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Monday, March 31, 2008

day of rest

I heard the door brush open, before sunrise. I could feel little eyes peering in, watching me. And though I desperately wanted to stay put, I braced myself for the day, like any other morning.

Then the door closed again and I woke up after eight.

I came down the stairs and there they were, painting window catchers, laughing and carrying on.

Those early morning hours were followed by the customary sibling dissension; it was short lived.

But getting to sleep in, well, that was a treat - sweet, sweet Sabbath.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

how I became to be mama milton; one decade later

You came into the world, tardy and a bit cantankerous. Those first few weeks were tough; you seemed misinformed. I kept waiting for you to sleep more, like the books said, but instead you focused your energies on your colicky endeavors, proving that you could too howl from 2 -7 pm, everyday.

(Mama Milton was born and she was afraid for her sanity.)

Then one day, you stopped screaming. There was a transformation.

First art exhibit, Portland - 7

I don't know how we lucked out; you are such a good kid. Yes, you are prone to tears over imaginary bunnies accidentally left on the bus. Yes, you are high octane emotional, but I know it's because you were born with such a big heart. I've watched you bend yourself into a pretzel, giving someone the benefit of the doubt. Not everyone in the world is so generous, so I worry about you; sometimes I wish you were a little grittier.

But then I remember when you were six and you saw a feature on TV about Locks of Love and cried until I promised to consider letting you donate your hair.

I know your Dad didn't want to sign on. It choked me up too. But how could we refuse? Your kindness moves you, and we are just along for the ride.


Lately, you've put away the tights and the skirts and the hair ribbons. You're older now and while you still love to write little stories and draw everyday - we keep the mill in business - you come home, rain or shine, and beg to kick a soccer ball or swing a tennis racket for an hour or so after school. I stand at the window and watch you undo the day at school, where you forced out of your introverted shell. You need a little solitude, to keep afloat. I understand that better than you know.

Girl Scout camp, 2006

What I can't seem to get is how you got to be 10. It just doesn't seem possible.
Then, there you are: Tall and strong and capable. Sweet. Creative. Sarcastic. You're all I hoped you'd be, back when we spent that first night together, when you stared out at me with such big, aware eyes.
*
Happy birthday, Lex.
Love, Mama
(Oh, Aunt Lori posted too. She was over the moon when you came; A GIRL, like she hoped.)

Thursday, March 27, 2008

is it Friday yet?

We are limping towards the weekend - it's been quite a week. This is Greg's year end which means he works late into the night, out of town and he's been preoccupied and stressed while I've been Sickypants/Ms. Nit Seeker.

And now, he's coming down with something and he feels unable to leave work until he sees it all through; he's got families besides our own counting on him. (He has stellar work ethics...)

So, I think I might not be by for a few days, until I catch my breath and then resuscitate the troops.

My family's weary.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

right down to the real nitty gritty

I was writing a post last night, with real words and no pictures of my kids when my daughter complained, again, that her head itches. She of the allergies, she of the eczema - I paid her no mind.

She sat, making frumpy faces at me until I took her upstairs to my bathroom to inspect the rash.

Oh. My. Louse. Was I in for a surprise.

I cringed and fretted and felt like such a bum when I realized my sweet girl had lice.

I'm still cringing.

She was a trooper today, reassuring me that her body book explained what was happening, while I vacuumed, and washed mountains of laundry.

(Paranoia, big destroyer.)

I washed her new Pat the Bunny and sent the other 467 stuffed animals in her bed on a little vacation, by way of Hefty Hefty Hefty.

I expected her to cry and carry on. (Oh, wait. That was me.) Instead she drank her tea, watched her Buffy and even did some homework while I spent four hours grooming her very thick hair.

I'm still mortified, to be sure, and I thought about keeping this little incident to myself. I'm just too tired to finish that other post, before Mr. Bug came to town.

Monday, March 24, 2008

seven

Seems like just yesterday, you wee little bitty.A two year-old, in the unexpected snow. You didn't talk much; well, you couldn't talk at all. But those eyes, and that smile - I always wondered what was going on in there...

Tree pose. You loved doing yoga with me when you were in preschool.


Zack's 4th birthday.


Zack and Greg, last year

And now you are seven, bright and funny and well-liked by your classmates. Sweet with babies. Kind. Organized. Good with numbers. Quirky. Gentle.
So happy birthday, Bubby. Thanks for making our lives so sweet.
Love, Mama

Sunday, March 23, 2008

happy easter

See how tall she is? This was her first dry Easter egg hunt. No mud pit this time out.
Hark! It's the sun.


(I think she preferred the ferret.)

Saturday, March 22, 2008

little help from my friends

Jen stopped by Thursday with Magic Soup - mercy how I love Pho - to cheer me back to good health, along with these:

Aren't they cheery?

(And don't forget a trash magazine because nothing makes me chuckle-cough better than those pictures of J Lo and Co, sporting heels and posed with her beautiful babies. They look like they are in some 1950s ad campaign.)

Danke!

Friday, March 21, 2008

speechless

Good Friday is here, and my fever is gone. I am so thankful - congested, but thankful. Soon I'll be hurling my beleaguered self to IKEA for birthday goodies for two worthy kids and picking up groceries to whip up some carrot cake cupcakes. I'm jacked up on tea and hoping to catch up a little today.

But my heart is heavy for two families at my church: One family lost their infant son, here too early and gone an hour later. Two other bitty kids lost their mother, dead in her sleep at 26. 26.

I'm sitting here with stationary, not knowing what to say. I just don't know.

And as I fret to get it right - on paper, for Easter, for their birthdays - my life feels so full. I get to raise my children, even when they make me nuts.

Busy never felt so good.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

lenten update and six words

I was feeling smug about my lack of yelling/screeching during lent - and considering taking on my smug attitude next - when I blew it Wednesday.

So much for the thoughtful post about letting go of my anger.

(I tried, Yoda, I tried.)

I have noticed a change in myself, that losing my temper and raising my voice has become indulgent, a habit I could put down, with a little effort so it was worth working on.

However. I pulled myself out of bed yesterday, dizzy and feverish to let my kids in after school and pounded the Motrin so I could manage until Greg returned from his trip when both kids launched into bickering over their Annie's Bernie Os. And then they started hitting each other.

I said, quietly - not because of my peaceful, spiritual state, but because I have Flu Throat, sore beyond words - to please stop. To get along. To keep their hands to themselves.

But my patience wavered and I gestured them to their rooms, laryngitis making my promise impossible to break. My attitude sucked, though. I was exasperated.



****

Bad Mom tagged me for the six word memoir; man that's tough. On a good day. Still, I'm going for it:

Boy, babies, books. Future looks bright.

Ain't nothing a nap can't fix.

Pass the Jr. Mints; show's on.

Ministry didn't fly. This girl's happy.

What would Buffy do? No, really.

Hubby on the road. Boo hoo.

Want to give it a shot? I'd love to read yours. You could even tuck 'em in the comments.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

it's all in my head, it's all in my head

I woke up several times last night, with a sore throat I kept dismissing as allergies. Or dryness. Because I am all about denial.

I'm teetering folks, about to take The Flu Plunge.

My Mama brain is doing the math:

We are T-minus 5 days to Easter at my place, and then Zack's birthday followed by Lexi's. Can I recover, just in time? Yes, I sure hope so. But WHAT IF Zack gets it. That boy's been counting down since the day after Christmas for the big day....

Do I a) Lysol every surface, between drool-infused napping? or b) Lick Zack's face, when he walks through the door, and get it over with?

I think this means I've lost my mind, calculating weird sickness math.

Maybe it's the fever...

And please remind me not to sign the kids up for activities with strict attendance rules, while Greg is on the road.

I'm not up for hard core mothering today.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

*tickle tickle*

I can't think of anything better: Celebrating new life, reaffirming friendship. Cam has stuck around - he was the best man at our wedding in 1994 - and seen us through babies, diapers, good years and bad.

Turn about is fair play.



When we stood up in church, pledging to be there as Sage grows up, I was overwhelmed. It really is something, watching these kids come into our life.

To think, when we were in our 20s, majoring in Doofus 101, we'd make it this far.

My heart is full.

Little Sage whispered "tickle, tickle" as she reached out to get me. What a cutie.

trader joe's is not a racetrack; a letter

Dear Maniacal Driver,

I was instructing my son on the manner in which we leave grocery stores and enter parking lots - touching on the finer points of being a short person unseen to moving cars - when you flew past me, emphasizing my lesson and scaring the bejeebus out of us.

Please be advised: Busy parking lots do not welcome your sort. Kindly slow down or stay home.

Regards,

Mama Milton

(Yes, I considered running your car down, ramming it a bit, but that's not how my mama raised me. Count your lucky stars.)

Saturday, March 15, 2008

s is for sage

Remember when I won the illustrious Ms. Melanie's Elliebean giveaway? Well, I'm headed to sweet Sage's dedication at her church this morning, with this is hand. Isn't it beautiful?

I love it.

*thank you, thank you*

Friday, March 14, 2008

friday shorts

Zack has acclimated to the time change. He curls around my middle, and in the dark, he fingers my eyebrows before comparing them to his own.

He decides his are softer, but mine? They are like rainbows.

Somehow I know he is grinning.

*
Lexi hands me a pamphlet, outlining the upcoming Talk about Puberty. Her crinkled nose tells me all I need to know.

"WEAREGOINGTOTALKABOUTTHISATSCHOOL? Wwwwhhhyyyy?"

When I try to explain that not every kid has this information, she trails off, trying to imagine a world where mothers don't initiate awkward conversations, utter embarrassing words.

Not that she'll ever know.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

the girl who stopped by Powell's books

This is how I know my sister loves me: She has no use for books but she called me yesterday, breathless, to let me know that Joshilyn Jackson was being interviewed on a local radio station, rightnow. Hurry.

(Yes, that author. Lori understands my crazy.)

This is how I know Bad Mom loves me: She read gods of Alabama, though she had been sick and weary with the plague and crazy busy, just in time for the reading at Powell's last night.
It's a wonder to be understood.

And here's the thing: I can nearly adore, nay worship in some ungodly fashion, an author from a distance, and maybe, just maybe, leave a comment on their blog, but when I see them face to face, I feel like a damn groupie and stammer.


Maybe I'm nervous because of that wildcat, inches away from my skull.




Laurel, one of the main characters in Jackson's book, is an art quilter. Joshilyn had this one commissioned, just like one in the book. There is a real human tooth, lodged in the toe of the boot. Really.



I can't manage a few words along the lines of, 'your work inspires me'. Or 'I love your blog'.

Thankfully, I had Stephanie with me so I didn't chicken out asked if I could get my picture with her.













Then she suggested the '1, 2, 3 Betty thing', which made her look adorable.












Me? Nervous and nerdy? That would be a go.

Still, hearing a published author I admire describe writing a crappy book, tossing it, and starting anew, with a braver spirit gave me courage.

(I should have taken Stephanie's picture too, but I am such a dope when I am twitterpated. I'm sorry.)

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

signs of life



I woke up to signs of spring, seemingly overnight.

(Need a picture post? Wordless Wednesday has you covered.)

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

first draft

"Talent is long patience."
Gustav Flaubert

I've taken pains to line up some time to sit here and work on writing fiction, finishing a short story or working on My Novel. The one that exists primarily in my head. I avoid talking about it much here because I am a) struggling, staring at an empty screen & b) I sound like I am vying for the American Idol, dopey and dreamy-eyed, and perhaps, delusional.

But be that as it may, I've made this goal a priority and I want see it through, despite my efforts to the contrary.

See me cleaning my house and watching Bette Davis in a less complimentary version of Elizabeth, in the Virgin Queen - like I need more Tudor-obsession in my life.

(Joan Collins as Beth! I could spend all day! Avoiding writing!)

By mid-afternoon, I clutched my laptop, closed my eyes and channeled my best brave Anne Lamott, minus the dreadlocks - because I just can't pull it off - and pushed my way through a 1000 words.

Something tells me it isn't going to be any easier today. Nothing worthy ever is.

Monday, March 10, 2008

railing against the daylight (where's my savings?)

The time change isn't agreeing with me. No 'I' statements here; it's all the clock's fault.

I'll own Friday's late night with the kids, post-hockey game that threw their tender bodies into chaos. They slept in Saturday, just in time for the springing forward and further sleeping in on Sunday.

See the pattern? Even my Human Alarm Clock is struggling; Greg is lugging himself out of bed around 4:30 or 5 which by my calculations means he is working in the middle of the night now.

And paying $3.67 to fill the tank before he drives all over our little corner of the world.

(I feel a case of the Mondays coming on.)

My trusty CBS News Sunday Morning reassured me that our family needs more sleep and I'm on board, epecially for Greg's sake, if I could figure out how to pull it off. How do you manage, dear readers?

Saturday, March 08, 2008

ultimate blog party, 2008 (1999 did have a better ring to it)

I have lost my everloving mind, searching for more great blogs to read because honestly, my life plate is full. But I couldn't resist, partying with the girls.


Pretending I own a turn table.

There was a 70s-tastic picture, RIGHT HERE, but Google/Blogger is under the weather. It's making me mad...



And records.


So, here's the scoop: Throw a party, and mingle with the ladies - all from the comfort of your own home. Did I mention there are prizes?


Groovy.


And if you are new here today: Welcome. I'm terrible at introductions so check out my about page and please, browse around.


(And while you are all dolled up, why don't you stop over at Mommified Me and drop off some birthday love and attention to Ms. Cami. She deserves it.)

Friday, March 07, 2008

call me obedient (I didn't flake.)

K. at She's in Transition and Daisy at All's Quiet on the Homefront graciously tagged me with a fun meme, the one where you dig through your archives and re-run some old posts.

Which sounds easy. Except this is post #445, and I'm terribly indecisive. So without further ado, I found some posts that made me chuckle, light and breezy on a Friday afternoon.

So, the rules say I must - and it doesn't sound very bossy, no? -do the following:

Link one must be about family.
Link two must be about friends.
Link three must be about yourself.
Link four must be about something you love .
Link five can be about anything you choose.

Ta-da.

I will flake on the tagging portion of the meme, because I am just that lazy today. If you want to play along, let me know and I will add your name ____________right here.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

keeping up with the joneses

My family and I live a life of ease. We have plenty to eat, our needs are met and on most days, I feel like the luckiest girl on the third rock from the sun. I do.

But, my skin has been crawling lately and I am trying, desperately, to be a big person and not come unglued each time I hear the phrase The Neighborhood, the one that is special in ways I guess I will never know.

When I am feeling particularly noble, I see the snobbishness, incessant chatter about moolah and plastic surgery for what it is: Insecurity. Desperation. Need. And I want to be kind.

I want to be kind but I am finding it hard when I'm pretty sure they aren't too eager to be quite as generous to me in my Target t-shirt and drugstore lipstick.

I used to think when Greg and I made more money someday - and ironically, we do these days - I wouldn't be unnerved by desperate housewives. That becoming affluent would erase my insecurities.

But anymore, the divide grows for me: Less about economic class, and more about lifestyle, choices and being a simple girl from the country. I'm pragmatic to the bone.

I'm not cut out to be a Jones, and today, I'm not sure what to make of it in a world gone mad, running, chasing but never satisfied.

Maybe I've had just enough.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

sailing into spring

Crown Park
Some of the best days of my summer were spent here, near this rusty ol' boat.
*sigh*
(Need a winter break? Check out Wordless Wednesday.)
+++++
Much to My Sjogren is ALL NEW...and not too whiny.

this is my angry face

Granted, this is not worthy of breaking news so I will pour myself a cup of joe and take to my couch to grumble quietly. But I was reworking my broken blogroll, updating it, when my computer shut down unexpectedly.

Your URLs? Not saved.

Grrrr.

I will try again later.

Monday, March 03, 2008

recap. because I didn't post all weekend.

tap tap tap...is this thing on?

Here I am, posting the post I intended for Saturday, before the day ran away with me and my computer threw a fit.

(Love & Logic doesn't work on my laptop. I tried.)

Somehow Zack managed to soldier on, healthy and spunky as ever. I *helped* Lexi bake Junior Mint Brownies for the girl scout bake-off and she finally left the couch.

(What's that? Did Greg catch the flu? I think if you listen closely, you'll hear *fraud* & *cheater*. I just figured that my thrice-hourly scoured hands should be the ones handling food. Because I love children.)

Zack spent the remainder of his 11 month-old birthday gift card on a spider-man learning laptop he's being eyeing since summer. He hunched over in the corner, dodging bad guys, caressing the keyboard. Like me.

The kids and I delivered girl scout cookies yesterday, and visited with some friends until dinner, when I ran away with Stephanie and Jen, to see The Other Boleyn Girl.

(We were sadly unimpressed.)

And we made plans for an unnamed women's retreat, throwing around words like 'rustic' and 'trails' and 'flask'. It is clearly bad mom territory, so be looking for that post.

And now, I have to skedaddle. Much to do, much to do. Welcome March.