Saturday, February 28, 2009

Biscuit

Bear: "Biscuit, biscuit!"
Me: "Baby, we don't have any biscuits."
Bear: "Mommy, mommy, mommy...biscuit pwease?"
Me: *thinking really hard*
Bear: *stomping feet and crying* "BISCUIIIIIIIIT."
Me: "Show me, honey. Show Mommy."
Bear: *pointing to her broken stroller* "Biscuit".
Me: "Ohhhhhhh, you want me to FIX IT?"
Bear: "Yeah, biscuit."

Friday, February 27, 2009

I Survived!

Well, I survived the worst sinus infection of my thirty three year life. It was a doozy! In fact, it was sent and postmarked FROM HELL! The pain was so intense that on Tuesday, I actually passed out. Or at least I think I passed out. All I know is that there was a stretch of time that I don't remember! And when I woke up Bear was standing over me covered in peanut butter.

Howie stayed home from work on Wednesday and Thursday because I was pretty much useless. I slept nearly round the clock, waking only to down enough food that would keep the antibiotics from burning a hole through my stomach.

It wasn't until Thursday night that I started to feel human again. I could walk three steps without falling over with exhaustion or feeling like my brain was going to rupture and start dripping from my nose or feeling like someone jabbed an ice pick through my ear drums. I could also bend over without feeling like a nuclear bomb had been set off inside my skull.

You see, this is what I get for being stubborn. For turning my back on modern medicine and relying on Dr. Feelgood (my chiropractor and acupuncturist). This is what I get for refusing medication and not resting out of guilt that my husband might have to *gasp* feed one of our children.

I can't give him shit anymore because were it not for him, I would lying here in a puddle of my own liquefied brain matter. He watched Bear and fed the kids and even put them to bed! The man is a life saver! A life saver who will be repeating the lords name over and over and over when I give him his due compensation.

In other news, tonight is my Tupperware party! Although calling it a "party" is a bit of a stretch. There will be food, and drink and maybe a little naked table dancing. But I don't usually ask my "party" guests to shell out money for plastic storage containers. Although they are more than welcome to shell out money for my naked table dancing. Just sayin...

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

She Would Be Useless In An Audit

The other day we took Birdie and Bubba with us to the Y so that Howie and I could attend a circuit training class. We dropped them off at an evening program that they offer for kids five and over.

There was just one hitch: Bubba is only 4.

I knew he would be fine. He listens to directions, he doesn't hit or use bad language, he cleans up after himself and since he's nearly six feet tall, nobody would question his age. Plus, I knew that he would follow their rules to the T but I felt sorta funny about lying.

I knew Birdie would out him so I told her, "if they ask how old your brother is, we are going to say he's five." I know, teaching her how to lie is not the greatest idea. I'm setting a bad example. And I just know this is going to come back to bite me in the ass...and not a little nibble, more like a piranha-like attack that will shred my ass into shards of fleshy assness.

But I pressed on.

Me: "He's almost five (in like10 months) and he will be fine. Just don't say anything."
Birdie: "But what if they ask me?"
Me: "I'll take care of it. Don't say anything."
Birdie: "But.."
Me: "Say nothing. Nothing. N.O.T.H.I.N.G."

We went to the Y and all the way there I reminded her to keep her thoughts to herself and say nothing. Then we went into the building and just as we were about to enter the kid's area I reminded her again. "What do we say? Nothing!"

I signed them in and they were both standing beside me when the guy asked me the dreaded question:

Guy: "Is he five?"
Me: "Um, yeah."
Birdie: "No he's not. He's four."
Guy: *glare*
Me: *charming smile* "He just had a birthday."
Birdie: "His FOURTH birthday!"
Me: *giving Birdie the stink eye and then turning to the guy* "She's confused."
Birdie: "I'm not confused. His birthday is December 15th and he just turned four...on December 15th."
Me: *laughing nervously* "He's five."

At this point the guy looked away momentarily and when he did I took advantage of that moment to thump Birdie on the head and say (between my teeth), "do you not remember ANYTHING I said to you? SHUT IT!"

That little punk totally tried to throw me under the bus! I'm just gonna have to store this little tidbit in the mommy memory vault. And someday when she least expects it I am going to summon the kind of embarrassing honesty that only a mother can unleash. I will bide my time and do it at the perfect moment. Like when her first boyfriend comes to pick her up for the first time and I tell him that she'll be down in a minute...when she's done changing her tampon!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Sick Day

I have yet another sinus infection. And it's bad because this morning I did something I never do unless I am seconds away from shooting myself in the head...I took medicine. To make things worse I have a cold that exasperated the infection. Or maybe it was the other way around. I think I might have a touch of the stomach flu and if that wasn't bad enough, I got my period. It's like my body decided to turn against me and bring me to my knees.

The truth is, this is what it takes to get me to stop. Because I will keep going until my legs are cut out from under me. It's the nature of the mom to keep on going, even if we are in agony. I will work through migraines, the flu, a head cold, a sinus infection, back pain, lack of sleep and sprained ankles. I'm thinking that this is my body's way of screaming at me to SIT THE HELL DOWN!

So, I'm doing something that I never, ever, ever do. I'm taking the day off...sort of. I'm staying home and sitting on the couch and drinking fluids and eating homemade chicken soup. I'm cuddling under the covers and letting Bear watch consecutive hours of television. I plan on watching some trashy daytime television as well. Nothing makes me feel better than an hour of The Price Is Right.

To hell with the laundry and kitchen counters that are covered in tomato guts. To hell with the sticky floors and playroom that looks like a bomb went off in there. The barrel of monkeys must have taken the brunt of the blast because there are monkey carcasses strewn about in every corner of the room. And I'm really hoping that the red stuff all over the rug is fruit punch and not blood!

Oh well, all of it can wait until tomorrow. From what I hear, dead monkeys decompose slowly.

I'm crossing my fingers that Bear is in an agreeable mood today. I'm racking my brain to think of something that will entertain her for the next few hours. I know, tampons! She is totally fascinated by them and when given the opportunity has spent many minutes taking them apart. Sure, I'll have to buy a new box but it will be SO worth the quiet time. Because if she is in one of her bad moods, I just might have to introduce her to the joys of hard liquor. And then we can both sleep peacefully.

What?

Don't judge me. I'm desperate. My head is throbbing. My ears ache. My nose feels like someone stuffed a bowling ball in each of my nostrils. I feel like throwing up. The cramps are killing me. I want to curl up in a little ball and go to sleep for the next twelve hours despite the fact that I went to bed last night at 8:00.

I'm not going to take a bath. Or comb my hair. And when I pick up the kids this afternoon dressed in my pajama pants and an old sweatshirt stained with paint and ketchup, I won't even feel guilty.

And I won't feel guilty about making Howie eat cereal for dinner and making him feed and put the kids to bed. Because I barely have enough energy to do that thing where you suck air into your mouth and make it go down into your lungs. What's that called? Oh yeah...breathing.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Aunt Beatie

This weekend, one of Howie's aunts died. Her name was Beatrice but we called her aunt Beatie. She was the nicest woman you'd ever meet.

Beatie was adorable; cute, sweet and small. She was tiny. I can't imagine how she would have even come close to five feet tall or weighed more than 80 pounds soaking wet.

But she was a live wire. And a work horse. She was constantly moving and doing and never seemed to stop for more than a few seconds at a time. She was one of those motherly women who was always searching for someone to feed and you didn't spend more than a few moments in her company before you reverted back to being five years old and begged for her to take you home so that she could make you some homemade cookies.

She always wore dresses that I imagined she sewed herself with a pedaled sewing machine. And she always smelled like soap.

I'm thinking of her today because as I write this, her funeral is happening. And while we couldn't be there in person, I can't help but remember her and pay my respects.

Unfortunately, we are reaching that point in our lives when we are starting to lose many of our elders and it's a sad thing. I've lost many people including both of my parents in the last 14 months and I've grown familiar with how it feels; how loss feels.

Losing a parent feels like losing all bearings on life. Like someone kicked you in the stomach and tossed you into the middle of the ocean without a life preserver. You are terrified as you search around for something secure but there is nothing. You are alone. You gasp for air and wonder if you'll ever be able to take a deep breath again.

Losing other family members is different. It's like losing a part of your history. Like suddenly what you've known your whole life is gone and now things look and feel different. It leaves you disoriented and empty and you start to wonder who you are without them.

Either way, it's painful.

We'll miss you aunt Beatie. Give uncle John a kiss on the cheek for us. This one is for you...

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Just Out Of Reach

For me, one of the hardest things to deal with in regards to having a child with a disability, particularly a form of autism, is wondering whether his personality dictates his disability or if his disability dictates his personality.

I love so many things about my boy, but some of the things I love the most are his quirks. The little things that make him uniquely him. For example, I love that he will look at me out of the corner of his eyes or give me his unbelievably adorable pout when he is unhappy. I love the way he moves his hands and takes the time to do something perfectly.

But when we took him in for evaluation, the doctor pointed out most of his quirks as being not just quirks but rather "symptoms" of his PDD (nos). So his looking out of the corner of his eyes was his inability to make eye contact. His pout was his inability to communicate. The movement of his hands was a tick and his taking his time meant he was over-focusing on an object. All of these things were bad in terms of his diagnosis. It's hard to hear stuff like that. To hear everything that you love so much being dissected and looked at in such a negative way. My first instinct was to be in denial. I kept thinking that there could be a million explanations for his behavior. Couldn't it just be his personality? Why did it have to be a diagnosis of something if he was different?

It made me want to cry. Because I suddenly realized that all of this time I had thought that I knew my boy. That all of those things were who he was. The truth is, those things were masking him. They were manifestations of the autism and not a clear representation of who he really is.

I'm so glad that we had him evaluated and ultimately diagnosed. But there is a part of me that wishes we hadn't because I was so blissfully ignorant before. Because now when he does things I always wonder if it's another symptom. Whereas before I would have been content to accept anything, I now find myself questioning everything. Is this okay? Should I worry about this? Should I make a mental note of this? Is this relevant? Should I be proud or worried?

In the end, I guess it doesn't matter. He is who he is, PDD and all. And if those quirks are symptoms and they all add up to make Bubba who he is, then I have to accept them. They ARE part of him whether they are a symptom or not. Good or bad, I love everything about him but it doesn't keep me from wondering if there is a part of him that we will never know because it's trapped deep inside of him. We are exceedingly lucky that Bubba is only mildly affected by his symptoms and he is exceptionally functional. That is not always the case with some children who might not ever speak a word.

I should feel blessed. And I do. But regardless of how mildly or severely your child is affected, it's never easy to know that even though they are right in front of you, you can't reach them.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Free And Clear

We bought Howie's truck nearly five years ago. It was a terrible deal. Bad interest rate, bad price, bad trade-in amount. But Howie had to have it because it was tough and manly looking and would be perfect for making wheelies in the mud at the fairgrounds on a wet day. Because you see, that's how he makes financial decisions.

Anyway, the thing turned out to be very useful. I don't know how people, especially people who own a home, function without a truck! We've taken things to the dump, loaded up with a season's worth of mulch and saved hundreds on delivery charges for everything from Christmas trees to washers and dryers! It has been exceedingly useful although I still have a hard time climbing into the damn thing since you need to be seven feet tall to climb in gracefully.

And finally after years of monthly truck payments, today is the day that we write that final check and thumb our noses at the financing company.

You know what that means, right?

That tomorrow morning, Howie will be driving along unsuspecting and the back tire will blow out and when he slows down, the front axle will snap in half, the engine will die and every nut and bolt and wire will spring out from every nook and cranny. Then it will all explode and land at Howie's feet in a big pile of ashes.

Because that's just our luck.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Reflections Of The Economy

Today when I picked Mamaw up from the Senior Center, she informed me that she had brought a long a package that needed mailed out immediately. So immediately that we hadn't rounded out of the corner of the parking lot when she was all, "are we going to the post office right now, because I need to get that mailed as soon as possible."

"Yes", I said. "I understood you 2 minutes ago when you told me that THE OXYGEN WOULD BE SUCKED OUT OF THE ATMOSPHERE AND WE WOULD ALL DIE unless the package made it's way to the post office today." Even though that last part is in quotes I didn't actually say it out loud because she would whack me across the head with her stick if I did. But I thought it. And it was spoken loud and proud in my head.

So I immediately made my way to the post office where I stood in the noon line for 15 minutes listening to a woman talk on her cell phone to some person who apparently has bunions. And has not yet consulted with Doctor Funkytoes about getting the damn things removed.

Just what I wanted to hear before lunch.

I finally made it to the front of the line and my transaction went as such:
Me:"Yes, um...I would like to send this package priority mail. Oh and it's fragile."
Post lady:"Would you like a confirmation of receipt?"
Me: "No."
Post lady: "Would you like insurance. You know, since it's fragile."
Me: "No, it's wrapped up pretty tight."
Post lady: "Are you sure you don't want express mail?"
Me: "No thanks."
Post lady: "We could have it there overnight for only an extra $3.00."
Me: "That's okay. Priority will be fine."
Post lady: "Can I interest you in some stamps?"
Me: "Nope, I'm all set."
Post lady: "How about some packing materials?"
Me: "Um, no."

I know I like to exaggerate and joke a lot but that conversation was verbatim. She would not let up and by the end I was feeling very uncomfortable. Like I was stuck face-to-face with a telemarketer who just wouldn't take no for an answer.

This is clearly a sign of the times. Everyone is feeling the crunch and the post office is no exception. I heard they were considering stopping mail on Tuesdays in order to cut down on costs of operation. You know they've got to be hurting when they won't let you out of their grips until you've bought a box of colored package peanuts!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Translation

Bear is in that weird stage (2yrs) where she talks a lot but not everyone can, well...how shall I put this...UNDERSTAND ANYTHING SHE SAYS!

She will walk up to people and speak very intently to them, squinting her eyes and making hand motions for emphasis. But nothing is understood because what she has just said sounds very much like an ancient dialect used only in the most remote regions of Tibet. Every once in a while, an intelligible word will sneak out and it will sound a lot like "achoo" and someone will have the audacity to say "god bless you." When really what she was after is for that someone to recognize that she has A NEW SHOE and how could they possibly not have understood what she was saying, what are they stupid? Do they not speak ENGLISH? And that's when she takes those new shoes and kicks them right in their shins.

Only we (her family) can decipher what she's trying to say but even we sometimes stare at her like she's just grown an alien out of the top of her head.

Here are a few of the secret translations. Just in case you don't speak "Bear".

"Me Mario"= Nintendo D.S.
"Come here"= Pick me up.
"Anaya"= Banana.
"No WAY!" = "Yes, please."
"Bishu" = "Bless you."
"Anaya"= Another.
"Jesus"= Cheese, cheezits, cottage cheese, cheese puffs, anything to do with cheese.
"Ka Wan"= Ni Hao Kai-lan....I want to watch it...NOW!
"Juice"= Milk
"Mik"= Juice
"Cutta"= Carter (a.k.a. Bubba)
"Miney"= Minor or any species of animal resembling a cat.
"Gogog" = Hotdog
"Uaaaughisulskh" = Yogurt
"Baya" = Teddy Bear
"Its itchy" = Whatever I'm pointing at hurts...a lot!

I have to admit, it's sweet enough to make your entire mouth instantaneously fill with cavities. And while I joke and poke fun, I secretly wish that she could stay this small, this cute, this unbelievably adorable, FOREVER!

That is mostly because I have a daughter who is 4 years her senior. And I know all too well that in just a few short years not only will she cease to be so cute, I will wish that I had never taught her to speak. And I'll hope with all hope that what she just said is not WHAT I THINK she just said. Because then I'll have to kill her and that would be a shame.

Monday, February 16, 2009

My Heart Fluttered

I think that romantic gestures are things that remind you why you love your partner. The idea that romance has to do with flowers and chocolate and candlelight is simply ridiculous.

That's where men go wrong, you see. They often try to follow a template for romance, a step-by-step guide on how to woo their women. But it never works and even though they are trying hard it doesn't garner the results they are after.

One of the most incredibly romantic things that Howie ever did was actually for another woman. A very small and gorgeous little woman named Birdie, our daughter.

It happened Valentine's Day 2006. I was at home with Birdie, who was three years old at the time, when the doorbell rang. I kind of knew that Howie would be sending me flowers for Vday so it wasn't a surprise. What was a surprise was when the delivery man asked for a Ms. Birdie Steeler instead of me.

She came bounding from the living room to accept a single rose in a thin vase that anchored a set of decorative, mylar balloons and a princess card. The card read, "Love Daddy."

She squealed with delight and didn't stop talking about her flower and balloons for the next five hours. When Howie got home he asked her, "did you get a delivery today?" This made her scream, jump up and down and run through the room to retrieve and show off her Valentine. He scooped her up for hugs and kisses and told her she was the most beautiful and special girl who ever walked the earth. She glowed.

I smiled at him and he said, "I just want her to learn from an early age how she should expect to be treated by a man. Because she's special and should never settle for anything less."

My heart fluttered. And I never loved him more. Because in that moment he affirmed that I am the luckiest woman in the world.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Pillow Talk

Howie: "Did you notice that I shaved for you?"
Me: "I noticed that you shaved but I didn't know you did it for me."
Howie: "Yep, so that I can get close to you without poking you. Well, without poking you with my beard." *wink*

Friday, February 13, 2009

Olden Days

I picked the kids up yesterday and as we were pulling out of the parking lot, a caravan of yellow buses was rounding the school cul-de-sac. The following conversation ensued:

Birdie: *gazing out the window* "You know...we learned all about school buses today and how there weren't any school buses in the olden days."

Me: "Olden days, huh?"

Birdie: "Like a long, long, long, long, long time ago."

Me: *snort* "Yeah, like when your grandma was little, cause she's really old!"

Birdie: "Did she go to school 100 years ago?"

Me: "Yes."

Birdie: "How did she get to school when she was little and went to school?"

Me: "In a horse and buggie."

Birdie: "Wow! I'm going to ask her about it when we get home!"

Me: "You do that. And don't forget to ask her about Christopher Columbus. She just loves talking about her old boyfriends!"

Thursday, February 12, 2009

A Torrid Affair

A few weeks ago, I was browsing through some online recipes and came upon this terrific spaghetti squash recipe.

It seemed easy and I loved that it didn't seem to require a plethora of ingredients that I would never be able to find in the supermarket. Because my sense of direction (or lack thereof) also hinders me when I'm food shopping. And it doesn't help that it seems like every Stop-N-Shop in the tri-state area has decided to re-arrange their inventory to the point where it takes me five hours to find a loaf of 100% whole grain bread. Because if you haven't already noticed, I'll let you in on a little secret. There are at least 400 different kinds of bread. Whole grain, 12 grain, 9 grain, multi-grain, white, whole grain white, wheat, 100% wheat, low carb, rye, Italian and on and on and on until you feel like you are going to lose your mind! Combine that with the store moving the bread aisle every week and it's a perfect storm.

So anyway, back to my point about an easy recipe. It called for some feta cheese. And up until that point I had never used feta cheese. I'm not so sure I had even tasted it. I know, how could I go through life without having tasted the glorious yumminess that is feta cheese you ask? Because I grew up in a poor Mexican family and my knowledge of cheese extended only as far as a box of government Velveeta.

So I bought some for the recipe and made the dinner which turned out to be fantastic! Even Howie loved it and didn't even balk when I had so obviously substituted squash for pasta. Turns out feta cheese is not only delicious, it goes well with my favorite food in the world...garlic.

And now I've been putting garlic and feta on everything from casseroles to salads. And one without the other just doesn't satisfy me anymore. I always thought that garlic and I made a good couple. We had a very loving and exclusive relationship. I was totally committed and thought I would NEVER even consider being duplicitous to my mouthwatering garlic. But you know, it was starting to get dull. We just lacked that va-va voom that we used to have in the beginning. It was starting to become, dare I say, predictable. But then feta came along and suddenly I started having all these feelings that I didn't expect. It's not like I went out looking for feta. Okay, maybe I did but really, it started off innocently enough.

Feta didn't seem that interesting in the beginning but then we had one great dinner together and it was all downhill from there. Before I knew it, I was having some feta every day. Just a nibble but I still felt guilty.

Now I have to have both. I can't live without them and I am seriously considering moving to Utah so that I can have a completely legal polygamist relationship with them both. Because I just can't choose.

Man, relationships are so hard!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

And Then I Used Him To Dust The Ceiling Fans

Why is it that animals are attracted to the dirt pile that you make when you sweep your floors? When I was sweeping yesterday, Minor came and sat down right smack dab in the middle of my dirt pile. And wouldn't move. So I had to get creative. He sat there so long that I had time to converse with him, walk across the room, fidget with my camera and take a video of him. One word- stubborn.

You'll notice that many times I say to the cat, "excuse me." As if he really cares how politely I address him. I don't do it on his behalf. I do it because my kids are always within ear shot and I want them to always use polite language. I learned my lesson when Bear said to the cat, "get the hell off the table, Minor!" Oops. And ever since then it's been "excuse me cat, would you mind, good sir, if I requested of you to hop down from the table? Thank you."

video

Saturday, February 7, 2009

The Mimosa Blog

One of my friends writes a monthly post called "the beer blog" and it's basically her virtual sitting on her porch, drinking a beer and relaying the random thoughts that are in her head. She hasn't done one too recently which I suspect is because she's very pregnant, like 16 months pregnant.

So here is my version but since I don't drink beer, particularly at 7:42 on a Saturday morning, I will call this my "orange juice blog". Or maybe I should splash some champagne in it and call it my "mimosa blog".

I've banned Mamaw from the house for a few days. She was here many times this week and towards the end it was very difficult to keep myself from leading her to the edge of a very steep cliff and telling her to "curb down". I love her but damn...there is only so much I can take. The straw that broke the camel's back was Thursday when she babysat Bear and made the executive decision to not put her down for a nap. She said that Bear "seemed fine" which she usually does right up until the moment when she reaches her breaking point and invokes the spirit of Satan. So I came home to a kicking, screaming, biting my shoulders, miserable little girl who screamed for 3 hours straight until I finally gave in and put her to bed. At 5:30pm. All of that because Mamaw well, what it boiled down to, didn't feel like putting her in her room, handing her a sippie cup and closing her door. I must have done something really bad for her to bring that upon me because seriously, that's something you only do when you want to torture people to death!
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I got my hair cut and I HATE IT! I switched hair dressers about 3 months ago due to limited fundage. I was going to an awesome place that I loved but I could never seem to come out of there without having spent over a Benjamin. My hair is short which means I need it trimmed at least once a month and after a while, that shit adds up! I switched it up to a woman who used to work at that salon and now owns her own place. Her rates are a fourth of the other joint and she does a terrific job. The only problem is that she is very rough. She will push and pull my head around and this last haircut was her worst! She jabbed her sharp, pointy little comb into my head and was like, "I think you had a little pimple because your head is bleeding." To which I responded, "no...I think I'm bleeding because you attempted to JAB your comb through my skull!" She had! She had jabbed that thing so hard that I jumped up in the chair and squealed a little bit. And on top of that she gave me a for shit hair cut. I'm glad it's cut and that it's out of my face but I look horrible! She really didn't bring her A game and I'm suffering for it!! I'm thinking she was great when I first came in because she had the base outline of my previous stylists cut and now that she' mangled me a little bit, she doesn't know what to do. Who knows, but I think it's time to shop around for a new person!

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There is this woman that I know whose name is Iris. She has come over to our house a few times because her husband cleans our slab of asphalt that descends into hell driveway. Her and her husband really struggle to make ends meet and so she's offered many times to help me with the house. I've never accepted her offer because #1)I'm proud. #2) I'm broke. #3) I'm cheap. If you've been reading this blog for any length of time you know that I don't like to spend money. Especially on things that seem, oh, "un-necessary". But my house is driving me CRAZY! I clean it for several hours every day and I just can't get ahead. I think I need help and I think it's time that I stuff a dirty sock in my pride's mouth and give Iris a call. I know this for sure, I will feel so much better when this place is clean because right now my vision of cleaning up this mess is dousing it all with gasoline and striking a match.

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I think that Howie and I make out too much around our kids. We're never vulgar except for when Howie dry humps me at the sink or shoots his hand down into my bra. Thing is, when your kids are small you don't think they are watching. But then one day they turn 6 years old and grow eyes in the backs of their heads and pay attention to EVERYTHING YOU DO AND SAY! So last night we were all piled on the couch watching that science show called "How It's Made" and when it was over Howie told Birdie to go to bed. She came over for a round of hugs and kisses and I love yous. She gave me a hug and a smooch and moved on to Howie where she hugged him and started kissing his neck! He jumped back and started trying to peel the skin from his body. Then he ran screaming to the bathroom where he scrubbed himself with clorox and a brillo pad.

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I feel like I need a food de-tox. I was doing well until the Superbowl when I ingested pure unadulterated trash. Now I feel bloated and slow and tired. When will I learn? That as much as I love salt, I just can't have it because it makes me feel like crap! It's probably the same reason I have three children. It's the food version of "just the tip". I start out saying that I'm just going to have a tiny little amount. A bite of veggie dip and carrots, a chip, a sip of soda. Then before you know it I've eaten a whole bowl of buffalo chicken dip and feel very, very dirty. I have a hard time saying "no" in the moment but then spend the next few months feeling bloated, grumpy and slow. I'm such a food whore!

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Well, enough randomness. I could go on but the natives are getting restless and I need to get this partay started. Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Step Two- Complete

So step one in the adoption process was to attend an open house and gather information. Step two was to have a home-study done. And we did.

A social worker came out to our house and did a full evaluation of the home, us, the kids, the family dynamics, etc... She loved us. But seriously, what's not to love? :-)

All joking aside, I was scared shit-less! I feel confident that I'm a good mom and we have a wonderful family but it's different when someone comes in to grade you on it! Would the house be clean enough? Would I answer her questions appropriately? Namely, when she asked me how I discipline my children, would I remember not to show her the tiny area in the basement where we tie them down and beat them with a wet, al dente, lasagna noodle!

I did remember to take the Playboy poster down from Bubba's room. I'm not even kidding about that, Howie thought it would be cute to get Bubba started early so he bought Bubba a big Playboy bunny poster and hung it over his bed. I had called Shari for her to calm me down and run a checklist of what needed to be done and she was like, "you took down the Playboy poster right?"

"Shit. Now I will!"
"Yeah, they may not look too fondly on you guys promoting pornography to a four year old!"
"Geesh, talk about being picky!"

Our social worker's name is Kim and she asked me every question imaginable, including whether I always remember to wipe front to back. I was honest. Brutally honest to the point where I thought she'd look at me and be all, "there ain't no chance in hell I'd give you a child, in fact...I think it prudent to remove the ones you have!"

But just the opposite happened. She said that our parenting style makes us well suited for a large family and apparently that isn't too common these days. She said she was initially concerned about us wanting to bring a 4th child into the family until she met us and was like, "would you take a sibling group? How bout a set of triplets?"

So we passed. Then she laid out the adoption process in excruciating detail. It's scary. And quite overwhelming. She also asked us very specifically what kind of child we were looking for and we said boys between the age of 3 and 4. Thing is, because we are willing to take children of color and because we want a boy and because I am a stay-at-home mom, she said we will most likely end up with a newborn. Apparently there isn't a huge demand for colored boys out there and we will go to the tippie top of the list for placements.

She also explained that the process begins with fostering. We prefer a child with minimal legal risk, meaning that the likelihood of them returning to their parents is slim to none. We will get what we want, but there are no guarantees until the ink is dry on the adoption. We are taking a huge risk but after a lot of talking and thinking, we decided that it's a risk worth taking.

Truth is, we took that risk when we had our own children. Children are gifts whether they come from within you or from someone else. There are no guarantees in life, especially when it comes to love. When you decide to lay your heart on the line you take a risk and if it was meant to be, it will be and you go into it knowing that you could be hurt. If (God forbid) anything were to happen to one of our children and we lost them, I would never, EVER regret bringing them into my life. Because they are such a huge blessing.

It's no different with an adoptive child. I will love them the same and if something happens and we lose them, we will be heartbroken but not regretful. We will breathe easy knowing that we contributed to a child's life and hope that it made a difference.

So there it is, we're on to step three. We begin certification classes at the end of February and will be done by the end of March. If everything plays out as planned we could have a new baby sometime in October, ironically about 40 weeks away. If we do get a newborn, it will be the greatest birth experience EVER! No pregnancy, no agonizing birth, no hormones, no drippy boobs. Woot!

In the meantime there is nothing to do but let it all soak in. To try to wrap our minds around the change that is coming. I'll keep you posted as things move along. The main thing that stands out right now and I want to make a point of it for anyone out there that is considering adoption - this process is proving to be a lot faster and easier than I ever imagined. I had a pre-conceived notion that adoption was a long, expensive, difficult process. So far, we haven't encountered any of that. They've been swifter than I ever imagined, the process will cost us less than $500 even through the completion of adoption and it hasn't been that difficult. Lets hope it stays that way!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

What's For Dinner

Our new cat, Nala, is due for her shots and has an appointment on Wednesday morning.  Which was kind of a problem because she had wandered into our basement which is basically like wandering into the Bermuda triangle.  You can find your way in but it's unlikely that you'll ever be seen or heard from again.

So last night, Howie and I decided that it would be in our best interest to find her before her appointment.  We went downstairs and decided to play a little good cop-bad cop.  Howie would charge at her with a giant feather duster and I would be there to catch her and tell her it would be alright.  

It was a good plan except for the fact that the cat is apparently smarter than the two of us combined.  We ran around the basement, chasing and dodging her.  One time she jumped from the rafters and over my shoulder and I screamed like I had just looked into the eyes of a great white shark.

We finally coaxed her down but not before the poor little thing had been so scared that she literally pissed herself.  Poor girl.

In order to accomplish our mission, we had to lock Minor (our other cat) in our bedroom.  And he did not like that one bit, no siree! He meowed and howled and scratched at the door and when we finally let him out he gave us the silent treatment.

We went to bed not long afterwards and this morning we found out just how much we'd pissed Minor off.

Howie:  "So, I found a nice pile of crap in your bathroom sink this morning."
Me: "WHAT?"
Howie:  "Shit.  A big pile of it.  In your bathroom sink.  Apparently SOMEBODY didn't like being left in our room last night."
Birdie: "It wasn't me mom.  I was asleep in bed.  Sleeping."
Me: "Well, I hadn't considered you as a suspect but thank you for your alibi."
Birdie: "But it wasn't me, just so you know."
Me:  "No it wasn't you.  It was the cat.  And just so you know, we will be having Chinese food for dinner.  Sweet and sour "pork".

Counting Blue Cars

The other day I stopped at a red light and pulled right next to an Eagle Talon.

It looked exactly like the one my friend, Kim had when we were teenagers and just looking at it seemed to transport me back in time.

We used to cruise around town in that car, smoking cigarettes, listening to music and talking like only teenage girls can.  Good times, really good times.  

I remember fondly how we'd cruise back behind the deserted airport.  We'd roll down the windows and let the dry, summer air blow through as we'd zoom along, listening to "Counting Blue Cars" by Dishwala.  We loved that song.  Because the lead singers voice could make you cream your pants!

We used to talk about our parents and work and school and all the things that seemed so complicated at the time yet in hindsight seem very simple.  I was so innocent, so green, so young.

Being back in that time made me ache for all that has happened between now and then.  Because there has been so much loss.  Kim and I now live in practically opposite ends of the country and while we still talk very often, I miss her like crazy.

We've both lost our fathers.  I lost my mom and Kim is now having to face the excruciating task of caring for a dangerously ill mother.  

When I went back to Oklahoma, one of things I wanted to do most was to once again take a drive down the deserted airport roads, and we did.  But this time instead of blaring the music or rolling down the windows, we sat in silence because things just aren't the same.

The weight of our lives and the responsibilities that we carry are overwhelming.  So overwhelming that sometimes we can't even remember what it was like to be care free.

I just listened to the song again and what's ironic is while we can't appreciate the song like we used to, the lyrics are sadly appropriate for this time in our lives.  We're the children, a little lost and disoriented without our parents, begging to know why things are the way they are and if we're going in the right direction.

I would post the video but the html is disabled.  If you want to hear the song,  Click Here.


Sunday, February 1, 2009

Another Twenty-Five

There's this thing going around facebook where you write 25 random things about yourself and post it for your friends to see.  

I went along with it but seriously sensored myself because, well...I'm friends with some of Howie's co-workers and even his boss and I didn't want to humiliate him.

My friend Shari was like, "dude, based on your list people could mistakenly assume that you are normal!"  Then she threatened to write the real 25 random things about me and put a gun to my head (she has a permit) and said that I needed to fess up and if I didn't she was going to tell everyone about that thing that happened that one time when I did that something with a certain someone.

So here it is, my random 25 things (uncensored)

1.  I kissed a girl.  One time.  And I didn't like the taste of her cherry chapstick.

2.  I'm not a stranger to the ganja.  I smoked quite a bit in college but outgrew the phase and haven't touched it since 1996. 

3.  I eat more garlic than should be legally permitted.  Wanna smell my breath?  *haaaaaaaa*

4.  I suffer from panic attacks.  While they are very much under control and I haven't had one in over 16 months, I still fear them because they are the most intense feeling of terror and being out of control that I have ever experienced.

5.  I joke a lot about drinking too much but in reality I very much detest alcohol.  The extent of my drinking is a Smirnoff ice once in forever and a glass of wine if we go out to eat (which is almost never).

6.  I grew up with a mother who was addicted to pain medication and a father who was addicted to alcohol.  This is why I won't take so much as an aspirin and drink very, very rarely.

7.  I take a pretty hands-off approach to parenting because I believe that it's my job to teach them how to be independent.  I love them, I teach them, I support them but I don't coddle them.

8.  Howie and I have a goal to have sex in every state in the country. Someone please take my kids so that we can "bang" out a few more states!

9.  I am TERRIFIED of guns.  And fireworks.

10.  I'm a wayward Catholic.  I grew up in a very strict, hispanic catholic home which is probably why I went so far the other way.

11.  I very often speak before I think.  It gets me into trouble and I hate it about myself yet I can't seem to control the impulsivity.

12.  I'm not afraid of death.  I've seen it first hand and have been close enough that I completely understand and accept it's inevitability.

13.  I once abandoned a kitten and it's one of my biggest regrets in life.  This is why I have since adopted many cats and shower them with love and attention.

14.  I don't like it when people invade my personal space.

15.  I once kissed two brothers.  On the same night. (not at the same time, you perv).

16.  I once shaved off one of my eyebrows after a game of poker gone wrong.

17.  I have seen a tornado up close and personal. Many of them, actually.

18.  I adore my mother-in-law.  I know this is taboo and while she does often get under my skin, I love her and couldn't imagine my life without her.

19.  The vein on my left wrist forms an "H" and the vein on my right wrist forms a "Y" which are Howie's initals.  I was literally made for him.

20.  I desperately wish I could have a relationship with my biological father.  I called him to tell him that both of my parents had died.  He never called me back.

21.  I am extremely tender-hearted.  I donate things on a monthly basis and go out of my way to help people in need.

22.  While I can express myself very well with the written word, I have a hard time in face to face communication.

23.  I have a very dirty mind!  Really, it's filthy.

24.  I am terrible at directions.  I can't tell east from west and if it weren't for google maps or GPS, I'd have a hard time finding my way home from the supermarket!

25.  As hard as it is to sometimes deal with my children, I often wish I could afford to have 3 more!  Maybe it's all that pot I smoked!

Okay, confession complete. Forgive me for I have sinned.  It has been a very long time since my last confession.  I will say 10 Our Fathers and 20 Hail Mary's as penance and promise to surpress filthy thoughts, think before I speak, keep my eye brows in tact and let up on all the garlic already!

I dare you to write some candid 25 of your own!!

Bingo!

On Friday night, we attended the annual Bingo game at our children's school.  After the week I had, I would have rather stayed home and slugged around.  I even tried to bribe them to NOT go but it didn't work.  They had their hearts set on it and had been talking about it for days!

So I pulled myself up by my bootstraps and we went.  Amazingly, we had a great time.  We got there just in time to see Blaze from the Connecticut Sun basketball team.

I don't know what he's supposed to be exactly.  He's not an animal or a character. I guess he's supposed to be like a blaze of sun?  I don't know but he's just a very big, furry (and exceptionally sexy) thing who totally took a liking to my husband.  He autographed some pictures of himself and gave them to the kids.  Then he did the same for Howie except on his, Blaze included his phone number!  


After Howie and Blaze's make-out session, we got down to the business of Bingo.  And I have to say, as a family we are not very lucky.  We got the four worst cards in the history of cards.  The only one who kept winning was Bubba.  He won twice and was racking up the prices which was not lost on Birdie.  She was happy for him at first, then she gave him a fake smile and an eye roll.  By the time they announced the last game, sheer panic ran through her body!



Luckily, the people in front of us gave us their cards when they left and we won THREE TIMES!
All in all, it was a nice out with our kids.  It was a double date of sorts, me with Bubba and Howie with Birdie.  Bubba was a great date!  He was sweet, good looking, polite and gave the best kisses ever!