Saturday, May 28, 2011

Life, Love and Eddie Vedder

 A hundred years ago when I was about to graduate from college, I made a list of goals for my future. 

1. Never own a business suit.
2. Never have a resume.
3. Meet and marry Eddie Vedder.

Okay, I wasn't serious, at least not totally serious.  A short time later, when I started applying and interviewing for jobs, I dutifully typed out my resume and my mom bought a skirt suit for me.  But there was still hope to meet and marry Eddie Vedder, right? 

Funny, in the here and now there is nothing that even slightly resembles a business suit in my wardrobe and I haven't updated my resume in something like 5 years.  I also have not thought about Eddie Vedder (at least not in that way) in years.  Although, I will admit that it has been less than 13 years (which is the anniversary Greg and I just celebrated last week).

And then this happened:  Ukulele Songs.  I didn't listen to the songs in order, the first one I picked was Dream a Little Dream and a little - no, that's a lie - a big shiver went through me.  Oh, Eddie Vedder, how I love thee.  (Sorry honey - you know I love you more, but maybe you could learn how to play the ukulele?)

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Bedtime stories

There's a lovely new book that's not quite on the market yet called "Go the F**k to Sleep".  Have you seen it?  I got a copy of the PDF from a friend.  When I first looked at it, I didn't realize that it's going to be an actual book.  I thought it was a really (really) elaborate joke email.  I have to admit that even though it made me laugh, I cried a little, too.  Someone else gets it, someone else knows, oh sweet mother of little lambs, someone else curses the night, too.

At least a couple of nights a week things go a little something like this...fight about bathing, run around naked (not me - the kids, I'm not a perv), put on pajamas, read books, fight over who turns out the light, sing Baa Baa Black Sheep, sing Twinkle Twinkle, sing Baa Baa again.  Go downstairs, argue with the big kid about brushing teeth, send her to bed.  Ignore littlest girl calls from upstairs.  Send big kid back to bed complaining about having nothing to read (despite new library books on the shelf).  Forced to respond to middle girl calls, take her to the bathroom.  Sing Baa Baa again and again and again (why does she like this song so much?).  Argue with big kid more about the irrelevance of having nothing to read since it's past time to turn out the light.  Pleas from middle kid for more milk.  Listen to big kid's loud sobs from her room about the unfairness of life.  Take turns with husband calming her down enough for sleep to take over.

And a mere two hours after "bedtime" all the children are asleep.  Of course, at least one of them will wake up during the night (usually the littlest one - whereupon I will sleep walk to her bed and bring her back to mine) and then the awakening will begin no later than 6:00am (lately it's been trending more toward 5:30am).

Why-o-why can't they go the f to sleep AND stay that way till a decent hour?!

Friday, May 20, 2011

What's going on in that cart?

I enjoy entertaining strangers with my children and I'm betting I was a bundle of laughs for everyone in Superfresh on Wednesday afternoon.  I stopped in for two things I'd forgotten during my shopping trip earlier in the week.  Two things.  Superfresh is seconds from my house so I didn't bring the diaper bag, I didn't bring an army of snacks, I didn't bring any sippy cups.  Shame on me for thinking I could get away with that.

The entire ten minutes we were in the store, my sweet little two-year-old screamed for a snack at the top of her lungs.  Of course, what she was screaming could have easily been misconstrued...


Sunday, May 15, 2011

My Secret Garden

I love my little backyard. 

I'm a low-maintenance kind of girl (at least when it comes to gardening) and I love stuff that comes back year after year regardless of the weather and care it gets.  My roses will win no prizes because of this - they sometimes get pruned and that's about all I can manage, but for some reason they keep blooming for me and I'm thankful.  I have tried to get the clematis to climb better than it does, but really I'm just glad it is still there.

For edible stuff we have strawberries, oregano, rosemary, lavender, mint and thyme.  Usually we have tomatoes and basil, but I haven't gotten around to planting those yet this year.
I love having fresh herbs in the garden and they have grown like crazy.  With all this bounty I have to find creative ways to use them.  Coming from the South, of course I love my sweet tea - so I came up with an herbal sweet tea that's a little different.

I use a handful of thyme, a whole bunch of mint and one smallish sprig of rosemary.  Boil up a big pot of water, add the tea bags and throw in the herbs.  Let them steep until the tea is whatever strength you like it (I usually do about 10 minutes).  Remove the tea bags and rosemary sprig (the rosemary seems to make it bitter if you leave it in too long) and let the mint and thyme sit for a while longer (maybe another 10 minutes or so depending on how minty you want it to be or how long before you remember to go back!).

Add honey to taste.  (I have tried regular sugar to sweeten it when I'd run out of honey, but the taste is not nearly as good.)  Cool, add ice and enjoy!

Friday, May 13, 2011

What a day.

Weeks ago I scheduled appointments for Violet and Zoey to have their 4- and 2-year-old check-ups.  They gave me a date and time, I looked at the calendar - no conflicts - another thing checked off the To Do list, don't have to think about it any more.

I might've mentioned before that I'm not really a superstitious person, but maybe I should've thought through scheduling simultaneous check-ups for little girls who will be getting shots on Friday the 13th.

During my first pregnancy I worried about all the icky things that come with parenting - I'm not good with bad smells or blood or guts - but surprisingly, I've always been okay with doctor visits and seeing my little ones cry when they get shots.  I have always been able to be calm and help them either stay or recover their calm.  Today was no different, even with a little extra Violet trauma.

Lorelei was out of school today and was there to comfort Zoey after her shot while I held Violet down.  I've done this before, many times.  Hold her hands, lean over her body on the table, look her in the eye, talk in a soothing voice, tell her it will be over soon and it only hurts a minute.  Lorelei never struggled, never really even cried (except as an infant), it was always more of a really hardcore wince.  I was spoiled.  Violet looked terrified, cried A LOT and really, really struggled.   But, I hugged and held them, helped pick out the stickers that weirdly make everything okay and we took our leave.

Just as we were walking out of the the building Violet asked for her jacket, so Lorelei took Zoey's hand while I got the jacket out of the diaper bag.  Zoey decided this was a good time to work her wicked wiggle, escaped Lorelei and took off for the parking lot where a van was making it's way toward us.  Lorelei ran, I started to run and a wonderful stranger turned around, saw her coming and grabbed her.

Heart attack.  She cried, I nearly cried, everybody's nerves were frazzled.  So much for maintaining calm at the doctor's office.  This calls for a movie night with ice cream and candy!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

That Karma, She's a Bitch

When I was a kid we had a recliner in the den.  It was Dad's Chair.  When he wasn't home or in need of sitting, it became The Chair Everyone Wants.  By everyone, I mean me and my sisters.  As the oldest, the biggest and the one to most willing to inflict bodily harm, I generally won the fights to become Queen of the Chair.  I also had elaborate schemes to get my sisters to do things for me while I was in the chair.  I would trick them into fetching me books or snacks or the remote so that I didn't have to get up for even a second and relinquish my hold on the Chair.  There was even one afternoon reign that ended in the ER (it was only a sprain - no fingers were actually broken).  It was good to be the oldest. 

I don't know how I didn't drive my poor mother to drink.  For those of you who don't believe in karma, you are a fool.  My oldest daughter was brought to me for a special purpose - the world will be a better place for having her in it, she is intelligent, thoughtful and beautiful - except when she is fulfilling her karmic duty to drive me  mad.  I just have to remind myself that I deserve it, I deserve all the "you're on MY side of the couch don't touch me" fights, all the "nah nah na-nah nah you can't have it" fights, all the moody storms that brew at the worst moments.  I deserve it all. 

My one solace - someday that poor, wonderful girl is going to deserve it, too.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

There is a Me in Mother!

Kim Lemmonds over at Ellicott City Patch wrote recently asking other busy parents how (and if) they manage "me time" because she is struggling with putting this abstract idea into practice.  Clearly she is paying too much attention to her kids and under-using the universal babysitter (TV, of course).  Okay, joking aside - this is a dilemma we all face.

The other night I was watching that show with what's-her-name from Everybody Loves Raymond and the Janitor from Scrubs (aka The Middle) about a family in Indiana who struggle with all the normal/crazy family stuff.  (Slight tangent - I think my husband finds the show distasteful since he's from Indiana and they are often portrayed as a bunch of yokels - that only makes me enjoy the show more.  Sorry honey.)  The dad and kids forgot to plan for Mother's Day and came up with the idea to just leave the mom alone for the day.  She loved the idea, but when the day actually came she wasted it doing a string of chores and as soon as she sat down on the couch with her pile of dentist office People Magazines, the family walked in and her day was over.

I can totally relate to this.  Last year for Mother's Day, my husband took the girls to the zoo for a few hours so I could have some "me" time.  I have no memory of what I did, but I'll guarantee I wasn't lounging around with my bon bons.  It's so hard to turn off that part of my brain that looks around and sees all the toys, dust and piles of laundry so that I can do something fun for a moment.  I think, okay, I'll just vacuum really quick - but first all these toys have to be picked up; ug, this is all disorganized, I'll just put all the Little People together and all the My Little Ponies in this bin, etc.  Oops, better dust before I vacuum.  Ack!  All this dust is making me sneeze - a shower will help.  Damn, this bathroom is filthy.  Okay - showered, dressed, ready for some fun.  Aaaaaaannnnd time's up.  Oh well, at least some of the chores got done.

Today when Greg offered to take the older girls out for a while this afternoon I accepted and didn't put too much pressure on myself.  I didn't want to end up feeling disappointed.  Zoey and I went down to Ellicott City's Second Sunday Market for a bit, then it was time for her nap.  After I got her down, I looked around and thought about what I was going to do with my free time.  I had some DVR'd shows to catch up on, I've got a book, I've got a cross stitch project going, hmmmm.  But I also had plenty of chores to do.  I split the difference and made the grocery list and week's meal plan first, paid some bills online, then plunked down on the couch to sew and watch TV.  I had about an hour of "me" time and it was great. 

Happy Mother's Day!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Comedy in Dialogue

Violet:  Mom, my eye hurts.
Me:  Why does your eye hurt?
Violet:  I touched it.
Me:  Well, don't touch it.
Violet:  Why?
Me:  Because it hurts when you do.
Violet:  Oh.

I think this conversation epitomizes the hilarity of raising children.