Friday, April 28, 2006

More on fear...

I've been thinking about fear ever since I articulated how very many I have. And I've come to the conclusion (for now, nothing I conclude is ever conclusive forever) that fear is not a bad thing. Or maybe I already knew that. Did someone famous say something like that? Anyway, fear of losing them is what makes me appreciate my husband and my children. Fear of regretting how I spent my younger years is what keeps me working towards a goal - not that I know quite what that goal is yet, other than to find a goal. Fear is okay. Being paralyzed by fear is not.

I'm having a bad day. I don't know if it's because my husband is out of town or my gallbladder hurting worse than usual today or if the kids really are just that irritable, but I'm at the end of my rope. Thankfully, as I'm typing they're in pajama/toothbrushing mode. I need a break. That's why I stay up until midnight most nights - I need my downtime. Plus, I just can't fall asleep if I go to bed much sooner. Goes back to those fears - with nothing else to think about, I worry more at night and I can't separate reality from the nightmarish fears.

The only thing we have to fear...

is dying a fiery hideous death on a piece of flying metal. Um, so I'm a tiny, itty bitty, little bit afraid of airplanes. Well, not the actual machine, just my being in one while it's in the air. And my brother's getting married in the fall. In the Caribbean. It would take a very long time to get there by boat. If I thought I could it, I would. I stay awake at nights worrying about the flight already. What's it going to be like when it's closer? I keep saying I'm going to go to my doctor and ask if she can prescribe me a little something to reduce my anxiety, but I don't know if I ever will. I'm not really a doctor-goer. I wouldn't be going for damned gallbladder if it were paining me a whole lot and often.

The depth of my fear of flying is profound. Profound. And yes, I know my odds are worse in my car, which I get into every day. But let me tell you something about me. I don't even get into my car with ease. Every car that comes at me, I'm watching it in case they decide to cross the center line. Every time I drive I'm all too aware that I'm driving a large, heavy machine around other people doing the same thing. And it only takes seconds to have an accident. I'm always aware and thinking about it. I was in a minor accident when my son was about a year old. No one was hurt except my poor old car, which was totaled only because it was worth so little, the cost of repairs far outweighed its value.

I have a lot of fears - heights, flying...well those are the ones that are easy to put into words. The others are all a little more obscure and complicated. And most of them are not really rational. The fact that I know this reassures me, but it does not make me any more rational.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Style...or lack thereof...

Sometimes in the scrapping world, I feel like the girl I was in high school - the one who couldn't figure out how to wear anything more complicated than a solid tee with jeans and boots. Every day. Usually brown or navy blue tees. Other girls could accessorize, wear prints, the latest styles. Not me. That's how my scrapbooking pages are - at least to me. Straight lines, the only thing resembling an embellishment is patterned paper, maybe,if I'm feeling really creative, a rub-on. Other scrappers can mix and match their paper, use those gorgeous big flowers, try out all the latest trends. Even when I specifically challenge myself to break out of the routine, I fall back to where I'm comfortable.

Where am I going with this? No where, really. Because I'm not in high school anymore. I happily wear my solid tees and jeans every day (although I love color now - today's shirt will probably be pink - yeah, I'm not dressed yet, what of it?). That's who I am. Plain and simple. I'm cool with that. I kind of like me now. Doesn't mean I don't sometimes look at those beautifully embellished pages and wish I had the knack. Maybe that will be my challenge to myself today.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006


I was taking a lasagna to my parents house for our weekly dinner. This is the conversation T and G had in the backseat of the van.

G: Mmm, Mom made basagna. I like basagna.
T: No, G, it's not basagna with a B. [insert weary sigh here] It's masagna with an M.
G: Oh, I get it. Basagna.
T: G! [shakes head at poor sister who will never learn to speak properly]
Me: Actually, T, it's lasagna, with an L. [T returns look that clearly says Mom's lost her marbles]

"Don't touch my brain, Mom..."

So many parts of that sentence bemuse me. This was said to me by T the other day when I was getting a little piece of hair off his hear. "Don't touch my brain, Mom." I laughed so loud, Tom came running up the stairs to see what was going on. I told him. He laughed just as loud.

Here's what's getting me though. How does my not quite five year old know that's his brain? How does he even know what a brain is? How does he know that his ear could possible connect to it? How does he know to issue commands like a little dictator (well, I think I have a few ideas on that one)? When did I become Mom? What happened to Mama or Mommy? I miss being his Mama. Luckily, G suddenly decided she wants to call me Mama or Mamana. The latter term is because of the Muppets "Menomena" sketch. They think it's hysterical. They amuse themselves in the car by doing the whole routine together. They fight over who has to the the "Dee-dee-dees." Cracks me up. Almost as much as their horrible knock-knock jokes.

Kindergarten registration is next Friday. I'm in dread of it. T is so absolutely, over the moon, freaking excited about going to "big boy" school that it's breaking my heart - a) because I didn't send him to 3YO preschool and he obviously would have thrived and b) because he's way too excited about leaving me. All I can think about is how much I'm going to miss him. I know I'll still have him however many hours a day and all, but there's something really special about spending time together during the day, when everything is quiet in the neighborhood, we have the park to ourselves. More and more I'm trying to savor these days. I know they're coming to an end sooner than I'm ready for.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Early review on Clean and Simple 2...

And this is from my DH, who read it in - of all places - the bathroom. I had it in there to give it a quick flip-through while the kids were in the tubbie and he picked it up during one of his way too long visits later that night. He came out of the bathroom with tears in his eyes. I was worried about him - did something happen in there? Then he admitted that he'd read my "scrapbooking thing." And he liked it. He liked the writing style, the graphic design style, and most of all, what she had to say both on her layouts and the words in the book. He recognizes parts of me in this stranger who wrote a book about scrapbooking. And he sees the value in what I'm doing.

So thank you, Cathy Z, for helping DH get it. He still looked at me all crazy when I whipped out my camera to take a picture of Ikea, but later that night when I was taking pics of him and the kids, instead of rolling his eyes at me, he just smiled.

I'm thinking now's the time to go out and drop some serious money on scrapbooking. As opposed to? Well, less serious money. Actually, commend me. I'm on a spending hiatus. Haven't bought anything since February. Haven't scrapped since then really either, so I'm trying to earn (mentally, that is) the right to buy more stuff.

Yeah, I put bikes together all the time...


What's the big deal?

Here's the finished product. Pretty nice, except for the fact that I need to sweep my kitchen floor. Off to find the broom... Posted by Picasa

When the folks at Toys R Us offer to assemble something...


for God's sake - take them up on it. It cost ten dollars more and takes 24 hours. I'm putting my firstborn on this thing - do i really trust my own putting together skills enough for that? Impatient me, I didn't feel like waiting that long. We're supposed to have rain tomorrow. I want the damned bike today. Maybe I should have realized yesterday that I would want the bike tomorrow, but too late for that, now isn't it? Actually, I didn't realize that T didn't fit in his old bike (which has, as of 11 a.m. this morning, become G's bike) until I got it out this morning. Poor kid - his knees were banging into his elbows. That didn't actually seem to bother him that much, though.

The good news is, though, that I did get the bike together. I let T ride it. It didn't fall apart. That's something, right? I'm going to have the hubby tighten the bolts tonight when he gets home, but other than that, I think I did a pretty damned good job. Don't tell hubby that I didn't quite use the exactly correct tool at all times (which might have meant a trip to Sears for some new Craftsman tools, as all home improvement adventures do in his book). He's kind of a stickler for that sort of thing. I'm sure I should have used a special socket wrench instead of a...well, normal wrench. Does it have a name? And I dinged the paint on the bolts a touch, but I think that's the manufacturer's fault not mine.

One of us is a perfectionist. One is not. Any guesses which one I am? This is both good and bad. When things really need to be done right (and I can recognize this, even if I don't do it), I let him take over. When something just needs to be done, I do it. Posted by Picasa

Monday, April 24, 2006

Monday, monday...

So when I'm bored and have nothing to say, random song titles pop into my head as titles for my posts. Actually random songs frequently pop into my head for no reason at all. I'm mostly a pop (of all eras) kind of girl, but I love my 70s classic rock and singer/songwriters. We no longer have a local oldies station and that makes me kind of sad. I know the songs were popular nearly twenty years before I was born, but I love them. Something about doo-wop and motown and surfer songs just makes me happy. They're the songs of my teenage years (yes, I was something of an oddball teenager. I chose to listen to the oldies station just as often as the pop station. I also was fond of the light rock station - see yesterday's rambling Air Supply quote).

My DH is a musician, classically trained with rock roots. He listens to the music - the instruments - in songs and bases his like or dislike of songs on that alone. I, on the other hand, can't NOT hear the lyrics. I'm a writer at heart and lyrics are nothing more than poetry. Add to this a bizarre memory that allows me to remember my best friend in fifth grades birthday (June 10th), but not what I had for dinner last night or that I needed to call my surgeon on Friday (I did it this morning because I wrote it down after I remembered Saturday morning). Leaves me with a vast and useless knowledge of song lyrics. Pretty much every song I've ever heard I can sing along with. I can't necessarily sing the songs without hearing them (not so great a singer, am I - if I were young enough, I might just audition for American Idol just so I could be one of the "ghastly" ones they show for everyone to pity/mock/laugh at. No, not really. I don't really care to have my fifteen minutes.) 80s pop, 90s country, 70s classic rock - I'm actually sad that so much of my brain space is used by such useless information. However, if you're playing Trivial Pursuit, pick me for your team. That monumental amount of useless song knowledge extends to trivia too.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

The Perfect Sunday...

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A trip with the fam to IKEA. Ours is only twenty minutes away so pretty much anytime we're bored and looking for storage/organizing/decorating inspiration, we hop in the minivan and take a little drive. The kids even know the building when we past it on the highway. Today we got a dresser for T, which I've been trying to decide on for months. Finally, the clothes that don't fit in his current one were driving me crazy enough to not have to have the PERFECT dresser, and I settled for a "good for now" dresser. His current, too small dresser will go to S, who - being nine months old - just has smaller clothes. Although not that small. She's something of a brute. Tomorrow's her nine month well check, so we'll see how big. Hopefully, I won't freaking forget this one like I did her four month. Oops. Bad Mama.

Actually, that one experience has me super paranoid to not repeat it, so I think I'll be awake at the crack of dawn to be ready. Of course, the crack of dawn around here means whenever Baby S wakes up - which isn't so much the crack of dawn as the crack of, say, nine-ish. I know. I'm spoiled. I like to convince myself sometimes that it's just my amazing parenting instincts and the fact that we co-slept until she was six months old that got her on my circadian rhythm (by the way, if you ever need someone to bullshit a response to just about anything for you, I'm your girl). The sad truth is - and I'm perfectly aware of this, despite the previous sentence, which might lead one to conclude that I'm delusional - I'm damned lucky. Even my earliest riser gets up at 8. And he's almost five. He entertains himself while I press the figurative snooze button.

I'm just updating this post while I allow my Excedrin Tension Headache pills to kick in. Seriously the best stuff ever invented, especially for me and my mom. Me, just until my surgery's over and I can have aspirin again. My mom, forever, because aspirin gives her deadly hives (like in her throat and nasal passages, cutting off air supply - here I am, the one that you love, asking for another day. OMG - is the Excedrin working? I'm getting a little loopy. No? I'm always like that? Okay then.). Oh, and I took a couple of Sudafed. I have a monstrosity of a headache - like a 9.5 on the headache scale (got to leave a little wiggle room for the later contestants, ya know?), so a little combo seemed in order. It's both sinus and tension-y. Hopefully, I'll just drift off to sleep as soon as I lay my little (okay, gigantic) head down. Not likely. I'm not sure that's ever happened in my life. Oh, except for that one time in Disney World, Spring Break 96.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Why, thank you, UPS man...

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I posted this huge long thing about the lovely gifts my UPS man brought me today and it's lost in cyberspace. But aren't they pretty? I'm so excited to read them both, but I've been anxiously awaiting the Cathy Z book for months now. It's on top.

These quirky kids...

Where the heck did they get these odd little behaviors/habits/preferences from?

  • They tell the worst knock-knock jokes. Like "Knock-knock. Who's there? Orange. Orange who? Orange I'm so glad you didn't say pineapple." Yeah, he's close, but not quite there. And then G says "Say me anudder knock-knock doke. You say Who dere? I say knock-knock."
  • Their favorite lunch is "butter crackers." For those of you not in the know, in our house, this means cream cheese crackers. Cream cheese (in our house) refers to the kind that squirts from a can. Okay, so they have a quirky mother too. Not because I came up with those names, but because I bought the cheese in a can in the first place. I try to add strawberries for a little more nutritional value, but they eat them so fast, I can't keep them in the house (the strawberries, that is).
  • They're afraid of spiders, beetles, bees, ants, caterpillars, and pieces of string, dust, crumbs or carpet patterns that might resemble any of the above.
  • They like the BareNaked Ladies "One Week" because "Chickity-China, the Chinese chicken" is apparently the funniest line in any song ever. Ever.
  • T is the Knight, because he doesn't want to be the Dancing Queen. He argues with the chick from ABBA every time she says "You are the Dancing Queen." No, I'm not. G is. I'm the Knight. These two songs appear one after the other on my latest mix CD.

Okay, so I'm realizing that this list might actually reflect a bit more on me and my quirkiness and how it's being passed on to my kids. Never mind then. I get how they got to be this quirky. And you know, I'm kind of proud.

Hold on to these moments as they pass...

OMG, she is too cute. My little G is three years old. She's really only been talking for a year now. I despaired of her ever talking. She seriously had said about 40 words, but I had experienced a late talker with her older brother and was confident that speech would come. It did. With a vengeance. I remember thinking once when T (now age 5) started talking, why, oh why did I ever want him to talk - he never shuts up! Now G is the same way. If she's awake, she's talking. She still mispronounces a lot, but in a very cute, mostly understandable way.

I find myself using her consistent mispronuciations myself. Like "You're welpome." The color white is "Whipe." I guess I should instead be modeling proper pronunciation or some crap, but it's just too cute. And I know that it won't last - all these things of toddlerhood won't last. I know this and it breaks my heart. Of course, right now she's in the midst of a temper tantrum because her brother dared to take back the toy she took from him. That ending doesn't really make me so sad. They're growing up. All three of my kids are growing up. Five, three and one this year. I wish I could freeze them for a few extra months at these ages. I wish I could capture these memories - every last moment of them - and never lose them.

That? That desire to keep every single second fresh in my (very bad) memory? That is why I take about a hundred pictures a day. Think I'm joking? Ask my poor kids. Ask my DH. I take pictures of anything and everything. I'm not that great yet, still learning the ins and outs of photography. But I love my camera and I love pictures. I love to go back to 2003 (when I went digital) and relive the moments.

Thursday, April 20, 2006


About two weeks ago, we went to my IL's for the weekend. During our trip there (about two hours) we learned that there had been a family emergency and my MIL wouldn't be home. She asked us (well, actually, she asked my brother-in-law to ask us) not to come. Well, we were already en route, so we continued, thinking that if the worst happened (and it did, her mother, my DH's grandmother, died that night), we could be there to lend support. Later we found out (also from BIL) that she didn't want us to come because she wouldn't be able to go out and get us take-out like she'd planned. This woman. I swear. We have cars, drivers licenses and money. Getting our own takeout wouldn't hurt us.

Instead, I stopped at a local grocery store and bought what my family likes to eat (which is not quite what her family likes to eat). I made my kids ham sandwiches and in walked my FIL. He sat down at the dinner table and I asked if he'd like a sandwich. Apparently, in traditional male speak, this means "May I prepare and serve you a sandwich?" because the man was totally flummoxed when I put bread, ham and cheese in front of him, unassembled. I still laugh when I think of the stunned expression on his face. I wonder if he now feels sorry for his son, who has to extract his own ham from the package and layer on bread himself.

The next night, my mother-in-law did go get takeout, despite the fact that her mother had died less than 24 hours prior. I fear that this is because going to get takeout is less stressful than trying to cook for me. Honestly, I feel sorry for her. There aren't many people who can cook for me. Mainly, well, me. And my grandmom. DH can cook some things that I'll eat. That's about it. I hate going to events, especially at people's houses, because I don't like eating food I'm not sure about. And to my MIL, food truly does equal love, although she claims that's not true. I'm pretty sure she doesn't realize that she does it, but she smothers everyone with food (Pop-tarts for the kids, cheesesteaks for me, she even goes to a different takeout place to get the fries that Tom likes). There is some ironic curse in a food=love type getting picky, picky me for a daughter-in-law. After eight years, though, I think we've gotten over it a bit. She still stresses over feeding me, but I continually try to convince (with only minor success) that I don't need anything special. I actually like plain, unbuttered toast for dinner. And the sad thing? I really do.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Say goodbye, Gallbladder...

Goodbye, Gallbladder. I will so not be sad to the last of that organ. Did you know it's pretty much not necessary? Yeah, me either. Mine's decided to fill with stones and make me very much in pain, so my friendly neighborhood surgeon will be removing it. Maybe Friday. Or not. That seems kind of quick. I just met the guy yesterday, you know?

So where do gallstones rank in the scheme of pain in my life? Above medicated labors, well below unmedicated broken ankles. And the labors resulted in babies, which are way cuter than gallstones, right? Actually, I don't know, although I assume that babies are cuter. I won't look at the actual medical stuff. Creeps me out. I still don't really know what happened to my ankle, except that it was bad. Like really bad. Makes me sick to my stomach to just think about it. So I won't.

You know I can bring tv into anything.
Doctor: Gallstones.
Joey: Maybe it's...
Doctor: gallstones.
Joey: Maybe it's...
Doctor: gallstones.
Anyone? From Friends? When Joey has kidney stones while Phoebe's having her brother's triplets?

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

This makes me giggle...


Every time I see this box, that I traveled halfway across the BJ's parking lot to rescue (actually I just wanted the cart that it was in, but I really did have to walk all the way across the parking lot to get it), I smile. Dill Wholes. Heh heh. Or do you have to watch That 70s Show to get it? OMG, TV comes up in every part of my life. I'm seriously addicted.

We've been doing well with our no/reduced tv days, at least when the kids are up, but as soon as they go to sleep, I tend to reach for the remote. Even when I want the house quiet, I turn the tv on, but leave it on mute. Why even have it on? I don't know. Tom asks me this all the time. I don't know why. I just feel better. For a while, I claimed it was part of a post-9/11 stress thing - I had the tv off that day and I didn't know what was happening. It was a scary feeling to turn the tv on to chaos. Of course, now I have the Internet at my disposal at any given moment, so I shouldn't have to feel like that anymore. I have stopped putting the news channels on every half hour. If I'm watching something on network tv, I can tell myself that if something truly major happens, they'll break into programming. Of course, the same isn't necessarily true of Noggin or Nick, Jr. That's why I have the Internet. Thank you, ATT Worldnet, for my DSL connection. Posted by Picasa

Friday, April 7, 2006

Chocolate Chip Cookies - does it get any better than this?

I get a surprising number of my favorite recipes from food labels. My favorite lasagna is the one on the Barilla box. My favorite frosting is the one on the Hershey's cocoa box. And of course, the best chocolate chip cookie recipe I've ever made (the only one? I'll think on that and get back to you) is the Nestlé Tollhouse recipe (although when I see it written like that, I have to pronounce with a French accent, like Phoebe's grandmother's friend - told you I was a tv addict. And if I didn't, well, there it is). I made a double batch, because, well, just because. They're too good not to.

This is one of the things I'm happy that I'm doing with my kids. I don't always think I'm getting this mothering thing right, but this? This is good. We bake together. Do I harbor secret hopes that one of my kids will be a cooking professional one day? Maybe. Of course, I fully support whatever career choices they make, but If T becomes the next Alton Brown, well, that would be pretty darned cool. They take turns pouring sugar and eggs into the mixer. Then the real treat - licking the beaters. Posted by Picasa

Thursday, April 6, 2006

Turn off the TV Day...

I decided to make today a no tv day. Partly because DS (who turns five in one month exactly) has become terrified of every little thing lately. His imagination is just growing every day and it's becoming a bit of a problem. He sees baby bugga-buggas everywhere. Or red-eyed tree frogs. Or giant caterpillars. Which are not seen on Dora or Diego, like the other two scary things. No, those are courtesy of his uncle, Dr. Who fan extraordinaire. For some reason, he thought it would fun to watch with his easily-frightened nephew. I'm going to have a put a ban on further Dr. Who sharings (and not because I think it's weird, which I do. No, it's for the benefit of my child. Really.).

So the no tv thing is driving me crazy. I really am curious what's going on in the backyard. Not really. It's probably one of the same episodes they always show and then I'll just have to go around singing "I love being a princess" and have strange people look at me. Or is that people look at me strangely. Um, yeah. Probably that one.

I realized that I'm raising little tv addicts. Which isn't really all that odd. I am one myself. So's my dad. It's genetic. Yeah, that's it. We can't help it (and I'm so joking there. Nothing drives me crazier than people not taking credit for their problems. We can help it. We just don't.). But see, part of me thinks that's okay - the tv part, not the not taking credit part. I mean ask anyone in my generation about G.I. Joe or Jem and they know what you're talking about. And if they don't, they're met with lots of gasps "How can you not have watched Jem?" Well, I can rest easier knowing that won't be my kids. No sir. They will be fully participatory in the whole pop culture thing.