Monday, April 30, 2012


This outfit makes it all worthwhile.

Olivia picked it out herself. And...she put it all on herself. Yes, she's dressing herself these days. It's awesome. Sometimes, I have to show her which side of her underwear are at the back but other than that, she's perfectly capable of getting herself dressed from top to bottom. Okay, wait. She still needs help with her shoes but...I'm not counting shoes and coat zippers right now.

And this...

Tom and Alyssa planted twenty trees this weekend. This is him showing her how to water them. I love it when they work together like this. I'm hopeful that he's paving the way toward a good relationship with a teenaged Alyssa. I know that one of the most important things in a teenage girl's life is a healthy relationship with her dad.

And yes, even this...

This little guy isn't nearly as little as he was almost four months ago when we got him. He's bigger and tougher and even more cuddly than ever. We all adore him. Even Tom. I know, right!?!

All of this makes the monotony of life better. It makes it worthwhile. It makes me stop for a minute and realize that I'm really, truly okay with monotony. Monotony is great, even.

Saturday, April 28, 2012


I think the sameness of my days, weeks, months are getting to me.

Monday through Friday, get up, get everyone dressed, pack a lunch for Alyssa, go to work, come home, make dinner, clean up after dinner, read to Olivia, go to sleep, rinse, repeat ad nauseum.

Weekends? Laundry, library, grocery shopping. Throw in a little vacuuming and sweeping and dusting and you have a very boring life.

And yet...I know I have it good. I do.

So why am I snapping at my children for doing things that are, well...childish? Why is my fuse so short that Alyssa saying, "Huh?" three times in a row in response to me saying something to her makes me insane?

Why does the process of cleaning poop off Olivia's legs and butt infuriate me when just seconds before she had me laughing when she gasped, "I have to poop! Ohh, I think I already did and it's a big one."

I feel so mercurial these days, up and down and all over the place.

I want to be calm, serene even. I want to enjoy the moment to moment experiences with my girls. I want to be faced with a challenge and not lose my freaking mind over it.

There has to be a solution. I just have to keep looking for it.

This picture makes me smile and I need to find more things that do that. Olivia is holding her Rapunzel baby wrapped in a Rapunzel blanket, all while she (Olivia) wears a princess crown because she's watching Barbie: Princess Charm School. Duh.

Friday, April 27, 2012


I tend to be sarcastic by nature. I often can’t help it, the snarky words just come out of my mouth before my brain even has a chance to filter them or consider my audience.

Last night I was in a foul mood most of the evening.

Olivia’s had the sniffles the past few days and because of this, she’s had several nights of interrupted sleep. Guess who else gets to have interrupted sleep when she does? That’s right, me. I’m so, so lucky.

Oh wait, I apologize for the sarcasm.

So at 8:45, I was herding Alyssa up the stairs for bed as I carried a sleep Olivia. O had been asleep for maybe a half hour. I was tired, grouchy from having zero down time since we’d gotten up that morning at 6 and my sarcasm filter was out to lunch.

Alyssa was dragging her feet as usual and I was attempting to trudge up the stairs when I said, “We need to get to bed now because I know Olivia is going to wake up in two hours anyway.”

And…Tom rolled his eyes at me.

He rolled his freaking eyes.

I snapped, “What?”

He tried to pretend it didn’t happen and when I pressed him he said, “It was just your tone…”

And I asked, “What tone?”

“You don’t know she’s going to wake up,” he stated. “Your tone was just so grouchy.”

I fumed and stormed up the stairs as much angrily as I could while carrying a sleeping child who weighs almost forty pounds.

But damn it, I think I’m allowed to be a little grouchy about the amount of interrupted sleep I suffer. He NEVER hears either of the girls wake up. They NEVER call out to him in the middle of the night and when he falls asleep, he knows he’ll get to sleep through until morning unless, heaven forbid, he has to get up to pee!

So yes, I was grouchy about the impending wake up call.

And to be fair, she didn’t wake up two hours after I put her in bed. It was an hour and a half after. So yeah, I DID know she was going to wake up.

And for the record, she was asleep, it’s not as if my snark had any sort of impact on her mood anyway. Neither of my girls seem to take my sarcasm seriously, though I am trying to curb it. I don't want them to think I'm always angry or in a bad mood. Nor do I ever want them to think they're the cause of my frustration or negative emotions.

But damn, I'm tired...

Thursday, April 26, 2012


I recently told Tom that we should take the girls to Cedar Point this summer. We’re just a couple of hours away from the park and it would a good time for all.

He asked if there was enough at the park to keep Olivia happy all dya. I told him emphatically that, yes, there is a lot for her to do. Heck, she’d be happy to spend one entire day at the water park, just floating and soaking.

I then said off-handedly that we’d need to take the stroller.

He asked why we’d need to do such a thing.

I pointed out that not only is Olivia five (and honestly, I’d take a stroller to Cedar Point for a typical five year old too, because, dude, that’s a big place and walking all day is going to wear out even the strongest of short legs) and she’s weak.

Tom asked me why I’d say something like that. He said that she walks, she runs, she jumps, the climbs stairs up and down without help (unless I’m around and then she asks to be carried), she also skips and hops like a pro.

I acknowledged that yes, she does all those things and she does them all pretty well. But I went on to remind him that she still has low muscle tone.

He snidely asked me, “When was she last tested for that?”

I raised an eyebrow at his tone but answered neutrally, “Never, but low muscle tone doesn’t go away. Yes, she is stronger today than she was a year ago and she can continue to get stronger but she still has some muscle weakness.”

He just shrugged.

This exchange made me wonder…am I perpetuating O’s weakness by taking a stroller to Cedar Point for her and even by carrying her up and down the stairs when requested?

But like I said, I’d take a stroller to an amusement park for a typical five year old so…no?

I’m not sure Tom understands that Olivia is never going to ‘get over’ 5p- syndrome. It is in her chromosomes, it’s part of who she is. She’s always going to have to work a little harder than her peers. She may always get tired more easily than others her age. Yes, she’s amazing and has proven so many doctors wrong with her abilities but…that doesn’t mean she’s ‘healed.’

It’s as if Tom and I are on opposite ends of the spectrum. He’s on the end where O is fine, she’s strong and there’s nothing she can’t do. And I agree with him to a point. I believe there is nothing she can’t do as long as we give her all the help (via therapists, teachers, experiences, etc) to learn to do all the things she wants to do.

I seem to fall on the other side where I know she’s weak; I know there is not getting away from 5p-. I acknowledge it and…embrace it? I don’t think that’s the right word but I do think that Tom feels like I coddle her. I think he believes I encourage her to revel in her weakness.

Obviously we both need to meet in the middle in hopes of helping Olivia reach her fullest potential, to ensure that she gets the help she needs to get stronger and do all the things she wants to do while not ever letting her use 5p- syndrome as a crutch.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Forcing Familiarity

Dear sales people who call me at work…please stop using my name at the end of every single freaking sentence you utter.

This does not endear me to you, it annoys the shit out of me.

It does not make me want to buy whatever it is you’re selling. It makes me want to hang up on you.

It does not engender a sense of familiarity and friendship. It makes me grit my teeth and gives me a headache.

Just stop it! My best friends do not use my name every other sentence. My family doesn’t do this either.

The only people who use my name (and to them, I’m Mommy) before or after every utterance are my children and this drives me bat shit crazy too.

So if you don’t want me to snap as you as I so often snap at my poor, dear children, stop doing this.

Thank you…Tommie

Tuesday, April 24, 2012


All this introspection has made me realize that I have a lot of irritants in my life.

No, laundry isn’t one of them, though it is the bane of my existence. It is one of those things that just is. I don’t have a choice as to whether or not I do the laundry.

But some of those irritants I mentioned? I do have a choice about them.

For example, I’m currently reading a book that has received national attention. It’s the first book in a trilogy and I’m only a third of the way through the book but I think it’s getting to me on a subconscious level.

It should be noted here that although I’m only a third of the way through the book I have already read the ending. It’s just what I do. I can’t help it. I have to know how stories end so I read the first couple of chapters, get a sense of the characters and then go read the last chapter. Once I know how it ends, I go back and continue from where I left off.

Anyway, I’m reading this book and OMG…I am so annoyed. I HATE the main male character so, so much. He’s horrible. He’d domineering, creepy, obnoxious, selfish and just hateful. Oh, and he likes to hit the main female character. He gets off on it. This freaks me right the hell out.

Another issue I have with this book is that it’s written in first person. I HATE that. It drives me nuts. I know, put the stupid book down, right?

Believe me, I have no intention of reading the second and third books in the Shades series, just because I like how the first one ends and I don’t want to go backward in my relief that it ends the way it does. And please, if you like the Shades trilogy, this isn’t anything about you, I just am not enjoying the first book very much at all and that’s just me. I get that there are a lot of people out there who like this book and that’s fine. It’s just obviously not my thing. I’ll stick with Amanda Quick for my light, fluffy reading pleasures, thank you very much.

But that irritant is something that I have a choice about, it what I’m saying. I can put the book down and walk away. I can’t quite erase from my mind some of the things I’ve already read but I don’t have to go back for more.

The weather is another irritant. And I can’t do anything about it. I’m so tired of cold, windy days. Ugh! I would like to start walking outside every other day but the weather isn’t cooperating. Ha! As if, right? But seriously, I’d like to have the option of going out for a walk should the inclination hit.

Sleep is always a bone of contention in our house. Just yesterday I snippily said to Tom, “I don’t get to go to sleep at 7pm each night to sleep through the night and wake refreshed at 4:30 to workout.”

He offered to stay up until whenever if I wanted him to, but what’s the point? Even if I did go to sleep at 7pm, I don’t see me getting up at 4:30 to workout anyway. So…I just told him to go to sleep.

There are a lot of irritants in our lives. Some we control, some we don’t. But learning which ones we can control and making changes accordingly can go a long way toward making life just a little better.

And for the record, I do know how good I have it. I really do. I also know that there are things I can do to make things better. And I’m working on that, whining the whole way.

Monday, April 23, 2012

A Tent/What?

Yesterday as I folded laundry in the family room, Olivia joined me there with her Rapunzel baby doll and a small blanket. She made herself and her baby comfortable at my feet, burrowing in against the couch. She lay there for a few minutes and then asked me to get her another blanket.

I said sure. As I brought her a larger blanket, she suggested I use that blanket to make her a tent.

Okay. I think my mom has done this at her house for O and J several times and that’s where O got the idea. It was cute. I brought in a couple of chairs from the kitchen table and draped the blanket over them. Olivia snuggled in, cooing to her baby and giggling to herself.

Since spring break a few weeks ago, Olivia has pushed her bedtime back by almost an hour.

It’s wearing me out! It’s as if she went on spring break, realized how much more fun that hour between 7:15 and 8:15 is and decided that’s it, I’m never sleeping through this hour again.

For the love of Pete, kid, momma needs that hour of down time.

Olivia has also gone on a kick in the past month or so where every ten seconds she’s saying, “Mommy?”

And I say, “What?”

Then she’ll tell me something silly and the process repeats ad nauseum until I finally respond to her, “Mommy?” with a snippy, “WHAT!?”

At which point she grins and says, “Nothing.”

Ugh! This child absolutely knows how to push my buttons and enjoys the pushing more than I’d like.

I did tell her the other day that she doesn’t have say mommy each time she wants to tell me something. She can just tell me. I said something like, “My saying what doesn’t turn on my ears. I can hear you all the time.”

This made Alyssa snicker into her book.

Always glad to be good for a laugh, kiddo.

And what the hell Blogspot? Why are none of my line breaks showing up? I kind of hate that this looks like one gigantic paragraph. Do you know how hard and irritating it is to read something like this? Anyone have any hints on how to fix this? I think I figure it out...

Sunday, April 22, 2012


There was a moment a few nights ago when I felt like my reserves were empty. I had nothing left to give. Nothing.

I had no patience, no energy, I felt like if I didn't get away, get one second of solitude, I was going to lose my mind.

The constant demands of work, motherhood, being a wife and a daughter were getting to me. I felt like I was giving and giving and giving and there was nothing refilling my tank.

And I know that's not fair to those around me. They give as much as they can. I know they do.

It's just...sometimes, they don't know what I need because I don't know what I need. And if I can't vocalize it, how can I ask for what I need.

Sleep helped.

I slept for almost twelve hours last night. And there were only three interruptions during those twelve hours. That is actually something to write home about.

I want to write about all the wonderful things happening these days.

Like the fact that this year, I haven't let the boiled, dyed Easter eggs go to waste. I've actually used two dozen eggs. In years past, the dyed eggs ended up in fields, turning to compost, which, while not a bad thing, did seem sort of a waste.

And today, I made chocolate chunk cookies using the remains of a solid chocolate bunny. And Olivia has declared the cookies "delicious!" So there's that.

Today has been better. But...I'm not sure how long the twelve hours of sleep are going to help. Something has to change. But I don't know what.

Or maybe I do and I don't want to admit it. I'm frustrated and, so angry. There is anger that is unresolved from years ago, that I've let fester and mount and grow and it's wrong. The problem is, the issues are in the past, they've been resolved, even though the anger still exists. And I think the anger is still there because it was never acknowledged, never accepted by the person who caused the situation that lead to the anger. I never felt like I had a right to be angry and so I've buried it.

Except it doesn't ever stay buried, does it?

And that's it.

I sometimes wonder what I need to do to be a better wife, a better mother, a better person. What do I need to do other than lose about 70lbs. Because sometimes it feels like my weight is the biggest problem of all. If I could get it under control, everything else would just fall into place.

Please. I know this isn't true. But I'm not sure others know that. I don't necessarily think my weigh is the most pressing issue, but I so often feel like there are others who do.

I apologize for being so cryptic. There are issues that I don't feel likek I can write about right now and yet...I have to. So this is how I do it. For now.

Friday, April 20, 2012


A very good friend of the family passed away earlier this week. As I was planning to attend the funeral this morning, I didn't go to the visitation last night. My aunt and uncle, though, wanted to go. The problem? They're currently caring for their two and a half year old granddaughter, Stella. Stella's parents are in the midst of moving and so she's been with her grandparents for about a week. My aunt called me yesterday to see if I'd watch Stella while they went to the visitation yesterday evening. Of course I said I would. In fact, I was flattered that they trust me enough to leave their charge in my care. When they got here, Stella had just woken up and was clingy and hungry. She didn't want to let go of her pawpaw's neck. We put of the exit of Stella's grandparents as long as we could but then they realized that they just needed to go. Pawpaw put her down and started to walk awah. Stella protested. But then...she spied a balloon across the room and went after it. With her distracted, her grandparents left quietly and quickly. And you know what? She was fine. She stated once that she missed her pawpaw. I assured her he'd be back for her very soon and she accepted that as the truth. I am so grateful for family, for the fact that I'm close enough to have aunts and uncles and cousins and first cousins once removed and brothers and grandparents surrounding us. I love that we can take a couple of hours out of our evening and help family out, or just spend a little time together. And to prove that Stella did actually not spend her entire time here in a heap of tears, I took a few pictures of the girls.
As much fun as it was having Stella here, Tom and I agreed that we're glad we've through the twos and don't have to look forward in fear at the coming threes.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

A Time for Everything

Alyssa likes to linger over her breakfast as if she’s eating a great delicacy rather than a piece of whole wheat toast with some Country Crock spread upon it.

She also likes to spend a little time with Orville first thing in the morning and lay in front of the space heater while I shower.

Olivia enjoys watching the first twenty minutes or so of Barbie’s Princess Charm School while she eats her blueberry Eggo each morning.

Yesterday, I could almost watch Tom’s hair graying as he tried to get each girl to stay on task, whether that task was eating breakfast, brushing hair/teeth, finding shoes, etc.

I get that he knows what time it is and can calculate how long each task will take.

I also know how my girls work.

So this morning, I scheduled in some dawdle time.

I got both girls up about fifteen minutes earlier than I did yesterday. This gave them some cushion time so they could take slower bites, or brush a little longer, or watch a few more minutes of Princess Charm School.

It makes the morning so much more pleasant for all of us.

Tom is more relaxed because he knows things are going to get done in time for the bus to arrive and the girls are happier because their daddy isn’t nagging them every ten seconds to take a bite or swallow their food, or put on their shoes.

Mornings with kids are hard but we’re learning every single day.

And to be honest, I need a little dawdle time myself. I need to be able to read a couple of pages from my current Amanda Quick novel as I brush my teeth. I need to linger with the hair straightener over a few strands of hair that are threatening to frizz no matter how much Citra Shine laminating serum I put on them.

Dawdle time…it might just be the best idea I’ve had in a long time.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012


I look at my daughters and I am overwhelmed by their beauty.

Of course, as their mother, I see their physical beauty and revel in it. But I also see their emotional beauty, their spiritual beauty.

Alyssa has such a zest for life. She adores all animals and has an energy that sometimes exhausts me even when I’m finding it beautiful. She runs everywhere. If she needs to get there, she’s going to run. She adores her kitten and loves racing him through the yard. She longs for a horse and the acreage to ride it.

Even though she’s reached the grand old age of nine years old, Alyssa still retains an innocence, a sense of wonder as she takes in the world around her. She still loves the park, Bubby her stuffed dog and being tucked into bed each night. She still wants to sit on my lap most nights and longs for moments alone with me, without the distraction of her little sister. There is a beauty in that, an amazing gift that I try not to take for granted.

Olivia…fights so hard for so many things that come naturally to most of us. Her strength is so beautiful.

When I hold her little body against mine, I marvel at how sturdy she feels these days. For the longest time, she was so little, so fragile, her little hands like the most precious of birds that are easily crushed if you’re not careful.

I find beauty in her newfound strength, her sturdiness. I want nothing more than for her to be strong enough to fight her own battles as they come through the years.

Yet, I still find her neediness beautiful. She still loves to be carried down the stairs, to be held close against my chest, to rest her head on my shoulder, to have me rub her back and brush her hair out of her face as she falls asleep.

She’ll let her daddy feed her most meals if he’s so inclined. Yes, that’s probably more laziness than anything on her part but I find it beautiful that she lets him feel needed.

These days Olivia dresses herself most mornings. I still lay out the clothes but she takes off her pajamas and puts on her clothes all by herself. Admittedly, I invariably lay out pants with an elastic waistband rather than anything with a snap/button and zipper but I consider her budding independence a wonder to behold. It’s truly beautiful to see the pride on her face when she’s finished dressing herself. She knows she’s going an amazing thing and she wants you to acknowledge it too.

My girls are so beautiful and I know that I’m doing something right when I watch them. I watch them alone, doing their own things and I watch them interact and I feel a sense of peace, a budding sense of beauty coming from inside me that I made them. I am helping them still as they grow and learn and come into their beauty.

There must be something beautiful in me to have been so very blessed with these beautiful creatures. There must be and I refuse to let the ugly voice in my head win over the beauty that abounds.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012


I am feeling this need, this compulsion to find some sort of balance in my life.

I had a lovely conversation with my BFF this morning (thanks for calling, Julie!) and at one point I was bitching about my husband because, well, it’s what I do with my BFF, and she asked me if he tended to ‘win’ most of the, umm, I can’t call them arguments because there is never yelling involved. Let’s just call them tiffs.

And yes, yes he does ‘win’ more often than I do.

And yet, I know that if one were to ask him, he’d say that he gives in as often if not more than I do. And he’d believe it.

So…where do we go from here?

Last night when the girls and I got home, it was around 5:45. Tom was burritoed on the couch, a blanket wrapped around him, the news blaring at an eardrum bursting 50 on the volume control.

We kissed him hello and I set about making dinner for the girls. He said he wasn’t going to eat right away because he’d had a few things to eat a couple of hours before and wasn’t hungry quite yet.

Okay, no big deal.

By 6:30, he was sound asleep.

Balance…I wondered, a little pissy, I’ll confess, when the day would come that I could get home from work, plunk myself down on the couch beneath a blanket and go directly to sleep, not to pass Go or collect $200.

Probably the day after never, I’m thinking.

Now, I have to give Tom credit. He is there and he helps where he can. Breakfast on school mornings are all his. He also keeps track of time and is the one who puts the girls on the bus after making sure they’ve brushed their teeth. He gathers shoes and jackets and backpacks and hustles them out the door.

And to be honest, most of the ‘tiffs’ we have are my issues. I’m pissy because I’m tired. I’m also annoyed by the littlest, stupidest things. And yet, when push comes to shove, I give in and feel resentful because I usually don’t care enough to fight about it.

Which is the problem. I need to pick my battles, push back when something is important and let it go, all of it, when something isn’t important. This means that if I’m not willing to fight for something, I have to give up the resentfulness, the anger I often let fester even after he thinks something is settled.

For example, I hate, detest, it drives me out of my freaking mind, when I come downstairs in the morning and Tom acts all chipper and says something like, “There’s only one package for you today.”

The package in question is something he wants me to take to my work and ship for him via UPS. Which, fine, whatever. His reasoning is that I’m going there anyway, we get a discount when we ship through there and I get the extra bonus that comes from the discount.

As far as he’s concerned, it’s a win-win situation. He gets his package shipped without having to make a special trip to town and I get the extra cash.

Except I HATE taking his package in for shipment. I hate it so, so much. And so when he chirps about there only being one package, I usually glare at him and then go about my business.

The last time this situation occurred, he pouted the rest of the morning.

When I got home that afternoon I explained to him that he’s not allowed to pout over my glare. Why? Because HE’S GETTING HIS WAY! I’m doing what he wants me to do even though I hate it so very much and so I can glare a few times and he can get over it.

Why do I hate it so much? Because it’s a hassle. He’s packages are almost always over 40lbs heavy and they’re often big and bulky. I have to carry the damned things from the parking lot to my office and then from my office to shipping. They’re awkward and heavy and I hate it.

And…this is the part that get to me. Because he works from home, he considers this ‘our’ business. Except…if it were OURS, I wouldn’t have to work outside the home. So no, it’s not our business, it is HIS. And as such, each aspect should be his responsibility. From the acquisition of the product, to the selling of it, to the packaging and shipping. I don’t ask him to come to my office and do part of my job and so I resent him asking/demanding that I do part of his job.

Yet I do it. Because I do understand that I’m saving him time and gas money because I am already coming here. But because of this understanding, I think I am entitled to a glare or three thousand because, again, HE’S GETTING HIS WAY.

So…yes, balance. I need to find some. I need to get my way once in awhile too. That would go a long way toward making me feel things are balancing.

Monday, April 16, 2012


Yesterday was one of those beautiful, if breezier than necessary, days that make you want to just sit on the back deck and watch the kids run and swing and slide.

My girls are all about being outside.

They loved the novelty of eating breakfast outside, seated at our new outdoor table and chairs. It was so lovely, we repeated the fun by having lunch out there too.

But afternoon, I was tired of being stuck inside doing laundry while listening to the whoops and laughter coming from the backyard.

I joined my family out there and took in the joy that is a lovely spring day.

I heard an almost constant stream of, “Mom, watch me.” “Mommy, look what I can do.” “Hey, Mom, watch how fast I can run.” “Mom, watch me go down the slide.”

And it was fun. I chased the girls, they giggled and acted like loons.

Tom cleaned cast iron and listened to the radio while we girls played.

I remember as a child spending hours upon hours outside in the back yard, playing on the tire swing or in the dirt with matchbox cars, building intricate cities and homes only to destroy them easily and quickly once I got bored with the building. I LOVED mowing the lawn as a child, it was a great escape. I loved making lovely straight lines with the push mower, knowing it would be so perfectly shorn when I was done.

I pretended the tire swing was my horse and saved the day for countless imaginary friends.

I played tennis against the roof our house to the point that I’d created a nice hard patch of dirt upon which the tennis ball could bounce perfectly for my next volley.

What happened to that active, happy girl who loved her body and how strong it felt?

I want that back. I want to feel good when I’m chasing my children around the yard, to be confident and comfortable in my own skin.

I want to enjoy the outside as much as I once did. As much as my girls currently do. I want to enjoy them the way they deserve.

And once again, this post went in a different direction than I'd planned when I started typing. And as always it's all about me.

Sunday, April 15, 2012


Olivia has these little rituals that she performs.

For example, after she uses the bathroom, she has to make sure the toilet lid is down before she'll leave the room. If she passes a bathroom where the lid is up, she must stop and put it down before she can continue her day.

The lid the trashcan is another thing she can't pass without closing.

It drives her crazy if a cabinet door is left open. If she can reach it, she'll close it herself. If she can't, she'll ask someone taller to close it for her.

She turns off the lights in every room where there is no one occupying that room. This? Is a good habit, we think.

But I wonder...are these little things signs of a budding case of OCD?

She can function even if something isn't perfect, but it makes her feel much better if the toilet lid is down, there is nothing but water in the toilet bowl and all the cabinets are closed tightly.

We aren't exactly worried...yet. But I wonder if OCD is part and parcel of 5p- syndrome.

Saturday, April 14, 2012


That's what our house has smelled like for the past couple of weeks. Broccoli.

It's disgusting.

Not the broccoli itself, just the smell of steamed broccoli. Okay, so at first, when it is first cooked, is smells fine, appetizing even.

But day after day after day of broccoli has gotten old.

Tom is on a broccoli kick.

And it's gross. The broccoli smell, that is.

So today, I cleaned. I swept and mopped the floors, vacuumed, changed the sheets on every bed and lit candles.

Lots of candles.

And yes, the house smells so much better. And, best of all, Tom's out of broccoli for the night.

Let me point out that I'm not the best of housekeepers. I admit that openly. I'm not the best of cooks either.

What am I good at? Well, these days I'm good at reading to Olivia each evening before bed.

I'm good at making lunches for Alyssa every single day for school.

I'm good at listening to Tom talk about how well he's doing on his weight-loss/get fit program, even thought inside I'm seething with jealousy and fighting the urge to ask something like, "Other than losing eighty pounds, what can I do to be a better wife to you?"

I don't ask that, though, because it would make him feel bad and I don't want to do that.

So today, I overcame my inate laziness in an effort to make our home more pleasant and less broccolish.

And it was good.

Friday, April 13, 2012

K-Testing, Tears and ENts

I took a vacation day today because O's kindergarten/kinderkids testing was scheduled for 10am. Alyssa also had a doctor's appointment at 2:30 to discuss a possible referral to an ENT.

The kindergarten testing...ahhh, Livie.

It was going just fine. I got there early, told the office I'd be taking Olivia home with me after the tests, also that I'd be picking Alyssa up at 2:00 for the day. I went to O's preschool class to get her for the k-testing. She was happy to see me, told me she had to pee and all was well with her little world.

We got to the media center, I sat down to start filling out the paperwork and Olivia went willingly with one of the kindergarten teachers.

I managed to get her name written on one line before hearing a sob and seeing a blur as Olivia made her way toward me.

It seems the physical education teacher, a large MAN was the one who was conducting the testing to make sure the kids could hop, touch their elbows, etc.

This freaked Olivia RIGHT out. She sobbed into my shoulder anytime any of the other teachers came near her. She wasn't having anything to do with them from that point on.

Unless, of course, I was by her side.

And so that's how the testing went. I went from station to station with her and she told me the answers to the questions the teachers asked her. She kept her voice quiet, as if she's unable to project at all. Big faker!

But none of this was surprising. When we were done with the testing, I went back to the paperwork and then we headed down to the nurse's office where O got three boosters. Now that was a surprise to her. She wasn't amused at all.

But the donut we got her at the grocery store afterward went far to making it up to her.

I'm fully anticipating the teachers suggesting that she attend kinderkids next year, a step toward kindergarten but not full-day, full-blown kindergarten and all the academics that entails.

So that's that.

Alyssa is congested and pretty much doesn't know it because it seems to be her constant state. She doesn't even realize how crappy she must feel because she always feels like this.

The doctor looked in her ears, declared them vaguely infected (she's been on antibiotics for strep since Tuesday.) He looked up her nose and said her adenoids are enlarged and inhibiting her breathing.

Her tonsils are also enlarged and her throat is still red from the strep.

He wrote us a prescription for another antibiotic to be filled after she finishes the current one and gave us a sample of Flonase. She's supposed to use it twice a day for a week to see if it improves her breathing and makes her feel any better.

She keeps insisting that she feels fine but...what if she doesn't realize how much better she could feel?

If the nasal spray doesn't seem to do any good, I will call next week for a referral to an ENT to discuss the removal of her tonsils and adenoids. I want her to feel better, even though she doesn't even realize that she CAN feel better. The poor kid always looks pale and on the verge of sickly.

So...things are looming. Kindergarten/kids, ENTs, possible surgeries, oh my.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

The Meanest Mom

I grew up on a very small town, so small that the closest thing to a store was a Pepsi machine that stood outside the volunteer fire department.

In this small town there were a lot of other kids. My best friend from when I was about three until about nine years old was a girl named Kim.

She was fun and had awesome dolls to play with. We had great times together. I think I mastered the splits at her house one afternoon.

Anyway, Kim was constantly asking me to spend the night with her. I loved Kim but her dad freaked me way out. There was NO WAY I was going to sleep in the same house with that guy. To this day, I’m not sure why I was so freaked by him, but he always looked so mean and sometimes he yelled. Never at me, but often at Kim or her big brother while I was there.

So on the days when Kim would ask me to spend the night, I’d tell her that we needed to go ask my mom. Then I’d race home ahead of Kim and whisper in a fast, frantic voice to my mom, “Say no, say no, say no.”

Then Kim would arrive, panting. She’d ask my mom if I could spend the night and my mom would smile gently and say something like, “Oh Sweetie, I’m sorry, but we already have plans for tonight.”

And then Kim and I would go back to our play, all happy and me relieved that I’d been saved once again by my mom being willing to be the ‘bad’ guy.

A few nights ago, Alyssa and I were just sitting around and she mentioned that two of her best friends often mention coming to our house and spending the night. Alyssa told me with a smile, “I always tell them that you’re too mean to let them spend the night.”

I laughed. “That’s okay,” I told her. “I’m more than willing to be the mean mom.”

Alyssa reassured me, “They know you can’t be that mean, you did let me have blue hair last year.”

But truly, if it helps her save face, I’m okay with being the mean mom who doesn’t allow sleep-overs. My mom before me let me retain a sweet, fun friendship by making it her fault that I couldn’t spend the night rather than making me admit that my friend’s dad freaked me out.

I’m good with completing this circle, being the one who says no so that Alyssa doesn’t have to. It’s what we ‘mean' moms do.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

A Step Back into Strep

I hate strep. I do.

Alyssa has it. Again. This is the second bout of strep throat in a month. That means another round of antibiotics, another day of school missed, another office co-pay, etc.

She came home from school yesterday complaining of a sore throat. Since she’d had strep all of three weeks ago, we didn’t mess around. Off to Urgent Care at 6:30pm.

The doctor there was glad to hear that we already have an appointment scheduled for her to see our regular doctor on Friday. We’re going to discuss her adenoids and the possibility that they might be the cause of her snoring. And perhaps the reason she keeps getting freaking strep throat.

We’ll see.

But damn, I hate it when my kids are sick.

And yet, as I wrote that last sentence, I realize how very lucky that strep is the worst of our health issues. Yes, strep is a problem and I’m glad we caught it early and I hope we can nip it in the bud and keep it at bay from this point forward but I have some good friends with children with serious health issues.

So I guess this is me acknowledging that it could be so much worse but taking the opportunity to admit that even in our blessed, lucky world, things can still sort of suck.

Yeah, that’s what I’m saying.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

All Better

You know that feeling when you’ve been sick for a while and suddenly, you get some good medicine and you suddenly realize how crappy you’d been feeling for who knows how long?

It can be the same with your kids.

See, Olivia was diagnosed with a virus a couple of weeks ago. She was snotty, her sleep was disrupted, she wasn’t eating all that well and she was pale, perhaps a bit lethargic.

But…we got used to it. We didn’t think much of her lackluster play, her quiet times.

Until recently, when she got some good antibiotics into her system to kill off the bacteria that decided to throw a party since the virus was in there distracting her immune system.

In the last three days or so, Olivia has come to life all over again. She’s loud, she’s dancing, she laughing, she’s running.

She EATING. Oh my goodness, how she’s eating. It’s as if we forgot how she really is when she’s not sick.

She energetic, she’s got color in her cheeks, she sleeps through the freaking night.

I realize there is nothing medically we can do for a virus, just keep the patient hydrated and well-rested but damn the bacteria that comes in and takes over when a virus is visiting. Those suckers can be fought and fight them we have.

It’s good to have both girls back to health these days, though the house is louder and messier and we’re going through food as if three teenage boys live in the house.

I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Monday, April 9, 2012

The Sound of Happiness

Olivia talks all the time these days. I know, she’s five, what’s the big deal.

Except any parent with a child with 5p- syndrome knows what the big deal is.

She talks. In full, clear sentences. All the time. She tells us what she wants for breakfast, she tells her dad, “No, no, no, no, no, that is not for you!” when he pretends to eat her Reece’s bunny.

She yells at her sister if she tries to turn off the Barbie Princess Charm School movie. She tells me that she wants to wear a red dress to parties and that her ear hurts in the middle of the night.

She asks me to remove a wet Pull-up at 2am, promising she’ll tell me when she has to pee so she doesn’t wet the bed.

I was upstairs yesterday evening putting clothes away and laying out the coming week’s worth of clothes for myself and the girls.

I could hear the commotion of life downstairs.

Mostly, it was Olivia, babbling, singing, chanting, making noise.

And I took a moment and soaked it in. My girl talks. She makes sounds that have meaning, that we can understand, that communicate her needs, her wants, her pains, her fears.

The sounds last night reminded me so much of the babbling a fifteen month old might make, except there were words coming in the middle of the jabbering.

But I’ll take the jabber too. It means her lungs are strong enough to make sounds that carry, it means she’s finding her voice.

I am so, so grateful for that. For the strength of will that Olivia possesses that has allowed her to overcome so much in her five sweet years. I’m grateful to each and every therapist she’s ever had who has encouraged her even in the face of her vicious eye-rolling and her huffing and puffing when they ask her to do things she doesn’t want to do.

Oh yes, that girl has some serious attitude and I think that very attitude is part of what’s brought out her voice so strongly. It’s also given her legs the strength, the will to stand up and carry her around, that allows her to keep up with her sister and her cousins. She races, she shrieks, she laughs, she taunts.

She’s five and she’s awesome.

Saturday, April 7, 2012


We all have choices in this life. Every single day starts with a choice. Do I hit snooze just one more time? Do I snag just seven more minutes of sleep or do I drag myself out of bed and start the day?

Then there are the choices of what to wear, what to have for lunch, whether to wear makeup or not.

I haven't been doing all that well lately. I've been sabotaging myself, making bad choices which lead to self-loathing and a boatload of anger.

I need to remember that every action on my part is a choice. Every feeling is my own. I have to own my emotions and remember that no one can make me feel bad about myself without my permission.

I have choices, even though sometimes I don't feel like I do.

I need to remember that and start making good ones, choices that lead to happiness.

Happiness is a choice. It is.

Friday, April 6, 2012

The Most Important Job

Sometimes, the most important thing in the world to do is to sit under a sick child and let them sleep as they soak in your body heat and the comfort your soft warm body can provide.

I feel incredibly lucky that my girls find my presence, my arms, so comforting.

My mom recently got new furniture. She gave her old couch, loveseat and rocking recliner to her brother. Alyssa and I clocked a lot of hours in that recliner. In the years that we spend several nights a week at my mom's house, we made our way to the rocker recliner more times than I can count. Whenever she was sick, the place she found most comforting was sitting on my while I rocked the hours away in that recliner.

It's got a good home with my uncle. He's got an aging dog that needs as much comfort at my sick children.

This morning Olivia woke up crying, saying her ear hurt. She did the same yesterday and I wanted Tom to take her to the doctor but I was too tired to insist and he was just resistant enough that I let it go.

I was wrong to do that. This morning, I didn't leave the issue up for discussion. Of course, it helped that I am home today, so there wasn't any discussion of who would take her to the doctor.

I called the office at 9am and we had an 11am appointment. We were sitting in our very own rocker recliner ten minutes later, O's more painful ear pressed against my chest, her tired eyes closing. She was sound asleep minutes later.

I put off getting up until the last minute. We still made it to the doctor with time to spare. They took one look at my girl and had us back for exam minutes later.

The doctor looked in her ear and after my explaination that she'd been seen at the local Urgent Care just two weeks ago, he said that viruses often lead to infections lke the one she now has.

We left with two prescriptions, one an antibiotic and the other a pain reliever for her ears.

Already she's feeling better but we've still managed to spend another couple of hours in that chair, her covered by her favorite purple blanket, my hand over her right ear and her eyes drooping as she soaks in the comfort of being held by the mama.

There are moments in the night when I resent how much they need me. But more often than not, I'm grateful that I can provide the comfort they so desire.

I am really, truly the lucky one to do one of the most important jobs in the world, the job of being a mother.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

The Cutting Edge of Nine

Alyssa has been nine for over two months now.

I told her last weekend, in all seriousness, that nine is now my very favorite age.

She’s seriously awesome. She’s finally at an age where she can make her own breakfast (pouring cereal and milk without supervision, wheee!) She can shower without help. She can pick out her clothes and don them without me needing to make sure they’re weather appropriate.

And yet, she still needs me in other ways. She still needs to sit on my lap most evenings before bed, just to ‘check in.’ She needs me to go with her to check on Orville if it is dark in the kitchen and everyone else is asleep.

She needs me to tuck her in and kiss her goodnight.

I love these things about her. I love her.

Last night, she decided she wanted her hair cut. She didn’t want any sort of ‘do. She just wanted about ten inches cut off the length.

We were at my mom’s house, where there were a pair of decent hair-cutting scissors and so we went to down.

She loves it. Her hair is all one length and falls probably an inch or so below her shoulders. I could tell she felt ten pounds lighter. She kept swinging her hair around, rubbing the new, clean-cut ends.

I love that she is old enough to make this decision, to know what she wants and go for it.

Nine is so much fun. I’m so glad we get another ten months of this before we hit the double digits!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Exercising My Rights

I hate exercise. I do. But I know that I need it. I also know that in order to truly take care of myself, I need to kick my own butt and start moving.

So…how do I make time to do this?

How do I declare to my family that I have a right to make time to exercise?

I realize that I’ll actually be setting a better example for my girls by doing this. They need to know that it is okay to put their own health needs before the wants of others in the household.

Here’s the thing…I don’t feel guilty for making time to shower every day. I don’t feel guilty for finding time to eat and I do my best to get as much sleep as I can.

So why isn’t exercise as important as the above list?

Could it be because I HATE exercise? It could. But it shouldn’t be the deciding case. It shouldn’t matter that I hate it. I make my kids take medicines that they hate when they’re sick because I know it’s good for them.

I know that exercise is good for me. It will help me be healthier and so, I need to suck it up, stop being a brat, stop making excuses about being too busy and not having time to exercise. I need to put myself first, even when my own inclination is to sit on my butt and relax.

My inner brat needs to be put in time out and I need to grow up and realize that in the end, a happy healthy mom makes for a happy, healthy house.

I’m going to try. That’s all I can promise.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012


I often wonder if my children’s sleep issues are due to the fact that I’ve never made the night time wakings unpleasant.

Let me whine remind everyone that Alyssa woke up every single night, at least once, more often than not two or more times, for the first two years of her life. She slept through the night ONE time in those two years. I am not exaggerating. She slept through the night one lovely night in May, when she would have been about flourish months old. I remember that night because it was the night before my very first mother’s day. So yeah.

Olivia was a better sleeper as an infant. She slept in a bassinet or her crib during the first year of her life and she slept well. She never consistently slept through the night but it was nowhere nearly as bad as Alyssa’s sleep patterns.

As I was saying, I wonder if they did/do this because I never made waking up that many times unpleasant.

I won’t say I make it pleasant but I did/do go to them, sooth, rub backs, get drinks of water, ect. I mother if them, if you will.

But the last five nights have made me crazy.

Olivia came down with something last Friday. She was sitting next to me at a table at our local Bob Evans. She was chowing down on her French toast, having colored her way through her children’s menu. But from one minute to the next, my mom and I watched her fade. She color drained, her temp went up, she just lost all energy and by the end of the meal, we’d decided that my mom would take Olivia home, I’d take Jaxon to his dad and Alyssa and I would go finish up our list of things to do before heading home, where Olivia was found wrapped in a blanket beside Tom on the couch, wiping, wiping, wiping her nose.

And so sleep has gone to hell.

The first couple of nights it was fine. I get it, she was sick. She needed a tissue, some medicine to bring down her fever, a drink of water, some comfort. I was okay with providing all that. Really.

But last night? She’s not sick anymore. She might have the slightest remnant of the sniffles, but nothing to warrant waking up five freaking times.

Each time, she just wanted to be able to feel me next to her.

Damn if I didn’t make it unpleasant, is what I’m saying. I wasn’t mean to her, but I certainly wasn’t cuddly or even a little nurturing. I was so tired.

She was asleep by 7:45. At 10:00, she was awake, looking for me to hold her. I laid next to her until after 11:00, dozing.

At that point, I got up and went to my own bed. Where I was joined two hours later by a wandering five year old, who hogs the bed and wants to sleep on my arm. Arg!

That lasted all of a half hour, which is when I left O sleeping soundly in my bed and sleepily, slightly begrudgingly made my way to hers. Where I slumbered in peace for three more hours, which is when she woke up enough to realize I wasn’t next to her and sat up to wail at the injustice.

By now, I’m beyond unpleasant and into pissed off. I snarled, “Olivia, why can’t you just sleep? Just lay down and go to sleep!”

And as I was snarling, I was making my way BACK to my own bed, where she was sniffling away, whispering in the saddest, sickest voice she could fake, asking for a tissue.

Ugh! I handed her a tissue and rolled away from her. See, unpleasantness abounds.

All this to say I’m tired. So, so tired. Tired of being loving and kind and TIRED. Perhaps if I get bitchy and mean, they’ll just let me sleep. At this point, I think it might be worth a try.

Monday, April 2, 2012


Okay, this is just going to be a bitch session, so you can totally skip it if you want. And in the end, what I should do is block the people who irritate me so much. I know this so take the rest for what it’s worth, which, quite honestly, isn’t much.

See, I have these ‘friends’ who use one of the popular social medias to brag. And yes, don’t we all? It’s really what it’s there for.

Except…I sometimes feel like these people are not so much bragging as they’re writing this shit on the board in an effort to say, “Hey, look how fabulous my life is and yours must suck in comparison.”

Not mine in particular, I’m not that self-centered, but the ‘yours’ in general.

It makes me sad for those who post the braggy shit. They’re so busy making themselves look good that they come off looking like asses.

I’m not much of a face-book status updater. I’m too wordy for that, if you haven’t noticed.

No, I used the social media to play Castleville and read about family and friends.

Don’t get me wrong, I do have more friends/family than not who use it as an actual communication tool, to vent, to let everyone know how a surgery or trip went. I love those posts.

It’s one like, oh, this one from Thanksgiving past: “Three pies done! The turkey is thawing, the three kids, (four and under) are all napping and the house is spic and span because I cleaned from top to bottom just a couple of a days ago. We’re READY for company.”

Oh gag! Seriously?

Then there is the ‘friend’ who so often writes things like, “I have the best kiddos in the whole world. My hubby, the greatest man to ever be born and wed, and I are so blessed.” Gag.

I know. It shouldn’t even bother me and yet it reeks of self-congratulations. And I know that people who post crap like that need congratulations where ever they can get it.

I’d rather be real, admit that my house is currently awash in dust and unfolded laundry. That there is a bin of horses in the middle of the living room floor because I didn’t make Alyssa take it back upstairs last night before bed.

I’d also rather admit that sometimes, my kids aren’t perfect.

Hey, yesterday Olivia pooped twice. Once, the first time, was directly into the toilet. Whoo freaking hoo! She even went in the bathroom on her own, got her cushie tushie, her magazine (US Weekly for those who wondered, shut up) her step-stool on which to rest her feet and she pooped.

The second poop? Went directly into her underwear. That’s life. That’s real.

My girls are almost four years apart and so by the time I had Olivia on any sort of schedule, Alyssa had stopped napping. They never napped at that same time. When O was napping, I was giving A the attention she’d lost while I cared for an infant O.

I am not a perfect mother or wife. I’m not a perfect friend.

But I am real and if you want to bitch with me, have a seat. I’ll get you some Dr. Pepper and some cookies and you can put your feet on my dirty footstool and hang awhile.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Princess Pee

Olivia's been sick for a few days. It means disrupted sleep, feverish demands for water and the need to sit on my lap and watch endless hours of Barbie Princess Charm School.

The watching of that movie includes wearing the dress that Barbie's character, Blair wears at the end of the movie as well as a crown. We also have to find the actual Barbie that is in the movie.

Then we sit and rock and she plays with the Barbie and adjusts her crown.

Earlier today, I was in another room and Olivia called me to the bathroom.

I arrived and she pointed to the toilet, into which she'd just urinated. "Look," she said. "It's princess pee."

She's very funny, that girl.

Alyssa's been on a computer binge lately. It's getting out of hand. Every moment she's not outside, she wants to be on the computer. We set the timer and make her get off when it goes off but I definitely feel like she's been online too much lately. We justify this by saying it's spring break and reassuring ourselves that her computer time will be greatly limited when they're back in school as of tomorrow.

I have been having dreams in which I'm furious with Tom. I think I have a few unresolved anger issues brewing. In these dreams I'm screaming at him, I'm so angry.

A few days ago, he mentioned that he'd noticed I'd bought chocolate during one of my trips to the store.

Oh can I tell you much that irritates me? I hate being policed. I detest it. I do not need someone watching every calorie I ingest and he knows it. So that makes me mad. The problem is, I don't get angry with him right then. I just nod and say idiotic things like, "I know I shouldn't eat it."

But you know what? If I freaking want to eat it, who is he to tell me I shouldn't?

But why am I here writing all this down instead of saying those words to him?

I don't know. It's so stupid, his reaction to chocolate and my own reaction to his reaction.