Friday, June 28, 2013

Because everyone needs an aunt like SIL

I'll come up with a better name than SIL for SIL- but, for the moment, SIL works just fine.

Everyone needs an Aunt SIL.

Aunt SIL's have beautiful babies and created two cousins for LMC:

And everyone needs a cousin like Nephew-- LMC looks up to him and wants to do everything like he does. It's both cute and ... hell, it's just really cute. I hope this big brother protectiveness lasts well past kid-dom and into high school and college-dom.

"Nephew! Watch me! Watch me!" Usually trying to copy exactly what Nephew did, even if it is not the most lady-like thing. An excellent example of this would be when Nephew makes flatulence noises with his hand and armpit. Boys are still boys.

Niece is no exception. "Mom, it's okay I wear Niece's clothes?" "Mom, Niece does it." "But Mom! I don't want to ______. I want to play with Niece." and so the list goes on.

Whatever Niece can do, LMC can do better and bigger and bolder and smarter and wittier and all those sibling rivalry things that they do. Niece, in turn, can do anything LMC does with greater zest, zeal, lust, emphases, and gusto.

They're cousins, but they are going to grow up next to each, sharing friends, clothes, stories, and probably boyfriends.

I digress. Everyone needs an aunt like SIL. I had three of them. Those aunts that love you as their own, take you under their wing as their own and throw you in the mix as their own. When my mom was sick, my aunt drove to Augusta, picked me up and cared for me for several weeks while she healed. When I had any sort of questions or trouble that I was too afraid to talk to my mom about, another aunt would be a phone call away- stopping work to talk to me and sort through my angst. The third always knew where to hide the beer.

And I can already tell-- Aunt SIL will be those three women rolled into one. Loving, firm, caring, and able to hold secrets close to her chest, while still giving the advise a mother cannot.

Poor Niece... the last three days she has been with me, I've made her cry as many times. I'll get there....

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

These moments

It's been a good few days. The 'rents are in Mexico for a week while Husband and Wife have taken over their house as we try and get ours settled and ready to hold us and our two cherubs.

After taking LMC to Vacation Bible School, going to Pilates (didn't accomplish anything but make me wish the clock ticked faster. Didn't even break a sweat.) and lunch with Husband, Brother, and SIL- LMC and I headed home with MB to take care of a few chores before heading out again. A phone call to my Lawyer Friend and I am not watching my kids for ... maybe... five minutes. Why should I keep my eyes on them, we're in the same room. LMC is drawing a picture (with a Sharpie) and MB has finally stopped crying. Finally, a breather.

What I didn't know was that she stopped crying because she had exploded through her diaper and was, well, let's just say we had to change the diaper, the sheets, and her clothes, only after giving her a bath. LMC was really quiet in the corner with her drawing. Figuring she was concentrating, my mind stays on the phone call until LMC says, "Look, Mama! I'm so BEE-U-T-FULL! I color my nose."

And, sure as the wind, she had. Colored on her nose... and her cheek.

Realizing that I was in the room with two disasters, the conversation was cut to a short end.

"Sheesh, I gotta go-- both kids need immediate attention."

PS- Did you know that Vacation Bible School is free?! Look, I know I've been in the land of "no free lunches" and even your parking spot comes at a small fortune-- but free Vacation Bible School??? Please- oh please- tell me that we cannot check out thirteen different ones over thirteen different weeks. We like to expose our children to all cultures. I'd be down with that. Kidding... but seriously...

Sunday, June 23, 2013

6 months

Seriously, Mom? SERIOUSLY? All I want to do is suck my thumb, chew on this little piece of paper and let life be dandy. Why must you take my picture?

Friday, June 21, 2013

The Saga of the Rug

This rug, seriously. It's beautiful. And it has seen a lot of action in the last 24 hours. Hence forth, I shall refer to it as the $10,000 rug. Why? For the following reasons:

(1) It's beautiful
(2) It's massive-- like too big to have fit in our old apartment kind of massive. A grand piano used to sit on it and there was still plenty of room to play.
(3) I have no idea how much rugs cost
(4) I do know, however, that I cannot afford one
(4a) Especially one of this quality, size, and luxury

So, me and the $10,000 rug went cruisin' in the 'rents golf cart yesterday, spilling moldy old water as we were showered with fresh rain water, all the way down Main Street.

Me :  Rockstar

A few flips of the rope after backing into the garage and her beauty is once again unfurled, no longer amongst antiques... rather dad's old tools, old skis, an ancient refrigerator and window covers that he uses to "hide" said old tools and old skis.

The Rug :   In shock.

Dad has a good point after the rain subsides and the concrete dries-- let's get this sucker in the sun and get it to drying. The concrete will help wick away the moldy old water. Too heavy to pick up still, Dad sits on the back of the golf cart and we slowly pull it out, knocking over the milk crates I was using to keep it off the ground. The skis return to being the prettiest thing in the garage.

Dad :   Brilliant.

Every few hours, we would walk out to the $10,000 rug and shift it from right-side-up to wrong-side-up, before rotating left to right. It was like basting a turkey. Parts of it smelled like my aunt's mother-in-law, and parts... well, it didn't smell like her. At least not that I remember.

Husband came home at the end of the day and rotated the $10,000 rug once more. It was decided that the evening dew would not bode well for the drying, so Husband in his suit and I in my heels grab the corners and are finally able to move it without a gas-powered golf cart. We fold up the $10,000 rug and schlep into the garage for a second evening. The skis shed a tear. Husband and I discuss how we are going to clean the $10,000 rug and, more importantly, how are we going to afford cleaning the $10,000 rug.

A google search provided no results.

Did I mention that rugs are expensive? So's home ownership and indoor pools.

Mom offers to front us the money to get it cleaned. We're too proud to accept. Allow me to bite my nose to spite my face, please.

Here's where my aunt is going to die when she sees this. (as if the flood, the golf cart pull, the trip down Main Street, and the garage setting were going to keep her alive.)

Dad has a professional rug cleaner. Why? I have no idea. Why does he have old skis? These questions cannot be answered. Sometimes, it is best to just be thankful for the gadgets he likes to have around the house and be useful at a moment's notice.

Only problem... it's broken. Shocking, I know.

I shuck my shoes and grab a push broom, pressure washer, rug cleaner and a cooler. Picture if you will, me and the $10,000 rug back in the driveway, cars parked all around it so as not to drive over it. We're classy like that.

In the cooler, I mix the rug cleaner with hot water and unplug the bottom spout, pulling it behind me back and forth to let the soap get in the beautiful wool pile. A quick pressure wash of the push broom and an incredibly quick pressure wash of the $10,000 rug and I am using the push broom to, literally, push the water out and off the rug. Three turns pushing the water off one way leads to three turns pushing it off another, before finally pushing the water off the last way.

Next, that broken rug cleaner could finally be of some use. It has a squidgey at the end of it to enhance the "rapid drying time." Up and down, up and down with my sunglasses on my eyes and my sweet tea in my styrofoam cup, barefoot, with my parents neighbors driving by.

No one gives me a second look. And really, why should they? It's not like they have not seen anything like this before.

This rug is going to be awesome. 

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

With a baby on my chest

LMC is sitting on my parent's couch, playing on the iPad for longer than she should probably be allowed. MB is finally sleeping on my chest as I sit in my mom's chair.

We have been here for one week and a lot has happened.

The painters have finished.
The floors are finished.
The movers have moved us.
And Jerry is ...almost... done. He's so close.

But there was ... one... little... thing... that caused his pace to slow. Minuscule, really....

What's two feet of water in your unfinished basement going to cause? Right? RIGHT? Apparently, it's been raining in Hometown for quite some time.


That's the very definition of Very. Not. Cool.

Good news? My aunt gave us, repeat-- gave us her beautiful oriental rug from her old house.


It's pink and turquoise wound around an off-white background. It's large and would be perfect in our extremely large den.

And we stored it in the basement to keep it out of the way of the workers so they would not ruin it.

And it rained. Hard.

And so it goes. Our basement flooded.

There is good news in all this, Husband had some kind of amazing faith in me while he was wrapping up life in DC...

So, the rug sat underwater for a few days until Jerry could get the water out and Husband could get home and find 35 ways to not get the rug out of the basement.

Rugs, when wet, are really heavy. My public service announcement for the day.

The water drained, Husband created a ramp from an old door and wrapped the rug in plastic to protect it as much as to manhandle it. He asked me to bring over my parents golf cart to pull it out.

Let's back up.

We live off a thoroughfare in Hometown. Brother and the 'rents live off the same thoroughfare, but there really is not a good golf-cart path between our house and their neighborhood. It's great- we're close, but not too close. What's the saying about good neighbors and good fences? And I need to schlep the golf-cart down to the house to get the rug out.

At least my parents have a golf-cart that has blinkers and runs on gas. And has a rearview mirror. And goes about 12 MPH. Off on the 35 MPH, three lane street I head with ropes and tow straps to our new house a mile up the road.

Turning onto our street, the threat of rain became a real concern. Surely, surely the moving gods would take just a touch of pity on us.

If you want to make God laugh, make a plan.

The rain held off just long enough for us to pull the rug out of the attic through an open window where we (read: Husband) removed the bars and discover that fully saturated rugs are really quite heavy. Husband and Wife could not physically lift the rug and drop it on the golf cart. Nor could we find a way to create a make-shift pulley to hoist it in the air and drop it on the golf cart. Ten tries later, we contemplated some beautiful doormats before Wife found the solution.

We folded the rug in half and I backed the cart up to the unfurled rug- which had to be unfurled up hill. Husband and I (read: Husband) hoisted the half on the back of the golf-cart and then flipped the other half up before shoving all the sides onto the back.

And the rain set in.

Husband, in his continued acts of brilliance, tied down the rug with the best of his ability and told me to head back.

In the rain.
On the three-lane thoroughfare.
In a golf-cart.

With only one set of instructions- If it fell off-- keep driving and plead total ignorance if the cops come calling.

And I did just that. This rug has seen more action in the last three days than it has in the last twenty years.

Only us.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

On to the Business of Living

Last walk around the Capitol. Last stop by Eastern Market for breakfast. Last walk through Union Station. Last days.


But, with a last means that there will be a first. 

This morning, I woke with the sun streaming through the curtains and a baby cooing over the monitor ready for her breakfast. After feeding her and getting dressed, MB and I headed up to our old haunt for breakfast. I told the ladies behind the counter we were moving and they wished me the best of luck, while only charging me $4.95 for my breakfast BLT. Preacher Man's wife showed up with MB's boyfriend and Mama Bits showed up with her babies in tow. 

Two seats down, there sat four older women. Not old, rather just older. They were laughing, talking, and at some point called a fifth friend on speakerphone. All five women cackling the laugh of long-lasting jokes and memories. The woman sitting closest to us asked if we met up for breakfast regularly. Such an odd question.

"Yes, as a matter of fact we do."

The woman's face lit up with the biggest smile and the other three ladies looked on as she said, "We started meeting for breakfast on Wednesdays over twenty years ago when our children were all in preschool together at St. Peter's. The group has grown and changed, but we are still the original crew. Our children are all grown now, but we still get together for breakfast."

All three of us had goosebumps as we laughed and said that Friday was our day and we had a gaggle of preschoolers at school right now that go along with these babies. 

How amazing and fortuitous for these ladies to be sitting beside us. As they gathered their purses, phones, and trash they kept talking with things in their hands and purses in their lap. They were not ready to part from each other and go on about their day.

That's a lifetime kind of friendship.

Mama Bits has three children and her eldest has always been very very shy. One day, a long time ago, I told him that one day before this sojourn ended that he and I would have a conversation and it would be wonderful. He waited until the very last minute for us to have a conversation, but what a conversation we had! It made me want to cry to hear him talk with that precious little kid voice and tell me all about the pirate ship and pirate Pete. He and I counted to 1000, or "ten hundred" as he said. He asked me if I would fill my five bedrooms with more babies since we had two to spare. "We could do that or you can come visit?"

"I will come with Mommy, Daddy, JF, and Baby J. But where will Dr. Husband sleep?"

"I will find a spot for him. He can sleep outside."

He's a great kid. I will miss him.

As we said our good-byes, Baby J screamed to hug MB over and over. Ahn-Drew and JF gave me kisses. I made them promise me that they would take the very best care of their Mama. They promised me.

We made promises of visits. 

Kids in strollers, we all headed out different doors to our respective cars. Wanting to hurry, but wanting to drag- I paused and looked around. Preacher Man's wife headed out the door directly behind me. When the doors swung open, she was enveloped in sunshine and promise. Out the door and a quick turn left with her red stroller. Mama Bits loose curls and tow head be-bopped past the meat counter and I heard the children singing some song about the park they were headed off to. 

And like that, it was done. I turned around and went out my door to double secret parking one last time. Loading MB in the car, the sun was shining and a few puffy clouds wafted by.

On a flick, the music came on and the Charlie Daniels Band was burning the fiddle through my speakers. On the classic rock station, "The Devil Went Down to Georgia" came loud and clear. I cut the music up louder than I should, opened all the windows, and headed down 6th Street before turning onto East Capitol and taking one last look at the large white building. 

My bag is packed. My ticket is printed. My baby is wearing seersucker, embracing The South and we are ready for all the things that home has to offer.

We all traveled many miles to get here, to gather, and to clutch these friendships that quietly became our family away from our bloodlines. We will continue to travel through life and expound on these bonds and will see each other again. Not as often, but not with any less love. Just because the proximity is leaving us, the friendship will not. 

My flight takes off at 4 and I will land where I was born. Older. Wiser. Better. I will hold my eldest and hear of her adventures and tell her of mine. We will wait for The Man in our life and get ready to get on to the business of living.

There's no turning back, and I look forward to my next 1000 days. I look forward to my tomorrows. I will miss my todays, but that only means that there was something wonderful up here to miss. And it was a hell of a ride.

Wouldn't you agree? 

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

One Day More

I have yet to pack my bag. Looking around the house, there are few inklings that it will be vacant in a matter of mere days. Husband knows me all too well and knows that an empty house is only welcoming before we move in. Afterwards, it is full of the empty and make me overwhelmingly sad. When we moved from our old apartment to this apartment, as the things became more and more sparse there, I went in less and less to clean and move things out. Husband picked up my slack and did those last things that I simply could not.

I am happy. But I am also sad. It has not quite hit home yet. I know it will tomorrow at the airport. If you see a girl crying with a baby at Reagan, stop and say hi. Ask me what the greatest thing I experienced was in the past three years.

I'd have to think for a few minutes, but truly- learning to drive around town without a GPS is one of my greatest accomplishments. Laugh if you must, but try it sometime. Not just a new town- this new town- where there are four 4th Streets and four New York Avenues. Odd streets run one-way and even streets run the other... but only for a few blocks. In the next quadrant, they change.

I saw love.

I saw the love between Brother and SIL when he got sick. A kind of love that is humbling and awe inspiring. I saw the love between both a mother and a son and a father and a son. Even when children grow up, they will always be yours.

I saw history.

All kinds, all places, and all changes. Walking through buildings as if they were the neighborhoods, because they are the neighborhood. It's hard not to pause for a moment and think who else walked these hallowed halls and how long these halls have stretched before towering men.

I saw strength.

Strength in my husband to carry weights and knowledge. Strength to maintain a calm demeanor and enforce a calm demeanor on me, with my panic only being behind the closed doors of our private life. The strength of my father for my mother. The strength of my friends.

I saw age.

It's funny to look back three years ago, I don't feel older. I don't look that much older. But my daughter does. She has aged immensely. Going from age 1 to age 4 is not just a stretch, it's a leap without a net. Our youngest has put on eight pounds. Not bad for a peanut.

If I could go back and do it again, I would in a second.
If I could change one thing, I would ask for one day more.
If I could love a place anymore than this, it would be impossible.

One more sleep here and than the next adventure starts. I can't look back, because time marches forward- which is good. We are marching towards babies becoming toddlers, toddlers becoming children, children becoming teenagers, brother gaining health and strength, Husband gaining experience, Wife gaining old friends and new friends, and our little family gaining time together- something that we have never had since our inception when we were married on that beautiful Saturday evening back in March, six years ago.

It will be good. And I look forward to the forward marching.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Happy and Sad

You know, I'm trying to write a blog about why I am both happy and sad about this move. LMC is already back in Georgia. MB is at my feet and I have not been ready.

Not ready to say good-bye to great friends.
Not ready to pack.
Not ready to make changes.

Just not ready.

So, I am trying to write a blog and I keep erasing what I write because it is clear that I am very scattered right now and can't weave these thoughts into something more than a headache. I'm trying, but not succeeding.

LMC went to the farm with my in-laws and my parents picked her up yesterday to take her...


It's been nice to be quiet around the apartment and watch the rain come down.

In two days, I take a one-way flight with MB ....


Last night it seemed things were starting to fall into place. While we were eating dinner with our best friends and enjoying one of the last hot summer nights by the grill, my phone was bing-bonging and I checked my messages when we got home later that night.

A sweet message from our babysitter about my family.
A message from my SIL about how much LMC loves her birthday present.
A picture of LMC with Niece, holding their matching new dolls.
A picture from Uncle Brother of LMC and Niece holding hands lying on the floor at my parents house watching a cartoon.
A message from Charlie the Floor Guy about how great the floors look and how his family is looking forward to meeting our family.
A message from an old friend with promises of food upon our arrival.
A request from SIL about chauffeuring Uncle Brother around.
An email from LMC and MB's school about summer session.

I will miss DC- I will miss it tremendously. But, we are going where we need to be. And it's the right place for us. Transition is hard.

It sucks.

But, where we need to be is home. It's where the heart is, and my heart is always with Husband- I am always home.

I'll get it together, but for the moment- it's okay to be at polar opposites with myself, even if I can't convey it.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Fancying myself

I fancy myself a decent photographer... the fact of the matter is, my camera takes a lot of pictures really fast. Which is good, because it is my opinion that from the many, I can find the one I want.

For instance...

Saturday, June 8, 2013

A Boyfriend?

Even at this early age-- she already has her best friend...

And now-- she's got her boyfriend. We drop them in the pack/n/play (play yard? play pen?) and they both stop crying and start holding hands, finding something to gnaw on and do all those great things that babies do whenever they get together .

He's pretty handsome, no?

We'll keep him because she really is quite the fan!

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Major Herb Doby

Before I even type my first word, I already know that my SIL is thinking to herself, "What is it with her and going to a cemetery?" I know it seems morbid, but I have to think about what my FIL said yesterday as we drove through Arlington-- "It's a good thing our country is less than 250 years old. Imagine how many more graves would be here." 

These men, these women-- these sacrifices they made. It gets me. Every time.

As I cross through the gates with guests who allow me to take them to Arlington, the first question is always, "What is the criteria to be allowed to be buried here?" By now, I should have it memorized- but I always have to google it.

My in-laws came in town on Tuesday for Husband's graduation. I asked if there was anything in particular they wanted to do. MIL said that she had a POW bracelet and wanted to know if he made it to the wall. She packed her $7 copper bracelet.

It's funny the things you remember. MIL said that she refused to take it off for her first wedding. "Ever the flower child, I was." She said her mother was fit to be tied. Can you pass blame? The bracelet lasted longer than the first marriage and she kept it all these years. 

FIL, MIL, MB, LMC, and I all piled in the car to head to the Vietnam Memorial. One hard-core illegal u-turn and a near death experience, we were parked. It should be a sport to ride with me in DC. Later in the day, after I cut off an oxygen truck, I'd call my mom and put her speakerphone with the inlaws.

"Mama, don't worry-- I have only done three illegal u-turns today, cut off a handful of people and not used my blinker once. While MIL & FIL are still alive, they are starting to think my driving skills are questionable." 

"Starting to?"FIL said. 

"Lawd, Wife. Please take care not to kill them."

We wound down from our parking spot and headed to the Vietnam Memorial to search the book for Major Doby. 

He was there. 14e, 116.

Down we go. 


Typically, I enter the memorial from the Lincoln side, but this time, we entered from the East- which felt very backward to me. But, we were on the right side which worked out well. Fourteen panels away from the end and 116 rows down from the top-- there he was. 

I wonder what went through her mind when she saw his name emblazoned on the cold, dark granite. This name that had been with her through youth, marriage, children, divorce, marriage, more children with no knowledge as to if he returned home, or stayed in the jungle. Did he live? Did he die? 

Now we know. 

The tale was not going to end there. After a snack on the backside of the Lincoln Memorial and resting for a little bit, we let FIL and LMC take a run and jump before we headed back to the car. I made the suggestion of heading over to Arlington to see if he was buried there. Everyone agreed and I had to drag myself away from the view.

If ever your travels take you to DC, take a moment and have a snack on the backside of the Lincoln Memorial. Read a book. Sit and admire. Fourth from the end is the best view of Robert E Lee's house. Let your feet dangle over, rest your back on the column and just smile-- knowing you are in the greatest city in the world and you are able to stop and take it all in.

Major Doby was, in fact, in Arlington. In less the two miles his name is carved in stone as many times. He was in section 60 on York Drive. Section 60 is much newer than the section where Ducat is buried. People leave more mementos, probably because it is a different generation as much as it their youth and vitality. 

It surprised me, to some degree, to see how the graves were decorated and how much they were decorated. A fiancee left a rock and a note. Someone left a folded flag. There were stickers and necklaces and bottles of liquor, not to mention the rocks and the seashells. And there were notes. Lots and lots of notes. 

As we walked around the graves, I asked my FIL, "Is it morbid of me to want to read those notes?" 
"No, but you it would be nosy of you," He said and we both laughed. 

And there was Herb and the men he went down with. FIL commented that was a good catch for the enemy-- two Lt. Colonels and a full bird. See the grave two over on the left? The one behind Edward Lushis-- Princess Samuels-- that's a folded flag in a ziploc bag with a note inside on top.

MIL asked FIL to take her picture next to "her man." It seemed like such a timeless moment from where I stood, watching her sit and look over her shoulder. She could have been at any moment in her life in that split second-- as could Major Doby when he went down. 

I don't know much about Major Herb Doby, besides the fact that he was born in Oregon and it took over 10 years to get his remains back stateside. 

It was a great day for our last 'benture to find him and see where he ended.

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Sunday, June 2, 2013


Her favorite colors are Pink, Purple, and RAINBOW. In that order. 
Now that she is four, she can jump really high.
Four years try something new every day (and most days are not every day).
She loves Henry Hugglemonster and My Little Pony.
We disagree about wearing socks with her shoes. She does not want them and I do.
Sleeping in Mama's pink shirt is the end-all, be-all of great things.
She already cannot wait to be five and wakes up most every morning with the question, "Mama, am I five yet?"
Her best friend is Ahn-Drew. Her udder best friend is Daddy. Mommy is just okay.
Putting pahn-ties on her head makes her laugh incredibly loud.
Four years old learn to swim.
Her favorite drink is chocolate milk. Her least favorite is water. Mine is just the opposite. 

She's clever. Yesterday, she saw the Pedialyte at the top of a cabinet and asked what it was. I said it was for when she is sick. She promptly said she had a tummy ache.
Four years old color in the lines, mostly and can clearly type their names-- with some help with where the letters are. 
Four year olds have purple rooms, blow big bubbles, and wants to be a doctor like her daddy.
She things Hello Kitty is pretty awesome. As are Mama's shoes, her Twinkle Toe pajamas, and her sparkly shoes. 
She tells MB not to cry. "Don't cry, MB because I'm your big sister."
Four year olds point out the "WASH-ing-TON Mom-U-Mint" and stare at fishies. 
At four, every cupcake should have four candles. 
Mostly, we convince her to try new things by either stating the fact (a) Rapunzel loves it --or-- (b) It will make her hair grow so long and beautiful. This did not work with the black bean and she went to bed really quite hungry.
Occasionally, now that she is four, she tells me that she can have a sip of my Diet Coke.
She has great ideas. "HEY! I've got a great idea!" Usually, her idea of great idea and my idea of a great idea are two different things.
If she could live in her Rapunzel dress- she would.
She's crazy. 
She's heart wrenching.
She's the light of our lives.
And she's four. 


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