Tuesday, December 30, 2008
Sunday, December 21, 2008
Tuesday, December 2, 2008
Monday, November 17, 2008
One night we were headed out to feed the ducks at one of the neighborhood ponds. So I retreived our coats from the attic. I felt possessed for some reason to take pictures.
That never turns out well.
Here are the results of this year's second posed photo shoot:
Claire is waiting for the chunk of cheddar she believes must be coming from my pocket.
"Claire, cheese means smile, Claire. You're not smiling, Claire! You need to smile!"
"Here, Claire, like this. Smile like this, Claire. See?"
"Okay, Mom. You can take the picture now. CHEESE!"
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
So I've been joking about sleep disorders and me and Grace having them.
Well guess what. We really do.
At least, according to the world's source of all knowledge, we do.
Beats waking up like this:
Saturday, November 8, 2008
Thursday, November 6, 2008
Sunday, November 2, 2008
Saturday, November 1, 2008
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
Saturday, October 25, 2008
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
His most frequent hero was John Henry Fishamunga. A fish. Duh.
One night, after Dad pulled the covers up to our chins and kissed our foreheads, we begged him for a Fishamunga story. Maybe he was tired from a gruelling day of diagnosing and dissecting. He may have been wishing for his own bedtime. But looking back, for whatever reason, he must have been grumpy.
Because John Henry Fishamunga died that night.
He was eaten by a shark when he swam alone even though his daddy told him not to.
It was like a tragic epiphany where I was hit by the brutal truth of several things at once. Namely, that my parents couldn't fix everything, that my choices could actually lead to a permanent end, that all endings are not happy, and that someday I would die.
All in all, not the best day.
These days Grace's newest favorite activity is telling scary stories. And the following is, word-for-word, the story she told me in the car on our way to church:
"Once upon a time ...
"There was a little boy and a little girl.
"And they hugged.
"And they were buddies.
"And then a bear eated them.
"And they were tasty."
Apparently Grace has no false notions about everything turning out happily ever after. I have no idea how that happened.
Saturday, October 11, 2008
Monday, October 6, 2008
It's perfect for my workdays. I can feed them, bathe them, dress them and kiss their sweet little cheeks goodbye and watch them wave from the porch.
On weekends it is not perfect. Not a bit.
Long before dawn I can hear Grace tripping up the stairs and slipping past the creaky door. She finds my ever-alternating side of the bed (which happens to be whichever one I collapsed onto) and pulls herself up. And in. And wraps her arms around my neck and draws out a long, "Mo-ommmm.... Wake up! I need some sir-ee-uhl."
I have many excuses to avoid the inevitable:
"Mommy needs to sleep." "Grace needs to sleep." "Oh, but I want to cuddle with you." "There are monsters downstairs eating our cereal. We'd better hide till they're gone."
Okay, I've never actually used the last one. I should though.
But it wouldn't change the outcome.
Because Claire is scheduled to go off in tears at exactly that moment. The moment after the excuse.
And so I always end up dragging my weary self out of that bed. I carry two girls on each hip down the high slippery wooden staircase to the kitchen. I pour Grace a bowl of Lucky Charms, and I fry two eggs for Claire. (she is a fanatic.)
My limbs are floppy and my head is fuzzy and it's easy to get angry.
Motherhood. It's the perpetual cycle of exhaustion.
Sunday, September 21, 2008
Thursday, September 11, 2008
Sunday, September 7, 2008
Saturday, September 6, 2008
Friday, September 5, 2008
Thursday, September 4, 2008
Wednesday, September 3, 2008
Sunday, August 31, 2008
Saturday, August 30, 2008
Thursday, August 28, 2008
Saturday, August 23, 2008
Thursday, August 21, 2008
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
Can you see it?!
Saturday, August 16, 2008
And besides, I mostly like it here. Living with my parents has huge advantages.
There are only a couple of disadvantages. Namely: 1) the water tastes exactly like dirt 2) Claire keeps climbing up (and falling down) the stairs and 3) I keep getting locked out of the house whenever I take out a diaper.
My dad keeps the exterior door handles locked ALL the time because he is concerned about home invasion. And rightly so, since one of his partners was held hostage in his own home for money. Very scary. Oh, so, yeah, 4) I am now worried about home invasion.
Anyway, aside from these very minor cons, life here is pretty good. The best part is that the food budget is no longer limited to $100 a month. Wahoo.
And I haven't even felt the need to hang my head in shame or anything.
Except for once.
Last week one of my mom's friends picked us up for Enrichment. We had a fun talk on the way there, and then somehow we started talking about our living arrangements--how long Brad and I were planning on staying with my family and so on. And then this woman remarked:
"Betsy, I don't know how you are doing it! I am doing everything I can to insure my children never move in with me again. They would drive me crazy. They know not to come home after they move out."
This is where I tried to shrink, shrink, shrink in the back seat of the car.
A little bit awkward.
So, maybe this lady doesn't want to be friends with me. But... I'm sure glad my mom likes me. And that they asked us to move in with them. And that we haven't driven them crazy.
Thursday, August 7, 2008
He is also free of an extra 25 pounds he was carrying around. A week diet of clear liquids can do that to you. He looks hot. But, he did before.
Farewell to those foreign bodies of plastic and metal. Brad had several staples, two holes housing tubing for drainage, and a few extra holes for fun (okay, really the surgeon was trying laproscopic surgery instead of having to cut him open, and the staples are evidence of how that attempt turned out).
I have eternally commemorated Brad's synthetic friends in photo here. Don't say I didn't warn you. Oh, did I not warn you? Okay, the photo shows a little blood, some staples, and a tube (the other tube was unphotographable). Consider yourself warned.
Also. I got the bills today, since we are currently uninsured. I know, I'm ashamed. No lectures, please.
Anyone like to take a guess at the combined charge for a three-night hospital stay, and the actual surgery? The winner will receive surgical tubing and bulb. Only used once.
Monday, August 4, 2008
The great thing about clothes is that as long as you can button them shut, zip them up, or pull them over your body... they fit. There is no math. Or science. Just visual confirmation.
I can never tell when a bra fits, or what kind I need.
Which clasp? How tight to pull the straps? Padded? Wires? And, how, uh, full should those cups be?
So I felt sheepish as my Mom took Brittany and I to Nordstrom's lingerie department this weekend.
At least I discovered I wasn't alone in my stupidity. My shameless mother quickly informed a passing employee that we would be needing help. With fittings. I believe she even suggested a measurement
Apparently, measurement would be unnecessary. Because right there, close to the cash register, amid scanty nighties and wonderbras and before other perusing customers, this woman wrapped her hands around my mom's rib cage, right against her possibly underwired bra and declared, "I'll bet you're a 36..."
And then, friends, she put her flat hands under my mom's arms, framing the area in question. She alternated between this framing position and pectoral pokes (yeah, you heard me right) before concluding, "C. Well, maybe a B. But I'm gonna say C. I'll bring a couple of each into you and we'll take a look."
That was my cue to escape. I found some fluffy chairs at customer service and sat while Claire chewed on the coffee table's legs.
There would be no poking or wrapping for me. Nuh-uh.
Friday, August 1, 2008
Anyway, three days may not sound like that long (and, okay, I'll be honest--it isn't). But in terms of working shifts, three days translates into roughly nine nurses. Nine drastically disparate nurses. I have a bone to pick with a few of them. (Excuse the tactless pun.) But several nurses (such as our sweet Mary) merit some serious praise and respect.
Mostly for doing little things.
Like addressing the IV machine's incessant beeping instead of letting it go off every two minutes for hours.
And smiling instead of doling out dry crusties.
And bringing medicine when they say they will instead of an hour and a half later.
Sadly, my blog is private, so Mary will never read my gratitude (although I sang her praises in person plenty). And both Madonna and Maria will never know my frustration. Which is how I like it anyway.
As a side note, isn't it weird that all of these nurses have the same name?
Thursday, July 31, 2008
The only weird part is that I never caught it.
But that weekend, my parents came to take us to Utah, so we didn't think about it much anyway. That week Brad carried Claire (and sometimes Grace) up to the Timponogos caves:
I can sort of explain, although I will come out as the worst, most unattentive wife ever. I am repentant. Neither of us really wanted to go to the hospital because we didn't want to pay the fees. But under the insistence of Aunt Kathleen, GG, and with some cash she stuck in my pocket, we headed to the ER. Just to make sure that his constant abdominal pain was nothing too serious.
Because after urine and blood tests and finally a CT scan, we discovered that Brad's usually pinky-sized appendix was the size of a softball. And it had already ruptured. Two weeks ago. On the date that he came down with his non-infectious "flu."
The promised hour-long appendectomy turned into a two-and-a-half hour procedure which also included the removal of parts of his intestine (which had been completely infected by his appendix). Our Oxford-Duke-Johns Hopkins trained surgeon said this surgery was very rare and was more complex than he had anticipated. And as a side note he mentioned that the infection would have continued to spread had we not come in, eventually proving fatal.
We were that close (insert mini pinched fingers here) to not going in. Too close.
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
To the relief of my fragile sanity, she eventually continued on to the rest of the song. Well, sort of. Her high little voice continued, "Tomorrow, spank their bottoms they'll come out tomorrooooowww... come what maaayy!"
In case you haven't seen Annie, those are not actually the words.
Wednesday, July 9, 2008
A single rain in this city causes street floods which last for hours. In some places, the water is six inches deep. And the lightening storms (which accompany the majority of rainfalls) are nothing short of spectacular. Brad and I sit in camp chairs on our front porch (yes, very white-trash-like) watching the scenes.
I love the rain. I love the smell of rain. And so during the last storm, Grace, Claire, and I twirled in the downpour. We had so much fun.
Saturday, July 5, 2008
Friday, July 4, 2008
"I love you too, Grace."
Grace grimaces. "Daddy. Your face is ugly."
Huh. What a nasty change of subject. "Uh, really?" is all Brad can muster.
"Daddy, how did your mom make your face so ugly?"
"It's very porky," she says. "Like a porky-pine."
"Yes. Yes it is."
Thursday, July 3, 2008
We'd been in there for a while. And so I held out Grace's hand, pointed to her fingertips, and said, "Grace! Your fingers look like raisins! What did you do to them?"
She replied, "I didn't do that! The water did it!" We laughed.
Then her little finger poked my not-so-little tummy and she exclaimed, "Mommy, look! The water made your tummy into a raisin, too!"
She was sadly mistaken. [Sob.]
I hate stretch marks.
Tuesday, July 1, 2008
2 cups warm water
1 tablespoon yeast
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons salt
5-5 1/2 cups bread flour [I never have bread flour on hand, and it's hard to find here. I use regular flour and it turns out just fine.]
- Dissolve yeast in warm water (110 degrees) and sugar in large bowl; allow yeast to proof or foam (about 10 minutes).
- Add salt, oil, and 3 cups flour; beat for 2 minutes.
- Stir in 2 cups flour to make a stiff dough.
- Knead until smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes. [I do not knead by hand; I use kitchen aid on medium for approximately 5 minutes.]
- Place in oiled bowl, turn dough to coat all sides, cover and let rise until doubled.
- Punch down and divide in half.
- Shape dough into two long slender loaves.
- Grease and sprinkle with cornmeal either a french bread pan or large cookie sheet.
- Place loaves in pan and cut diagonal gashes on top of each loaf (I use scissors).
- Cover and let rise until doubled.
- Bake at 375 degrees for about 30 minutes.
- Note: You can sprinkle or spray water on the loaves during baking if you want a really crunchy crust. [Turn finished bread onto cooling rack to avoid soggy bottoms. And for a very soft crust, cover cooling bread with dish towel.]
- [It's hard to mess this recipe up. Try it. You will suddenly become a baker.]
Monday, June 30, 2008
Monday, June 23, 2008
But hope is not lost for our extended family ties. Tonight as Grace and I drove home in the car, I asked her, "Grace, who loves you?" and after naming me and Daddy, she proceeded to name every member of our family. Including Uncle Kevin. Who left for Argentina before she could talk. And who she somehow recognizes in photos (although occasionally she is actually pointing to a younger, skinnier Brad).
Anyway. Family. We love you. We miss you. And you don't have to worry about Grace forgetting about you. Obviously.
Friday, June 20, 2008
And nearly exploded in disbelieving laughter.
Trey was hanging, upside down, from his top bunk, wearing his Spiderman suit. Except for his mask. And to this Grace loudly objected.
"Trey, you're supposed to have the mask on for kissing!!"
The scene sounds too familiar to be mistaken as merely coincidental. And yet Grace has not been allowed to watch adult-ish films (including Spiderman) since her last incident.
And so I am baffled.
Thursday, June 19, 2008
So it probably shouldn't surprise me that for entertainment, my girls make messes. What else is there to do? Grace scribbles on the walls, eats handfuls of plain oatmeal (spilling tablespoonsful on the floor), and dribbles laundry detergent on the carpet (albeit in a very well-meaning attempt to help me cart the laundry out the door). Claire has coated my floors in cereal and applesauce (a result of her happy discovery that she can reach our tabletop).
Yesterday Grace was eating some chocolate cookies--remnants of our roadtrip from Dallas. She fed pieces to Claire while holding the ziploc bag. And somewhere in the middle of this feeding, I fell asleep for a much needed two minute nap.
I woke up to a suspicious sound and opened my eyes just in time to see Claire lying down, shaking chocolate cookie crumbs all over herself. And all over our bed.
She started to cry at the cookie crumbs stuffed in her eye. And while flushing her face with water, I found chocolate in the folds of her neck. And in her ears.
In a helpful effort, Grace emptied a full bag of baby wipes to scrub Claire clean. An entire bag.
And so I loaded everybody in the car and headed to Trey's house. They have a backyard. And air conditioning. And no chocolate cookies!
Wednesday, June 18, 2008
"Grace, you are such a big girl! I'm so proud of you. You did a great job making it to the bathroom in time. You are great."
Her polite response: "Thanks Mom. You're a great wiper."
Monday, June 16, 2008
So, we had leftovers. Which I thought I would try out on Claire.
I might as well have given her a pony.
Sunday, June 15, 2008
Rolling into people in the middle of the night is at least more comfortable than frying in bed, I assure you.
Tuesday, June 10, 2008
I don't know why Brad took this picture. All I can say is that for a while, in the early parts of our marriage, Brad would take random photos of me in an effort to make me believe in my prettiness. Eventually he stopped because all he ended up proving is that I am the least photogenic person who ever lived. (He does, however, still tell me every single day how beautiful he thinks I am. Well, except for the last four days since we haven't talked at all because of Scout Camp. Still, I feel pretty lucky.)
Oh, those carefree months of childlessness. All ten of them.