Saturday, March 30, 2013

No Details Yet

You'll have to forgive me if this post is a little out of sorts. My in-laws shipped up Easter goodies to the girls last night. One gift was a pink bunny that repeats anything it hears while jumping up and down. LMC is enthralled and tells it all sorts of things.

It's, um, well... I'm waiting for it to lose its luster so as to misplace the batteries. MOTY, right here.

As I type, the bunny is repeating the sound of the zipper from the lunch box it has been enclosed in. LMC running around screaming, "Mommy! My lunchbox is talking!" only for the lunchbox to repeat those words and jump around, "Mommy! My lunchbox is talking!" and so the cycle continues.

My eye is starting to twitch.

I have received so many text messages, emails, phone calls, and facebook posts asking about the house. So far, so good. We have not received the actual report yet, that will be on Monday, but the verbal communication between Bill (the inspector) and Husband was that we made a much better pick this time!

"But, Mommy! I didn't give theeeese up for Lent!"
     "But Mommy! I didn't give theeeeese up for Lent!"

That thing has got to go.

Back to the house. Not seeing the report, there is a shower that has a rusted water pan underneath and is leaking. I know the man that can take care of that. Love me some Weigle Plumbing! That was the main thing that was reported to us, otherwise-- again-- haven't seen the report-- we should be in good shape.

"Oh, Toodles!" says the TV
   "Oh, Toodles!" says the toy
       "Oh, Toodles!" says the daughter
            "Oh, Toodles!" says the toy again

Anytime the bunny is ready to see the dark side of the toy box, I'm ready.

I mentioned some details before, but- I have to say, I am really excited.

Almost as excited as I am about that toy finding an early grave.

With the five bedrooms, there are three full baths. One has brown tile, one has yellow tile (the master bath), and the girls bath has pink tile.

In my life, I have owned three homes. All three homes have had a pink bath. It's destiny. Husband says it'll be the first thing to go... after the carpets, the wall paper, and brown cabinets in the kitchen.

The master bath with the yellow tile is made up of four rooms and seven doors. There is a room for the shower, a room for the salle de bain (that'd be French for the word that starts with "T" and ends with "oilet"), a room for the bathtub, and a room for the two sinks. There are three closets. It is a lot of space, just not laid out well for 2013. It'll take some work, but we'll make it fabulous. Over time.

The girls will each have their own room and we will make the fourth bedroom in the back of the house a playroom, as it has a door that goes out to the pool area. Not a smart place for a toddler's room. Or a teenagers room.

The fifth bedroom is at the other end of the house off the kitchen and it is large. Too large, really, to be considered a bedroom. I am trying to convince Husband that, long term, we will need to add a wall to make the space more practical for a bedroom. For the meantime- we are contemplating watching the classifieds for a pool table. We both love to play, but neither of us has touched a cue in a long time. All in good time, though.

The kitchen. Woah. The kitchen. Let's just pause for a second and talk about the kitchen. It's a shell of something that will be amazing. It is awesome. Well, hold on. It will be awesome. It has a great layout and is wide enough to place a farm table in the middle of it. It has oodles of cabinets. It has zilch in the appliance department. In researching appliances, Husband discovered that they make candy apple red ovens and microwaves.

candy. apple. red.

Can't you just see it?

We will paint the cabinets and replace the hardware. Have you ever thought about hardware? Well, if you have ever thought that your hardware needs updating, you have. Even if the pieces are $2 a piece, each cabinet needs three pieces (two hinges and one pull)- that is $6 a cabinet if you can find them on sale. And, finding an attractive pull for $2 is harder than you think. I have no idea how many cabinets are in my new kitchen, but I know that there are 22 cabinets in my current kitchen that is a third of the size. And we haven't mentioned the drawers yet.

It's the little things.

Speaking of little things, we have started looking at hardwoods. Brother, who is a lumber broker, was quick to tell me that I have Cadillac tastes and a Pontiac budget. He's right. And if we are laying hardwoods over 4000 square feet, even a Pontiac budget will be tight.

"Mommy! Sophia is on!"
   "Mommy! Sophia is on!"

Grandparents have a special place in my heart. Especially when they give toys like this GD bunny.

MB is starting to cry and if the bunny picks up the noise of her tears, I might throw it out the window- the bunny, not the baby. So, we'll close the rambling for now and update once I have the inspection report in front of me. Hooray!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

I wish this were about silver polish.

I polished almost all my silver yesterday with silver polish purchased in these regions. Not Recommended. The silver was washed, polished, rinsed, sudsed, dried, and buffed... only to have to be rinsed and buffed again. Cheap silver polish will never do in my household. The shops up here should know that nice silver needs nice polish. To make my point, is there such a thing as silver that's not nice?

A few weeks ago, a friend was preparing for her daughter's baptism and I volunteered (stalked, really) to polish her silver. Donning an apron and tarnished fingers, I gently scrubbed with a toothbrush the intricate designs of beautiful pieces, careful to not scratch the flat places where the silver shone in the light, switching tools to a silver sponge. She looked at me more than once, skeptical that I was enjoying myself.

Polishing silver is one of those chores I love to do. If it were a job that paid, I'd be all over it.

As a "thanks" present, her Aunt Bettie swears by Hagerty's Spray Polish and a blue can, large like a can of hair spray from 1984, landed in my lap today. Move over Wright's Cream of my youth, I have a new definition of what's the best. Spray, wait, wipe. Done.

My manicure is toast and my fingers are black, but my silver is beautiful.

This, however, is not the point of my story.

While I was playing with my new toy, LMC was nowhere to be found. Really, I should have been paying more attention... but seriously- spray, wait, wipe... done. On and on I sprayed, waited, wiped, and was finished... and still, no LMC.

Should have paid more attention.

After several pieces (and repolishing some from yesterday), I turn around and see my angel standing there.

Covered in my makeup.

Mascara on her eyes, careful not to disturb the eye shadow on her lids- up to her eyebrows. She put "primer" on her lips (vaseline) and all around her cheeks and nose before applying her lip gloss on her lips and up her nose. Blush. Blush everywhere. I didn't know that I even had any blush- makeup has evolved over the years (speaking of 1984...). She pursed her lips and said, "I so b-u-Tee-full Mommy?"

"Indeed you are. I wonder what kind of mess is in store for me in my bathroom?"

"Don't worry, I cleaned it all up. The lid is on."

"ohhhh. Good. Let's FaceTime Daddy so he can see your handiwork."

And Pixie.

And Miss Alice.

And Mama Bits.

And Spooky (my aunt).

And Aunt Nancy.

And Aunt Martha.

And Uncle Brother.

And Miss Kim.

And let's go down to the leasing office to show off your handiwork.

Because when you look this good- it's worth showing off.

Monday, March 25, 2013

House Hunting... Part II

Poor Aunt Susie- She finally saw one of my famous Excel Sheets. Formulas that calculate price per square footage, neighborhood, address, price, square footage, and beds/baths were just a few of the cells that were marked for our second round of house hunting.

As we get closer to The Move, it gets a little more real. We picture ourselves in these homes and think about the neighborhood and who are children will play with. After a day of house hunting, Brother invited us to an oyster roast that his Exchange Club hosts. It is the pre-party for the benefit "Cookin' for Kids" that was held on a rainy, dreary Saturday. But the oyster roast the night before? Now, that was a good time. The best thing about it?

Brother wanted to go.

It was like old times. Brother, SIL, Husband, and Wife were together and hanging out. We ate Gumbo from our favorite restaurant, Crum's, which I renamed CRUM-Bo! Andrew Crumrine owns Crum's and has done a bang-up job making the restaurant a wonderful place with a great atmosphere without breaking the bank. When I was pregnant with LMC, he'd deliver a virgin fruity concoction in a martini glass for me. Sometimes it was purple, most times pink- always wonderful. I'd sip it and enjoy Husband's company while we talked about the incubating one. After LMC came to play, we'd take her to dinner with us. Once she got of an age that involved eating, he would always bring her a little plate of strawberries, grapes, and melons... pre-cut for peanut sized hands. Hometown. Love it. 

So, follow us again? 

This was Husband's favorite: 


It looks big, right? Well- trust me. It's huge. Five and a half bedrooms upstairs. A guest suite downstairs. A great room with a large brick back patio and brick wall surrounding the back yard. We stood outside and looked straight up. When was the last time you did that under a pine tree? I'd forgotten about pine trees and how tall they really are. Laugh if you want, but seriously... those suckers are tall. 

---

This house was pretty awesome, but ... well, to be honest... I just couldn't put my finger on it.


They spared no expense when it came to certain attributes or the house. The carpet, for instance....


We talked about it later, and thought a little more about it... only to discover our fellow medical house hunting comrades put in an offer on this house. I hope they get it so I can invite myself over for Halloween. 

---

This house could have really been something, and I wanted to like this house...


Butttttt.... it needs a little lovin' or at least a knock-down on the price. There were a couple of different of types of floors and four different types of animal heads. Don't get me wrong, I can get past the things on the wall when looking at a house (we'll get to that in a second), but the aardvark, antelope, artichoke, and boar's head starting me down intimidated me just a little. If we had bought this house, I think their spirits would have haunted it for years to come.

And I'm not an animal person. 

The neighborhood is near the club and golf cart distance to where the girls will spend most of their summer days and fall afternoons. My heart just wasn't in it.

---

Now, this house... this house we could have totally gotten behind. We both loved it. Large flat lot, boat building space, a porte coche (I love saying those words, even if I can't spell it), a gracious living room and a butler's pantry. I love butler's pantry.


It even had a sleeping porch. I have always wanted one of those. But, it only had three bedrooms. Truly, only three. On this footprint, there was no stretching it out to a fourth bedroom. We don't need a fourth bedroom, but if we grow- the house does not grow with us. And after the 54 page inspection report from the house that made our hearts sing... well, we were just a touch gun shy. So, we walked. 

Speaking of the butler's pantry... the kitchen was a touch choppy. For instance, the sink and stove were in the kitchen, as God intended. However, the dishwasher and fridge were in the butler's pantry. Like I said, choppy. 

---

But this house... oh, my heart was singing and doing a little jig:


It doesn't look like much, does it? Just a simple little house on a simple little street... but, with a kitchen like this: 


With marble that looks like this: 


How could it not just suck the breath right out of you? Two dishwashers, Two double sinks, Two ovens.... a microwave, a warming drawer, a Wolf stove... simply breathtaking. But there was just one teeny tiny problem.

Minuscule, really. 

It is in a flood plain. plane? Whatever. Bottom line- if Noah came a knockin', he'd be doing it underwater. 

We went back and forth about it until finally- we put it on the long list of eliminated houses. 

---

One of the fun things about being from the city upon which you will be moving to... is that there is an underground market. Things that do not make it on the market before they are already off the market. The inside scoop on who has passed away, getting divorced, or looking for a change. Several homes we saw this weekend were not on the market, and they were all lovely. There was one in a neighborhood near my parents neighborhood that was just amazing and priced to sell. They had a stove that showed the owner was serious about one thing- cooking. It was cool.  

It made the short list. 

---

But, we were riding around right before we left and saw the neighbor of this house in his yard: 


We asked him what he knew. We made a few phone calls and saw the inside. 

This place was a time capsule to 1966. They have a built in blender in the counter that still works. 
It has five bedrooms. Each with a different type of carpet.
A large pantry that leads into a large laundry room. 
A dining room, den... and a slate foyer that wraps around the living room leading to the back of the house.
Five sets of glass doors that lead out to the back patio where the pool sits. 
It has charm.

It has the need for a lot of work. 

And we want it.

Remember how I said I can get past the things on the wall? 


Yeah, buddy. No lie. That's hot. 

So, we put in an offer and be-bopped back and forth. We settled somewhere in the middle and are taking the initial steps to make this house our home and make it ours. 

It's going to be ferocious, but we won't be beat. It's going to be time consuming, but it will be amazing. 

I'm pumped. 

Next stop- Inspection. I'll keep you posted. 

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Chomp

LMC was bitten at school today. It was a good'un. On one hand, I didn't see a problem, nor did I really know how to handle it. On the other, I was thankful that I was not there when it happened, to see the tears from both parties, and have to maintain a cool and level head managing the frustrations of toddlers and their emotions.

The teacher, who is full of love, promptly pulled me aside when I walked in and told me what happened. She was upset about it and the other party had to be sent home. Both the mother and child were upset. The mother, embarrassed as you can imagine.

But, was anyone really at fault?

As a parent, this is uncharted territory. Hell, everything is uncharted and the learning curve is steep and fast. How should I handle it and how would I want it handled if the shoe was on the other foot?

LMC was a happy girl with no complaints. She showed me that when she bites herself it doesn't hurt- which opened the door to the conversation. That we don't bite. And we don't retaliate in anger as it leads to a standoff.

"What's a standoff, Mama?"

I hit you, so you hit me back. I hit you again, and in anger, you hit me back. Does that accomplish anything?

No.

Does it get your point across?

No.

So, we are in a standoff. And nothing gets accomplished. Did it hurt when she bit you?

Yeah. I cried.

I am sorry. These things aren not going to get any easier, but she bit you and you have to move past it.

Yeah. Because she's my friend.

She is. And y'all are big buddies. Is it more fun to have fun with friends or be in fights?

Have fun!

So, let's have fun!

We got home and when she was not around, I picked u p the phone and called the culprits mother. What would I want to happen if she was the biter, rather the bitee?

"I have to tell you. I don't know what to say. It's is my first time parenting. LMC isn't worried about it. I am not worried about it. So, how about y'all don't worry about it? LMC says that they are still friends. If you are okay with that, I am okay with that."

Did I do it right? I don't know. All I can hope is that as she gets older it won't get easier, but she she gets more tools and arrows in her quiver to give her the confidence to move past it.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Herding Kittens

I adore my almost four year old, but sometimes... it's like herding kittens to get anything done.

Sure, the easy thing would be to just do it myself- but what does that accomplish? (A clean house in half the time, for starters)

Today, I made investments at the Mom Mecca- Target. I totally got suckered into a purchase in the Easter aisle of a princess egg decorating kit. Googly eyes, mustaches, crowns and tiaras, not to mention the hairs and bows- it was a $5 royal royaldom.

LMC is over the moon about this project... but she has one. simple. job.

Just one before we can get started.

Put her clothes away.

That's it.

Sheesh, I know I am echoing the words of my mother from years prior right now.

She is so excited about the princess eggs that instead of putting away the few clothes that were on her chair, she threw them on the floor. And then took clothes out of her drawer and added them to the pile.

Mom, can we have class outside?

Oh, right... mom asked me to put my clothes away.

Hey! Look! There's my phone! I have a new Hello Kitty game.

Mom, why are you resting your head on the bed? That doesn't look very comfortable. HEY! You're resting your head on your phone. Don't do that, you'll break your screen.

I can make a belt with my tights.

Watch me dance on my sandcastle! (AKA... the pile of laundry on the floor)

Look at me, Mommy! I am all tangled up!

Walking away, half thinking it's funny and half thinking it's really annoying... I call Husband to let him know about the kittens that need herding in the house. After that call, I come back...


Hey Mom! I'm in my speedboat! Wanna ride? 

As long as you're taking me to the looney bin. 

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Ink poisoning is impossible, unless you work at an ink factory

I called my SIL's mother last night. We were hosting dinner for some friends who just had a baby and I felt like pulling out the goods. I love pulling out the goods. Two friends were coming over with their two children. Compound that with our two children, and we would have four under the age of four and four adults. 

Why did I call BeBe? Part of a story she once told me involved a little anecdote about the lavish dinner parties they would have when they were about our age with their finest silver, china, and crystal out... with a hundred children running around while they feasted. It was lovely and comical, all at once. 

 
It sounded like a fun time and something I would love to be able to turn around and tell one day. As I set the table, LMC ran around finding paper plates that she could color. And toss on the ground. Once she saw the fish plates, she grabbed her goldfish and ate those off of a plate. I threatened her within an inch of her life if she touched anything other than the goldfish on her plate. Wisely, I opted for placemats instead of a tablecloth. Can't you just see a toddler not paying attention and playing with it... only for everything to come crashing down? I could.

As I steadily cleaned up paper plates with hashtags in an assortment of colors and sizes, LMC and Caleb found more fun things to play with- tutus (the ballet accessory and not the lady parts) and scooters at the top of the list. They ran around, laughed, and got their heads stuck in all sorts of places while the parents dined and found the adult conversations that we had all been craving. 

The kids had fun.
The parents had fun.
The babies had fun.

It was a good night.

The next day, today, LMC and I decided that we needed to draw a picture for Tellis. She ran off with her markers and crayons. The markers got a little three-dimesnional and she must have been hoping that I would just package her up as the picture instead of the piece of construction paper. 

Little did I know... oh little did I know... wait, let me back up.

A few months ago, Husband bought LMC a whale that came with a set of permanent felt markers. It was a great present- not only could she color on it, but she could sleep with it. Those markers found their way into the rotation of regular markers. And onto her face. 


Discovering that a water soaked washcloth will only go so far, we put on our BGPs (big girl panties) and chalk it up to experience. Before the seasons changed at Dumbarton Oaks, we wanted to check out a freebie day. Figuring that we would see no one as there are 10 acres of gardens, you can imagine my surprise when I had to walk into the museum to get directions. Dumbarton Oaks is a museum and garden in Georgetown founded and maintained by Big Wig Harvard geniuses. People talk in hushed voices with tight buns and expensive loafers. Dumbarton is a museum dedicated to the Mayans and Byzantines art. 

And in we walk.

"Hi, I'm Jed Clampett. Allow me to introduce my daughter, Elly Mae. This here attached to me is Jethro."

Needless to say, the docent stopped what she was doing and stared at us from above her reading glasses. All I could do was laugh as we walked out into those gardens we were in search of. 

That ink will come off sooner or later, until then- I would never tell her such, but she's pretty damn cute. 


Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Some Days…

The day after the locked door- we weren't staying within these four walls. Mama Bits and I hatch a plan on a cold cold Sunday morning. Building Museum and leg stretching with cookies and comrades. 

I never said she wasn't a handful, but even at her worst… she can still look her best? 

 
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Saturday, March 2, 2013

So... as I was saying.

Yesterday, I spoke so piously. About gifts.

It turns out that my toddler has her own set of gifts.

She can lock her door from the outside and pose a hunger strike that would shame Ghandi into grabbing a hamburger. Double meat.

She has the ability to soak-- positively soak-- the bathroom from a bath. Not a good place to put the baby in the baby seat while bathing the toddler. Mental note- babies don't like water thrown on them. Baby screams, each one louder and each one reverberating off the tiled walls. Toddler grabs her ears and says, "HUSH! My ears hurt!" A knock at the door and the neighbor asks if all is well.

Really?

She knows no level of cold (thankyouverymuch) and will run around the (very cold) house with clothes gone and mom akimbo chasing after her with the one pair of panties found in the dryer that are on this side of the locked door. Hooray for efficiency and disseminating the Everest of laundry making no toddler clothes available after the door was locked? Yes, indeed... hooray.

I would love to exaggerate this story with the grain of truth being that the air units in the hall are getting fixed this weekend and are blowing out cold air. I can imagine the naked toddler running out the door gleefully screaming and her mother chasing after her, with the door closing and locking in quiet succinctness. But, that would be a lie. It'd be a good'un, though.

She finally relented on the panties and looks adorable on this 37 degree day in her springtime monogrammed nightgown. Cut the heat up, you say? Sure. You pay our rent and then let's talk power bills.

Number 2 can't be fed enough. As I type, she is writhing around in my lap trying to make me get the picture. I get it, you're hungry. You've been hungry all day. My boobies can only take so much and refill so fast. From five states away, I can already see my mother reading this and saying to herself, "Just give her a damn bottle." Well, I would. But, the formula causes her to be gaseous and her tummy gets upset. Each pop of the gas relief valve makes her cry a little harder until it is all dispelled.  An hour of quiet relief, leads to three hours of tears today. So, boobies it is- at least for the moment. Of course, at this moment- it's tears. She just finished chowing and 15 minutes later... is ready for more. Ouch. In the meantime, she will give my arm a hickey.

Valve pop. More tears. The toddler runs to me from her lunch table where the meal I fixed sits untouched. Currently, I am fixated on her eating more than freezer aisle appetizers and potato chips. She, on the other hand, continues with her strike. Ghandi heads to McDonald's. The toddler asks why the youngest cries.

"You think she's hungry?"

The most common question I get, second to... "Do you think she's cold?"

The baby has cried herself to sleep in my lap. The toddler heads back to her table to turn her nose up at lunch, the same way she did at breakfast.

I laugh.

Why? Not from delirium, as you might think. No. Rather, I laugh for my other gifts- Costco chocolate chip cookies and boxed wine. Come on 5 o'clock!

Friday, March 1, 2013

A Gift.

I go to church. Not every Sunday, but we make it. I wish I could finish that sentence with "more often than not," ... but that wouldn't be entirely truthful.

Don't let my lack of attendance be a reflection of my belief.

Don't let my lack of effort on Sunday morning be seen as a manifestation from my Faith.



I know where my gifts come from and I know that I am lucky, very lucky, to have them. Holding my daughters, kissing their sweet noses and seeing them grow up so fast- it's all a gift.

A gift that I have received from Above.


My brother has been sick. He's getting better, but he is still on the healing side of the learning curve. But, he is here. He is here in this world be frustrated with and he is here on this side of the six feet to watch him relearn how to use his arm and see his body heal, helpless for me to assist beyond prayers.



It's a gift. It's a frustrating gift that might be seen as a curse. Instead of asking, "Why me? Why did you put this burden on me?" He has the ability to ask, "God, I might not see it yet. But, will you please allow me another day to find strength?" It's a gift.


My husband works so hard and I have seen several of our friends have a failing marriage because one side of the relationship is at the hospital more than they are at home. Money is slim. Hours are long. Rent is high. Babies cry. Toddlers throw tantrums. It's a frustrating burden to raise two girls just shy of single parentage. But, it's a gift to see him doing God's work with his God given talent and his God given hands. Our daughters adore him and he adores the three of us. The house is full of love and life-- and that's a gift.


It is a gift I do not take for granted.

It is a gift I cherish.

I love these little girls with all I have.

I love these men with all that I can.

No one said life was easy, but they do say it is a gift. And it truly is.

A gift.

Thank you, God. For these gifts you have given me. I have eyes to see, ears and a heart to hear and hands to work. If something befalls me, I will work hard to understand that it is all a gift- no matter how frustrating. Please be patient with me, I'm still learning.


Being on this side is a wonderfully disastrous and all encompassing gift.