Friday, May 30, 2014

Lucky

Sitting in the quiet of my home, in my messy kitchen- my children are still sleeping. I love the quiet of the morning. Before the chaos sets in, the whines, the giggles- the peacefulness- it's something my mind needs to start the day as a better mother.

Lucky came into the world yesterday.

I watched the big brother in my husband "not be nervous" and FIL's love for a daughter "remain placid" in the wake of childbirth. Sister and David (her husband) were behind two sets of heavy doors and every time they swung open- which was about every 45 seconds- FIL and Husband would laugh at MIL for jumping up looking for her son-in-law. In truth, the only way they knew she was jumping up was because they, too, were casually careening their necks every time they heard those same doors swing open.

Mama sneaking back to put her ear on the door every ten minutes

They were a bucket of nerves [she says so piously, as if she was not nervous for the road ahead].

It was beautiful. It was amazing. It was the love of family.



Less than an hour after she started pushing, Lucky made his first screams. David looked at his son, his wife, and as she sobbed at the sight of this child that took five years to create, he told her for the millionth time that he loved her. He loves his family.

Thanks to text messaging, all six phones in the waiting room starting buzzing and binging with a picture of the newest addition to our family.

"He is here!"


Indeed, he was here! There is no turning back!

After lunch, after a bath {his}, and more time sitting and waiting, we finally saw Lucky in the flesh. Not behind glass, not tucked into Sister's nook under her chin- but in his bucket, swaddled in a burrito with a funny hat and big eyes.

It was Wife's turn to sneak through the doors.

I wink at the nurse and she opens the doors when no one was looking. I peak around the corner and ever so quietly tap on her door. David opens it up. He and Lucky were hanging tight, having a moment. I ask if I can take take some pictures before they realize I am gone.

After about five minutes, there was a louder knock on the door. I had been discovered.

Quickly, I scoop him up, give him a kiss and whisper things to him that he needed to know:

Lucky, welcome to the world- it is a crazy place. This is a crazy family. You were loved before you were even made. Your parents are wonderful. They are going to mess up sometimes, but so are you. Take it easy on them. Uncle Husband and I will be there with you every step of the way. Your daddy is going to teach you how to fly. Your mama is going to teach you how to ride horses. If your daddy doesn't beat me to it, I'll teach you how to drive a five speed.

We are all going to teach you how to love- but you already have such great parents to learn to love from. 

You are going to grow and go to school, you're going to play sports, you're going to have friends and foes. All of these things will carry you through your days and make you the man that you will become. 

Your days are going to be amazing. Life is amazing. Change is hard. But think about how much better it is going to be on the outside than it was on the inside. And the inside was all you ever knew until about an hour ago. Had you stayed there, we never would have met. And trust me, I'm a super fun aunt. You can tell me anything, you can trust me the way you will trust your mother. But, I have to earn it.

Let's start small with the trust. How 'bout I not drop you when I pass you off to your grandfather who is coming in for his turn with you? Thank you for giving me a minute in your world. 

It'll be a hell of an adventure. In the end, you'll look back and love every minute of it. Thank you for coming into the world. Thank you for coming into my world. 

I passed off Lucky to an elated grandfather. He kissed his forehead and smiled that smile he smiled 12 times before with his 12 other grandchildren. This one though- this one was his baby. His last born having her first born. That makes Lucky extra special.

Tomorrow they go home. They will strap him into his carseat and drive through College Town- the town where they met, fell in love, and committed themselves to one another- they will stop in their driveway and David will help Sister out of the car before getting Lucky out. They will step inside those doors and their lives will never be the same.

Change is hard. But they will quickly realize how much better it is on this side of parenthood. In the end, they will look back on this day, on this moment, and know that they became better people, a better couple, and loved each other stronger because of this change.

Change is hard, but it can be good. Very good.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Lucky 13

Here we sit. And we wait.

The last time I was in a waiting room, the time was not as joyous- but the anticipation was just as real. We sit and we wait for Lucky #13.

Sister is having a baby.

This morning Husband and Wife laid in bed, sleeping silently when the simultaneous buzz of two phones and the announcement that Lucky was on the way. Showered, dressed, and on the road within twenty minutes, we head down the road to college town.

In truth, I have never been good at waiting. Waiting should be one of those virtues we need to learn as we develop our character.

Husband, FIL, and MIL are sitting in the waiting room, playing on phones and watching the news- all pretending that they have nerves of steel. All knowing that the baby of the family is having a baby. I wish I had my ear buds to listen to music. With music, I can weave words and tell a story, tying one thing into another.

But not today.

I, too, am excited about the change in our family.

A very happy three year old little boy just walked in with his dad to the quiet room I found. He's a big brother. I want to tell him about how great my big brother is. Because, looking at my husband, I see how great it is to be on this side of the waiting room door.

In the meantime, Sister's husband just told us that it is time. Lucky is coming.



Thursday, May 22, 2014

Ninety Minutes Later

I should not take to the blog- but I think I am a little punch drunk as this day winds down...
In the ninety minutes following writing the blog about my precious Bennie, I started documenting what was happening:






The videos aren't uploading- but take into consideration spare keys, more cords, some boxes, bowls being used as cymbals, etc.


Restless, she is.

I mentioned aout twenty minutes ago that the native was getting restless.

In the last fifteen minutes, she has....

- gotten into the dining room and found the one Waterford goblet that is at her height behind a very tight cabinet door. She got into it with no problem.
- Fortunately, she didn't break it. I was too busy snatching it from her hands and shooing her out of the room.
- She ran straight to the den... straight to the gas fireplace... and straight to those fascinating little knobs that turn the gas on.
- While flipping off the gas, she grabbed a neatly folded blanket and pulled it into the kitchen, where we she proceeded to open up three cabinets and pull out the contents of said three cabinets.
- Pushing her out of the kitchen, I try to occupy her attention for thirty seconds with some broken glass and Clorox. As I am throwing said contents of said three cabinets back into their homes- I look up and Bennie has flipped herself onto the couch. No big deal, right?

Wrong.

We have a table behind the couch that now holds nothing. She has pushed everything off and is standing on the table.

BENNIE! I scream.

She claps her hands and laughs.

I get her down and decide that the broken glass and Clorox ain't cutting it and opt for something a little more her speed- dad's hospital shoes, rusty razor blades, and  dry-cleaning bags.

LMC and I decide that we need to make a mess in the kitchen, but first we need to load the dishwasher. Bennie heads over to where we are and proceeds to open all the drawers-- all ten drawers behind me. I turn around to see this only to turn back around and Bennie is underfoot at the sink...

getting into the dishwasher. Literally, getting into the dishwasher. Pulling her out, I start loading it, but she is faster at unloading it. I hand her a sharp steak knife in the hopes that I can finish one task. She finds some penicillin leftover in an old sippy-cup. Out of the corner of my eye, I see this and scream. The penicillin hangs dangerously close to her mouth on one finger. I grab it and spin her around.

She untwists the Jet-Dry knob.

LMC looks at me and says, "Mama, I thought we were going to make a mess in the kitchen?"

We're getting there honey, Mama just needs to sit down for a second.

Bennie rounds the corner with my phone and wallet. "CONTRABAND!" she screams. This does not faze me. Over my shoulder I see that LMC is hanging from the mantle where she has placed Rainbow Dash- who flips on command- next to the [very fragile, very old, very special to me] tea cup. This is resolved with faster feet than gravity.

Having dropped my wallet and phone somewhere, Bennie flips back onto the conch and takes all those throw pillows and does just that- throws them.

Good job, Bennie.
Good job, LMC.

Mama gets it. It's summertime.

Summer, Day 2

School gets out so early here. Even before I knew there was another way, I complained that school should get out later than May 4 and kids should go back closer to Labor Day than the Fourth of July. This year the we got out on May 20. An improvement from early May, but early- just the same.


I have bought my daughters' love in this moment with Doc McStuffins and breakfast bars, so my feet are popped up on our kitchen table and I am uploading photos from the past few days.

Summer, Day 2- and it will be an easy day that will probably involve pajamas until noon and minor messes in the kitchen. LMC is t-i-r-e-d. Crazy tired. She went to Lake Camp over the weekend for Cousin's baby shower (Babies are popping up everywhere around here! Still no word on Sister's baby boy- coming any moment.). We went to Lake Camp and came home for a school carnival and last day of school. We spent the better part of yesterday at the pool with friends. While no marathon day that we were used to from summers gone by, it was still four hours in the hot sun and very cold water.


Bennie was a fan.
LMC was a fan.
Mama was a fan.

Bennie went down for a nap when we got home and I had to wake her up at 6pm. She went back down for bed at 8:30. That's what I call a good day spent outside.

While we were at the pool, Husband, Brother, and family went out to play a little round of golf at a little golf course we have around here. More on that later.

The girls gave their teachers end-of-the-year presents of homemade butter and fresh chicken eggs from the grandparent's house.


My parents have chickens. Four- one for each grandchild.

The only thing that topped what my kids brought was Nephew's gift to his teachers. Yesterday, he and I made homemade butter, which produced fresh buttermilk. We transformed the buttermilk into old-school ranch dressing. That rascal took fresh eggs, homemade butter, and old-school ranch for his teachers.


SIL tried to get him to leave one of the jars of Ranch dressing at home- but proud Nephew said, "NOPE! Aunt Wife and I made this for my teachers."

We look like Frontier People.

Today, I have some fresh herbs that were hijacked from my dad's garden and will make SIL her own batch. Number One Aunt and SIL- right here.

I just wanted to share that tiny little duck curl on the back of her head!

The natives are getting restless... I will cut this short until nap time. The natives being one. Just one native is getting restless. Bennie has canoodled her way out of her chair and is opening cabinets. You'd think she would have learned her lesson last time when she broke a Pyrex baking dish and got glass in her foot ... and her leg.

Nope.

Today, she is going more for the chemicals under the sink, the blade to the food processor, and the cheese graters.

Awesome.

"Mama, why Bennie's middle name 'Danger'?"


Thursday, May 15, 2014

The water doth flow

The one bathroom was embraced.
The one bathroom that I could get behind and relish in the pinkness.

The one &@^$%# bathroom.

Night before last, Husband was on call and thought he would take some of my chores off my plate- such a sweet guy.

LMC in the bathtub, water running. I am giving Bennie a bath in the kitchen sink- her favorite place to bath. It keeps me chained to the kitchen, so I get to do things I normally dodge like the plague... like the dishwasher or wiping down the countertops.

Husband went to cut off the water in the 1964 pink tiled bathroom with original fixtures and the funniest thing happened.

It would not cut off.

He cut it back on. Sure, it does that. But when he pushed the nozzle back in...

nothing.

Not nothing as in nothing, rather nothing as in water pouring out of the faucet.

Husband is handy- he is extremely handy, actually. I am one of those crazy lucky girls who has a handy husband. Unlike SIL- Brother is not handy and he cannot even blame the stroke for it.

LMC got out of the bathtub and into jammies. While we snuggled on the couch watching Nina and Star, Husband went to tinkering on the plumbing plate that holds all those 1964 parts in the pink tiled wall.

He got the water to stop- for the moment.

An urgent text message to Eddie the Plumber (that would be Eddie Weigle- the greatest plumber in the world. I love me some Eddie. He's as good as gold in my book) and he was ready to drop his supper to come help us. Husband told him that he tempered the situation, but please to put us on the books for the next day.

Eddie's news was not what we had hoped for, but nothing we did not already expect as he had warned us before.

The thing is... this house was built in 1964 with 1964 American Standard parts. We live in 2014. Things are improved in 2014. Better in 2014. Plumbing is different in 2014. And, well, they just don't make parts for 1964 plumbing. 1922 plumbing- yes. Because people want to keep those antique pieces because they are beautiful. But 1964? Honestly. Who wants a pink toilet? Who shops for those specifically? Or the deco modernness of modernity of this kind of shower handle...

totally took this in the bathtub with my iPhone. There is no light in there right now, so you get to see the beauty of a flash!

Not me. Well, it would not be my first choice. But, if my options were ripping out my bathroom or buying a "new" one of those numbers-- sign me up. I can flip my hair and embrace the 60s modern.

Eddie takes a look at Husband's work, applauds him on saving the evening- but, as always- Eddie ALWAYS saves the day! He worked a little magic with the parts on his magic bus and bought us some time. He said, "I don't know if I bought you a month or a few years- but you have time. Start saving."

John's coming out today (hopefully) to give us a ballpark to pull out the pink tile, pink tub, and pink toilet. We will replace these beauties and the pink and white tile floor. We can keep the sinks and faucets. But the cabinets and counters will need to be updated. Don't get me wrong- the pseudo pink faux marble is nice but, well, it just isn't me.

And then we start saving. A lot.  Thoughts? Ideas? Donations? I will graciously and happily accept them all.

Cheers to home ownership! Cheers to renovations!

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

No change

The baby sits.
The baby incubates.
The baby is resting comfortable in Sister's womb, readying himself for the world.

After hours at the hospital and no further progression, they sent her home in the wee hours of Sunday morning to rest comfortably in her own bed. The in-laws were almost immediately on the road to help, as only a mother can do.

Sunday passed to Monday with the contractions weakening but still ever present. Constant text messages and phone calls between us and the soon-to-be daddy about symptoms, changes, and updates, with the bottom line being no change and no baby today.

Sister's doctor gave her the first appointment for Monday morning and said that everything is as it should be.

No changes.

He's low, but he's not here. Yet.

He's coming and it will be soon- but it was not yesterday.

And it was not this morning.

Tomorrow is a full moon, and MIL - who birthed five of these suckers and was around for a dozen grandchildren and a handful of nieces- said that tomorrow will be the day. We shall see.

My money is always on MIL for being right. At least when it comes to birthing babies.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Bookshelves and the den

Remember this?




Well, this isn't right now. That was then- and this is now.

Now is different than then. 

Come around the corner from the garage door and step into the kitchen. See Baby Bennie eating a lunch of pasta salad, butter beans, squash, and apple juice. 


And well, since I am MOTY-- I am not sitting next to hear, reading Little Einsteins and singing Mozart while tatting her wedding veil. Nope, I'm drinking Diet Coke, having just finished my turkey sandwich (always my lunch of choice. And breakfast. And dinner- only with chardonnay instead of a Diet Coke) and thought that the den is the cleanest it has been in months, so why not post an update on the house? 

Sorry, Bennie. I'll be a better mother tomorrow. Right now, LMC is at school and I have about 15 minutes before I have to run out the door to grab her. Enjoy Mickey Mouse.

You saw the "before" ... here is the "after" ...


Right? RIGHT? It's pretty amazing, isn't it?

I don't want to joke about OCD or Type A personalities, but I have a confession to make.


I organized my books by both height and color.
White with white. Large to tiny.
Red with red. Tall to small.

Is this book blue or gray? Looks more blue than gray.

What thirty something has this many old books? Me.


I freaking love old things, especially old books. I have mentioned before that I am a novice genealogist and I find great old clues in these old books- which is currently leading to a future blog post in my mind.  Over the past six months, Mama and Daddy have been cleaning out their shelves and closets. They are fairly dividing up things between SIL and me.

The two chickens above, the one on the bottom left and the one on the right of the middle shelf, were gifts from Prom Queen over the years. Her mother is an artist (and a dang good one, too) and her art litters our walls and shelves. These little guys make me incredibly happy. Wait until you get to see the bedroom-- we have a water color she did of The Clubhouse. Amazing.


And proof again- I might not be MOTY, but I do make sure she is not choking.


To the left of the fireplace is our copper fish. It was a gift from Husband's siblings for our wedding. It's a three-dimensional cut out on two tone copper designed and built for us by an artist outside of Atlanta. It took my breath away when they presented it to us at our rehearsal dinner all those years ago. We have had it hanging proudly in all of our homes since. She made the trip to DC and back again.


Sometime in March, FIL and MIL found an old saw mill in South Georgia. The owner had died and his wife, whom I envision being a little older than Methuselah, is sitting on his inventory- in no hurry to get rid of it.

FIL and MIL drive up to the mill one day with nothing more to do than ride dirt roads. MIL finds a piece of wood that is pretty. Methuselah scoffs at her and throws an incredibly large number out. MIL would not be outdone. FIL steps back as MIL mentally cracks her knuckles and prepares to negotiate with the woman who probably babysat Jesus Christ himself.

Who walked out with two pieces of lumber for their son?

My in-laws, that's who.

Isn't it beautiful? Husband sanded it, drilled holes in the back, and mounted it. The difference in the space is astounding.

On the right of the mantle is an old tea cup that was my great grandmother's. My parents gave it to me when I lived in Milledgeville and I had a kitchen with turquoise appliances. I know nothing about the little cup, other than it is really pretty and has all of my favorite colors in it.



G'Grandmother was an army wife of an officer. Can't you just picture a middle aged woman hosting teas in other countries with other wives of other officers? Their hair perfectly set, the ankles perfectly crossed, my mind... perfectly wandering.

Turn around from the fireplace and there is our sofa.


Yes, it has a lot of pillows on it. And Star, LMC's buddy- a remnant from last night. Husband hates all the pillows. I am not a raging fan of them either. But, they help us not to beat up the sofa. Without them, the back pillows quickly collapse and it makes the sofa look much older than the age.

Quick check on Bennie...


She is getting a little unimpressed with Mickey Mouse and Mama's camera.


On the top left bookshelf are more family pass-downs. In the middle is a Tobacco Leaf soup tureen. When Husband's great aunt Mimi passed away several years ago, MIL spoke up for this for us. I was pleased as punch! It was in our pea-pod-green kitchen on Raymond Ave before we packed it in a box for three years. She has moved around the house a bit, but I think this will be a long term resting pace.

The thing on the right looks like nothing, right?

Forgive me, FIL, but it took convincing by Husband that this piece...of....art would always be on display in our house. When I first saw it, it was ugly.

It still is.

But, the little guy has grown on me. And not because it is an O.L. Samuels piece. He is just a little ram, clueless that he is carved out of wood and has gold puffy-paint stripes. LMC really likes him- so we have to keep him out of reach, otherwise- she will play ponies with him and her Barbie dolls.


And check out the noodle horse on the bottom left. It's the new favorite pet of the house. LMC runs around the house screaming, "Yippee Kie YAY!" Dad is no longer cool on all fours, tromping around- it's this guy- Noodle. Noodle was a parting gift from a friend's birthday party with a Derby Day theme.

Slow and steady. We're coming together bit by bit.

Friday, May 9, 2014

The nerves of nervousness

It's 9:20 on a Friday night. I have dropped my children off at my parents house in anticipation of leaving very early tomorrow morning. SIL -- not Brother's wife, but the other one- the one having the baby- has called with questions.

Lots of questions.

Questions about labor, and centimeters, and shows.

It could very much be nothing, but it could also be something.

A big something.

I am carefully and quietly watching my husband, my rock, and the partner of my soul and the angst he has for his little sister, knowing what she is about to battle, but knowing more- that there is love between these two siblings.

So much love.

He wants to be by her side- he  needs to be with her- but he also knows, that the only thing she needs is prayers and her husband- her rock- her partner of her soul.

As I sit and type, her rock calls to say that she is hooked up to monitors and things are moving along four weeks early, but progressing, nonetheless. He might have mentioned tequila shots as a joke that we both laughed at.

As I sit and type, "Need you Know" comes on my radio and I think about these two siblings who have always loved each other with all they have- have always been each other's best friend- and have always been mistaken for twins for good reason- and not just because they look alike. Sister and Husband have always been able to know what is in the other's heart.

And Husband knows what is in Sister's heart- because he has been there. Not on the table, in the throws of labor; rather the husband, holding the wife's hand being as calming and comforting as a man can be in a woman's world.

He's worried.
I'm worried.

We both want to be with this woman and this man who will soon be parents.

The nervous energy I have allows me to make corn broth. Corn broth? What the hell is that? It's a precursor to the best corn chowder in the world- clearly something someone needs in their freezer as the summer cometh. Husband's nervous energy allows him to research his woodworking skills and sand the boat. Yes, sand. the. boat. He has about two hours left of sanding the boat he is building before he can paint it.

An excellent place to place nervous energy- almost as great as corn broth.

This moment in time makes me think of my brother and what he went through when I was going through the fires of hell to bring LMC into this world. Brother would not leave the hospital. He would not leave the waiting room. As day turned to night, the anxiety grew in Hometown as they sat waiting for LMC to gather her strength and waited for me to get to a place of safekeeping. Mama and Daddy both told Brother and SIL to go home- there were children waiting there, a six month old and a three year old. SIL left, not from lack of love, but from responsibility. Brother said, "I'm not leaving my sister." He sat in that awful waiting chair for another four hours before there was any news- none of which good.

Three years later, Brother was the first phone call we had to make when I went into the hospital in the middle of the night. He was the only phone call we made in the pre-dawn hours after Bennie was born. There was no one else I wanted Husband to call for me.

In this moment, I get it. I get why he did not ask if I wanted to call my parents first, or his parents. It was my brother.

And now it is his sister.

I understand.

I understand why I love my aunts as I love my own mother. Why I wanted my brother to be the first person there. Why I hurt when he hurt and loved when he loved.

Brother and I, just as Sister and Husband were made from the same cloth, with the same love, for the same reason.

There is no one else- no one else that knows your story the way your brother does.

This brother, here, waiting for his Sister- there- to get to where we are now.

Come on tomorrow morning, I am ready. I am ready to drive down the highway to see them, love them, and know that everything is as it should be.

But nearly as much as my husband.



Thursday, May 8, 2014

Hometown Proud

I don't try very hard, but I do make an effort to make Hometown be Hometown and not what it really is- Augusta. But, when things like golf tournaments are mentioned or the Savannah River- it makes it a little silly to not say Augusta, but rather- I prefer the pronoun of Hometown.

I grew up in a funny place and a funny time of Hometown. People I went to school with are now professional actors making their mark in Hollywood, professional golfers touring the world on the PGA, kids that I played soccer with are now running international companies, or ones that I went to church with now own NASCAR teams, college bowl football games, and other things that were not even in my pipe dream list.

When I was a kid- I rubbed elbows with other kids who would make their mark on this world and in my generation. They were just like every other kid- skinning knees, making friends and enemies alike, and generally just being kids.

This is not to say that I have all of them on speed dial and regularly call them to see how their visit with the Dalai Lama went, it's more of an acknowledgment that I knew some really cool people before they were who they are and it is, no other word for it, it's neat to see them on television, on the big screen, or on stage. Those kids once had braces, went to prom, and had their hearts broken- just like me.

There is a band that some might have heard of, Lady Antebellum, or Lady A for the die-hard fans, that found their roots here in Hometown. Charles Kelley and Dave Haywood are two kids that I knew growing up. They probably don't remember me. Actually, I have no doubt that I am barely just a blip on the screen in the story of their time spent here. If they were not famous, I would recognize them on the street and perhaps the same could be said for them- but they are famous- and they are still who they are.

I remember Dave as being very active at Trinity where several of my friends attended church. I remember him being kind, funny, and one of those all-around nice guys who never knew a stranger. And, even then, he could sing.

Listening to their music, sometimes they reference their youth or youthful indiscretions. My mind takes a trip and I start to wonder if I know the girl they are singing about- or singing to. Did I go to school with them? Were they in my sorority or did we share a class? Maybe not- but it is fun to think.

Last week, Lady A (die-hard fan-- right here) came to Hometown to do a benefit concert for the Ronald McDonald House that the children's hospital is raising money for. The current Ronald McDonald House is old and not on the hospital's campus. It is downtown in... well... let's just say there are better parts of Augusta to be staying.

Up on stage, I saw two guys who had not aged and three people who were clearly friends before all else. As pictures popped up on the large screen behind them- they were not pictures of the band with other famous people. They were pictures of them with their families. Images of their babies, their pregnancies, weddings, and adventures poured down the screen. It was like looking at any one of my normal friend's Facebook page. These guys were still just those same guys that they had always been. Except -- famous.

The plan was that after the band was paid, the proceeds would go towards the funding of the new house. When it came time to pay Dave, Charles, and the rest of the band- they said that they were owed nothing. Take everything and put it towards the final goal.

I have no idea how much money that is or isn't, but I know that is something amazing, humbling, and wonderful. Maybe just because they are famous, they are still just like those kids I knew twenty years ago-- just like every other child, making friends and enemies alike, skinning knees, and just trying to find a little path to call their own.

I am not envious of their fame, nor do I doubt that it came from nothing short of hard-work, dedication, and love for the art and for their family- I revel in the fact that they have had such successes - both in work and kin- and I am proud that their roots are somewhere intertwined with mine and ours.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Bigger

Is bigger better? I don't know, but what I do know is my daughters have a BIG dollhouse. My parents had it built for them while we were still living in DC.

It's pink.

It has hand-laid hardwood floors and is three stories tall.

And it is big...


How big you ask?

Well, Baby Bennie thinks it is just big enough.