Friday, February 27, 2009
I am feeling frazzled at work right now, so I am taking a moment. It's been a crazy day.
Yesterday evening I dropped an ice cube tray that was full of frozen avacado and banana cubes. I picked up all the pieces, or what I thought was all the pieces, and threw them away (no five-second rule for baby food). Then last night I encountered two little melted piles of green mush. Then this morning I opened the laundry room door (which is right off the kitchen) and slipped in another little pile of green mush, falling and brusing my pride, terribly. Bubba was amused and thought it was playtime since I was down on the floor, so he hurried over and dropped a big elbow on my stomach. Ooof.
In more Bubba news, he found a single serving baggie of cookies in his diaper bag this morning, and he promptly threw it on the floor and hit it with a toy golf club until it exploded. He then tried to eat as many cookie pieces as he could before I could get there from the kitchen. It's a small apartment, but by the time I reached him he had his chubby little cheeks stuffed full of cookie and was trying to scurry away.
While I was showering this morning he apparently decided he wanted to join me so he clambered into the tub (a new skill for him, or at least one that he has not shown me yet), fully clothed. I was mid-shampoo when he started climbing, and in my haste to keep him from killing himself by falling into or out of the tub I got shampoo in my eyes. So my eyes were watering and I couldn't open one of them all the way, and I am trying to catch him while attempting to to rinse my hands and get the soap out of my eyes. He made it into the tub and got soaking wet, then he slipped and fell down and had to be comforted. By that point I needed to be comforted, because I was pretty much done.
My sister believes that his antics are all related somehow to testosterone. Oh well; at least there is never a dull moment with Bubba around!
At least it's Friday, that's something. Back to work!
Thursday, February 26, 2009
Wednesday, February 25, 2009
I watched her for a while - she started out well, but then started talking and just would not stop. Her teacher shushed her three times, at least, and then moved her. She had just started talking to her new neighbor when she glanced over at me (I had been giving her the mommy glare for the better part of five solid minutes) and jumped a little bit, then promptly hushed, folded her hands and became the very picture of contrition. I snickered a little bit to myself as I watched her alternately stare lovingly up at the crucifix and then glance over at me to make sure I was watching - at one point even mouthing to me, "I'm looking at Jesus". Mm-hmm.
It was a wonderful service, and the priest in charge of the parish and the school is just wonderful. He is so good with the kids, and you can tell that he loves what he does. He said something that was for the benefit of the school kids that I realized I needed to consider, too.....he said that when you give something up for Lent, you should find something worthy to replace it. He used TV as an example, saying if you give up an hour of TV a day (you can give up just an hour? why didn't I think of that?!) you should replace it with prayer or good works or something that makes your sacrifice even more meaningful. I hadn't really gone any further in my thought processes than to give up television, but that made me think about what I would be (or SHOULD be) doing instead. I'm still working on that one.
I am starting to see why people love Lent.
On a lighter note, I haven't watched television since late Tuesday night - I went right up to the wire, shutting it off at midnight. :) I was fine with it this morning, since I was busy getting ready for church and work. This afternoon was a whole different story, though - I missed it, terribly.
I have since had time to mull over why the television is on so much in my house, and have experienced some dawning realizations. Namely that:
- Bella watches too much TV - and I am guilty of letting her do so. And I count on the TV too often - it's like a good friend that comes over and watches your kids while you make dinner or fold a load of laundry, only it's not a good friend, it's television, and I depend on it too much to keep the kids busy. Bubba ignores TV, for the most part, but Bella is hooked.
- I am lazy! I realized tonight that collapsing on the couch to rest when the TV is on feels ok, feels somehow permissible, because I am 'doing something'. I'm actually doing nothing, but somehow I am able to reason it away. Tonight, with Bella in the shower, the supper dishes mostly done and the television off, I plopped down on the sofa and....just felt lazy. Not to say there is anything wrong with plopping down on the sofa for no good reason - but when there are other things to be done, that's a different story. So I have to wonder how often I did that in front of the TV and then just zoned out, either completely forgetting what I was supposed to be doing or putting it off until later.
- I really thought that the logistics of giving up television would be harder than the act - you know, what do I do when I go to someone's house, do I let Bella watch cartoons, am I going to have to hide in a back room somewhere when Brian is home, things like that - I thought that was going to be the difficult part. I really thought that I wasn't watching television that much, that I was just using it for background noise, but I was wrong.
If anyone feels like offering up an extra prayer, my dear sponsor/Godfather is going through a tough time right now - his dad is in hospice care, and he is looking after his mother, taking care of all the details with his father, and that's in addition to the already sizable duties of his daily life. And despite all that he still makes sure that I go to mass. :) So this one's for Misser Mike, as Bella fondly calls him: we are praying for you and your family, that you will have peace, love and grace. And call me if you need anything. Like the good southern girl I was raised to be, help often comes in the form of a casserole, but I can do other things, too - just say the word! And I leave you with the last verse of 'Lead, Kindly Light' (this verse by Edward H. Bickersteth):
"Meantime, along the narrow rugged path, Thyself hast trod,
Lead, Savior, lead me home in childlike faith, home to my God.
To rest forever after earthly strife
In the calm light of everlasting life."
Tuesday, February 24, 2009
I think I'm ready for Lent. I still feel like a brand-new catholic, even though it's been two years since I became official, so I always wonder: am I doing this right? Can I be doing a better job trying to impart the meaning to Bella? But I'm trying, so that has to count for something.
Bella has decided she is going to give up gum, something she sees as an enormous sacrifice on her part (and I don't doubt that it is). And as for myself, I still had not decided until this morning. I had been mulling over a couple of things and was still unsure and then I read this post by Aimee over at The Mother Load, which made a lot of sense. And I hope she doesn't mind if I quote her, briefly -
"If there was something I thought I could NEVER do -- for GOD -- then I was
too attached to that thing."
That completely blew me away. What an incredibly good point! Because I have been thinking the exact same thing. My first thought, when I was trying to decide what to give up for Lent, was to give up TV. And then I was aghast - there's no way I could give up TV! I could come up with a reason after reason why giving up TV would never work - I spend time at other's peoples homes who watch TV, I like having the TV on for background noise when I'm home by myself at night, I would miss 'The Office' and the new season of 'Ghost Hunters', and so on and so forth. As the saying goes, I had a million excuses but no good reason. So TV it is, then. Yikes.
We also have a couple of other little things going on around the house, and our biggest project is attempting to raise, entirely within our household, enough money to 'adopt' a retired Salesian Sister. The Salesian Sisters are in charge of Bella's school, and they are so wonderful that we thought maybe this could be a very small way for us to do a little something to return the favor.
I will close by once again stealing Aimee's words, hoping that Aimee keeps in mind that imitation (or blatant thievery without permission, as in this instance) is the highest form of flattery:
"But I do know that if I don't do this, I will regret it at a very deep
level because it is ultimately not about something as small as blogging (*or, in
my case, TV*). It is about something as big as what God wants from me."
That Aimee, she's one smart cookie. But if you want to tell her, do it quickly before she closes the com box!
Thursday, February 19, 2009
Bella is actually in this picture - a view of the banner and some of the children waiting for the motorcade to pass
They were an enthusiastic bunch, that's for certain.
This is actually Bella's second motorcade wave - when then-President Bush was in town a couple of years ago her school did the same thing. So she has seen a president and a king (or at least waved at them as they whizzed by). Lucky girl!
I love Sister Betty Ann - she is so full of joy and sweetness. How can I resist? Well, depending on the schedule, I might have to resist, but it will be awfully hard to. Especially since it was Jesus' idea. :)
Ignore the date, as it is obviously incorrect. Meet Bubba's girlfriend and Bella's cabbage patch doll. He loved to snuggle with the doll when he was little bitty like this. Now he carries her around by her hair. Ah, young love.
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
I was fretting about it earlier and realized that I just can't do anything about, and regardless of who might move in, we're just going to have to live with them. On the other side of that coin, they will also have to live with us. We might not be the most pleasant people to live above. I was thinking that they deserved a warning as to what they could expect, and thought maybe a nice welcoming introductory letter would be in order. Maybe it would read like this:
Dear New Neighbor,
Welcome to our building! I hope that we can be friends, and if we can't be
friends, then at least we can co-exist peacefully as neighbors. It is in that
spirit that I would like to honestly apprise you of daily life here in building
20. I don't know much about the rest of the neighbors here, but I can tell
you what you might encounter from our neck of the woods.
The walls and floors in our apartments are pitifully and painfully thin. I
have heard far more conversations and *ahem* other things than I ever cared to,
certainly without trying to hear them, and I'm sure you will experience the
same. Having said that, we make every effort to be courteous to our neighbors.
We are a kind family, mother, father and two children. However, with
children there will inevitably be noise. We certainly do our best to curtail
anything extremely loud, but with a family such as ours there are some noises
and noise-making activities that can't always be avoided. We can sometimes be a
loud family. Voices are occasionally raised, either mine or my husband's
or the children's.
We do have a baby, a lovely, bubbly, bouncing baby boy. He
asserts himself by raising his voice, usually in complaint but occasionally in victory
as well. He does what all babies do - cry. Sometimes for no good reason,
and sometimes for what can seem like a very long time. This is normal for
children his age - he is not being abused, or neglected - he is very well cared
for, as a matter of fact - but you can expect to hear him howling from his bed
or from some other room in the house when things aren't going his way. We also
have a daughter. She sings in the shower, which you will also hear if you are in
the bathroom directly above hers. It is quite charming and amusing, if you ever
care to listen in. She likes balls and bouncing them against things - walls,
doors and the like. This can also be loud. I do make her stop when I notice
I discourage door slamming, screaming for no good reason, and
ridiculously loud volumes on any of the various and assorted electronic devices
we have in our home. We don't have loud parties (did I mention we have kids?
that kind of cancels out the wild partying), don't smoke or drink to excess, and
we don't argue in the hallway or the parking lot. We don't curse at the top
of our lungs and don't have any pets, although if we did we would make sure we
picked up after them.
Oh, and I use dryer balls, so expect some noise in your laundry room at the
very random times that I do laundry, which can really be any time, day or night.
I apologize in advance but you should see how much they cut down on
dryer time - I highly recommend them.
We don't bother anyone and we keep to ourselves, although we are friendly
if approached. We will not try and proselytize you or anyone in your home. We do not
judge, and we offer up every common courtesy. All we ask is that you do the same
- we will respect you, we just ask that you respect us in return. I encourage
face-to-face communication if there is ever an issue between us - while banging
on the floor with a broomstick gets our attention, it can be difficult to
decipher your meaning.
I look forward to living peacefully below you. Until November, when we are
out of here faster than you can say, "Why can't they make that baby stop
Welcome to the neighborhood,
Your downstairs neighbors
It's a nice thought, but it would never work. I'm keeping my fingers crossed. Oh, and I have one more letter to write that I will never send:
To my dear husband,
I appreciate the kind thoughts behind the beautiful flowers you brought me
for Valentine's day. They are absolutely lovely, and I am very thankful.
I simply can't put into words how grateful I am, but I do have one
observation to make: the particular variety of lily included in that bouquet of
flowers stink. They smell, honey, I'm sorry but it's true. The day you
came home and found them on the patio, and I said I thought they needed some sun
and you looked at me like I was crazy or possibly stupid? I know that cut
flowers don't need sunlight - I just couldn't handle the smell anymore. And
the day I mentioned that their scent was bothering my allergies? That was a lie,
too. I'm spiraling downward into a pit of untruths and have to come clean. I
tried to tell you, that one day, when I thanked you for buying them and then
admitted the scent bothered me, but you p'shawed me and said they smelled fine.
I walk by them, catch a whiff of them and start searching the
house, thinking Bubba must have peed somewhere. I once thought the neighbor's cat had somehow managed to get inside our house and spray. They are gorgeous to look at and have opened up beautifully, but they smell like pee or cat or maybe even cat pee and, quite frankly, and please know I say this with all the love in the world, I
just can't wait to have them out of the house.
Thanks again, from your loving wife,
It's just a personal thing, my aversion to the scent of this particular lily. In a stroke of irony, though, the roses are drooping in a most pitiful manner, but those lilies are magnificent and holding up like some sort of mutant cut flower. Oh well - at least they look nice, even though they stink (to me).
I know they grow fast - time has zipped by as Bella has gotten older, and it feels like it goes by twice as fast with Bubba. But that really made me think, about a lot of things. About how I maybe need to change some habits relating to my own health, so hopefully I can be around to be that teary-eyed mother of the bride. And about how I need to worry less about the small details and pay more attention to enjoying my kids, and to spending time doing fun things with them.
Instead of hanging around the house in our free time so I can get the laundry finished, maybe I need to let the laundry wait. Laundry will keep (albeit probably in a smelly way), but children won't - they just insist on getting older and bigger. So I need to strike while the iron is hot, and spend some quality time with my children while they still want to spend time with me, before they get to be too cool to hang out with dorky old mom.
It's not like this is some new, earth-shattering revelation - everyone knows kids grow-up fast, but I guess every now and then I need a gentle reminder - to slow down, to smell the roses, and let my kids be kids and enjoy them. Gotcha.
Monday, February 16, 2009
Bella getting her hair done.
.....and from the back. Beautiful!
The wedding party, after the ceremony. I was trying to be quick and sneaky so the photographers didn't catch me and yell at me. That is why this photo and the one below it are so bad. It's certainly not my lack of photography skills or anything, noooooo.
A poor quality close-up of Bella. Right after this the photographers caught me and kicked me to the back of the church.
Bella hanging on to her Uncle Shaun after the ring bearer asked her to dance.
Bella and myself dancing and crying and slowly unraveling - this photo was courtesy of Uncle Shaun. I didn't know he had taken it - thanks, Uncle Shaun.
A random shot of the reception that Bella took for me.
Bella dancing to the 'Train' song. Not the same pouty child from above, not at all. I'm glad she had a good time.
Hopefully, since the photographers banned the rest of us from getting good shots, their photos will be good and my friend the blushing bride will share with me. I'm sure she will - she is a lovely, generous and kind lady whom I wish all the happiness in the world!
Bella's post-pedicure pampered tootsies.
Bella getting her manicure. I didn't remember to take a photo of her finished fingernails with the digital camera, but rest assures they were a gorgeous glittery red. I took one with my phone to send to Brian and my SIL but forgot to get a shot with the real camera. And I was juggling Bubba the whole time, so frankly I am glad that I even remembered the camera. A one-year old in a nail salon is a dangerous thing.
Bella's school turned 135 on February 4th. The following Friday they had a dinner and a dance, and these are some pictures I took there:
Bella (in the black dress) cutting a rug - in the foreground you can also see Sister Betty Ann throwing down some dance moves.
Bella again, and in the background you can see Sister Isabel showing off her moves. Note Bella's choice of footwear - pretty ruffled dress, black boots with chains. Sigh.
Sunday, February 15, 2009
We headed over to the church around 11AM for pictures, which I think will turn out beautifully. The bride was gorgeous, her wedding party looked beautiful.....it really was very lovely. Bella was well-behaved and looked breathtaking. The wedding actually started on time, which was nice. It was a full wedding mass, so instead of walking all the way down the aisle to stand with the bride Bella just walked down to where we were sitting (in the third row - we had great seats) and then sat down with us. I cried, of course, when she walked down. But when she sat down, she leaned over to me and said, "I'm not sure, but I might need to throw up". I was alarmed, to say the least, but she said she was OK for the moment and didn't want to go to the bathroom. I think it was a combination of nerves and hunger, but she made it through.
Brian was able to make it to the wedding, but couldn't stay because he had to get some sleep. He held Bubba for most of the ceremony, which was a nice break for me. He also took Bubba to the reception while I waited with Bella for them to finish the post-ceremony pictures. When I finally got over to the reception Brian was looking a little glum. He had put on some pinstriped finery for the wedding - a pinstripe suit with a striped gray and white shirt and tie that I jokingly call his pimp suit. When I found him and Bubba at the reception he showed me a damp spot on his suit jacket. "Bubba peed all over me". So I responded: "Bubba put the 'P' in your Pimp suit, then?". He was mildly amused.
He left, I cleaned up Bubba and we ate. Bella was doing pretty well until the wedding party dance - the ring bearer (who was a couple years older and a head or so taller than her) sort of begrudgingly asked her to dance (because his mom made him) and she started crying and flung herself into the arms of her Godfather, who was sitting right in front of the dance floor. I went up and tried to calm her down, and a very nice lady who knows Brian but whom I don't know at all offered to hold Bubba so I could dance with Bella. I agreed, and Bella agreed to dance with me but only if I picked her up. So I danced with my baby, who was tired and nervous and a little frayed, and who clung to me like a baby. I stood there and swayed with her to the music and cried. Tears of joy, tears of exhaustion, tears with all sorts of meanings behind them. Sigh. I'm close to crying just thinking about it, so I'll move on.
Bella wanted to go home after that, but I had to stop and talk to someone before we left. While I was talking Bella started dancing to the music and then decided she wanted to stay. So we did the chicken dance, and we did the YMCA, and she rode the train, and at that point Bubba was a screaming ball of exhaustion so we opted to come home. If we had hung out another ten minutes or so we would have been able to see the bride and groom leave, but I don't think Bubba could have lasted another ten minutes. And I don't think I could have lasted another ten minutes with Bubba.
We got home and got settled and were glad to be there. Bubba happily went to bed and to sleep, and I was settling Bella down for the night when I noticed that she felt awfully warm - she was running a fever. And she is still running a fever off and on today. And, maybe to make her feel better and sympathize with her, I am now running a fever, too. So I'm going to lay on the couch some more. But I do have a few pictures that I will put up once we feel better!
Thursday, February 12, 2009
I was looking for a cookbook on Amazon the other day, mostly to reach their evil $25 free shipping minimum (oh, Amazon, how I love and hate your free shipping), and I stumbled across this one: The Six O'Clock Scramble
It looked intriguing, so I purchased it, and....I absolutely love it! The meals are organized seasonally, so you are buying and cooking produce that is fresh and readily available (and usually affordable). They are all quick and fairly easy. And the kicker? BOTH of my kids have eaten and enjoyed everything I have made from this cookbook. Do you realize how utterly insane that is? I made a baked spaghetti from this book the other day - one of the meatless recipes, and it includes broccoli - and my husband ate and enjoyed it, both my kids ate and enjoyed it, and I took some to my grandparents, who loved it. That's three generations of approval!
AND - on their website, you can print out grocery lists for each week. Awesome! They do have an e-mail newsletter you can purchase, that includes a week's menu and grocery list, but I haven't gone through the cookbook yet, so I don't really need the newsletter.
A few of the recipes are meatless, which suits me and the kids fine. I was a little worried about my husband, but he was fine with the meatless recipes I have made. And you can easily add meat to them, which I have done a couple of times as well. There are suggestions for easy side dishes and healthy desserts....this is a busy mom's lifesaver.
Things are only going to get busier for us as we get closer to Saturday, so I will probably be scarce again, but I just had to recommend this book. After working all day, I have been able to put hot, healthy meals in front of my family that they actually eat and like. Check it out, if you get a chance - it is very much worth it.
Wednesday, February 04, 2009
.....we have a sick baby at home and a husband who has to work and family members that are busy with work and school and other things. In other words, we aren't really celebrating, but that's OK - we have a lot going on around here. Bubba (whose birthday is also today - the best birthday gift I have ever received!) already had his party, and that's what matters.
I've got a lot on my plate, anyway - after work I have to rush home and relieve Brian of his childcare duties so he can grab some sleep before work, then it's dinner and cleanup and a quick trip to the store to pick up snacks for girl scouts tomorrow, then once baths are done and the kids are in bed I have about 350 little paper hearts to cut out to go with the 350 lollipops currently in the trunk of my car (we're making lollipop heart flowers for each other). I need a good movie to watch or a marathon of something on TV. Maybe I'll start with the first Harry Potter movie and guage how long I spend cutting out paper by what sequel I'm watching when I'm done. I'm guessing I would probably finish up halfway through the Prisoner of Azkaban.
When Brian asked Bella what she wanted to get me for my birthday, she told him I need an eye exam (I guess I complain about that more than I thought). So this morning she gave me a lovely birthday card with a gift card and she wrote: "This is for your eye exam". Thoughtful girl! I think my other favorite gift is the huge bag of Splenda my sister brought up to work for me. I can't drink sugar in my coffee, and I never remember to bring any kind of artificial sweetener to work. And now I have a big bag of it! Hooray!
Poor Bubba is not feeling well. He has a snotty nose, a low-grade fever and a baaaaad attitude. But who can blame him? I knew he wasn't feeling well when he didn't eat his grits for breakfast. That child loves his grits - when I start the microwave in the morning he rushes into the kitchen and stares up at it, waiting expectantly for his morning nom-noms to be ready. Nom-nom is my new favorite thing, by the way - as in, "Om-nom-nom", like you're eating something tasty. You'll find pictures on the internet of everyday things or animals with an 'Om-nom-nom' caption. Like this one:
or this one:
In honor of my newfound love, the fridge at my sister's house even has "Nom Noms Inside" written on it with magentic letters. Awesome.
Hope everyone is doing well and no one is freezing, or in AU Jen's case, burning up. Bye!
Monday, February 02, 2009
She asked me to come by her house around 6:00. I get off work at 4:00. I was already close to her house from work and didn't feel like driving home, which would add twenty minutes and traffic to my drive, so I just decided to stay close to her house. And what's also close to her house? The mall. So I got off work and went to the mall. By myself. I didn't have to worry about stroller or a diaper bag or who went to the bathroom and when - I just grabbed my purse and walked inside. I hadn't found something to wear for the wedding, so I decided to shop for myself, and I found an outfit for the wedding AND it was on sale AND I can wear it for work AND it fit perfectly. Hooray!
I decided to vacate the mall and I headed to Target to walk around for a bit. It was so nice. I didn't have to buy an icee and popcorn, didn't have to get a shopping cart, didn't have to look at toys (although I did).... I had a very nice time. I didn't even buy anything at Target, I just meandered around because I could.
I headed over to my friend's house and we got down to the business of assembling 350 wedding programs that had to be tied with ribbon. When I first saw them I thought they were lovely. After the first 150 or so I was wondering why anyone in their right mind would voluntarily take something like that on. But I had a fabulous time there, too! It was relaxing to just sit and chat and laugh. My friend's future mother-in-law was also there helping, and she was absolutely hilarious. She spent two years in a convent as a novice nun before discerning that her calling was elsewhere, but she is still deeply involved in the church - she attends daily mass, adoration, the whole nine yards. She told stories that had me laughing until I was crying. About convent life, about life in general, about some of the priests in the area - she was a hoot.
There's really no point to this story - I just had a very lovely and relaxing evening. And I love my kids, please don't think otherwise, but it was nice to have a little time away. I think having such an easygoing day today will help me keep a little perspective when I'm rushing around with the kids in tow and no free time for the next two weeks. With the exception of tomorrow, I have at least one item on my calendar every day - school stuff and girl scout stuff, mostly, but there's also some work stuff and then next week there's wedding stuff. I'm going to be a busy girl, so I deserved today. I deserved to try on clothes by myself, without an audience. Without a little voice saying, "Mommy, do you have stretch marks because you stretched too much?" and without having to prevent Bubba from chewing the security tags off the clothes. Ahhh. Now, on to tomorrow!