Sunday, February 28, 2010

Happy Birthday to Me! Fini.

February 2010 ~ I turned 41.

This was the best birthday ever!

On my birthday proper, I was awakened at ten past six in the morning when a little boy in footie pajamas climbed into my bed.  Sam crawls into bed with us most mornings.  Always on my side.  He pulls himself up, arranges his head on my pillow then says, "Covers."  I share my covers.  Then he says, "Hugs."  I share my hugs.  Then we go back to sleep, or something close to it, for a few more minutes.  But, my birthday was a little bit different.

"Hold hand," he said after we had assumed the cuddle position.  I gave him my hand.  Carefully, in the semi-darkness, he made a point of interlocking our fingers, just so, until he could quietly announce, "There.  Good."  With his free hand, he started stroking my hair.  Then he began to gently explore my face.  "Cheeks.  Chin.  Nose," he whispered in my ear as he came to each feature.  This was peculiar, but sweet, and not loud enough to wake Daddy, so we did not go back to sleep that morning.  We just loved on each other in Sam's tactile way.

Not too much later we were joined by Jonah, who took up his usual spot between Hubband and me.  It was so late in the morning, there was no point in sending either boy back to bed, so we did the family cuddle for awhile, until I finally had to drag myself to the shower.

On my way out of bed, I mentioned to Jonah that it was my birthday.  Jonah likes birthdays.  He was so excited he hurled himself at me for a full body hug.  I caught him in mid-air.  It was rather like trying to catch a bicycle.  But, the hug was sincere.  I know this, because he made no mention of cake (his main reason for liking birthdays).

When Sam heard this he said, "Happy birthday to you!  Way to go!  Good job!  Well done!  Happy birthday, Mommy!"  Sam, who four months ago didn't even say "Mommy" with any consistency, wished me Happy Birthday!

This was the best birthday ever!!!!

My mother and my sister and my sister-in-law and I all went out for a nice dinner and ate way too much, including dessert and an $11 margarita and I paid, for once, though they tried to not let me.

Hubband and I, to celebrate my birthday, spent a whole weekend just being with the kids at home all together.  I didn't spend four hours on Saturday afternoon shopping for groceries and diapers.  We didn't even go to church on Sunday.  It's just a building, after all, and our particular brand of building is a high school gymnasium.  But we were a Church with a capital C, the five of us at home, basking in His word and love and blessings.

Did I mention that this was the best birthday ever?

When I was 23, for a class of some kind, we had to say what we wanted out of life.  I said I wanted to get married, have four kids, boy, girl, boy, girl, in that order, go to law school and write a book.  It was a bit of a throw away line, but ultimately true at the time and essentially fulfilled now.  I'm married, and happy about it.  I have three kids not four, but I'm good.  Note I said I wanted to go to law school, not become a lawyer.  So, check.  Note also that I only said I wanted to write a book, not publish one.  Well, I've done neither.  But, I'm not dead yet.  And God has blessed me with things I didn't even know, when I was 23, that I wanted.  Thank you, God.  So, you see, I am right where I always wanted to be.  No complaints. 

This was the best birthday ever!!!!!

This will be the last installment of my Happy Birthday Series.  At least for this year.  Thank you to everyone who came by this month to help me celebrate.

Friday, February 26, 2010

An Agatha Tracey Mystery

A crime was committed here at uno, dos, tracey, and I think I have solved it.  Theses are the facts.

One Mr. Television Clicker has been missing since Thursday morning at 10:03 a.m.

He was last seen in the company of one Catherine, a known meddler and sneak.

Her mother's statement is as follows:  "I saw Catherine with Mr. Clicker in the hall between her room and her brothers'.   I was horrified.  She knows she is not supposed to be with him.  I was just about to interrupt their tete-a-tete when I was distracted by the arrival of her brother's school bus."  When asked if she did not have but a split second to snatch Mr. Clicker out of Catherine's grasp, she prevaricated.  "I was in a hurry.  I didn't even know the bus was out there until I saw it through the window.  Who knows how long they had been waiting?  Honestly!  Anyway, when I came back in, Mr. Clicker was no where to be seen.  I have asked my daughter repeatedly what she knows, but she refuses to talk." 

Her father's statement is as follows:  "I wasn't here.  I was at work earning money to put food on the table.  The last time I saw Mr. Clicker was when I set him on the end table the previous night before bed."  When asked if this end table would have been within Catherine's reach, he prevaricated.  "Look.  I can't be in charge of everything, can I?  All I know is that if Mr. Clicker does not come home soon I will be forced to play my video games with a 4:3 screen ratio.  This is just devastating."

With a little digging, it was also revealed that this Catherine has quite a past as a trouble make and an abuser of controlled substances.


With this information, a search was mounted.  I looked high and low.  Mostly low, as Catherine has a reach of only about 36 inches.  Her favorite haunts, drawers, and laundry hampers were checked and rechecked.  Then, in the mid-morning hours of Friday, about 24 hours after he was last seen, Mr. Clicker was discovered, face down, in Catherine's dresser drawer.

The conclusion is obvious.  Catherine absconded with Mr. Clicker and was keeping him prisoner in her room.  The suspect is still not talking, but her eyes say, "If I can't have him, no one will."

Another case solved by Agatha Tracey.

 She has been sentenced to three days of only water in her sippy cup.

Don't miss the cutie patootie picture I posted about an hour ago, and then buried with this post.

Too Many Cooks?

With all this help in the kitchen I should be able to retire.  Or at least stick to laundry.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Ancient History, Bag Boy Style

I went to the grocery store today.  This story will get better I promise.

Cate ate a banana while I shopped, and when I went to check out, the young man bagging my groceries offered to throw it away for me.  This is when he mentioned he is afraid of fruit.  Yes, afraid.  Yes, of fruit.  He is afraid to touch it.  But not vegetables.

He bagged my groceries, then offered to help me out to my car.  This is an offer I usually decline, because I am no good at small talk, especially with bag boys.  But, the back door of the station wagon is temperamental and only stays in the "up" position when I do not need it to.  And, I had filled our jugs at the water filtering machine, and they are heavy.  So, he walked me to my car, pushing my cart with my groceries and my baby in it.  Had I known then what I know now, I would have pushed that cart myself and risked the concussion.

So, we got to my car and he was telling me how he read an article in TIME magazine about a guy who was afraid of the color blue, and the author of the article admitted, for the first time, that he himself had a phobia of watching people eat.  Now, this is when I am usually putting the baby in her car seat, while the young man loads my car.  The problem was, he was not loading my car.  He was still standing at the push end of the cart, while I held the self-closing car door up with one hand and put groceries in the back of the car with the other.

Finally, the cart was empty of everything but the water jugs.  The heavy water jugs.  "This door falls down,"  I said pointedly.  "Let me hold it for you while you put the water in."  He did that, but he was still yammering about weird phobias.  Then I made my fatal error.  I should have just dropped the car door on his head, but no.  I said, "I don't have any phobias.  Well, I find clowns kind of creepy."

Do you know that clowns originate in Italy?  They are an offshoot of the court jester.  And, in a change of subject I failed to follow, he informed me that back in ancient Greece, the early satirists were named after the satyr, the mythical half-man, half-goat creature that will have sex with anything.  "Will have sex with anything" were the exact words he used as I buckled my baby into her car seat and he stood leaning on my now-empty grocery cart.

I got in my car and he was still talking.  Satirists, whether Greek or Italian was not clear, used to carry a giant phallus, so big it had to be carried by six men  (probably only took two if they were sober), down the street to the door of the mayor, and bandy it about for an hour or so, making crude (you think?) jokes and pointed comments about his prowess.  Really?  I was then in my car, it was running, my hand was on the door handle, waiting to pull it closed.

But he did not stop talking.  It is because of these town drunks satirists that the first amendment of the United States Constitution allows you fair use of any copyrighted or trademarked material if it is used for the purpose of humor.  (This is his legal analysis, not mine.)

"I'm a history major," he said by way of conclusion, or maybe it was just a pause for breath.  Either way I was not taking any chances.

"Have a nice day," I said, and closed my car door as fast as I could.

He talked about phalli and horny man-goats in front of my baby.  Is this appropriate?  Oh, and don't search Google Images for a photo of a satyr.  What you see will be burned on your eye balls forever.  I need a shower.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

What is in my bag?

Kate from Calamity, Kids, and Other Stuff has tagged me.  It seems she is curious/voyeuristic/nosey about what I carry in my bag.  Well, I am about to tell you, then we can all be bored together.  Yeah!!!  Though, I have to say, I was not bored reading about the contents of Kate's fancy bag.  I am a bit of a voyeur myself.

 Ahh, my little life in a tan leather bag.

Wallet, containing four medical insurance cards, three immunization records, two credit cards, one driver's license, innumerable receipts and seventy-seven cents.

Itty, bitty, notebook, for jotting down ideas or necessities so that I forget neither.  But no pen.


Lip care.  Two lip balms, two lip glosses, and three lipsticks.  Though I usually just glob on the balm I carry in the pocket of my jeans.

Cork screw/bottle opener combo.  Nail clippers.

A few gift cards from Christmas I have not had the opportunity to spend.

Excedrin, baby Tylenol, dental floss, zipper bag of bendy straws, bulletin from church last Sunday, two Madagascar sticker handed out at the pediatrician's office, metal clippy-doo-dad thing for the car seat, and one sad and lonely ear ring whose mate has disappeared forever.

Okay, I am feeling oddly exposed now.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Happy Birthday, Abby (the best babysitter in the world)!

Abby was born February 24, 1994.  She is our babysitter.  She also just happens to be the best babysitter in the world.

She reads stories.  She plays games outside and in.  She feeds the kids snack and  cleans up the mess they make under the table.  She is homeschooled so she is available during the day (when she is not taking college chemistry!).  She has told me I pay her too much.  She is sweet and kind and patient and loves my kids and my kids love her.  I bet we'd have to ask her mother to find out that she is not perfect.  But even if she isn't, I would be very blessed to have my daughter grow up to be like her.  Speaking of her mom, she is the best babysitter's mother in the world in that she almost always drops her off and picks her up even on super short notice.

During her non-babysitting hours, she is a very creative cake decorator.  I ordered a Wall-E cake for Sam's birthday, and she not only baked it, but brought it and all her gear to my house so that Jonah could help her decorate it.  Oh and it was delicious!!!!!   But, not even her best work.  Scroll down for more pictures of her creations (Which I stole off her facebook page.  I hope she does not mind.)


Alien Cupcakes

Those mushrooms are made out of meringue.  Can you believe that?

Happy Sweet 16 Abby!!!!!!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

For a Sunday in February

Come Thou Fount of every blessing
Tune my heart to sing Thy grace;
Streams of mercy, never ceasing,
Call for songs of loudest praise
Teach me some melodious sonnet,
Sung by flaming tongues above.
Praise the mount! I'm fixed upon it,
Mount of God's unchanging love.

Here I raise my Ebenezer;
Hither by Thy help I'm come;
And I hope, by Thy good pleasure,
Safely to arrive at home.
Jesus sought me when a stranger,
Wandering from the fold of God;
He, to rescue me from danger,
Interposed His precious blood.

O to grace how great a debtor
Daily I'm constrained to be!
Let that grace now like a fetter,
Bind my wandering heart to Thee.
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
Prone to leave the God I love;
Here's my heart, O take and seal it,
Seal it for Thy courts above.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Happy Birthday to Me, V

February 1976 ~ I turned seven

I don't remember the party, or the gifts, or even the cake.  What I do remember it that my grandparents took me out to dinner.  Just me.  They came to my house and picked me up, after dark.  It was like a date.  I was so excited.

We drove there in my grandfather's Oldsmobile.  I know this, because my whole life my grandfather drove an Oldsmobile.  During the drive, there was a story on the radio about being trained as an opera singer.  I thought that sounded like fun, and asked my grandparents if they thought I could be an opera singer.  I don't remember what they said, but I know what they were thinking.

They took me to a restaurant called Granny's Attic.  The wait-staff sang "Someone's in the attic with Granny," to the tune of Someone's in the Kitchen with Dinah.  I had so much fun.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Happy Birthday, Female Author Edition

I fancy myself a writer, because I love to write.  I don't call myself a writer, because I don't actually, you know, write.  Well, not with enough consistency and discipline.  I think about it.  I plan to.  I mean to.  I probably will someday.  Or maybe I won't.  I'm not too worked up about it either way.

However, there are several women who do (or did) write, and happen to have birthdays in February.   They are, in no particular order:

February 19, 1952

February 19, 1917

February 7, 1867

February 9, 1944

February 18, 1931

February 21, 1927

February 12, 1938

February 3, 1874

February 2, 1905


There is amazing talent on this list.  Amazing!!!!  Click on their names to get more information about any of these women or their writing. 

Oh, and Sarah Palin had a birthday this month too, but just because you can get a book published does not make you a writer.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Boy Story, a Buried Mom, and I'm calling it Bloggywood now.

 My little cowboy

has found a kindred spirit,

a new best friend,

a sole soul mate.

I have been blogging like crazy this month.  I have more posts than there have been days.  I have no idea what has gotten into me.  At least (for your sake) the posts have been short.  I've been doing a lot of writing, too.  I'm just not (for your sake) posting it here.  I am afraid that in my post-manic condition I buried a birthday post with a very sweet memory about my mother.  If you missed the cake my mom made me for my sixth birthday, click here.  She deserves the attention.  She rocked.  Still does.  Hi, Mom!

Thank you for all the wonderful comments and e-mails on my last post.  I feel like Bloggywood is a very honest place, and I appreciate the support, kindness, and words of experience.

This reminds me of a quote I once read.  "The only people who can be completely honest are strangers and lovers.  Everyone else is negotiating."  I don't know that I agree, or that it applies to here, but it popped into my noggin.  Make of it what you will.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Is Everyone Else Just Faking It?

Raising children is hard for me. Very, very hard. There, I said it. The ugly truth no one ever wants to admit.

Hubband and I have always said that we are not actually raising children. We are raising adults, they just happen to be children right now. This is true, and a good child rearing philosophy, where a philosophy is required. But, let’s face it, if they don’t make it to adulthood, their good problem solving skills and willingness to accept the consequences of their actions will do them very little good.

My children are young. Most of their needs are immediate. Food, sippy cup, diaper, don’t stick that sharp knife into that electrical outlet. And it is meeting those needs that exhausts me. That and keeping the house just clean enough to be sanitary. I have very little energy left for the discipline, correction, and training that goes into making a decent person.

I know so many women who make mothering look effortless. Especially women at church. And these women homeschool too, so I know they have their hands full. Are they really as together as they seem? And if not, what do they have to gain from faking it?

Don’t get me wrong. I don’t want to listen to a bunch of women do nothing but complain. It’s not good for them, it’s not good for me, and too much grumbling is decidedly un-Biblical. But, just once, I would like to hear someone say, “Being a stay-at-home mom is the hardest thing I have ever done and most of the time I feel like I am failing.” Then I would know that I am not alone.

Happy Birthday to Me, IV

February 1975 ~ I turned six.

My mother baked my cake, frosted it, and traced the silhouette of a Holly Hobby doll with a toothpick in the icing.  Then, very carefully, she filled in her outline with colored sugar.  As a mother and baker now myself, I know how unpredictable and errant colored sugar can be.  I am more impressed now than I was then.  Then, I was just pleased to have such a cool cake.

I had three Holly Hobbie rag-dolls.  Though there was a collection of dolls, Holly and her friends, my three dolls were all Holly.  That was okay with me.  I used to pretend that I was the mother of triplets.  I thought that would be great.  I'm older know.  Wiser.

Happy Birthday to Me.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Disney On Ice

Tickets for five, $150.

Parking, $24.

Snacks and souvenirs, $52.

Rocking an hysterical three year old on the floor of the stadium where basketball fans have slopped their beer and God know what else, while watching a giraffe ice skate to the theme of the Lion King.  Priceless.

Actually the whole thing was priceless to me since my mother and step-father paid for everything.  Hysterics aside, we really did have a good time.  I missed most of the Little Mermaid stuff (hysterics), but the Cars, Lion King and Tinker Bell stuff was great!  And Sam won't remember that he was hysterical.  All he will remember is that he got to see Lightening McQueen ice skate.

Thanks Nana!!!!

Happy Valentine's Day

If a picture is worth a thousand words, 
how many words is a picture of a good-bye kiss worth?


Penn Station, 1943
Albert Eisenstaedt, for LIFE Magazine

Saturday, February 13, 2010

What We Did for Daddy

Valentine cookies


frosted pink

by little hands,

 sprinkled with sugar,

by little hands,

and presented with love!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Happy Birthday to Me, III

February 1973 ~ I turned four.

This is the first birthday that I remember. Which is kind of amazing, since I have many, many memories of life before I turned four. My sister jokes that I remember the womb.  You would think that a birthday, say my second or third, would stand out.

My mother asked me what kind of cupcakes I wanted and I said, “blue.” So, blue cupcakes I got. I can not find the pictures, but I know they exist, of my mother and me in the kitchen frosting those cupcakes. I am in my nightgown, sitting on the counter, licking 1963-Buick-aquamarine-blue frosting off of a spoon.

The other thing I remember, is that at the end of the party, I was trying very hard to say, “Good bye, thank you for coming,” to all of my adult guests, when really all I wanted to do was play, uninterrupted, with my new birthday treasures.

And, it was the first birthday where I had to share the spotlight with a sibling. My sister, Tricia, four months old. Scrawniest baby you ever saw. All she could do was lie there, ugly and puce. I didn’t see what all the fuss was about.

Happy birthday to me!

Since I can't find the cupcake picture, you will have to settle for the cheesecake picture, taken around the same time.  This is my great-grandmother, my cousins, my sister, and me.  I am the one in the bikini.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Happy Birthday Mr. Travolta/Theme Thursday

Well, Theme Thursday has rolled around again. This week's theme is MIRROR. The first thing I thought of when I saw the theme, was a disco ball, which made me think of disco dancing, which made me think of Saturday Night Fever, which made me think of John Travolta, who just happens to have a birthday this month, which means he fits in nicely with the month's Happy Birthday Series. So, from the killing-two-birds-with-one-stone department, and without further ado, I bring you this.

John Travolta was born February 18, 1954. He became a house hold name in 1975 for playing Vinnie Barbarino in Welcome Back, Kotter on TV, complete with over-the-top catch phrases (Up your nose with a rubber hose!) and teen idol hair. A seemingly inauspicious start, but in 1977 he was nominated for an Oscar for his roll in Saturday Night Fever. By the 80s, he was a has-been of embarrassing proportions. Then in 1994, he had the monster of all comebacks when Quentin Tarantino cast him in Pulp Fiction, earning him a second Oscar nod. By all accounts he is still doing okay.

John Travolta is a good actor. I know this, because I don't really like him. I never want to see anything he is in. But, when I do, I always end up forgetting that he is him, which I suspect is the point of acting. (This is in marked contrast to Tom Cruise, whom I also do not like, but I never forget he is him.)

Happy Birthday Mr. Travolta!

For more Theme Thursday entries, click here.
For more entries in February's Happy Birthday Series, click here.

What Goes Up

What goes up,

must come down,

but only if I help her, 

 because she can't climb down on her own.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Give Us This Day, Our Daily Cup

Have you ever found a sipee cup under the couch?  Or the driver's seat of your car?  Have you ever thought to yourself, "Hmmm.  I think this is the cup of juice I gave the kid five minutes ago"?  But you weren't really sure.  A quick sniff and visual inspection revealed no fermentation, coagulation, or growth of any kind, so back in the kids mouth it went?

No?  Well, you are a better mother than I am.  The truth is, I have three kids wandering around with cups.  There is only so much I can keep a lid on.  Ha ha.  Keep a lid on.  Get it?

That was until the great cup epiphany of ought seven.  Label cups with name and date.  Never again will Jonah drink out of Sam's cup from two weeks ago.  Well, I can't promise never, but at least I won't hand it to him and say, "Here, drink this."

Sunday, February 7, 2010

A Welcome, Long Overdue

Today I need to take care of some long over-due blog business. I have not had the opportunity to welcome my new followers. So, ladies and gentlemen, without further adieu, it is my great pleasure to introduce the following.

Jill from Life at Killeny Glenn where she shares the blessings and chaos of five active kids.

The Dotterel from Bringing Up Charlie, who enjoys writing about his adventures as a stay-at-home dad.

Vince, who has a lovely photography blog called Reeds.

Anita, a really cool lady who has moved Beyond Diapers and Spills, and lived to tell about it.  She also asks great conversation starting questions.

Stephanie, who has some things to say over at Stephanie Says.

And,  Signe, of soonitwillbeme, a young actress living in LA. She is currently rather angry about a break up with one Benjamin, and the language is colorful, but I admire her honesty and raw emotion. I think the only thing that brought her here was that she too is celebrating a birthday, but I am happy to have her.

I am happy to have all of you. Welcome. Thank you for coming.  Have a piece of birthday cake while you are here. You must, or I will eat it all.