-law Michelle, for a myriad of reasons, not the least of which is the fact that she is my babysitter.

C. Cake or pie? Cake, I think, although it is hard to beat a piece of apple pie with some melted sharp cheddar on top. It's delicious and it grosses out a certain six-year old, who is positive that it is disgusting and I am weird. My thoughts on that: more pie and cheese for me. Sucker!

D. Day of choice? Sunday. Duh.

E. Essential item? As the parent of a baby who spits up constantly and manages to get his food everywhere, I would say laundry stain removers - any brand.

F. Favorite color? Green.

G. Gummy bears or worms? Gummy worms. Although the bears are good, too, and when faced with the choice I generally select bears. So maybe bears, then. Although the worms are good in dirt cake. Both, then. I made that way harder than it needed to be.

H. Home town? Pensacola, FL, born, raised, and live currently.

I. Favorite indulgence? Flavor-Ice popsicles.

J. January or July? January, because July is so very stinking hot here.

K. Kids? Two, and most likely to stay at two. Although I would, down the road, like to maybe do some fostering. And I would be open to adoption.

L. Life isn’t complete without? Family. And friends who love you like family (meaning they know that you are crazy and hang out with you anyway)

M. Marriage date? 11/25/2001

N. Number of brothers and sisters? Two sisters. I am the middle child, and behave accordingly.

O. Oranges or Apples? Apples. I love apples.

P. Phobias? How much time do you have? Let's see....Lightning. Left turns. Public speaking. Solo performance in public (or really, playing anywhere anyone can hear me, unusual for a trumpet player, I know, but true for me). I'm sure there's more, but that's enough for now.

Q. Quotes? Oh, a few. Let's see....

"You know that our Lord does not look at the greatness or difficulty of our action, but at the love with which you do it." -St. Therese
"Our Lord never asks of us any sacrifice above our strength." -St. Therese
"Have patience with all things, But, first of all with yourself." -St. Francis De Sales
These are just a couple of my favorites. Both saints are near and dear to me, and both have pages and pages of wonderful quotes. The above all have special meaning for me.

R. Reasons to smile? Lots. My kids, my family, my health, I could go on.

S. Season of choice? Fall. Not that there really is a fall here - there are no subtleties to our seasons - it is hot, or it is not hot.

T. Tag 5 people: AU Jen, my sister Jen and my sister Teresa (wherever they might be blogging these days, and it's sad that I don't know - maybe you girls could send me a link?), maybe Mike (if he will come out of his writing retirement) and Nicole

U. Unknown fact about me? I know how to polka. I went to a goofy progressive magnet middle school and, one year, got stuck in a polka class. Nine weeks of polka. I know your basic polka step and variations thereof. However, I try to keep my mad polka skillz to myself, because 1.) It's really not anything anyone needs to see, and 2.) shockingly enough, there are few forums in which to display said skillz. Oom-pah music is out, I suppose. Imagine that.

V. Vegetable? Collard greens. Black-eyed peas (does that count as a veggie?). Spinach. Eggplant. Lots of veggies, really - most veggies. Not okra, though, I can't stand okra. Too slimy. Blech.

W. Worst habit? Complaining. And being extremely sarcastic at inappropriate moments.

X. Xray or Ultrasound? Although I have had plenty of both over time, the ultrasounds have it, in my book.

Y. Your favorite food? Pulled pork. Anything featuring sausage, or sausage on its' own. Tomato sauces. Tomato-cream sauces. Pesto. A steak from McGuire's. I could go on and on and on, because I'm hungry, so I will stop now. Garlic bread. Ok, really done this time.

Z. Zodiac sign? Aquarius.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Baptism/Behaviour myth: busted

One day, while watching me try and wrangle my squalling son, my father-in-law voiced the opinion that the reason Bubba was so bad is because he had not been baptized yet. Bubba had since proven that to be blatantly false. I am amazed that his personality is shining through so soon, and scared that he is such a diva. Last night I didn't give him his dinner in what he considered to be a timely manner, so he started screaming and waving his arms around, snatching at whatever he could get his hands on - it was high drama in the high chair. He threw his sippy cup across the kitchen, he knocked his bowl of food off the tray. He screamed and squealed and was just generally unpleasant. I was astonished - hell hath no fury like my son when I don't shovel rice cereal into his mouth fast enough. He wasn't starving - he had a bottle probably an hour or so before he ate, and he wasn't tired - he had just awakened from a nice nap right before he had that bottle, so I don't know what his problem was. Yikes.

The baptism went off without a hitch. The priest that was supposed to perform the baptism wasn't at mass, which really scared me because I have had some less-than-stellar experiences with him in the past, so all I could picture was him no-showing and...well, that would have been bad. He eventually showed, about ten minutes late but there nonetheless, and we got the show on the road. Whew. Bubba was somewhat well-behaved, the deed was done, and everyone is happy now. My mother-in-law is ecstatic because she can take him to Alabama to go shopping and eat dinner (she is of the old school that thinks you should not take the baby out before it is baptized - not that it stopped her from taking him all over town, so apparently she revised her views to allow in-town escapades, but anything crossing state lines puts his soul in jeopardy).

The party afterwards was threatened by a nasty squall that moved through - terrible wind, rain, lightning and thunder for a good forty-five minutes. It eventually cleared up, though, and everyone feasted on the pig (which, while not necessarily pleasant to behold, was not full-on nasty like I thought it would be) and other yummy treats. Clean up was exhausting, and we were not done until almost 6:30. Tired, dirty, wet and hot. But over! Hooray! My son is a clean slate. For now.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Mustard on my mouse and other mindless blather

I was eating a wrap from Subway earlier and unknowingly got mustard all over my mouse. I was mystified all afternoon at how I kept getting mustard on my thumb, and had no clue where it was coming from. At one point I thought to myself that it was like I was bleeding mustard, which was pretty amusing. Good news, though - I am not bleeding any condiments, I am just a sloppy eater. I'm sure everyone has breathed an immense sigh of relief.

I was looking through the updated website for Bella's school the other day and was watching the picture slideshows on each page. I was determined to find Bella's picture - as I told a co-worker, she is too cute not to have her picture there (I will confess to being somewhat biased in that determination). And guess what - her picture is on the website! Cool! I would show it, and am in fact dying to show it, but the creepy factor on that is way high - "Hey, here's a picture of my kid located immediately above the name and address of where she goes to school". No thank you.

I have had a couple of posts floating around in my mind, but no real time to work them out from mind to machine. I've been thinking a lot about Bubba's baptism tomorrow, and how absolutely insane preparations have become. I also wanted to post an open letter to the girlfriend of the guy who lives in the apartment upstairs - they recently had an enormous, drunken, expletive-spewing argument on the sidewalk right outside our patio, their third since we moved in. The name calling, especially the things he said to her, was vicious and not fit for the ears of anyone, much less my six year old daughter. Thanks entirely to this couple and their arguments, I have had to seriously discuss the following topics:
  • Respect for other peoples' property (as a result of the girlfriend hitting guy upstair's truck with a big tree limb)
  • Hands are for helping, not for hurting (as a result of guy upstairs shoving the girlfriend to make her stop hitting his truck)
  • Name calling (as a result of the many expletives they used, many of them the various synonyms not used in or by polite society to describe a woman's private parts)
  • Tolerance and diversity (for whatever reason, there is always liberal use of the dreaded N-word in their arguments)
  • Alcoholism (a few days after one fight, Bella came to me and asked me "What's a drunk whore, mommy?")
  • Respect for yourself (this is self explanatory, I think - no one - man or woman - should ever let someone speak to them the way these two people speak to each other)
Two of the fights have taken place in the parking lot, and those we just tried to ignore. The last one, right outside the house, is when we got involved - we heard the scrabbling noise of someone falling down, all the plants on our patio got knocked around, and someone screamed. Brian went out and asked if everything was OK. The guy responded with more expletives, and said it was none of Brian's business, to which Brian responded that, when the action is happening on our patio, it becomes our business, and for them to take it somewhere else. They moved further into the parking lot - very helpful. I have learned to just take Bella into her room when this happens and we read, or play a game, or anything that will distract her, but the whole situation seems pretty ridiculous. I remember being young and angst-ridden and in what I thought was love, and even getting in some pretty heated arguments, but never anything so volatile. I mean, we are talking about two people in their twenties drunkenly screaming and pushing and throwing things at each other in a parking lot. It's sad.

This morning, my boss informed me that, if I provide him with a head shot and a two-to-four paragraph bio, he will post it on the company website. Wha? I don't have a head shot, and I certainly don't have a bio. I will confess to not having made the best decisions over the course of my life, and while I am not mired down in regret, I don't think my bio would make for good reading. Or at least, not pertinent reading, as I have very little experience and education that pertains to the field I work in (I know, I am constantly astonished that I have this job, as well). So then I wondered what my bio would look like, and immediately had to write it, albeit in a sarcastic, self-deprecating way. Then I realized it was terribly bitter and that I am very, very hard on myself and deleted it. You would have thought it was written by someone that didn't like me very much. Hmmm... you don't need Freud to figure that one out, do you?

I had no clue what I wanted to do with my life, and the one term of college I attended (I use that term loosely - 'attended' suggests my actual presence, which wasn't always the case) just felt like a waste of time and money. I worked full time, at various positions at a beach resort in Alabama, and then briefly for Frederick's of Hollywood (where I became, I kid you not, a certified boobologist - I know, right?), and then at a condominium office for a few years. I was kind of coasting along, just hanging out. I came to a point where I was rather unhappy and turned to prayer, asking for guidance, for some idea of what to do with my life. And then I got pregnant. And I had my Bella, my beautiful, charming firstborn. I was a stay-at-home mom for a few years, then went back to work part-time, then went back to work full-time, and once again found myself facing uncertainty. I wasn't sure what to do - it seemed as though there weren't any more children in my future, so I was pondering: should I go to college? How can I go to college and work full-time and be a parent? And then I got pregnant again, and along came Bubba. So the recurring theme of my life is - every time I wondered about my purpose, about my path, I ended up pregnant.

I love being a mother. I love getting out of the house part-time, too, and (keep this on the hush, if people found out they might not let me complain) I think my job is very interesting. Not what I would want to do for the rest of forever, but it's great for what it is. I think, since I am fortunate enough to be able to have the choice (and I am very fortunate to have the choice, I know), I will focus on motherhood for now. My kids are small, and for the most part, appreciate me being around a lot. When they are older, maybe I can go to school part-time and start working towards a degree in something (yeah, I still don't know what I want to do). Who knows? You can go to college at any age. It's certainly not getting any less expensive, but that's how things roll.

Two years ago, when I first told a dear and much-loved cousin that I had enrolled Bella in catholic school, she said something that I haven't been able to forget: she said that she thought the money I was paying for catholic school would be better spent on educating myself. I want to be the best role model I can be for my daughter, believe me, I do. I don't think that Bella will not go to college because I didn't go to college (or I haven't yet, anyway). I think that, by us paying for her to go to a good school, she will realize that we consider education to be a high priority. I hope that she will look back on her life as a child and and know that 1.) I tried my best to be the best mother I could be, despite my many imperfections, and 2.) I encouraged her to follow her dreams, and that I have loved and will continue to love her wholeheartedly no matter what career path she chooses to follow - whether she is a doctor, or a housewife. Do I want her to go to college? Sure, I would love that. I would be probably be disappointed if she didn't. But that is her choice to make.

Well, I declare that to be enough deep thought for a rainy Saturday afternoon. There is much to be done before the beloved son and heir is baptized tomorrow, and frankly I have done less at work today than I will be doing at home tonight and tomorrow. The lechon (whole roasted pig) is going to be so icky and weird for me - this is my first celebration featuring the dish, and I'm feeling a little squeamish about the whole thing. If you are chiding me, take a look at this photo and then tell me you're ready to pick meat directly off a pig. All I have to say is, if there are leftovers, they are NOT coming to my house. I'm not mocking the the tradition, or the culture, mind you - I'm just saying that, as a picky eater who enjoys sausage but doesn't want to watch it being made, I'm lucky - spoiled rotten, even, by the fact that my pork comes neatly packaged in chop or rib or roast form, with nary a thing to remind me that I'm eating a chunk of a living thing. And that is how I like it.

Good weekend to all!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008


In the car the other day Bella handed me a CD and asked me what it was. I looked at it and saw that it was my 'Best of Lynard Skynard' disc. She asked if it was good music, so I popped it into the CD player. The first track was 'Sweet Home Alabama' and I actually said, "Oh, you'll need to know this song". As though it is required knowledge for getting through life. Maybe it isn't, but it sure helps when you're listening to a bad cover band or in close proximity to a jukebox. Plus, we live so close to Alabama that it's almost an anthem. I have seen grown men tear up at the sound of this song. Granted, they were intoxicated grown men, but nonetheless: it's a good song to know. Nothing like some good old southern rock. I'm proud of my southern roots - my family has lived in the south, in the same area I live in now, literally for generations. My children are rich in culture, heritiage and tradition: my husband's father is Filipino, and his mother is Cajun. They are lucky, my children. They will eat collards, and gumbo, and sinigang. When my daughter speaks she uses the southern stand-by 'y'all' and 'yes ma'am'. She loves to imitate her great Paw-Paw's thick french-cajun accent, and her everyday language is sprinkled liberally with tagalog words: ate (aunt), kili-kili (armpit) and others. I am proud of their diverse heritage, and I hope they will be, too.

Bubba had his four month check-up yesterday. He weights in just under fifteen pounds, so he gained roughly five pounds in a two month period. The white spot on his gums is actually a tooth - I had thought it might be, but it seemed too soon and not in the center, but the doctor said it is a tooth. He is healthy and strong, running smack average on all his statistics - height, weight, all that. So he's a healthy kid. Hooray! She said he can have solids if he is ready, and to keep on with what we're doing and bring him back in a couple of months. Alright!

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Bubba Grump

Bubba is officially weaned. I felt bad for a while, and still feel a little guilty, but I gave it my best try, and he just didn't want to do it. Or couldn't do it - since he's been on a bottle I have noticed what he does to the nipples and I'm pretty certain his tongue-tie is worse than everyone thought. I'll check with his doctor Tuesday, but I think that was the problem.

We have finally scheduled Bubba's baptism. We had to wait on my Father-in-law to get back from the Philippines and my sister-in-law's husband to get out of boot camp, but now that everyone is present and accounted for we can move forward. The same priest that baptized me when I entered the church will be performing the baptism, which is kind of neat. I was absolutely amazed at the difference in the rules from when Bella was baptized to now. When Bella was baptized I wasn't catholic, so my perspective was very different, as well, but:

  • Bella: had seven Godparents (another Filipino tradition, for some), none of whom were actually confirmed practicing catholics. A couple of them were baptized catholic, and one had made it as far as first communion, but that was it.

  • Bubba: only permitted two Godparents, at least one of whom has to be a confirmed, practicing catholic and can provide a letter from their parish priest to verify that.

  • Bella: we registered at the parish the day we called the parish office to set up Bella's baptism.

  • Bubba: you are required to be registered at the parish for three months prior to arranging a baptism.

  • Bella: The state of our marriage was never brought up.

  • Bubba: When I called to set up a meeting with the priest I was asked about our marriage, and the first things Father did in the meeting was schedule a convalidation.

  • Bella: We took a brief class with a deacon and then he performed the baptism after a mass. There was not a priest involved at all.

  • Bubba: We met with the parish priest for roughly an hour where he discussed baptism with us, and he will be performing the baptism himself after mass.
I'm certain all the changes are for the better, but it was quite interesting.

On a lighter note, let me just tell you: nobody celebrates a sacrament better than Filipinos. Oh, yes, friends and neighbors, immediately following Bubba's baptism there will be a lunch to beat all lunches on the shores of beautiful Perdido Bay, and as per tradition, there will be lechon (I will be having chicken - I like pork, but pulling it straight off a pig is a bit unsettling for me), and pansit, and lumpia, among other things. It is Filipino tradition to have a huge, blowout party following the reception of a sacrament. My in-laws were stationed back in the Philippines when my sister-in-law was baptized, and it was huge - like, close down the block and invite the entire community huge. We are not taking it that far, but it's apparently going to be pretty big. My in-laws are planning most of it - I'm just around to help roll lumpia and carry things, I think. I'm not going to stress over it, though - I'm just going to keep in mind that my baby will be baptized and that is what matters most, that is the highlight of the day. Yikes!

Bubba is slowly becoming more and more picky, and he makes me laugh on a regular basis. He loves to be out and about - he is the most portable child in the world. You can take him anywhere, and as long as he can see what is going on around him, he is a happy camper. But take him home? Forget it. Homebound Bubba is an unhappy Bubba. When I tell people this, they say, "Well, just take him out!". It's not that easy, though. I take him out whenever possible, but I cannot drop everything else I have to do - housework, taking care of my other child, sleep, things like that, just to keep him entertained and happy. I would love to spend every moment of my day being entertained, as well, but that isn't exactly how life works. Bubba is going to have to learn that lesson early.

People don't believe me, but he is slowly starting to reveal himself. My sister took both kids to the zoo last week, and he was good as gold while they were at the zoo, but once they got back to her house? He screamed his little head off. My mother-in-law and sister-in-law took him out shopping with them the other day, and he was almost angelic. But once he was home? He was fussy. Tuesday we went to lunch, two museums, then a long walk that ended up at a downtown pier with one of those interactive water fountains. A long, long (hot!) day during which he only cried briefly when he was getting sleepy. And then once again, upon our return home? Grumpy, fussy and whiny. I'll never understand it. But I guess it is a good thing that he is good somewhere. I'll take what I can get.

He is also starting to show a preference for certain people and a slight aversion to some (but not all) strangers. There seems to be no rhyme or reason to it, though - he will spend all of Bella's swimming lesson in the arms of a stranger, just some woman who walked by and wanted to hold him, and he will be perfectly OK. But then when Jacelyn's swim teacher holds him, he sticks his bottom lip out as far as it will go and cries even though he has known her almost since birth. We ran into a friend of ours at Wal-Mart, and when she leaned over him to talk to him he started crying. But, when I went to the uniform exchange at Bella's school, one of her friend's dads held him the whole time and he never protested - he even cooed and gurgled and made little cute spitty noises and had everyone in the room fooled...I mean, charmed.

He seems to like men - he will behave like an angel for his daddy, or one of his uncles, or any man that he knows (and some he doesn't). At night, it takes me about twenty minutes of rocking and cajoling and singing and patting to get him to sleep, and throughout all of it he screams his head off like I am hurting him until he finally gives in and sleeps. He does the same thing for my sister-in-law, who watches him while I work. But he will sit in his daddy's lap and slowly drift off, never protesting, just sitting still and quiet and falling peacefully off to sleep.

Bella got her report card and she had a wonderful year in kindergarten. And on top of her good 'grades' and behavior, she missed only one day and was tardy only once for the entire year. Hooray! She is spending her summer so far playing Wii and catching up on her cartoons. Swimming is going well - she is enjoying it, and we are signed up and paid for lessons through mid-July, so she is excited about that. I think, however, that after that we are going to take a break and not do anything for a while. Swimming has been every Monday, Wednesday and Friday since April, and while she had enjoyed it and learned a lot, it will be nice to just have nothing to do for a while, until school and Girl Scouts get started again.

I will close with this little tidbit: my apartment is apparently where roly-poly bugs come to die. I have noticed sugar ants lately, and an increase in the amount of spiders, but every time I sweep (which is generally daily) I am finding deceased roly-polys. I'm sure they are looking for moisture, and it is hot as all blazes outside (the temperature last Saturday with the heat index was 108) so that has to be why they are coming in, but I don't understand why they have to die. The ants and spiders are surviving, why not the harmless little roly-polys? Poor things. They hold a special place in Bella's heart as they are the only insect she will touch. We do have a picture of her holding a butterfly she raised from a caterpillar, but in the picture she is looking warily at the butterfly and holding her sleeve closed, so it doesn't really count. If Bella finds them she puts them outside, regardless of whether they are dead or alive. I didn't stay on top of sweeping them off the patio and she noticed that they weren't moving and got a little upset. When I explained the whole moisture thing (it was the best I could come up with) she decided that, from now on, we should keep a bowl of water outside for the roly-polys. So, if you were to look at my patio, you would see a bunch of dead plants in colorfully painted pots, one live plant that needs transplanting, and a little bowl of water for roly-polys. Six is a magical age.