Saturday, December 20, 2014

A name


I asked Husband what he thought about naming his son Edward Columbus. Edward after your father and Columbus after your uncle who died fighting for our country. Two great men who did amazing things with their life. One returned home to start a family; the other- without whom your parents would not have dated. While the life of Columbus was cut short, he left a legacy that we see today in this house. 

Husband said no.

I always knew the name he wanted, but wanted to investigate all options before committing. 

I asked Husband about Henry Thomas- part of your namesake. Henry has a lot of fight in him and the name goes back five generations your family. Henry Thomas was a faithful man of God, devoted father, and astute businessman- all qualities we hope for in our son. 

Husband said no.

Stretching to the other side, I asked about Lynwood Raiford- Lynwood after your father-in-law and Raiford after his father. Another fine example of two great men. Men who helped build Colquitt county in both the physical sense- brick by brick and judicial sense- creating and enforcing laws behind the walls of the courthouse still standing in the square. 


William Thomas, I am here to tell you that there was only one name my husband found acceptable for his son. You are not unique in naming your son after your father. Going back more than a century, sons of your family have been named for their father’s father. 

All of these men started out as mere children and became something extraordinary. These children were but sons and babes held in their mother’s arms, swaddled in love. But all these men have something in common- they laid the foundation and are setting the course for our son- our William Thomas. 

William Thomas did amazing things, too. He traveled halfway around the world thinking that’s where love would be. Only when he finally returned home and to his roots did he discover it was there all along. William Thomas worked to support his parents, took pieces of families and made them whole again before branching out to start success after success with nothing more than his two hands and God given talents. Nothing was easy. Nothing was handed to him- except his name.

William Thomas, I promise you that you will not be the last William Thomas. There is another one coming. 

And he has a lot to live up to. Let’s teach him well and teach him with love. 

I give you the name of my first son. 


Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Argue much?

Do all kids argue? Or just mine? LMC (Leenie) goes on streaks of bad habits and as soon as we break one, a new one pops up- much like whack-a-mole. She used to grind her teeth. When I asked her about this new teeth grinding habit, she said, "Lily says I have sharp teeth like a vampire, and I don't want to be a vampire. So, I am grinding them down and they won't be sharp anymore- and I won't be a vampire."

While I totally understood her logic, the habit was there. Softly correcting... softly reminding... softly saying, "LMC, please don't grind your teeth. It's bad for them." Soft got loud. Patient grew in. Grinding ceased.

LMC also decided that she did not need to brush her teeth. She would pretend to brush her teeth. She put up an argument about brushing her teeth. Every morning it was a battle to get her to brush her teeth. Sure, I could have done it for her- but what would that accomplish? (besides a calm morning, a pleasant day, and no screaming matches, time outs, or hand poppings)

"Leenie, brush your teeth."
"Noooo.... my legs are tired."
"What do your legs have to do with your teeth? Brush them."
"I DID!"
"No, you didn't. I sat here and watched you. Brush. Your. Teeth."

The more we argued, the, um, louder my voice grew. Turns out, my yelling is on the same decibel as glass breaking. Every time I spoke (read: yelled), there was a pleasant little chime in the background

"ding ding ding"

alerting me that a door had opened, a window had broken, or somehow the circuit of the alarm had broken.

Sensitive little sucker.

I brought this up with my brother at lunch after a few weeks of the continued nonsense and alarm ding-ding-dinging in the background. Taking a page from his book, which was borrowed from a page of his friend's book, the next time Leenie did not brush her teeth, I took her hand and we surfed Google looking for pictures of what happens when people don't brush her teeth.

She cried.

Habit broken.

She also could not sleep that night...

I mentioned the lack of sleep to Brother and he said, "Yeah- Lauren mentioned that. She showed her boys what starving children look like and they could not sleep for a few days either. But they ate their supper without anymore problems."


Recently, though... recently we are on a fun one. Let me back up...

I pride myself on being accepting of other's opinions and thoughts. This is something that does not come naturally to me. But, I have some amazing friends who are very different than me in all kinds of ways and I love this about us. We believe differently, think differently, and can all still be friends. In this friendship, we value each other's opinions.

Leenie? Yeah... notsomuch. She has recently decided that it would be fun to argue about everything.

"Honey, it's warm outside. Do you want to take off your jacket?"
Her response?
No it's not.

"Leenie, today is Tuesday and I need you to get dressed for tap and ballet."
"It's not Tuesday. It's Wednesday. I have piano today."

"Leenie, what's your favorite thing about Christmas?"
"That my baby brother is coming out of your tummy."
"Honey, Robert Fuzzbug won't be here until February."
"Nah-UNH! He's coming at Christmas."

"Mommy! Today is the day I wear jammies to school!"
"No it's not. That's tomorrow."

The more emphatic she is, the more aggravating it is.

"Honey, just because you are louder does not make you any more correct in this instance."
"No, it's tomorrow."

Have you tried to reason with a kid? I can reason with a toddler. I can probably negotiate with a terrorist. But a kid? Hah. Fat chance.

Yesterday, on the way to school- Husband was trying to explain to Leenie about the pitfalls of having to always be right and constantly arguing.

"Leenie, I want to talk to you about something.... have you noticed recently how you have been arguing with mommy and daddy about unimportant things?"

"Nah-UNH. I haven't been arguing. HMPH." (and she crosses her arms over chest... this is not going to end well for her. I can already see it.)

Slowly, Husband puts the brakes on. Slowly, he puts the car in park. Silently, I say a Hail Mary for the five year old in the background. Slowly, he turns around and looks her in the eyes.

He raises his eyebrows.
And stares.
And stares.
And stares.

Minutes tick by. I am silent in my Hail Marys. Bennie is clapping her hands saying, "Dah-Dee! hi? Dah-Dee! hi?" He is unswayed; continuing to stare.

Very quietly, Lennie looks down and says, "Sorry, Daddy."

"Thank you."

He turns around, puts it in drive and heads off to school.

"Leenie, you are arguing about arguing. Is it fun to get in fights with people? Do you like to get yelled at?"

"I don't get in fights!"

"Leenie, that's not the answer to my question. Do you like getting in fights with your friends?"


"Do you like it when we have to yell at you?"


"We don't like yelling at you either. Can you please think about what you are doing? You are arguing about nothing and I don't think you even realize you know you are doing it. It's not fun to argue. No one likes to get into fights and no one likes an argument."

"OK, daddy."

Fast forward to the end of the day. I pick her up from school.

"Where's Daddy?"
"He's at the hospital. He'll be home tomorrow."
"Nah-UNH. He's not on call."

[clearly the morning's conversation sank right in]

"Ok, he's not on call," I quip back.
"If daddy is on call, do I get to sleep with you?"
"You told me Daddy wasn't on call."
"If he is, do I get to sleep with you?"
"Depends. If he is, are you going to argue with me that he isn't?"
"Oh? But, you said he wasn't." (maybe... just maybe Mom was being a touch passive aggressive)

Ding ding ding goes the alarm. Apparently, both of us can hit the same decibel as glass breaking.

Monday, December 15, 2014


We have a nativity set that I bought last year. Paid retail. And paid too much at that. It's one of those Little People Nativity sets and the first time I saw it, I wanted it for the girls. Price searching, I remembered that nothing for Christmas is on sale before Christmas.

But I wanted it. So I bought it. And paid retail.

Because I paid retail and because I knew how much more fun it would be to have all the parts of the nativity (because there are a lot of parts), I was a bit of a... uh... brat about where the nativity could be set up and where the pieces were allowed to wander to. The manger, Baby Jesus, those wise men, Mary, and Joseph were all on a silver tray (because that's how I roll) on top of the piano. LMC had a stool set up beside it where she could step up and play with the little people.

While a brat about where the nativity was, I didn't care how she played with it- as long as all the pieces stayed in the living room. Mary liked to slide down a piece of scrap wood and Joseph had fun climbing through the mountain of presents. The sheep played the piano. Somehow, in our house- the living room is about the only room where the kids can play and not break something.

The same cannot be said for my parent's house.

This year, Bennie has her feet beneath her and an attitude about her. You cannot tell her no. Actually, you can tell her NO all day long, but she just looks at you as if this "no" word" were Japanese. Or, better still- "no" doesn't mean "no" but it means "Yes, please. Keep on destroying [insert object here]. I love it, really I love it when you do that."

Our precious little nativity set that was cared for and loved by LMC so much last year has slowly migrated out of the living room... and into every crevice of the house. Recently, I have heard myself talking to my children about the nativity set:

"LMC, don't kick Baby Jesus."
"Bennie, please get the camel out of your mouth."
"Bennie, where did you put the sheep?"
"LMC, stop kicking Baby Jesus. Would you like to be kicked?"
"Bennie, honestly. Quit throwing Mary. She doesn't like it."
"LMC, Baby Jesus does not want to be kicked. He's the Son of God. Do you think that's wise? He decides who gets into Heaven."
"Bennie, Joseph is not a snack. Get him out of your mouth."
"LMC, thank you for not kicking Baby Jesus. But, please don't throw him at your sister."
"Y'all- where's the manger? Don't you think it'll be cold without it?"
"Yes, LMC, since the sheep is gone we can pretend your 'My Little Pony' is a sheep. That'll be great."
"That's the angel Gabriel. He came to tell Mary that she is with child." ---- "Where do babies come from? Good question- Jesus came from God to Mary." ---- "Gabriel was a messenger from God."  ---- "I don't know how he knew, perhaps he saw the pregnancy test before Mary."

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Life Lessons

Bennie (and I) have learned some good life lessons today on this day spent around the house-

Dirty dishes go in the dishwasher, not the cabinets.
Clean dishes go in the cabinets, not the dishwasher.

Bennie was trying to be such help as I loaded the dishwasher. She ran to her cabinet and pulled out a variety of plastic utensils and brought them to me in front of the dishwasher. Good thought, Bennie. On the flip side of that same coin, I had to go through four spoons before I found a clean one. She likes to put away dishes, clean or otherwise.

Mom should not use glass dishes to feed Bennie with.
Bennie should not throw dishes when she is finished eating.

That dish will break and Bennie will be put in time out. Babies in time out cry. Second borns get to be in time out until they stop crying. First borns get a minute per age in time out.

Potty chairs are for potty training- nothing else.
Potty training should commence outside in the grass and not in the den... on a rug.

Forks, even plastic ones, are effective at picking up food.
Forks are not effective in picking up rice.
Forks are effective in poking eyeballs and noses.
Toddlers should not be served rice at a restaurant.

Final note: Most laundresses separate lights from darks. We don't do that in this house. There are lights and darks... and blues (because we wear that much blue), pinks and reds (because we wear that much in the rose family), whites (bleach), lights (no bleach), darks that are of a light nature, and then darks that are of a dark nature- not to be confused with black. That's a load in itself.

Sunday, December 7, 2014


I skimmed an article one time about how Pinterest is ruining the average mother- because the average mother is exceptional (I, often, am neither average nor exceptional). While the article was boring and a little self-righteous about slice and bake cookies, I got the gist of it: this isn't a competition.

This same thought goes along the lines of the Elf on the Shelf. There are calendars to make it "easy" for parents. We won't have to think about where our Elf will sneak off to in the middle of the night, however- sometimes the assembly of the projects is a bit absurd. I am waiting for someone to invent "kits" to make 24 days of Elf antics.  But, if you want to win- you have to play. I look at the calendars and see if there is anything I can attack with ease and typically end up not using it.

Our Elf doesn't TP the tree. Because someone would have to clean it up. (cough, cough)
Our Elf doesn't get in the sugar. We live in the south and ants are a year round thing.
Our Elf doesn't get in the way. This house is chaotic enough as it is.
Marshmallow bath? Are you kidding me? I have a 2 year old and to keep her away from a small magical Elf is hard enough. Throw in something sweet and Gurgle will be a goner.

Gurgle- that's his name. Gurgle likes to keep things simple. LMC goes to bed every night wondering where Gurlge will be tomorrow. She sneaks into my room a few minutes after going to bed and says things like, "Mama? Do you remember the time Gurgle put all my stuffed animals in the hallway?" or... "Mama? Do you remember when Gurgle was hanging from the attic string?" or... "Mama? Where do you think Gurgle will be tomorrow? I hope he isn't too cold on his way to the North Pole. I hope he tells Santa what a good girl I was today and not how I whined about dinner."

Niece and Nephew's Elf is named Elfie and he's on the simple track that we are.

"Aunt Wife! Elfie has been in the refrigerator for three days!"
WOW, Niece! He must be hoping you are going to make him some cookie dough.
"We bought slice and bakes yesterday!"

It's the magic of the Elf traveling to the mystical Santa that makes him amazing- not what kind of antics he can deliver in the morning. No matter the set-up, it will hold a child's attention for... maybe... two minutes. Maybe.

And it doesn't have to be hard. That's the thing. I have talked to so many friends who don't have the energy for their Elf to make an appearance. I look at my kids and how excited they are every morning to get out of bed and run find Gurgle that I love that little red hatted pointy eared thing a little more every day.

Even Bennie gets in on the action. She runs to where Gurgle was the day before and puts her hands in the air, "Where Gah-Gul?" She then goes to all the other spots where Gurgle has been, repeating the same phrase: "Where Gah-gul?" When she finally finds him- there is a happy dance, a few spins and several jumps before saying "GAH! GUL! GAH! GUL! MAMAMAMAMAMA! GAH! GUL!"

And y'all, Gurgle is not taped to the wall surrounded by army men or upside down in a box of Cheerios. Cheerios are expensive and they go stale when the box is left open. Gurgle has not scribbled all over someone's face or destroyed a room.

Gurgle is hanging from a picture frame. Or hanging from the flue in the fire place. Gurgle sits on snow globes, finds a hook in the pot rack, or is decorating a chandelier with candy canes. Gurgle has his head out of a cabinet or is sitting on Sprite the Fish's tank. Gurgle sits in the Christmas tree or in a stocking.

Gurgle is not complicated.

One time, he even made a summertime appearance. Just one day. He poked his hat and face out of the cabinet above the oven. LMC told all of her friends and it reminded her of the magic of Gurgle and Christmas. Not to mention good behavior.

Occasionally, when I have had an extra glass of wine (read: not this Christmas)- Gurgle gets tangled in a bead spider web in the hallway. Or he pulls out all of LMC's stuffed animals and lines the hallway with them. Gurgle once found a strand of lights and tried to string them on the window. Those days are when I am not pregnant.

If you have an instagram account- #theelfridesanotherday -

Keep it simple. Keep it real. I only judge when it has to be too complicated to make it a reality. Put your average Elf on a plain shelf. Buy yourself some slice and bake cookies. That's why they invented them.

Friday, December 5, 2014

thirty one weeks

I have been trying to write a funny blog the past few days about these days and how un-fun they are. Because, trust me- this is the hangover that just won't end. My thought was to call it "Trials of the third child's third trimester." Catchy, right?

After writing and erasing over and over, I came to the conclusion that I should call the blog "Cheese for my whine." Because I was not reading things that were potentially funny, rather I was reading a whiny person whining about whines. And it was whiny.

For instance, I have had a head cold for the past two weeks and it has been nothing short of miserable. I have been a snot factory and it's been ... well, it's been gross. The head cold makes me sneeze, cough, and snore myself awake.

When the snoring wakes me up, I realize that I have to go to the bathroom- again. On average, I am up six to eight times a night back and forth to the bathroom or the hall closet for more Tums. I am worse than an old lady. I am a young lady with the bladder of someone three times my age.

Yesterday, I was working in the old guest room/new nursery when I started coughing. I felt it coming on, which meant there was time to cross my legs thus preventing an accident. However, I didn't feel the "pooks" come on. And come on, they did. Before I can finish coughing, I am already on the way to the bathroom to wash my face, change my clothes and head back to the nursery to clean up the floor.

Pregnancy is humiliating. Pregnancy is humbling.

I start projects that I, physically, cannot finish. It makes me cry. Literally. My hormones are not squarely in their home. Rather, they are all over the board. Mom offered to keep both kids the other night while Husband was on call and it made me cry because I felt guilty not being able to keep my children.

That being said, I kissed their pretty curls and told them we would see each other after a good night's rest.

I cried when I went to bed at 7:45.

The other day, a stranger and I were making small talk and she asked what I was having.

"A boy," I said and smiled.

The woman... the woman had the nerve to respond with, "OH! So, now you can stop having children since you have your boy! That's wonderful."

If I could have found an elegant way to slap her without feeling guilt- I would have. As if to cheapen my first two children who are amazing. As if they had no worth. As if having daughters was inferior. Instead, I smiled politely and said that we were very thankful that this blessing was healthy and continuing to grow. We would continue to see what the Lord will provide for us. Maybe it was the hormones that made me mad at her response or maybe it was her response. Either way, I excused myself. No need to show my Medusa curls to a stranger.

So, I've been tired. And having trouble breathing. And throwing up. And am not what I would call "glowing" in these moments. But, I am in the home stretch. We scheduled the c-section for February 2, which opens a whole new can about childcare. And scheduling. And and and... And I think I will let someone with a more level head, less snot and fewer raging hormones figure those things out for me.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Banana Pudding

Miss Lucile was known for many things during her time on this green earth. One of the grandchildren's fondest memories of her, is banana pudding. She made her own meringue (I had no heart to tell Husband that you cannot buy meringue) and followed the same recipe from the same box on the same card for the last fifty years. Her children remember it, her church remembers it, but her grandchildren- her grandchildren cherished it. They would all laugh how they hated the meringue and would get an extra big serving by scooping underneath the stiff white peeks to get the yellow good stuff.

I have never been a banana pudding fan. I have never been a banana fan. Let's call a spade a spade- it does not matter how much sugar you put on a fruit- I am still not going to eat it.

[As I sit and type, LMC has a spatula in her right hand and bowl of whipped cream in her left- eating, while showing me her tap steps up and down the kitchen. kick-ball-change-kick-ball-change-walk-walk-walk...bite of good stuff... repeat]

My first trip to the farm, MIL invited the whole family over for supper on Saturday night. Let me repeat myself: My first trip to the farm, my mother-in-law invited her four children, the three spouses,  all of her 755 grandchildren, two grandmothers, FIL's sister and husband, the neighbor's dog, and probably the mailman for all I remember. Everybody brought something- but what was on display?

The Banana Pudding with the meringue perfectly peeked and held in place by being broiled for the exact amount of time to create a quick crunch without defeating the purpose of what meringue is made to do.

What that is, exactly, I have no idea.

But I knew- I knew that if I ate nothing else on that buffet table, I was eating banana pudding. Whether I wanted to or not. If Husband and I continued to date, I would slowly show my cards about what a picky eater I am. Until then, a smile on my face... and banana pudding on my plate!

The family looked at me with questionably. Dogs have never liked me, so the neighbor's pet was no help. I was different. I was a stranger amongst their family.

Miss Lucile, though, oh Miss Lucile. Miss Lucile greeted everyone with hugs and kisses. She set down her dessert and quietly made her way over to me. I introduced myself and she enveloped me in a hug. It was one of those grandmother hugs that only grandmothers can give. I closed my eyes and smelled my own grandmother's perfume. In that moment, I felt like kin.

Since our first Thanksgiving by ourselves, I make banana pudding. It's not like Miss Lucile's- I cannot pretend that it is. In my defense, she never mailed the recipe. In her defense, I should have tried harder to get it. I make it more as an homage to the lovely lady whom I remember so fondly and her family's traditions.

I use whipped cream in lieu of meringue and have learned something about banana pudding- no one likes the meringue, but everyone asks where it is, between bites of that whipped cream.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Bring on the ice cream

I knew it was coming. When I was pregnant with LMC, I had it. When I was pregnant with Bennie, I failed my test by two points and the DC doctor said that's practically passing. I took him at his word. Every visit I had with my doctor involved a conversation about diabetes and when I would become the human pin cushion in anticipation of the gd-GD.

Two weeks ago, it was finally time to take the test and receive my diagnosis. I was ready. Ready to count carbs, ready to increase my exercise, ready-- just ready to move on to the third trimester and get gestational diabetes behind me. After my test, I thought I needed something nice and healthy... and carb-y-- like a bowl of rice.


The next day, I treated my parents to lunch at a nice restaurant as a thanks for taking care of my kids. When they asked if we wanted the check, I asked for a piece of peanut butter pie. Looking at my mom, I said, "I'm going out with a bang. Won't be able to have this next week."

And then I had some ice cream after supper, because- well, in a few hours, I knew my doctor would email me with the results and the new set up.

24 hours went by and the crickets were chirping over the world wide web.

No news is good news, except when I can eat Mexican and all the cheese dip I want. Another day, I will give the doc another day before I reach out to receive my diagnosis. In the meantime, a bowl of Cheerios sounds like a good idea.

Dinner came along and that bowl of pasta was too good to pass up. It's a good thing I already planned to email in the morning...

Having satisfied my carb fix for the next ten weeks, I finally opened my email and reached out...

"Not that I want to know, but I probably should be a better patient. What's the damage?"

Since she had not responded by lunch, I figured one more hit off the ole' carb pipe wouldn't be a bad idea. French fries with a sandwich sounded ah-mazing. One please.

As I am looking at my carb friendly options walking through the grocery store, I get an email...

No gestational diabetes.

I respond with a "WTH?!"
She promptly responds with a, "I thought this was good news?"
"It is, it's just surprising. Did I scrape by?"
"No-- flying colors. You passed all four screens by at least 30 points."

SCHWING! Bring on the ice cream!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Oxyclean and Sand

No one has ever claimed me as a domestic goddess. Looking around our house, I am reminded of this fact. Sometimes though,  I get a bee in my bonnet about wanting to make something from scratch. The other day, I told my mom that I was heading to the store for ingredients to make homemade marshmallows.

Every single website said they were "easy" and "delicious." Having learned my lesson with the corn dogs, I actually contemplated this mess I was getting into. The only drawback I saw was I needed to make a simple syrup that involved maintaining a constant temperature of 238F for five minutes without stirring.


Spending about ten days contemplating these homemade marshmallows and the thought of LMC "helping" and Bennie at my feet while the 238F syrup cooks without stirring, I set my dreams of dazzling my few blog readers aside. There were other things I could accomplish with greater ease.

In those ten days, I learned a few things:

-- Bennie likes to eat sand.
-- Sand, when eaten in mass quantities, goes right on through that digestive tract- just like everything else.
-- Oxyclean looks a lot like sand.
-- Oxyclean, according to Doctor Husband and the poison control website is 99% soda ash.
-- Crickets chirp when I hear the words soda ash.
-- Practically a whole box of Oxyclean has to be consumed for it to be dangerous.
-- Oxyclean should not be stored on the floor of one's laundry room.
-- When a mother screams NO in their large pantry at an almost two year old playing in said Oxyclean, they'll cry. Loudly.
-- Crying loudly is good, because it helps that mother look in their mouth to see if they actually ingested any Oxyclean.
-- It's difficult for an almost two year old to consume Oxyclean when they are too busy playing with it.
-- When one calls Doctor Husband and mentions Oxyclean consumption, he knows people. Apparently, Poison Control has a doctor's hotline.
-- Orange juice and a cookie is the recommended protocol. This mother disagreed, but knew better than to not follow doctor's orders.
-- Five years olds are unimpressed when two year olds play in Oxyclean and get screamed at. It gets in the way of their coloring. Until the two year old yanks the paper away from the five year old and both children are crying while mom is on the phone with Doctor Husband.

Last night, as I was attempting to make eucalyptus wreathes (easier said than done), and after Bennie got into the Oxyclean, the household is calm as we await the garage door to open and Husband to walk through the door. As I am pulling stems through a frame and attaching with floral wire- I realize that the florists of the world are safe. I am made to do many things, but making eucalyptus wreaths might as well be asking me to help a child with basic fractions.

It just doesn't work.

Out of the corner of my eye- I see a cabinet door open. No surprise there- Bennie and LMC are in the kitchen with me. Bennie reaches into the cabinet under the sink and pulls out a dishwasher tab. A beautiful, bright orange, squishy plastic pillow full of poison that makes our dishes clean.


She cocks her head and looks at me. I drop my wreath and am right in front of her, repeating myself-- NO!

chirp chirp goes the door.

In walks Husband to two crying kids (LMC thought I was telling her NO to drawing on the table. Glad she thought that; saved me a breath!), the short one holding a bright orange pillow of poison, the mother on the floor next to wire cutters and a plethora of other dangerous things that are required to make a wreath.

Perhaps the marshmallows would have been easier, albeit safer?

Wednesday, November 5, 2014


As I sit and type, I have blue tape on my left arm and a bandaid from my flu shot on my right arm. Today is my dreaded three hour gdGD test. I am anticipating great things that will conclude with more pin pricks, more tests, and a new diet. Meh, not my first rodeo. 

Four blood draws + one flu shot = human pin cushion

Baby boy is steadily kicking as the sugar water I rapidly consumed an hour ago has finally crossed over and met his little body. He's a fan. Me? I am hoping to keep it down another two hours. I met with my doctor a few minutes ago and everything looks good. All my numbers are in the healthy range and he is growing as he should. I have put on five pounds. Doc asked me if I have been eating enough and I was quick to tell her about my love of steak biscuits and Totino's pizzas. Oh yeah- I am eating. It's one of my favorite pastimes. 

Husband took his BIG test yesterday-- the one that determines if he will continue to be a pediatric critical care doctor. My parents have been amazing and kept the kids from Sunday until today (Wednesday). This vacation has been a little bit amazing- I've been Christmas shopping, resting, cleaning out the guest room (future nursery), and all those things that I keep putting off. We were going to get them this morning, but with my three hour test and an open house tonight-- it looks like we might pick them up when they're teenagers. 

New baby's bedding came in last week and boy stuff is so different from the soft pinks I have become accustomed to. It's a sherbet orange and turquoise with circus animals and seersucker. Currently, the walls are gray- which makes me think they need to be painted (over my dead body, Husband is saying right now). As I round into the third trimester in two weeks, we will pull the infant bed out of the attic and break down the guest bed.  We still need a dresser- if that is one thing we lack in our house- it is drawer space. We have two dressers/chests. I live out of wire baskets and Bennie lives out of her closet. 

We have tentatively scheduled his due date for the first of February. The countdown is on- less than 90 days. SWEET!

Friday, October 31, 2014

The stress is mounting

I have always had a deep respect for single parents, having spent over 50% of the last six years being a widow to the hospital- I do not understand what single parents go through day-in and day-out, but I have a glimpse of it.

And it is a tough world.

Husband has, oh, you know, the biggest test of his life coming up next week and if he is not at the hospital, he is studying. If he is not studying or sleeping, he is giving me a ten minute respite from the minions we created so that I can get my weekly bath.

Yesterday, Laura texted me and asked if I wanted to go to the park. I promptly responded:

"Sounds Amazing"

The biggest blessing I have had this week is that LMC's class does not have any homework. The teachers took pity on the parents with it being Halloween week. I sent the teacher flowers and a handwritten thank you note on fine Crane stationery. (exaggeration, rather, she received an emoji text- but my heart wanted to do so much more)

Seeing Laura yesterday, I told her that I am so drained that I think I want to cry. She said GO! I've got this, go get some air. Rather, I wanted to stay and hang out with someone taller than 3.5 feet tall. So, I stayed and regaled her with my morning...

Typically, we have to leave the house by 7:40. Which means, we are in the car, backing out of the driveway by 7:46 to get us to school by the obligatory first bell. At 7:30 yesterday, LMC is still in her pajamas and I am feverishly trying to find clothes that fit. Maternity clothes do not come in stages and I am entering the third and final. 7:31, LMC finally finishes brushing her teeth and I am ready to strangle her. Knowing that Bennie is still asleep, I think to myself, "OK- I'm going to run in, grab her- put her in the car... and change her diaper when we get back from school."

LMC does not want a granola bar in the car for breakfast. Rather, she wants something... anything else that does not involve expedience and portability.

I open Bennie's door and immediately know that I am in trouble. Big Trouble.

I don't need to cut the light on to know that there is something in my future that will not make us on time. The room... smells... like a ... sheesh, well... I don't know what it smells like. Let's just leave it at bad. It makes my stomach turn and I know there is no one else who is going to handle this and time is not ticking any slower.

On the changing table, clothes stripped that need to be sterilized, I pick her up in last night's bath towel like a hobo's sack and carry her to the bathroom. There's, ahem, stuff (or any other word that starts with "S" and ends with disaster) everywhere.

We aren't in the car. We aren't backing down the driveway. We are, instead, in the bathroom scrubbing "stuff" off the baby as she is covered head to toe. Apparently, it happened early in her sleep and she didn't cry. Apparently, I kick ass a mother.

Fresh towel in hand, I scoop her up 120 seconds later and head back to the center of my demise- her bedroom. It smells... awful. Putting her back on the changing table, I realize that my stomach has turned one time too many and take off running to the bathroom- not before my arm hit the dirty diaper and it went

s p l a t

onto the floor.

Bennie is hanging out on the changing table. I am expelling last night's supper on the way to the bathroom. LMC is up front crying about a lack of waffle on her plate.

[side note: as I am regaling Husband with this story, he stops me right here and says: You left Bennie on the changing table?    .... insert crickets chirping over the phone from my end here ....  "Yes, yes I did," was about all I could get out. That and last night's supper]

After brushing my teeth, I cover my face with one of the perfectly folded washcloths on the counter and head back into the domain of stinky-ness. Bennie gets carried out under one arm like a sack of taters and a clean diaper is kicked out to the den. Naked sans the diaper- it'll do until I can get LMC off to school.

Walking and kicking with my sack of taters, I am stepping on 655 Cheerios. They are everywhere. In the hallway, the den, the carpet... strewn about. It seemed that LMC had the bright idea that Cheerios were portable, thus she could have those for breakfast.

[side note: As I continue to regale Husband with this tale, he stops he here and says, "So, I'm not coming home to a clean house?" ... nope. Not at all. Not even going to try and pretend that the Cheerios are the only disaster in this house. We carved pumpkins the night before and there might be pumpkin seeds everywhere. Yes, everywhere. My dad helped and thought it would be an excellent idea to tell LMC that we should save every single seed and plant them next year. I looked at him like he had gills and informed LMC otherwise. Tears ensued- from both mother and child.]

We pull into Parochial, two wheels spinning in the air, almost running over a pedestrian, and make the last drop off before the first bell. LMC gets shooed out of the car, water bottles and smushed Goldfish going tumbling out with her.

It was not until about 10:30 did I remember we didn't pack a lunch. By that point, I had cleaned up all bodily fluids from the morning and was sitting on my chaise lounge with bon-bons and the Cabana boy fanning me.

Always thankful that tomorrow is a new day. And afternoons aren't mornings. And that we invested in a large container of Oxiclean. Oh, and that I get my husband back on Wednesday. Very thankful for that.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

33 cabinets and 17 drawers

My kitchen is large. There is a lot of storage space in this beast. I went from having 6 drawers to 17 and 5 cabinets to, well, 33. I must confess though, most of them are empty. It's not that I don't have the stuff to fill them, I lack the discipline to keep them organized.

Husband says it's me. I say it's him. Details.

After LMC's Halloween parade at school, I came home to start cooking chili for supper. Realizing that I had zero interest in a turkey sandwich (blasphemous in this household) for lunch, I put eggs on to boil for egg salad.

After peeling and cooling, I went for my food processor. Now, let's be perfectly honest- I own four different types of things that process foods. The big one, the little one, the one that attaches to my immersion blender, and the baby food maker.

Because every belle needs four food processors.

I go to pull out the big one and can't find the blade.
No problem.

I go for the little one and can't find the lid.
Not a big deal. Annoying, but not back breaking.

I go for one that goes with the immersion blender, but it is way too small for the job at hand.

I go for the baby food maker, but just put it back- because the lid is out of my reach.

Four food processors and enough parts for any one to work- if they were identical.

Looking in my drawers, I open my "things that cut" drawer, because- yes, I have so many drawers that I have one internally labeled things that cut... not to be confused with the things that measure drawer. There is also a utensil drawer, a gadget that attaches to appliances drawer, and a drawer full of kid silverware. My blade, when it comes down to it, is something that cuts- and that is where it should be.

And it isn't there.

I open my utensil drawer and the dang thing can't open because the five whisks that I have are all in a knot. No blade. And no whisks either- they all hit the counter, waiting to be unknotted and replaced.

33 cabinets open. 33 cabinets closed. 17 drawers open. 17 drawers close. All the while, I am pulling things out and setting them on the counter so that I can reorganize my kitchen.

The chili simmers.
The eggs wait to turn into something else.

Bennie looks at me and asks for the pepper.

Which reminds me, I have a spice drawer. Do I really need a spice drawer?

Oh, and the laundry is all over the counters. With the spatulas. And the chili.

Because I cannot find one last part for any one of my food processors to finish my egg salad.

I take everything out of every drawer, deciding that it is time to get some organization in this place.

The chili simmers.
The eggs wait.
The drawers are empty.

Sprite the Fish Cagle looks at me, cocks his eyes and says, "Glub?"

I have the wise idea that only doing the drawers would be smart today; anything else would be too much.

The chili simmers.
The eggs wait.
The drawers start to get put back together.

I pull out the foil and decide that I can redo one cabinet and put the foil in there. That would make sense and open a drawer for things that stir. Taking everything out of the practically bare cabinet above the sink, I put the foil and zippy bags up there.

The door won't close.

No problem. I'll move the glasses from Cabinet A to the now-baren Cabinet B. Besides, I can put spices next to the foil and open up a things that strain drawer.

So, two cabinets. I will reorganize four cabinets and 17 drawers today and get the rest done tomorrow.

The chili simmers.
The eggs wait.
The foil gets moved to where the glasses once were.

If it is not foil, zippy bags, or glasses- it does not have a home.

Okay, six cabinets. But, that's it. I will be done with six cabinets. Oh, and 17 drawers.

The laundry gets shuffled around to make room for the two funnels and three sieves that I have. My food processors get put away. The eggs look at me like I am nuts. Bennie is down for a nap that she is vehemently rebelling against.

Why am I suddenly starving? Right-- eggs. Egg salad. Where's my food processor? Right... the blade.

I wonder if I should move my wine glasses above the foil or keep them above the sink with the rest of the glasses? With the rest of the glasses- that makes sense. Next to the sponges and baby food jars.

Turkey gets pulled out and I make a sandwich while I continue this process. The eggs are forgotten about. The food processor pieces are now covered with laundry. Oven mitts find a home and rags get moved to the pantry.

Ice cream scoop gets put in with the things that cut -- because it cuts through the ice cream.

Bennie, who has given up on the nap, opens a cabinet door and pulls out the food processor blade. For once, she errs on the side of safety and hands it to me. I put it where it belongs and look at the eggs on the counter.

RIGHT! Egg salad.

But first, I have to get this kitchen in order. Because that it not where it is right now. Perhaps I'll write a blog to recount the last hour and how I was so efficient and woke up this morning deciding that today was the day to organize the kitchen.

And cook chili.
And make egg salad.
And catch up on 18 loads of laundry.

What was the egg salad for anyway?

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Writing Letters

Do you ever write letters anymore? I mean an honest to Goodness newsy about nothing letter. Something our great grandparents had a fine art in and something our grandparents did once in a blue moon. Rarely did our parents write one and extremely rarely- do we. Other than a "thank you note" (which I get a little frustrated with), when have you pulled out your stationery and written a note to a friend of family member?

I love writing letters and I write to a handful of people of a completely irregular basis about a whole box of nothing. For the past five years, I have been writing (mostly one-sided) letters to my (ready for this?) second cousin... once removed. She was born in 1928, never married (as far I know) and lives in the same house that she was born in. The house is on a handsome lot and was a gift from her paternal grandfather to her parents in celebration of their wedding (the lot- not the house). Talk about a gift! Granted, her maternal grandfather gave her parents a chest of silver flatware. RIGHT?! I could handle either of those gifts.

Back to my point- I had been writing Ellen for about two years and not thinking much about it. I would write about what my daughter and I were doing in DC, send her copies of my blog, pictures of the kids, whatever. My letters never asked many questions- mostly just a little bit news about a whole box of nothing. One day, my dad called me and got the conversation around to Ellen and asked me about it.

Dad had run into Ellen's brother-in-law and, apparently, my box of nothing had been the Sunday dinner topic of conversation amongst these three old family members, brother-in-law and the two sisters for those past two years.

Sunday dinner, after church, they would gather over a traditional feast and Ellen would relay the adventures we Cagle girls were having up in DC. I had no idea and it enchanted me that my nothing was her something.

Every blue moon, I would find a letter in my mailbox from Ellen and her fine handwriting with Mrs. Husband Cagle inscribed above my address and her letter would acknowledge my news and tell me about her garden or her nieces. She has an amazing garden. She has wonderful nieces who travel (and make me a little jealous!).

My friend from Mobile writes me every now and again. We promised each other that we would become old ladies who wrote letters to each other. She is holding up her end of the bargain much better than I am. Her letters are beautiful and they are, like mine, a newsy box of nothing. They are cherished and I get excited when her exquisite stationery is amongst bills, junk mail, and catalogs.

She has exquisite stationery. Breathtaking. Someone designed an intertwined letters of her three initials and it will take... your... breath... away.

At one point in this world, a woman's worth could be told by her paper. Mobile still holds this as fact. I write so many letters, that I have a box of notecards from Target and an embosser that get the job done. My fancy stationery still gets used- but engraved Crane does not come cheap and is saved for special occasions or just when I feel a little fancy!

There is a letter to Ellen in my mailbox right now and another sitting by my computer that will get mailed next week. It will probably take me another month or two to write again. She fascinates me and there are 150 questions on the tip of my tongue. But questions are easy to ask and, sometimes, hard to answer. So, I give her my life and my family one 4x6 card at a time- hoping she gets equally excited about my notes to her amongst her junk mail and bills as I do when an envelope has my name on it.

Pick up a pen. Write a letter. Once you get one in your mailbox, you'll know the thrill and want to push it forward.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Sprite gets a home

Husband hid his surprise really well when LMC brought Sprite in the door.

Did you know that fish need oxygen? There is a finite supply of oxygen in the Badge of Honor LMC held high for her daddy to see. We would learn many things about Sprite the Fish Cagle over the next two hours. Husband looked at me and asked, "Why did you buy a fish?"

Really? Do you really think that I bought a fish? No. I sat in line totaling over an hour and watched her throw twelve ping pong balls at 20-something glass bowls and internally begged the man to take some pity on her. I even contemplated bribing the fish keeper. That's how low I almost sunk. No. No I didn't buy a fish. Because if I bought a fish that would mean that I am a pet person and that I am certainly not.

That's what I thought. Instead, I said, "We won it at the carnival today! It was super cool. Tell Daddy about it!"

Husband and I look at each other. Do you know how to care for a fish, he asks. I respond with a question mark and mumble something about water having to sit out for a week and he mentions that the fish has to acclimate to the water outside of the bag. To answer the question- No. No we don't a flipping thing about goldfish. But, it's a goldfish- how hard can it be?

I google "how to have a goldfish" and found the mecca of goldfish websites. Eighteen steps between me and a goldfish, complete with diagrams and pictures. It's a goldfish. How hard can it be?

A second website eliminated nine steps. "Nine steps to a goldfish" -- This one talked about test kits and nitrate verse nitrite. I go back to my original statement: It's a goldfish. According to the second website, in one month and three hundred well spent dollars, I too, could have a goldfish.

Brother had a fish at one point in our life. He and a bowl. and twelve rocks in the bottom of it. It was some kind of fighting fish. When he looked lonely, we would put him in front of the mirror and he would run into the side of the glass bowl. Save PETA the phone call. Brother no longer owns a fish.

The one thing I mention to husband is that one of those mecca websites said we needed a fifteen gallon tank. Do you know how much water 15 gallons is? Please don't say fifteen gallons. Because fifteen gallons is a lot of water. It is somewhere in the neighborhood of 120 pounds. Our new friend is tiny. For Pete's sake- he lived in a cooler with 600 other little friends before traveling to our abode in a plastic bag.

I reiterate: it's a goldfish and a free one, at that.

Husband loads the family up and we head to Pet Smart. Meanwhile, unbeknownst to us- my mom is at a grocery store very near Parochial and kept wondering why she kept seeing kids holding fish in baggies and parents asking the store clerks if they carried any fish food. For the record: they didn't.

At Pet Smart, LMC was so excited about decorating Sprite's home and Bennie was so excited about seeing all kinds of animals that they were in stereo polyphony with: DADDY! dah-dee! DADDY! dah-dee! DADDY! dah-dee!

A foolish woman asks me if we need help.

"Husband- do we need help?"

Like a man asking for directions-- "No, we've got it."

I look at the woman and raise my eyebrows. She nods and says she'll be over there when we change our mind. Bennie and I round the corner to find that LMC has found all kinds of "flair" for Sprite's new home. A unicorn, rainbow, "girls rule" sign, pink treasure chest, pink castle, a tiara, partridge... pear tree... the usual.

Husband is a firm believer in life. This is shocking, I know. Even though he hunts- his shots are clean and nothing is wasted. No fish in his family was going to have a glass bowl for a home and a mirror for a friend. He was looking at beasts of aquariums- fifteen gallons, to be precise. At least he listens.

DADDY! A unicorn! dah-dee! pup-pee DADDY! sparkles! dah-dee! pup-pee DADDY! Bennie said there's a puppy? Where? dah-dee! pup-pee!

Husband looks at me over their heads and is contemplating laughing or screaming. He elects for laughing. I go find the woman who offered her assistance.... but found Philippe instead. Philippe loved fish and has several aquariums filled with all kinds of fish. Philippe got fish fever a few years ago and just kept adding to his lot.

Philippe was eager to help us.

Philippe recommended an 8 gallon tank- unless, of course, we too, got fish fever. We would also need two bags of rocks to help his biosphere. I kid you not, he said biosphere. I was too desperate for his help to tell him that was not the correct use of biosphere. Pauley Shore could confirm this. And flair. He didn't call it flair- I did. Philippe was unimpressed that I kept saying flair. He chose to focus on "accessories" for our fish, Sprite The Fish Cagle.

Accessories... flair... whatever-- they had all kinds of it and LMC was eager to fill the buggy with more ornamentation for Sprite the Fish Cagle. As Philippe and I walked off to discuss water treatment and food, she added more pieces to her home.

Fish food comes in a wide variety of shapes and sizes. There's DHA tablets (DHA-- you know, that vitamin that comes from... fish) to make them smarter. Omega-3 pellets to enhance the DHA. Bloodworms, color enhancers, even phosphorus to make them glow in the dark.

"My brother had a fish when I was a kid and he had flakes. Do you still use flakes?"

Flakes... yes, Pet Smart carries flakes. Five minutes of telling me how little Sprite the Fish Cagle needs to be fed, he cautiously hands me the flakes- valued at $5.24. But, if I want the best of the best fish food, made by SUPER FISH for exceptional fish, it would cost an additional $.18. I up-sell myself on the eighteen cents to make Sprite the Fish Cagle an exceptional fish.

Can't call me cheap.

LMC and I negotiate which flair needed to stay at the store for next time (because... we'll be back...right? riiigghhhtttt) and which pieces Sprite the Fish Cagle could not live without and head to the register.

Dah-dee! Pup-pee! Dah-Dee!! Pup-pee peas? Dah-Dee! PUP-PEE!

In line we stand, LMC falls back on the large woman behind us who was buying cans of cat food on sale. They topple on the ground and LMC helps pick them all up. Not because the large woman couldn't bend down. Certainly not that.


Do you know you need a net to transfer a fish from his baggie to his new home full of flair? And you have to wash everything? I am starting to understand why Brother only got a bowl and a mirror for a friend for his fish as I start to dog-cuss my animal loving family.

Dad-dee? Pup-Pee?

Back at the house, Sprite the Fish Cagle is looking a little puny and not swimming so much. Oxygen must be running out. Philippe warned us to act quickly when we got home.

I wash everything, Bennie falls out of a chair, LMC spills her milk on Sprite the Fish Cagle's bag, and Husband looks at me like we all have gills.

Lacking the net and refusing to go back to Philippe and Pet Smart, Husband tries the pasta scooper to get Sprite the Fish Cagle out of his bag and into his new home. No dice. All that is left is an oversized  strainer that I use for opening and draining cans. In this moment, it was perfect for our problem. Holding our breath, we dump his current water down the drain through the strainer and drop him in his new home.

She swims. Like moths to flames, we stop and stare at this fish that now resides on our counter in an  aquarium with hot pink rocks, glow in the dark rocks, two purple plants, a unicorn, a treasure chest, rainbow, and a large girl-approved castle.

LMC cheers and starts putting stickers on the aquarium. We bought stickers for Sprite the Fish Cagle? What kind of spoiled fish is this?! Can we change her name to Supper?

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Sprite The Fish Cagle

We have a new member of the family-- and she is worth mentioning. Sprite The Fish Cagle. Her name is Sprite... The Fish..... Cagle.

Let's back up.

Today was the annual Parochial Carnival. Every year, Parochial organizes a day filled with carney fun for the students. There is a ring toss, face paint, dunk booth, corn hole, and a dinosaur dig to name the handful that come to mind. It is the only fundraiser that the school has. Understand me on this: the kids do not go door to door selling cheap trinkets to neighbors. The kids do not sell $6/roll wrapping paper like I did back in the day. All those things that other schools do to offset the operating expenses are not part of Parochial.

Thank the Sweet Lord-- as the parents rejoice.

Parents do not have to walk from door to door to see that each neighbor/almost stranger does not, well, that they don't .... you know, be uncool to your kid. Parents do not have to organize children in the parking lot at Lowe's hitting up cranky shoppers for their hard earned money.

Instead, they make an event for the school and put a whole bunch of fun things around it for both the kids and the parents. Oh, and they raise over $75,000 in doing so. Everyone gives a little and it turns the weekend into something big.

One of the many games they have is a ping pong ball toss. There are twenty-ish little fish bowls on a table, a fifteen minute wait, and three chances to win... a fish. And the parents cease rejoicing.

It was the most popular game today. More popular than the dunk tank, the rock climbing wall, and the Sumo wrestling suits. It was even more popular than the karaoke. Live, on stage, with real microphones, and an audience kind of karaoke-- with Let it Go on repeat. The only thing more annoying than Let it Go on repeat is Let it Go out of tune on repeat.

We found Cas in a loooonnnnggggg line. After a hug, she asked LMC, "Are you going to get in line to win a fish?"

LMC responded with a DUH look before hopping in line with Cas. Fifteen minutes later, Cas throws a ping pong ball as if she had been practicing for weeks. Plink. Lucky Cas (Lucky Cas' mom- more accurately) won a fish at 10:15. LMC was next. Three ping pong balls found their way to three different places that did not win anything more than a little candy.

This mom breaths a sigh of relief.

Face paint and a new head of purple hair, LMC asks to go try for a fish again.

Fifteen minutes.
Three chances.
More candy.

Mom- sigh of relief.

Cupcake walk, several bounces in the bounce house, a dino dig... and a third request of trying to get a fish.

Twenty minutes with kids holding fishes- those pesky badges of honor.
Three more chances.
More candy.

Mom- a sigh of relief and a twinge of sadness for the kid who can't throw a ping pong ball.

Lunch, dunk booth, around and around we go. It seemed everywhere we turned, another kid had anywhere from one to three (or even five) little baggies holding a little goldfish as the day started to come to a close. Those sad eyes look up at me and she says, "May we please go back and try to win a fishie again?"

"Are you sure you don't want to go cosmic bowling? Or another dino dig? Maybe ... anything?"

"No, please?"

I cave. We stand in line.

The line was the longest it had been. Everyone had a fish around us standing in line. They were all telling the tall fish tales how they won their fish. One kid swore he kissed the rim of one bowl before bouncing in and then out into the neighboring bowl. He had four baggies.

LMC looked at him in awe.
Internally, I rolled my eyes and contemplated cutting in line to sneak the fish keeper a five spot for one of the damn fish.

Finally, it's our turn. The man recognized us and told her to take two steps forward. Y'all, she was on top of the table.

Ball one... bounces over.
Ball two... apparently didn't count.
Ball three... She goes high and the man holds his hand up to hook it into a bowl. It bounces out... and then back in.

She jumps and screams. I scream and jump- both for different reasons. We gather our fish and I ask the fish keeper how to care for it. He looked at me like I had gills.

I am not a pet person.

The day is done. She is cracked out on cotton candy, nachos, and Sprite. Walking to the car, she decides that she drank a lot of Sprite at the carnival, so we should name the fish Sprite. Wait! Sprite THE FISH Cagle. And we will call her Sprite.

LMC, Sprite, and I hop in the car and head home to show off our treasure to Husband.

Think this story is over? Please. I'm only just getting started.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Flea Market

My parents kidnapped LMC for a weekend at the beach- just the grandparents and the little Cagle. I was really happy to see her go off with them and get some one-on-one time that is so very, very rare.

Not to mention that it gave me four days with just me and Bennie as Husband was on call for those same four days. Think of a four day call as the opposite of vacation. He packs a bag with a toothbrush and a few changes of clothes. That's where the similarities end.

Me and Bennie! I was determined to not sit around the house for four days- anything could happen! We were girls on the go. We headed to the park, snuck into a secret opening of a new store in town, made it to Mass, headed to the river and the river market. We were everywhere.

And then I had a gumption that we needed to go to the flea market. Let me be perfectly clear: we needed to go the flea market.

Needed. As in we should have gone yesterday.

The last time I went to the flea market was eight years ago. Husband and Wife were engaged and a party was being thrown that night in our honor-- a redneck/white trash party. Husband, Wife, my cousin/maid of honor, and Husband's best friend headed to the flea market to get some airbrushed t-shirts for the event.

My cousin was a little, uh, under the weather (shall we say?) that morning. We had to wait about thirty minutes to get our prized possessions. In that time, Cousin/Maid of Honor looked at me and said, "I think I'm gonna be sick."

Husband walked her to the bathroom where a sign was permanently hung: Caution. Wet floors.

Deeming that neither safe nor clean- they head to the car. On the way, in the dirt parking lot, amongst strangers-- Cousin can hold it back no longer. Expelling all from the night before between two cars, she rallies and returns to the air brush booth. She even paid an extra $3 to get M.O.H. added to the back in purple. While nothing about this moment should be dwelled upon, it really set the mood for the day and the impending redneck shower.

We did it right.

Bright and early this past Sunday morning as the ninth bell rang, I started to stir. Grabbing Bennie, we loaded up and ate breakfast as we drove the fifteen minutes to the outskirts of town and the red roofed flea market.

When the rusted old silver minivan cut me off at my exit, I should  have taken it as a sign. Instead, in my mind I thought, "This should be fun- I bet they're going to the same flea market that I am."

They were.

I parked next to a dilapidated, burnt out Lexus and some 1972 El Camino-esque roadie. My Tahoe is almost 10 years old and my stroller was so new, it still had the plastic on it. I'd fit right in. These would be my people.

Knowing I had found a secret gem in the flea market, I walked in.

You know what I learned about the flea market in those 45 minutes?

People still smoke. And cheap cigarettes smell worse than expensive ones. Who'd'a thought I could tell the difference between a Pal-Mal and Camel by whiff alone?

They sell fake Crocs at the flea market. Normally, they're $6. Today though- they were $4. But since I had a kid with me, I could get a pair for $3. It made me wonder if I could haggle him down to $2 just for the sake of haggling.

I could.

But, the thought of popping those Mock-Crocs out of the sealed plastic bag and placing them on precious Bennie's clean toes made me shudder. I moved past the $2 Mock-Crocs and found myself face to face with vinyl art for my car.

Well, I needed to investigate that. Vinyl art for my car? I could do one of those stick people families that are everywhere. See? these are my people- literally, painted in vinyl on the back of my car. Me, Husband, LMC, Bennie, Nameless Baby Boy... and it would be c-u-s-t-o-m-e. I'm throwing the "e" in there for effect.

Turns out custom-e vinyl art (that is picked from a big book) is not that cheap. I move on. Stick people families aren't my style, anyway.

A man with a Vietnam Vet hat and a cane had a booth just outside the door of Building G. As I walked out, a woman asked, "How much 'dis iron?"

"5!" he called back... and then continued, "Goes to $6 in two minutes."

Well then- that's one way to negotiate. Must have learned that little tactic from Zig Ziglar.

Sure as the wind blows, she started screaming to her husband, "Bobby- Quick! Get my purse. GETTIT! NOW! I gotta get the iron before the price goes up."

Sonofagun if that Vietnam Vet didn't sell that iron for $6. He was also selling broken dishwashers. They were going for $35. Price was going up to $50 after lunch.

Rounding into Building H, the flea market really started to fascinate me. I could get a tattoo, tire cleaner, and pre-packaged Hanes socks in Building H. There were also hand-made afghans and little knit dresses. Next to the old lady afghan booth, a man was selling "Ladies thongz $3" and "Kingmaster" "Linjerie" (their spelling, not mine) for $5. I leered at the $1 toothbrushes and $.75 deodorant. Bennie kept her hands in her lap and her eyes forward. City kid knows the rules.

"Hey, Pretty Lady!" I hear.

Surely, this voice was talking to me. While not looking my best, I am-- at the very least-- put together and have makeup on for a change.

"Pretty Lady!" I hear again. I look around. He wasn't talking to me.

He was, however, talking to the slightly overweight braless woman whose boobies were hanging down to her hip bones. All 48 hairs on her head were standing straight up, having not seen a hair brush in probably a few days. Her shorts were a little snug in the seat. She, too, looked up. He was apparently talking to her.

"Pretty Lady! You look like you need this deodorizer for your car. I think I can let this go for $4."

Y'all. I kid you not, this was a glorified evergreen tree on a string. And you know what she did?

"$3.50 and ya got yerrself a deal."

He hemmed and hawed before taking her $3.50 in change and she proudly walked off with the car deodorizer. I was mesmerized by these people. No longer could they be MY people. My people would negotiate better.

Heading into the last building, it held used tires, "antiques" made of the finest pressed wood money could buy, and an Elmo doll that I actually contemplated purchasing for Bennie for about twenty seconds. The airbrush booth was on the end. Remembering that funny, funny day so long ago, I headed down there to discover that the air brush booth was gone and had been replaced with an Indian man selling electronics with a sign that said, "Make sure merchandise works before leaving premises. No refunds. No exchanges. No excuses." {it really instilled confidence in the customer}

I turn to leave and saw the ladies bathroom with the same permanent sign: Caution. Wet Floors.

Good tip.

Maybe I won't be back next week, maybe these won't be my people. Maybe this is not a diamond in the rough- rather, just rough. But at least I now I know.

And I know where to get a tattoo, vinyl decals, and $1 VHSes. And overpriced irons. And some, ahem, real nice "linjerie."

All valuable things to know.

Monday, October 6, 2014

That Kid

Bennie has found her way to nap time, thank goodness. I am sitting with my feet in cowboy boots- crossed and propped on the counter. It feels good. Real good. The kitchen: wreck. The laundry: Mount Everest. The music: loud and Celtic. The day: excellent.

That kid gets into everything. I clean the kitchen- but she just messes it up faster than me. Before you volunteer the novel idea of locks on the cabinets- think for just a minute as to how many cabinets are in this kitchen. I count 16. At $5 a pop (for the cheap ones)- I am just too cheap to spend it. Especially since I know me, and I know Husband. We would not be the best at locking them back after dog-cussing them to get them unlocked. Besides- it would just be something else for her to figure out how to destroy.

It is cheaper and easier to buy new Pyrex. Besides, I probably own too much cookware as it is.

But, this kid. She kills me. I want to yell at her but am too busy laughing to get it out. For instance, the other day...

Climbing in the cabinets, throwing broken glass, and trying to get into the fridge- she tornadoes through the kitchen with both speed and efficiency. I was busy making a breakfast of scrambled eggs. Why should I not leave eggs out on the table for an extra five minutes? They are in a crate and have some sort of anatomical shape that makes them hard (but not impossible) to break. They were out of reach.

But, really-- What's out of reach when it comes to a tornado?

Scrambling the eggs and asking sweet Bennie to load up, I turn around expecting to see a cherub sitting in her high chair, patiently waiting for me to place her tray and fill it with fresh scrambled eggs. Her halo polished and hands folded would have been a little too much to ask.

You can expect to see a lot of things. What you will not expect to see is that almost two year old standing on the kitchen table, holding an egg in each hand as she jumped up and down singing her ABCs. 

The scrambled egg pan hits the floor with cooked eggs splattering everywhere. Bennie peers over the edge of the table and a loud, "UH OH" escapes her mouth. "Uh Oh, Mom-Mom," as she looks at me, still holding her raw eggs.

Aaaaa Beeee Seeeee Beeee EEE EEEE GEEEEEEE!

And she goes back to dancing.

That kid. God better bless her, because I want to almost every single day. A mother's love-- it runs deep.

Sunday, October 5, 2014


This pregnancy has been night and day different from the other two pregnancies totaling 77 weeks. Down to the test and up through the weeks, things are just... different. I am not going to say better, because that would really get us off on the wrong foot- and they aren't better (they are), they are just .... different. And different can be good. Apparently, testosterone agrees with me.

As I sit and type, Husband is studying for his big-BIG test that takes place in exactly 30 days. LMC and Bennie are wreaking havoc on this kitchen-- LMC jumping over (in) the food that Bennie has thrown on the floor- please note- peas are preferred to carrots and corn is not approved. Bennie finding any number of any thing to move from where it was to where it is. Read: I'm still trying to get the kitchen clean.

I just finished the last Publix sub that I will have for several weeks. It's okay, I'm ready. gd-GD won't beat me down. And, to be fair- I have not actually been diagnosed with gd-GD... yet. It's coming, of that I am certain, and the diet will change.

No more cookies.
No more Totino's pizzas (my current weakness. Do you know how good those $1.49 pizzas are?! Even when one is not in college, broke, or overindulged-- those suckers are yum-yum-yumm).
No more over carb-ed meals with sub bread or too much pasta.
No more sugary wonderfulness.

With cravings like cookies, whole milk, and Totino's-- one would think that this lovely little thing would have acquired somewhere in the realm of forty pounds at this point. Or, even the recommended ten pounds at 22 weeks of pregnancy.


I have not put on one pound ... yet.

When I mention this random fact about me to friends or family, the majority respond with a, "WOW! That's great!" As I agree- even if I am not working for it. Stick it, health nuts. Cookies aren't bad for the hips. Lack of cookies are bad for the soul.

And before you get all medical knowledge on me, let the disclaimer show that Sir Nameless Baby Boy is growing just fine. I have not felt him kick, but our last ultrasound revealed that my placenta is attached to the front instead of wherever-else-it-is-supposed-to-be. He jumped all over the screen and I did not feel it. Scar tissue and two previous c-sections will do that to a uterus.

In anticipation of this upcoming diagnosis, compliments of my very conservative doctor, I met with a dietitian last week. We did not see exactly eye-to-eye when my lack of weight gain was revealed.

"You mean to tell me you have not put on a single pound?"
"Yep." (hiding my smile, because I caught her tone)
"Not a pound?"
"It should be in my chart. Is it there?"
"Yes. It just surprises me. And the baby?"
"Fine-- doing great."
"What are you eating during the day?"

Wellllll....... I was not exactly forthcoming in all that I ate.

What she heard:

blueberry muffin and water for breakfast
handful of nuts for a snack
turkey sandwich and chips with a diet coke
granola bar
tomato bisque for supper with sugar free jell-o for dessert

What reality was:

blueberry muffin slathed in butter with apple juice for breakfast
another cookie
piece of cheese with a large glass of whole milk
turkey sandwich and chips with a diet coke (truth)
cookie with more whole milk
tomato bisque, pasta Alfredo with chicken and a cookie for dessert (and maybe... just maybe a glass of red wine)

I wasn't too far away from fact. Yep. And pumpkin futures peak in December.

She gave me a recommendation of 2000 calories a day with no more weight maintenance- I needed to eat. Seriously? I wasn't underweight before I got pregnant. I was a little on the heavy side of things with no bikinis in my foreseen future if we need to speak the truth.

Her sample  menu for me consisted of:

breakfast: 3/4 cup Cheerios and 1 cup of milk (no fruit or fruit juice)
snack 1: cashews and cheese
snack 2: 6 oz yogurt
lunch: turkey sandwich, 9-13 chips, 6 oz yogurt OR a smoothie with 1 1/4 cups of strawberries
snack 3: 1/2 english muffin with chicken salad and 8 oz. milk
snack 4: scrambled egg on toast
supper: 1 cup succotash, english muffin, chicken, and 8 oz milk

I don't know about you-- but if I ate that much in a day... I would have to be rolled back to my next appointment and weight would definitely be added. I go back to the doc on Wednesday for the three hour glucose test to confirm what is already suspected. gd-GD be damned! Bust out the excel sheets and sorry cookies-- I might love you and hide you from my children (because, yeah- I'm that mom), but you will have to go by the wayside. With my Publix subs. And my Totino's pizzas. And my whole milk. And all those yummy things that fall into the carb category.

Final thought:

Parting words from the dietician, "You mean you don't eat vegetables that often, right?"
Me: "No."
Her: "You don't eat them at all?"
Me: "Yep. Fruits either. I take gummy vitamins. Does that count?"
Her, looking at me over her glasses: "No."

Friday, October 3, 2014

Preferred Pajamas

It has been twelve years since I graduated college. Twelve. Watching tv the other night, I heard a fictitious dad say to a fictitious daughter something to the effect that college is the deferral you get in life before, well, life. It was obnoxiously accurate.

Somehow, twelve years later, I still have a plethora of college t-shirts. When not pregnant, I can still fit into [most]... [some of] them. Husband has a handful, too. These fraternity and sorority t-shirts that children wore to class, to flag football games, and out to eat with friends discussing the most important box of nothing have lasted medical school, moves, marriage, and -- most definingly-- children.

I remember my parents have a picture of my brother when he was about LMC's age wearing a t-shirt that must have been my dad's. They got married younger than we did. They had children younger than we did. Their t-shirts were in better shape. Brother is dancing in the picture, with his right foot in the air and waving his arms. His smile is large and encompasses the whole 3x5 image of the moment. I bet when my parents come across it as they rifle through whatever drawer it has found it's way into that they can remember the exact moment that the picture was taken. It is a picture that stuck with me.  If I come across it again, I'll upload it- because it paints Brother so well. That and the picture of him when he said his name was "Buck. Buck Nay-ked" as he danced around the kitchen. That's my brother.

At some point in the last three years, LMC discovered that my t-shirts were the perfect nightgown size for her tiny body. After a bath, I say, "'Pannies' and jammies." When daddy is on call, she whispers my ear, "Mama, may I please wear one of your t-shirts?" Of course I say yes. She runs back to my bedroom dropping her towel along the way. Streaking in, she grabs a shirt and proudly pulls it over her head before rounding the corner and returning to show it off. It is in these moments that I smile, remembering how many times I wore that same shirt, or remember the event that took place that required the purchase of this overpriced t-shirt. We snuggle on the couch and watch "Earth to Luna" before I send her back to bed.

Skipping down the hall, her blonde curls bob as she either sings or whines all the way to her bedroom. I get a little nostalgic looking at the "Kite and Key" date night make its way away from me wrapping my little five year old up in pride- and I, in memories of being a just a kid on deferral from life.

After prayers, I kiss her forehead and as she asks for a minute more of awake time by saying the obnoxious, "HUGGIE!"A quick hug, another kiss, and I tell her "Sweet dreams, sweet potato."

Both my five year old and the t-shirt reminding me of my deferral are tucked into the bed that I slept in as a child.

I hear, "Sweet dreams, Mommy potato" as I walk down the hall.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Cornbread, vastly improved

I posted a cornbread recipe a long time ago... and accidentally said a tablespoon of salt instead of a teaspoon. Yuck. Last night, we had friends over. The house was a disaster- mostly due to the shortest person in the house. We stepped over tupperware lids, outgrown shoes- none of which matched, and a random assortment of dollhouse furniture and cheap jewelry.

Husband grew up with half the couple- they were classmates from preschool until senior year of high school before reuniting in medical school. He, his wonderful wife, and two kids came over last night to watch football, eat chili, and let the kids run around the pool. No one fell in, but his daughter thought about "accidentally" hitting the water more than once. She was smart enough to take her shoes off, thus getting caught in the process.

Right-- Cornbread.

I have mentioned my cookbook before and how I adore it. Realizing I need cornbread and wanting to branch out from the old go-to recipe, I went back to The Book and found Heaven.

Okay, that's an exaggeration.  (who knew exaggeration had 2 g's in it? Not me- thankyouverymuch, autocorrect) I made two batches last night- not out of need, rather out of mistake. Why baking powder and baking soda get mixed up so often is beyond me.

Batch one-- with the soda and powder-- was great! It had more crumb than the correct version, but was good- nonetheless. Batch two-- ah-mazing. I bring you Buttery Cornbread, straight from The Book:

Buttery Cornbread

1 1/3 cups coarse stone-ground yellow cornmeal (I didn't have coarse- so I used the regular grain and made it a scant 1 1/3 cup)
1 cup AP flour
1/4 cup sugar (before you turn your nose up at the sugar- this is not a sweet cornbread)
2 teaspoons baking powder (and if you need more crumble- toss in 2 tsp of baking soda...)
3/4 tsp coarse salt (I didn't have unsalted butter- so I only added 1/4 tsp salt)
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons buttermilk
9 tablespoons (1 stick plus 1 tablespoon) unsalted butter, melted
1 large egg plus 1 large egg yolk;  beaten to blend

Butter 9 inch loaf pan. Mix cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in large bowl. Add buttermilk, melted butter, and beaten eggs. Stir with wooden spoon until well blended. Let mixture stand 30 minutes to absorb liquid. Preheat oven to 375.

Pour into prepared pan. Bake bread until browned around edges and tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 40 minutes. (Mine was ready at 35 minutes) Cool bread in pan 5 minutes. Turn bread out onto rack.

As Dorothy would say, "Do write and speak of your mistakes."

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Scary to see

I could leave LMC in front of Mickey Mouse and grab a quick shower.
Not Bennie.

I could put food on LMC's tray and she would eat it. When she was done, she would signal and wait patiently while I cleaned her up.
Not Bennie.

I could let LMC play in the kitchen. She would always go for the tupperware cabinet. She would pull them out, and climb inside to play.
Not Bennie.

Bennie likes to climb on things. And then climb higher. She gets on a chair and bounces up and down before climbing onto the table to stand up while clapping her hands- as if to say, "The man can't keep me down. Or even low to the ground."

Bennie likes to find things. In all the cabinets. And throw them on the ground. Tupperware? Sure. Sippy cups? Why not. But-- behind Door Number 2, there is mom's pyrex. And it's breakable. Let's grab that aaaannnnnnddddd throw it over there! Crash. Break. Snap. Shatter. I come running.

Nice Bennie. Real nice.

I sweep. I clean. I block Door Number 2.

Please, mom. Seriously? You think blocking Door Number 2 is going to stop me? Fool. You blocked Door Number 2 with a chair. And I climb on chairs like it is my job.

LMC calls me to the back for an e-m-e-r-g-e-c-n-c-y. She cannot find her broken bus and has fallen out screaming as if she has slashed her foot open. I run.

Bennie climbs.

Cooling LMC's jets, I head back to the kitchen to stir the chili on the stove. Bennie has the biggest smile on her face with giggles peeling as she runs. In her hands, she wields my four and a half inch blade Santoku knife that I left far out of reach on the cutting board-- far, far away from Door Number 2.

I scream.

She drops the knife and looks at me.

I tell her no.

She pokes her bottom lip out like I just kicked her puppy.

LMC actually has an emergency and I run back to the back to see that she has trapped herself under her bed via a toy ribbon (don't ask). Bennie at my heels, she claps her hands and lowers her head to her tiny feet to see her sister trapped under the bed. Uninterested, she turns and toddles off.

Freeing LMC, Bennie has made her way to the bathroom and is splashing her toothbrush in the toilet.

I scream.

She drops the toothbrush and looks at me.

I tell her no.

She pokes her lip out further and drops her chin to her chest.

Because, what's scarier? Seeing your child wield a knife with ninja expertise or be on the cusp of brushing her teeth with toilet water (because all five year olds are experts at flushing on a regular basis....)?

I have no idea.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014


I killed my computer. Again. Dead. Like an overqualified paperweight kind of dead. A trip to the Apple store and $280 later, I am coming to you via a practically brand new computer. God Bless Mr. Jobs and his invention of the Apple. Buying an Apple is expensive and they don't have any clearance tables, but the purchase is not only a very powerful piece of machinery but also some kickin' customer service. My beast if five years old and it is just as cool as the Christmas Husband gave it to me.

Recently, I told an old friend that I am hitting a road block on things to write about. It seems like my days are hair tangles and homework with LMC and dodging thrown food and no-naps Bennie. I spend a lot of time volunteering at Parochial -- which I love -- and taking Bennie to a new Children's Museum in the neighborhood. Oh yeah... and incubating that new baby who met his halfway point of gestation this past Saturday. It's all downhill from here... okay, maybe it's still uphill as I get bigger and crankier and closer to the end, but time-wise- it's all downhill.

Bedtime for this girl has been in the 8 o'clock realm. I lay in bed at the end of the day (as the sun sets) and contemplate a new blog. Recently, the History Channel has a lot of documentaries on about the Vatican, the Pope, and the history of The Catholic Church. They speak more about the last two popes-- Benedict and John Paul then they do about the current Francis I. This new pope, I like his style. He has some panache that I can get behind.

The documentary that comes to mind as I sit here showed the Pope in his private quarters. He is wearing his Pope Pajamas-- a white linen cassock and Pope slippers. It made me wonder if the Pope ever goes out for a beer, or -- being in Italy-- a glass (carafe?) of wine? What does he wear? Does he have a pair of blue jeans? Would he find a pair of chinos comfortable? Why do these things cross my mind?

Further my mind drifts to the Pope and I wonder if I were to run into him over a carafe of wine [and were I not pregnant] what would we talk about? He probably gets asked all the time what it is like to be him. Does he think of himself more as a leader of a church or as a direct link to God? Meh- he would probably be smart enough to speak what we need to hear and not necessarily what he might believe.

Probably, I'd ask him if he eats off of sterling silver every day... and if so, is it Francis I? Or, has he ever ventured into the Gap and bought a pair of blue jeans? Does he wear his jeans while he eats his dinner?

These are the questions I would want answers to.

Until tomorrow.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014


We went to the doctor this morning. Bright and early-- Bennie wearing her squeaky shoes, running up and down the halls of the hospital and Husband in his scrubs, the proud father of his growing family. As I sit and type, snacking on my lunch, I am watching men are lay sod in our backyard and Bennie is contemplating throwing her lunch on the ground. Elmo keeps her entertained and occasionally, a bite from her tray makes it to her mouth.



These words have been in my vocabulary for a very long time. In this moment, nothing has changed- life is moving forward. We are making plans.

After getting a tour of our baby's anatomy, I called my BIL, David. He was as excited as we were to hear our news and said the most important thing I have heard, "Change is good."

And he is so very right-- change is good. It can be fun. Change is not always easy, but change is always an adventure. Change. I am getting good at change-- and loving how Change changes everything.

We will put away our smocked dresses and donate our pink pajamas. All those pink blankets will soon be retired and moved on to a new house. Bennie and New Baby won't be sharing a room. That pink baby potty we bought will have to be painted and we will need to buy new sheets as purple polka dots won't cut it. Rainbows will be flip flops and not a favorite color. Bows will not of interest. We won't be buying any bloomers.

Instead- God looked down on us and smiled. He said that we are being blessed with a third baby. A healthy baby with ten fingers, ten toes, four chambers of the heart and two sides of the brain. New Baby has a perfect spine, functioning kidneys, and is --so far-- perfect. Perfect and so very loved by his two older sisters and already doting parents.

As we pack away the dresses, we will replace them with loafers and john-johns. A sun hat will be the new bonnet and blue will be the preferred color over pink. He will have a lifetime hunting license instead of a debutante dress and learn to lead instead of dancing backwards.

I didn't know what I was going to do when I heard the word "girl" the first time. But, I learned. Twice. I never thought I would know how to raise a girl, but so far-- we have two lovely little ladies. Change is good and it keeps us on our toes. He will join us soon and he will be wonderful addition to our family.

As all my children are, he will be a vital part of this family. He will regale us. He will humble us. He will teach us.

He will grow to become a man.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014


I don't mean for so much time to pass between blog posts; I wish I could say that the reason for it happening was because so much was happening around the house- but that is not the case. Rather all these little things we are doing with our daily routine are amounting to our days.

We have daily homework that should take about 15 minutes. LMC gets distracted when the wind blows, so it is more like an hour's worth of homework. She is back in ballet and tap- in a new class, making new friends. She also started piano lessons so she can play on that beautiful piano we have in our living room-- and not just pound on the keys, waking up her sister. While her rhythm is a little off, she is trying and, more importantly, loves showing off her new skill.

LMC is loving kindergarten. It seems her that her biggest accomplishment these past few weeks is that she is slowly learning to read. Bennie is in school twice a week and knows no strangers. Husband is studying-- a lot. He has a big test coming up soon and, well, it would be good if he passes it. I am almost 19 weeks pregnant and we go tomorrow for the BIG ultrasound to make sure the growing fruit has all fingers, toes, eyes, ears, etc. We should find out what we are having-- boy or girl.... or puppy, as LMC has asked more than once.

It's not a puppy.

At this exact moment, I am resting on LMC's bed; she is playing on the iPad next to me and Bennie is not napping in her crib. I get tired in the afternoons these days and I feel a little silly being tired-- incubating or not, the girls still need a mom and dinner won't cook itself. Especially since I am going to get a whole lot more pregnant before I am no longer pregnant!

This is short, because Bennie is starting to get a little agitated with her lot in life and Husband should be back any minute.