Thursday, January 29, 2009

Quick Takes Friday


Things have been hopping around here lately, so I apologize for my lack of posting. I've been working a lot, and on my days off I've been busy as well. We threw Manning a quick birthday party this past Sunday, so my mother-in-law could be there to celebrate with us. It went well, I think - just family at our house for a couple of hours, hamburgers and hot dogs, cake and ice cream. Brian bought Bubba his own little cake, and Bubba just poked holes in it with his finger. The same child who eats dryer lint and throws an enormous fit when I take it out of his mouth, the same child who will eat anything that isn't moving and will chase down things that are, that child did not put cake in his mouth. In his ear, yes, and in his hair and all over the rest of him, but very little cake or icing actually made it into his mouth. I was amazed. But it was a nice party and we all had fun, which is what matters.


The wedding that Bella is going to be in is coming up - Valentine's Day. My own wedding was very informal and low key, so even though I knew some people go all out for their weddings, all the things we have to do have caught me by surprise. There's the bachelorette party (which I really want to attend but dont know if I'll be able to) on Wednesday night, the bridesmaid luncheon on Thursday (which we will not be able to attend - Bella's in school and I will be working), and then a early morning appointment on Friday for a mani and a pedi (for Bella), then off to work with me, then the rehearsal dinner that evening (to which Bubba is not invited - the bride made that very clear, so I have to find someone to watch him). And I found out yesterday that the rehearsal is semi-formal, so I have to find something for Bella and myself to wear to that. And that's not even mentioning the fact that I have no idea what I will wear to the wedding. Thank heavens I still have some money left on the Kohl's gift card. Saturday Bella has a hair appointment in the morning before the wedding. Early. And then I have to try and keep her hair in that pristine condition until the wedding at 2PM. Yikes!

The woman doing hair wants me to put Bella's hair in curlers Friday night since she won't have time to do it Saturday morning. Which is fine, but I don't really know how to do that properly. We've played around with it, but as soon as we took the curlers out her hair fell straight again - not even a wave, much less a curl. Anyone have any suggestions? Know of a helpful website? Because I'm not good at stuff like that.


Bubba has taken a shine to one of my books, a dover thrift edition of Melville's Bartleby and Benito Cereno. No matter what I do, if he wants to carry that book around, there is no distracting him. I've offered him his own Sandra Boyton books (Moo, Ba, La-la-la - almost as good as the hippo book), which he will refuse. I have yet to find a toy or snack or anything that will distract him when he's in the mood for some Melville. And he goes back to that same book, every time. I have put it in different places on the bookshelf, and he will root around until he finds that same book. Fascinating.


I was worried about the meeting plan I had concocted for yesterday's scout meeting - I figured the girls would hate it, or they would finish it quickly and then I'd have to try and come up with some busy ideas on the fly, or something. The idea was to teach them about community and what makes up a community, so I made a house (a cardboard box house with pink paper shingles, no less - that idea is courtesy of T With Honey's mom, who is awesome) and then my idea was to pair them up and have them make the rest of the buildings that are in a community using a bunch of boxes I had brought along. And possibly to prove that my instincts are generally completely wrong, they absolutely loved it! I think part of it was because they had free reign, and unlimited access to materials and whatever else they wanted to put on their building, so the sky was the limit. One girl who constantly has a terrible attitude and refuses to participate in pretty much everything was one of the most enthusiastic about the whole thing, and kept calling me over to look at what she had done. She was a different child - kind, polite, she shared materials, she actually worked with her partner.....I was amazed. At the end of the meeting she asked me what my favorite color was, so she could make me a cross out of popsicle sticks. I was at a loss for words - the most I've ever heard this child say to me was, "I'm not coming over there because I don't do circle", and she was so sweet!

Possibly the thing that surprised me the most was that the girls wanted to take the buildings home, something I had not anticipated. Even the bigger girls - the second and third graders - wanted to bring home their boxes, they were actually the first to ask! I had actually brought along a big garbage bag so I could throw away the boxes, and then I found myself in a pickle because there were two girls to each project, and in a lot of instances both girls wanted to bring it home. I solved the dilemna by having one girl take home the finished 'building', and then sending the second girl home with another box and whatever materials she wanted to make her own building at home. Meetings like that one remind me why I do scouts, and of how good the program can be. Over the past couple of days I have actually mulled over doing it again next year, but who knows - ask me again after next week's meeting.


Bella announced this morning that she loves science and either wants to be a scientist or the president when she grows up. The love of science is new, and I believe could be genuine, for two reaons: 1.) she told me entirely on her own and out of the blue, and 2.) it wasn't bedtime or any other time where she was looking to stall by making conversation. So I am going to do what I can to encourage her. I think it's cool - I loved science as a kid, so I'm actually looking forward to finding activities and other things to support her newfound interest. And it is also remarkable because she rarely expresses a preference for anything. She has never had a favorite toy, and only recently selected a favorite color and cartoon character - she likes Tinkerbell, and that is the first time she has actively sought out anything specific like that. So for her to come out and say that she likes something.....well, that means that she really does like it.

- 6 -

I'm trying to encourage Bubba to use a sippy cup instead of a bottle for his milk, but he is not having it. He's been drinking out of a sippy cup since he had his first meal - he'll drink water out of a sippy cup all day long, but give him milk in a sippy cup? Forget it. I usually make the effort once a day or so, and he just refuses it. I'm out of ideas. Bella nursed up until she hit a year, and then she went straight to a cup, so the bottle was never an issue. This is new to me, and I'm not quite sure how to handle it. I gave him a cup earlier today, and he sipped it twice, realized what it was and tossed it down onto the floor. Should I adopt the position that he will drink when he is thirsty enough? I need some voices of experience. Help!

- 7 -

I was talking to my co-worker today and mentioned the fact that Bella has not really been sick lately. I was attributing it to the fact that she eats a cup of mandarin oranges almost every day with her lunch, but I was still amazed. And of course, what happens when I pick her up from school? She has the sniffles and a sore throat. Me and my big mouth.

Happy weekend to all, and if you want to peruse some more quick takes stop by the Converstion Diary.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Doing this so I don't have to do what I should be doing

I was surfing around the internet, looking up some information for my sister-in-law on how to properly time contractions (something I haven't ever had to do, since I never went into labor without medical intervention), and I swung by Bella's school website. And there it was - the notice that I've been dreading:

"The next PTO meeting will be held on Thursday, February 5th. The
purpose is to present the new procedures for registration, including the
registration deadline for all returning families, the announcement for the fee
schedule for 2009-2010, uniform upgrades, family volunteer requirements for
2009-2010, and 2009-2010 required fundraising. This will be the only meeting
where these items will be presented. Every returning family is required to have
at least one parent present."

Well, there you go. The parking lot rumors and panicky phone calls (that I have, up to this point, tried to ignore as not being based in fact) have all had an element of truth to them - there are some new requirements for volunteering and fundraising. And of course, the annual tuition increase, that's just a given.

I want to go to this meeting, I will have to find a way to go, since it is required, but I don't know how I'm going to be able to manage to go. Brian has to work, my mother-in-law is out of town, my sister is in school, and the other people that I could possibly call on to babysit are all parents at the same school. I can bring the kids with me, but Bubba turns into a grumpy, squalling pumpkin around the same time the meeting starts (and his bedtime is a half hour after the meeting starts), and I'm not going to learn much if I'm standing outside the cafeteria trying to get him to settle down.

I'm trying not to be too pessimistic here - I don't know exactly what the new requirements are, so before I freak out about being able to afford an entire new uniform wardrobe (when one piece averages about $25 and you have to drive 45 minutes into Alabama to get the silly things) or trying to sell $250 worth of overpriced gift wrap in the middle of a recession or trying to come up with some extra time to volunteer when I have a job and another child and a husband and a house that I like to try and clean from time to time, well, I shouldn't freak out about those things before I know exactly what the school will be expecting of us. Wow, that was a heck of a run-on sentence!

It's hard, you know? It's hard when you are struggling just to meet tuition, much less factoring in whatever new requirements, fees and responsibilities they are going to add in. I wouldn't have to work nearly as many hours, if at all, if we sent her to a public school, but I believe in a good catholic education and want Bella to have one. I really like Bella's school and I think she does well there, and I don't want to have to look elsewhere.

I actually got a phone call from a middle school parent (whom I have never even met) the other day who was talking about rumored changes to school policy - there is apparently a grassroots campaign going on amongst some parents to try and spread the word. What she said was:

  • there will be a required minimum sales amount for the annual gift wrap fundraiser - the number she threw out was $250. If Bella did not sell this amount, I as her parent would be required to pay the difference out of my pocket. But, as I said earlier, there aren't a lot of people interested in paying $12 for a roll of gift wrap in August in the middle of a recession. And you can put as many festive chili peppers as you want on a set of plastic nesting measuring spoons, but that still does not make them worth $10. Not when people can't afford to buy groceries. So what happens if, despite our best efforts, we can't meet the quota and I can't afford to pay the difference? Is Bella booted out of school? I need to check my bible and see if Jesus said anything about that - "Thou shalt sell overpriced candy and gift wrap or else thou shalt take the bus to public school". Oooo-I'm bitter!
  • Required scrip card purchases, most likely also in the $250 range. I could probably live with that - they have Wal-Mart cards now, so I could do that one.
  • I'm willing to do whatever I can to help the school, so I don't really have a problem with volunteer hours, but I just hope that working parents are taken into consideration. I can't afford to take time off work regularly because I have to work so I can pay tuition. It's as simple as that. I wouldn't mind taking time off occasionally, but I work for a small business and I don't get paid time off. I will do whatever I can, however I can. But, I can't cut back too much on the time I spend with my kids, I just can't. I only get to spend about 3 hours a day with them because of work.

The woman I spoke with mentioned a couple of other things about box top requirements and some other things, but those seemed kind of small potatoes so I promptly forgot.

I'm not going to fret about it - I can't. Well, I will but I shouldn't. I'll just wait and see what happens at the meeting. And surely, if there is an issue, they would work with me. I hope so. Private school enrollment is down in our area (so much so that the local paper did a story about it recently), and I'm sure it's not just our area. Bella's school had a boost in numbers because another school in the area closed at the end of the last school year, but that has peaked.

So I'm going to put this little concern in the "don't know, can't change, no point in worrying" file, and I'll cross that bridge when I come to it. Ugh.


Things have been a bit nutsy around here lately. I am the proud recipient of two thoughtfully given awards I need to acknowledge but will have to do that another time. Thanks, by the way!

My sister-in-law has been under the care of a less-than-stellar navy doctor since her move to the north. I have thought all along that she wasn't really getting the best care, but aside from some small suggestions have tried to keep my big bazoo shut. They were only seeing her every six weeks instead of every four, they lost her sugar test results and then, after re-testing, determined that she had a ferocious case of gestational diabetes but didn't really do anything about all seemed like very casual care. Her last visit to her OB lasted all of five minutes, they didn't check her, didn't even measure her fundal height, I'm not entirely positive the doctor even read her chart. This doctor told her everything looked good, her sugar numbers looked fine, and that she could go past her due date, which was February 13th.

She went yesterday to see a high-risk specialist, a routine visit since she has the GD, and the specialist was horrified - by the sporadic visits, and by the fact that at one visit she actually only saw a nurse and not a doctor. Her fasting sugar numbers were actually so bad that she was prescribed insulin shots to be started that very night. Then they checked her cervix and she was 50% effaced and 3cm dilated (I must confess to feeling a pang of envy - since I have a cervix of steel, and all). They did an ultrasound and the baby already weighs 7 1/2 pounds. So they said she could deliver any day now. The specialist called the other OB my sister-in-law had been seeing and canceled her appointments and notified them that she was taking over her care. Hooray!

They also set an induction date, just in case she doesn't go into labor on her own. And what date did they select? Why, February 4th, of course! Which also happens to Bubba's birthday. And my birthday. I jokingly told them that sharing my birthday with one cute kid was bad enough, I didn't want to share it with two. But I think that will be neat, to have three birthdays on the same day. Makes them easier to remember!

So that means that things around here have kicked into overdrive. My mother-in-law is flying out Tuesday to stay with them, so I'm looking for a babysitter. And in order for her to be able to celebrate Bubba's birthday, we had to schedule an impromptu family birthday party for Sunday. As in tomorrow. So I've been busy cleaning and trying to work out the logistics of party planning over a two-day period. It's nothing big, just family, but that doesn't make it any less stressful.

So that's what I've been up to.

And I will leave you with this story: my husband was just driving me absolutely bonkers yesterday before he left for work. He couldn't find anything he needed, and he was tired and grumpy to boot, and was just rather unpleasant to be around. When he finally left I dialed my sister-in-law's number and, after I heard an answering 'hello', I said, "I am so glad your brother finally left for work, he was driving me bananas". And then I heard Brian reply, "You called me, genius". Oops! We both laughed about it, but I felt rather silly. Hee-hee.

Monday, January 19, 2009

It ain't bragging if you really done it

I took the above quote from Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, by John Berendt, although I'm sure Mr. Berendt didn't originate it and that it has been used in many other places. The book is a nice, easy read, though, if you haven't read it. I like books about the eccentricities of southerners, being a rather eccentric southerner myself, not to mention coming from a whole long line of them. I didn't really love the movie, though. It wasn't terrible, but it wasn't the best. As with most books, the translation into film left much to be desired. That's why I'm a little worried about Harry Potter 7. I re-read it the other night and was on that last, long battle scene, and I actually took a moment to worry about how it would look on film. It has the potential to be riveting, know how that goes. Anyway, back to not bragging - I have to tell this story, even though it took place a couple of weeks ago:

The tub drain in our master bathroom had been clogged for about a week when all this happened. I would notice it when I was in the shower and then would promptly forget about it, at least until the next time I was lathering up my hair and standing in three inches of water. I would usually take a moment to note the inconvenience, and the minute I was out of the shower, poof, it was gone. My husband is not as forgetful as I, and had spent roughly $40 on various and assorted drain cleaners and clog removers and all sorts of other toxic goo. I mentioned something about getting it out with good old fashioned elbow grease, and he took me up on my offer. And again, I promptly forgot about it until he emerged from the shower one day and said, "I thought you said you could unclog that drain". I told him that I could, I had just let it slip my mind, and he was dubious - if his overpriced chemicals could not unclog the drain, I certainly couldn't.

Of course I had to rise to the challenge, stalking my prey armed only with baking soda, vinegar, and a plunger. And what do you know, after about ten minutes....voila! Clear drain! I stood over the tub, smelling like pickles and triumphantly raising the plunger over my head in victory. And then I realized that I need a hobby. The drain is still clear, by the way - my husband commented on it tonight, that's what reminded me. It's the small victories you have to celebrate, because the big ones can be few and far between.

Alas, there is no rest for the weary, because my superpowers are needed elsewhere. To the garbage disposal! Keep a bucket of ice handy (in case of any detached digits) and 911 on speed dial, friends, this one is going to be tricky.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

GNI: Girl's night in

Bella doesn't have school tomorrow. I have to work Monday, but Bella is out of school, so we are having a slumber party. We are banishing her daddy to bed (which won't be a problem anyway, since he worked all night and is out playing golf now), and once Bubba is asleep it's party time. Woo-hoo! We are going to go to the store in a little while to pick up supplies - popcorn, the Tinkerbell movie, things like that. And some curlers - she wants to put curlers in her hair. She also wants to paint her toenails and put on some of my mint julip face mask. I'm actually excited, too.

It's king cake season! I love king cake:

In New Orleans' revelry and religious tradition are the ties that bind
during Mardi Gras. Thus, it's not surprising that the origin of the modern King
Cake can be traced back to the Middle Ages, when popular devotion during
Christmas turned to the Three Wise Men, or Kings, who had followed a star and
paid homage to Christ. Epiphany, the end of the Christmas celebration and the
12th night after the birth of Christ, came to be known as "Twelfth Night," a
time for pageants and giving special "King" presents to children.
Today in New Orleans, the King Cake is an oval-shaped braided coffee cake which is
decorated with cinnamon sugar in the official Mardi Gras colors – gold (for
power), green (faith), and purple (justice) – and contains a tiny plastic baby
that has replaced the coin used in medieval times. The person who gets the slice
of cake with the baby in it must host the next party; at some parties, they are
crowned king or queen. The cake, a gift shared by family, friends and
revelers alike, is eaten between the Twelfth Night and Fat Tuesday, the
beginning of Lent. However, the cake often begins appearing during

It's basically a big huge cinnamon roll with mardi-gras colored icing, but what's not to love about that? I had my first piece of the season yesterday, and it made me terribly happy. I used to work at a condo office on the beach, and quite a few of the condo owners were New Orleans residents who used their condos to escape the general madness of Mardi Gras. And they would bring us real, New Orleans style king cakes, from Randazzo's or Haydel's or Gambino's in the city, and they would have either a gold bead baby or, in one case, a porcelain baby inside. As opposed to the king cakes you can buy at, say, a grocery store, that come with a little plastic baby that you are supposed to stuff inside yourself - probably for liability reasons. The picture below shows a filled king cake; I prefer mine a little more traditional, with no filling. Maybe we can have some king cake at our slumber party tonight.....

We are going to do some reading on Dr. Martin Luther King, as well. I have a book that I've been saving, so I figure that can be her nightly reading tonight while we are not-slumbering at our slumber party. Hope everyone is having a lovely weekend!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Who's on first....

Well, I had a heck of a day and I am glad that it is over. And I have to give a shoutout to Aimee, whose timely posting put my grumpy mood in perspective. That St. Elizabeth Ann Seton was one smart cookie, to say the least.

The scout meeting went OK, as OK as it could go considering that I basically phoned it in. We sang songs and played relay games, and the girls seemed to enjoy it. And I have to give one more shoutout to the lovely and glowing T With Honey, for sending her mom to my rescue. Word to your mother, T! Tell her I said thank you! Internet friends are awesome.

After the meeting this afternoon we went back to my mother-in-law's house to pick up Bubba and my dear mother-in-law had made dinner. She cooked a bean soup and made us all grilled cheese sandwiches, and it made my day/night. There's nothing like being mothered a little every now and then, especially when you don't have your mother around anymore.

On the way home from my mother-in-law's, Bella and I were talking and I was instructing her as to what I wanted her to do when we got home. I have to share how the conversation went:

Me: When we get home, I want you to get your pajamas and panties and get in the shower right away.

Bella: OK.

Me: And socks, get some socks, too, to keep your feet warm.

Bella: But I don't want to wear socks, I hate wearing socks.

Me: Well, then wear socks for me, because I want you to be warm.

Bella: (puzzled) want me to wear your socks?

Me: No, no, I want you to wear your socks.

Bella: What?

Me: Wear your socks, not mine.

Bella: But I really hate wearing socks.

Me: Then wear them for me, because I want you to.

Bella: You want to wear my socks? I don't think they'll fit you.

Me: No, no, I want you to wear your socks, for my benefit, so I'll feel good knowing that you are warm.

Bella: So you want to trade socks, or something? I don't understand.

Me: Just wear socks, Bella, that's all I'm saying.

Bella: OK, but whose socks should I wear?

Sigh. And, when I went in to check on her after she had fallen asleep, she didn't have any socks on. Some days you just don't win. And on those days, you just take it on the chin and go and open the wine you got for Christmas. So if you'll excuse me, I need to find my wine tool and a plastic mardi gras cup, because that's how I drink my wine when I don't have comp'ny. Cheers!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009


Alas, it is 11:49PM. I started searching the web for girl scout ideas at 8PM and haven't found anything that will work. I have 19 girls between the ages of four and 8. If I find something to keep the older girls engaged, it is generally too complicated for the younger girls. And if I find something that appeals to the younger girls, the older girls will be bored out of their minds. Our space is limited, so outdoor games are difficult to find, and there is never a guarantee that we will be able to go inside, so that makes things difficult.

I am really frustrated here. So frustrated that I just had to give up for a while. I don't know what to do about scouts - it is quickly becoming the bane of my existence. My co-leader and I did finally make the decision to change our meeting schedule from weekly meetings to an every other week basis, but the planning thing has just become a nightmare. And I feel terrible about it. I try to make the meetings entertaining while slightly educational and my ideas have been tanking lately. The girls just want to go home (or they'll ask, "Will you sign me into after-care now? I'm bored"). They don't all hate it, but I feel guilty because I feel like I'm not doing the best job that I can, even though I'm trying.

It doesn't help that tomorrow is going to be a crazy busy day for me. I have to get up and get Bella off to school (in the honda of the tundra - it doesn't have any heat, and when I went to the car to get something earlier there was already ice forming on it, so it will be a cold ride), then come back home and get Bubba and myself dressed. Then I drop Bubba off at my MIL's, go in to work for a couple of hours, on my way home from work I need to stop at the store to get scout supplies and formula, go back to my MIL's and take her to lunch, then go to school for scouts (did I mention that there are 19 girls? this is not a relaxing activity). Then back to my MIL's to pick up Bubba, then home to rustle up something for dinner and get everyone into bed to start all over again. Sigh.

I am just at my wit's end. I am in all honesty almost in tears, because I feel hurried and harried and because I don't feel like I'm doing these girls any favors. I did put this off to the last minute this week, but I've been busy with other things and haven't had a chance. And now that I've vented a little, I'm going to resume my search for an activity that will not make the kids prefer quietly doing their homework under the supervision of a nun.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

10 Things I like about "S"

Aimee over at The Mother Load has assigned me to come up with ten things I am fond of that start with the letter "S". I will reach deep into my vocabulary and see what I can muster up:

Sisters: Man, I am one lucky chick. My sisters are witty, hilarious, thoughtful, kind and generous. I appreciate and look forward to every moment I get to spend with them, either in person, on the phone or via Wii Speak.

Silence: is truly golden and requires no elaboration.

Sentimentality: I am a sentimental fool, but I enjoy it. And I enjoy looking back over the trinkets and treasures and other odd little things that sentimental fools like myself keep. I do not enjoy having to get rid of things that I have attached sentimental value to (which is most things), but I will. If I have to. Eventually.

Serenity: I don't need to add much of anything to that one. And of course there is the sense of peace you have when you are by yourself, without children, but there is also the peace you feel when your family is around you and all is right with the world. The little moments of serenity you find when you least expect it, like a car ride or waiting in line at the grocery store. When Bella slips her little hand into mind while we're walking somewhere, moments like that.

Straightforward: as I get older, I truly appreciate people who don't pussyfoot around. If you can't do something, say that you can't, and vice-versa. I know that I don't have time to waste, and I know most other people don't, either. Be honest and upfront about your abilities and availability. And no games; I hate games, and I hate drama for the sake of drama.

Son: Bubba has brought such joy to my life, and I am utterly smitten with him. I am grateful for him and his presence in our lives every day.

Sunshine: This is the term of endearment that Bella picked out for herself. But she had a very good point when she came up with it. I used to call Bella my little flashlight - we were going through a lot of stuff, and I was working a lot and couldn't be with her as much as I would have liked, and I always told her that she was my little light, a beam of light that keeps me going when things just seem too dark. And she said that she would be my sunshine and the dark couldn't get anywhere near me. She is too sweet.

Sunday: because it's family day, and I love family day.

Strength: This is something I hope for in myself and respect the heck out of in other people.

Sandwiches: Oh, do I love a good sandwich. I would eat one at every meal, if I could. And not only can a sandwich be absolutely delicious, but there is the convenience factor as well - it's a whole meal slapped between two pieces of bread. You can carry it around with you, eat it while driving (but I would never eat and drive, nooooooooooo), load the dishwasher with one hand and munch with the other......what's not to like?

I think that was 10 items, but you'll have to forgive me if it wasn't. I'm sleepy and working and blogging and, since multitasking is not my forte, I am going to trim it back to just working. Good day!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Grati-Tuesday: I heart Bella

I completely and utterly stole the graphic and the idea from Laura at Catholic teacher musings.
I'm incredibly thankful for my gal Bella. She is my sunshine, my little light. She is generous, and kind, and thoughtful, and loving and caring and would bend over backwards just to get me to smile if she thinks I'm feeling sad.
We've been playing Animal Crossing on the Wii - her after school, while I'm at work, and I play in the evenings, once she is in bed. She started a sweet little game-within-the-game where she and I been sending each other love notes in the mail in our imaginary little town. Her first note said, "I love you mom, this much" and attached was a pirate's eye patch. So I return: "I love you, too" and I will attach an outfit that makes her look like a grape. I made a heart-shaped constellation in the sky called "I love Bella". And last night while I was playing, after she had gone to bed, I saw an enormous heart shaped constellation, one that was not mine. So I investigated further and it was called "I love Mom". Aww. In the process of all this techno-affection, I realized that I could and should be doing things like this in real life. Well, with the exception of making a constellation - I would move the stars for her, if I could, but that's not really an option. So that is one I will resolve to do - to send love notes, and to find the time for her.
Thank you, God, for the gift of my daughter. And thanks to all the people in my life who have contributed to help make her the charming, loving and lovely little girl that she is. And now I'm all sniffly, so I'm going to sign off.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Thanks-for-nothing Thursday

I apologize for the grumpy and bitter title, but it's been a heck of a day and I just needed to get that out of my system. Well, that and this:

Where is the laundry fairy when you need her? I just realized, around 11PM, that Bella still has some large and mysterious stain on her PE shirt that I have yet to make any more attempts to remove. And stained PE shirts are a hot-button issue for the PE teacher at Bella's school. Any correspondance you receive from her will always contain something about making sure that the shirts are free from stains. Which I could totally get behind, in an ideal world, but the PE shirts are white. And worn for PE, which takes place outside. And yes, I could buy a new one, but it's awfully hard for me to stomach shelling out $30 for a t-shirt. So I will perservere into the night, attempting whatever I must to remove the offensive stain.

Scouts today was a nightmare, and I think I have an all-time record low morale in regards to every aspect of it. One of the girls smeared glue all over her upper eyelids, effectively gluing her eyes open, but after taking a moment to appreciate what a monumentally amazing thing she had done, I took after her with a baby wipe and solved the problem.

Another girl spent the whole meeting being bored and hating everything, which I know because she voiced those opinions frequently and loudly. And she kept roaming off, trying to get to the school playground. I was chasing after her on one of her many forays to the playground area but Sister Rufina caught her first. My first thought was, 'Oh crap, I'm in trouble', but Sister Rufina bent down, took her by the arm, told her something that I couldn't hear, and amazingly enough, the little explorer stayed in her seat after that. I just wish that Sister Rufina had caught her earlier, it would have made the whole experience much easier on me. Nuns rule, to put it lightly.

So I have a question for the teachers, mothers, anyone out there who could help - what do you with a kid who literally zips through every task she is assigned, then is done and bored? I just don't know what to do with this girl. She hurries through everything - snacks, crafts, activities, you name it, putting in a minimum of effort and finishing as quickly as she possibly can, then huffs about how bored she is and wanders around, distracting the other kids and causing havoc and revolt. I've tried having her help other people, and that doesn't work out - she says doesn't want to help, or she tries to take over whatever they are working on. I've tried telling her to sit patiently and wait until the other girls and finished and we move on, but she just ignores me and runs back and forth between her seat and her mother, which drives me bonkers. It would be lovely if her mother would encourage her to sit down and stay with the group, but that ain't happening and I am at my wit's end. It's not safe for her to be wandering off, and with as many girls as we have I don't have the luxury of enough time to be constantly and closely monitoring her whereabouts every second of the meeting, which is what I had to do today. I just don't know what to do with the girl. Any ideas?

I actually shouted so much at the meeting today that I am hoarse. Not shouting in anger, just having to speak loudly to get and/or keep attention and to be heard over the din of that many young girls in one place. And I just don't think the girls are enjoying it, which is a bummer because I really am trying. Oh well, tomorrow is another day.

Bella got in trouble today for apparently excusing herself to go to the restroom without permission. And she brought a friend with her (who I know for a fact is a very well-behaved little girl, because she is one of my scouts) on this illicit bathroom break, and the two of them just sort of hung out in the bathroom until they were missed and then got cold-hard busted. And how do I know this? Bella 'fessed up to it all. Well, she says that she asked permission to go to the restroom and her teacher forgot, but I'm dubious. She also said they stayed in the bathroom so long because they wanted to make sure their hands were extra clean, but I didn't fall for that one. Not from a child who I have to send back to the bathroom after almost every visit she makes to wash her hands. I just wonder why the teacher didn't send a note home or anything - I would think wandering out of class would be a pretty big offense, but I suppose the teacher has her reasons, and I trust her. So Bella is on Wii restriction for the rest of the week and weekend, which crushed her. I would say something about her learning her lesson, but I know she won't.

She's a good kid, though, and she has a great heart, so I can't complain too much about her. But I must confess to wondering about her thought process when I went into the bathroom to check on her showering progress this evening. I found her naked as a jaybird, dancing in front of the mirror with two enormous buttons shoved into her mouth. And when I started questioning her about what exactly she thought she was doing, she tried to play it off, like she didn't have these two enormous and colorful buttons in her mouth. She answered every question I asked her with a "Hhrrmmpphh?" question sound, as though maybe she hadn't heard me. Finally, when one button was literally hanging halfway out of her mouth, I said, "Bella, just take the buttons out, I can see them". She spit them out into her hand and then said, "What buttons?". Sigh. At least there is never a dull moment with her around.

I'm going to go check the PE shirt and hope for the best. Wish me luck!

Friday, January 02, 2009

Quick Takes Friday - Bubba's big, smelly day

The kids tapped deep into my mothering reservoirs today, and I must confess that when I closed the door on both of them asleep in their beds (well, at least in their beds) I heaved a grateful sigh of relief. I love seeing the two of them play together, and Bella can make Bubba almost howl with laughter, but my gracious. I thought because of the age difference there wouldn't be a lot of bickering, but they find a way to make it work. Bella annoys the snot out of Bubba until he's literally screaming, and I am forced to intervene and impose a 'don't touch your brother' policy. This works until Bubba gets bored and decides he wants to play again, at which point he proceeds to annoy the snot out of Bella. This is amusing for a short while, because she's been driving him crazy since birth and he is just now able to give it back to her, but quickly loses any humor whatsoever when the two of them them start rolling around on the floor screeching at the top of their lungs. I know this is nothing new to people who have more than one child, but it's new to me. Holy moly.

Bubba had a banner day today. He has a new tooth coming out - the two center teeth on bottom came out, and then out of nowhere up pops a canine on his top jaw. And it's all sharp and pointy - his Maw-Maw, who loves him dearly and thinks he can do little to no wrong, laughed at him and called him a vampire baby. He was in rare form, all day long. If I stood up and attempted anything - dishes, laundry, anything, he would cling to my pants and moan. If I sat down he was content to roam about, but the second I stood up he was all over me. I think it's separation anxiety - he's really kicked that up a notch, lately. He doesn't seem to have stranger anxiety, though. He'll go to anyone. Strangers in the supermarket, older ladies in the doctor's office waiting room, the cable guy. He spent most of mass the other day struggling to get into the lap of a kindly Filipino gentleman sitting beside us. But he is just as upset when these people leave him as he is when Brian or I leave. So I could guess you could say he has stranger separation anxiety?

Bubba's lovely new Christmas toys are scattered about, forgotten, while he partakes of the kitchen utensils. Mixed in amongst the Blues Clues toys and the Tonka trucks are serving spoons and nesting measuring cups. His (current) favorite toy is a pair of enormous plastic salad tongs. You can separate him from the salad tongs, but at the cost of great emotional distress on his part. He wanted to bring them to Wal-Mart earlier, but I had to draw the line somewhere. I could just see myself trying to explain to a dubious door greeter that no, we had brought those salad tongs in with us, we weren't stealing anything. When we got home he actually hugged them, like some long lost friend. The boy makes me laugh.

He also embarked on a poop-a-thon today the likes of which I have not seen since his infant days. It was remarkable, really. I would change him, get up and walk to the garbage to throw the dirty diaper away, and by the time I got back to wherever he was there would be little stink waves emanating up off of him, like Pigpen from Charlie Brown. So I would repeat the process: change, throw away, return, and lo and behold, mere minutes later, he would toddle by, clutching his beloved salad tongs and leaving a cloud of stink in his wake. Bella actually commented on it: "Bubba stinks a lot today". Yes, yes he does.

My sisters and I could be a commercial for the Nintendo Wii and it's wireless functions. We have spent the last two days doing very little else but playing Mario Kart and Animal Crossing with/against each other, and having a wonderful time doing it. Yesterday my younger sister and her husband (located in Jacksonville), my nephew Mac (located two miles or so from us) and Bella and myself logged a good solid hour (and it was probably closer to two hours) racing each other on Mario Kart. And it was actually very, very fun. Bella started calling my sister' s husband 'Milkshake' (because she read his screen name incorrectly and then it stuck), and would say things like, "Call Aunt Sa and tell her to tell Milkshake that I'm coming for him".

And Animal Crossing has been a blast. We have attempted to hit each other with shovels (doesn't work), watered each other (doesn't do anything, but is mildly amusing), shown each other fish (funnier than it sounds, especially if you take a picture), and, in a feat heretofore unmatched, my younger sister and I dug about three dozen holes in front of my nephew's house. It was merely a mild inconvenience for him, but it was funny. The Wii speak is amazing, too - especially now that all three of our households have it equipped. Bella and Mac take advantage of it to bicker, and my sisters and I and the others in our households use it to strategize and laugh ourselves silly. Good wholesome family fun. Well, except for the 'hitting each other with shovels' part, but we had to try it. Nothing says family like your cartoonish avatar chasing your nine year old nephew's avatar around imaginary countryside trying to hit each other with a shovel. That's a millennial Normal Rockwell moment, right there.

I think that's all the quick takes I can muster, especially since I haven't taken the trash out yet and there is a double-digit quantity of dirty diapers in there. Blerg. Happy weekend to all!

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Music that will change your life.....

.....or at least sounds good in the background while you are doing other things. Aimee did a meme about her iPod and since I don't own an iPod, I thought I would just share some of what I'm listening to.

My musical tastes run the gamut, please understand, and there is really no excusing my taste. The CDs in my visor are the most telling (my visor Cds are on heavy rotation, understand) - I will share you with them now, the ones I can remember without actually walking out to my car, anyway, and you can furrow your brow and wonder what is wrong with me:

  • Medeski, Martin and Wood - Let's Go Everywhere - a friend of mine let me borrow this quite a while ago and I have not returned it yet. It's a fun, upbeat, downright funky album for kids. Bella loves it and begs for me to play it the moment she gets into the car.
  • Best of Mozart - I would link to it, but I'm sure there are a billion Cds with this title, so I'm not going to bother. Pretty self-explanatory.
  • Mexico and Mariachis: Music From and Inspired by Robert Rodriguez's El Mariachi Trilogy See, told you it was a diverse collection
  • Best of Lynyrd Skynyrd Oh, yeah, I've got it. You know you're jealous.
  • And this got some heavy play until the stroller dislodged my car's speaker cables, forcing me to drive around with only my own thoughts for company (scary!): Songs for Christmas, Sufjan Stevens Some good, light, folk-y Christmas tunes, and was a total surprise gift from a good friend, which I think makes the music even better in its' own way.
Geez, without going out there, I can't remember them all. There are always two or three Harry Connick, Jr. albums hanging around in the visor - depending on my mood and the season. There's usually a Beck CD floating around, too. I also have a couple of CDs that people have burned for me, one of them collection of horribly cliche yet utterly enjoyable bad pop songs from the last twenty years or so, and the other is a collection of rap/hip-hop songs from the last twenty years or so. I do enjoy some rap and/or hip-hop music from time to time. I even own a few CDs - Jay-Z, Tupac, Ludacris, and a few others. Dr. Dre, of course. But anyway --- rounding out my wacky music collection is Mr. Ray Lamontagne.

I love love Ray Lamontagne. If you like some light, easy on the ears, singer-songwriter type of stuff, please check him out. You will not be sorry. If you have to spend a lot of time in the car, his music is good driving around music. I own these two:

Trouble - The first three tracks on this album - Trouble, Shelter, and Hold You In My Arms, are worth the price of the CD, if you even buy CDs anymore.

Till the Sun Turns Black - I love almost every song on this album.

And I discovered, when poking around on Amazon this evening, that Mr. Lamontagne released a new CD in October of last year. So. Ahem. Any family members reading this and thinking to themselves, "whatever can I get Val for her birthday this year?", well, there you go.

So now that I have forced my musical tastes on you all and made a pathetic plea for a birthday gift, I will leave you with this funny/embarrassing story that really gives away how terribly un-hip I really am: waaaaaay back in the day, when Brian and I were dating, he bought a CD one night while we were out - I can't remember who exactly it was - Ice Cube, or Dr. Dre, or someone similar. I was reading the back of the jewel case and saw an artist I was unfamiliar with, so I asked a question. The conversation went something like this:

Me: "Who's McRen?"

Brian: "Who?"

Me: "McRen, it says the name right here" and I showed him the name. He just looked at me for a moment, and then exploded with laughter - the kind where you have to wipe your eyes and your nose and you can't talk.

When he had finally settled down, I asked what was so funny, and he said: "It's not McRen, it's M.C. Ren" and then went off into gales of laughter again. So there you go then.

Happy weekend to all.