Thursday, December 31, 2009

My Hopes for the New Year

Today ends one year, and starts a new one. I fully realize that it will be the same week, and just another day in may respects, but I am hoping that tomorrow, and this new year, will bring a lot with it.

This year has by far been one of the worst, if not the worst, years of my life. This year has been full of more heartache than I would ever care to retell, or even remember.

My hopes for the next year are both simple and huge. I hope for a better, happier year for everyone I care about, including myself.

If I don't get a better year next year, I am asking for a refund, for real.

Monday, December 28, 2009

I hate cancer.

A very good friend of mine just let us know that her father had cancer. She facebooked something about his condition, 'cause you know that's how we do, and another friend of ours replied to the news in a way that caught me off guard. The last part of her reply really struck me. "I hate cancer" was her reply. It was simple, honest, and direct.

I kept looking at it, thinking, that I hate cancer, too. In all honestly, there are few things that I would say I hate. Cancer is definitely one of them. I guess I just never thought about how much I hate cancer before, but I do.

Cancer has touched the lives of so many people that I know, and it has never been a good thing.

Cancer has taken the lives of those I love. It has changed those I love the most, and not for the better.

My mom faced breast cancer a few years ago. It was a terrible experience. She made it through, though.
I lost both of my maternal grandparents to cancer. My mom has lost so many cousins, aunts, and uncles to cancer, that is seems to be the way we die. The reality is that I will very likely face cancer myself. We are carriers of a gene that causes lots of different cancers. I know that there is a good chance my children will have to deal with cancer in some form or fashion, thought I pray that gene skipped them.

I hate cancer. All forms of cancer. I hate it.

I want to get mad at an entire disease spectrum. While there isn't anything tangible that I can fight, I can find a way to fight cancer. I can be vigilant. I can be responsible for myself and my actions and try to prevent cancer. I can do monthly breast self exams and get my yearly mammogram, started early because of our family history. Being vigilant also means limited my risks of skin cancer from sun exposure, something that is also common in my family. I can eat healthy, cancer fighting foods, and feed my family the same things. I can help to raise money for cancer research. I can raise awareness about cancer research and causes. Most importantly for me right now, I can support those who have cancer, and do what I can for them and their loved ones.
I will do anything for my friend, and her family, that I can to help them through this time. I will be there. I will bring them food. I will do anything that I can to help out, because I know how scary this time is and I hate that they have to go through this.

I will fight this awful disease any and every way I can.

If we all fight cancer in every way we can, maybe one day, together, we can finally put the disease down, and keep it down.

I hate cancer.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Christmas on the Other Side

As long as your particular religious view, or your parents views, allow it, we all grow up knowing Christmas. You know all about trying to sleep, when you really can't because you know Santa is coming. You know all about waking up before the sun comes up to try and force your parents to let you see if Santa has come.
If your anything like my brother and I, you know all about trying to sneak down stairs, after being told no and go back to bed, to see Santa anyway. You know which boards in the floor are creaky, and which step to avoid. You even know that the cushion from the small couch upstairs make a great silencer for sliding down the stairs unheard. You know the joy of that first peak of the tree on Christmas morning. You know how it feels to open your gifts.

You know all that and more, but, I honestly believe it isn't until you become a parent that you really know Christmas.

Christmas as a parent is totally different world.

Now, instead of trying to get downstairs unheard, I am trying to keep my girls upstairs in bed. I am trying to keep the magic alive and real for them.

Christmas is time of wonder and being a parent, you get to not only experience it through them, but help create the magic for them. I think that is an unbelievably cool thing to be a part of. Experiencing the magic is great, but making the making for other people is even greater. You get to be the reason for the twinkle in their eyes, the smiles you see on their faces, and their belief in the magic of the season. I honestly can't think of anything cooler right now.

It doesn't have to be through big, expensive things, either.

This year, I took the girls caroling with The Big One's Girl Scout troop. We looked at Christmas lights, and sang to people around us. The lights were awesome, and I mean that that in the truest sense of the word. The girls were all amazed by what they saw, and they were thrilled to be able to make people smile. We all walked away with a little more Christmas magic in our hearts, and it only took a little time, and a little gas.

We made magical reindeer food to put out for Santa's reindeer on Christmas Eve. A little oatmeal, some white, red, and green sugar all mixed with a drop of love make the best reindeer food ever. All of it was left over from last year, or out of the pantry. Again, just a little time, a little imagination, and the girls were part of something that I hope they will remember forever, and carry forward into their own families.

They left letters and pictures for Santa, who left them a letter back. The letter goes into the family scrap book so that they can keep it forever and treasure it always.

I really can't explain the feeling of making Christmas wondrous for a child, if you haven't been there, but I can tell you that it makes your heart warm. It feels like love a million times over. At least, that is the way it feels to me, and I hope for everyone else.

Peace and Love to you and yours this holiday season.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

It may not be Normal, but it is mine

I love traditions. Most traditions, anyway. People talk about holiday traditions all the time. My sister and i started talking about our holiday traditions. She told me that while chatting with a friend recently, she told this friend that we had no Thanksgiving traditions, and not much of a Thanksgiving at all. I have to differ from this opinion. You see, we do have at tradition, just not anything like a normal one. I love it, though, and as difficult as it is, it is our tradition.

My mom runs a very large craft show back home in Tennessee. She took it over a few years ago, but has been a part of it as a crafter for since the beginning, 27 years ago. So, we have been doing this a while.

Thanksgiving weekend the show goes on. So, the weeks and days leading up to Thanksgiving, and that weekend are very busy.

Every year now, on Thanksgiving day, Mom, family, and I go to my uncle's home(formerly my grandparent's before they passed)for lunch with her family. We all make it quick, though for different reasons. Mom needs to get to work on the show, and the rest of us just want to show face, put in our time, and get the heck out of dodge as soon as we can, and before the obligatory Thanksgiving day family fracas starts.

Once lunch is over, we head to the location of the craft show, about 25 minutes away, to let the vendors setup. We have already spent the two days before, setting up. On Tuesday night, and I mean all night, we set up the location, laying out booths, and so on. The vendors can come in the next day and setup their own booths, or they can come on Thanksgiving day and finish up. We get done around 7:00pm, with my usually fussing about people not respecting time, and trying to usher Mom out the door. I'm not the nice one of the two of us, in case anyone wondered.

Then, we go home to our own family Thanksgiving, even as late as it is by then. My sister spends the day cooking, Mom usually pre-preps as much of it as she can for her. Then, we finish what we need to when we get there. We end up having a really late supper, and being totally exhausted.

I know it is hectic, exhausting, and a little crazy, but I love and enjoy it regardless. While it may not be as Normal Rockwell as other people's Thanksgivings, this is our tradition, and I appreciate it for what it is, and hope to be doing it for a long time.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

What the Teacher Must Think of Me...

We had a little drama around here today. Actually, there wasn't any unusual drama here in the house, but at The Big One's school.

Today was after school Karate day. That is what we call it, anyway. Most of you know if by Tuesday. Each Tuesday for right now, The Big One goes to a very neat little after school program where they teach a martial arts program. She was very excited when I first ask her if she wanted to go. I was very excited when I saw how cheap it was. My thought was that she may not want to continue, and I didn't want to shell out big bucks for a real class at a studio that she would end up hating. So, this little after school program was a great compromise for us. I'm totally off the drama train, though.
So, getting back to the good stuff, today was Karate Day. After school, The Big One is supposed to walk over to the Kindergarten play ground where class is held. I will then pick her up after Karate is over.
This is week three for us. The first week I took her. The second week I sent a note with her to let the teacher know she would be going there. This week, my beautiful child was all primed to take herself over there again. No mother needed, according to her.
We talked about class this morning. I talked to her about not having practiced enough, and made her change shoes into something more appropriate for side jumps.
Everything was set.
So, come time to pick her up, The Little One and I get in the car and drive over to get her. We go just early enough to watch a couple of minutes of the class.
Once dismissed, The Little One runs over and grabs her, and we start walking out.

Now, you need just a tiny bit more back story here. Yellow cards are her First grade teacher's reward system. If you are good all day, at the end of each day you get a yellow card. Once you have 15 you can go to the prize box.
So, every day when I pick her up, the first thing she tells me is if she got a yellow card or not.

Today was no different. As soon as we started walking to the car, she started to tell me about her day.

"I got a yellow card, but had to give it back at the end of the day."

Why did you give it back?

"I got out of line. So, I had to give it back."

Why did you..

"OH! And I had to go to the Principal's office."


I will save you from a conversation that took me quite some time to unravel. It seems that at the end of the day, The Big One forgot that today was Karate day. So, when the bell rang, she stood in her line by the classroom where they wait for parents to pick them up. She waited, and waited. When she began to get nervous and upset, she got out of line to look for me. That would be when she lost the yellow card and had to give it back. Sometimes after I never came, the teacher took her to the office for her to wait there for me.

I couldn't believe all this. I wasn't sure if I should be upset that she forgot, or feel bad for her at first.

"Were you upset?"

"Yes, mom! I was really worried."

"Did you really think I had forgotten you?"

"Yes. I thought you just forgot to get me."

"Were you crying?"


Poor baby. Then I felt bad for her. I reminded her that I have never forgotten her, and that I couldn't just forget her. I also explained to her that someone would always come and get her. We have some special, wonderful, people in our lives that are on the list of those allowed to pick her up. I think there are about five extra names on that list. So, no matter what, someone is coming to get her.

She did, obviously, eventually go to Karate class. The office has a digital frame, and at some point, it flashed to people in Karate uniforms. She instantly remembered she was supposed to be in Karate class. Mind you, the office side windows face the area all the kids had to walk though to get to Karate, and I can't believe she didn't hear them out there, but I have stated before that The Big One lives on a different plain of awareness than the rest of us.

"Did you tell the office staff that you were supposed to be in class?"

"Yes! I told them that I had forgotten you weren't supposed to get me, and I was supposed to be in class."

"What did they say?"


I hope the office staff at least got a little chuckle out of it when it was over. I plan on speaking to the teacher in the morning just to make sure everything is cleared up and on future Tuesdays, I think I might send a note pinned to her backpack, or her shirt, just so she won't forgot again.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Little, White, Taco Bell Wraped Lies

You want the truth? Can you handle the truth?

The truth is, sometimes, parents tell their children little lies. Sometimes, little lies can make life easier, and can even seem necessary to get through a moment. Now, I realize that there are probably ways around telling the lies, but really, sometimes it just isn't worth it.

Today, I told a little lie. I chose to lie. The Little One has been cranky since her Daddy left for another of the infinite deployments we seem to keep having pop up. It hasn't been fun times for us. She is crankier, and much more demanding. She isn't sleeping at all, and that just makes the aforementioned problems even worse. While part of our day was great (and that is for another post), most of our day so far has been in a battle with her attitude.

So, when she woke up from her nap, and decided it was time to eat, I was prepared to avoid the lunch battle at all costs, and just ask her what she wanted. There would be no telling her to eat a good, healthy lunch today. If she would eat it, I would give it to her. She ask for a chicken taco. Not any chicken taco, but the left over chicken soft taco from Taco Bell that we got about 4 days ago. While it has been sitting in the fridge, I wouldn't say it was good by any means. The soft taco was now crunchy. That wasn't good. I tried to explain to The Little One why is wasn't good, but she wasn't about to hear it. Now, I fully realize that I could have taken this as an opportunity to teach her something, and go through the whole thing, tears over the taco, and all, but I just didn't have it in me today. I realize my limitations, and I knew I needed to roll with it this time.

So, I sent her out of the room, and tried to make her a taco on my own, quickly. Of course, she walks back in, sees the bag of precooked southwestern chicken strips (which she loves) and immediately tells me that she doesn't like that. Great.

Apparently, she was determined to have a fight. As determined as she was, though, I was just as determined not to fight any more. So, I sent her out again, and in about 45 seconds, I had a new taco together. Chicken on the tortilla, put it in the microwave for 20 seconds to warm it, and then throw cheese on it. The problem, of course, is that if I put it in a plate like that, she would question the taco. I did not want her to question the taco.

I heard her coming back into the kitchen, and i knew I needed to act fast.
So, I grabbed the old taco, pulled it out of the wrapper as carefully (it was really crunchy and folded inside the wrapper) and quickly as I could. I threw the new taco in, and started to fold it. Just as I folded the top down, she came in. I laid the taco on her plate like nothing was going on.

She took the taco, and seemed very happy. In fact, she ate it, or at least part of it. So, while she may think she got her way, I really got mine. There was no taco fight.

I'm sure this is far from the last time I will ever feel the need to deceive my children, but if we all end up happier in the end, and they still turn out ok, then I'm not going to lose any sleep over this one.

Friday, October 30, 2009

It Was Not a Waste of a Good Cupcake

I did something that I have never done before.

I threw a cupcake at someone. More specifically, I threw a cupcake at The Husband.
To be even more specific, I threw a cupcake with bright green icing at him.

And, I hit him. In the back of the head. I would even go so far as to say I nailed him.

Even though I threw food, and did it in front of my girls, I have to say I am proud of myself. The pride comes in the fact that I actually hit him.

Now, in my defense for the bad part of my action, let me tell you that first and most importantly, I did not waste a good cupcake. I had already accidentally dropped the cupcake on the road and lost most of the icing in a big plop right in front of The Big One's school. So, I was only bringing the cupcake in to throw it away.
I walk in, carrying the rest of her loot from the class Halloween party, and the cauldron that I took bags of popcorn in.

I had no idea that I was a sitting duck. Or a walking duck.

Almost immediately after my back is to the closed door, he pops out and starts shooting me with a Nerf dart gun. This one happens to his Tommy Gun style, semi automatic Nerf gun. Not that which gun it was matters, other than to tell you he is serious about this stuff. Anyway, by the time I had gotten about 4 steps toward the kitchen, I had been hit at least a good 5 times. There was nothing I could do.

I rounded the corner and got behind the counters in hopes of waiting him out, but ever time I peeked around the corner, I got shot again.

So, there I was, trapped. I looked around me, and I saw only one option. The cupcake. Normally, I wouldn't throw food. Actually, I never throw food, and especially not good food like cupcakes. However, since this one was already inedible, it didn't count as good food anymore. I quickly considered the ramifications of my actions, including the fact that my kids were going to watch me throw food. I realized that it might not be a good idea. However, in the long run, self preservation won out.

I grabbed the cupcake and peeked around the corner. The Husband saw me. He looked at me for just a moment with total satisfaction in that he was about to shoot me again, and total disregard for the cupcake. After all, he didn't think I would do anything with it, even if I did threaten him with.

I did threaten him with it. It seemed the cupcake just wasn't a good enough threat.

He took aim.

I threw.

He looked incredulous for just a second, before turning and trying to duck. That second of disbelief took long enough to keep him from being able to get out of the way.

I nailed him, right in the back of the head. Not only did I nail him, though, but then the cupcake rolled down his head, hit his shoulder, and bounced onto his foot. I couldn't have willed it to do any better had I tried.

It was fantastic. I worried that he might be mad, but he was just shocked. I think more shocked that I hit than even the fact that I threw it, but shocked all the same.

Finally, after getting the camera, taking a great shot for proof, and calming my laughter enough to be able to control my body again, I made sure the girls saw me clean up my mess. They needed to at least see that if you make a mess like this, you have to be responsible and clean it up.

He took a shower, and we went on with our day from there with no more shooting. I think he might have been worried about the big stack of cupcakes in the fridge.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Losing Your Omniscience

As a parent, when your child comes into this world, most of the time, there is a perceived Omniscience. Your kids think you know everything. Personally, I use this to my advantage as often as I can. You can gt kids to confess to just about anything, if they think you already know.

It seems, though, that the veil is lifting, and The Big One is beginning to realize that I don't know everything.

The other day, we were sitting in the family room, going over spelling words, and I realized that there were a ton of planes going over head. We live by an airport, in a military town, and my husband flies in helicopters. I tend to not even notice air noise anymore. However, this was noise from jets, flying low and hard. They just kept passing over and over.

So, I look at The Big One and exasperated, I ask "What is up with these planes today?"

She stopped, looked at me like I must not be firing on a cylinders, and said "Its the Blue Angels, mom. Remember? The Air show." And she said it all in this I think I'm really 16 year old tone, with eye rolls inserted in several places for good measure.

Right then, I knew. She knew that I didn't know everything. She realized that she had caught a blond moment of mine, and that I have those moments. I knew I was busted. We both started busting up laughing. I mean, what else can you do when your 6 year old manages to catch you like that.

I have to change my line now, from "...because moms know everything" to "..because moms find everything out". I'm hoping that slight variation will buy me at least another year of confessions. I need that year to come up with a new game plan.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Buy Me Some Peanuts and Crackerjacks...

I don't know about you, but we had quite a night around here last night. Both girls were screaming, yelling, and generally being insanely loud, and it was totally fine. We took them to a baseball game, and I have to tell you, it was a ton of fun. We got tickets to see the San Diego Padres play the Saint Louis Cardinals. My husband used to be a huge fan of the Card, back in the Mark McGuire days, and I thought he might like the game. So, when I found a way to get us tickets for free, I signed us right up. The housing community that we live in sponsors great events for all the military families that live here. This was one of their fabulous events. We got free tickets to the game, and each person for a $5 food voucher to use. That was all totally cool to me!

We weren't really sure where we were supposed to go or park when we got down town. We muddled through and found a nice little lot on 8th Street. Then, we realized that the lot we had to find to get our tickets was on 13th. It was just a 5 block walk with 2 girls that didn't want to hold our hands, but did want to stop and look at everything in a crowded downtown area. No big. (Insert eye roll here).

We were told to go to the tail gating lot, which no one downtown seems to know exists. However, if you say the corner of Imperial and 13th, they get you and can send you in the right direction. We finally found this mysterious lot and the big red tent where our tickets were waiting. We hoofed it as fast as we could to the tent. There were lots of other families coming, and only the first 200 people got the food vouchers. I'm cheap. I told The Husband to leave us behind and run ahead of the others. He said he would stay with us and it would be ok. It was ok. They still had vouchers when we all got to the tent together. We go our tickets and baseball cards for the girls, and headed in.
Let's Go Padres!

Our seats were about 4 rows above the nose bleed section, but honestly, we didn't care. The girls just got a big kick out of everything. They love the Friar, and wanted him to be on the field more than the players. I tried explaining the game to Lilly, and she got it. Somewhat. She was cheering for both teams, but..ehhh..we didn't care. As long as they were having fun.
The food vouchers were awesome. They have this great 5 for $5 deal now that rocks. You got a hot dog, peanuts, drink, cookie, and something else that I can't remember all for $5. It was tailor made for my kids. So, we got them both that, and they went to town.
We let them eat, yell ,and be wild until they started to wind down. Shortly after the start of the bottom of the 7th inning, we took off. We had all had enough for the night, and even though we were leaving early, I think we were full up on fun. It was really a great time, and a great experience.

I am thankful to those who donated tickets, and let us have such a cool family experience, and create more beautiful family memories.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Ok, Ok, I Want to Potty Train After All

A while back, I posted about how much I did not want to potty train The Little One. Well, I take that all back. I want to potty train her, and I want to be done with it!
In the past couple of weeks, we have regressed from nearly being completely potty trained, to using diapers almost all the time. I have no idea why, either. While things have been a bit stressful around here, the past couple of weeks have been the best in the last month or so. So, why would it get worse now?? I just don't get it.

My guess is that The Little One has decided that she needs to make this decision, and wants to have complete control over this whole situation. If you have ever met her, then you know, this is a serious issue. Saying she is bull headed might be an understatement.

I'm not sure what else we can do, other than just give it time. I want to be done, but if she isn't ready, then she just isn't ready. Sometimes, you just have to give in and get on board their train, even if it isn't on the track you wanted to be on.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Losing Someone Close

Today, I found out that we lost a dear family friend. I am devastated. Though I knew she was sick, and very sick at that, I still feel shocked by her passing. It seems like there should have been more time. I had plans. I wanted to make her a card and send it to her. I wanted to send her a little get well gift. None of that will come to fruition, now. Life, or death really, trumped my plans.

Linda was a wonderful woman. I have so many fond memories of her. She is my mother's age, and I grew up with her. More than just my mom's friend, though, she was my friend. I would go places with her. I would hang out with her. She made every formal dress I have ever owned, including my prom dress and even wedding dress. We shopped a lot for that one. We drove an hour and a half to the best fabric store we could get to so that we could find exactly what I wanted. She custom made my Renaissance gown, with a partial pattern because nothing was exactly what I wanted. She hand sewed the pearl beading around the edge of my 10 foot train. She made my sister's dress, too. Then, as if doing that wasn't enough, she even served as my wedding coordinator. I don't know how I would have gotten married had it not been for her. Well, I suppose I would have gotten married in a dress that I didn't love, and a whole lot less organized without her.

I remember thinking she was such a cool mom. Not that my mom isn't cool, but Linda was in many ways a much more liberal parent than my own mother. Sometimes a little more liberal is good.

Yeah. She was great.

I feel so much for her family right now. The kids must be so distraught. I can't imagine. I so wish I could be there to support them in person. I would hold her daughter's hand, and send The Big One off to play with her oldest son. Sometimes, distractions for kids are a great thing. I would hug the middle child, because words just wouldn't do.

To the family: I am so sorry for your loss. I loved your mother dearly, and will miss her terribly. Know that she was and is a greatly loved woman, and there can be no greater legacy than that.

Goodbye, Linda. I wish I had gotten to tell you that myself. Thank you for everything. I mean everything. You meant a lot to my life, and I appreciate your being a part of it. I hope your body is finally healed, and you are in paradise, relaxing now. Rest in peace.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Time to Let Go, and Let...

I think I am having one of those days. You know, those days where I should be completely down and upset. The kind of day that makes you want to crawl into bed and eat Oreos.

However, I have decided phooey on that for today. Instead, I have come to the decision that it is time to just let go, and let .... (Insert appropriate Deity or force here God, Dog, Buddha, The Goddess, Mother Nature, Fate, etc) take over. I can't do anything about anything, but my attitude. I could, and rightfully so, curl up in a ball and wait for it to be over. Then, my house wouldn't be any cleaner than it is right now and probably a whole lot dirtier. My kids would be a whole lot hungrier. I would be a little smellier for not having showered, and my sheets would need to be washed because of the cookies. So, why add more onto the day? Why not just make the best of what you have? That is what I choose to do.

So far, I have started on one of the three major cleaning projects that I have to get done in the next week. I got in a great workout at the gym. My girls are eating lunch, and I am about to shower while they are occupied. After that, I intend to finish the project that I started, do my normal cleaning, and then make a fantastic dinner for tonight. That is all to be followed up by a walk around the neighborhood with mi familia and a visit to our park before we walk home.

Today will be a great day.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

I Hate Baloons

I hate balloons. No. There was no quirky, slightly misleading title to this post. There is no interesting build up. The truth here is bad enough.

I am a mother who loathes balloons.

I do. I can't stand them. They make me cringe every time I see one, and I am not allergic to latex. So, the reaction is purely mental for me.

I have to say that my hatred probably stemmed from my own mother. As a child, like most children, I loved balloons. Every time we would get a balloon, though, my mom would tell us this horror story about a little boy who put a balloon up to his mouth and popped it. According to her, pieces went into his throat, and if I remember correctly, they couldn't get them all out, and he died before anyone could get him to the hospital. Now, I have no idea how true this story is, or when it happened, but I believe my mom really feared for us when she told us this story. So in turn, I now fear for my children, and think of this very story every time they have one.

The hatred is so deep seated, though, that they don't even have to have a balloon for me to get agitated. Just seeing one is enough to start my skin crawling.

I know that the moment someone beside them gets a balloon, or there is an opportunity for them to get a balloon, that we have to have that discussion about why they can't have one, and I have to come up with some terrible excuse. I feel like a bad mom because I won't let them have a simple little balloon, one of life's joys for a child. It isn't even that I am being a bad mom, but more a little nutty and overly concerned mom. It is just the way I am and I like to avoid the situation at all costs.

I try to be cool about things, and realize that kids will be kids, but seriously, I just can't quite get past all my fears when it comes to balloons. I know in my head that this is my issue, and that kids get balloons all the time without inhaling them. So, I am trying to work on that. I am trying to give them some time to play with them, and just not freak about them all the time. Maybe one day, I can even be excited with them when they get a balloon, or at least not want to handle them like I am a member of the bomb squad, taking care of a suspicious package. Maybe.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Someone Make the Lambs Stop Screaming

I have been blessed with two wonderful, beautiful, intelligent daughters in this life. I have also been blessed with the ability to hear. While it may seem those two blessings are unrelated, when your children are constantly fighting and screaming, they don't seem so unrelated.

My girls fight constantly. I could use a string of colloquialisms to describe their behaviour around each other; they fight like cats and dogs, or they are like oil and water, but no matter how you describe it, the fighting is exasperating and painful, even. I don't think we have had an entire hour where the two of them are on the same level of our home, with out a fight. They don't even need to be in the same room, just the same floor, for something to erupt. And erupt it does. The fight starts out with some sort of low rumbling. Then, it build with larger quakes and noises. Until, it all out explodes and drenches us all in fiery, ugly meanness.

They fight over the most ridiculous stuff, too. I swear to you, today I spent a good 10 minutes listening to them argue over the same blue crayon. Now, in order to avoid fights, I have placed at least two packs of crayons into our crayon container, and over half of them have been broken into two pieces or more. So, there are multiples of every single color in there. It doesn't matter, though. That blue had the best wrapper, or was the longest, or what ever menial reason they could give to try and fight over the crayon. It was ridiculous.

It is disabling for me. I start to shut down when they fight. I can't accomplish the tasks that I have designated for myself. Instead, I find myself either trying to stop the fight by reasoning with them, or just hiding to try and avoid it all together. As proof, I sit here mulling over all this, while my bathrooms sit in desperate need of a good cleaning.

I've tried different approaches to handle it. For a while, I just immediately took away what ever they were fighting about. I have separated them. I have threatened them. I could go on with all the things I have tried. However, today, I read an article that gave me something new to try, and I think I like this one the best. A child psychologist suggested that you just ignore it. While there were a few things that were considered unacceptable, and would require the parent to step in immediately, outside of those situations, you just let them work it out. I don't know why I haven't tried this before. I have always made my oldest work her own problems out with her friends and would not step in unless there was blood involved. As a result, she knows how to work out problems with her friends, and use her words to solve them, very well. So, I don't know why I haven't been doing this with my own two, in stead of constantly trying to referee. I don't want to referee and I'm not going to do it anymore. I'm going to get off here, in a few minutes, and go clean my bathroom. Unless they start to bully or physically hurt each other, I'm just going to ignore the them to the best of my ability. I'm even going to try and find The Husband's mp3 player that he keeps telling me I should use, and enjoy some sweet music while I clean the bathrooms. While I will still be cleaning the bathroom, at least I'll be listening to something I enjoy hearing while I do it.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

The Family that Plays Together...Burns Together

Ayer, mi familia y yo fuimos a la playa. I have no idea why I felt the need to put that in Spanish, but I just think it is cool when people use something from the more common vernacular to talk about their family, but "the fam" felt all played out.
Anyway, for those who don't know how to use the google translate feature, yesterday, my family and I went to the beach. We have the burns to prove it, too.

I am pretty sure this was the first time that we have taken Ava to the beach. Sad for a two year old born in San Diego, I know, but I am just not a fan. I hate being all itchy from the water, and I really hate finding sand in places that sand shouldn't be.

Anyway, we took them to Breakers Beach on base. It may not be the best beach in the world, far from it if you have ever been to Hawaii, but it is never crowded, and has decent bathrooms. That makes it tops around here in my book. I packed lunch for a picnic, and we took all kinds of great sand toys the girls have been begging to get into forever. We loaded up and headed out just before lunch time. The Little One is still limping pretty badly. So, it wasn't the easiest walk for her. Also, the water was pretty cool. She got in once, then decided she would rather sit with me and play in the sand. The Big One and The Husband spent almost the entire time in the water. She loved it. For a kid who can't stand to get dirty, she thought all the seaweed in her hair was hilarious. The Little One, well, her father dug a whole that went to her waist, and she spent a good amount of time playing in it, then just filling it back up. By the time we left, she was caked in sand from head to to. Really. Caked in it. I think her big sister transported a good portion of the beach into the showers herself. I'm really not sure whose suit was smuggling more sand, but it took me forever just to get enough off to make them passable to go to the grocery store afterwards.

I wasn't too bad on the sand, because I tried to avoid it like the plague. However, when you have a husband whose mission in life to cause havoc and mischief, you have to expect to get at least a little wet. Knowing full well that I would act like a cat with the water, He brought up a bucket full of water under the pretense of carrying it for the kids to use. I, knowing his nature well, figured out his ruse and immediately started beating feet. Didn't matter. He can outrun me in a flash. And he did. I gave my evasive maneuvers my best shot though. I even worked so hard that a boob fell out of my built in shelf cup bra. It stayed in my suit, and I didn't flash anyone, but I did have to adjust, as soon as I quit moving and he threw the water on me.
Even though I was itchy and wet, it really was a good time. I even, mistakenly, thought I got away without being too badly burned. However, it seems that all of us ended up with some little, but painful ones. Both of the girls have faint outlines on their shoulders. The Big One has about an inch strip right above the top of her suit back that I must have missed in out sunscreen rub down. The husband has a funky U shaped burn on his back, where apparently, I only put sunscreen on the middle of his back, and not anywhere near his sides or the top of his swim trunks. I have some horrible and painful burns where I neglected to put sunscreen in the very delicate area on the inner part of my arms and on my side boobs. Not fun. Not fun at all, I tell you. I went out and bought more aloe and even some that has some kind of pain reliever in it. We gooed our selves up pretty well last night, and will keep putting it on for a while. All in all, though, I think the day was well worth the little bit of burn. It was a great time. One that I hope we repeat, with slightly better sunscreen application, again soon.

Friday, July 31, 2009

The People Who Make A Difference

Today, we took the Little One to her follow up appointment on her Boo Boo Sock. Today, we were to find out if she had actually broken her growth plate, and needed a cast for longer, or if she would be free to roam again.
I have to say, before i tell you how the appointment went, that experience was actually a pleasure. No really. I mean it.
We are fortunate enough to live within 2 miles of one of the vest children's hospitals this side of the Mississippi, Rady Children's Hospital. Also fortunately, since this is the closest hospital to us, our insurance will allow us to go there, and not force us to use the military medical centers, in an emergency. This time, they even let us go back there for her follow up. After three total trips to this hospital, I am now a huge fan. This place, and these people, really make a difference. I can't imagine how different our experience would be if we had been forced into the military hospital for all of this.
At Rady's, they understand that you are dealing with children who are scared and unsure of what is going on around them. They take the time to be as patient as is possible. All three times we have gone, the girls have walked out with not only stickers, but a little stuffed animal, meant to keep them company though the scary parts. Today, the Big One was the first to get one. She had to turn her back on the table where the Little One was laying, getting her cast cut off. The man, who happened to be the one who put the cast on the Little One, standing there noticed her, and right away gave her a teddy bear to hold. Then, he gave her one for her little sister. It isn't even that they get stuff, so much as the fact that they are doing something to reach out and comfort the children on an appropriate level for the child. They are all specially trained, and deal with children in a most impressive way. Aside from just the bedside manor, they are good at what they do. Their knowledge is far superior, I feel, to what we would have gotten elsewhere, and I truly value their expertise.
On top of all that, you have other little things, that really add up. The place is all decked out for kids, from paint schemes to room theme, interactive displays, and the icing on the cake, volunteers who come in to work with the kids. In our first waiting room was a man making origami out of dollar bills, and doing magic tricks. In the second, was a man who brought in a small wooden harp, and was singing and playing for the kids. It was really neat to experience. Honestly, the visit was almost a please, aside from the fits of crying and the nervousness of not knowing what was going to happen to my baby, of course.
So, I have to say thank you to all those at Rady's, who are fantastic beyond words.

As for the appointment, the results were just as good as the visit. They saw no break on the x-rays again. They couldn't see anything. So, the Dr said it could have just been a deep bruise. They let her walk around a bit to check her out. While she does favor the leg with a good limp, and complained about walking at first, the Doctors felt that was due to her being in a cast more than anything else. After a little exam and some discussion, they told us to get out of there. No more Boo Boo Sock. Just watch her and bring her back if she gets worse or doesn't get better.

So, tonight, she gets a bath. A good play bath, at that. Were talking colored water, bubbles, and toys. The works for this one. I'm sure it will be a great wet time. We have to be careful not to rub the leg hard. She already took too much skin off, rubbing at the joint in her ankle making it bleed. In a day or two, though, she should be as good as new. She is already terrorizing the house with all her might. In two more days, we should start fearing for our sanity again, and I look forward to it.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Happy Birthday Big One

Today is the Big One's Birthday! I can't believe how big she is!!

It seems like just yesterday that I was bringing her home from the hospital. I will never forget our ride home with her.

We have a tiny little car, and I didn't ride in the back with her. So, with both of us upfront, we couldn't really see her. We didn't know about baby mirrors at that point. Anyway, I kept my hand on her, reaching back for her, the whole time. At some point, she stopped moving and making sounds. The Husband and I both sort of freaked out. I couldn't tell if she was breathing or anything. He tried to check her, and couldn't tell either. We began to panic and actually pulled over on the side of the road, jumped out and checked on her. Of course, the baby was asleep. Sound asleep. No one told us that babies sleep in cars. Our families were far away, and here we were with a new born, all by ourselves. How silly it all seems now. She spent many, many hours in that car sleeping in her car seat. In fact, we would often just get in the car, late at night, and take her for a ride and put her to sleep when nothing else worked. It would be just us, and the MPs driving around the base at 1am on a week night. We all survived her infancy, though, and that is what counts.

Now, she is such a character. She is absolutely 6 going on 17. She is all about the drama and attitude. She is the quintessential blond who lives on a different plane of awareness from the rest of us. She is also very intelligent. She is emotionally in tune with people. She loves animals. She has a heart of gold, and would do anything for you she could. She is an amazing young lady, and I am proud of her all the time.

We love you, Big One. Happy Birthday.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Walking Through The Fire

If someone came to you tomorrow, and told you that they found something very important to you that had been lost, but that if you really wanted it back, you had to walk through fire to get it, would you?

If they told you that the flames would lap at your skin, scorching, burning, leaving scars that will always be there, would you, could you try?

If they told you that you would feel each flame, and the pain, though it would physically fade in time, the memory of it would stay with you always, would you turn and walk away?

What if they also mentioned that though you may start walking through the fire, the pain may well end up too much for you, and you may end up jumping out of the fire with out what you had lost? Would you still even attempt it?

How important would this have to be for you to stay and walk through the fire to find what you have lost?

I may have just stepped into my fire, and I have a long path yet to take, but I have faith, and hope, that I can make it through. That is all you can have. Faith and hope, along with endurance, have to get you through.

In time, when my scars have faded, I hope to tell you that faith and hope are enough.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

The Boo Boo Sock

Sometimes, when you think life just can't get much harder, it does.

This past weekend, the Little One had a bit of an incident.
The husband decided to take us all to a huge inflatable bounce house play place for a family day. It in one of those places where they have a ton of huge bounce slide things set up. I hate those things. I cried twice when I was at the top of one. It was actually a great time, though.
Right up until the the accident.
The Little One was coming down a slide, and go her right leg tucked up behind her, with her knee bent at a bad angle. When she came down, she fell, and started crying. I grabbed her, and could tell that she was really upset. I got her to calm down, and held her under some shade for a while. I thought it might have just been the heat. She was tired, and sweaty, and apparently done. So, I held her for a few minutes while The Big One and The Husband played just a little more. Then, we packed up and went home. She was out before we ever got out of the parking lot.

We took her home and let her sleep. My Mom stayed with her while the Husband and I ran out for just a bit.

When we got home, The Little One was on the couch, and Mom said that she couldn't stand. After a few minutes checking her out, and verifying that she indeed couldn't put any weight on her leg, we called her Dr, and then headed off to the ER.

We had a nice long visit, with multiple trips to the x-ray machine. When it was all said and done, the orthopedic doctor said that he thought she had broken the growth plate in her knee, but they weren't sure. She needed a full leg cast for two weeks. At the end of the two weeks, we go back in for more x-rays, and then we find out for sure. They will be able to see healing on the x-rays if it had been broken. If they see something, she gets the cast for longer, if not, she is good to go.

For now, she is couch bound in her big purple "sock". She has to be carried everywhere. This is great when you are in the midst of potty training. I mean fun times. Really, though, I should be thankful that she is handling it so well. She has been a champ though it all. We have only had one big bout of crying, but other than being a little clingy, which I can handle, she is just going with the flow.

Let's all keep fingers crossed that when the cast comes off, the x-rays will be clean, and she will be free to move about the house, causing terror in her wake again.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

May I Borrow Your Copy?

I'm really not sure what happened, but somewhere along the line, I seem to have lost my answer key to my life's question book. Not sure how that happened, but I really need it back, if anyone finds it.

It seems lately that there are so many questions that I just don't have answers for. Hard questions. In fact, I don't even think I requested the study guide, let alone answer key, for some of the things that have come up of late, because I never thought I would need them.

In hindsight, I might have been able to pass the tests I am going through, or find the answers, had I only known that these subjects would come up. Instead, with no forwarning, I find myself in the midst of the hardest midterm of my life, about my life, with nothing but my own mind, wit, and what little wisdom that I have, to try to get me through. I'm not sure that any of that will be enough. I think I might be in so far over my own head, that I just don't know if I can pull this one out. My friends have tried to help the best they can and I appreciate it. I do. I love them for it, in fact. They are there, cheering me on, hoping that I find the right answers on my own, because the truth is no one but me can find the answers this time.

In truth, these questions really aren't a pass or fail kind of thing. It would be more like one of those books I remember reading a lot in middle school where you came to a point that there was a question about the action, and you got to choose how a character responded. Your choices led you down a different path with in the story, and each choice resulted in makeing a different outcome. I used to love those books, and would read them over and over again, each time choosing a different responce, just to see all the possible outcomes.
The problem with life is that I only get to make the choice once. I can't go back and re-do it so that it ends up with a different outcome, if I don't like what I get. So, I have to think very carefully, and really choose well.

It isn't easy. I'm not sure that anything is life is, but I can assure you that some choices are much harder than others.
Right now, I'm going to think carefully, and try my best to choose wisely. I realize that I have the power to change this story, and I intend to choose as carefully, and wisely as possible, because I really want a good ending.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Music for the Masses (of kids)

We love music around here. All kinds of music. Sometimes though, I think that if I have to hear one more song by a princess, or some tried, true, and oh so tired children's song, I am going to sew my own ears shut. Might even help take care of the "Mommy, Mommy, Mommy,Mommy,Mommy..." problem.

Instead, I have been trying to choose music for my kids a little more selectively. Right now, my girls really love the Beach Boys. They like a lot of old rock.
I have found that to be a good compromise for us. A little Beatles, some Beach Boys, and a tad of Elvis for good measure, make a great play list for the kids.

When it comes to music specifically for kids, though, we have issues. I have been able to find one newer artist they love, Hullabaloo. I have to admit, I love them, too.

Today, i decided to dance with my girls. We do it sometimes. I put a CD on, close the blinds, and we dance like crazy. Today's pick, by request of the big one, was Hullaballoo's Tall as a Tree.
I have really been listening to the words and lyrics in songs more than ever, trying to find inspiration when I can. I have to tell you, Steve writes a mean lyric on some of these. These songs have a great sound, that I can actually listen to, and enjoy. They are really have a great message too. Songs about how life changes, or taking things one step at a time at great for kids and adults. Even if they don't have a great message, they are just great in general.
If it weren't for Steve, I would never have realized that I carry a grown up sippy cup, but I do. I'm telling you, give them a listen. You'll probably find yourself dancing to them with your kids in your living room, blinds drawn tight, some day too.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Life Changes in a Flash

Sometimes, your walking around in life, having a great time, just doing your thing. Maybe you aren't even having a great time, but your in your life, where you know what is going on, and how things are supposed to go. You have a plan. You have a vision.

Then, out of no where, some thing comes at you like a 10 ton boulder and knocks you off your feet. You get the breath knocked of you. Your beaten and broken, and your left laying there, trying to make sense of the world around you, after that boulder flattened everything in its path, including you.

Sometimes, that just happens in life. Maybe there are warnings. Maybe you heard the boulder rumbling as it rolled before it came into view. Maybe there are no warning, and it came just as quietly as a mouse, but with the force of a n elephant, to topple your world.

No matter whether you knew it would or could happen or not, the force is the same. The boulder does the damage it can, and then you are left there to survey, and start over, broken, hurt, and different from its impact.

Some people can go on, and though they will always be different, you can never heal to be exactly the same way you were, you can be ok. Some people won't be able to go on. The boulder will leave them too broken to be able to continue.

Me. I am going to pick my self up. I am going to brush off the dirt that it left. I am going to allow myself the time to heal to breaks that have been caused. I know that I will never be the same, but I am not going to lye under that boulder and let it hold me down. I will make a new path, in this different world, changed by the impact, and though I don't yet know this new world, or know what that path will be, I am going to make it the best that I can.

I will be ok.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

I'm Third Fiddle

My mom is in visiting. I love her. I really do. I am ever thankful that she is here, helping out, and doing what she can to make my life easier. Mainly, she is taking care of the girls, which is honestly all that I want or need. She pretty much takes over with the girls the moment she gets in. In fact, I kind of get pushed out the door.

Once my mom, or Mim Mim as she is known around here, gets in, the Big One instantly asks me when I am leaving so that Mim can baby sit. They don't even play like they need me or miss me.

The Big One wants only my mom to take her to school, which actually meant that I had to load everyone up, drop them both at the designated area, circle around while mom walks her into the school and to class, and finally come back for mom. As long as she feels like Mim is taking her, that is ok, though.

Mim takes them to the park with out me. She stops the ice cream truck, something I never do, to make sure they get a treat.

In fact, though she is my mom, I can tell you that she really doesn't even come to see me. No. I am welcome to go where ever I like, when ever I like, and she will be here with the kids. That is the way she likes it. We spend some time together, but it isn't a lot. I don't really mind playing third fiddle anymore. I don't know if I ever did. I appreciate her help so much, that I am willing to give up first and second chairs, and skooch on over to the third, as a trade off for a little peace and quiet. Really, I am just so thankful that they both love my mom, and value her. I am also thankful that they get the benefit of all of her wisdom and experience. I hope that she imparts a little of herself into both of them each and every time she is with them. If that means I take the backseat, so be it. It is more roomy back there anyway.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Pancakes at Our House

We have a few loose family traditions going on over this way. Two of them revolve around food and both happen to be on Sunday.
Every Sunday night is pizza and game night. With my husband deployed that has morphed into pizza and a movie night because I just can't play Princess Monopoly with a 5 year old and a 2 year old by myself. It doesn't start or end well. Once my husband gets back, we will go back to pizza and a game night, which we all enjoy.

The other Sunday food thing is that each Sunday morning, I make pancakes. I make a pretty good sized batch, so that I have some for at least one other day, like Tuesday morning, already made.

The Big One loves pancakes now. Loves them. And I love that she loves them so much. So, we get into pancakes around here. Usually, I make different shapes for them. The staple of our pancake shapes are hearts and stars. I have however branched out on occasion. I have made a rocket. We do roses every now and then, and of course there are seasonal pumpkins.

Today, though, I made my first butterfly. I was a little worried that it wouldn't even resemble a butterfly, but it turned out ok. It wasn't great, though. So, I tried again, and the second one looks pretty good. Good enough that you can tell what it is. If i hadn't let it get a little over done, it would have been awesome! I even put some colored sugar crystals into the batter, to give it a little color and spots, and make it a little more butterfly ish. The Big One loved them, and was absolutely tickled with her butterfly.

The Little One, well, she really isn't a big pancake person. She did down a banana, and some of my eggs with chipotle salsa, though. Maybe one day, she will get into pancakes, but probably only if I make one shaped like a steak.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Yesterday vs. Today

Yesterday, my oldest looked like a young version of California Skipper.

Skipper is of course Barbie's little sister.

My Big One is tall and very thin. She has super duper blond hair that is very long. I pulled the top half of her hair up and braided it, and left the rest down. I put her in a hot pink gauzy top with a cute little jean skirt. She is really tan from all the time outside she has been getting. The hot pink really set off that tan. So, between the outfit, the hair, the tan, and everything, she really made me think of California Skipper.

Today, she looks like something from where the wild things are.

We ended up running a little behind today for several reasons. She got a cough last night and was up all night. So, I tried to let her sleep a little more, but she is still tired. Then, I had a cute outfit picked out for her, but, as we were about to put shoes on, I realized that her pants had a big hole in the knee! So, I had to run and grab her new pants. Now, the shirt and pants don't exactly go together, but it was the best I could do in a flash. I ended up with not enough time to redo her hair from yesterday. So, I just took it down, brushed it, and put a head band (that didn't go with anything she was wearing, but happened to be the most neutral one I could find) in her hair. She has this wild frizzy crimped looking hair sort of floating all around her now. Then, she kept messing with her head band, and pulling on the hair in front of it, so small sections would get pulled up and out, sort of hornish. It was hilarious.

Seriously, the difference between yesterday and today is amazing, but I happen to think she is beautiful both ways.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Another San Diego Special

When we first moved to San Diego, I have to be honest, I hated it. From the depths of my soul, I found it to be the most foul place we had ever lived.

This city is huge and impersonal. The people are impersonal. You have to really learn your way around. I had never been on the west coast, and to me, the water was east. So, I would get lost all the time. I used to cry nearly everyday that my husband went to work, because I was home, and alone with my little girl. I was really miserable.
At some point, I realized that I needed to change things for myself. I got involved with local mom's groups, and finally found one that I loved (I actually started running it. Why wouldn't I love it. lol) Anyway, though being a part of a group like mine, I started to explore San Diego, with other moms, and found it has so much to offer, if you choose to see it.

Today was a great example of what San Diego has to offer. I took my little one to Sea World for the first time. I used to take the big one all the time, when I first found the mom's group. We bought a pass, and we would go a couple of times a month. I finally got back into that with the little one, and I am so thankful. She had a blast. Since we live here, we went for just a few hours. It wasn't like I had to fit everything in today because we were on vacation, or anything like that. No, we went and played for a while in Elmo's Bay of Play. WE even rode one of the rides for little kids. Then, we went to watch some dolphins. After we saw them flip for a bit, we headed over to see the Shamu show. I think the little one is now in love with Shamu. She kept hugging herself and rocking like she was rocking a baby. She wanted to hold and pet Shamu. It was adorable. She was really riveted most of the show. When the show was over, we checked out some sharks in their super cool shark enclosure, and went home. We only saw one show, and didn't even see a third of the exhibits, but it is totally ok. We can go back anytime we want!
With a silver passport, I get free parking, and we don't eat lunch in the park. So, we spend no extra money. Totally cool! We can just hop on over anytime we want, because we happen to live in a city that has so many cool things like this for families to do.

Now, I love it here. Once I get my older one settled into a better school, I will be even happier. I only wish I had started exploring the city and all it has to offer even sooner.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

You'll get yours, My Pretty

Today has been one of those days where you just feel the need to survive the day. You don't necessarily aim for it to be a great day, but you just want to get through it, with no casualties.

After going to sleep way too late last night, and fighting with the little one until she went to sleep at nearly 11pm, I was awoken by the same little one, way too early. She wanted me to wake up and read to her. I wanted to roll over and snore. I will let you guess who won, but since I am incredibly grumpy, you probably don't have to guess hard.

Anyway, we were nearly out of diapers, both reg diapies as the little one calls normal diapers, and Dora pull ups that we use for potty training. So, we had to venture out this morning.

First, we hit Wal-Mart. That place is designed to make you crankier anymore, let alone with kids. Of course, both of my kids were just as cranky as I am, and both decided to show off their bad behaviour in various ways. I think the big one must have ask me for everything in that place. She wanted it all. She kept touching it all. I would have put her in the cart, but it was too full of apple juice (the cheapest place to get it), diapers, and all the other junk that somehow just hops into your buggy while you are there.
The little one ask for a snack, which was great. It kept her occupied until nearly the end of our time there.
We finally get to the front, and of course, there are three registers open, and massive lines. After minutes of more grabbing and begging and yelling, we finally paid and left the building.

Somehow, I think the feeling that I get when I leave Wal-Mart with two kids in tow on a on busy day, is much like the feeling that a prisoner gets upon being released from county jail.

But I digress.

Then, we had to put everything in the car, buckle up, and head over to Von's for a tiny bit of grocery shopping.

By the grace of God, there was one of those car shopping carts for kids. So, both girls went in this time. Well, I thought it was the grace of God, until I realized that this one had no seat belts. Then, I realized it was really more like a trick of Puck, then the grace of any god. We took the cart anyway, lest there be a full on mutiny. I don't know if things would have been better or worse with a regular cart, and I don't want to speculate now, but I do know next time, if there are no seat belts, we won't be taking it.

For at least the first two minutes, the car occupied them. They were playing some sort of competitive plastic horn honking contest. Not sure who won, but it was very loud, and very serious. That's all I really got.

The little one started standing up, sticking her head through where the windshield should have been. The big one kept leaning out, and her long, long blond hair kept brushing the ground.

They continued to fight. It only got louder. At some point, the big one started beeping, and it actually angered the little one, who started yelling no. I tried to get them both to stop. Threats worked momentarily, but each one seemed to fade quickly, until another one was issued.

Finally, we were nearly done. Well, I was done long, long ago, but we were almost finished with our shopping. I headed through the frozen foods to get a frozen pizza. After we finally got one picked out, and were headed toward the front, I saw her.

At the head of the isle stood a very pretty, young woman. I would guess she was about 23 or 24. She had her long hair done perfectly. It had blond highlights on top with brown low lights under. She had side swept bangs with a wide head band just behind them. The hair behind the head band was teased a little for volume. It took some time to get all that done this morning, I am sure. She was wearing the most adorable little mini swing jacket and carrying a nice purse. All in all, she looked like every young successful person I see anymore; well put together and unfrazzeled. She stirred in me some distant memory of myself, when I had to put on make up to even go grocery shopping, because you never knew what man you might see, or what man might see you.

As we got past her, the little one started yelling "No" repeatedly, objecting to something her sister was doing. They were being loud, and wild, and kids.

She looked at the little one, well, at both of them.

Then, she laughed.

I was stressed beyond belief, just trying to get out of there, and she laughs. Now, miss "I am perfect right now" may have actually thought my kids were cute. Or she may have looked at me, all disheveled with a vein nearly popping out of my head, or who knows what, but it really didn't matter what caused it. The absolutely last thing that I needed or wanted right at that moment was a cute 23 year old looking my way and laughing, for any reason. It just breaks you down that much farther.

What I needed was a knowing, and I wish I could help, kind of look from another mom who felt for me. Maybe even a hug, but not a laugh.

Somehow, I managed to get out of there with everyone unscathed physically, after grabbing the little one's shoes, which the bagger nicely pointed out that she had taken off and laid in the floor next to our shopping cart. Though, mentally and emotionally, I had taken a beating.

I kept thinking about that young woman, and how her reaction, even if it were completely innocent, affected me right at that moment.

Now, I certainly don't wish this little chic-a-dee ill will. However, ten or so years from now, when she is in the same situation, walking through a grocery store with kids that have traipsed on every nerve she has, when her hair, or her figure, aren't so perfect anymore, and she is well past her wits end, just functioning on survival mode, I doubt her brain will work well enough to bring back this memory for her, but somehow, someway, the karmic threads of life will be balanced just a little bit more.

Monday, May 25, 2009

On this Memorial Day

I don't tend to delve into copied and forwarded Internet fodder. However, my loving husband sent me something that is anything but simple Internet fodder.
It is beautiful, poignant and well worth sharing to everyone I know, and even those I don't.

So, on this Memorial Day, please, take a moment to read this, and even read it to your children, as he ask me to read it to ours.

The Commissioning of PCU New York will take place on November 7th, 2009 at the Intrepid Museum Pier 88 South, Pier 86 North New York City, NY, 10036, USA.

Finally, some of what we lost returns, The USS New York, LPD-21, will parade into New York Harbor on Monday, November 2nd of 2009 for what will undoubtedly be the Commissioning event of the century. No other ship in world history carries the same sentiment and import this ship possesses. In her bow is 7.5 tons of World Trade Center Steel, on her decks are the best and brightest crew this nation can produce and in our hearts, the hopes and dreams of a nation that will not be kept down.

Remarks by Deputy Secretary of Defense Gordon England
Christening of LPD 21, 1 March 2008, New Orleans, LA

Today is a day of reflection, remembrance and resolve. On the day the towers fell … all Americans were New Yorkers.

Some people still question why terrorists killed 3,000 people of 60 nationalities that day. I’ve concluded that they killed 3,000 because they did not know how to kill 30,000, 300,000 or 3 million, but they would have if they could have … and they are still trying.

This is not a war of our choosing. This is not a war we can ignore. This is not a war that will end if we walk away from the battlefield.

This fight, brought to our shores that day, is a struggle that will require strong, steady and sustained leadership with the enduring need for a strong military … and ships like NEW YORK.
A ship’s name is important. Ship names provide a legacy … and for the Sailors and Marines who sail in those ships ….they are a source of strength … and inspiration. This ship … stands for “life, liberty … and the pursuit of all who threaten it” and will ensure that we NEVER FORGET … 11 September 2001. They will take the fight to all who threaten peace and freedom.

The ship’s motto [Never Forget] was inspired by President Bush. I remember well when the President came to the Pentagon on 9-12 and met with the Pentagon’s senior civilian and military leaders. The Pentagon was still burning. In the conference room, you could smell the smoke and jet fuel … and feel the soot in the air. Security was high, and the military was on full alert.

I recall the President telling us to Get Ready … to get the military ready. He stressed that this war will be fought on three fronts … diplomatic, economic and military, but that the military must succeed for the Nation to win. He said, “This will be a long war – not like removing a mole, but like removing a cancer.” He said that the country needed to move on and resume life as normal, but that we, who were charged with the defense of America and freedom, could never forget what happened on 9-11. The President said, “I will never forget”. He then went around the room and looked everyone squarely in the eye and said, “Never Forget … Never Forget.”

Memorials are intended to remind us and on this Memorial Day – let us remember those who have gone before us and have given their best. Let them continue to inspire us to give our best as well. And, lastly, be reminded of why we do what we do.

God Bless America,
Chaplain Cartus Thornton

Sunday, May 24, 2009

The lovliest things

Sometimes, I think it would be nice to have my bed all to myself again. It would be nice not to roll over onto a small paperback of an Amelia Bedelia book, that has been lost between the covers. Or maybe not to roll onto a little plush animal, also lost in the covers of the bed. It is hard not to lose things in bed covers, when you have so many on the bed, like we do. Two little girls each bring their own blankets when they come to my bed. We have a twin size Scooby Doo comforter, a toddler sized Dora or Princess blanket, depending on which one was grabbed, and then of course the covers that belong on my bed. There are tons of pillows and the king size bed seems sort of crowded.

Just when I want my space back, and I think I can't take it anymore, I look over to my left and I see that laying with me isn't just a mass of tangled covers and toys that don't belong, but the two most beautiful things ever put on this earth. These two gorgeous cherubic (they are sleeping) little people whom I love more than life itself.

I realize that I can reach over and touch them or kiss them, and not wake them, or even need to get get up to go do it. I can snuggle up to them, and smell their little heads. I get the gift of laying there with these two wonderful, funny, beautiful girls, and I know that I better take that gift while I have it. It won;'t be long before there is no more snuggling. They will want space of their own and Independence.

So, I guess if a book and a tiger int he back are the price I have to pay, I will pay it gladly. Heck, I'll even sleep under the Scooby Doo covers with them.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

What a morning

We met some good friends for breakfast this morning. The spot we went to, my friend has been telling me about for years and years. Really. Multiple years. I have always wanted to go, but just never done it.

The experience started out a little rough. We had to be up a little bit early in order to get there before the line formed, and this place does get a line.
Then, we had to park and walk a ways in a very crowed traffic filled area. We brought along the big one's bike for a walk and ride along the beach afterward. Unfortunately, as previously stated, my oldest lives on a different state of awareness than most. So, after a spill while just pushing her bike, and then running into a parked car with the stroller, I realized that I was going to have to push the stroller and bike down the side walk, if she were to survive.
So, that was hard enough, but then, the big one nearly got hit by a car as we were going through a cross walk. We were already half way though, and she went ahead a few steps. This women comes barreling though, not even looking, and nearly hits her. I almost started crying. It was scary.
So, I made her stay right with me from then on, with one hand on her bike, even though I was pushing it. As we went through the next cross walk, I yelled for her to hold onto me, to make sure she was right beside me. Well, she reaches out and back pocket. My jeans were barely on anyway, and so she helped me semi moon most of the area. I couldn't stop to pull them up until we were out of the cross walk, either.

It took a while to find the place, and we were running really late by then.

However, I had text messaged my fantastic friend what I wanted to order, and she got it. By the time we got there, it was at the table. We sat down to some of the cheapest and best food around. It looked great, at least. I didn't eat the good stuff because I am really watching what I eat right now, and opted for something a tiny bit healthier from the menu. However, the girls scarfed down the eggs. The pancakes were great. It all looked fantastic. There was so much food one the one cheap plate, that I split it between the girls. There were even tons of leftovers.

The view that comes with it is unbelievable. This is really one of the best spots in all of San Diego to eat.

After we were all done, we went for a walk or ride along the beach. It was really nice to get the big one back on her bike. She hadn't been in forever. Bike rides are a dad thing, and mom has been negligent in taking up that part of Dad's job. After seeing her ride, we need to change that. She really needs some practice.

The view was gorgeous. The little one got a bit cranky from all the time sitting, and I think we need to opt for a push trike for her before we go again, but she seemed to like it, too.

When we were finally done, we walked through a little farmer's market and got some really, really yummy cherries. Not your typical red cherries, either, but some Rainer cherries that were so big, the big one kept telling me they were little peaches. They were good, for sure.

All in all, I would say this is what a real San Diego weekend morning should be, minus the near miss and stress. Breakfast overlooking the ocean, then a walk on the beach, to finish up at a farmer's market. All with great friends. I don't think it gets much better than this out here.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Save The Unit

Expect this post to be riddled with sophomoric humor and laced with innuendo. If you care not for either, please avert your eyes from the screen until you move scrolled onto another post.
**warning over**

If you don't know what The Unit is, it is not a nickname for anything associated with my husband, but one of my favorite tv shows, and it just got canceled! I am devastated. I love the Unit. The Unit makes me happy. (I warned you.)

In all honesty, I am taking this pretty personally. One of the few things that my husband and I regularly do together is watch The Unit. When he is home, he is almost always off work on Sunday nights. So, after the girls go to bed, we lay on the couch together and snuggle up for some Unit time. (seriously, warned you).

The Unit is a great show. It keeps me on the edge of my seat. There are great story lines, and the hotties acting them out don't hurt! I mean, were talking hot guys playing military special forces roles. Hello! Really, though, it isn't just the guys, the show is great. So, if you love you some Unit too (I need to stop), or if you just feel bad for how much I will miss the Unit (I promise to stop now), then, please, go to CBS's website, and leave them a request to keep it up on the air.
Thank you for your time, and your patience!

Potty Training Stinks!

Potty training is one of the parts of parenting that I loathe. I really is.
It makes me wonder if we could just skip it, and they could figure it out by themselves before they turn 5. I think I would be willing to buy diapers for that long, if I could just avoid the process. I know, though, that we just have to do it.

We are in the throws of the P.T. process now. The little one is beginning to grasp pooping on the potty. I don't have much warning, and when she says potty, we have to run. I have to basically drop everything and take her straight to the potty, or she will go in her diaper. The problem is, that she still doesn't quite get her body's signals yet. So, if she has bad gas, we drop and run to the potty. Which is annoying, to say the least.

In fact, it makes it near impossible to get anything done. I was trying to read a book with the big one, who needs to read a non-fiction book for a book report. Well, I had to drop and run to the potty 2 times while reading. It wasn't that long of a book. We just couldn't get through it. The little one comes running in, and tells me she needs to go a 3rd time. This time, I say no. I ask her to wait just a minute. We only had 2 pages left. Of course, this is the time she really needed to go, and she pooped in her diaper. I know I should have stopped what I was doing, but with that many stops, it is affecting the flow and comprehension of the book for the big one. It just needed to be done.

She doesn't get pee yet, though. She comes to me immediately after she pees, so fast that her diaper is still really warm, and tell me she has to pee. So, we are close, but just not there yet.

Arg. This sucks, to put it mildly. What else sucks is that by the time my husband will come back, I will have gone through all the terrible habit breaking things all by myself.

I broke her from her beloved pacifier (pa-pa) all by myself. I am doing the potty training, and I think she may be done, or pretty close by the time he gets home. I am about to get her a big girl bed, as soon as I can find one I like, and move her from my bed to her own bed. By the time he gets back, all the baby things will be done.

Well, now that I am about to cry, perhaps I should look at the brighter side of it all. First, some how, surprisingly, I managed to get away without any kind of edible reward system this time around the PT track. The only reward the little one wants and gets, is a pull up when she goes on the potty. Well, that and a little song and dance from mom, who won't be sharing that with anyone else. She loves the Dora pull ups, and knows she only gets them if she goes on the potty. She also knows that is she potties in her pull up, it goes in the trash and she has to earn another. So, that is good.
It will also be good to have her out of diapers, and not spend that money anymore. That is $20 more a month to go toward my MNOs when my husband gets back.
Finally, it will be thrilling to have her in her own bed, especially when the husband comes home. I don't think that needs any explanation, either.

So, there are some bright sides to this crappy (ha) process. I guess I need to focus on those, and keep my eyes on the prize. That $20 will buy more than a couple of well drinks at a very well deserved night out!

Friday, May 15, 2009

The Diva and The Tall One

Today, we have had a great day around my house. We have managed to make wishes and dreams come true, and it was all pretty easy.

The first wish come true was for my oldest. I sat her down for the big talk about going to a new school next year. Much to my shock, she is thrilled. Her big question was "Will I go to the new school as a Kindergartner?"

"No. You will be a first grader."

Her eyes got big, and were filled with light and excitement.
"I have always dreamed of being a first grader!"

Man, that was an easy one. = )

She will be getting a set of Junie B. Jones books for her birthday, before anyone suggests it.

The next one came just about as easily. I was getting them ready for bed and the big one made this very dramatic movement and show of preparing to get ready. I ask her if she wanted to be an actress.


"Would you like to be an actress when you grow up?"

"An actress? Why?"

"Well, you are very theatrical, and you have a certain flair. I think you would be a great actress, or rock star. Something like that."

She thought about that for a minute.

"I know what I need to be then, mom. I should be a Diva."

I busted up. I mean busted up.

When I calmed my self enough to talk, I told her she already was a diva.

"Oh, then I guess I will be a Dr."

Good girl. Make sure you can take care of your momma.

So, I turned to the little one.
"What do you want to be when you grow up?"

She didn't answer. I mean, she is two. This is a hard question. So, I repeated it.

"What do you want to be when you grow up?"

She tapped her chin as if to think for a second. Then she got up on her tip toes, and stretched her self as far as she could.

And yet another wish that will be granted around here.

It was fantastic.

These are the kinds of things that keep you going, when it is 12am, they won't sleep, and have been crying for the last 2 hours straight. This is the stuff that I love and live for, the fantastically fun moments of our lives.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

No Fear!

I'm not afraid of the boogie man in our mail box. Not anymore, anyway!

We got a call today, and the big one has a spot at the school I requested for next year!

I am so thrilled it isn't funny. I actually started crying on the phone. That women on the other end either thought I was nuts, or knows all about our school and probably felt for me. Either way, I had to cry.

I am so relived that she won't be back in that hole next year.

Now, I know that she will have a hard time accepting the fact that she will be changing schools, but sometimes, we have to do what is right for them, even if it hurts a little in the process.

I am very excited about the possibilities at the new school. I am looking forward to new experiences and great times in a much better environment!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Worse than the Boogie Man

I have a huge fear right now.

I am afraid to go to my mail box.

I don't want to do it. I'm scared of what will be in there.

Actually, I suppose I am afraid of what won't be in there.

Last week, our school systems mailed letters to parents who applied to their choice program to switch schools for their child. Given the time frame that they were mailed in, I would say today is the last day to get your acceptance letter.

So far, though I applied on time, I haven't gotten a letter.

If one doesn't come today, I will have to call the office and find out what is going on.

I am really, really scared to go look. If my child did not get into a different school, I am not sure what I will do. In case I haven't posted this enough, I do not like her current school. In fact, saying I don't like it in no way adequately describe the negative wash of feelings that I have for that particular school.
I absolutely do not want here there next year. Aside from the academic failures, which are great themselves, I don't even feel that she is safe in that school. After being followed off campus in a case of mistaken identity by a parent who wanted to get into a fight, and having the school fail to address the situation at all, I just about cry every time I leave her there.
In fact, I would do just about anything to get her out of that school. I would even consider homeschooling, even though I think neither of us would survive it.

So, there is a great amount of dread lodged in my heart at the moment. I know that when I go to the mail box, if there is no letter, a battle will ensue. I don't want to do it, but I will. I will get all momma bear on whom ever I need to, and it won't be fun, nice, or pretty, but it will be necessary.

Let us all hope that there is no need for all of this worry, and that a big ole letter from the school system will jump out and bite me the moment I open the box.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Being a Bad Parent

Sometimes, life isn't pretty.

We yell at our kids. We make rash decisions. We don't always be the best parents it is possible to be.

Sometimes, instead of parenting to be our best, we parent to survive. You do what you have to do. You may not make the best decision, but it is the one that gets you through the moment.

There are times that I like to hide out in the bathroom with a book, and let my kids watch gratuitous television. It may not be the best way to parent, but sometimes, you have to.

In reality, it doesn't make you a bad parent. It makes you a real parent. It makes you a parent who knows your limitations, and who understands that sometimes, we have to do things to survive this emotional ride we call parenting.

The important thing is to have your moment. Then, pick yourself up, and get back into it, knowing that tomorrow will be a better day. Hug your kids, tell them you love them, and then tell them that tomorrow will be a better day.

So, if you have a moment, or a day, where you need to hide in the pantry, eating oreos, while your children run around in pajamas, watching tv all day, go ahead.
Know that you are doing what you need to in order to survive, and I won't judge you. Just don't judge me when you see me with Oreo crumbs on my mouth, either. We bad parents have to stick together.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

She Knew Just What to Do

As I was getting ready to go get the big one from school, and chatting on the phone with a friend, I pulled my jacket out of the bottom of my stroller, and I gasped.
There, in the bottom of the stroller, where it sat all day, was her lunch bag.
It had been covered by my jacket, and neither one of us remembered it.
I panicked.
My friend, a teacher, kept reassuring me that they would have given her lunch, as long as she told someone. That isn't a great comfort, though, when you have a very finicky eater, who would absolutely go hungry before she would eat something she didn't like. At least my friend tried.

In the event that this happened, I always send her with lunch money in her back pack. So, maybe she just bought lunch, I hoped.

I grabbed a granola bar and some juice, in case she was starving, and ran off to get her. I get to school, and start chatting with some moms. We were in the middle of a heated bad neighbor discussion when she came out of her classroom. She didn't say anything, and there were no tear streaks on her face. She just ran off to play. I finally had to call her over to ask her about it, because it was killing me.

"What did you do for lunch today?"

"You forgot to give me my lunch bag!" (Of course it was my fault. She gets it from her daddy. = )
She continued with her story.

"I came out, and my lunch bag wasn't there. So, I went back in, and came out again. It still wasn't there. So, I knew just what to do."

Now, I swear she said that. She had to double check, just to make sure it really wasn't there, I guess.

"What did you do?" I ask.

"I went in and told Mrs. N that we forgot my lunch." (Ahhh, and she shared the blame this time)

"Then, I went out and got my money in case we forgot, and I gave it to the lunch lady."

"What did you eat?"

"Chicken nuggets."

"Did you eat all of them?"

"No. I ate one."

"Did you at least drink your milk?"

"Some of it."

I kept thinking about this. On the way home, I started talking out loud about it.

"So, I paid $2 for one chicken nugget and a little milk?"

" are right, mom. I should have only used one of my dollars."

I explained that it doesn't work like that.

Even if I did pay full price for one chicken nugget, I am really glad she knew what to do, and was able to get a lunch. She enjoyed the process, if not the food itself.

In fact, she told me I could forget her lunch again once day. I told her that didn't work that way, either.