Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Instead of here . . .

What I've been doing besides updating my blawg:

* Celebrated my daughter's fourth birthday. Faith is amazing. I know she's mine so I may be a bit biased, but I think she's pretty damn smart, that one. She's such a character, she's physically endearing and her heart is big and sweet enough to make up a little for her short and hot temper. She loved her birthday, the attention, the presents, the cake, the poofy dresses she wore for days.


* Celebrated my thirtieth birthday. 30. I AM 30. It is hard to believe. I didn't do much, just . . . turned older.


* Decided to go back to school, more specifically nursing school, started going through the motions and realized the school I am applying at is very good and very competitive. So I stressed out, lurked on forums about the process of applying to said school, stressed some more, took tests, submitted all sorts of senseless yet expensive forms and now I wait until April to know their decision. In the meantime, I'll be taking more pre-requisite classes starting next week. I am not yet registered. I have no idea what classes I will take or when. It's exciting to not know! (Not)


* Decided that, you know what? I kind of don't like my job. Also, I heard that a really good job may be opening up where my cousin-in-law works. I sent my resume and now am waiting on pins and needles. Pray for me.


* Finished the house and moved in it. And am still moving. Every day. We had a lot of stuff. It's beautiful and spacious and wonderful and awesome and I love it and I rolled around on the floors and galloped down the hallways and put out my arms and twirled because I had room! So much space! Fun fact about larger houses - you might get yourself worked up at night at all the places a creepy murderer stalker could hide. There is a lot of them. Besides that, I love having a home again.


* Christmas, duh. It was sweet and fun setting up the Christmas scene for the morning when the kids would come downstairs. They had appropriate looks of joy and delight at their presents (a ride-able train for James, bike for Faith) that were waiting unwrapped under the tree. It was a day of happiness and wrapping paper littering every inch of the ground and broken ornaments and loud toys and not so loud toys that lethally waited for a tender foot to step on them and also some strange monk-type of Christmas music that Jeff just turned on for background noise and I think it was starting to brainwash me.


* Catching up on all my bloggy world obsessions since I've been without internet for way too long. Missed you all!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

On Your Son's Second Birthday

On your son’s second birthday you wake up when the alarm goes off, too early as always. Your head is still fighting for rapidly diminishing dreams, not enough rest absorbed. You remember being awake at midnight, with your book in your hand, waiting for the melatonin to kick in and knock you out. You hit snooze 1 or 4 times before forcing yourself out of bed, shuffling to the kitchen where you say a silent thank you to your husband for brewing coffee before he went to bed only an hour before.

You sit on the couch and sip, waiting for reality to set in, for your senses to catch up to your motions. Your daughter walks in, crawls onto your lap and falls back asleep. Your son, the birthday boy, soon follows, and by this time you are percolated enough to make breakfast for them and start sing-songy verses about birthdays and all sorts of wonderful things.

It’s time for clothes and makeup. Well, hell, just twist your hair up into a low bun because it really should have been washed this morning, but you didn’t get out of bed early enough, did you?

Off to work, the place you so lovingly named “Dysfunction Junction”. Your boss cries, you awkwardly try to continue doing your work. You light out of there two minutes early without guilt. Buy paper plates, a scented candle, and some lip gloss that turns out to be disappointingly orange.

Then off to see the concrete being poured for your driveway and some strange men as well as relatives working already several hours into hard labor. Look just long enough and then tuck your glossily most pointedly un-sweaty and orange-lipped self back into your vehicle and go to pick up your daughter from pre-school.

They tell you that she was flushed and warm earlier, keep an eye on her. Off to the supermarket because you just spoke to your mother-in-law who told you to pick up some ice cream and a prescription for your husband’s grandmother. Your daughter throws a fit over Oreos, sits down in the middle of the grocery store. Try to maintain proper balance of patience as well as discipline. Go home, wrap presents, change clothes, go next door where the future party waits.

Small talk, laughter, obligatory complaining about jobs-health problems-family members that are not present. Pizza arrives, chow down. Call husband, when will he be home? Wait. Wait. Wait. Son starts throwing self on ground, making highly unpleasant screeching sounds. Call husband, “when will you be here? Cake needs to be cut!”

Husband, weary, “Go ahead without me”.

So you go ahead, wishing your husband were here to see his son blow out the two candles on his birthday cake, to see the smile that can’t stay hidden when all the attention is on him, to see him tear open his presents and greet each one with unrestricted enthusiasm.

But it happens, and you smile, because you can’t restrain it, and everyone is laughing, and everyone is glad to be there on a Wednesday night, eating cake and celebrating life.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Pirates and Memes and my obsession revealed

So, I happen to have a soft spot for memes. And books. And characters.

Somewhat recently I found the blog of sweet/salty Kate, and I've sort of become entranced and she happens to have a new book The Dread Crew: Pirates of the Backwoods and has a post up over at her place inviting others to share their answers for a chance at receiving her book as well as a spot in the reviewer's circle. Let the awesomeness commence!





1) You are facing an epic journey. You may choose one companion, one tool and one vehicle from any book or film to accompany you. Or just one of the three. It’s up to you. What do you choose.

AH. I’m going to have to go with the author’s pick of Jamie from the Outlander series as my companion. He could protect me and then we could, ah, rest. And as for vehicle, oh what the hell, let’s go with Donas the horse. Yes, I have obsession problems.

2) You can escape to the insides of any book. Where do you go, and why.

Prince Edward Island. To ANY of Lucy Maude Montgomery’s character’s homes. I still love to read those books every once in awhile to remember what it was I really wanted when I grew up.

3) You can bring one literary character into your current life. Who do you choose, and why?

Augustus from Lonesome Dove. Someone who has lived an adventurous life and is always in good spirits to regale you with lengthy tales about past times and the meaning of life.

4) _______ is my go-to book. I could read that book fifty-seven times in a row without a break for food or a pee and not be remotely bored. In fact I’ve already done that but it wasn’t fifty-seven times. It was sixty-four.

Outlander. All of the series. I read, and re-read them a few times a year. I love it to an obsession (see number 1). It’s the ultimate adventure, pure un-adulterated escapism. LOVE IT.

5) Of all the literary or film characters that made an impression on you as a kid, who was the most enviable?

Anne Shirley. Wholesome, spirited, rising up from being an orphan to a much loved friend and member of society, I love the book, love the movie.

6) Of all the literary or film characters that made an impression on you as a kid, who was the most frightening?

Though I had no business whatsoever seeing this movie as a child, the creepy old man in weird hat in the poltergeist movie. GAH.

7) Every time I read _______________, I see something in it that I haven’t seen before.

I think in the Great Gatsby I see new ways that the book, in the way it’s told, is absolutely timeless.

8) It is imperative that ________ be made into a movie. Now. I am already picketing Hollywood for this – but if they cast _____ as ____, I will not be happy. I will, however, be appeased if they cast _______.

I’m torn on this. I think To Kill a Mockingbird is one of the only movies that does justice to the book. So, when I love a book, I hate the thought of it being made into a movie. But for fun’s sake (and this is where you will roll your eyes) should Outlander be made into a movie, I would be disgusted if they chose anyone but Gerard Butler for Jamie. One can hope.

9) _______ is a book that should never be made (or should have never been made) into a film.

The Other Boleyn Girl. The movie didn’t even really have the same plot, which was, er, odd.

10) After all these years, the _________ scene in the book/movie _______ still manages to give me the queebs.

Clown under the bed. That’s all I can say.

11) After all these years, the __________ scene in the book/movie ____________still manages to give me a thrill.

Jake Ryan leaning on the car when Molly Ringwald walks out of the church at the end of sixteen candles. Sigh.

12) If I could corner the author _______________, here’s what I’d say to them one minute or less about their book, ___________:

Oh gracious. Here I go again. I’d gush to Diana Gabaldon that she has provided me with years of entertainment, thank you, thank you.

13) The coolest non-fiction book I’ve ever read is ______________. Every time I flip through it, it makes me want to ________________.

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle. It makes me want to grow, preserve, eat homegrown food FOREVER. Also, grow asparagus to see what it looks like in tree form.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

What Dreams are Made of

One of the things I find myself constantly repeating stupidly when talking about trailer life is “It’s not that bad,” which, when I think about it, is a really lame comment. Not that bad compared to what exactly? A third world prison? A mansion? The falling down house in town which seems to somehow magically hold an entire family? My point of reference for this comment is somewhat hazy, so it usually just slides by, but for some reason I feel the need to throw that out there. Yes, I am staying in this trailer on my husband’s land, yes it is temporary, yes it sucks, yes most of the doorknobs are plastic. But! It’s not THAT bad!

Well, truth be told, I must have some uppity snob somewhere inside of me because, yeah, sometimes it kind of is that bad. Thankfully, we’ve had a house to look forward to moving into despite the building process inching along. If we didn’t have a light at the end of the tunnel, I would probably be a lot more morose about this whole temporary tub of tin situation.

So that’s a reason I haven’t written too much lately because my mind is on two channels, one being HOUSE HOUSE HOUSE HOUSE and the other being WHY WON’T THE KIDS STOP TALKING/WHINING/FIGHTING FOR FIVE SECONDS SO I CAN READ A BOOK OR EAT A MEAL OR TAKE A SHOWER OR JUST STARE OFF INTO THE DISTANCE AND THINK ABOUT THE HOUSE.

It’s true. I’ve a one track mind lately. The house is so near to completion that I can almost taste the joy of living there, of bounding on my new carpet with bare feet, of being on a whole different floor than the kids, of opening a cabinet without a shower of Tupperware falling on my head.

And, in a completely shocking twist of feeling, I am going to miss this little pile of crap that is currently our home. I’ll miss being next door to my in-laws, of seeing cows and horses meandering up to our fence, of walking down to our garden when I want to make okra for dinner.

Ha! Who am I kidding? There is a mouse family under the cabinet in the kids bathroom and a strange and mysterious odor coming from the access door to the plumbing. I am DONE with this place!

On pins and needles waiting for the house, the house, the house . . .

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Stuck

We bought this house in January. It was framed, had a roof on it, windows and two exterior doors and that was it. We bought it awful cheap, but we had to finish it. I thought we would be moved in by now.

Instead flooring is just going in this week. We still have to do grading in the yard, pour a driveway, add gutters, cabinets and countertops. The painting is finished, as my aching back can attest to, and it is starting to resemble something of a home.

And yet, we have run out of money. I hate being without money. I don’t even care to have LOTS of money, I just want SOME money. Right when I started making more at Workplace the kids both became enrolled at daycare and whoosh, all that extra money flew out the window at a startlingly fast speed.

Jeff and I were talking today about it, and we were reaching into the financially dim recesses of our brains, fishing for change, wondering where we could scrounge enough money together to finish the house. When we both were at a loss for words I suggested that we just go ahead and do what felt natural. “Let’s panic!”

I’m really not quite there yet. I don’t see the point in worrying over things that won’t get better by just focusing negative energy on it. At the same time, I do NOT want to turn thirty in this tin box! I know, pride and vanity and all that, but really . . . is that too much to ask for?

Besides working on the house, we’ve been battling the plague, some nasty head cold mess that infected our entire family and didn’t go away until the past couple of days. Vacation is now behind us and I’m in that mode of wanting something to look forward to, maybe a camping trip or a new haircut, or maybe, just maybe, a moving day.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Beachbound

As of this moment we were supposed to have three whole minutes before we started the car and pulled down the long driveway to begin our journey to the beach. Instead, I am sitting her at the computer in my soft blue bathrobe, finishing up bills and uploading some baby photos onto Google's server. Just in case our place catches fire while we're gone. I have fears like that. More and more often.

The kids are still asleep, Jeff is crankily changing oil in the cars somewhere, next door at my in-laws' I think. He was the one chanting the “we leave at 8:00!” mantra, I was more like, eh, we leave when we leave. It is the beginning of a RELAXING vacation, right? RIGHT?

I packed up the kids clothes, and haven't even began on ours yet. I am hesitant about what to pack, Jeff's sister and cousin are tiny, petite, and in the summer time always bikini-clad with such a nonchalant attitude that it surpasses confidence. I, however, am the one who cares more about my cover-up than my swim suit since that's what I'll have on all the time. I worry about being compared to others, even though every one else thinks that is just so silly and foolish. My silly and foolish mind gets concerned though, imagining sitting beside Jeff's cousin and chatting and laughing and then picturing us: her small, blond, tan, sitting at ease in her bikini, and me, pale, awkward, cellulite-clad, uncomfortable. Hopefully I will get over that mess and just BE, be there, in the moment, in the sunshine, playing with the kids without a care to the world.

So, shortly, we'll be off, headed to the Gulf of Mexico for a week of massive family fun, sun-soaking, sand-coated, and hopefully, blissfully unaware of the outside world.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Adventures In Daycare

Friday morning started off badly, with Faith writhing and going all limp bodied as I tried to get her dressed, to her slowly leaking big tears out of bright and pleading eyes on the way to school. I stopped and got her a big cookie to eat on the way, hoping that bribery and chocolate would take the sting out of me forcing her to go to school, but no, once we pulled up she started crying and begging me not to leave her. I had one of those moments standing outside of the car when I was half-expecting a REAL adult to walk up and take over the situation, instructing me gently how to handle life and other things. In the end I had to pry her from the car and carry her inside, handing her off to her teacher who was sweetly consoling her and promising her big fun and I had to rush quickly out the door before anyone could see me do my crumple cry face. I saved that for the ride to work, fanning myself before walking in and swallowing the big lump of failure, disappointment, and reality before settling into the day.

The real treat of the day, however, came when I went to pick her up at the end of the day. She was in somewhat high spirits and her teacher started telling me what she had done all day and we were making small talk when in bursts a young woman from the playground hollering about who was driving the Honda. “I am,” I started, staring at her, when she then told me that it was rolling away. I turned towards the door and the teacher had to tell me to, you know, put my daughter down before I went running outside, so down I put her and hauled out the front door, alarming all the teachers in the main area, and I saw the white Honda slowly crossing the large field next door to the daycare, almost to the cross road. I ran harder than I have, oh, lets see, EVER, simultaneously praying that the car would stop before it got to the road or that I would get there first, thanking myself for choosing to wear flats that day, hearing a car honk and sure it is that girl I work with watching me race across a field after a runaway car, and wondering if I really did have to walk back inside after this or could I just call Jeff and have him go get Faith now, and always in the future.

I walked back inside, sheepishly but trying to laugh at myself, like oh isn't it so funny? I let my car roll away! In a parking lot of the day care at the end of the day when kids are walking outside! I cried this morning and then caused a big scene in the afternoon! In the end I just mustered as much dignity as one can and gathered up my daughter and paid the administrator for the week and walked out, both of us wishing we didn't ever have to go back.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Summer School

Tomorrow, for the first time ever, Faith is going to daycare. This is a Big Deal. I'm not quite sure why, since I know she has been begging to go to school, with the playground, and the kids, and the little chairs and the little tables and the story times, and the sing along songs, and everything she has ever heard about it has enchanted her. So she is thrilled.

I, on the other hand, am not so much. It is the whole stranger taking care of my child thing. It is the whole no one can love her like I do thing. It is the whole what if there are too many kids to watch and she gets hurt thing. It's the worry and the loss of control and the fear that maybe she'll just blend in too much and no one will fall absolutely head over heels in love with her, like she deserves.

I wish things were different and I could stay with her every day, but they are not and I'm not going to dwell too much, but yes, my little girl is going to “school” as she says and I just hope that some child will run up and grab her hand and want to play and be best friends forever.

:::

James is not going to daycare and I'm not sure what to think anymore about childcare situations. Just go with the flow, I suppose. It's times like this when I think “what am I, absolutely NUTS for even thinking for a second that I could possibly want another child? What would I DO with it????”

Work is . . .well, work. I know that the eleventh commandment is thou shalt not write about work on thy blog, so I'll try to refrain but oh how I would love to. What with the awkward situations and the sometimes pleasant conversations and the vast difference between a career and a job. Yes, think about that for a moment and then guess on which side I fall. Blah blah economy blah blah poor blah take what you can get blah come home and forget about it.

:::

On a much happier note, this is by far and away the best summer of my adult life. I am not pregnant or nursing or have an infant that can't walk. I can put floaties on both kids and we can all swim. They can play outside for hours, we can all absorb the sun and then all daze around in a blissful sleepiness. There are impromptu cookouts, late night parties, entire days spent floating down the Chattahoochee, and warm days that slowly fade into hazy twilight evenings dotted with fireflies. The kids can both enjoy every moment of the day, from sunup to sundown. I love this summer so much that it makes me sad that July is almost over and want to do a Zack Morris and freeze time.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

June

One of the many things that I should have written about in this space is the fact that my sister-in-law gave birth to a tiny and adorable girl last week. I managed to show up at the hospital in that magical window where modesty is gone and acceptance has taken over so I was able to stay in the room during the birth. Despite all the scandal that an unplanned pregnancy to an unmarried woman not yet 21 caused, I cried when I saw my little sister-in-law choke up with those joyous sobs as she held her baby to her chest for the first time. It doesn't matter when it happens, whether the timing is right or not, it is powerful, that moment when your old life dies and your new one starts.

:::

My sister lost her house, one of my best friends has lost her job of 10 years, my mother-in-law very well could lose her job tomorrow, and Jeff and I have been in a blur of constant moving, relocating all of our possessions again and again. We continue to work on our house, now onto the painting stage, just so thankful that we have something to look forward to when so many around us have lost so much.

:::

Even though the lives of everyone around us seems to have flipped upside down and inside out, our little foursome keep on going on just fine. Work, and the house finishing process, the madness that is taking care of small children, the things we would like to do versus the things that need to be done . . . it's all an often frustrating but comfortably happy storm. I end up staying up late, like tonight, just to listen to music or catch glimpses of shows that I remember liking to watch when I didn't hear shrieking in the background. Or reading – books, YOUR blog, and yours too, and a million others as well. I keep telling myself “Write, Jenny, write now while the babies are asleep, write before that long list of things to write about in your head starts getting faded and lost forever, write” but then I look at the clock and midnight is so close and I have to get up for work in the morning. And slowly, but surely, all the things I want to write about are drifting away into never never land.

So -
Faith, my sweetheart, is at turns wonderfully good and deliberately bad. She tells me that she wants to ask me a question, then asks how an elephant goes through walls, like walls of glass. I am flummoxed, of course, because how DO they? But she has the answer. They just lift up their trunks and knock out a hole of glass and walk through it. Then she runs back off into the other room until she has another question that she already has the answer for. She still likes holding my hand when she falls asleep and still wants to cuddle on my lap and still wants me to “hold her forever” and I don't ever want that to end. She is so proud of herself at the pool, wanting me to watch her jump off the stairs, she is energetically giddy when she's around other kids or when we act like kids by dancing foolishly or running around in circles outside. She reads with me and then tries to repeat all the words that I've just said while cutting her eyes at me, watching to see my reaction to her somewhat flawed reading. I, of course, am enthusiastic, which she adores.

She and James are fighting more now, over toys, over food, over my attention or lap space. He is talking, if you can really call it talking, although I can mostly translate. He's picking up new words every day, finally, but he still has an appointment this week for a consultation on the tongue clipping that he's bound to receive. I could go back and slap, or at least foot stomp, the pediatrician that he had at birth who didn't think that being tongue-tied would bother him and “let's hold off on clipping it until we see if it affects his speech”. Which his pediatrician now, whom I adore, says that it certainly does. He is all boy, reckless and fearless, jumping off of the couch, climbing atop anything he can get a grip on. He is covered in bruises and scrapes and has dirt under his short fingernails and is always pulling off his pants and then his diaper and running laughing through the house and occasionally doing things that should only happen in a diaper then running to me, concerned, and talking his strange James babble. He's got the sweetest smile I've ever seen, the cutest pout, and a surprisingly strong arm when he gets mad and hits.

They both walk into our room at night and climb into bed with us and fall back asleep. They are both doing new things every day, things I want to remember, some I don't, and I am really enjoying them this summer. It is the first time in years when I haven't had an infant or been pregnant, and it's such a simple joy to go next door to the pool and be able to put on their floaties and us all just . . . be. And swim. And soak up the sun. As adorable as my newborn niece is, this is what I've been looking forward to when I wanted to become a mother. To have this, our family, all able to enjoy the same thing at the same time, with each other.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Reunited and A Close Call

The children came back from their trip three days early and I was thrilled to see them and at the same time disappointed that I still hadn't shampooed carpets, read entire books while lounging in the bathtub while only rising enough to turn on the hot water occasionally, or, oh I don't know, write another post.

I was so glad to see them though, nearly tripping over my own feet to rush to them, not sure of who to pick up first – Faith, who was energetically telling me about “arts and crafts!” or James, who was stumbling quickly to me yelling “Ma! Ma!”. We've fallen back into our old groove like we never left it and life is happy and chaotic as usual.

:::

On Saturday we took the kids next door to my in-laws' pool and Jeff's cousins joined us with their children. Jeff had to leave to go to work that night (boo) and I was talking with my father-in-law and cousin, while watching the kids, never taking my eyes off of them for more than a couple of seconds. All of the sudden Faith started yelling and us adults all looked towards her and all of us bolted upright because James was in the water, about two feet from the edge and I have no idea how that happened when moments before he has been sitting about two feet AWAY from the edge of the pool. He didn't have his little floaties on because he kept coming to me trying to get me to pull them off and I finally did, figuring we were about to go home and he was done with swimming (he had gotten water in his face about an hour prior and was DONE with the pool) (I thought). So I, foolishly, took off the floaties and let him play with his truck by the pool because I was right there and watching him. And then he's in the water.

I don't remember how, but the next thing I knew I was in the water pulling him out and he just grasped onto my arms, coughed a couple of times into my neck, eyelashes clumped together by the water framing wide eyes. He hadn't lost his breath and just wanted to hold onto me. My father-in-law said he was about to jump in when I pushed him out of the way, and the rest of the family got a chuckle out of that the next day when we recounted the story. But it terrified me. I had just read horrific stories of children drowning and here my own baby was, under the water. It seizes up my chest just writing this.

Without making a bigger deal out of this than it was, suffice to say that I am at danger of becoming one of those parents, you know, the ones that make their teenage children wear life preservers and the such.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Without

Awhile ago my mother-in-law decided that she was going to go to camp meeting this year in North Carolina. She used to go all the time, taking my husband and his sisters when they were small and always enjoyed it so much that she's been wanting to go back for years now and something always comes up and she never can. So when she told me that she wanted to go this year and take the kids with her, I just sort of assumed that something would fall through and then on Saturday her and my very pregnant sister-in-law told Jeff and I to have the kids ready by 1:00 the next day because they were going to camp meeting and they were taking the kids with them.

I hemmed and hawed and Jeff eventually talked me into it, telling me how the kids would have such a great time there and so on and so forth and so now the kids are in North Carolina and have been since Sunday and will continue to be until this coming Sunday and I am going absolutely out of my mind.

What on earth did I do before I had kids? I keep wandering around aimlessly, picking up books and turning on the television and browsing through my itunes library and even trying on my own clothes for heaven's sake. We don't have the money to go shopping or get pedicures or whatever other self-indulgent mess I can think of. So I've been eating and lounging and trying to enjoy food without tiny hands creeping onto my plate and uninterrupted reading. But I keep drifting, thinking of the kids, imagining the worst case scenario, thinking that if they were here right now they would be crawling onto my lap or pointing at words on the pages for me to pronounce.

When they are here I am always half-devising a plan in my head to occupy them just so I can have a few precious moments alone, and now I have sweeps of empty moments ahead of me and all I can think is FAITH and JAMES.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Shoulda

It is nearing midnight and my three year old daughter is laying sideways on my pillows, arms and legs splayed out, and my one year old son is curled up like a shrimp on the foot of my bed. I am still wearing my bathrobe from the shower I took four hours ago, and I never did comb my hair so I have no idea how I'm going to wear my wavy, cow-licked hair tomorrow.

I know that I should be in bed. I should have drank more water today and eaten less of that drool-worthy sandwich. I should have lined up someone to grade our new yard. I should have made that appointment for the 18 month check-up that James should have gone to last month. I should have exercised. I should have paid the car bill. I should have read more books to the kids and watched less television. I should have not cared so much about the cedar chips that cover the kids every time they play outside. I should have written in my blog in, oh I don't know, maybe the past few weeks?

I wonder if I'll ever get better at this, the prioritizing of time. I know that there are some things that I love to do, and yet, I find myself going two days, a week, a month, without doing them.

However, the house is getting built, the kids are staying fed, relatively clean, and joyously happy. There is money in the bank. I'm healthy, and alive, and growing more peaceful and accepting and, dare I say it, happy every day.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Haircut

I should really take this opportunity to talk about my new job and how happily surprised I am with it or maybe I should complain about how long this finishing building a house business is taking, but instead I have urgent and important news.

We cut Jamie's hair.

Poor James. Born with a hair growth pattern that most closely resembles that one Stooge, or perhaps a mad scientist, and as most often commented by others “just like an old man's”. Yes, it is true. It has hardly grown at all on the top and just grown OUT from the back and the sides in a wild curly mane that brings to mind electric shock therapy. When just bathed it is soft curls and I know, gag, boys with curls, but on my baby it was the most beautiful thing on earth. But then it kept growing and finally I realized that it was starting to resemble a mullet and you know what? I already live in a country ass mountain town and I really don't need to add “mullet” to the list of things that I currently have to endure. So I pulled out the scissors and we went outside and I attempted my first little boy's haircut. It didn't turn out as bad as I thought it would, especially when James took off and I had to chase my 18 month old around the yard with scissors in my hands. I know. I should write a child safety manual.

Before picture. See? Mullet. Yikes.




I'm a total hick. I cut my half-naked son's hair on the porch. Realizing I have reached a new low.

It's a little long on top, but that's only because I thought the child should experience longer hair on top like most normal children.

He seems rather taken with it.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Something Good

I would like to take a moment from my whooping and cartwheeling to say that I have finally, FINALLY, been hired at a small company here in town. It's run out of a little old brick house and the front room will be my office, oh happy day, I have an office again! I've already been making mental plans to bring in a little potted plant to sit on my desk next to the window, and wondering which pictures of the kids I want to frame and bring in.

Oh, I know, it's not all about decorating my desk. It's also about paychecks! MONEY! We'll be able to pay our mortgage on the big, beautiful house that we're building!

Can you tell I'm in a good mood?

I start work tomorrow. We don't exactly have all the kinks worked out with the whole “who's going to keep the kids” thing, so that will be, um, fun. It won't be a problem until next week and hopefully we'll have something worked out by then. So today I plan on doing fun things with the kids, things out of the ordinary like making the drive to a larger town, one that has a movie theater and department store. I'm feeling brave, like I can take two small children out into the world and not feel overwhelmed. Ah, the sweet surge of optimism that comes with a job offer!

Friday, April 3, 2009

Something Bad

My sister-in-law had come by to pick up her phone charger. She ended up staying for awhile, talking about her pregnancy and I was offering, as usual, everything I had so that she could make preparations for her future daughter. I like pregnancy talk. We sat here for awhile.

She stood up to leave and looked out the open front door, through the screen door, at the driveway and announced that Angie, my cousin-in-law (but also a very close friend), was pulling up. Strange, I thought, that she would be coming here at this time.

My sister-in-law was asking what was wrong before I even saw Angie's face. Angie was sobbing and shaking, distraught, obviously, asking if we could keep her son because someone was dead in her driveway. I said of course, trying to register what was being said, while trying to seem calm. She left and my sister-in-law sat back down to absorb the news.

Jeff called a few minutes later. He was with his father, who was the first person Angie called after 911, and they had gone over and discovered it was a woman, sitting in the driver's seat of her locked car, still dripping blood from her nose and mouth as they peered through the tinted windows.

Angie and her son, who had gotten off early from school, had returned home from doing a few errands. She started to pull into her very long driveway and saw a car parked ahead of her. Thinking it was someone lost and needing to turn around she waited for a moment, and then awhile longer trying to figure out what they were doing. She eventually got out of her car and walked up to the stranger to ask them to leave when she saw . . . what she saw. It was horrible, disturbing to say the least, and she promptly freaked out and called 911. Then my father-in-law, before driving over here.

“Thank goodness you have a lot of family around here,” I told her later that night, trying to say something optimistic about the whole sad story.

Why her driveway, we wondered? It is up the hill and behind where we live, a little to the side. It is a driveway used by three people, a house out of sight, but a lived in one nonetheless. Who was this woman? Did she know them, any of us?

Later we learned it was a neighbor who lived a mile or so down the road. She was on her way, supposedly, to pick up her 12 year old son from school. She had a three week old baby at home. My first thought on hearing this was “postpartum depression”, simple as that. Things suddenly made sense. I tried to tell my father-in-law, who looked at me skeptically, that this was something very serious for some women.

Angie came over here tonight and we talked for a bit. What she saw today is something no one should ever see. We talked about the selfishness of suicide, about people we've known hurt by it. Angie, who is a seasoned gore addict, is already haunted by the images, and I can't get the family out of my head.

I don't know the lesson we're supposed to learn by these things. Why did that happen when it did, where it did, why it did? I suppose it's just important to remember that they do happen.

Vacation and Back

I once had a friend in high school who was secretly called the one-date wonder by another one of our friends. I use the word “friend” very loosely here. She was very pretty and funny, innocent and wild at the same time, the type of girl that guys usually start drooling over. However, every time she went on a date it ended strangely with the boy never asking her out again. Since she was full of back-handed compliments and seemingly harmless biting remarks to us, we got a secret thrill out of her misery. I know, I know. I don't feel the same way NOW of course, but back then it was a little glee I received, seeing how things really did come back around.

So it was with grim realization that I now realize that I am the one-interview wonder. Or in one case it was the two-interview wonder. I send out countless resumes, get the exciting call to come in to interview, dress to the nines, speak all sorts of fancy talk, and then . . . nothing. Sometimes there is the call back, which is like a punch to the gut, and sometimes they don't even bother to let me know they've chosen someone else. I'm trying to laugh about it, but suffice to say that I am becoming very discouraged.

:::

Happier days were just had by Jeff and me. We went down to Tybee for five days. Yes, FIVE DAYS. I cried the last morning when we started to make our way home. We called the house to let my sister-in-law know that we were en-route and she put Faith on the phone. Her little voice saying “I love you. I miss you.” was just too much. I wished that we could tele-port ourselves home.

While we were there, though, it was unbelievable. We watched movies without interruption, ate out constantly, walked on the slightly chilly beaches, and enjoyed ourselves completely. Except for the whole no kids thing. It ate away at me a little. A little.

:::

I'm back now, back to reality, where the ocean doesn't lie right around the corner, back to where there is a shortage of jobs, a house that seems to take forever to get built, and many extra pounds from all that eating out.

I know this is going to sound silly – but when I walked back through the door and the kids both threw themselves at me . . . well, that was the best part of the vacation.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Lately, Sickly

I was having one of my many recent gossip and catch-up talk sessions with my cousin-in-law, Angie, when I mentioned casually how we somehow managed to get through the entire winter without getting sick. At all. I mean, with two small children and two adults working that's like impossible right? We did it though!

Yeah. You know where this is going.

It started on Monday with a sore throat. Then I felt like my brain was exploding, or imploding, or something equally as disastrous. “Me and my big mouth,” I thought, “bragging about how insanely well we are all the time.”

I put off going to the doctor thinking it was just a cold, refrained from kissing the kids which is unthinkable and unbearably hard, and generally just suffered for the next few days until today when I sucked it up and went the doctor. Then I was told that I had a respiratory infection, sinus infection, AND an ear infection. On top of all of that Jeff has been on night shift so I've been doing this parenting thing all by myself and I feel like I deserve some sort of medal, or award in my name, or a pedicure, or maybe just a free go at cadbury eggs and some nachos.

:::

The kids have actually not been too bad, and I'm mostly just thankful that they haven't caught The Sickness. Jeff and I are going away in a week and we'll be gone from the kids for the longest amount of time since, um, birthing them, and I'm sort of doing that half gleeful/half sorrowful thing. It will be WONDERFUL to eat out without them, without rushing home to get them before it gets too late, to sleep through entire nights without waking up to random cries, or a little body scurrying in beside me and kicking me unintentionally in the gut. At the same time, I am already worrying about someone else keeping my kids, what happens if Jeff and I die in a car crash, who will raise our kids, will they use our life insurance wisely, what happens if the next caregivers die, who will THEY leave the kids too, and other happy thoughts that roam wildly through my head at night.

I need to get some decent sleep tonight.

:::

These days of trying to make the most of my time with the kids, but being sick and trying to keep my distance is just not do-able. The other night, while Jeff was gone, both kids ended up in bed with me and their little warm bodies were a comfort to me. Faith pats my head when I lay down during the day. James, well, there's nothing sweet that he does. He's had a little burst of language advancement so he'll yell “Mo! Mo! Mo!” while he throws his cup at my head. He does have an awful sweet smile though. That counts for a lot.

So off I go, swallowing antibiotics and Tylenol pm and hopefully dreaming something pleasant without a middle of the night shrieking to end it all too abruptly.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Rejection and Dresses

“Hello, Jennifer?”

“Yes?” I replied, barely able to contain my excitement.

“While it was very nice meeting you, we decided to go with another candidate. It was a very hard decision, but she had just a little more experience. I'm sorry. I'd love to keep your resume in case we have something else open up, though,” she told me. I swallowed, and managed to croak out that I would appreciate that and thanks for her time.

********

I had managed two rounds of interviews, met the board of directors for this company, got my hair cut for it all for goodness sake. All for nothing. I wish now that I hadn't even heard of the job, it was perfect hours, perfect location, more than perfect pay and for an organization that I would have truly loved working for. Now when I peek back at the classifieds the only things that are open seem to be greasy little holes in the wall who pay their administration hardly anything. I just sigh and wearily close my browser window. Don't really feel like looking now.

********


An hour later I put James into one of Faith's dresses and it seemed to make the whole day better. So there's the upside! He's a very pretty boy and it went perfectly with his way-too-long curls. I, of course, took pictures.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

I suppose that I WOULD jump off a bridge if everyone else did

Twenty-five things about yours truly:

1. I named my daughter after my grandmother, who I was very close to. I knew that I would long before I even contemplated becoming pregnant. James is named after his-great-grandfather. So, Faith is named for my mother’s mother and James is named for Jeff’s father’s father. We didn’t really set out to do that.

2. I once was attacked by a cougar. Another time I was on the back of a runaway horse. Both of these things happened at summer camp.

3. Whenever I see a green and grassy hill I have the very strong urge to roll down it.

4. I’ve always thought that it was my calling to become a mother, and now that I have children I feel even more strongly so.

5. I WILL write a book someday.

6. I have very ugly toes and very pretty teeth.

7. I am not a good driver. I used to be terrible (my friend nicknamed my car “the bashing mobile of terror”), but I’ve improved to Not Good.

8. Also, not so good at directions. I have gotten lost coming home from work, from a job I had been at for years. Also got lost while using my mother-in-law’s GPS. I’m special like that.

9. If I believed in psychic abilities I would say that my mother, sister, and I all have a touch of it. But I don’t.

10. I know that things happen for a reason; I know there is purpose to certain things – sometimes I just wish I knew the answers.

11. I have a passion for books. My ultimate vacation would be warm sand on my (ugly) toes, quietly roaring surf, and a deliciously good book in my hands. OR! In a cozy sweater, curled in a giant chair by a fire in a mountain cottage with a book. Either one.

12. I’ve heard that time heals all. I don’t think I believe that. Yet.

13. I have an incredible faith in God that grows every day. It has given me a peace that I can’t describe, one that I’m not sure I could function without.

14. I knew my friend Tracy would be one of my best friends for life when she told me that she too loved Anne of Green Gables.

15. I’ve had wild times and I’ve had mild times. I prefer the mild.

16. I make delicious salsa.

17. I’m fairly smart. Okay, I’m being modest. I’m very smart.

18. And sometimes a little too proud.

19. I used to dye my hair red, then blonde, then red, then blonde. I’ve given it up for my natural hair color of kind-of boring brown. I like it a lot better than I thought I would.

20. I know that every mother thinks this, but my children are the most beautiful and brightest kids I’ve ever known. And VERY funny.

21. My life has a soundtrack.

22. If home is where the heart is, then my heart is still in Dallas, Georgia.

23. There are so many places that I want to travel to, but never enough time or money. So I plan on taking major trips in about ten years.

24. The song I always sang to my babies when I rocked them was Clementine. If I was all “Clementined” out then I would sing bah bah black sheep for Faith and row row your boat for James.

25. I’m incredibly optimistic. Despite moments of being very sad, and a lot of those moments being strung along in a row, I know that I have much to be thankful of – my children, my parents, my sisters, my friends - life is AWFUL good!

Friday, February 6, 2009

Thinking

Sometimes I think about a third child. I think about the tender fragility of a tiny body secure in my arms. I think about how newborns do that funny, wobbly, rooting thing that always makes me smile. Or that moment when you see the second pink line and you realize that your whole life has just changed. The preparations, carefully washing and folding small cotton pajamas and cozy socks and placing them carefully in cleaned drawers. I think about that fluttering feeling that turns into solid, fluid stirrings in the belly, and how that always used to make me smile, like I knew something about this new baby that no one else did. I think about the anticipation of birth, meeting a son or daughter for the first time, those sleepless but amazing first weeks . . .

Then there are nights like last night. Jeff was at work, and both kids ended up in bed with me before too long, Faith asleep and pressed up to my right side, James, warm and quiet, pushed up to my left. In my king sized bed I had no room to turn over and I thought how would there be enough of me to go around for a new baby?

Saturday, January 31, 2009

M.I.A.

I have been ignoring ye olde blog as of late. Right now I have two small, but loud, reasons why who happen to be climbing on my lap. So! How about a couple of pictures.

Faith, helping with muffins, in the blue morning light.



James, up close and personal.



I shall write again soon and tell of the new (!) house which is far from finished, or my new job, or how I am eating healthy again and always hungry, or some other facet of my fascinating life. Ah, how I love the sarcasm.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Adjusting

Jeff’s work schedule is somewhat strange and since the kids and I usually have no sort of routine of our own we often fall into Jeff’s on/off shifts and I have to stop and think about what day it is, when we should be sleeping, and other things that are completely not normal.

This week he has started working nights and I now have TWO part time jobs so I’m sure that the next few weeks will be a confusing blur of wake/sleep home/away questioning who has the children sort of mess that I can only hope will go smoothly.

We should be closing on the house any day now and the appraisal came back $90,000 OVER what we are getting it for, so to say that I am thrilled is an extreme understatement. Faith tells me that she wants to paint her room black, which makes me think I have a mini-goth in my midst. She also tells me that she doesn’t know how to play all by herself, she doesn’t know how to go potty all by herself, she doesn’t know how to sleep, eat, etc. all by herself, making me be her constant companion all day. When I get tough (ha!) and tell her she has to do whatever it is by herself she looks at me with big, round, blue eyes and tells me that it will make her sad. Which makes ME sad that she’s sad (and also a little ashamed that I’m constantly being guilted by a three year old), but also frustrated that I can’t have all the time in the world to just sit and play with her.

There is simply too much to do these days, but it’s a glorious sort of busy. It’s wonderful to have a life that calls for hair that is styled and makeup applied, instead of too-long hair and paper thin t-shirts with faded script. It’s nice to have somewhere that I have to be, a place I have to leave home behind for, if just for a few short hours. It’s nice to just be Jenny again for a little while, and not constantly “mommy”. Even writing that, though, makes me wonder if I’ll ever be able to separate the two, if I’ll be able to be gone without thinking constantly about the kids and how they are doing, what they are doing.

Here I go. Hooray and ouch at the same time.

Friday, January 9, 2009

What's Going On

Where have I been?

Playing Xbox, lego man, obsessively.

Getting back in shape, painfully.

On a new sleep schedule, one that included 1:00 a.m. nachos (see above).

Going on interviews.

Working from home, with children in the background. This is impossible, by the way.

Making phone calls to lenders and realtors while managing to remain in the dark.

Staying close to family, listening.

Playing barbies, ponies, and pets.

Nursing bruises and booboos.

Reading every chance I can.

Discussing heavy metal.

Laundry.

Dancing in my living room, with the kids, spinning, dipping, and twirling, joyfully.

I feel wonderfully refreshed, somehow washed clean of the melancholy that I’ve been dipped in. I feel powerful, like I can do ANYTHING. Life is amazingly good all of the sudden. Or rather, it always has been and my eyes just opened.