Wednesday, December 31, 2008

I made it!

I'm blogging with droopy eyelids, but I made it past midnight! Hooray! Happy 2009 to you all!

I actually have the next TWO DAYS off. Two days off, together. In a row. I'm marveling here, folks. My normal days off are Thursdays and Sundays. Thursdays I have scouts, so most of that day is blown prepping stuff and buying snacks or whatever. But now, I have two consecutive days off and.....oh, wait for it, because it is glorious......nothing to do. That's right, no plans. There's a vague notion about going to my sister's house tomorrow to watch Looney Tunes cartoons and play Wii, but there's nothing stressful about that. Nope, not a thing. My goal is to have no goals - to do as little as possible. To stay in my pajamas until I start to smell funny, maybe. Or maybe not, but you get the idea.

I don't really have any resolutions. I have a few ideas, but nothing so firm that I would attatch the word 'resolve' to it. 'Hope', maybe, or 'possibility', but not resolve. Except for this one thing: for right now, I resolve to get my butt into bed and get some sleep. Happy new year, everybody!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Peeping in

Good morning, all. I just made my daily blog lurk-through and figured I would give a quick post-Christmas shout out. We had a lovely Christmas, and now I am tasked with finding room for even more stuff in our closet of an apartment. I'm not complaining, though, I just don't know quite how I'm going to manage it. But if that's my only problem, then I am doing OK, I think.

Hope everyone is doing well and had a lovely Christmas. For an amusing creative feat, check out Laura's recent post over at Catholic Teacher Musings. Hope everyone is doing well!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas to all!

Howdy, folks. Just wanted to stop in and wish you all the very happiest of holidays. For my few readers and those whose blogs I read regularly, I want to say thank you - thank you for making me laugh, making me cry, for sometimes making me do both simultaneously, and for sharing your life.

My plan for the day is work until 3pm, then rush home, change and get to some Mass somewhere at some time, then coffee at my mother-in-law's. Then home to wait for Santa.

The weather sucks. It's humid, cloudy, occasionally rainy and over 70 degrees out, so it doesn't exactly feel like Christmas, but we will do the best that we can.

Merry Christmas, Happy Yule, whatever you celebrate, I hope it's everything you hoped for and more. I am looking forward to the three (three!) new Wii games we are getting for Christmas. Hooray!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Quick takes.....Thursday

I'm quick taking on Thursday since I won't have time to do it on Friday. I'm doing inventory at work, and hand-counting roughly 11,000 items is no small task, my friends. Not at all.

Sunday night a friend of mine called me around 5PM in tears - she had been having contractions every five minutes for a couple of hours and thought she needed to go to the hospital, but couldn't get in touch with anyone who had agreed to help her with her three kids, ages 7, 4 and almost-2. I told her just to bring all three of them over to the house, and she said she didn't want to but didn't really have a choice. I assured her it was fine, and she and her husband dropped them off around 6pm. And it was utterly insane. Her three kids plus my two equaled insanity. I don't know how people do it. At one point, everyone in the house was crying except for the 4-year old and myself, and I was on the verge or tears. It ended up being a false alarm, and they picked the kids up around 9pm, but man. I don't mind doing it, though. I figure it's my karmic duty. I have a lot of family around to help me, and it's the least I can do to help others who aren't as lucky. And there are a lot of people in that situation, with all the military familes around here.

I am blogging from my aunt's house, where I stayed overnight with her three boys, ages 5, 5, and 4. Her daughter is in the hospital, and the bus comes for the boys at the unGodly hour of 6:15AM, so since my husband happened to be off work last night I was able to stay over and not have to drag my kids along with me. And holy moly! My sister was here for bedtime (we were putting together photo collages to give as gifts, and that was an adventure in itself, although we did manage to complete them without cutting ourselves with the scissors or taping ourselves to anything), and I'm glad she was because it literally took hours for them to fall asleep, with the youngest holding out the longest. And he was also the first one up, shaking me around 4:30AM and asking for candy. Um, no. Getting the three of them ready for school was an interesting experience, and I must confess that I was so relieved to see the headlights of the school bus that I performed a Tiger Woods-esque fist pump right there in the driveway.

Bella stayed the night with a friend a couple of weeks ago, and that friend is absolutely dying to stay the night with Bella, but the logistics just aren't working out. I work on Saturdays, so if she stayed the night on a Friday I would have to take her home super early Saturday morning. Saturday nights are out, because of church on Sunday. Since it's a school holiday we could do a weeknight, but my day off during the week is Thursday and both upcoming holidays fall on Thursdays, so that is out. But I'm trying to figure it out, because it's all this little girl talks about. She even mailed Bella a Christmas card and hand-wrote inside: "I hope I get to come to your house soon". I'm working on it!

Today is the last day of school before the Christmas break starts. There is a half day today, and then no school until January 5th. I have mixed emotions about this - it means no more getting up early for school (but I'm up with Bubba anyway), but it also means Bella will be home all day. And since there are really no kids around us for her to play with, she gets a little lonely. And bored. And cantankerous. So I am looking forward to it for now, but ask me in about a week.

I am done with my Christmas shopping. I am waiting for a few things I ordered online to arrive, and I have to ship a couple of packages still, but other than that I am FINISHED. Hooray! Everything is wrapped and ready. Awesome.

I have to go home now, to relieve my husband of Bubba duty and to undo the damage that my two children and husband wreaked on the house without me there nagging them to pick up after themselves. So I am limiting my quick takes to six. So farewell, friends - I hope everyone is enjoying the holiday season!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Still kickin'

I am still alive and well (sort of well, anyway) but just very, very busy, like everyone else on the planet this time of year.

If you have a moment and would like a laugh, stop by AU Jen's blog and read about where she has to pick up her Crisco shortening.

I am lurking around and reading other people's blogs, I just haven't had time to post on my own. There's not a whole lot to report, anyway . Hope everyone is well!

Monday, December 08, 2008

Too good not to share

I'm not trying to make this a photo blog about my kids, but....I just had to put some of these up. We walked around downtown yesterday, finding nooks and crannies to shove the kids into and take pictures, and some of them came out very well. Take a look!

These first ones are Bella and her cousin Mac:

I don't think I realized how many cannon we have here in town. And apparently, cannon are magnets for kids. Notice my pretty-pretty princess, always the lady, straddling the cannon at the front. Lovely.

In front of our local history museum.

I love this shot. The flowers, the big oaks and palm trees, the bay and the bridge in the background, and the gorgeous sky. And my smug-looking daughter.

The upside to Florida living - you can't beat the views.


Mad props to Maw-Maw for the pretty dress. Thanks Maw-Maw!

Bubba did make it into some of the photos, although not nearly as many as Bella and Mac:

Bubba, Bella and Mac. I can't help but wonder if the stuck-out tongue is Bubba's commentary on having to wear that suit and sit up in trees.

Good enough for grandparents. I have learned that, when taking a picture involving more than one child, the key to success is low expectations. High hopes, but low expectations.

This was the better of the swinging pictures. Some of the other ones gave my mother-in-law a heart attack because it looks like Bubba is about to fall out. So I will say: no Bubbas were harmed in the taking of these pictures (or, as Phyllis would say, 'pixtures').

I gave up on trying to take away the binky. It just wasn't worth it.

I loved this picture and hoped for some more like it, but then.....(see below)

Oops, pushed my luck. THAT is what happens if you take the binky away for the sake of a photograph. See what I mean? Just not worth it.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

You want me to what?

Bella's school is threatening to start mandatory parent volunteer hours, and while I understand why, I'm kind of bummed. I am one of the school's girl scout leaders, so hopefully that counts for something, but the thought of trying to eke out more time to spend somewhere other than with my kids just wears me out. How do people do it?

So, out of guilt....oops, I mean, a burning desire to help, I agreed to sell scrip cards to parishioners after mass. Sigh. I was very up-front about the whole thing, though - I said that I am on my own with the two kids (one of whom is a ten-month old boy), so I will have to be selling with both kids (did I mention one of them is a ten-month old boy?), and that there might be days where I am late or sick, and that I would like to be able to re-consider at some point if it seems like it isn't working out (probably because of the ten-month old boy). That might sound terrible, but I have learned the hard way that I have to be completely upfront, open and honest about things like this, otherwise people's expectations exceed my abilities, not to mention my availability. I'm sorry, I want to do what I can for Bella's school, I think it is a great school, but there is only so much time I'm willing to dedicate away from my family.

Last year I was asked to help out with the annual school fun run, and when I told the woman that I was only available after 5PM because of my job, she actually bristled and said, "Help can't always be on your terms". Hmm, that's true, but help doesn't pay my bills, and my job does. And if I don't have a job, I can't pay what I pay (including the annual tuition increases!) to send my daughter to school here. Sigh. I'm so bitter. It's not that I don't want to help, it's that I can't think of a way I can help that doesn't involve me missing out on time with my kids, time that is rare already because of my job. I guess I'm searching for that elusive balance everyone seems to be looking for. If anyone finds that, let me know.

Have a good weekend!

Friday, December 05, 2008

Irrational rationalization - and a meme!

This morning my husband came home from work with a rented copy of 'Wanted'. I told him I wasn't interested in watching it, and he said he just wanted to watch it for Morgan Freeman (I'm sure it was him and not Angelina Jolie, I'm sure she had nooooothing to do with his interest in the film). The mention of Mr. Freeman got me to thinking, and I was brushing my teeth and mulling a few things over when a thought occurred to me that I had to share. I walked into the living room and said: "Hey, if Morgan Freeman and Samuel L. Jackson got into a fistfight, who do you think would win?". My husband just looked at me for a minute, then shook his head and said, "I will never understand the way you think.".

So, in my defense, I would like to lay out the stream-of-consciousness thinking I was doing to get there. Please join me for a quick ride on my train of thought (keep all arms and legs inside the train at all times, please and thank you):

--Morgan Freeman
--Morgan Freeman was in 'Bruce Almighty', which I watched last night
--Morgan Freeman has been in a lot of movies
--Samuel L. Jackson has been in a lot of movies
--I wonder if they know each other
--I wonder if they like each other
--If they don't like each other, would they fight?
--If they fought, who would win?

See, that's logical! Isn't it? I thought so, anyway.

Oh, and Aimee tagged me for this meme, which was perfect timing since I was feeling a little glum this morning. Here we are: six things that make me happy. In no particular order, of course - while I do love my coffee I don't love it more than my children.

1. Community-brand coffee: IT--IS--SO--GOOD. Rich and hot and it smells heavenly and I just can't get enough of the stuff. On the mornings that I take Bella to school I set the coffee pot to brew while I'm on the road, so by the time Bubba and I get home and get out of our Popsicle car (I have no heat) and into the house it smells delicious and warm and welcoming. And I learned, when my SIL and her husband moved to Virginia, that it is not a nationwide thing. Gasp! Every time we send a package to them it has to include a pound or two of this coffee. For those of you not in the Community Coffee distribution area, I am sorry.

2. Mornings with Bubba. There is a small window of time between when Bella is dropped off at school and when my husband gets home from work that Bubba and I have the house to ourselves, and we make the most of it. I let the dishes sit in the sink while we crawl and roll around on the floor, or Bubba gets airplane rides, or we play in a blanket. I love it.

3. Evenings with Bella. After Bubba goes to bed at night, Bella and I have a half-hour to an hour of time just to ourselves. We will read, or play something on the Wii, or paint our toenails, or sometimes say a rosary (at her urging! my daughter actually asks if we can say the rosary together!), or sometimes we will just sit and watch cartoons.

4. Flavor-Ice or Pop-Ice popsicles. When I have a sore throat (or if I don't), I love these popsicles. 15 calories each. Just don't touch my pink popsicles - that's fork in the arm territory, right there.

5. Our house, all decorated for Christmas. Our tree is pretty, our decorations rock, and the house is all cheerful and cozy. It makes me happy just sitting there, looking at the tree. It makes me feel very fortunate.

6. All the family we have around us. My sister, specifically, who continues to watch my children on Saturdays despite all the better things she could be doing. My dad and stepmother, for helping out my Aunt, even if it is a kind of begrudging help. My sister, again, for helping out my Aunt. It's touching to see how people who can't always stand to be in each others' company will stand up and help out when the going gets tough.

I tag Jen, and Teresa, and AU Jen. Speaking of AU Jen: where are you, woman? Did your roof leak on your laptop? Post already!

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Here comes the flower girl

We took Bella to a bridal store last night to get her flower girl dress for a friend's wedding.

She walked into the store and my little tomboy of a daughter was instantly smitten with all the girly stuff to be had there. "Mom, it's like a store for princesses! It's all so beautiful!".

The store staff made her feel like a queen, an experience I think she really needed and appreciated. They took her over to the rack of flower girl dresses, showed her a couple of different sizes in the style she needed, asked for her opinion and took her advice, then walked her over to a dressing room. I helped her change into her little gown, and then she walked out into the fitting area so the sales staff could give her the once over. This is the dress (but not her, obviously):

And my little girl was beautiful. I had tears in my eyes, I kid you not - bedraggled recess hair and all, she was breathtaking. And she knew it. She couldn't take her eyes off her reflection in the wall-sized mirror, and could hardly talk. And if my child is speechless, you know she has been deeply affected. They put her up on a pedestal (literally), the entire sales staff was quite taken with her and came over to compliment her, someone brought her a headpiece and a basket....she was fussed over for the better part of 20 minutes and she loved every second of it.

I will tell you all right now - when I see her at that wedding, in full flower girl regalia, smiling her little smile and with her cheeks all rosy pink, I am going to weep. She's just so pretty, and so sweet, and really such a good girl (she just has bad moments) and I am so lucky to be her mom. I forget that sometimes, or at least lose sight of it. She was just so happy, and it made me so happy to see her so happy, and it was a beautiful moment that I want to hold on to.
Now we just have to wait for Valentine's Day 2009, and hope that she grows a little - just enough - in the places we need her to grow to make the dress fit perfectly. But not so much that the dress doesn't fit at all, that would be bad.
And in the meantime Bella is practicing for her flower girl duties by scattering anything she can find in multiple quantities all over the floor, a habit that was cute the first time it happened but now is irritating and slightly dangerous. Legos and hot wheels do not possess the same charm as flower petals, and they convey an air of clutter rather than one of romance. We're working on it.