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Tuesday, June 30, 2009

3,653

That's how many days that Charlie has been alive. Today is his 10th birthday and as cliche as it sounds, I absolutely cannot believe how fast the time has flown.

I actually went into labor with him 3,655 days ago. Stubborn little thing took over 40 hours to be born. I refer to Charlie's as my "New Age" birth. We had a doula and music playing and lavendar sprinkled around the room to help with my relaxation. (Ha! Relaxation in labor is kind of an oxymoron, isn't it?)

We also had an epidural because after 24 hours of labor with no baby, an epidural sounded better than winning the lottery. After 39 hours, my doc had run out of patience and came to tell me that my VBAC wasn't going to happen. But she checked me one more time and -- woohoo -- I was ready to push!

Mike put in the CD (no iPods) of The King's Singers singing "You are the New Day," which I fell in love while I was pregnant when I heard it on an PBS commercial.

We played it over and over as I pushed. It was still playing as George Arthur was born. All 8 pounds, 5 ounces and 22 inches of him.

Did I say George? LOL! Yep! For about five minutes, he was George Arthur M. Then we came to our senses, I mean, decided... that George did not go with Annie very well. (I still like the name.) So he is Charlie. Charles, when I'm really at my wit's end.

We had donuts for his birthday breakfast this morning and let him open his presents -- an Indians t-shirt and hat to wear to the game tonight. Then I left for work. I surprised myself on the drive by being overcome with emotion that my son is 10 years old.

As the tears flowed I thought about all the things that come to mind when I think about Charlie.
  • How it seems that he was born with a basketball or a soccer ball or a football in his hand.
  • How he started walking at 10 months when he had the physical skill for the task but not the sense to do it safely.
  • How he cracked his head open on a dining room chair when he was two and while I was talking to the doctor in the ER, how he climbed on a rocking chair and stood on it rocking it as hard as it would go.
  • How he used to disappear whenever the fancy would strike him and how we had to call around to the neighbors asking "Have you seen Charlie?" so often that we had t-shirts made asking that very question. (And how we subsequently had to make our home like Fort Knox to try to contain him.)
  • How he is so competitive that he once asked someone if they had "won" the walk for the homeless they participated in.
  • How once, when I teasingly threatened to put Robbie on the curb with a sign that said "kid for sale," Charlie jumped to his defense, saying "No Mom! We love him, even if he is a screamer!"
  • How he is tenderhearted and a bit contemplative -- two things that most people wouldn't say about him. But I'm his mom and I know.
I'm not sad about it at all, just feeling a little "where has all the time gone?" How is it that he was just a chubby baby eating goldfish in his highchair one minute and now he's a a big kid who announced this morning that he's going to start wearing deodorant?

How did he get to be this kid:

Big kid

However he did, I'm glad I get to be his Mom.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Deja vu again

I sat down to write a post tonight about feeling restless, which is probably the reason why in the past 72 hours, I've contemplated getting a dog, going for a radically different haircut, and re-decorating Robbie's room. But as I thought about the post, it seemed familiar to me.

This is why: Restless.

And I'm recalling the quote from St. Augustine: "My heart is restless, O Lord, until it rests in You."

So I guess prayer is in order. Probably prayer that is offered somewhere else other than my car as I'm speeding toward the office, having left 15, 30, 45 minutes later than I'd intended, which is usually when I do my praying. I'm going to really work on building some quiet, reflective time into my days this week.

Oh, and Mike is home again, so perhaps that will help me feel a little more grounded, though I'm sure there will be some transitional moments as we all get used to being under the same roof again. But it feels good to have five of us here.

Your prayers for us are certainly appreciated. And as my Dad would say, we'll pray for you, too.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Somebody stop me!

We do NOT need a dog. I do NOT want a dog.

Then why do I keep thinking about dogs?! Is this what a midlife crisis feels like? Could almost-39 be my midlife? (Don't answer that.)

I took Charlie to the Humane Society today to meet Chyna. Sweet greyhound mix Chyna. Seven-year-old, who's gonna adopt her Chyna? She was very sweet. Built like a greyhound, though smaller and not quite as skinny.

chyna

We took her out into the fenced area. She was quite happy to leave her kennel. But once we got into the play area outside, she didn't want to have much to do with us. Charlie was disappointed that she didn't want to play ball. Instead, she tried to hide between my legs. She didn't even want a treat. Sadly (and thankfully), Chyna is not meant to be in our house. If I lived alone, Chyna would be perfect. But I live with three kids (4 if you count Mike) who want a dog that will play with them.

We went back inside where Charlie was immediately taken by Ellie, who I was not enamored by at all. Ellie looks like she would chew your face off. As soon as we walked up to the kennel she was jumping up. I could just see myself spending the next 10 years trying to wrestle the dog into submission every time the doorbell rings. Besides, Ellie's info said "I'm sweet, but I need to work on my manners." Yeah, sorry Ellie. Better luck next time.

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There was another dog who caught my eye, Beto. He looked a little like Benji and was an older dog as well. But lucky for me, Beto was just fixed yesterday, so I couldn't do anything more than coo to him through the kennel fence.

So we left, blessedly dog-less, and I felt pretty good about my level of personal restraint. Until I got home and found a Facebook message from my friend Kris whovolunteers for the Humane Society and who started this whole dog talk by posting a link on her own Facebook page.

"Check out this dog in the small dog room on he HSI website. VERY cool dog, and sturdy enough for your family, I think......I had him outside and he seemed like a perfect family dog. His name is Ricky."

Ricky is an Icelandic Sheepdog mix and is two years old:

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As I said earlier, somebody stop me!

To show that I'm not anti-dog, just trying to maintain sanity (or the semblance of sanity) at home, I'll encourage you dog-minded folks to help Kris in her quest to get her Brutus crowned 2010 Mutt Strutt Poster Pooch. Vote for as little as $1.

Who could say no to this face:

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To read more Kris's affectionate canine, and to cast your vote for Brutus, click here.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Chaos?

Wow! What a crazy day I've had. I'm surprised I'm still awake to even write this. But amazingly, I am. The day went a bit like this:

7:30-11:00am Work from home, shower, get the kids ready for swim practice.

11:10am -- Take kids to swim practice and wait for Mike to arrive.

11:45am -- Take Annie with me to lunch (Chipotle), to the Humane Society to check out a dog (They were closed, probably a sign we do not need a dog.) and to my office.

12:45pm -- 3:15pm Work at the office.

3:30pm -- Drop Annie off at the swim meet, head to the emergency room

3:45pm - 4:50pm -- Hang out in the ER, get the all clear and head to the swim meet

5:00pm -10:00pm -- Get to the meet in time to watch Robbie's first race, watch several other races, then get drafted to be a ribbon writer. Write 100+ ribbons. Stay late for last home meet pizza party.

10:15pm -- Arrive home, put everyone to bed and watch the news about Farrah Fawcett and Michael Jackson.

What? You need some clarification about some of that? Well, the dog. We absolutely do NOT need a dog. But I saw this greyhound mix on the Humane Society website (I blame my friend Kris who posted the link on her Facebook page!) and I can't stop thinking about her. Her name is Chyna and she's 7 years old. Isn't she cute:

chyna

As I said, we do not need a dog. Of course that's what I said about a cat, too. Mike says that I am addicted to chaos. Hmmm...I'll have to think about that.

The ER trip was a $100 charge for peace of mind. I woke up this morning with a deep pain in my upper calf. Not excruciating, but noticeable. It didn't go away and seemed to be getting a little worse as the day went on. I tried rubbing it, stretching it. Nothing seemed to help.

Most ordinary people would just shrug it off. However, I am not only addicted to chaos, but six years ago I had a pulmonary embolism (blood clot in my lung). About 1/2 the people who have PEs don't live to blog about them. So, around 2:30pm, I called my doctor just to let them know and see if they had any suggestions about what to do. They told me they couldn't fit me in, but they considered the situation urgent and suggested I go to the urgent care or ER to have it checked.

So then I called my friend Beth to ask her opinion (she's a dietitian -- but that's medical enough in my book). Then I called my mom to ask her opinion. Beth called her sister-in-law who works as a physician assistant at a doc's office with a walk-in clinic. The SIL said go to the ER, that an urent care wouldn't be able to diagnose it.

Having gotten the same answer about 4 times, I reluctantly drove myself to the ER. They got me in right away (thankfully they weren't busy) and within 30 minutes or so had an ultrasound tech doing a scan of my leg. I think I apologized to the doc, the nurse and the u/s tech for coming to the ER for this, but they all assured me that with my history, I did the right thing. Whatever. Fortunately, no blood clot. A couple of random enlarged lymph nodes, but nothing to worry about. And soon I was off to the swim meet!

My leg still hurts, but at least I know it won't kill me in my sleep.

So after all that craziness (chaos?! Maybe Mike is right?), I'm hoping for a nice quiet day tomorrow.

What a difference a day makes

First, I must offer my apologies for my little pity party yesterday. That's probably what I get for blogging in the wee hours of the morning. Several of you offered quite helpful suggestions, which I appreciate.

Today, I'm in a much better frame of mind, having attended the Smaller Indiana, Bigger Ideas conference yesterday. Who knew a business-ish conference could be inspiring, or at the least, uplifting?

Smaller Indiana is a social networking site aimed at connecting business people from all industries in an attempt encourage collaboration and drive economy. Sounds boring, but really, I've met some very cool people over at SI.

So yesterday's conference was 6 speakers presenting over the course of 4 hours. Someone smartly summed up the conference theme as "Passion. Connection. Execution." I won't regurgitate all the details, but wanted to share a few tidbits that stuck with me:

Singer Jennie Devoe spoke about being authentic and true to who you are. About not letting people box you in to a persona that doesn't fit.

"Break yourself out of the box no matter what you're age," Devoe said. "Dream until you die."

Devoe is the kind of woman I'd love to have as a friend. On stage, she was funny, honest, spiritual without being overwhelming.

Dave Foresell, president of Keep Indianapolis Beautiful, was a Garrison Keillor-type story teller, immediately engaging. Talking a little of his own personal health struggles, including his recently diagnosed kidney cancer, he said (I may be paraphrasing a bit here):

"I realize what a gift this life is and I don't want to sleepwalk through it."

Foresell also used one of my favorite quotes from Abraham Heschel:

"Just to be is a blessing; just to live is holy."

The final speaker was Ken Johnson, motivational speaker and chaplain for the Indianapolis Colts. This hulking, football player-size black man was energetic and powerfully uplifting. The Twitter stream from the conference (search #sibi) was full of quotes from Ken:

"It's what you learn after you know it all that really counts."

"If you are the smartest person in your life, your circle is too small."

He told of how he encouraged his children to be eagles, soaring high above any adversity, telling them to be "an eagle, not a chicken."

"Eagles find a way. Chickens find excuses."

As a self-professed writer, I was inspired by what Johnson had to say about the power of words.

"I use words to make this world a better place."

"Words can make you feel better or bitter."

Finally, he asked a question that is still ringing inside me:

"Is anyone calling for greatness anymore?"

Smaller Indiana, Bigger Ideas was certainly worth the investment of my time. All the videos of the speakers will be posted soon on the Smaller Indiana site. I didn't leave SIBI feeling like I wanted to take on the world. But I did leave inspired to take on my kitchen, which was a significant improvement over the "I don't wannas."

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

I don't wanna

I have a really bad case of the "I don't wannas." The list of things I don't want to do is long.

I don't wanna go to work in the morning...

...sleep with my CPAP machine tonight

...exercise

...modify my diet

...turn off the TV and engage with people

...turn off the computer and read an actual book

...go to church on Sunday

...watch another swim meet

...clear off the dining room table

...do the laundry

I just plain don't want to do much of anything. I don't feel depressed or sad. Just unmotivated. And tired. And I don't wanna be a grown up. But I'm responsible enough that I won't let everything slide, however, that's not to say that I don't face some things kicking and screaming.

What do you do to rid yourself of the I don't wannas? Who or what is the source of your motivation?

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Say what?

Monkey kids

A few little snippets from my gang:

Annie
Annie: "Mom, I decline that I don't love you."

Me: "What did you say?

Annie: "I choose to decline I don't love you."

Me: "What?!"

Annie: "Oh, I'm trying to say I love you."

Double negatives are hard to get...

Charlie
Yesterday, Dungy was meowing wildly at the bottom of the stairs.

Me: "Dungy, what? You have food. You have water. What more could you want?"

Charlie (listening from the kitchen table): "Love."

Robbie
Obviously doing some deep thinking, this morning Robbie asked me "Does God use the Force?"

Friday, June 19, 2009

Indulging his inner artist

I was in Robbie's room last night to tuck him in bed and say prayers, when I looked up and saw this:

dinoart1

and this:

dinoart2

and this:

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"Robbie! What did you do to your walls?!"

"Nothing."

"Don't tell me nothing, you colored on your walls."

"Not me. It was a ghost."

"It was a ghost my foot. Why did you do that?"

"To make it beautiful."

And then my mind turned to The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch (if you haven't read it, definitely put in on your summer reading list. It's both short and inspiring.) As a teenager, Pausch lobbied his parents to let him paint his bedroom and draw all sorts of crazy things on the walls. And his folks said yes.

The difference here is that Robbie is not a teenager and he went with the "ask forgiveness, not permission" philosophy.

So I said, "Robbie, the next time you want to make something beautiful either do it on paper or ask Mommy or Daddy if it's ok first."

But I have to admit that there is something endearing about his dinosaur art. And I don't want to be guilty of quashing his inner artist, which has shown itself before. So, I'm leaving it right where he put it.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Word to the Wide 4.0

When you take your son to cross country practice, wear your sneakers so you can walk around the track with the other parents. Otherwise, you might feel self-conscious about being chubby and the only one sitting on her duff chatting on the cell phone while everyone else is exercising. Or keep your sandals on and stay in the car with a milkshake.

Want some more wide wisdom?

Monday, June 15, 2009

Poor Adam & Eve

This morning on the way to basketball camp, Charlie was incredibly talkative. I can't exactly tell you everything he was talking about because sometimes when the kids are chattering on, I tune them out. Surprising, I know. But true.

By the time we were nearing camp, he was talking about Adam and Eve. I'm not sure how he wound his way to that topic, but we talked about Eve being tricked by the snake, about how they were naked and didn't know it, and how when they figured out they were naked, they used leaves to make clothes.

I was trying to re-trace how we'd gotten around to this conversation when I heard Charlie say, "I feel sorry for Adam and Eve."

"You do? Why?" I asked.

"Because when Adam and Eve were created, they were already adults. They never got to be kids."

And that one small statement made me feel good inside, knowing that we must be doing something right for Charlie to recognize the joy in being a kid.

One of my favorite memories as a kid was when my mom treated us to a bus ride downtown and a visit to the Coca-Cola museum that was in the Arcade Square in downtown Dayton. I also loved walking by myself to the library a couple times a week (it was a different world then!) and checking out as many books as I could carry home.

What did you love about being a kid?

Saturday, June 13, 2009

You're gonna miss this...moment



Not sure when I came across Pam's blog, You're Gonna Miss This. But from time to time, she opens up a meme for folks to blog about things they are gonna miss someday because life is too darn short.

Look at me and my big boy bike!

Robbie's new bike3

Robbie's new bike2

Robbie's new bike1

Friday, June 12, 2009

Learned my lesson

Charlie came home from soccer practice on Wednesday night and was complaining a bit that his ankle was hurting. He said that someone slide tackled him "on purpose and the coach didn't call it!" I could tell he was exhausted and chalked the whining about the ankle up to fatigue. So I rubbed it a little and sent him to bed.

I went to work yesterday morning without a thought about the ankle, until I saw Charlie walk -- that is, limp -- past me at the swim meet yesterday evening. Not a bad limp, just a slight one. Mike had been home with them all day and didn't say anything to me about it, so I just shrugged it off.

Once we got home (early, thank you thunderstorm!), Charlie started complaining that his ankle was hurting. I looked at it and noted that it was a little swollen. But he didn't flinch too much when I moved it in several directions.

I gave him some ice to put on it, fairly certain that he was fine. Yet, something nagged at my mind. I've been in this situation before with Charlie. And I knew that I would be out of commission today, so I decided better safe than sorry and ran him up to the urgent care near our home. A quick exam and a few x-rays later, we came home with his only slightly sprained ankle wrapped in an ace bandage.

Ibuprofen for the pain/swelling -- $4
Co-pay for the urgent care visit -- $20
Peace of mind knowing I wasn't letting my kid walk around with a fracture (again) -- priceless

Thursday, June 11, 2009

My first time

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People all around me were talking about it. On television, in the newspaper, in e-mail messages from people I know and people I don't. I finally decided I should do it too.

I was a little nervous, not knowing what to expect, hoping they would be gentle with me and not ridicule me for my inexperience. I shouldn't have worried.

Everyone couldn't have been nicer at my first "tweetup." (I'm talking about Twitter. What were you thinking?) I only recently started using Twitter (I'm @4thfrog for you tweeps out there) and am kind of learning as I go. I'm considering starting a Twitter account as part of our communications strategy at work, so I thought attending a tweetup would be a good idea.

I was right. I got some good ideas and learned a few tricks and tips from the folks at the table.

Basically, a tweetup is a casual meeting of Twitter users. I expected to find several nerdy types w/faces buried in Blackberries, iPhones and laptops. But what I found was some very normal and interesting folks, none of whom I would have pegged as nerdy. (Of course, some folks think I'm a bit nerdy, so maybe I'm not the most impartial judge.)

I met some people that I've been wanting to meet: @AmyStark and @NancyMyrland. Then I met some new folks that I'm happy to add to my Twitter follow list: @NilaNealy, @cballing, @theindywilsons. My friend @grumpo was also there, not grumpy at all, though a bit forgetful in not having my Diet Coke ready for me. (Yep, I've fallen off the wagon. But that's another post.)

Do you tweet? If so, have you been to a tweetup? It was really cool to take online acquaintances and meet them in real life! And quite frankly, I've come a long way in the last year.

Today may have been my first tweetup, but it won't be my last.




Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Free is good

I had a (virtually) free lunch today. Every Wednesday this summer, Arby's restaurants are offering a free item with purchase. Today was the roast chicken club sandwich, which I ate with Arby's new Diet Blackberry Fruit Tea. The tea was decent, though I prefer iced green tea from Starbuck's. Next week's free item at Arby's is a regular order of Sidekickers with the purchase of a sandwich. For the summer's whole freebie schedule, click here.

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Sharon (of The Bird's Nest Fame) is offering her first giveaway. Some lucky winner will get three months of membership to www.jumpstart.com absolutely FREE! If you have kids ages 3-10 and would like to try out the great online learning games at JumpStart.com, visit Sharon's blog and enter to win.

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I learned of this next giveaway on Twitter today. I'm glad I did because it also introduced me to a a blog written by two moms who have kiddos with sensory processing disorder (SPD), which is what Robbie has. The ladies over at The SPD Life are offering a giveaway of two great products by Pacific Pediatric Supply, the doorway net swing and a peanut ball.

Robbie has not used the peanut ball in OT, but he LOVES the net swing. It has such an amazing calming effect on him. Even if your kid doesn't have SPD, Pacific Pediatric Supply has some really cool products that any kid would love. (Charlie is always so jealous of the fun Robbie gets to have in OT.)

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I actually have a couple of items to give away as well, but I have to send out the stuff from my earlier giveaways first! When it comes to the U.S. Postal Service, I fail!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Voyeur

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All right. I admit it. I watch Jon & Kate Plus Eight. Not all the time, but I do watch it. And I watched the season premiere out of sheer voyeuristic desire to see what the heck is going on over there.

But I draw the line at spouting loud and possibly uninformed opinions about their life and the way they are living it. With one exception:

Why the heck are 5-year-old children sitting in high chairs and wearing bibs?!

That's all. Now back to our regularly scheduled programming...

Sunday, June 7, 2009

I did it (mostly).

I did it -- I managed more than a whole day without the internet. (Ok, I did sneak online on Mike's iPhone for a minute in the car today.)

I have to say that I am amazed at how often my mind went to, "Oh, I'll look that up online." From checking the weather to wondering what hours the bank is open to thinking about options for Charlie's birthday party, hopping online is really second nature for me.

Even my friend Beth called to ask me about basketball camp carpooling. Usually, we'd work in out via e-mail, but Beth said "I figured I'd better call since I know you're not checking your e-mail."

We went to Mike's parents for a quick visit to celebrate his birthday (which was yesterday). It was really freeing to be there without a laptop in tow. And when I was tired, I just went to bed. Instead of stopping to check my e-mail/visit Facebook/send a few Tweets before turning in for the night.

At brunch this morning, I was telling my in-laws about my self-imposed internet moratorium. Charlie suddenly got up, put his hand across his cheek so it extended from his ear to his mouth, and froze. I asked him what he was doing. He said "a cell phone pose." Get it? I said "self-imposed" and Charlie heard "cell phone pose!"

Anyway, I'm happy to be back online. The break, albeit brief, was good. But at least now I can easily figure out what tomorrow's weather will be.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

I CAN do this. I think. Maybe.

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Ever have something you know you need to do, something that is necessary and probably will even be good for you, but you have to psyche yourself up for actually doing it?

That's where I am. The circumstances of my weekend necessitate it. The state of my house is begging for it. My children will be refreshed by it. But the mere prospect scares the heck out of me.

I guess the best thing to do is just take a breath and jump.

Here goes, once I finish this post, I am going OFFLINE for 36 hours -- 36 HOURS! That's more than a whole day.

No sneaking in to send a few tweets. No speed-round Scrabble games. No Facebook forays. No checking my e-mail via the iPhone. I think I might have to have the kids hide my laptop.

Go ahead and leave a comment here -- or not -- I won't know until 9pm tomorrow night.

Until then, have a great weekend!

Friday, June 5, 2009

Apparently, "date" IS a dirty word

Last night I took Charlie to an Indianapolis Indians baseball game, tickets and refreshments courtesy of the rep from my printer at work (thanks Lorrie!). It was a beautiful night to be at the ball field.

Mike dropped Charlie off at my office and from there we headed to the downtown stadium. Charlie was beyond excited. He had his baseball glove with him so he could catch foul balls. (Never mind that the glove was wet because he'd left it in the yard during Wednesday's rainstorm.)

We parked and headed into the stadium. I could barely get him to the suite where our seats were located because he wanted to stop on the lower level to watch the game from under the bleachers. Once we got upstairs, Charlie gave a courtesy hello to Lorrie and then wasted no time taking a seat in the front row of the suite.

I, of course, wasted no time in getting some food, which Charlie couldn't bothered by for fear he might miss an errant ball. Before I'd gotten the tomato on my hamburger, Charlie burst in the suite again, yelling, "Mom! You just missed a double play!" The people watching the game from inside the suite were quite amused.

The whole evening was a lot of fun. I met some great people who are also clients of Lorrie's (shout out to Liz, Megan and Ashley). Charlie unknowingly entertained the crew in our suite with his impromptu hip hop/urban/breakdance moves to one of the songs played over the loudspeaker. We saw a homerun; well, I saw the running, not the actual hit because as luck would have it I was chatting when the batter swung.

The only downsides to the night were that the Indians lost the first game (not sure about the second, we left at 10pm) and that Charlie didn't catch a foul ball. That's all right, he did snag two hot dogs, about four giant cookies and who knows how much popcorn.

On the way back to the car, I put my arm around Charlie, gave him a big squeeze and said "Charlie, this was a really fun date!"

To which he replied, "Ewwww! Gross! Don't call it a date!"

"Well, what was it then?" I asked.

"It was mother-oldest-son-fun-time."

Apparently, unlike "grandma," "date" IS a dirty word, at least if you're 9 years old.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

If I'd only known...

Keepsake blog award

I've come to learn that things tend to make their way around the blogosphere -- stories, photos, and blog awards. Tonight Liz tagged me with the "Keepsake Blog Award" because she considers my blog (along with several others) to be a keeper. Awww! Thanks Liz!

The deal is that when you get tagged with this "Keepsake Blog Award," you have to post a funny or sweet keepsake that tells something about yourself and then pass the award on to 10 other bloggers that I think are keepers.

It took me a few minutes to come up with a story to share. But since my sister just had a baby, one from Charlie's newborn days comes to mind.

Charlie was probably about 2 months old. Annie was about 2-1/2. We were in the kids' bathroom, where I was giving Charlie a bath. I had the baby bath tub set inside the big bathtub and was leaning over the edge of the tub cooing at Charlie while running the soapy washcloth over his baby rolls.

Annie stood behind me and started brushing my hair. Now at this time in her life, Annie HATED having her hair brushed. It was a real ordeal. So when she started brushing mine, I took the opportunity to tell her how nice it felt. How it was such a treat to have my hair brushed.

As all this was going on, I took in the scene. Here I was lovingly tending to my newborn while engaging my 2-year-old in a teachable moment and I felt like a great mom. Truthfully, I was basking in the glow of motherhood.

This went on for a few minutes. Charlie was content and Annie kept brushing. I turned slightly to grab the hooded towel (oh, I miss those things!) for Charlie when, for the first time, I got a look at Annie.

SHE WAS BRUSHING MY HAIR WITH THE TOILET BOWL BRUSH!

"No! Yucky! Yuck! Yuck!" I screamed, scooping Charlie up as fast as I could.

Annie, sensing trouble, took off running down the hall waving the toilet bowl brush high overhead.

I ran after her, wet, slippery Charlie tucked under my arm. The basking was definitely over.

Looking back, I should have known the idyllic moments in the bathroom that I felt so glowing about were too good to be true. Because, really, my experience of motherhood has mostly been about running, hollering and having a good story to tell at the end.

Want to read more blogs that are keepers? Check out these:

Recipe for Chaos
-- Single mom, 4 boys, you know somethin' funny's goin' on there!

Barnes Family Blog -- My sister's new blog (not the one who just had the baby)

Dragonfly -- I'm dying to know how tall she is -- and how tall her dh is!

Fairies'N'Firecrackers -- formerly known as Junior Mints and Reese's

I Got Something More -- She's a mom who just graduated from college after 7 years! Give her some love

Sanibel Toot's Lazy Days -- This is what I want to do when I grow up.

The Cat in the Hat and Things 1 Through 4 -- She'll make you think. Try it, it doesn't hurt!

Incredible Unorganized Mom -- Anyone who can call themselves that is a friend of mine.

Rainbow Sherbet
-- A new blog I found and thought was worth a try.

Back to Square One -- Written by one of my sorority sisters. Anchors away!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Grandma is not a dirty word

A story in today's Boston Globe talks about how many baby boomers love being grandparents, but don't love the traditional "grandma" and "grandpa" monikers that come with the role.

Now, I am not a boomer. In fact, I am the child of boomers. But I consider the titles "grandma" and "grandpa" to be honorable.

When I had my first child, and my parents first grandchild, my mother couldn't wait to call herself Grandma. She told me that she felt she'd earned it -- this from a woman who just four years earlier had given birth to my youngest brother. Still, as the parent of a then preschooler, she was not scared off by the word "grandma."

My mother-in-law, on the other hand, wanted nothing to do with the word. Her own mother was never "grandma" to my husband and his cousins -- they call her "Buck." My father-in-law had already declared "Poppo" as his grandparent name. So we were quite scientific in how we chose a name for our kids to call their grandmother; we went down the alphabet>:

BoBo
CoCo
DoDo
FoFo
GoGo...GoGo, that's it!

My mother-in-law will tell you a few tales about how the name came to be, but now you know the truth.

I understand the need for alternate names to differentiate between sets of grandparents; I grew up with a Grandma and Grandpa and a NaNa and PaPa. And I suppose that it's each person's prerogative to decide what they want to be called.

But some of the names cited in the article and included in The New Grandparents Name Book just don't sit well with me.

"Sonoma" and "Napa" for grandparents who are wine lovers. In that line of thinking, Mike and I would be "Jedi" and "Scrabble."

"Bubbles" and "Pebbles" conjure up images in my mind of flighty women who might be delivering singing telegrams or else making balloon animals at birthday parties.

So when it comes to be my turn to be a grandparent (in no less than 16 years or so, kids), I'll proudly be "Grandma" and I'll expect a sweatshirt that allows me to tell it to the world.

(Note: This is a little bit of a cheater's post -- I posted it here earlier today.)

Monday, June 1, 2009

The power of fiber

Cereal is a staple in this house, especially for Robbie. I try not to buy what my mother-in-law would call "crappy" cereal -- those sugary monstrosities that try to pass for breakfast. I do buy honey nut Cheerios pretty often (even though I know that regular cheerios would be better).

The other day, I found Kashi Heart to Heart honey toasted oat cereal. With 4g of protein and 5g of fiber per serving, it sounded like a healthy alternative to the honey nut Cheerios. Fast forward to this morning:

Robbie: Mom, can I have honey nut Cheerios? But not the heart kind.

Mom: Why not the heart kind? It tastes good and it's good for you.

Robbie: Because it grumbles my butt!

It's Josh, by gosh!

Last Wednesday, May 27, I became an aunt again! Joshua was born to my sister Shelley and her husband Steve, weighing in at 7 pounds, 6 ounces. (Isn't Joshua a nice name?!)

I was waiting for more pictures of him so I could announce his birth, but I guess Shelley and Steve have their hands full with three kiddos at home now. I know how that is. Word has it that Max and Kate think Joshua is the perfect little brother.

Photobucket

We hope to get back home soon to meet the little guy in person!