Saturday, September 29, 2007

Do you need some more wishes?

I wish I was a crocodile.

I wish I was a octopus.

I wish I was a shark.

Mommy, I wish you was a octopus and I could be your honey octopus.

I wish I was a crocodile.

I wish I had three arms.

First soccer game done. Team Spain did awesome today! Poor Charlie looks like the walking wounded. He got stung on the eye at the bus stop yesterday - we thought it was a sweat bee because he seemed okay. But he woke up today and it was completely swollen shut. And then at the game, the boys were goofing around and somebody head-butted him against someone else. Big tears. But he played awesome - he had a lot more confidence this week, he didn't let the fact that he is the smallest kid out there hold him back. I actually cried because I was so proud of him!

Friday, September 28, 2007

Fall is creeping onto the mountain

I had a bazillionty things I "needed" to do today. That is the technical term of course. And I looked at the lists and the piles and the laundry and the calendar and I ran to the mountains instead. If I can't have the sea, the mountains are a close second for calming my soul, bringing peace and order to the chaos that sometimes threatens to consume my every thought.

And that's not to suggest I'm in a bad place right now; quite the contrary, as I look back on where I was last year at this time, things are great. Part of that is the learning to let go... to leave the lists and the piles and get away. And the biggest part is ceding control of the universe - accepting responsibility for only those things which are my problem and learning to live with the imperfections that are part of being human.

Next year I need to remember not to schedule anything for October - there are precious few days in this most favorite of all months and as I look at our calendar, it is far too full. Next year, I am blocking off every single day.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

One of those stay-at-home mom things

that I always used to daydream about... I get to be Charlie's homeroom mom! Is it silly that I'm so excited about that? I was always crushed when my own mom wasn't selected to be the homeroom mom year after year. But now, it's official. I get to be the cupcake baking, field trip chaperoning, arts and crafts crazed mom. Sweet!

Not so sweet... I got strep throat from Gracie. Yesterday was a bear of a day. But I've got some antibiotics flowing through my veins and feel a little bit better already. Blessings once more to Alexander Fleming who discovered the magic of penicillin.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

So THAT'S why she was crying

Strep throat and a viral infection. Together a potent combination. Poor kid.

The doctor confirmed my suspicions. He said it has been the busiest fall they've had since opening their practice umpteen years ago (remember, he was my pediatrician too!) He said actually, the summer was crazy too. They don't know what's going on but there is lots of stuff going around right now.

I had a very, um, interesting conversation with Charlie's teacher today. She does not seem to believe in kids being challenged beyond the curriculum. I do not think we are kindred spirits. But Charlie likes her (and she seems to like him) so that's what counts. Instead, we went to the library and he took out some books on reptiles and space. Totally cool boy stuff.

And if you haven't been watching it, I highly recommend the new Ken Burns PBS documentary "The War". My grandfathers did not fight in the war. My dad's father couldn't pass the physical - his eyes are terrible. And my mom's dad was too young - he joined up right at the end but never saw any action. But it is fascinating to watch the accounts from their contemporaries and see it from both sides - the men who fought and the people who stayed at home. There is not a lot of "new" information in it but it has that Ken Burns quality that makes it interesting anyway.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Is this Groundhog Day?

Sometimes it feels like we're living in that movie - doing the same things over and over again. Gracie had a headache this morning but I gave her some Advil and she seemed okay. She went to school and then on to play with her friend while I scrapped with mine but as soon as I loaded her in the car to come home, she started to cry and didn't stop. She can't tell me what hurts and she doesn't know what is wrong but plainly, she doesn't feel well again. She did take a minute to add a new wish - she wished that she was always a baby so she can stay with me all the time. I like that one!

I got Charlie all excited about school today - I convinced him he was finally going to learn something today and he was ready! But when I picked him up, he had that now familiar glum look on his face. What did you learn today buddy? Nothing. Come on, you had to learn something! What did you do in math? We colored more shapes. Ugh. Luckily, I planned ahead and bought a new educational software program so when we got home, I set him up on the computer and he got to play with some very basic equations. And now he's reading a new book. Guess it's time for a conference with the teacher. No Child Left Behind will not destroy the love of learning in my child.

And now, that elusive, quiet, peaceful feeling has descended on our home. Gracie napping, Charlie reading, dinner in the oven. I could live this part of the day over and over again with no complaint.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

There has been a lot of wishing around here lately

I wish I was married.

I wish I was 5 because then I would be almost 6.

I wish I was a table.

I wish I had three hands.

I wish I was as big of Charlie.

I wish I was a real princess.

I wish I was growed up.

I wish I had two dogs.

I wish I was a bumblebee.
I wish I never growed up.

As for me little girl? I wish you would stay like this for as long as possible.

Friday, September 21, 2007

We are having quite a day

or rather, Grace is having quite a day. She is in the midst of temper tantrum number 3. I suspect she needs a nap but that's not in the cards today. In the last 5 minutes she has told me she doesn't want to live in this house, she wants to be a ducky, she wants Ali's mommy, she wants to be like Charlie, she wants to live in Spiderman's World, she wants to be a boy, she doesn't want me to be her mommy and she doesn't want to be my honey pie. And I a mean mommy. A very mean mommy.

Charlie never had a temper tantrum like this so it's quite novel and very amusing. I am surprised she hasn't packed a bag to run away yet.

In other news, my mom got the job!

In still other news, everyone around here is sick. It's kind of crazy, I don't remember anything like this before. Teachers, daycare people, my parents, my secretary, the kids, my husband, neighbors, etc. Everyone is sick right now. It seems a strange time of year for so much bad stuff to be floating around. Knock on wood, I hope we are almost done with it at my house.

Crazy weekend coming with soccer and football games and birthday parties. Gracie may not get a nap tomorrow either!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

A conversation that took place in my car yesterday

alternative title "I am writing it on my heart."

Gracie: (raising Princess Ballerina Bride Astronaut Barbie up into the air by her toes) "To insinity and beyond!!!"

Charlie: Gracie, do you know what infinity and beyond means?

Mommy: (Listening curiously in the front seat)

Gracie: "It's a sousand."

Charlie: "No Gracie. It means it's beyond what we know. Infinity is more than we can understand."

Gracie: "A sousand is a wot Chawie."

Charlie: "No Gracie. We can never get to infinity. So we don't know what comes after infinity."

Gracie: "It's a sousand Chawie. A sousand is a wot."

Charlie: "Well yes, a thousand is a lot. But it's not infinity."

Gracie: "Weave me awone. " Princess Ballerina Bride Astronaut Barbie continues her toe-tingling dive and levels out as once more, Gracie squeals "to insinity and beyond!"

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Nights like this

Justin is sick, his own version of a cold that no one else has shared yet. He went to bed early and I stayed up later, reading, and just enjoying the quiet. Quiet until the couch shaking snores started coming out of the bedroom and I realized that I was probably better off trying to sleep on the couch. And then it was just one of those nights; up and down every hour or so; every little noise or prowl by the cat or uncomfortable turn on the couch jarring me awake. By 5:00 the dog started to whine and I gave up and took him outside.

And there I saw the most beautiful night sky I have ever beheld. The stars seemed so close and bright and huge that I could just reach out and scoop them up. There was not a light from anywhere to mar the perfection and I just stood and wondered at the vastness and beauty of it all.

Yesterday I spent the day with an older colleague and at some point the discussion turned to my career and the kids and the constant struggle to balance it all and find some meaning in life. I relayed that I was hoping to return to work full-time next year, that I want to contribute something meaningful to this world but that I am concerned about the logistics of it all. And he advised me to just sit back awhile more and enjoy these precious days as long as we can manage. I don't do that enough. Even while I am supposed to be here enjoying them. I waste time, I worry, I get distracted, I think about tomorrow more than right now, this moment.

So I've been doing a lot of changing lately. Trying and succeeding at being more organized. Trying and succeeding at a regular exercise schedule, healthier eating, paying more attention to where our money goes. Today I'm putting something else at the top of the list. Enjoying this more. Worrying less. Being satisfied with who I am and not who I could have been or who I will be. Writing every moment on my heart so that 20 years from now, I don't regret what I can't remember. I am grateful for nights like this.

Monday, September 17, 2007

One thing is certain

And that is that I am still slow. Because the mornings are dark now, I had to change my run to the highschool track - less picturesque but also less scary than the woods in the dark. So now I can tell EXACTLY how far I'm running in the timed intervals. So I'm a half mile short of where Cool Running says I should be. Nice. I will be the first person in history to run a 10 hour 5k.

Gracie (and her Grammy) bought me purple flowers today. It doesn't get any better than that.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

That's more like it!

It's 60 degrees and smells like fall. Yum. There is chili in the crockpot, pumpkin bars in the oven and lasagna just waiting to get baked. Yum.

I had to do a "vacation" layout for my Big Picture homework so I did this super quick one of swimming with the sharks last month. We didn't get too many good underwater pictures but there were a few keepers.

Little man woke up with another stomach virus last night. That poor kid has had a rough week. Two stomach viruses and his sister's cold. He is feeling better but had to miss soccer (Grace is going to miss it too, her asthma is still acting up) so we are snuggled up at home today. That's just the kind of day we all needed.

Friday, September 14, 2007

This will do

I'm still in a bit of a grumpy mood (darn insurance companies and stomach viruses!) so I "borrowed" this from another blog. I used BOLD on everything I've done. Copy it and link me to your answers!

1. Bought everyone in the bar a drink
2. Swam with dolphins - no, but do sharks count?
3. Climbed a mountain
4. Taken a Ferrari for a test drive
5. Been inside the Great Pyramid
6. Held a tarantula
7. Taken a candlelit bath with someone
8. Said “I love you” and meant it.

9. Hugged a tree
10. Bungee jumped

11. Visited Paris
12. Watched a lightning storm at sea
13. Stayed up all night long and saw the sun rise
14. Seen the Northern Lights
15. Gone to a huge sports game
16. Walked the stairs to the top of the leaning Tower of Pisa
17. Grown and eaten your own vegetables
18. Touched an iceberg1
19. Slept under the stars
20. Changed a baby’s diapers
21. Taken a trip in a hot air balloon
22. Watched a meteor shower
23. Gotten drunk on champagne
24. Given more than you can afford to charity
25. Looked up at the night sky through a telescope
26. Had an uncontrollable giggling fit at the worst possible moment
27. Had a food fight
28. Bet on a winning horse
29. Asked out a stranger
30. Had a snowball fight
31. Screamed as loudly as you possibly can
32. Held a lamb
33. Seen a total eclipse
34. Ridden a roller coaster
35. Hit a home run
36. Danced like a fool and not cared who was looking
37. Adopted an accent for an entire day
38. Actually felt happy about your life, even for just a moment
39. Had two hard drives for your computer
40. Visited all 50 states -I'm getting there!
41. Taken care of someone who was heavily inebriated - too many
42. Had an amazing friend (and lost her)
43. Danced with a stranger in a foreign country
44. Watched wild whales
45. Stolen a sign
46. Backpacked in Europe
47. Taken a road trip
48. Gone rock climbing
49. Midnight walk on the beach
50. Gone sky diving
51. Visited Ireland
52. Been heartbroken longer than you were actually in love
53. In a restaurant, sat at a stranger’s table and had a meal with them
54. Visited Japan5
5. Milked a cow
56. Alphabetized your CDs
57. Pretended to be a superhero
58. Sung karaoke - it was bad too!
59. Lounged around in bed all day
60. Posed nude in front of strangers
61. Gone scuba diving
62. Kissed in the rain
63. Played in the mud

64. Played in the rain
65. Gone to a drive-in theater
66. Visited the Great Wall of China
67. Started a business
68. Fallen in love and not had your heart broken
69. Toured ancient sites
70. Taken a martial arts class
71. Played D&D for more than 6 hours straight
72. Gotten married
73. Been in a movie -
74. Crashed a party
76. Gone without food for 5 days
77. Made cookies from scratch
78. Won first prize in a costume contest
79. Ridden a gondola in Venice
80. Gotten a tattoo
81. Rafted the Snake River
82. Been on television news programs as an expert
83. Got flowers for no reason
84. Performed on stage
85. Been to Las Vegas
86. Recorded music
87. Eaten shark
88. Eaten fugu (pufferfish)
89. Had a one-night stand
90. Gone to Thailand
91. Bought a house twice
92. Been in a combat zone
93. Buried one/both of your parents
94. Been on a cruise ship Honeymoon
95. Spoken more than one language fluently
96. Performed in Rocky Horror Picture Show
97. Raised children
98. Followed your favorite band/singer on tour
99. Taken an exotic bicycle tour in a foreign country
100. Picked up and moved to another city to just start over
101. Walked the Golden Gate Bridge
102. Sang loudly in the car, and didn’t stop when you knew someone was looking
103. Had plastic surgery - maybe some day
104. Survived an accident that you shouldn’t have survived
105. Wrote articles for a large publication
106. Lost over 100 pounds
107. Held someone while they were having a flashback
108. Piloted an airplane
109. Petted a stingray -
110. Broken someone’s heart
111. Ridden a bike
112. Won money on a T.V. game show
113. Broken a bone
114. Gone on an African photo safari
115. Had a body part of yours below the neck pierced
116. Fired a rifle, shotgun, or pistol
117. Eaten mushrooms that were gathered in the wild
118. Ridden a horse - and it scares the hell out of me every time
119. Had surgery

120. Had a snake as a pet
121. Hiked to the bottom of the Grand Canyon
122. Slept for more than 30 hours over the course of 48 hours
123. Visited more foreign countries than U.S. states
124. Visited all 7 continents
125. Taken a canoe trip that lasted more than 2 days
126. Eaten kangaroo meat
127. Eaten sushi
128. Had your picture in the newspaper
129. Changed someone’s mind about something you care deeply about
130. Gone back to school
131. Parasailed
132. Petted a cockroach
133. Eaten fried green tomatoes
134. Read The Iliad and The Odyssey
135. Selected one important author who you missed in school, and read I
136. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
137. Skipped all your school reunions
138. Communicated with someone without sharing a common spoken language
139. Been elected to public office
140. Written your own computer language
141. Thought to yourself that you’re living your dream
142. Had to put someone you love into hospice care
143. Built your own PC from parts
144. Sold your own artwork to someone who didn't know you
145. Had a booth at a street fair
146. Dyed your hair
147. Been a DJ
148. Shaved your head
149. Caused a car accident
150. Saved someone’s life

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Yesterday he was faking

Today, not so much. I hoped this might teach him a valuable lesson about the boy who cried wolf but instead it just convinced him that he really did have a stomach virus yesterday morning even though he didn't get sick until this morning. Sigh.

And it's a disastrous day for him to be sick. The kids had an important appointment this afternoon that will be difficult to reschedule. He has karate tonight and can't afford to miss any more classes if he wants to test on time next month. And poor Gracie will have to miss another day of school because I can't risk taking Charlie in the car for the long drive to and from her school. Twice. Sigh again. Oh yeah, and I have to explain to his teacher that yes, yesterday he was faking (I ended up taking him in before lunch) but today he really is sick. Really.

Well that's enough whining, don't you think? In much happier news, my mom has a second interview today. Her company relocated to Tupelo, Mississippi (management) and China (factory) in March. She declined to re-locate with them and has been job searching ever since. She has heard this phrase over and over "you are fantastic but we are going to hire someone who more closely fits our profile." This is code for "someone who is not 50+ years old and makes as much money as you did." But the company she is going back to today seems very interested. They contacted her references. They gave her two, very complicated homework assignments. She is very nervous. But it would be perfect - it's close to home (unlike everything else and even her former position) and it's a family-owned company which would be a breath of fresh air after the evil, baby killing, environment polluting, multi-national corporation she worked for until now.

Is my glum mood showing? I listened to much of the Petraeus hearing yesterday and it was very depressing. Justin and I stayed up venting about the state of things for quite some time so between the sad state of our country, a very short night of sleep and Charlie's illness, I think I am glum. That's a sign I should sign off until a better mood appears ;)

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

I do believe I was snookered

by my darling child. His sister stayed home from school yesterday with a cold and asthma complications. A stomach virus is going around his school. See the connection? This morning he had a horrible stomach ache and headache. Blah blah blah, he felt terrible. I checked his temperature, he was maybe a teensy bit warm. And then he told me he had (brace yourself)


There is a very funny talk show here in Pittsburgh and one of the hosts says this is the best excuse ever. No one ever questions you about it. No one need see proof. You just say you have it and people nod knowingly and back away from you slowly.

So I gave him the benefit of the doubt (okay, all the while muttering at him that he'd better not be faking or else...) and I let him stay home from school and come with me to work. Funny how he seems to be fine now. His horrible stomach cramps aren't interfering with his enjoyment of the morning at all. Snookered. He is so going to regret this.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Taking some classes

At Big Picture Scrapbooking. I can't figure out how to save my digital layouts small enough to post anywhere, I keep getting an error. So here is a paper one I did of my niece. She's cute.

This is supposed to be a crazy weekend. Justin rented a houseboat with 10 guys from work and they are off gallivanting until Monday. On the homefront, we're juggling karate (for both kids), soccer (for both kids), Sunday School rally day, I'm in the nursery at church tomorrow and then we're going to Justin's company picnic (without him) at a local amusement park. I'll admit, I was dreading this weekend. But it's been nice so far, much more relaxed than I thought. Baked some cookies, tried a new recipe for dinner. Scrapped. Read. Played with the kids. I'm telling you, fall is here.

Friday, September 7, 2007

All golden

I drive on a beautiful meandering country road on the way to and from Grace's pre-school. The kind of road with old barns and horse pastures, lined with fruit trees and goldenrod. Today when we were coming home, it suddenly became fall. It didn't matter that it's 90 degrees outside today or that the calendar says a few more weeks of summer. The trees had a golden hue and the apple leaves were dancing off the trees in the wind. How do you describe that subtle change in color - from the vibrant green of spring to the deep green of summer to the green with a hint of gold that covers the fields?

I got myself out of bed early enough this morning to get my run in before Justin left. (Ha, the 3 minutes is a breeze! Wasn't even winded. Five minutes is next. Errr...) Which meant that I finally got to go to the library to look at art books. Only... Grace goes to school in the city where I went to high school. In my memory, the library is a huge monolith of a building, filled to the brim with books of every imaginable topic. But I haven't been to this library since I was 12. And it was a disaster. If they have a book about art or craft that was published after 1950, I didn't see it. They did not have a single book about graphic design. How can this be? Our local library, for a much smaller population, is fantastic! What happened? So, I hied myself over to Barnes and Noble and played there for the morning. I wish that I had all day, every day, just to play and create and make beautiful things. Instead, I steal moments to admire the work of the men and women that do.

And now, I will steal some moments to go read the next book in the Outlander series. Send help.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Ch ch ch changes

I guess that's kind of a redundancy in life, eh? Nothing ever stays the same.

I forgot to blog last week that I told my dad I will be looking for a new job next year. I didn't plan ahead to tell him but we were just discussing some finance stuff and it seemed like the appropriate time. He took it very well (he is my dad after all); he has been wistful ever since, reminding me several times that I am good at it, but overall, I think he understands.

Days like today, he has to be understanding. I crashed my car when I was taking Grace to daycare. There are some really good things about growing up in a small town. The first person on the scene was a dear friend from highschool who used to be a paramedic (almost went to medical school to be a trauma surgeon but decided he didn't like surgery that much) who now works at the car dealership in front of which I crashed. Next was one of the local police officers with whom I deal quite frequently at work. It makes a big difference to have some friendly faces around at a time like that. They called the ambulance to have Grace checked out (she's fine) and then sent me down to my office to make the necessary phone calls while the officer finished all of his reports. The man I hit did not have a driver's license so I imagine he is really unhappy right now (he was fine too by the way). Then the officer came to work to drop everything off and check on Grace again. Sometimes small towns are nice. On the other hand, within 15 minutes, everyone everywhere knew I had crashed so I guess that's the pay-off. You can't ever hide in a small town either. And of course, I got no work done today at all. My dad was already having a horrible day so I guess that was just the icing on the cake.

So if the preliminary estimate on the damage is correct, I will be shopping for a new car next week. We usually agonize over these decisions for a long time - in fact, I've shopped for a new car twice over the last couple years and just put it off because I hate making these decisions. I guess I need to hurry up and make up my mind. No wonder my stomach hurts.

Monday, September 3, 2007

Technically poor photo share and other ramblings

I've gotten in the habit of keeping my best photos (and layouts) off-line. I guess since I remain now and forever NOT a published scrap success, there is not much need for that but it's a habit nonetheless. So these are the remnant photos of our week. The zoo. The first day of school. The next first day of school. Justin's dad coming to visit. A busy week. A nice week.

I had a rambling, I swear. That's why I titled this post that way. What was it? Oh yeah. Confessions of my literary shame. The Outlander series. Yoy. I got hooked - perused a Two Peas book list for ideas for beach reads. Outlander was recommended by many people. So I went to the store and was shocked when I located it in the romance section. Romance? But as another fan says, it's like reading crack. I finished the third book in the series this weekend. I was not the hostess with the mostess. Justin's poor dad had to fend for himself and retrieve his own beer while I reclined on the couch, in the yard, anywhere I could sneak two seconds to read more. Crack. It gets a bit old too - how many things can possibly happen to this couple in the space of 24 hours - but still I must go back for more. More. Crack.

I put the book down during the picnic we hosted yesterday. Just barely. I might be turning into my father who didn't put his book down (he never does) but hopefully I will stave on that inevitability for a few more years.