Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Show and Tell Thursday: A day early

A Despised chair, nestled. Isn't it bachelor pad appropriate? Please note how fetching it appears in the playroom. It usually has piles of blankets and play cloths on it.

The ridiculously uncomfortable chair, with leg rest unfurled. Looks comfy, doesn't it? WRONG! This chair is guaranteed to give you a rib-wrenching backache in no time.

Sunset over the skeeter-breeder, to take my mind off that dreadful chair.

ACK! Here's it mate! Yes, in the 'library' ('it's a store room', she says in an embarrassed whisper) And - what's that - yes, it's oodles and gobs of towels, the ones recommended by Joke!

Why all the towels when we already have these, you ask! Because I'm tired of the boys using these wonderful Espalma and Home Spa towels. They now have their Very Own Sage-y Blue popcorn textured towels, thank you. Blackbird, note the wear on the Espalma. Not bad, when you consider that these 4 towels get washed at least twice a week, in very hot water sometimes. In fact, I am going to sew over the edges of the Joke towels so make them last longer. I think that's the key to towel wear - the edges wear long before the loop.

Yes, I'm posting a day early. Because look what happened last week when I waited! This was requested by Blackbird for Poppy.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Lordy, what have I done?!

A new cleaners/laundry opened up in the area. Not one to ever pass up a deal, I trotted in with Oldest (out of school) and 3 old pillow cases full of shirt laundry and dry cleaning. 50% Off! Who could resist.

The coupon expires today. The Manager, sizing me up as an easy fish to hook, says "What about blankets, comforters, duvets; stuff like that? Expires today! Get it back to you in two days if you get the stuff in by 10:30!" It was then 9:45. I have Youngest and Buddy to pick up at 10:30 -- and the Discount Clock is not only ticking, it's fairly gonging in my skull!

Oldest and I set a new speed record leaping into the faithful stead (the minivan) and grabbing the reins (buckling up). I shout "Ride like the wind, Bullseye!" and off we shoot for home. I speed around, collecting blankets, comforters and duvets and then think; 'Hey, what about the pillows?!' I gather up what I can easily shinny out of their double protectors, and end up with over 10. I reckon the newer ones don't need a bath yet. In that pile are Our Favorite Pillows. For Sleeping. Which we do every night. Does this occur to me? NO!

The back of the van is full with bedding. We unload back at the dry cleaners, and she gets the okay to clean the down pillows. I then prepay for the bedding. Comes to over $100, even with the half off. It's now 10:20 and we need to sprint to pick up Youngest and Buddy.

Do I get receipts? Well, yes; a handwritten charge slip. Do I even get a count of previous items dropped off, or pillows, blankets, comforters, duvets, etc? NO! I've got BUPKISS if that place goes out of business tomorrow. Then Parker told me something that really made me go YIKES: He wandered back where cleaners usually have acres of hanging stuff on automated rods, and there were No.Clothes.On.The.Rods.

Just call me Lucinda; I'm seeing dire opportunities everywhere. And I have Family History of bad experiences with dry cleaners: Losing custom duvet covers (Okay, I did leave them there for months, but still - they had my phone numbers!). Losing a hunter green cashmere sweater that was the most beautifully cabled, perfectly made sweater I've ever owned. My Dad getting uniform pants cleaned by a new cleaners in Chicago when he was an airline pilot, then showing up 2 days later to collect - the place had burned to the ground! Leaving him to borrow some trousers from a fellow pilot who was about 4" shorter. So my dad had the Flood Pants look for 2 days until he could get new pants ordered.

Is there a Laundry Saint to pray to?

Do you think DH will notice?

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Another one off into the world

Today was the graduation party for my goddaughter Alyssa. She is an exquisitely beautiful woman, very centered, loyal and hardworking. The world is lucky to have her. Of course she and her mother go around and around. This is the way of things.

Of course her party was lovely, set up in a pretty setting, with the smell of pines and sweet flowering shrubs. I was expecting a great event. But what was so surprising was seeing so many old friends, friends of 25 years; we've all matured, lived unbelievable lives, and have so many stories to share and enjoy. The history makes the tales richer, somehow. I was also surprised at how great we all look - we are carrying our years with joy and a grandness I never dreamed when I was in my 20's. Lots of people are on their 2nd or even 3rd careers. Friends are living in far corners of the world. A few are sniffing about for possible retirement settings - and no, not Florida or Baja. Little pearls here and there. What a lucky bunch we are, whatever our fortunes have been. We have all been blessed.

And to my best friend Sherry and her daughter? Another life is beginning for the two of you. I hope you enjoy the tenderness and new-found love that living separate lives often brings. May God go with you, Alyssa. Always. I love you.

A query for the avid readers:

I have a confession to make.

There was NO TV in the house when I was growing up. In fact, my parents only have one in their house now because I took an extra one over there about 10 years ago. They get movies from the library and use the TV to watch the movies, mainly. The DVD player was a Christmas gift 5 years ago from my sisters and myself. My dad has been thinking about getting a computer for 2 years - this is a huge technological advancement for the household.

I used to think the No TV thing was the reason I was a voracious reader. But methinks that you all were not TV deprived, yet you read as youngsters. And you all seem to be able to read now. Babelbabe must read while she cooks, eats and does laundry. Or maybe she reads instead of sleeps. Same for Badger. And you other literary folk; SL and Lazy Cow - how do you read so much? I feel like an abject reading failure - this was my passion until I became a parent. We might watch a movie from Netflix after the children are in bed 2-3 times a week. But we're usually too tired for even that much stimulation.

Same with music - I used to listen to NPR and stations low on the FM dial - World Music with attitude, while I futzed around the house or garden. Now, I only listen to music in the car. In.The.Car. How pathetic is that? And only when I am alone, as I use the time to play a Seek & Find card game called Rubberneckers in the car with the children. Yipes!

I tried to read this morning while allowing the boys to watch network cartoons. At first, they were thrilled to watch TV. Then they started jumping around. Leaping over me on the sofa, giggling and yelping "Just Missed Ya!" as they sailed over me. Then they laid on me and tried to pick out words! After 20 minutes of this, I gave up.

And for those of you who are clucking and saying "HA! You spend time on the computer while you could be reading!" True. But I spend 5 minutes here and there, jumping around, posting later, leaving the computer on line all day. I can't read like that!

If we lived in Kansas, I could read and drive like the rest of the idiots on the freeways.

So, how do you guys get in any reading?

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Show and Tell Thursday: A Rock

Yes, yes, I know; A Rock.
Well, Babelbabe went and stole my idea. Okay, she probably had the idea first. And I'm a bit out of new ideas. And the camera with the photos of the Show & Tell Piece is at Montessori, forgotten in the mad rush to get out of there today.

Yes, it was Kindergarten graduation at Glory, Glory Montessori. With all the pomp and preparation, I fully expected the Governor to be there. Really. But I juggle two little ones' schedules every day, and can't be relied on to be anywhere at exactly 'x'. I run by 'ishy time' as in "I'll be there 11:30ish." In fact, we keep Ishy time all over the house. No Clock it set at the same time. And some are eternally a flashing 12:00. It drives my parents nuts. However, I am usually early when I need to be somewhere at a certain time. But, not today. The Pre-K didn't have a graduation ceremony, just the 5 graduating Kindergarten children got a diploma and book. I had half an hour from 10-10:30 to Do Something special for the ceremony at 11:00 (which I knew I would miss, but hey; I did not have a graduate!) so I reckoned I was putting a big entry in the Oh-Ah Ledger by showing up with 60 - count 'em, 60, large helium-filled balloons, plus 5 mylar graduate balloons. How I fit the huge bags o' balloons in the minivan is anyone's guess, but there you have it. I must've looked like a crazed clown in middle-aged-and-she-forgot-her-meds-today garb. Of course, the wind picked up when I screeched to a stop at school - with exactly 7 minutes before I needed to be at Youngest's school to pick up him and his buddy. I get as many bags in my hands as I can, and I nearly take off into the skies like Mary Poppins sans her umbrella! I did a quick Backyougo with 2 of the bags and trotted into the classroom. And was immediately attacked by 21 eager little balloon-getters. Then 2 balloons hit the popcorn ceiling and POP goes the mood of the room. Now there are Big Eyes and silence. What to do? What to do? The Montessori Director proclaimed "No Dragging The Balloons Across the Ceiling!" Great - except I had the balloon place put Extra.Long.Strings. on the fool things.


I dash back to the car, get the other bags, and hand them off for distribution, loftily pointing to corners 'that looked lonely' and areas 'that needed cheering up'. Okaaaaaaaaaaay. But the childrens' faces? They are grinning ear to ear. It's a veritable balloon Flood!

I speed off to get Youngest and his buddy from preschool. Make it 2 minutes late. Then get a phone call from dh; he is intending to pick up Youngest NOW to take him for a repeat Dentist visit. (The dental visit will get it's own post at some point; right now I'm still too exhausted by it to relive it.) Hmmmm - Youngest and Buddy are in the back, happily talking about what they are going to play when they get to OUR house, which now isn't going to happen; I am going to have to swing Buddy by his house and unload him to his mama, then swing Youngest home for an Oh Joy trip with his daddy to the dentist!!! Whoop-di-fuckin-wooo! Does my husband not know what a Change of Plans does to 2 little boys teeter-tottering on the always-exciting autism spectrum?! Does Buddy go catatonic when we pass our house and continue to his house? Does he then start screaming in the car seat? Does Youngest join in so I have full stereo? Do I get beaned on the head with a Hot Wheels metal car? Certainly! Yes. Yes. YES! Do I whip the car over to the bike lane (empty thank God, or I would've certainly maimed someone - scary!) and bellow "WHO THREW THAT CAR? WE DO NOT THROW CARS IN THIS CAR. OR ANYTHING. IN FACT, WE DON'T THROW FITS IN THIS CAR! UNDERSTAND?"

Silence. I put the car into drive and we drive, silently, to Buddy's house. I look in the rear-view, and Buddy has his face in his wee hands. Oh great! Now I've traumatized our darling Buddy. Who calls me Mama and hugs me. And loves me with a fierceness that amazes and delights me. And I have hurt his feelings. Badly. I have to pry him out of the car seat and hand him off to his lovely mama. I hold him and smooch him and tell him we will try again tomorrow.

Dh shows up at home eventually, and Youngest is ecstatic to go errand shopping with his daddy! "Mommy, we go furniture shopping!" he exclaims with glee. Dh and I lock eyes. HUH?! OH! We have been furniture shopping quite a bit lately, in search of media room chairs to replace the sofas that have given up the Ghost. (More on that later, too) I switch to Pig Latin and plead with dh "Ix-nay on the Ental-Day alk-tay." He says OTay - and leaves with a grinning child. He calls me 2 minutes later and I hear the screams in the background. It's Going To Be A Long Trip To That Dentist. Heh heh heh...

I jet off back to Montessori and arrive there for the party. Oldest is disappointed that I missed the ceremony, and is a bit sulky. I start scavenging food for Youngest, who will arrive after the dental appointment. I hope they don't have to sedate him, as I am counting on this for his lunch. Our schedule is That Full today. I pluck pepperoni slices off a now-cheese pizza slice, and snag a juice box. And another one. Oldest taps me and states, forlornly, "Mom, every other mom and dad was here. Mine were not. That's not right." I agreed with him. Told him I bet that made him feel badly. What I really wanted to do was run out in the alley and kick something. How could I NOT have planned this better?! It was a big deal. He wore pants that he swore made him look 'like a dink' and a crisply ironed white button down.

*sigh* The balloons did not trump the missed non-graduation. Learn this from me, my friends.

And the balloons? A Huge Hit. Preschoolers and their siblings gleefully ran around the shady playground sporting balloons on ridiculously long strings, which then proved to be hanging hazards! Keee-Rist! Then the Primary kids came out (2.5 - 4) and they all immediately wanted balloons. Major Forehead Whack~of course the little ones would join us! We needed 25 more balloons! ACK! Then the fighting started. I'm telling you; you see what folks are made of when a 3-year old goes after their child's balloon. I'm just saying - I'm glad this was a Montessori crowd. A public school crowd? Might've SHOT at each other, or something...

I eventually started to deny I was the Provider Of the Balloons. I pointed to strangers and said "Oh! Go thank HER!" Oldest's teacher went very Un-Montessori on me and gave me a pretty firm *Whack*

Oh? And May I just complain for a moment? Dh came into the schoolyard with Youngest, and I took the opportunity (remember, the balloons and lunch had to be guarded, at this point) to run back into the classroom to get the digital camera. Or so I thought. Dh bellows "I need to get going back to work!" like another 1 minute is going to get his ass canned! I Hate this. The non-primary parent does One Little Thing (okay, it was a big thing, but crikeys; it took less than an hour!) and then fling the little charges back at you, brandishing that 4-letter word "Work!" like what the primary parents does isn't work? Arggggggh - Okay, spleen vented.

Youngest chowed down at a small picnic table. He used the dinosaur he got from the dentist as a weight for his balloon, and he had a few other trophies as well. I swear, every child in there came over and pawed the merchandise! Staring intently at Youngest, who gave them Double Intent right back. You cannot stare down this child. I decide I've had it. Say to Youngest, who has a chunk of pizza left, "We're leaving. Finish your meal." And a minute later, all that was left of us was dust. I have never been so glad to get into a steaming-hot car in my life. When I hit the wall, I crash. As in, crawling out of my skin gotta get outta here crash. The boys have learned when I say "We're leaving" to grab stuff and start trotting after me. We got out of there in the nick of time. The balloon wars had started.

We get home with 15 minutes to get Oldest some actual lunch, as he doesn't like pizza or chocolate chip cookies. Ah, no - here comes the speech therapist for Youngest. So Oldest and I drive to Chik-Fil-A and he has a wrap and punch. The guys behind the counter give him some flak about not eating kiddy food. He solemnly states "I like wraps. But not the tomatoes. I wish you guys would make them without tomatoes. I like salmon, too. But you guys don't cook fish." The guys were dumbfounded. So it was just the two of us; me with a Real Coke (I have told Diet Soda "Adios"; more on that later, too) and Oldest with his Real Food. It was 30 minutes of heaven. Oldest and I de-stressed. I rarely get just one on one - the boys seem to be a pair. I need to work on that. Youngest is a mom-hog.

Then we drove home, visited with our incredibly wonderful speech therapist, and had a half an hour to Just Lounge. Did I lounge? HELL NO. I did laundry, cleaned the kitchen, etc. Then drove to TaeKwonDo and wrestled Youngest into a version of Being Quiet that wasn't too terribly loud.

And the rest of this story? Well, I must go pick up the digital camera. Which, of course, got left in the dust with our Quick Exit from Montessori.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Life in BoringVille

Lots of graduation parties (so many of my godchildren graduating this month and next). Lots of check writing. Not giving any advice, no siree; not this fairy godmother. Their mothers have all instructed them "Don't do what Ant Vickee did!" I have no secrets with these children. It's scandalous! The fact that I have been on a Very.Straight.And.Narrow.Course for 16 years seems to have no bearing in these Ancient History tales.

My sisters and parents attended many of the functions. We make ourselves generally useful and not ornamental, as we have been taught. We bring charged cameras and take many photos. We refill buffet trays and open more wine. My mother, a born storyteller, regales all with tales of her childhood. And speaks Finn to us to prove whether you are saying something kind or particularly naughty, it all sounds completely alien in Finn. (Does anyone know if Elvish in The Lord of the Rings is Finnish? I'd heard that and keep meaning to ask my mother. It did sound vaguely familiar.) Anyway, I told my mother to cut it out. The more wine she had, the nastier her phrases got! And she forgets; I know what she is saying! We should all live so long we are a problem to our children, hmmmm?

And I have been cooking. Cooking for brunches we've had here. Cooking for suppers we've had here. Cooking spicy Thai food for luncheons, cooking melt-in-your-mouth breakfast fare. With my boys at my side, fetching, setting and pronouncing failures and successes. What would I do without these beautiful boys?

Some funny things heard around the manse:

Youngest: "Quiet! I am trying to focus!

Oldest: "Mom! NOT those striped pants (seersucker)! I will look like a dink in them!"

Oldest: "I liked the baby better when she didn't talk!" (My 20 month old niece; who, being female, has quite the command of the spoken word and barks orders).

Youngest: "Please! I want a time out! Give me a time out right NOW!" (at the dentist office, where he pitched a holy-hell fit, while I am holding his baby cousin, and also trying to manhandle him into the dentist chair.)

Me: (seeing dozens of dead prairie dogs on the roads - road kill at an extreme lately) "WOW! Look at all those smooshed prairie dogs! They must all be committing 'hari prairie'!"

Youngest: (who refuses to give up his Hannah Andersson training pants and use regular boys' briefs) "No! I want my tightie whities!"

Monday, May 22, 2006


NOTHIN' going on here folks; move on along.


Friday, May 19, 2006

List Friday: Advice for college grads

From Pomegranates and Paper

Advice for College Grads:

Go to Grad School. It defers the agony of joining the Work Force a bit, and might actually be very valuable anywhere down the road.

If you binge drink, now would be a Very Excellent Time to STOP.

Floss. Every night, at least.

Delay marriage and parenting. You aren't really a grown up yet. Trust me on this one.

A Summer ROAD TRIP is a very excellent last rite of passage. But remember items 2 and 3.

Stay Safe.

Oh, I have lots more advice. But you won't listen anyway! Go out and have a great life.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

I took a driving 'stroll' today with Youngest, and showed him some of Our Fair City's nicer aspects. He was Duly Impressed (or maybe just excited about the promise of Hot Cocoa afterwards, hmmmmm?) This is a large fellow we drive by every day on the way to Montessori. He has Friends (photos at a later time as I loaded a wrong picture this time, and this set-up is not re-do friendly).

I love the aubergine paint! I have witnessed the morphing of this proud little house from nuttin' to somethin'.

This is our Brand New Park. Please notice the not-so-ordinary play structure. You can tell the community is full of engineers. Kids approach the thing with question marks for eyeballs - I have fallen off this thing and Hurt. Myself. Twice. I stayed clear of the Beast today, but Youngest gave it a go.

I have always appreciated this fellow, even when it was in a sad state of disrepair. Thankfully, the newish owners have really put some work into him, and he once again commands a presence on the street.

This is a close up of the Strange Bird.

And I have been whalluped with the blog malaise. My life? No so interesting right now. It's mostly driving small fry hither and yon. Perfect weather. We have been having picnics every day. Oldest has been making huge strides in TaeKwonDo, and earned not only another stripe on his belt, but a Golden STAR on his uniform! Youngest graduated to next level in his speech therapy, which is Huge. Really. Huge. Next week, Youngest will get a trip to Target, and get to pick amongst things under $7, after he has success with his new works. Today, Oldest got the very rare trip to Target to pick something. He picked a pirate's swashbuckling sword, which features a resounding "CLANG" if you push a button. We tried it out at Target. He swashbuckled, and I d.i.e.d. A. Slow. And. Limb. Jiggling. Death.

And I have been smelling their necks alot. This was recommended by someone who now has a 12 year old. Seems the delightful fragrance of young boys melds into the musky smell of man, and this happens too soon for parents. I swear I have been smelling them so much, I have sniffed the scent right off them.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Happy Mother's Day!

To all you mothers, and your mothers, and his mother, and their mothers;

I raise my cup of hot coffee with cream, my toasted bagel with butter (just the way I like it!) and my Sunday funnies to you. This is to the hardest job on the planet, which we're all lucky enough to be doing.

Today is Our Day. May you receive lots of lovely cards, and flowers, and sweet things made by hand. May you get sticky with smooches and hugs. And may you get a nap!!

With Love,

Friday, May 12, 2006

No time for Content - Take this test!

Your Stress Level is: 25%

You are slightly prone to stress, but generally you keep it under control.
You know how to relax and take things as they come, even when your worlds seems to be falling apart.
Occasionally, you do let yourself get stressed out, but you snap out of it pretty quickly.

Stolen from stressed-out Badger

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Show and Tell Thursday: T-Shirt

Close up of my favorite t-shirt for almost 20 years, a Guatamalen-made, critter-embroidered, formerly black, now gray, rather shapeless t-shirt.

The entire pattern; I love the llama-like guys third from the top

Here it is, in all its shapeless glory. The embroidery is so well done, I've never had to repair or re-knot any of it. It goes in the washer, but not the dryer.

This shirt has been around the world. And to Chicago, many times. In case you were interested.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Wretched Pillow Post

A favorite photo from mid-summer, last year. This was supposed to be at the end, but I can never figure out the process. I gues it goes by numerical or alphabetic order? Anyway, I frequently gaze at endearing shots of our sons, to prevent infanticide.

This is how the family room looked 7 minutes after both children were up. You will notice a good line of train track and lots of train cars, set up for sure-fire parental tripping and agonizing pain. My husband and I skirt the edges like rats to avoid the mid-section pile-ups. ALL the pillows from the living and family rooms are making a camp-out place in the wilds of the family room. (Not Shown: All their loveys. resting comfortably on the pillows. Please note the attached pillow backs on this leather furniture.

The living room, as it still looks this very instant, after I snatched the pillows off the floor in the family room and bellowed. Which caused a downward crescendo of the Mood of the Manse. I just looked behind the bamboo palm, and there are 2 Rescue Heroes, taking a siesta back there. (Again, please note the attached pillow backs. This sectional took us 2 years to find. Had to have a very firm seat for my mother to easily arise from, and the attached pillows.

And Oldest's Gem of the Day:
"I'm getting tired of always being the Nice Fellow!"

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Are You Privileged?

A meme stolen from Postcards from the Mothership:

Are You Spoiled (or Privileged)?
You are if you tick 40 of the following:

Do You Have:

your own cell phone
 a television in your bedroom
an iPod or MP3
 a photo printer
 your own phone line
 TiVo or a generic digital video recorder
high-speed internet access (i.e., not dialup)
 a surround sound system in bedroom
 DVD player in bedroom
 at least a hundred DVDs
 a childfree bathroom
your own in-house office
a pool
 a guest house
 a game room
a queen-size bed
 a stocked bar
a working dishwasher
 an icemaker
a working washer and dryer
 more than 20 pairs of shoes
 at least ten things from a designer store
 expensive sunglasses
 framed original art (not lithographs or prints)
 Egyptian cotton sheets or towels
a multi-speed bike
a gym membership
 large exercise equipment at home
 your own set of golf clubs
 a pool table
 a tennis court
 local access to a lake, large pond, or the sea
 your own pair of skis
 enough camping gear for a weekend trip in an isolated area
 a boat
 a jet sk
 a neighborhood committee membership
 a beach house or a vacation house/cabin
 wealthy family members
 two or more family cars
a walk-in closet or pantry (closets)
a yard
 a hammock
 a personal trainer
good credit
expensive jewelry
 a designer bag that required being on a waiting list to get
 at least $100 cash in your possession right now
more than two credit cards bearing your name
 a stock portfolio
 a passport
 a horse
 a trust fund
private medical insurance
a college degree, and no outstanding student loans

Do you:
 shop for non-needed items for yourself (like clothes, jewelry, electronics) at least once a week  do your regular grocery shopping at high-end or specialty stores
 pay someone else to clean your house, do dishes, or launder your clothes
go on weekend mini-vacations
 send dinners back with every flaw
 wear perfume or cologne (not body spray)
regularly get your hair styled or nails done in a salon
 have a job but don't need the money OR  stay at home with little financial sacrifice
 pay someone else to cook your meals
pay someone else to watch your children or walk your dogs
 regularly pay someone else to drive you
 expect a gift after you fight with your partner

Are you:
 an only child
 married/partnered to a wealthy person
baffled/surprised when you don't get your way

Have you:
 been on a cruise
traveled out of the country
 met a celebrity
been to the Caribbean
been to Europe
 been to Hong Kong
 been to Hawaii
 been to New York
 eaten at the space needle in Seattle
 been to the Mall of America
been on the Eiffel tower in Paris
 been on the Statue of Liberty in New York
 moved more than three times because you wanted to
 dined with local political figures
been to both the Atlantic coast and the Pacific coast

Did you:
go to another country for your honeymoon
 hire a professional photographer for your wedding or party
 take riding or swimming lessons as a child
 attend private school
 have a Sweet 16 birthday party thrown for you

Monday, May 08, 2006

The 5 Senses:

Tasting: These Perfect Over-Easy eggs and wheat toast. Toast is slightly burnt. I called it "Mother's Toast" as aren't these the wedges mothers always end up with?!

Hearing: The sounds of many mighty machines, putting in infrastructure (I HATE that word; that, along with Paradigm, Mission Statement and Haz Mat set my teeth on edge. Overused and brandished about by those with small minds in the '90's) southwest of our house
Seeing: A stormy-skied view off our deck. with...

Smelling: A row of flower trees that are giving off their floral perfume in wafts of delight.

Touching: The blue-black seal-slick sleek hair of Oldest. (Which could also qualify for the smelling and seeing entry, come to think of it... )

Borrowed from Pea Soup.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

This was a day to remember

The boys and I went to my parents' today, about 40 minutes away. It rained hard last night, and the air was clean and heavenly, perfumed with the lilacs from my parents' yard.

The boys climbed their first tree today - an old crabapple in my parents' yard. Perfect for 4 and 5 yos - not too difficult, but plenty scary with shaky-knee descents, grabbing at twigs v. branches and windmilling to keep their balance when the twigs swung out with their pulling, and just enough altitude to keep us vigilant. A 'handy' cement bird bath placed directly under the tree gave the boys a target to avoid, should they lose their footing, but did we move it?! HELL NO! What did we yell to make sure they knew what was precious? "You fall and break that bird bath and Nana is going to be furious!"

We saw little bunnies out for their daily 'dusting'; rolling back and forth in mounds of dirt in the flowerbeds, their big thumpers flopping around, but a quick toehold always a possibility should escape become necessary. Fat robins took leisurely baths in the bird bath. The flickers and doves showed off their plumage in their sunny ascents while searching for The Perfect Twig or String for their nests. And two little boys exercised every aspect of my parents' yard; ancient 1960's swingset, hills, big patio to ride welded-together-but still-broke trike, Hopping Ball, Tony the Pony (spring horse with plenty of OOMPH left in him), and numerous games of their own invention. What might have been a quick visit for lunch turned into a wonderful, lazy afternoon.

And I got a lovely surprise at home, too; neighbors called me over to come split some vegetables (you know, you go to Costco and buy stuff, and you have plenty for 4 families). I trotted over, with a bag, and the mom and daughter were waiting with big smiles.

And this:
It's a Pashmina! After admiring Blackbird's mother's lovely blue pashmina in her shopping trip photo extravanganza a while back, I was extremely excited to receive one of my very own. And -- in a GIRLY pinky purple! My sweet neighbors said "This is for being a wonderful neighbor." Ah, they got me with that one. My eyes welled up with tears -- this was completely unexpected and very much appreciated!

And, here's my favorite shot of the day:

The boys and their PopPop. Oldest is leaning out in the glider way to the right. Youngest is on the left, and my dad is in the middle. They still ride in the baby swing, too.

My parents and I spent a wonderful day, gazing at my sons and wondering how I got so lucky. Twice.

Today was sweet. Very much to be savored and remembered.

Took a nip out of the Future Misery Bowl.

Oldest invited a school mate over yesterday. And said mate is actually 'in the hood' and will go to kindergarten this coming year at the same school. I am learning; I asked at the Montessori before I invited "and what do you think about ____ coming over for a playdate?" And got the thumbs' up. (Actually, this Old Dawg is learning; I asked Youngest' special ed teacher what summer camp she would recommend for Youngest, my short-circuiting-in-groups youngster, and was given some options back in February)

Why did I not remember that Three is the Very Worst Number for amount of children on a playdate? That one would be left out in Playdate Hell? And that one would, of course, be Youngest? Both Oldest and his friend are Oldests. They have all kinds of tricks to rid themselves of sibling baggage. Which tricks were used to their extreme yesterday, to the point I finally separated Youngest and gave him a special movie. And held him, and smooched his tears away.

Then I started spiralling with despair; is this how his school life will play out? The butt of most jokes, the game of the day "Let's Pick on Youngest!"? Luckily, a very good friend called during my darkest moment. And she pointed out how huge, how very strong Youngest is. She said, sure, he will get teased. But he definitely isn't going to get manhandled. The boy has his benefits.

And I felt better. Not that I want him to the the bruiser on the playground. But defending his psychological turf. You betcha.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

An entry in the Gratitude Journal

We've got a great pediatrician. Really top-drawer. Dr. B wasn't taking any more patients when we started interviewing doctors. And she was the one who was constantly mentioned as being The One to Get from my physician friends, and friends who are particular about their medical care (and no, it isn't everybody. Some people just say "Okay" to whatever the doctor says, which is ridiculous. The name for that kind of person is Of Late).

But I can be tenacious. We had to have a doc with experience with internationally adopted children and also open to a parent with their own ideas about what was right for their child. I have extensive medical knowledge as it interests me, and have tons of reference books in the house. I have a Merck Manual by my side of the bed, okay?

I phoned a few times and finally begged Dr. B to take on our son, who was arriving from S. Korea within a month or two. She agreed. And I'm sure has been slapping her forehead for agreeing to take us on ever since. For example, Oldest was supposed to arrive in November of 2000, at almost 4 months old. We get a medical report that had scary info on it so we ran down to her office with the reports. She asked them to run some tests. Some expensive tests. I have to give the ageny is S. Korea kudos here; they ran those very expensive tests right away, no questions asked, and immediately sent her the results. I had just enough knowledge to absolutely FREAK about some of the bloodwork, not realizing that Asians being a much older race, have alot more antibodies than us AB bloodtypes have, and just what that meant. Like immunity vs. a full blown case of the deadly disease.

I drove 100 mph down to her office, screeched into the parking lot, and waited like Sylvester The Cat pondering a move to catch Tweety; pacing back and forth and muttering in the full waiting area. She came out for our second meeting, and again greeted me with the words "Would you please calm down! Hand me the paperwork; let's see what we've got here..." And I promptly burst into hysterics "I just know he's dying of 'x'!" I moaned, which caused the entire waiting area to gasp. She patted my arm and said "Oh, I don't think so, but let's go back to my office and have a good look at the test results." So then I got a lesson in reading the nuances of bloodwork. And did I get a bill for all these meetings, and faxing to Korea, and conferences on the phone? No. Not even for long distance charges. Then he had to be hospitalized in S.Korea due to a UTI. More drama, more careening to her office. Frantic, beside myself. Again, full discussion of the BW and tests, taking all the time I needed. Again, no charge.

Oldest arrived, perfect as reported. We took him in on Day 2 of being in the US. She gently took him from my arms -- and I started crying all over again! She patted me and said "Have you had any sleep, Dear?" And I leaned against her, and wailed "Nooooooooo!" And she said "Well, of course not! You are a new mother!" and with that I quit crying. Like a faucet turning off. And got on with the business of Taking Care of Baby. I cried when he got his first shots (that I had seen, anyway).

For Oldest's MMR, I insisted on unit dosed injections. She didn't believe as I did, but she gave him 3 injections, a month apart each. She read the info I had from a friend in Chicago who had spearheaded alot of research and testified before Congress about vaccines and autism (Liz Bert, who sadly passed away on Dec. 28 of last year - tragic death).

Then, we got Youngest. He arrived with raging ear infections and sick as a dawg. Head circumference off the charts. More tests, more tears. Here we were at Day 3 in the US again, this time with 2 babies in our arms; Oldest now 18 months old and Youngest at 7 months old, weighing in at 22 pounds. There were 3 of us crying in her office; me from exhaustion and fear - I was totally overwhelmed - and had gotten food poisoning on youngest's arrival day (another time for this story). Oldest was flipped out at the arrival of Youngest, and Youngest was just Plain Sick. Youngest was sick the first 3 months after he arrived. Many trips to the doctor's office. Dr. B was always compassionate and kind. Suggested soy formula, then Odwalla Milk (sadly, no longer available) and supplements. He got better. We adjusted.

We were down to visits every other month when Oldest got horribly ill. Very ashen, sunken eyes, listless. I woke him from an early morning nap and got scared. He had gotten so much worse in that hour - he seemed to be barely breathing, wouldn't drink or even sit up. I called Dr. B in a panic, at home. The second she answered, I wailed "HE'S DYING! I THINK HE'S DYING!" She asked who I was, and who was dying. I stuttered out our names, and described his symptoms. She said "Well, I don't think he's dying, but let's meet at the hospital. I'll call in X-rays and bloodwork. Get dressed, drink some water, try to get some water down him, and I'll see you in half an hour." She met us at the hospital, and looked over all the tests. Listened to his lungs. Said to try to get some more water down him, maybe have a cup of coffee with her, stroll him around a bit, try to get even more water down him. We spent a while strolling Oldest and then she listened to his lungs again. "THERE! I thought so!" Turns out, Oldest had pneumonia. Antibiotics had him recovering quickly. Did I mention it was her day off? I found that out later that day, when I called her office to ask one more question.

Then, at Youngest's 15 month check a few months later, we went through all the usual questions; and then the red flags started waving - he was off the charts for motor skills, but not even on the charts for social or language development. She was very calm, suggested Early Intervention testing in a very non-threatening and normal way. Just some more tests, done by professionals. Made a few calls. And called me over the next few weeks to see how we were coming along. We finally got in for the EI testing. And got horrible news: He had nearly all the markers for autism, but we wouldn't know for sure for quite a while. I sat in the testing room, rocking back and forth, tears streaming down my face. My beautiful son. He was withdrawing more and more into a solitary place that I couldn't go. My husband held Youngest and cried too. The first person I called was Dr. B. She said "Oh gosh, why don't you come right in and we can look at the tests and talk about what to do next." The boys went home with their dad and I went into Dr. B's office. And cried like I have never cried in my life. While she held me and said nothing.

What Dr. B did in the next few weeks and months changed the course of our lives; she lined us up with the best people she knew to help us, and we've never looked back. We're still discovering what life will be for all of us, but it's a journey filled more with joy than pain.

And today? I took a big basket of gifts to her. With a note telling her what she has meant to us. Why didn't I do this sooner? I don't know. But I did it today. And she cried and said she was so grateful to have patients like us. And I knew she meant it. We needed her so desperately and we found her. Somehow, it all worked out.

Show and Tell Thursday:

My Keys and Purse. Yes, this is all I leave the house with as a purse. Burt's Bees lip shimmer tucked in one pocket, my phone in the other. The little taggy thing on the key chain is our library card. The purse holds Insurance Card, Driver's License, 2 Credit Cards, Grocery Card and a fushia card reminding me of my rights when seeking emergency medical care. For some reason, the woman who taught us infant massage insisted we keep this in our wallet at all times, and I'm not one to argue with a woman whose methods provided so much relief for our family!

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Bumper Sticker of the week:

A Rind Is A Terrible Thing to Waste - Please Compost!

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Knicked: Word Association

Yes, stolen from Glamorouse before you could say SURI, which means sneak thief, after all:

  1. Out of place ::
  2. Helicopter ::
  3. Francis ::
  4. Ryan ::
  5. Wedding ::
  6. Apalled ::
  7. Historian ::
  8. Powerful ::
  9. Sex symbol ::
  10. Uncomfortable ::

Here's My Answers:

  1. Out of place :: Hair
  2. Helicopter :: Ski move
  3. Francis :: Bacon
  4. Ryan :: O'Neal
  5. Wedding :: Bells
  6. Apalled :: At Our politics
  7. Historian :: Winner's tale
  8. Powerful :: Words
  9. Sex symbol :: Angelina
  10. Uncomfortable :: Shoes