Yes. Getting stressed out by a child's puzzle is a bit much.
Wednesday, January 30, 2008
puzzles are not my friends
Yes. Getting stressed out by a child's puzzle is a bit much.
Monday, January 28, 2008
Bitches AIN'T shit, buddy. People ain't. Hope your grandma doesn't hear about your little painting escapade, because she just might smack you and stick you headfirst in a cow pie. True dat.
Friday, January 25, 2008
my baby is five
Nothing was special enough for breakfast, so she settled on a can of ravioli, wouldn't have been my first choice, but it wasn't my birthday. So there. School was good; MyGirl was the Special Helper, and we brought the Most Amazing Cupcakes Ever Made by Jo Anna at Hey, There Cupcake! (There is something great about innocent businesses with slightly suggestive names. I just love it.) The kids also played outside in the snow. It was cold, about 20 degrees, and there was a brisk wind, so the babes were all cherry-cheeked and lovely. And there was no complaining! It was refreshing.
After school MyGirl and Grandma Martha went to the Elementary School to redeem the birthday coupon she got in the mail. It was Miss Bindergarten Gets Ready For Kindergarten by Joseph Slate. Super cute book about a class full of animals. Kind of reminded me of earlier this morning, so I guess the author hit the nail on the head with that one. The visit with Grandma was cut short by a surprise present drop off by a friend from church who spends a few afternoons a week with us. Her card read "Olivia loves horses, and horses love Olivia." She was thrilled to receive a stuffed plush horse whose ear makes hoof sounds when you squeeze it. Kid toys are so weird sometimes, but MyGirl was just thrilled. "A MATE FOR STEPS HIGH!!!! I HAVE A MATE FOR STEPS HIGH!!!!" I think that is the quote of the day. Steps High is the name of the black plush horse we got her for Christmas. Shortly after that visit, her teacher from preschool last year came over to say happy birthday to our girl.
We had pancakes, pierogi frittata and orange slices for dinner, then opened presents. She got all kinds of super gifts. My favorite was a framed Babar print from Uncle Warren. Actually, my favorite was the new cousin Auntie Tef gave birth to today, Michael Alexander. I haven't had the pleasure of his acquaintance yet, but I can guarantee he's fabulous. I'm pretty sure MyGirl's favorite gift was from her awesome parents...a wooden desk. She's already asked me if she can please work at her desk whenever she wants. I agreed.
Thursday, January 24, 2008
MyGirl is turning 5 tomorrow, and really gets a kick out of Big & Special. It doesn't matter so much what the Big & Special is, she just likes her some Big & Special. And what better day than your birthday to have enormous strings of balloons hanging from your bedroom ceiling? It's dark, but I can imagine the sunlight streaming in the window tomorrow morning, and the illuminated balloons greeting her with a cheery happy birthday. And a happy birthday it shall be.
Tuesday, January 22, 2008
But it was the word 'celebration' that I found sad. Heartbreaking, actually. Because I find it hard to imagine having a celebration and an abortion at the same time. Granted, I haven't had an abortion, and I truly have no idea what it would be like to have an abortion be the best option. It seems to me that to find oneself in the position of needing an abortion must be akin to being in between a rock and a hard place. The gravity of the situation must weigh heavily on the woman, so heavily that it's probably more nauseating than morning sickness itself. Both choices, having the baby or not having the baby have such permanent consequences; does she become a mother (or birth mother)? Or does she see the ghost of her choice in every infant face forever? What a wrenching, horrible choice.
I have been reading A Year With C.S. Lewis. One of the entries talked about how to God, all time past, present and future is now. He is the God of all time, and all time is continually visible to Him. That is how it is possible for us to make our own choices and for Him to know what those choices will be, even though there is no will be with God. He sees all of the happiness and hurt all at once for each of us, He knows what is going on in the deepest, most secret places of our lives. He is the author of life, and knows each of us intimately before we are even born. I don't think it's going out on a limb to believe that God strenuously disapproves of abortion.
But we have free reign over our decisions. We can choose to do what it is we are going to choose. People are going to choose to terminate the lives of their unborn babies. Or fetuses. Or zygotes. Or whatever the semantics dancers are calling them this week. So is it better to have the government create a safer, legalized procedure or to return to the days of the back alley, crochet hook ripping? And if abortion was ever unlegalized, as if that would ever happen, how would the government enforce that? Impossible to do. It is as impossible as keeping steroids out of professional sports, marijuana off the street; as impossible as keeping people who are not Americans out of America. The government can't keep up with illegal aliens. They will certainly not keep track of all of the pregnancies of all of the women in the country. It would probably come down to everyone in the USA being required to get a shopper's card at the local supermarket, and each purchase of pickles and ice cream will be seriously scrutinized.
And people are celebrating all over the country that abortion is legal. Well, maybe they are. But it doesn't make it an occasion to be joyful, an occasion that Hallmark would have a marketing frenzy over. Heard you had a problem to fix/thank goodness for RU486. As if.
I can understand the perspective that abortion should remain legal. But I cannot understand how abortion is a something to celebrate.
Sunday, January 20, 2008
I admit with embarrasment that I was dreading the party. Nothing different than any other party...I dread them all. I have Small Talk Anxiety, which, when coupled with Meeting New People Anxiety, practically gives me a stomachache. I've been this way all my life, I think, at least as much as I can remember. I was terrified of college, knowing that I knew a grand total of zero people there. Conversation with people I don't know is completely frightening.
Does anyone else have this problem? That is what I would like to know. I don't understand it at all. I am a fairly intelligent, well-educated and well-read person, I am pretty much up-to-date on what is going on in the world, and have a well-rounded pool of interests. And, as a parent, I know that in a room full of other parents, I can count on making Child Conversation, that is, conversation based on the interesting/ridiculous/bathroom-related things my people say and do. And yet anxiety sets in.
Part of the work I've done with Habitat for Humanity of Genesee County is to stand in front of groups of strangers and speak at length about what we are doing in my community. I can ask for large amounts of money, I have been known to challenge people to volunteer, to donate furnaces and shingles and things, and for the most part, it's worked pretty well. I can even stand in that same group of people and talk with each individually with confidence.
But tell me I'm going to a social event and I'm weak in the knees.
It must be the structure. At Habitat events, there's a point for me to be there: to get those people interested in what I do, to "make the sale". But I have such stress about making my sale. It's as if I have laid my worth out before these people I haven't even met prior to leaving the house. Waiting to meet them is like waiting to meet my judge. Even before sorting my thoughts out here, I felt ridiculous about this. And now that I'm seeing my (yes, crazy) thoughts, it seems even more silly. It is such an engrained monologue in my brain and I haven't been able to find the off switch. Where did I learn this? Why did I learn to think like this? I don't believe people actually come with such faulty wiring.
And now, post-party, I am still a little bit stressed. Everyone was lovely and there was great conversation about interesting subjects. OF COURSE it was a great time. We have wonderful friends, and wonderful people really don't hang out with obnoxious people when it can be avoided. The kids played together so well that we barely spoke to them the entire evening. It was great.
I hope there is an enormous 90-gazillion watt halogen bulb in my future, set out for the express purpose of shedding some light on crazy old me.
Thursday, January 17, 2008
bread and life, bread of life
When you get down to it, bread is flour and water. That's all. Yeast makes it puffy, sugar makes the yeast happy, salt makes the yeast stop being happy. Bread is so basic, and yet what I make doesn't even register on the Bread Radar.
So today, as I was trying again, I was thinking about all this, how my making was so pathetic, and how it seems so difficult. My thoughts drifted to the ingredients, how I have my flour, yeast, sugar and water set out before me, and even with the right stuff and the right formula (at least I am trusting that The Williams-Sonoma Essentials of Baking won't let me down) I continue to fail. Then, being the Person I Am, I started to think about my life, and how I have all my ingredients set out before me, and I have the Guidebook that has proven successful for generations and generations, and still I continue to fail. I fail when I lose my temper with my children, when being annoyed with The Mister fogs up my perspective, when I decline the opportunity to bite my tongue. I fail when I am so bound by my fear and insecurity that I forget my Life Ingredients and my Guidebook and change my prayers from "Change how I'm seeing/reacting to this" to a whiny "God, why (hu-waaaaaaaaiiiiiiiiii...you know, Toddler Whining Style)????"
Then I thought of God Himself. Creating the Universe, Master of All, Known and Unknown. No ingredients for Him. He just whipped us up out of Hisveryownself. Creating, not making. Something from nothing, a vast difference from my paradoxical bread: nothing from something. How awe-inspiring, how amazing to be able to create. And since our God is omni-everything, He had to know back at creation's beginning that I would be pondering this today.
So Lord, give me this day my oatmeal-molasses bread. And forgive me my sins, and help me with all of my nothing-somethingness.
Wednesday, January 16, 2008
how to get bisquick without really buying
9 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1/3 c baking powder
1 tbs salt
2 tsp cream of tarter
4 tbs granulated sugar
2 1/2 c nonfat dry milk
2 c shortening (shelf stable)
Sift together the dry ingredients, except milk, together three times. Add dry milk. Mix well. Cut in shortening with pastry blender or two knives until mixture looks like cornmeal. Store in covered container at room temperature.
Tuesday, January 15, 2008
re: the buffet
What EXACTLY was your point in sending us your new email address AND your "quasi-clever" self-serving blog making fun of my wife to the entire cyber-community? Your selfishness and lack of Christian witness notwithstanding, I totally agree with [wife's name here] that a woman exposing her breast to anyone and everyone who may happen to see/look in the middle of a church service (thank God I wasn't one of them) is inappropriate. This ain't Woodstock, kid. A person being able to do what you feel is absolutely allowable according to you and your "Civil Rights" advocates is not the issue here. In case you don't get it, the issue is a simple matter respect for the comfort and propriety of others around you. [Wife] finally said something after having to witness this more than just once. And for the record --- we were not sitting at the other end of the pew, as your malicious tale implied. The very least you could do is get your facts straight before you make another selfish attempt to bash the dignity of a fellow Christian. I would say you have betrayed our friendship, but apparently, there really never was one.
Wow. This is quite possibly the saddest email I have ever received. The author is the husband of the person I mentioned in 'the buffet'. The point of the entry was not to make fun of his wife to the entire cyber-community. The point was this: people react differently. Sometimes they react in a way that is pleasant and enjoyable; sometimes they act in a way that is hardly complimentary.
I was not sitting in the sanctuary sans shirt, I hadn't even lifted my shirt that much. It was hardly a case of exposing my breast to anyone who might see or look. In that instance, it was I was simply comforting an infant, my precious child, who was having a really rough morning. Isn't that what I, as his mother, am charged to do? It is my job. My life's work. How is that inappropriate? How is that not being a Christian, or for that matter, how does this have anything to do with my faith?
The Angry Husband said, "A person being able to do what you feel is absolutely allowable according to you and your "Civil Rights" advocates is not the issue here." It's not at all about what I feel is absolutely allowable. Being allowable is not a good indicator of appropriateness. It's not about me and my "Civil Rights" advocates. Off the top of my head, the only advocates I have are my husband, some family, and a few close friends. I, and millions of other breastfeeding mothers have been granted--not granted so much as the government made a really good decision to recognize the importance of breastfeeding. Breastfeeding is not about allowable, it is about doing the best for my children. I am confident that if there was a poll of breastfeeding mothers, the overwhelming majority, if not all of them, would say they breastfeed to do the best for their child, not because it was allowed by law.
In case you don't get it, the issue is a simple matter respect for the comfort and propriety of others around you. Oh, I get it. I really do. I understand that people are uncomfortable about breasts and the human body in general. I think it's really too bad that this is the case. We are fearfully and wonderfully made in the image of God. There is nothing shameful about breastfeeding. I was created in the image of God to love and nurture and comfort and care for my children, just as God does all of those things for us.
Unfortunately there is shame surrounding breastfeeding, and it is placed there by those who don't understand and don't care to understand. There is an issue of respect for others. It seems blatantly obvious to me that while this person was preaching respect and the comfort of others to me, it was he who was totally missing the point. There was no respect for poor HB's needs that day. There was no concern for his comfort, which he needed, and was why I was nursing him in the first place. It is alarming to me that a grown person with coping skills is unable to understand that infants do not possess the ability to calm themselves.
If life is about nothing else, it is about growing and learning and doing what Christ has called us to do. We are called to love, and practice grace and kindness to others. We are called to lift each other up and support each other. I told the story of two people who had two totally opposite reactions to me breastfeeding my babe. There was no bashing of dignity (for heaven's sake, nobody but this couple knew who I was talking about!), and there was no selfishness. Breastfeeding is the least selfish thing a mother can do. It takes hours and hours of time, it hurts like crazy in the beginning and when the kiddo is teething, it is really inconvenient to be up at all hours of the day and night, disrupted sleep, disrupted showers, disrupted everything.
I am not going to address the nasty comments made against my character and faith by this person. My actions attest to my character, as this person's actions speak loudly and clearly for his. I don't need to defend myself to any person. I serve an audience of one, and He is not a member of my church. He is the Reason for the Church, the Reason I am able to do anything.
Monday, January 14, 2008
and it came to pass that the furniture was removed
At first it was just once in a while, they'd have Shenanigans at bedtime, and laugh and holler and carry on. But hey, they're kids, and they're Sibling Who Like Each Other, and why not milk that as long as possible? That, my friends, was the top of the slippery slope. I see that now, as we are sitting at what is maybe the bottom of the slippery slope, but probably is not actually the bottom. Then the children began turning on the lights in the room and looking at books (the lights were unplugged or removed), and then they began dismantling their beds. For a while, there was a pillow on the floor, then all of the blankets, and then blankets and sheets, and then all of the bedclothes from both bunks and the mattresses. They pulled both mattresses off of the beds, even the top bunk. While I would like to commend their dedication and perseverance, I have managed to restrain myself.
Saturday morning, we heard the kiddos awake and playing. Wee Man came in our room, told us he was hungry, hungry, and went back to play with Miss O. There were no catastrophic noises, no unusual sounds, nothing to prepare us for what we would find.
There were mattresses everywhere. Sheets everywhere. The toy box had been dumped out and scattered everywhere. The entire contents of the bookshelf were mounded on top of one mattress, and Miss O had one foot sort of stuck under the pile of books poor me, look what that naughty boy did style. Someone had taken a pencil and someone else had taken a green-blue Crayola and had created a mural on the back of the door, the walls, and on the actual bed frame.
I turned around and went to brush my teeth, because I Needed A Minute. Actually I think what I needed was Maker's Mark neat, make that a double, but that is not Something We Do At 8 In The Morning. After some minty fresh Crest cleared the fog that was my mouth and my brain, I went to face The Monsters, who now were sitting on the mattresses reading books as if they were Pleasant People.
Wee Man: Hi Mama. What doin' today people?
Mama: Well, people, we are taking everything out of your room except the mattresses.
This statement was met with screams of terror and anguish. Children were flinging themselves on piles of stuff.
"You are the WORST PARENTS EVER!!!!!" (That one made me smile. I received an email from a dear friend about the worst parents ever, and I felt truly honoured to join their ranks.)
And poor Wee Man, he was terrified. Which is interesting, because there was no yelling or even talking from us. We just kept our traps shut and ignored Miss O's attempts at baiting us. He cried and cried, laying on top of his blankets to protect them. "Cuh-lease no you take my Beloved. Cuh-lease. No you take my blankets." We didn't. That would be crossing a respect line that would erase any credibility we had.
So now their bedroom looks like this (except the bathrobe is no longer hanging by the bookshelf):
The fray had a lull while the children ate breakfast, except for Miss O who was not going to eat if she couldn't have her bunk beds, say it with me people: whatever! Then it was nap time. They were instructed to lie down and have a rest. What they actually did was completely idiotic. They ran from one side of the room to the other and smashed themselves into the wall. For over two hours. I swear we do not feed them any sort of brain-altering drugs, legal or otherwise. Not even speed, which is what you'd have thought we gave to them, from the sound of the thunks of their feet as they ran speedy quick across the floor.
And the inevitable finally did occur: When the children are angry, their most effective form of parental punishment is to Pretend The Floor Is The Toilet. Miss O Oops I Sort Of Had An Accident Dayton and Wee Man Sis Take My Bi-per Off And I Poop On Da Floor Dayton struck again. Fortunately for me, The Mister was home to handle poop patrol, and Miss O is used to Sort Of Cleaning Up After Her Sort Of Accidents.
They are still sleeping on the floor. They haven't earned their beds back yet by demonstrating appropriate behavior at sleeping times. Hopefully they will be back in beds soon, because I tell you what, my back is just about falling off me from sitting on that cold floor reading to them.
Again, I must say: The tall will prevail.
Friday, January 11, 2008
Apparently, I ERRONEOUSLY chose the sanctuary.
The woman next to me, and I mean next to in the vaguest, other end of the pew, way possible, had a conniption. "Do you have to do THAT THERE?!?!" To which I replied, after looking to see if I had a third boob spontaneously grow from the love handle I sport on my left side, "Ummm, actually, yes. I do." This line of hissy, hissing questioning went on for a bit, and ended with Ms. Very Disapproving saying, "Well, maybe the church should look into having a place for people to do THAT."
Interestingly enough, I happen to be the Chairperson for Such A Committee. So, with Google as my Guide, I located the law whereby any woman is allowed to breastfeed any place she is allowed to be, decency be damned. (See page 12 of that document.) I printed a copy of the Civil Rights Law, thinking that the bit written up in the Penal Law and Corrections Law might just be overkill, and presented it to Ms. Disapproving the next week at church, and let her know that if the Church tried to make women breastfeed outside of the sanctuary, we could actually get ourselves involved in a Civil Rights Lawsuit that just would be plain old bad PR, and not so much treating people kindly.
She was pretty much pissed.
That was one of the last times HB actually needed to Have Some Nursings in church. He's cut a few Visits out of his busy schedule. In fact, he's 13.5 months exactly today, and Breastfeeding In Public is not something we really do any more.
He's modified his approach to the Buffet. Let's just say that before, he enjoyed his meal one item at a time. No mixing the mashed potatoes and the veggies. Now, he's more of a casserole man. Likes both items all at once, so much that he sits on my lap, facing me, belly to belly, and goes from one milky spigot to the other, back and forth, back and forth, back and forth. He is all about decency being damned. I cannot keep anything covered, no matter how hard I try. There is just nothing for it.
So today, Favorite Sitter Beth came over for Grown-Up Time during nap. As it happens every day, the children do wake up. We believe the Beth really does love our children, and she proved it today by changing HB's Red Beans And Rice For Dinner Yesterday diaper when he woke up. After, she brought him down to the living room, and for some odd reason (kids always enjoy an audience), HB really had to have him some Post Nap Buffet. I tried to warn her, but she was just not prepared for the ridiculousness that ensued. Normally I would be pretty self-conscious about baring both of the gals to, well, anyone, really, especially someone who has gals that are still in Mint Condition. The noisy, grabby lovefest at the Buffet was so freaking funny that the poor girl almost fell off the couch, she was laughing so hard. And naturally, all of the laughing made HB bend over backward to see what she was laughing at, all the while grinning so ferociously that the milk was dribbling past his nose onto his forehead (he's upside-down here folks, stick with it).
The two of them were a sight to see.
And the two of them were also a sight to see.
Thursday, January 10, 2008
riding horses on christmas morning
A song by Olivia for Mom,
Flying with the birds on Christmas morning
Doing houses with my Dad
and everything I like to do.
Riding on the back of my secret dream of my horse.
Flying with the birds doing anything I want.
You’ll be able to feel the clouds that touch your wings.
I’ll brush my head against the sky.
You’ll be able to feel God’s touch,
the love God gives you.
You’ll be able to hear the wonderful wind.
You’ll be able to hear your heart beating.
You’ll be able to see all the house you go past.
Swoop down, swoop back up,
and go wherever you like when you’re free.
I have a picture of my horse.
The horse is in an open field right by a running river.
I’m pretending to ride on that horse,
holding onto the mane,
dancing in the grass.
I get a little bit tired and I sit down to rest.
I get back up and get back to my song.
You can hear the horse’s hooves clattering against the ground.
Flying with the birds,
Roaring with the bears.
You’ll be able to hear the roar of the tiger,
the horse’s neigh,
the horse’s hooves clanking against the ground.
You’ll be able to run with the horses,
fly with the birds,
stroke the tiger’s back.
drawing on the walls no naughty, mama
So we canceled the electric entertainment for the day. Take that! Yo no tengo que escuchar Dora! Gano a mono-amante bilingüe loco! For those of you who aren't pretending to be bilingual, I will translate: I do not have to listen to Dora. I win, you crazy, bilingual monkey-lover.
I really do not hate Dora, it's just that, well, I guess I might hate her just thismuch. The patronizing voice, the bad hair, the cavorting with purple primates...it's just a lot for my brain to handle. There are just so many better choices, yet the child always comes back to Dora.
As Little Pea would say: Yuck. Blech. Plch.
And now, as I sit ruminating on my blechy feelings about not-real Dora, my real babes are running a major bedtime coup attempt in their room. I can't figure out how they can possibly remain awake at this hour of the day. As it is, I'm barely able to keep my eyes open, and I have to stop to think about spelling everything. And I am a Super Speller, I tell you! I won a statewide spelling bee in the first grade. (The clincher: I could spell toasted, and the other girl left out the e. Ha. Novice!) I also won the county spelling bee in eighth grade, but instead of going to the state spelling super bowl, I went on the band trip to DisneyWorld or Land...the one in Florida. Way funner, way less studying.
How do you get a 2 and 4 (almost 5) year old to go to bed when they would much rather play with each other than sleep, that is what I would like to know. We have been working the 1-2-3 Magic plan, which is fabulous for so many reasons. I need to review the bedtime section again. I don't actually think he addresses Post-Lights-Out Behaviors When the Door Is Securely Locked.
The thing is that I don't think they are really enjoying themselves with that game of Staying Up Making Lots Of Noise When Normal Children Should Be Asleep. But they don't actually stop on their own, they go and go until they pass out. This is evidenced by the objects they are holding while they sleep bent over at the waist indicating they had been seated with legs extended in front of them only a moment ago. I don't unfold them, I don't cover them up, I don't take the toys out of the bed. Yes, Olivia has woken up with horse hoof-prints on her face before, but apparantly they haven't been Noticeable Enough to dispense with the bedtime horse shows.
I don't even talk to them while the cavorting is happening. That's not accurate, I did talk to them tonight, I just did it in the 1-2-3 Magic style of counting and removing privileges.
There is no room service. And no TV again tomorrow.
Because, really, I can't take away breakfast.