Friday, December 31, 2010

Another Blurry Week

Hope your Christmas holiday was everything you wanted to to be.  We had a good one.  We went to one family gathering on Christmas Eve and another on Christmas evening, but otherwise we stayed home and savored just being home.  My sister and Keary's sister came over while we ate taco soup, watched Christmas movies, and made candy, and we went to Mom's the day after Christmas and Dad came over that evening.

Gwendolyn and Maggie wound up with a ridiculous amount of toys again this year.  Currently, I am questioning why I thought an mp3 player for Gwendolyn was a good idea because I still am having to listen to her music.  It isn't that I don't enjoy Glee or the occasional Taylor Swift, I would just rather not listen to them constantly or listen to a four year old whine the songs out even further than they already are.  As for Maggie, she got probably a dozen new toys that light up and sing songs.  At least her's seem to have some educational qualities to them.

After all my worrying about whether Santa Claus was coming to our house or not, and mine and Keary's multiple trips to the stores the last days before Christmas to find the best big gift to leave under our tree from him, Gwendolyn still told the ladies at the library Wednesday that he didn't come to our house.  I don't know whether to be relieved that I don't have to remember to do everything just the same next year or disappointed that she didn't fall for it after all our work.

And there it is, talk of next year, which officially starts in a little over 7 hours.  We don't have plans for New Year's Eve and honestly, I will probably be asleep when the clock strikes 12.  2010 hasn't been the greatest and the last half has really kind of been an asshole so I have a lot of hope for a new year. But with that hope is coming quite a bit of uncertainty.  Things really have to be better than the last half of 2010 though.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Happy Christmas Eve

Happy Christmas Eve people.  And if you aren't doing Christmas Eve, I hope at least you have a joyful Friday.

Have any big plans?

We, we are staying home.  Or staying home as much as possible.  I told my family that we were staying home and anyone who wanted was welcome to drop in to our house, but that we weren't filling up our days with going here and hurrying there so that by the 26th we are all overstimulated.  I can't say my announcement was met with  much support or anything, or come to think of it, I don't know that anyone will be coming by.  I do know though that when we decided we weren't giving in to the hustle and bustle, I started sleeping more than 2 hours a night.  And Gwendolyn was tickled at the thought of staying home, making cookies, and watching Christmas movies.  I thought I would have to sell her the idea.  Keary has been working seven days a week since June, and the only days off he has had (which were very few) were filled with still having to rush here and there.  We just need some time where we aren't rushing anywhere.

I still need to cook.  I prepped some sausage balls last night so all we have to do is through them in the oven.  And I got stuff to make taco soup, pigs in a blanket, chip and dip.  I also got a ham, but I may just wait until Sunday or so to cook that.  And I got some things for Gwendolyn and I to make cookies and candy.  I don't really know what we are going to cook, but I got enough supplies to make a couple batches of sugar or chocolate chip cookies, some chocolate covered oreos and some fudge.  Gwendolyn doesn't really care what we make as long as she can decorate with sprinkles.

I think everything is wrapped.  I'm not totally sure because I have things in bags that I intend to put in stockings and I am trying to make sure the girls have equal number of things to open.  I still need to print off one of Keary's gifts- a planner/ notebook to keep all of our household stuff in place.  The printer is being finicky though so rather than being his Christmas gift, it'll probably be more like a Tuesday gift.  My biggest concern is the girls' stuff and that is pretty well done.

Hope you have a great holiday.  Be safe.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

She was at the original one, right?

My dad's church is having their annual Live Nativity tonight.  They have been having for ten years or so, it is complete with live animals and everything.  This year they asked Gwendolyn to be an angel.  She responded,in complete seriousness, "No, I would rather be She-Ra and have a sword."

It is going to be an interesting night.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Santa Claus is Coming to Town?

I really didn't mean to go for over a week without posting.  I'll have perfectly written posts in my head, and then when I sit down at my computer, I swear they leak out my ear and all over my chair.  Maybe that isn't exactly what happens to them, but I can't get anything out on the screen.  Oh well.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Happy Holidays

It never occurred to me until sometime last week or so how offensive some people found the phrase "Happy Holidays".  I have always signed our Christmas cards "Happy Holidays" and I genuinely mean just that- I hope you have a Happy Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, and New Year.  And a happy any other holiday that I have forgotten.  And just a plain happy time if you choose not to celebrate any holidays at all. I am sure it has probably always been a point of contention for some people but it wasn't until I saw multiple posts and statements about how "it shouldn't be Happy Holidays but MERRY CHRISTMAS" until I thought about it.

You know what?  I filled out our Christmas cards yesterday.  And they are all signed "Warmest wishes and Happy Holidays". And I think that is completely fine.  Yes, my family celebrates Christmas and we celebrate the birth of Jesus with church, the nativity, family, food, friends, and gifts.  And if you don't celebrate the same as I do or even at all, I still want to wish you a happy day.  Isn't that what is meant by "goodwill toward men"?

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Life Happens and Plans Go Awry

Last week just didn't go like I had hoped it would.

Early in the year, Keary had marked off to take vacation the week after Thanksgiving, in hopes we might get to take a honeymoon since we didn't take one after we were married.  We researched and decided where we wanted to go and what we would do, but then we couldn't get anyone to agree to watch Gwen and Maggie for us.  We were disappointed, but it was okay- we would have a week to get all the projects around the house done that there is never time for since Keary generally works 7 days a week.

We made lists of what we wanted done needed to buy to get the projects done, and made plans and timelines.  Keary and I decided that we needed to paint the overhang over the back door, paint the front door and back door, buy and install the new microwave/ vent-a-hood.  I wanted to make a wreath to hang on the front door and make an advent calendar to do with the girls.  Plus we needed to get put up the Christmas decorations, wrap gifts, finish shopping.  We made plans to go to the zoo and zoolights.  I needed to schedule Gwendolyn and myself a haircut and hoped we might get to go see Tangled.  And and and then Grandy went into the hospital.

I have always been close to my Grandy.  I am the first grandchild, lived with her for several years when I was a teenager, and had her great-grandbabies.  I sat with her between 8 and 10 hours a day while she was in the ICU.  She was confused and agitated and kept trying to get up.  She fell once because she did manage to get up, and then promptly fell because she is unable to use her right side right now.  I was able to calm her a few minutes at a time and answer her repeated questions (because I am used to answering the same questions over and over again).  I could field questions from her visiting friends and medical personnel.  And I could do all this while not missing work, unlike the rest of the family.  Well, I wasn't missing work as in someone pays me to do a job, but I was missing work that I do everyday at home with my family.

When I would make it in at night, I would just crash, and Gwendolyn and Maggie would both rush me to cling to me and tell me about their day and snuggle.  I would turn in a couple hours later to fall into a restless sleep, then return to the hospital.

 I did what I needed and had to do and wouldn't change that, but things just didn't turn out how I had planned.  Oh, and I know that my plans for the week had been lofty and everything wouldn't have gotten done, but progress would have been made.

I am trying to return to my regular schedule.  Keary went back to work yesterday, so I have to find my routine again.  Grandy transferred out the ICU on Friday and then went to a rehabilitation hospital yesterday.  Hopefully, she will make a smooth transition and start working on making progress on rehabilitation.

And Keary has another vacation scheduled for between Christmas and New Year's.  I am doing my best to not make plans for then.

Monday, November 29, 2010

weekend awakenings

My family was given quite the reminder to count our blessings.  After a lovely Thanksgiving Thursday, my mom called Friday night to tell me Grandy was being taken the the hospital after what appeared to be a stroke.  Apparently when she came home from a friends house late Friday afternoon, her husband kept asking if she had been drinking,  Then when she went to get ready for bed, she fell and couldn't move her right side to get up.  An ambulance was called and she was taken to the emergency department.  Tests revealed that she suffered a cerebral hemmorhage on the right side.

Because of where it is located, surgery is not an option.  Luckily, it appears that medication will at least stop the bleed.  She has significant right side weakness but is already showing some signs of improvement.  She is lucid, knows who she is and recognizes everyone around her even if she can't remember their names, she needs to be reminded where she is and I still haven't seen her be able to tell you what year it is.  She does know that Christmas is quickly approaching though because she keeps asking me how she is going to get all her Christmas shopping done.  I have tried to explain to her that I can help her do it online or with catalogs or even go physically buy the gifts myself, but the short-term memory problems are keeping it on her mind.  She is in the ICU and will be a few more days.  Then she will most likely be sent to a rehab hospital for possibly a few weeks.  She is okay though.

We are beyond thankful she is okay.  And I have seen our family pull together more over the past weekend than I have seen them do so in over ten years.  It is unfortunate that it took an emergency to make everyone pull together, but we are thankful and blessed.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Wishing you a belated happy thanksgiving

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving or Thursday, whichever applies.  I tried to get over here a dozen times to wish a happy day and post a picture of the hand turkey Gwendolyn made, but it just never happened.  Some days are like that.

Did any of you get up at dark:thirty and do all your Christmas/ holiday shopping?  Some stores were opening at midnight.  That is just crazy.  I can't think of anything I need bad enough to skip sleeping and fight the crowds for.  I've only ever gone shopping early on Black Friday and that was when Gwendolyn was 5 months old.  She woke us up early and refused to go back to sleep, so we got out of the house and went to the mall.  It was a madhouse, and since we didn't have any shopping goals, we were in the way.  That was the first and last time we  have done Day after Thanksgiving shopping.

I'll admit I do still have a few gifts to get or make.  I am hoping to do most of that shopping online.  What can't be done online, I'll get when we are out at the mall during the week.  The girls and I go wander around the mall or Target for a couple hours once or twice a week.  I have been a stay-at-home mom for almost four years and have decided that is what lots of stay-at-home parents do.  We see the same people every week and they appear to be meandering the same as we are.  Do you have any neat gift ideas you are giving this year?  I would love to hear them.  I have a couple people on my list who are very difficult to shop for and regardless of how much thought I put into it, generally wind up with more Arkansas Razorback paraphernalia.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

You would probably expect talk of cooking the day before Thanksgiving...

  • We got to go see Harry Potter Deathly Hallows Part One this weekend and really enjoyed it.  The theater was all decorated with references to the series everywhere.  I am glad I had read the book before though because otherwise some of the things going on in the movie wouldn't have made much sense.  Now I am just waiting on the last one to come out.
  • If you are planning on going to see HPDH:1, I would not suggest drinking a large glass of tea before going to the movie and then part of a soda during the movie, unless you want to spend the last hour of the movie wondering if your bladder is actually going to explode and contemplating peeing in a popcorn bucket so you feel relief but also don't miss any of the movie.  I am just saying.
  • Keary made it to St. Louis and back safely, and the girls and I made it through fine too.  The only incident was when I went to let Waylon back inside Sunday only to find that he had escaped.  I pulled on shoes, grabbed his leash, and headed out the door to go hunt him down.  Gwendolyn cried big, giant, sloppy tears because she thought her dog was gone forever.  By the time I made it out the door though, our nice neighbor lady was bringing him home.  
  • Gwendolyn has made her a thank you card and is chomping at the bit to deliver it, but she has been gone. I promised her that she will get to deliver it soon.
  • I'm super proud that Gwendolyn even thought to make a thank you card. 
  • Being alone without adult contact for 36 hours nearly turned me into a zombie.  The lack of sleep and listening to the girls' constant chatter didn't help either.  
  • That is why this entry is in bullet form.  I didn't know if I could make a coherent entry with paragraphs and stuff.
  • I don't have an excuse for the rest of the time though when Keary is not away on business trips.
  • I asked Keary the other morning when I got out of the shower how zombies turn into zombies and he didn't even bat an eye. I might as well have asked him what he wanted to eat for lunch.  I think that is very telling of our relationship.
  • And lastly, it is currently 74 degrees outside.  Tomorrow the low is 28.  This does not forebode well for the time between now and tomorrow night.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Whee Weekend

What do you have going on this weekend?  Getting ready for Thanksgiving? Movies?  Housework?

Maggie had her 15 month wellness check-up this morning and received two injections, so I am hoping to get to all of the above but know that may not happen.  Sometimes she does fine with her vaccinations, sometimes she runs a little fever and is cranky.  The appointment went well, Dr. S said she was perfect.  I expressed some concern over her lack of talking because Gwendolyn was already speaking in complete sentences at this age, but she said that she is obviously communicating and getting her ideas out.  I also told her that I have had family expressing concern (or disgust but let's call is concern) that Maggie is still nursing.  She reassured me that Maggie is still a baby and as long as I am comfortable nursing her, then it is fine. Sometimes it is just nice to have someone reassure me and affirm what I think.

So if Maggie is not crank I am hoping to get a couple things ready for Thanksgiving.  Depending on the dish, I will assemble it as much as possible and then put it in the freezer, then finish up on Thursday.  I say Thursday.  I really have no idea what our Thanksgiving plans are though.  The past two years we have stayed home and just cooked for us.  This year though, my mom said something about cooking.  She said she was cooking several weeks ago though and I have not heard anything else: what I need to bring, where we are eating, what time, nada.  Keary's dad said they would like us to come up for Thanksgiving lunch too, so I ought to make something for us to take.  I really require more planning and information than I am getting though from everyone.  If I wasn't such a coward about cooking a turkey, I would just have us stay home.  The past couple years we have gotten already cooked turkeys so I guess I was cheating.

And we are going to see Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows part One tomorrow.  I am super excited.  We generally wait until a movie has been out a few weeks so it isn't so crowded, but we really wanted to see it already.  My sister sent me an email this morning that said:
Harry Potter!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
 We are pretty excited about it.

And then Sunday Keary is leaving for a business meeting that involves getting to sit in the luxury suite at the St. Louis Rams football game and be gone overnight.  I really don't know anything about football so I am not too jealous of that part, but I am not too keen on not him not being home overnight though. Not to worry though, we will have this vicious beast guarding us:

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Plain Rotten

What do you do when you get into a funk?  Not a quick passing funk, one that seems to be never ending and you would rather have bamboo shoots shoved in your nail beds than be around yourself.

I have been in one for a solid two weeks and there are just not words for how bad I feel or for how bad I feel for those who have to be around me.  (Hi kids if you or your therapist are years in the future and reading this.  Sorry.  I got through this though and did minimal damage to you at best, right?)  I am exhausted, but I cannot sleep.  Once I do sleep, I have exhausting dreams and wake up even more exhausted, plus then I can't go back to sleep.  The word cranky doesn't even begin to describe my mood; though I am trying to keep it to myself, I know that I am failing at keeping it all to myself.  I'm more anxious than usual.  I am more and more easily frustrated.  In short, I am a complete and utter joy to be around.

I thought at first it had to do with almost family drama.  (The almost part being on the family part, the drama was definitely there.)  But I feel fine about any part I might have had in it and think I am right and doing what is best for my family.  That doesn't make me enjoy the thought of the upcoming holidays though.

The more thought I put into it (which I am sure isn't helping me), the more I have started to wonder if it isn't very directly related to the time change and fewer hours of sunlight.  The timing fits.  My sleep pattern change fits.  This time of year is notoriously bad for me, so it seems to be a pattern.

Whatever the cause, be it drama, seasonal affective disorders, holiday stress, regular every day stress, I have got to fix it.  I have been making mindful efforts to breath and remind myself that it may not be the kids or husband being particularly annoying and maybe it is my mood.  I have been paying attention to what I eat and opening the curtains as soon as I get up and trying to get out of the house, even if it is to wander aimlessly around Target.  Still though, I want to be done with this funk.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

I'll post this because I am fairly certain my husband doesn't know I write here.

I spent multiple hours yesterday trying to get this image uploaded to shutterfly. Whenever I previewed my prints though, it kept being cropped where you could barely see the top and bottom row. I was beyond frustrated. And I couldn't seem to word my quetion right to figure out how to fix my issue. My lack of technical skills is truly atrocious.  I have learned everything through trial and error, heavy on the error.

Here is one of Keary's Christmas gifts. I am printing it up 16X20 or so and framing it.  I got the idea from here.  I am also working on printing him off a photo book of pictures from the past year.  Nice gifts, right?  I am trying.  It is hard to come up with gifts for someone with no hobbies or interests beyond World of Warcraft.

And if you don't know what World of Warcraft is, I am jealous.  Just know it is a thorn in my side and has been for 5? years.
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Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Bake Sales and Indecision

Last week Gwendolyn brought a note home from school requesting the parents donate baked items for a bake sale that will run in conjunction with a gift bazaar the church is having.  This should be no big deal, right?  They didn't request a specific item so any type of baked good or treat should be fine.  And I am a pretty good cook, even if I do say so myself.  I suppose for other people who don't reside in my head, which should otherwise be known as crazy fruitcake territory, it probably wouldn't be a big deal.

I immediately started racking my head trying to figure out the very perfect baked sale item to send.  I have hundreds of dessert recipes saved in my online cookbook and even more saved on google reader, I should be able to come up with something.  But some things are better served warm and immediately, some things may need to be chilled so they might go bad waiting to be bought-  Oh God, what if no one buys what I make?!  Then the teachers and parents might think less of me... and Gwendolyn... and I will ruin everything for Maggie before she ever gets there!  I have issues, what can I say?  So I took to twitter to ask what they thought I should make.  The general consensus there was pie or rice krispy treats.  I mulled that over, but then I was afraid my pie crust would get soggy or that I would need to individually wrap the rice krispy treats.  I told Keary I needed to take a baked treat and he asked if I was just going to bake the cookie dough I have in the fridge.
"I have to do more than that.  I am pretty sure the school expects more than store-bought refrigerator cookie dough cookies."
So I texted Mom.  I don't remember bake sales growing up, but surely there were and she took goods to them.  She suggested I take a 7-Up cake or any bundt cake because "bundt cakes look pretty so they sell well." That made sense.  I mean unless you have seen some of the bundt cakes I have made that have gotten stuck in the pan, but I could probably handle making a 7-Up cake.  It will probably come out of the pan this time.  And then she sent me "Or just go buy some frozen cinnamon rolls and pass them off as your own like I used to.  You have two small children and a dog.  It is just a school bake sale.  What matters is you donate something."  Apparently she realized I was over-thinking and thinking in circles.

And I was relieved for a few minutes.  Until my mind amped back up and I started thinking about all the other parents having kids too and they are probably busy and still having to donate baked goods.  Their baked goods will probably be fancily decorated too.  And those parents will probably be dressed nice when they drop off their goodies... And will have gone to the gym earlier in the day where they continue to prepare to run their half-marathons or teach aerobics.  Then they will go home and prepare nearly gourmet dinners and not yell or snap at their kids or husbands...

So it seems I have tried to wrap up my self-worth and children's future in what I am donating to a school bake sale.  Now I just hope I don't pass on my crazy fruitcakes patterns of thinking to my children.

I am probably going to take a 7-Up cake.  Or pass off frozen cinnamon rolls as my own.

Monday, November 15, 2010

At least there was no pea soup?

I couldn't so to sleep last night.  I was mildly irritated with Keary, had a 1001 thoughts filling my head, was still processing The Walking Dead (are you watching this? I missed the first episode so I am a bit lost as to why there are zombies, but I am enjoying it... I think.), then I started watching The Real Housewives of Atlanta and wishing those women had more sense to them.  I was finally winding down around midnight and about to doze off when Maggie started whining. She wasn't awake, so I thought maybe she was cold and re-situated the covers around her and hoped that would be that.

Oh how I was wrong!  Within minutes she amped up and was screaming and writhing around in a way that outdid Linda Blair in the Exorcist.  You know the scene... The one where Reagan is in bed and completely loses control of her body and actually broke Linda Blair's back during filming.  We tried holding her, letting her sit up, letting her lie on her belly, letting her lay on her back. Nothing helped and she continued to scream and contort and I couldn't help but feel awful for her.  I don't think she ever fully woke up.  We gave her gas drops and tylenol and teething tablets.  I really think she was having gas pains because she had really big toots occasionally when she contorted., but she was also grabbing her mouth when she screamed and she has half a molar left to breakthrough.  For an hour and a half, she screamed and appeared to be in awful pain.  Then, as quickly as she began, she stopped screaming and went back to sleep soundly.

Maggie and I slept until a little before ten this morning.  She has been in a good mood and even allowed us a longer than usual trip to Target.  I am not sure what caused the episode in the middle of the night.  Maybe the cup of orange juice I gave her earlier in the evening bothered her.  I just hope there are no repeats.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Family Pictures

We had family pictures done yesterday.  *sigh*  I stressed for two weeks about getting them done. Seriously.  No, actually, I think I stressed longer about it.  For weeks I looked for a photographer.  I didn't want just basic Sear's photo pictures with the fake background and someone getting paid minimum wage to just click a couple pictures.  But holy hell, have you seen what some photographers charge.  And I don't know if it is just because I have been drooling over and trying to learn from the Pioneer Woman and Karen and their stunning photography, but many of the photographers in these parts just do not hold up.  The lighting is wrong, the exposure is off, they process the hell out of them.  Oh my, one photographer did really nice work, except she airbrushes everyone's faces, including the babies', way too heavily.  So I looked around and googled local photographers, then I went on facebook to see who people I knew were fans of, and compared pictures and prices. Finally I made an appointment with someone who went to the same high school as I did.

That was just the beginning of the process though.  Then I had to find clothes for everyone to wear.  While I wanted natural-looking photos, I did not want us to actually look like we do daily.  You know.. me in my pajama pants or boxer shorts with a margaritaville shirt, my girls rarely ever wear pants.  Keary is generally presentable looking, but that is because he wears a uniform and just changes shirts.  But he has been complaining about the way his shirts fit, so I had to find him something new that he is comfortable wearing.  Gwendolyn and Maggie have a ridiculous amount of clothes.  I had to go find clothes that fit and were flattering though.  I am not a good shopper.  I am easily flustered and I have to tow both girls with me and they are totally unhelpful.  Unless you qualify Gwendolyn announcing loudly "Momma, you are almost naked!" or "When I grow up, will I have as big boobs as you?" or any number of things.  Anyway, I easily found a couple pair of nice jeans that fit, then a nice sales lady at Dress Barn found a nice green and brown sweater cardigan I liked.  That meant I had my color schemes- all was left was to find Keary a shirt to go with it and make sure the girls had something that would work too.  I shopped for four days and finally had something for everyone to wear.  And then I realized I had picked a completely different shade of green for myself that did not go with the rest of the family's.  Back to target I went and picked up another sweater.

While we were getting ready yesterday, Gwendolyn started to complain that she thought she would be too hot wearing a shirt I had laid out for her.  I took a deep breath and decided that it was just pictures and as long as we are all in it and happy and comfortable, it is fine.  So I told her to go find a green short-sleeved shirt in her closet.  She came downstairs happily wearing a Snoopy shirt and some mardi gras beads.  Then when we put Maggie's new dress on her, we saw it was almost ankle length on her.  I started to change her clothes too, and then decided she was fine.  We all got dresses, did our hair, I put on make-up.  We looked presentable and we left to meet the photographer.

It was 85 degrees yesterday for our fall photo shoot.  It was hot.  Good call on Gwendolyn's behalf not wearing long sleeves, I wore long sleeves and a sweater and sweat like a pig.

 The girls fell asleep on the way to meet the photographer.  She doesn't have a studio or anything but said she had somewhere in mind.  So we met and followed her.  We followed her to a cemetery.  If only I had had a red dress like the bloggess.  There was good lighting though.  And we used the backside of the cemetery where there are no headstones.

I think the pictures will turn out okay.  I am hoping so at least.  Maggie was really in no mood to have her picture taken.  That happens when working with toddlers though.  Honestly, I have taken lots of good pictures of the girls, so even if those pictures don't turn out, it will be okay.  I just really want pictures of all of us together.  I am behind the camera 98% of the time and when I am not, Keary is taking pictures.  I want some evidence of all of us being together.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Reasons I love fall

Candy corn.
     Yeah, I know some people do not like candy corn and find it gross, but I love it.  But I also feel like it is a fall food so whether I can get it year round or not, it is a fall food and will be eaten in the fall, not before or after.

      I love jack-o-lanterns and porches dressed up with mums, pumpkins, and hay bails.  I also love foods with pumpkin: Andy's Frozen Custard has a pumpkin custard that I adore and wait for all year.

It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown
     I am a HUGE Peanuts fan.  I own all the holiday specials on dvd, but the great pumpkin is one of my very favorite.  When I was 7 or 8 years old, my parents told me we were going to get to meet the Great Pumpkin on Halloween and I was so excited.  And then the night ended and they gave me some line about how he had already been to town and left.  Whatever.  I watch the special multiple times around Halloween (and have gotten my daughters to like it and expect to get to watch it) and it always kills me a little when Charlie Brown only gets a rock in his treat bag.

Cooler weather.
     It is stupid hot and humid here in Arkansas during the summer so I welcome the cooler temperatures.  I love getting to open the windows and air out the house, waking up to the crispness of the air.  I like bonfires and hayrides and getting to snuggle up in sweaters.

     Costumes, candy, haunted houses, and scary movies.  Awesome!

The colors, the leaves.
     I love the mix of bold reds, golden yellows, greens, oranges, then watching the leaves slowly fall off the trees.  I like the sound as they crunch underfoot and the smell of burning leaves.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Oh My! What a week!  I knew it was going to be too much, that we had arranged too much for the week, but that is just the way it had all worked out.  And as Keary regularly reminds me "We don't do things the way other people do it. When we so something, we do it all the way."  And he is right (one of the few times you will hear me say that), we are the kind of people who if we were going to do the polar bear plunge, we would strip naked and jump in the deep end. In other words, I think I am saying, we are crazy.  Except we wouldn't do a polar bear plunge at all either because I hate being cold, much less being cold and wet.

But we started last week with Gwendolyn starting school, and much to everyone's surprise, it went well.  Then she was even excited about the next day of school and her only complaint at the end of the day was her tumbling class interfered with her play time and made her feet hurt.  And then to top off her day, she went to the fair and rode rides and ate fair food (and neglected to bring her mother, who labored for 32 hours before delivering her big gourd head, the funnel cake she requested) and ran around with the carnies and her grandparents.  Then Friday night, she got to spend the night with her Aunt L.  Gwendolyn had her first official soccer game Saturday morning.  She was so excited all summer to play soccer, even though we really don't know anything about soccer and sufficed to say, everything we know about soccer we learned from Murray on Sesame Street.  She was excited when we go there, but then clammed up and had trouble understanding the whole running with the ball and the other team's kids aren't going to kick the ball back to you.  At one point during the game, she stopped what she was doing to turn around and yell to us to "stop yelling and saying my name!".  Yeah... I remember when my brother and sister and I played sports wishing someone would put a gag on my mom because she just. wouldn't. stop. yelling.  And her voice kept coming out of my mouth, yelling at Gwendolyn to "Get the ball. Get the ball, Gwendolyn! Kick it!! Get it!! Wahooo!!!!".  Fun times.

Saturday night was my sister's (Aunt L for those of you keeping score at home) surprise (except she requested a surprise party so it totally could not be a surprise party) party.  And it wasn't really a party either so much as it was our family all awkwardly sitting together and sharing a meal at a restaurant.  I guess it was nice enough.  I would like to say it was nice though that her boyfriend put into it to coordinate it, but all he did was get a cake.  And I am the one who told him what the cake should look like (actually I told him what the entire party should look like, but he only wanted to do dinner) and who to call to order the cake and if she was busy, who to call for back-up.  And mom called the family to invite them.  And he neglected to call any of her friends to invite them.  Still he sat there and was so stinking proud of himself.  He looked like a cat that had eaten a bird.  But L was pleased that he had done something for her birthday and that is what matters.  Dinner felt awkward though and Gwendolyn had a melt down before we were able to leave. She was exhausted, I was exhausted, Maggie... well, she was tired of being there.  So we came home and couldn't get to sleep.  I can only guess we were over-stimulated.

Sunday morning we overslept for church and I might as well have pissed in Gwendolyn's cheerios.  It didn't matter that we needed the sleep or that we needed to go get snacks to take to her soccer game that afternoon, all that mattered is that she had missed children's church.  Nevermind she has NEVER gone to children's church.  Then we ran late to the soccer game.  And my goodness, the kids on the other team were so much rougher than ours.  I was afraid someone was going to leave on a stretcher.  Those kids kept dog-piling on the ball and tackling each other.  Gwendolyn was not having any of that and instead twirled and jumped around.

She started complaining that afternoon that she didn't feel particularly well.  I told her if she would eat some supper, I would give her some medicine, and she could go to bed.  She didn't want to eat though and argued and spent two and a half hours playing with her food and not eating.  Then, as I was coming out of the bathroom, she ran in there.  She was sick.  And had gotten sick all down the hall. While I cleaned it up, Maggie went in there and checked on her.  Then she decided what her sister really needed was some background music, so she brought her fisher price piano in there and played for her.  Because of course.

I am just hoping for a less exciting week ahead.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Gwendolyn's first day of school went very well.  The teachers have commented multiple times that they can't believe she hasn't been in a school or daycare setting already with the way she has taken to it.  She said that she made lots of friends but couldn't tell me their names, and acted like I as crazy and unreasonable when I asked.  Ahh, I just can't wait for the teenage years.  She was super excited to go back again today too  Keary said she couldn't wait to be dropped off and out of the car so much that he expected her to jump out and tuck and roll.  Here is hoping it stays as fun and exciting for her, yes?

The local county fair is this week.  Gwendolyn has gone with her grandparents and Maggie and I are staying home.  I feel bad not taking Maggie, but she is only 13 months old so I don't think she would be very interested in riding any of the rides.  And it is 93 degrees at 4pm so I am not interested in wrestling and trying to keep her from running off at the fairgrounds.  She is my ornery child: you can see the mischievousness ooze out of her.  She is the one who I would need to worry about crawling into the exotic petting animal cage or running off with a carnie.  Next year I will take her.  Or maybe I will get the grandparents to take her too.  

Fairs give me the heebie-jeebies.  There are too many people and about half the people seem to be inbred or completely unaware of manners and how to behave in public and it is loud and the carnies are barking trying to get you to play their games.  All I want is a funnel cake and maybe to ride the scrambler or tilt-a-whirl (maybe, I also don't trust the way the rides are driven all over the place and thrown up and put together.  Keary has tried to convince me that the rides are probably safe because they are put together and taken apart so often, any problems would be noted ad taken care of earlier.  I doubt this is the way it works.  Feel free to correct me.)  I also want a corndog.  Clearly I am a fan of fair food.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

And so it begins...

I dropped my four year old off for her first day of school today.  It is just pre-k and only two days a week, but it still has taken my breath away.  I have never left her with people I do not know, and had no intention of doing so anytime soon- even the idea of kindergarten next was enough to make my heart rate go up and head spin a few weeks ago.  I figured that I worked with her enough at home and judging by the checklist to get out of kindergarten, we were faring pretty well, just lacking some social interaction with children her age, and she was getting more of that at the library's story-time and beginning soccer.  Then she asked when she could start school.  And asked again the next day.  And the next day.  So I told her I would check into seeing if there were any schools that had any openings and waited on her to change her mind and say she didn't really want to go.  And I waited.  And waited.  And she never changed her mind.  I emailed a private preschool, and they had one opening left and asked us to come look around and meet them.  I expected her to maybe change her mind once we visited and she learned she would have to do lessons there too.  At this point, I wasn't sure if she would change her mind, but she had such a bad reaction to dance classes last year when I wasn't dropping her off, just sitting and waiting in a different room for her until she was done, I wouldn't have been surprised if she changed her mind.  She looked at the school and said she wanted to attend.  She remained excited all weekend long while we gathered school supplies and discussed what she would take to school to eat for lunch.  And today I watched her hang up her backpack and walk away to go play.  She is ready and seemingly was ready for it all along.  I, on the other hand, feel a little shell-shocked after seeing my little girl transform before my eyes.

Monday, September 20, 2010

So why fruitcakes?

Why "bit of fruitcake"?  What does it mean?  Well, to give some perspective, I was raised in a family of parrotheads, listening to Jimmy Buffett until multiple cassette tapes were completely worn out.  So when I started  mulling the idea to start writing online and looking for a broad title that I could write about not just cooking or mothering, etc, the lyrics to "Fruitcakes" kept coming to mind.  There wasn't anything specific in the lyrics that related to me, but it was more of a feeling and emotion that came from the song: it is light-hearted, but observant and notes craziness that is happening all the time all around.

By: Jimmy Buffett, Amy Lee
You know I was talking to my friend desdemona the other day she
Runs this space station and bake shop down near boomtown. she told
Me that human beings are flawed individuals. the cosmic bakers
Took us out of the oven a little too early. and that's the
Reason were as crazy as we are and I believe it.

Take for example when you go to the movies these days, you know.
They try to sell you this jumbo drink, 8 extra ounces of watered
Down cherry coke for an extra 25 cents. I don't want it.
I don't want that much organziation in my life.
I don't want other people thinking for me.
I want my junior mints. where did the junior mints go in the
Movies. I don't want a 12 lb. nestles crunch for 25 dollars. i
Want junior mints.

We need more fruitcakes in this world and less bakers!
We need people that care! Im mad as hell! and I don't want to
Take it anymore!

Fruitcakes in the kitchen (fruitcakes in the kitchen)
Fruitcakes on the street (fruitcakes on the street)
Struttin naked through the crosswalk
In the middle of the week
Half-baked cookies in the oven (cookies in the oven)
Half-baked people on the bus (people on the bus)
There's a little bit of fruitcake left in everyone of us

Paradise, lost and found
Paradise, take a look around
I was out in california where I hear they have it all
They got riots, fires, mud slides
They've got sushi in the mall
Water bars, brontasaurs, chinese modern lust
Shake and bake life with the quake
The secrets in the crust

Fruitcakes in the kitchen (fruitcakes in the kitchen)
Fruitcakes on the street (fruitcakes on the street)
Struttin naked through the crosswalk
In the middle of the week
Half-baked cookies in the oven (cookies in the oven)
Half-baked people on the bus (people on the bus)
There's a little bit of fruitcake left in everyone of us

Speakin of fruitcakes, how bout the government? 
Your tax dollars at work.

We lost our martian rocket ship
The high paid spokesman said
Looks like that silly rocket ship
Has lost it's cone shaped head
We spent 90 jillion dollars trying to get a look at mars
I hear universal laughter ringing out among the stars

Fruitcakes in the galaxy (fruitcakes in the galaxy)
Fuitcakes on the earth (fruitcakes on the earth)
Struttin naked towards eternity
Weve been that way since birth
Half-baked cookies in the oven (cookies in the oven)
Half-baked people on the bus (people on the bus)
There's a little bit of fruitcake left in everyone of us

Religion! religion! oh, there's a thin line between saturday
Night and sunday morning. here we go now.
Alright, alter boys.

Mea culpa mea culpa mea maxima culpa
Mea culpa mea culpa mea maxima culpa

Wheres the church, who took the steeple
Religion is in the hands of some crazy-ass people
Television preachers with bad hair and dimples
The gods honest truth is it's not that simple
Its the buddhist in you, it's the pagan in me
Its the muslim in him, she's catholic aint she? 
Its the born again look it's the wasp and the jew
Tell me what's goin on, I aint gotta clue

Now here comes the big ones. relationships! we all got em, we
All want em. what do we do with em? 
Here we go, I'll tell ya.

She said you gotta do your fair share
Now cough up half the rent
I treat my body like a temple
You treat yours like a tent
But the right word at the right time
May get me a little hug
That's the difference between lightning
And a harmless lightnin bug

Fruitcakes in the kitchen (fruitcakes in the kitchen)
Fruitcakes on the street (fruitcakes on the street)
Struttin naked through the crosswalk
In the middle of the week
Half-baked cookies in the oven (cookies in the oven)
Half-baked people on the bus (people on the bus)
There's a little bit of fruitcake left in everyone of us

The future. captains log, stardate two thousand and something.

Were seven years from the millenium
That's a science fiction fact
Stanley kubrick and his buddy hal
Now don't look that abstract
So I'll put on my bob marley tape
And practice what I preach
Get jah lost in the reggae mon
As I walk along the beach
Stay in touch with my insanity really is the only way
Its a jungle out there kiddies
Have a very fruitful day

Fruitcakes in the kitchen (fruitcakes in the kitchen)
Fruitcakes on the street (fruitcakes on the street)
Struttin naked through the crosswalk
In the middle of the week
Half-baked cookies in the oven (cookies in the oven)
Half-baked people on the bus (people on the bus)
There's a little bit of fruitcake left in everyone of us

That's right, you too. yeah those crumbs are spread all around
This universe. Ive seen fruitcakes. I saw this guy in santa
Monica rollerskate naked through the crosswalk. down in new
Orleans in the french market there are fruitcakes like you cannot
Believe. new york, forget it. fruitcake city. down island, weve got
Fruitcakes. spread them crumbs around. that's right, we want
Em around. keep bakin baby. keep bakin.

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