Thursday, December 10, 2009

2009 Musings

I realize, as I reluctantly schlep back here, that it's pretty pathetic to post Halloween photos almost a month later, at the end of November. Yikes. Sorry about that. It just seems that I've been neglecting this space--not for a lack of things to write about, but a lack of POSITIVE things to wax on about. And I don't want to be a "bitching blog." (Not to say I haven't bitched here. Far from it. Don't get my wrong: I'm a Class A Complainer. But if that's ALL I had to write about? Geez, painful.)

So I've been waiting, waiting, waiting, oh God, waiting for an upturn of sorts, something shiny and beautiful to offer forth here. Only it's really not arrived, this shiny, happy bit of something. It made writing my yearly Christmas letter a monumental feat of and hemming and hawing. We went to TENNESSEE, people! Wooo-hooo! We had a spate of family weddings, and we have more to "look forward to." (As my best friend commented, "You really were desperate for content to go that far. Let's look at what's coming in 2010 since nothing happened in 2009!")

Not that nothing happened in 2009. It's just not the sort of stuff you put in Christmas letters. The banking business bombed, making The Banker miserable. (The stuff runs downhill, they say, right back home to roost.) His one hope to find a new job in a better environment has gone nowhere. We have tried and repeatedly failed to add to our brood. The stuff of doctors and medicines and exhaustive medical visits are not Christmas letter fodder. Two loved ones decided to end their marriage. We had to get rid of one of our dogs. We have a 2-year-old who is funny and brilliant and headstrong--something to most assuredly be thankful for--but who continues to blatantly refuse to use the potty at home. At Mother's Day Out? REPEATEDLY. At home, where we can be comfortable and everyone loves us, well, that bulging, stinky diaper is just more to love, right? Exotic vacation plans were shelved. A long-time freelance client up and moved its operations to LA, effectively cutting its writers free. So...all things said, plenty occurred in 2009, just none of which I really want to repeat in a letter to loved ones, let alone here.

It's so much nicer to condense such fist-gnawing into one navel-gazing post, huh? (Before anyone clucks that things could have been so, so much worse, I absolutely agree. The Banker still has a job, albeit one that makes him a bear. We have an amazing daughter, and for her I thank God daily. We're housed and fed, warm and healthy. These are the big blessings, and I don't mean to undermine them. But we had many hopes and desires for this past year, and the gaping holes these unfulfilled dreams have left behind are truly painful.)

Still, there is this:

So here's to 2010. May it be better than 2009. May it be laughter-filled, love-renewing, family-gathering, and oh-so rewarding. Please, please, please.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Parenting FAIL

This post right here? This is where I admit a serious parenting FAIL. Me? I'm holding the TV exchange for successes on the potty. One successful potty trip=One Mickey Mouse Club House show (plus candy, sticker on potty chart, and more).

Why the cruel tactics? The kiddo is 2-and-a-half and the last girl in her Mother's Day Out class in diapers. Next year she'll have to be potty trained to attend preschool as well as her spanish class. Maybe she's not ready, some would argue. What they don't understand is that she TOTALLY GETS IT. I caught her peeing in her diaper the other day and asked if she wanted me to change her. She put out her palm and informed me, "The feeling will go away soon." Yea. That's called an absorbent diaper, which DOES make the wet feeling go away "soon." BUT THAT'S NOT THE POINT.

It's not like we haven't tried previously. A lot. A sticker chart, M&Ms, and a cool ride-on toy were not motivation enough. (I even succumbed to watching an episode of Dr. Phil in which he guaranteed potty training in one weekend. I bought the peeing doll, the party horn blowers, the whole nine yards. Dr. Phil is full of crap, and my hardwood floors were immersed in pee.)

So we're trying again, with varied success over the last three days. And oh, is this child stubborn. And oh, do I really, really, really hate this process. Because denying the girl TV is punishing me as much as it's motivating her.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

The Little Things

I've been taking the easy way out when it comes to this blog as of late. I post rarely and only to write a funny quirk about the kiddo, to share a photo or two. I lamely assert that there's nothing going on worth writing about. But the truth is that there's plenty to write about, and for whatever reason, I'm reluctant to put it down. As if by not writing about it, it will somehow go away. Because there's quite a bit of sadness going on. Maybe because I'm the oldest, maybe because I'm accustomed to putting on a brave face, a forced smile, I don't share the sad news. But so it remains. And I'm not doing myself any favors by keeping it bottled up inside, an ache in my belly, a lump in my throat.

Yes, a lot has happened. We were forced to find a home for one of our dogs because after 5 years the two female pugs had evidently had enough and resorted to mauling one another. I patched and bandaged. The vets stitched and medicated. We sought the help of an animal behavioralist. We set up strict routines. But when it came down to it, our original pug had settled into bitchy old ladydom and had had enough with the rescue pug. The rescue pug, an acute fighter, wasn't about to give up her alpha role, however. Thank God Boo never got between the two during a tussle. But I most assuredly did. Still have the scars to prove it, too.

Thankfully, we were blessed with a wonderful retired couple who took in Ginger to keep their elderly, blind male pug company. The two are fast friends, sleeping in the same bed. The situation couldn't have ended more happily. Yet Boo still asks about Ginger, and I am left with the guilt that accompanies crappy pet owners. I did what I never thought I'd ever do: I gave away a family member.

In the same vein, more disappointment reigns in our ongoing failed attempts to give Boo a sibling. We're currently seeing a specialist who has prescribed medication to force my body to regulate itself, which it apparently never did naturally after Boo's birth so many years ago. The treatment is expensive, not covered by insurance, and at the moment leaving me sick. Tomorrow we will revisit this doctor and see what the next plan of action entails. I'm feeling very much at the end of my rope.

BUT there's no time for pouting (this post aside, really). I'm drowning in freelance. While my friends lose their jobs at my respective former employers, I'm awash in work. There are TWO family weddings this upcoming year, God help me. And at the moment, I'm awaiting the arrival of some Chicago friends. So I'm plastering on that smile, pushing aside the disappointments, and making it look like that things here? Well, they're just hunky dory!

Thursday, October 01, 2009


Yesterday marked my fourth blogiversary. But I can't even bring myself to read the old entries just yet. Too cringe-worthy, I think. Still I must admit, I've had more success keeping this blog than any diary I've ever started. So that's something. And I'm sincerely hoping that this coming year--my 31st as of the 3rd of October--will hold more than this past year has. Less spinning of the wheels, more forward movement and accomplishment. Here's to hope!

Monday, September 21, 2009


Last week we returned from our family vacation to the Smoky Mountains, but before I could post anything about that particular adventure, I flew down to Santa Fe to celebrate my mom's 60th birthday (sans Boo and The Banker). I returned home today to a child with a 100 degree fever, a husband who's D.O.N.E. being Mister Mom, and a staggering load of freelance. But first this:

A trip to the aquarium, which was a BIG hit.

And a trip to a questionable petting zoo.

See just how questionable? Check out this stellar sign. And don't even get me started on the Zonkey.

It was an exhausting trip, though I think Boo had a good time. We stayed in a log cabin, searched unsuccessfully for black bears, hiked to a waterfall, had M&M pancakes, and of course the aforementioned aquarium and petting zoo. But four days was clearly the kiddo's limit, and she was a pill on the return flights. As in running madly about the airport until we forced her into her stroller, where she arched her back and planted her feet on the ground, effectively putting the brakes on. If you saw an exhausted mom putting her kid in "time out" in the middle of the Cincinnati airport last week, it was probably me.

It was with great relief that we returned to our hometown airport. As I was getting the bags, I called my mom to let her know of our safe return. I handed the phone to Boo so she could talk to her grandma as I struggled with a bag, and this is the conversation I overheard:

"BaBa? We've got a problem. I got in a fight with Mom and Dad."

This child never ceases to amaze, frustrate, and amuse me. And if she sounds like this at 2, what in the world will 16 hold?!

Thursday, September 03, 2009

The Lecture-Stopper

Becca is whining that her diaper hurts her, so I walk her up the stairs to change her, along the way lecturing.

"You wouldn't hurt if you went potty on the big girl potty. Then you could wear pretty big girl panties just like your friend Holly does."

The lecture continues as I lay her down to change the diaper. She's squirming, playing with her hair, rolling her eyes.

"You know, Big Boy and Big Girl School is only for those who learn to use the potty. This is the last year you can go to school in diapers. After that, they won't let you go unless you use the potty..."

And then Becca cuts me off, saying, "I understand. Just change my diaper."

At that point, I'm slack jawed. I've been summarily dismissed by my 2-year-old, who somehow has channelled the attitude of a 16-year-old. God help me.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

The Flower Girl

She seems to be cheering that her "job" had been successfully completed. Let me tell you, I was cheering with her. It was dang stressful trying to ensure that all would go according to plan. You want a 2-year-old to walk down the world's longest aisle in a huge tulle dress with a wreath of flowers pinned tightly to her head, remain quiet through a Catholic wedding mass (never the shortest in the world), and then walk up the aisle once more? While we're at it, let me train my cat to do your taxes...

Still, we succeeded. More or less. And I'm so thankful that's behind us. A big WHEEEEW. Now a few more days until we escape to the mountains with some dear friends. This vacation has been so earned, and so desperately needed, in so many ways. Yippee!!

Friday, August 14, 2009

First Pony Ride

So Mom had to fib and say that Becca was 3 (though she's big for her age, I think), but it was totally worth it. She'd only been begging for this for 4 months:

Friday, July 31, 2009

Guess who can FINALLY rock the pigtails?

It only took over 2 years for her to finally grow enough hair, but here it is:

Smooches all!!

Monday, July 27, 2009

A city to remember

Full disclosure: I have a goldfish's memory.

Don't know what a goldfish's memory is? It goes a little something like this..."Ooohh, castle!!"
"Ooohh, castle!!"
"Ooohh, castle!!"
"Ooohh, castle!!"

So I'm constantly reminded by family and friends of long-ago memories. High school, for instance? I don't have many memories of my entire first year. My childhood is more about fleeting, slippery images rather than chunky, firmly-held recollections.

And another confession: I have zero sense of direction. None. Couldn't find my butt with both hands, a flashlight, and a map. I can get lost ANYWHERE, and I have: Rome, Mexico City, Perth, and the list goes on and on and on.

So it was utterly shocking that as soon as we entered Chicago I suddenly, inexplicably knew my way around from memory. The Banker was fumbling with his GPS system on his Crackberry, and the directions were all wrong. And he couldn't accept that I instinctively knew my way around downtown. And what frightened him even more was that I kept bringing up recollections of our time living in the Windy City that he'd forgotten about. It was like we'd switched bodies.

And the city did feel like home. The energy, the sites, the hustle and bustle, the endless culinary possibilities. Just amazing. But I missed Becca something terrible. When we visited The American Girl Store to watch little ones race about in consumptive delight, both The Banker and I wished we'd had Boo along, so she could share in the delights.

So we've decided we need to return to Chicago sometime next year, and this time, take Becca with us. She'll probably not understand what it is about the city that makes her mom re-centered and happy. She probably won't understand that this busy, busy place is where her mom and dad used to call home. But I've no doubt she'll entirely understand the premise of The American Girl Store.

Monday, July 20, 2009

A respite, of sorts

It's been awhile, but so little has changed here that I've not had anything about which to write. We're slugging forward. Struggling with potty training and a stubborn 2-year-old. We survived The Banker's brother's bachelor party weekend--barely. (Why must bachelor/bachelorette parties now take up entire weekends nowadays?!?) Now we have a shower to throw for said brother and the wedding. Becca will be a flower girl in a thick tulle dress that she doesn't like. No doubt THAT will earn a post. But in the meantime? Nothing much. It feels a little bit like spinning my wheels.

So that's why this coming weekend has been much anticipated. We're returning to Chicago--our old home--for a friend's wedding reception. Becca is staying with my parents, since it will be a whirlwind trip. Down Friday, back Sunday. We're having lunch with a dear old neighbor, dinner with friends, a visit to another set of friends and their newborn son, and of course, the reception itself. It's going to be exhausting. And hopefully exhilarating. I've been like a caged tiger as of late, pacing back and forth, furtively hoping for change. Of scenery, of situation, an uplifting of the heaviness of heart.

So to stretch our legs, spend some quality time together as a couple, and revel in our old haunts has me giddy. I pray Becca will be well behaved for my parents. I pray that we get everything in that we have planned. But my true fear? That I won't want to board the plane for that return flight home.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

A Snippet

Becca leaps into the air and lands her boney knees on The Banker's chest.

"Jesus Christ!" he exclaims in surprise.

"No, I'm Becca Marie!!" his daughter corrects him.


Sunday, June 21, 2009

In Which I'm the Bad Guy

Okay. I need some perspective. Because tonight? It sucked. And there were words exchanged between The Banker and me, and I'm wondering if maybe I was out of line.

Tonight we met The Banker's family at a local bar for Father's Day celebrations. Okay, bar/restaurant, but mostly just bar. (But, hey! No smoking there now, so that's a win, right?) They reserved the back room to accommodate the 11 adults and three children. Among the children was Becca's cousin, whom she adores. What this 4-year-old does, Becca mimics. It's natural and can occasionally be adorable. Yet at other times, it's a serious annoyance.

For starters, the boy refused to sit in his seat while we waited for dinner. But hey, they're kids, and we had the back room, so we let the little ones play around. But when said boy started slamming his hands onto his face and Becca followed suit? I told her not to hit herself. Because that's just stupid. Then the 4-year-old started bouncing on the booths. Becca thought this was GREAT fun. Again, I was the bad guy and told her that's not the way we treat furniture. Brother- and sister-in-law don't reprimand their boy. At all.

But the volume is escalating and their conversations suffering, so sister-in-law pulls out their portable DVD player. It's often pulled out at family meals to entertain the boy. It makes me inwardly shudder, but whatever. Needless to say, we don't own one, and so Becca is drawn to the screen like a moth to the flame. "We're going to watch Transformers!" the boy exclaims to Becca.

Wait. Transformers? As in the PG-13 movie? To be viewed by a 4-year-old and my 2-year-old?

Why, yes. The very same.

I respond, "I don't think Becca needs to watch that. It would probably scare the crap out of her."

Sister-in-law responds, "Oh, we watched it before letting the boy see it. There's not a lot of scary violence. And it's robot violence, not people violence, which is where I draw the line. Becca will be fine."

The Banker says nothing, effectively, in my view, hanging me out to dry. I now get to play the role of Overprotective Parent. Because I don't want my daughter to see Megan Fox's ample cleavage, scary, car-crushing robots, and men with guns. [Full disclosure: I feel a bit icky when Becca even plays with toy guns (water or otherwise) while at my in-laws. My uncle and the family he was employed by were slaughtered by a psychopath who got a hold of such weapons. So, I have a right to be squeamish. But for the most part, I stay quiet. We don't own guns, toy or otherwise, but I don't force my beliefs on others.] Even with my gun hang-up aside, I still don't think the movie is suitable viewing for such little ones.

There was, it felt, like no possible win. I couldn't call my sister-in-law out on the movie without drawing her parenting skills into question. This family is sensitive. So I do my best to distract Becca from the screen. When dinner arrives, thankfully the player is put away. The boy sits for three minutes, eats a few french fries, and gets down to run amuck again. Becca wants so much to join her cousin, but I demand she at least eat part of a grilled cheese first. She does so, grudgingly, and then flies to her cousin's side, to no doubt pick up more delightful habits.

Then to cap the stellar evening, someone pulls a cake out for another brother-in-law, whose birthday landed on this fateful day. The ice cream cake has peanut butter cups--a treat Becca can't yet enjoy for fear of a deadly peanut allergy. The pediatrician wants us to wait until she's 3 for proper testing. Explaining to her why she can't have the ice cream, carving out the cake portion to let her have was all so painful. So exhausting. So frustrating.

The Banker is defensive about his family's gathering. However, I take issue with the position it forces me into. I don't want to be Overprotective Parent. But I also don't want my daughter picking up on terrible habits that would never, ever, ever fly in our household. (And she's also only 2, so she doesn't understand that what works in one situation--a la such a family gathering--is not acceptable anywhere else. This muddies the water, confusing her.) And I don't think I should be backed into a corner, without support, while another family member tries to convince me that a movie for those 13 and above is somehow appropriate viewing for toddlers and preschoolers. Thoughts?

Friday, June 19, 2009

Monday, June 08, 2009

Just an FYI

Advising someone to "just relax" is in no way helpful. It doesn't help someone shrug off her burdens and gleefully skip about in blissful abandon. Telling someone to relax is akin to looking in the mirror and saying, "Grow, damn it!" I mean, I'm all for positive thinking, but I'm not about to sprout the four or five inches that would benefit my figure so much. It's advice, that while most likely entirely accurate, is next to impossible to follow. Quite simply, it doesn't work that way. And it's a platitude that is continually offered as appeasement for the months of exhaustive disappointment that have come my way.

I understand that people need something to say, and that they honestly want their words to be found helpful. And I don't want to seem ungrateful for their kind thoughts. But I also think people don't realize the absurdity of this advice "gem."

When my dearest friend suffered a heartbreaking miscarriage some five-plus years ago, it was followed by months of fist-shaking, loathsome infertility. And the more months that passed, the more stressed and anxious she became. Self-fulfilling process. I get that. But telling her to relax wouldn't magically make it so.

Just around the time of her would-have-been-due-date, I flew her up to Chicago to visit The Banker and me for a long weekend. We hit all the restaurants she'd seen on The Food Network. We shopped at all the flagship stores she loved. It was, in essence, a vacation from mourning--as much as possible, because I'm not a miracle worker, and mourning is important stuff. But she claims it helped. In the long run, I don't know if it made much difference. But I do know that she was pregnant again within four months and is now the happy--and harried--mother of two.

I'm not trying to gloat. And I'm certainly not asking for kuddos or trips to my much-missed Windy City. But I'm wondering why people do so little to help others relax. If that's your advice, why don't you let me out of that family obligation? Why don't you try not to cram a visit into an already-packed weekend? Why don't you let me off the hook, especially given how much you know I suck at saying "no"?

Monday, June 01, 2009

Lucky Number 7?!

Today marks The Banker and my 7th wedding anniversary. Although if we were to take into account the years of friendship and dating that would eventually herald our wedding day, we're looking at something more like 14 or 15 years. Sheesh!

The connotation that often accompanies this given anniversary year is "the seven-year itch." You know, when married couples began to bore of one another and eye greener pastures? (To be perfectly correct, the phrase has evolved. Originally the seven-year itch had been known since the early 19th century as the name of a particularly irritating and contagious skin complaint...So gross all around, no?)

The thought is laughable to me on so many different levels. And at the moment, entirely ironic. Because right now it seems the need to cling to one another has never been more necessary. A shit storm seems to have hit our families and closest friends with a cruelty and force that leaves my head reeling. Here are just some of the terms being bandied about lately in our circle of loved ones: Lay-offs, The Economy, Wrongful Termination, Divorce, Infertility, HSG, Dead-Beats, Restraining Order, Falling Off The Wagon, DUI, Reoccurrence of Cancer.

So tonight when we go out to dinner and celebrate, it's with no shortage of exhaustion and weight on our shoulders. For ourselves, our families, our friends. But with it comes the knowledge that we'll weather this storm like all the others these past many years--and the sincere hope that this coming year will be a blessed respite for us and all those we love.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Change of perspective

As I was feeling guilty about the obvious blog neglect and thinking of what to post--Becca's all-night fever, accompanying vomit, The Banker's simultaneous illness, the silverfish that have appeared out of nowhere wrecking clothing, my stress level over freelance that isn't coming together, family drama the likes I've never seen before--I brought myself up short. I mean, COME ON. QUIT WHINING, WOMAN. Not to mention grossing people out with bodily fluids.

So I thought about things for which I'm happy. The list may seem a wee bit weak. But heh, you gotta embrace the good stuff where you can find it. So here goes:

The ferns have gone crazy in the black metal urns that flank the front door. The hydrangeas I planted are beginning to flower. Okay, not with the blue flowers I'd worked so hard to produce with copious amounts of Aluminum Sulfate, but pink will do nicely all the same. Green thumb success! I don't take this lightly. I did not inherit my mother's talent with plants.

Dinner on the back patio, grilling out, while Boo plays on the swing set. There's this small sliver of time before it gets too hot, before the mosquitoes drive us inside. If I were to bottle it, I'd love to live in this perfect weather sphere for the better part of the year.

My sister (#2) introduced me to a wonderful new concoction: Jameson and Ginger Ale. When the day is through, having drained and then tossed me about, it offers a sweet little reward. It almost whispers, "Congrats on still standing."

I made a mean garage-sale purchase for Becca: a pink, retro-style kitchen set that now sits in our sun room. It keeps her delightfully busy while I'm in the kitchen (and prevents the worry of her trying to make her way to the playroom upstairs).

I have book club coming up this month with a delightful group of ladies. I doubt they know just how key they are in helping keep me sane. With all the upcoming events littering the calendar (weddings, anniversaries, birthdays, showers, and various other parties), this one tiny event is one of the few welcome ones. Hooray for awesome friends!

So there. Bright spots, positive thoughts. And now added to the list: Something new on the blog. Take that, Sister #2!!

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

In which we struggle a bit

It seems that this period of time is marked by struggle--some I've discussed and some I'm keeping to myself. And among those various battles is the struggle to achieve some semblance of balance between family, work, myself, my dreams, and the scorching truth of reality. Tough stuff, this. But as I'm peering down the barrel of this weekend, the family struggle is one I'm feeling most acutely.

My parents have no relatives here in town, so while I was growing up it was just us three girls and Mom and Dad. My dad's parents would come into town for Christmas, but more or less, we didn't have to "share" holidays with anyone. Worked out quite nicely, truth be told. To some this would seem a terrible shame. After all, where were the grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins? But to be honest, most of these people weren't necessarily missed. I've little in common with my cousins, so most interactions with them was (and is) marked by awkwardness. And my parents are drastically different than their respective siblings. Visits are more often a testament to the virtue of patience than love.

So it's been very difficult for me to adapt to the way The Banker's family functions. Both sides of my husband's family bred. A LOT. And short of three cousins (out of over 30, mind you), none have dared venture outside the state. And regardless of whether they truly like each other, family comes first. So any given baptism, graduation, birthday, Mother's Day, Father's Day, Fourth of July, St. Patrick's Day, Christmas, Easter, or general sneeze is warrant for the mass descent of family members. Folks, it's not unusual for full family parties to number over 100 (should both sides attend). It's a mass of confusion, a small roar of conversation, a muddle of hugs, too many names to remember (even for The Banker), and a bunch of sub-par food. And it's a lot to handle for a girl accustomed to intimate gatherings. (How it makes me miss our Chicago days when we were free from all the tedious hometown hoopla!)

But we also have my side of the family: my parents, Sister #2, who now lives in town, and the occasional presence of Sister #1, who remains out-of-town. So add their small numbers with The Banker's family, and it's a lot of people to keep up with.

Having never shared my holidays before, I was unaccustomed to the frantic schedule comparisons and manic driving between functions on days of import, such as this weekend's Mother's Day. It doesn't help matters that The Banker's family are last-minute planners. What was traditionally a Mother's Day brunch was changed to a possible dinner, then back again. My adaptive family made plans for a dinner gathering. Now The Banker's sister wants to move their plans, again, to a dinner.

And me? I'm just damn tired. Tired of never having a holiday my way. Tired of too many people with feelings that have a tendency to get hurt. Tired that, even now, in my second year of motherhood, there is no time for our own family traditions. Just exhausted that I don't know how to draw the line, come what may. How's that for a whiney, self-serving post?

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

In Which There is Vomit, Blood, Poop, and I Get Bitten in the Ass

Gross-out Warning: This post--just the synopsis of my last few days--covers most bodily fluids and entails one seriously messed up toddler. Those weak of stomach kindly quit reading now.

I was bitching to my sister on the phone extolling the ridiculousness that is my life over the last few days and she responded by saying, "Just write about it, already!" Nothing like the familiar ring of familial guilt to get me to post again. So if the following makes you want to gag, thank my sister.

Where to begin? How about Sunday night where the in-laws invited us to a favorite local pizza joint along with The Banker's brother, his wife, and their two kids. It was the end of a long weekend for us, as we'd driven down to Retirement Village with my parents to visit my grandparents. They'd been hankering to see Becca, and it'd been far too long. So two looong car rides (in my new car! a hybrid! that's used! and I already magnificently scratched it!) and an overnight stay in a hotel had Becca pretty much spent. But then again, so was I, and I didn't want to cook. So we dragged our cranky pants to dinner. And Becca was a pill, as she was pretty much entitled to be. The Banker and I kept exchanging glances that said, "This is the last time we'll be asked out for dinner," when our nephew leaned over his mom...and projectile vomited everywhere. The little bugger was sitting next to me. All I could do was rub his back as his mom attempted to catch the torrents in her hands, empty them under the table, and repeat. Several times. I ignored the splatter I felt on my feet. On the drive home, The Banker turned to me and said, "Well, Becca came out of that looking pretty good after all." Indeed.

Monday I picked up Boo a bit early from Mother's Day Out. I was in the neighborhood and sometimes I like to sneak in and play with the wee ones. This time, Becca was still fast asleep on her cot, obviously still exhausted from our long weekend. But a few of the boys took to hollering and promptly woke her up. I was greeted by a brilliant smile, warm hug, and a gentle patting of my hair. "We have to run some errands, Boo, before we go home, so let me change your diaper here," I told her. She climbed the adorable wee steps to the changing table, and as I'm finishing up, I feel this peculiar grasping on my ass. I turn around to see Logan, his face entirely too close to my bottom region. "Logan, did you just bite me on my bottom?" I asked in total shock. Logan was promptly scolded by the teacher for, well, biting my bum. A 2-year-old I barely know decided to take a hunk out of my hiney with his teeth. Just awesome.

I thought that today probably couldn't top the bizarreness of my last few days. THINK AGAIN. This afternoon my mom called and asked to be taken to the emergency room, as she'd fallen and severely bruised her hand and wrist. The swelling, discoloration, and pain made her fear a break, so Becca and I took mom into the ER, which was oddly empty. For the moment. As my mom is filling out paperwork and seeing the initial nurse for check-in, and as I'm trying to entertain Becca, a hefty man limps through the sliding doors, his hands busy keeping the 30-galloon clear trash bag encircling his right foot up around his waist. To keep the volumes of blood from leaking all over the floor. I swivel the library book Becca and I've been reading into her line of sight, attempting to keep this visage from scalding her memory. But of course, she's all over the fuss that is now centered around this man, who in a stroke of genius kicked his lawn mower. Obviously while the blade was still rotating. Thankfully a wheelchair arrives and The Lawnmower Man is taken into the bowels of the hospital, though not before leaving a trail of blood behind him.

Shortly thereafter we continue back to my mom's assigned room where a variety of nurses come and go. At each entrance, Becca announces, "BaBa boo-boo--not Becca!" Clearly, she wants them nowhere near her. But about this time, Becca starts to work on something. First the smell hits me, then I see the large swell in the back of her diaper. She'd been a bit constipated as of late, and I'd just used the last diaper in the bag while we were at the library. Mom's call had been unexpected, and I was clearly unprepared. But now, err, the blockage was cleared.

The only choice I had was to try to salvage this diaper. So I took Becca to the (nasty) hall bathroom and removed the plum-sized blockage and turned to throw it in the toilet only to discover the bowl was crowded with wrappers and mounds of toilet paper. If I were to add Becca's contribution and flush, water would shortly be in the hallway. So I did what I had to do: I balled it up with ample paper towels and dumped it in the trash. As we exited, a nurse was leading a gown-clad woman right into our very bathroom. "Umm," I apologized, "there seems to be a blockage in the toilet, we didn't even attempt to use it." The nurse bravely entered and I could hear her trying to flush. I almost said, "Please excuse the giant smelly dump in the trash as well. Sorry." Instead, we hightailed it back to my mom's room. Where, thankfully, all was fine. No break, just bruising.

I'm hoping the rest of the week entails fewer bodily emissions and butt-obsessed 2-year-olds. Because I could use some normalcy, oddly enough.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Ta-Dah Two!!

This past weekend Boo turned 2 and the family rang in the momentous occasion with a Dora The Explorer/Go Diego Go! party. It was originally slated to just be Dora themed, but days before the shindig Becca started saying the party would have Go-Go, too. Umm, kiddo, that was not the plan...but some last minute purchases rounded out the dual themed party. There were a handful of kids running about, cake, ice cream, a smattering of presents, and a scary Dora piƱata. And the kiddo had a blast. It was exhausting for her parents, but Becca told everyone and anyone about her party. Whew.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Oh, Vey.

From Sister #2 via e-mail today: "The last time you wrote on your blog was January 17th. WRITE!"

Ouch. I admit it--I've signed in, only to sign out again, unable to write about anything. It seems that tiny little nuggets of doubt have crept in, taken root. The freelance that last month was overwhelming has slowed to a sluggish, painful trickle. The Really Big Company that keeps me "On Call" (and continues to hold and "nurture" my 401K) has gone to radio silence. I will be dropped shortly from a company that requires months of testing and exhaustive interviews to enter. Part of me sensibly says, "It's the economy, Stupid." Yet the part of me that harbors doubt, self-loathing, whispers, "If you were a better writer and editor, you'd still be in demand."

But it's not just the doubt. It's also the not-quite-but-seeming-failures that register as dull thuds in my chest. Becca will turn 2 in a matter of weeks. And with that fateful date fast approaching, I'm asked by family, friends, and virtual strangers alike, "When is Number Two coming along?" In response, a tight, pained smile plasters across my face. The response varies: "Oh, Becca's enough of a handful for right now." "Maybe in awhile." "We'll see..." The truth is much simpler: "We're trying, but...nothing. While Becca was a miracle--against all odds and precautions--now that we're actually open to adding to the chaos...nothing. And all around me, friends and acquaintances are happily sporting baby bumps. Three out of the eight-or-so mothers from Becca's Mother's Day Out class are expecting, due in April. And me? I'm undergoing blood tests to ensure that everything is okay."

I shouldn't complain--we're so incredibly blessed with Becca and are far from reverting to IVF treatments--but I still am beginning to feel like a bit of a failure. Because trying is now shifting to TRYING. And within a few more months will resort to UNDERGOING TREATMENT. What is currently a dull thud will soon verge on a painful ripping in the area that houses my heart.

I understand the need to rely on faith. The knowledge that There Is A Greater Plan. But patience has never been my strong suit. And the sudden void is beginning to resonate in ways I didn't expect. The absences--of work, of words, of inspiration, of life--are beginning to wear on me. My near constant work of caring for others, putting out fires, keeping all in order, is ringing hollow. The bareness echoes.

The days of February don't help any. This limbo between winter and spring has always been pained. It's temptingly sunny, but not warm enough. Too cool to run about outside, but so painfully tempting from indoors. No-man's-land sucks.

So I'm holding out for spring. Green, fresh earth. Warm, nurturing sun. Life coming back. Renewal. And I'm holding on to the ideals of faith, hope, A Master Plan. And in between, maybe I'll write more often. Post a picture that sparks delight. A song that stirs the soul. In other words, keep moving forward and embracing the joys of life as they occur.

Saturday, January 17, 2009


I'm feeling a bit claustrophobic in my own life. The symptoms are physical in nature--heaviness in my chest, shallow breaths, a deep and mysterious ache that seems to know no boundaries.

I know it's just an overload of everyday responsibilities. One terribly sick dog that's not even my own. Family issues so convoluted and distant I can't even begin to touch on them here. Disappointment in one I love from afar, a difference of opinion, an inability to pick up the once effortless daily conversations. Too many deadlines. The fact that I can't refuse yet more deadlines. A recession that's hit uncomfortably close to home. The edge to The Banker's voice when he calls from work. The suddenly stubborn, obstinate nature of our almost 2-year-old who is trying my patience, my sanity, in increasingly creative ways. Add to these very little private time, a lack of an outlet, and you get a case of claustrophobia. A feeling that life is closing in on all sides providing too little space for your soul.

So I'm hanging on. Holding out. Waiting for an ease in pressure. Listening to music that stirs the emotions in my chest. Escaping to warm showers and good books when I can painstakingly carve out the time. And knowing that this too shall pass. And that we're never given more than we can handle. And dreaming of a vacation, an escape, that while I know won't materialize, provides soothing moments of daydream. One day at a time. Bird by bird. We all move forward.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Christmas in a Nutshell

It was a really, really nice Christmas. The Banker and I cut back on our social calendar, focused on Boo, and had one of the best holidays we'd had in ages. I hope your holiday was just as great. Here's a quick peek at ours: