Saturday, August 30, 2008

The Sun'll Come Out Tomorrow

After a partial night of sleep sponsored in part by the makers of Lortab (at least for me, everyone else was either too young or two stoic to partake in Better Living Through Pharmaceuticals), we are grieving but beginning to recover and heal.

The children are doing surprisingly well considering that they have lost a member of our household they do not know life without. One Fish grieved immediately and seemed to know for sure that she was gone even before The Scientist and I did. Two Fish had to take it all in and had to see and witness every step of the process. It took him a time of quiet observation of our grieving before he cried. Then he cried a lot and was done. We wrapped her sweet body in a favorite blanket and kissed her goodbye. He then asked: "So how long is it going to take her to get to heaven from here?" Oh, with such sincerity. We told him the truth- that she is already there, scoping out the best swimming holes and walking trails and waiting for the day that she can show us around the new digs.

On a lighter note, Mom comes today. My to-do list reads:

1) Clean kids bathroom
2) Put out fresh towels
3) Supervise childrens room cleaning
4) drink double caffeine to make up for poor night of sleep
5) double check Mom's food request list
6) Change sheets on bed
7) obsessively check hurricane tracker online
8) pick kitchen cabinet to straighten
9) straighten computer desk
10) find an excuse, reason, etc. to get out of the house alone so as to go to downtown Art Walk

So far, we can cross off #s 5, 8, 10. Progress is being made on #s 4 and 7.

Friday, August 29, 2008

RIP Rosie Posie

Oh, how my heart aches to even write the title to this post. My little dog left us today after almost 13 years. She and I met The Scientist together. She gave her stamp of approval before I did. She was my first baby and then she had all three of our babies crawl, pull, tug, push and otherwise violate her space and she never snapped or growled once. At the same time, she would have graduated magna cum laude from disobedience school- if there were such a thing. But, she was sweet, loving to a fault and...mine.

Now she is gone, blessedly in her sleep. Despite her recent heart troubles and breathing troubles, she never seemed to slow down (or cease her quest for table food). She wasn't the one we thought would go first and we are all quite in shock, frankly. We always joked that if there were a nuclear war, she and the cockroaches would rise again from the ashes. She had the body of a cocker spaniel (albeit a "big boned" one) but had the spirit and heart of a scrappy, junkyard dog. We loved her for it.

Rosie, my sweet girl, goodbye. You are loved.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

You don't know what you've got until...

This is sort of a random post, but one that is blog-worthy, I think. Someone told me the other day that getting older was hell. They were concerned about their body and the fact that they weren't the hard-body they once were (and never would be again, let's face it). Here's what I think:

There is a picture of me taken on a beach in the Caribbean during the summer of 1997. I was still about 7 months away from meeting The Scientist. Current Boyfriend and I were on a "break" so that I could flit off to the Caribbean for the summer and study marine science (ha). I am seated on the beach in a bikini. It was royal blue and had small yellow and white daisy flowery things on it. From the cute print to the way it came up just high enough but not too high on the belly, it was darling. My toes are cute because my feet were so tan and my toes were freshly painted (Summer. Caribbean.) My girlfriends and I are lined up like birds on a wire with our legs bent at the knees and our chests thrown out. I'm sure that was to show off our boobs that didn't need underwire to stay where they were supposed to be.

I have never been more tan in my life. My legs were as thin as they were ever going to get and were lean from swimming and tons of running and walking on the beach. We were all thinner than usual because the food was awful and we'd been there awhile by the time the photo was taken.

Long story short- this picture captures me-maxed out. It was as good as it was ever going to get. And do you know that I remember exactly what I was thinking the moment the picture was taken?

"Oh, God. Not a picture in a bathing suit. I'm so embarrassed. I'm soooo FAT!"

Oh, sister. If I only knew that three short years later I would be spending the summer hot, miserable and 8 months pregnant. And that the picture, on that beach, that summer, with that body...was the best it was ever going to be.

And I didn't even get it. In fact, I was embarrassed by it. I didn't appreciate what I had one little iota. And, if I didn't appreciate that tanned, lean, perky body when I had it, then I ask you, what was the point? The other thing it makes you wonder is if I'll be 60, looking back at the body I have today and wondering why I didn't appreciate it when I had it. Hard to believe, I know. But, possible all the same.

So to flash forward to the body I have now....
It's not tan and that is by design. It's not perky. At all. It's also not toned. At all. But, my stomach is flatter than I could have hoped for after having three children. Flabby, yes. But I don't look pregnant when I'm not. My thighs have always been a "problem" area. But, if one no longer wears bikini's (or bathing suits for that matter) it's not much of a "problem" is it? The boobs have actually surpassed their previous impressive cup size of D. But now the DD seems to stand for Double Droopy. But, isn't that why God created Victoria's Secret? These seem like fixable problems.

The arms jiggle and the feet are a good bit wider than they started out, but who looks at feet? And since my arms usually hold a baby now, few people look at the arms, just the cutie in them. I don't wear belts because belts tend to look better on people who have a defined waist and not just a quick dip inbetween the hips and the boobs. But, really. With tunic tops in the way they are, this hardly seems like a problem.

Most importantly, that tanned and toned girl on the beach that day had no respect for what her body was capable of. She had no idea what miraculous things her body could do. The body I have traded the old one in for isn't toned and doesn't look as good in clothes (or naked, for that matter), but it grew and nourished three lives. And did it brilliantly, if I do say so myself. It also managed the miracle of birthing all three little bodies. These feats don't come without their fair share of battle scars and stretch marks.

This body version 2.0 is so much more capable than the first version was. This new version knows how to give piggy back rides and I'm sure the large hips are only there so that a baby has somewhere to rest his bottom. And the aching back that will seemingly never recover? Well, that's only from doing more rocking and dancing and holding of babies than any woman should be lucky enough to do. The Scientist doesn't care that this new body doesn't look a thing like the one he married. He loves it anyway. So, why shouldn't I?

So, if I could go back and talk to that tanned and toned girl on the beach that day, I'd tell her to appreciate those toned legs and the arms that don't jiggle. And that the boobs really don't make her look as fat as she thinks they do. But, I'd also tell her that if she just can't- if she just can't get past it and learn to love her body then just wait...

In a few years, we'll trade it in for a better one.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

I know what I know...

Here's the deal:
I have three children. One has a September birthday (One Fish). She also happens to be the only girl. The other two are boys and both have August birthdays. The school cutoff in our state is September 1.

One Fish started preschool "early" although she was almost three. Technically, she didn't make the cutoff by a few weeks to enter as a three year old. But, due to a fortunate (for us) turn of events, some students had to move, there was an overabundance of boys next on the waiting list and too many boys already in the class and presto-chango, they made an exception for One Fish. She proceeded to spend four wonderous, discovery filled and enriching years at our Montessori school. She also started first grade as ready as one could possibly be to be thrust into the world of public education.

Two Fish and Red Fish wouldn't be so lucky, if it were up to anyone but their parents, it would seem. Actually, I seem to have gotten the grandparents on board too, but the rest of the world (save you sweet commenters to the contrary) seems to think I'm crazy. Even his preschool director who thinks that I'm caught up in a "trend." I realize that whether or not to "hold back" (I'll take issue with that phrase in just a minute) is a polarizing one. I'd almost rather discuss politics than bring up the topic with anyone other than my nearest and dearest. But, it keeps coming up and coming up and coming up. So, for anyone still wondering and cocking their head in confusion over why Two Fish isn't starting kindergarten this year, here's my reasoning so you don't feel the need to quiz me in hushed tones the next time I see you:

1) If he had been born two weeks after his due date (ala One Fish) I wouldn't be writing this blog entry.

2) One Fish missed the cutoff by about three weeks and I didn't hear anyone begging to push her ahead a grade, now did I?

3) For anyone who really thinks we're being negligent by not allowing him to start kindergarten, please know that I will be happy to turn his deprived little self over to you as soon as he is 17. You can send the 17 year old to college to go through fraternity rush. Let me know how it works out for you. PS- He'll only have had his drivers license for a year. Just so you know...

4) Holding him back from WHAT, I ask you? Holding him back from an hour of homework every night as a five year old? Holding him back from 20 minutes of outside play per day versus several hours? Holding him back from taking the periodic nap that he likes to take sometimes in the afternoon (when no one is looking, of course)? I prefer to think of it as pushing him to be a little boy for one more year.

5) After hours of research, the best reason I could find for not waiting a year for kindergarten was that it gave a disadvantage to the children who's families couldn't afford to keep them out of public school for one more year. Well, I hate it for them.

6) I know, I know, I know. You're not supposed to compare your children. But the world will- for the rest of their little lives. So, why would I let One Fish start first grade as an almost 7 year old and let the boys start first grade as almost 6 year olds and then expect similar academic results?

7) We are not particularly tall people. Truth be known, we have a very strong short gene that runs through The Scientist's family. He is 5ft. 8 on a good day and towers over all other people in his family. So, in a few years, when Two Fish has been pushed into starting kindergarten earlier than we think he should, we could have a teenager who is short for his (young) age, somewhat immature compared to his classmates, is the only one who can't drive yet...and needs a date to the prom. That, ladies and gentlemen, is the stuff therapy bills are made of.

Please, please, know that I cannot count the children I know who entered kindergarten as the youngest and have even thrived because of it. I have talked with mothers who have said that they thought about postponing kindergarten but then looked at their child and knew in their hearts that their child needed to go. And looking at their children, I'm sure they made the right call. I've also talked with lots of parents who did postpone for year and never regretted it for a second. I don't think twice about the decision other people make for their children. I cannot put my finger on why I know that Two Fish needs to wait a year. The preschool director thinks I'm nuts. He is sounding out words already, so we aren't behind academically. He is Mr. Popular on the playground and we're not having any problems with playing well with others. He's not short (so far). So, I can't tell you why I know in my heart of hearts that we've made the right call.

I just know what I know.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

(Not so) Quick Updates

The cakes did not completely do me in. I know I haven't posted in forever (and three days). But, I have good excuses, really. No snarky comments from you military wives out there, but I've been just keeping my head above water what with The Scientist gone and all. See, we're not really a family set up for one parent to be gone. Other than the fact that I'm the mommy and I'm a master "handler" of things, of course. Other than that, life runs much more smoothly when both of us are here. Much more expensively when both of us are here too, but that's a post for another day.

In lieu of a real post, I'll just give some updates:

1) One Fish got into The Gifted Program. I did indeed refuse to see her IQ score which I'm sure put a big F for Freak on my Mommy File. But, as I told them: An IQ score never got you into college, got you a scholarship or got you a job, did it? With three children, one of them is going to be lower than the others (and someone will be higher) and do you really want all that in your head?

2) Red Fish needs to learn how to freakin' walk already...

3) I need a part-time job. Really, really part-time. Just enough to bring in about $500/month. Or The Scientist needs a raise. One or the other. I'm really rooting for The Scientist here, obviously.

4)Two Fish is going through a "phase." No going anywhere or to anyone's house without me. This is sad since it's really limiting his end of summer fun because he won't go on playdates or sleepovers. More importantly, my life would be soooooo much easier if he would just get over it.

5) The Scientist is gone but will be back for a few nights in about a week and a half. Then he'll be gone for a month.

6) My mom is coming in a few weeks. Please, please, please hurry up. I need reinforcement.

7) Our German Shepherd Dog is not doing well. Did you know that GSs are the only dog with the word "Dog" in their official title? He has the doggie vesion of MS. I haven't posted about this because, quite frankly, it is just too awful to write about. He is The Scientist's dog and he was a puppy when we met. To say they are bonded doesn't even begin to cover it. The Time is coming (and is actually upon us) and we all know it, but talk about it as little as possible. I think The Scientist is almost happy to be gone because it is an escape from reality where this is concerned. The other side of him knows that he is missing some of the last days of his beloved friend. Being a pet owner is such a gift, but at times like this you are reminded that it is a tremendous responsibility as well.

8) The dentist says we can hold off on setting up the orthodontic funds for the time being. Everyone has to get a break sometime, right?

9) Two Fish starts school Friday. He'll be with the fours in the Montessori school. I know- he just turned five. That discussion means I have blog fodder for tomorrow. Stay tuned to read my gripes about interfering people who think I'm crazy for deciding not to send my barely five year old to kindergarten.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Long Lost Friends

Two Fish and Red Fish have their well-child visits this morning. Sort of a joke since Red Fish has been crying for over 24 hours and has been up since 4 (which means I have been crying for 4 hours now). So, not so very much well. More of a "please, Jesus, just find out what is wrong with him" visit. Dentist appts. for One and Two this afternoon (it must be dentist day).

In other news...
How about I ranted in my last post about the importance of anonymity and disliking putting us "out there" in any sort of recognizable way and then something happens to make me think I need to get over it? I posted a wedding picture awhile back. On July 10, to be exact. Next thing I know (and several weeks later) I get a comment inviting me to e-mail a reader so I can hear her cake story. I can't resist a good story, so e-mail her I did.

Turns out the referenced cake was my wedding cake! She and her husband were dear friends of The Scientist at Clemson and were at our wedding. After awhile we lost touch. I suspect this was due in part to my inability to keep a reliable Christmas card list. Anyway, she googled something awhile back, found another blog which led her to Clemsongirl's blog, which led her to this blog, which led her to our posted wedding picture and the rest is history! Now, how cool is that? You can read about our long lost friend at: . M, feel free to leave me a nasty comment if you want your link removed! In the meantime, I'm so glad you got in touch!

Two Teeny Tiny Things...

Well, I will just have to keep blogging until my children are old enough to think I'm an idiot so that I can show all your comments and e-mails about the cakes as proof that I can be found impressive at times by some of the world.

Two things:
1) Comment! Getting to read the comments is part of the fun of blogging. E-mail is much more private, I know. You can also say more. But do the blogging world a favor and put yourself out there in the public forum. The other commenters will appreciate it. As will I. Oh, for my reader who can't figure it out: click on the "drop a line" thingy at the bottom of the post and it will take you to the right screen. You can comment anonymously, but it is so much cooler for me to know who you are! Sign your first name if you don't want to set up the whole google account thing (which is actually pretty easy).

2) To my sweet anonymous reader who's comment I deleted, it was only because you "outed" me with the use of my children's names. I'll probably get over the phobia of putting my babies names and our location online at some point, but for now humor me. Images of the crazies on the planet are swirling in my head and I can't bear for my children to be all out there and what not. And, aren't One Fish, Two Fish and Red Fish just funny? I'll probably get over it at some point. Lots of other bloggers have. Just bear with me until then. And in the meantime, comment again and sign your first name or e-mail me at so I'll know who you are!

Y'all kick arse.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Wild, Wonderful Weekend

Our baby boys had a wonderful time this weekend. Red Fish was completely overwhelmed and started to cry when everyone gathered around him and shouted the happy birthday song at him. I sort of don't blame him. But, other than that it was a fabulous, celebration filled weekend. Two Fish didn't want it to end and there were tears from the "big" boys when his "army man" party was all over. One of the highlights was that The Scientist set up a kick arse obstacle course that encompassed both the front and back yards. I have plenty of pictures of those little boys trying to walk in huge dive fins!
The freakin' donuts were the hit of the tank cake. Do those little buggers know how long it takes to color all that fondant?!? Donuts? Really? The Scientist stood behind me during the cake cutting, making snarky comments like, "Yeah, when I picked up the cake at Walmart..." and "Did you see the bulldozer cake at Walmart when you went to order the cakes?" Luckily, all the people who mattered have been hearing about The Cakes for days and weren't paying much attention, much to his chagrin! Besides, I bet they would have figured out for themselves that even Walmart wouldn't have left a wrinkle that big on the top tier of the pastel cake. And the back of the tank cake? I just told Two Fish that it had been in an "accident." Other than that, I was pretty damn impressed with how my little projects turned out. Two Fish was too, and that's all tha mattered, isn't it?
And now... I sleep.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Having my cake

I told you I'd figure out fondant. Here's the rough draft that we'll eat tomorrow for Red Fish's actual birthday. The real deal will be unveiled on Saturday for his party. A little rough around the edges (literally), but I'll get it worked out...

Letter To My Daughter on Her First Day of Second Grade

Dear One Fish,

You didn't even look back when you got out of the van this morning.

How could I be so proud and so disappointed at the same time? Last year at this time you were practically trembling with fear and I cried a little as I watched that huge backpack disappear into the crowd of children. I was in pain for you, although I knew that a big part of you was hugely excited. I worried that you would cry at some point in the day. And you did. But, your teacher patted you and reassured you and your new friend cried a little too and so it was all OK. I was so sure when you left kindergarten that you were "ready." Watching you walk away a year ago, I wasn't so sure at all. The only thing I knew for sure was that I wasn't ready. At all.

But, this morning was a different story. There was very little fanfare, save the made-to-order breakfast I made you (cheese grits and bacon) and extended conference early this morning about your wardrobe choice. It was the first day of school and you have already learned that the first day requires careful decision making indeed. I will be a lucky mommy if we agonize and giggle that way about your outfit every first day of school for the next 18 years. You are going to some sort of 4 year graduate or professional school, right? You will be calling me for advice about your outfit on the first day of classes for that too, right?

Someone told me once that a mother's bond with her oldest child is different than with the subsequent children. Not stronger, necessarily. Not better. Just different. Her theory was the Trench Theory. In the beginning, you and I were in the trenches together. It was hard. Just about everything was unexpected. We were tired and cranky at times and at times we were irrationally joyous because we were sure that we were the first mother and child in the world to experience some momentous milestone. We figured out this whole parent/child thing together. You broke me in. I muddled through as best I could and you gave me enough confidence to do it again two more times. But by then I was seasoned and your brothers got a mother who'd been around the block. You got the novice and had to train me on the job. Bummer for you, but it was a wild ride, wasn't it?

Throughout your life, I feel as though we'll always be sort of winking at one another saying in our heads, "Remember back in the day? Whew! Those were some crazy times, huh? Thank God we had each other to lean on. It's a miracle either of us survived!"

So, today when you hopped your sassy self out of the car and turned, I had my camera ready to capture your last look and goodbye at your mother. But you never completed the swivel. It turns out that the turn wasn't for me at all. Instead, you had spied a friend and just couldn't wait another minute to tell her about your fancy new bookbag and admire her sparkly new shoes. The camera click captured just a shot of your ear.

Be kind to me, dear One Fish. Some wild days are still ahead of us. You get to be the one to break me in to the teenage years too. But, we have plenty of time. For now, let me just enjoy planning your special "first day of school after-school snack." When you get home, I'll hang on your every word and try to pretend that I was there and I'll try to get more details out of you than you have patience to give me. We'll figure out what outfit you'll wear tomorrow and we'll sit down and flip through every textbook you get to bring home. You can tell me everyone in your class and we can plan who you'll have the first playdate with. I'll let you pick what we'll have for dinner. It was your first day of school, after all.

All this will come to an end someday. I do know this. This morning and the turn -that -wasn't -for -me was just the first step of many in breaking away and climbing out of the trench that was just ours for so long. But, I'll have a big smile on when you get home from school. Maybe I'll even be putting your first-day-of-school pictures in your album. The ones taken before we left the house turned out beautifully.

But, I guess my favorite picture from this morning is one of just your ear.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

And...We're Back

Here are a few picts from our vaca (isn't that just fun to say? Vaca?).