Monday, August 31, 2009

Cats are Dumb, Real Damn Dumb

A few months after Mike and I got married I started to feel like the house was too quiet and that we needed a pet. I had grown up with both dogs and cats, hamsters, and the occasional fish or two and all of these animals were indoor pets, well, except for the hamsters, you know how wild and savage a hamster can be. Mike's family lived more in the country and he had everything from dogs and cats to ducks and even a raccoon, Ricky, Ricky the Raccoon. These animals were always kept outside. So when I thought about getting a pet I knew that I wanted it to be indoors, but I figured that Mike would think that the animal belonged outside, in their natural habitat and apparently inside on your couch is not where God intended creatures to dwell. Whatever.

So when I approached Mike with the idea of getting a pet, I thought that I would start small. I was sure that he would never go for a cat and I couldn't keep a dog outside, so I told him that I thought we should get a hamster. Now I know what you are thinking, "Didn't you just say that the house was too quiet and that you wanted to add a pet to make a livelier home environment?" Yes, ok that's what I said and clearly it made no sense, but maybe I had my eye on some new genetically altered hamster that when fed after midnight would grow to be the size of a small Rottweiler. You don't know. There's crazy shit on the internet.

So anyway...

Mike's response was, "A hamster, really? Are you serious?" And I was all ready to show him the website where I found my mutant hamster, which was going to be named Spike by the way, when he said, "If you're going to get something, why don't you just get a cat?" Now that is very important. HE said, "Why don't you just get a cat?" Many a debate has been argued as to whose responsible for the fur girls that currently run our home. He would have you believe that it was all me, but there's the proof. It was ALL HIS IDEA. See honey, we could have had a flippin sweet genetically altered hamster that most likely would have expired by now, but no, "Why don't you just get a cat?"

So anyway...

We headed to the shelter to pick us out a cat. There were several to pick from; these crazy white kittens that I swear to God were part bat because they were clinging to the tops of the cages making this noise that I have only heard in horror movies where the couple is camping and the guy walks off into the darkness to pee or whatever and then there is this awful noise and the girl is all, "Jimmy, is that you?" But it's not Jimmy because he was just eaten by the half bat, half cat creature. You know, that movie.

So anyway...

There were also these really cute black and white kittens, three of them to be exact and they were lying in the cage all lined up watching the bat cats. They were sweet and laid back and why oh why didn't we go with the black and white ones?

Why, because Bella caught my eye. She was this tiny, adorable, sweet kitten with the biggest kitten eyes you have ever seen and I just knew that I had to have her. I felt really bad though because we were taking her away from her brother and sister and while I believe that the brother could have cared less, I felt like the sister didn't want her to go. Yes, I am the cat psychic.

So we get my angel kitty home and she totally freaks out. She scurried into the kitchen and climbed behind the refrigerator. When we got her out from there, she walked all along the overhang of the cabinets and then went behind the stove. Once we extracted her from there we took her back to the spare bedroom where her food and water and most importantly her litter box was and tried to get her comfy. She ran under the dresser. Not the cuddly little kitten that she was in the shelter. I think that she was just playing us and was trying to get away from the bat cats.

The next day I was at work and I called Mike and was like, "Dude, our cat sucks. Let's see if we can take her back and get a different one. One with less emotional baggage perhaps. Maybe a black and white one." He was like, "Yeah, she sucks, but I think I am going to leave work a little early to check on her and see if I can get her to come out of hiding." I was all, "Whatever, but I think she is totally going back."

When I got home Bella was sitting in front of him playing like a normal kitty. Of course as soon as she saw me she went back into hiding. "I've got it," I said, "Let's go and get her sister." And Mike bought it. He was like, "Ok, let's go get her sister."

And so we did.

As soon as we brought Hailey home and sat her down in front of Bella, Chariots of Fire started to play in the background, there was an embrace, and Hailey was like, "So, what do you have to eat around here?" That was the first time that we saw Bella eat or drink anything since we had brought her home the night before.

So we were a house with two cats and life was good until we brought Aaron home from the hospital about a year and a half later. To say that our fur children didn't take well to the change would be putting it mildly. I swear to you that Hailey didn't eat for days and her hair was falling out in clumps. Bella reverted back to her kitten craziness and went back into hiding. Neither one of them would come near me because I was the one that brought that screaming, hairless creature into their lives. They forgave Mike because since he wasn't recovering from a c-section, he was the one going up and down the basement steps to feed them, change their water, and offer psychiatric counseling.

Eventually they started to come around; Bella more so than Hailey which I never would have guessed because when we would have company over with children it was Hailey that would bask in their love and affection while Bella did what Bella does to handle stress...that's right...she went into hiding. Stupid cat. With Aaron around though she kind of took on the role of protector, but apparently that role requires an incredible amount of meowing, loud meowing, annoying meowing, ear piercing for the love of God shut that stupid cat up before I loose it meowing. As protector that skill is probably useful in the event that the one you are protecting is in danger and is being abducted by mutant bat cats, but it is not so necessary to signal, oh I don't know, that you need to be fed, or need a door opened, or it's 1:00 AM and you just feel like the humans have slept enough for one night. Hailey's way to cope with the sudden upheaval was to turn to food that is once she regained the will to live and started to eat again. Yes, it's true, Hailey became the cat that eats her feelings and because of that she has become a catapotomus; huge like a hippo but of the feline persuasion.

Elyse's arrival didn't affect them much because once you're nuts, you're just nuts. The crazy only varies slightly in intensity. Bella still has the most annoying meow in the history of all cats and Hailey still eats her feelings. They drive me absolutely insane but I love my fur girls anyway even though on occasion I do some Google research to try and find that website for my genetically altered hamster.

So there you have it. Cats are dumb and we have dumb cats because Mike said, "Why don't you just get a cat?" We have two dumb cats because I was all, "Let's go get her sister." In a house with two dumb adults, two dumb cats, and two really loud children, who are not dumb by the way, it is hard to believe that I ever thought that the house was too quiet.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Hello New People...Please Like Me...Pretty Please

Today we took Aaron to a soccer meeting so that he could get his uniform and we parents could be lectured on how we should behave at the games. No, really. So I was getting ready for this meeting and I was suddenly really worried about what I should wear. I didn't want to look like I dressed up, but I didn't want to look like I rolled out of bed just in time for the meeting either. I was afraid that if I wore lipstick that some of the mothers would think that I was high maintenance, and earrings or no earrings, what to do? I am going to be spending a lot of time with these other mothers at the games and I wanted to make a good impression.

While I was going over all of this in my head, another thought hit me. Aaron starts preschool next week. I am going to have to get ready every single day to take him to school and pick him back up. I am going to have to see and interact with those mothers, not to mention the school staff, every day for the entire school year. Not only do I want to make a good impression, but I feel like I will need to maintain that for the entire school year. I feel like it's going to be high school all over again and let me tell you, I hated high school.

As I have mentioned before, social situations are not my cup of tea; because of that, high school was a nightmare. Girls, especially high school girls, can be very cruel and judgmental. You have a very small window to fit in with them and if you don't make the cut you're out, forever. I did not make the cut. I was shy, reserved, and worst of all, I was quiet. I was a sitting duck. On so many occasions I just wanted to fit in and be able to hang out like everybody else, but I just couldn't relax enough to do it. I would try to work up the courage to chime in, but if I did it always seemed to come out awkward, so mostly I stayed quiet.

When I became a mommy, I made it my mission to involve Aaron in many activities so that he would be used to other children and would not suffer the same fate as me. We did Mommy and Me classes, and Tumbling Tots, playground trips, and zoo trips. It was through a Mommy and Me class that I met my first two mommy friends, Leslie, from, and Angelle. Together the three of us started a playgroup that met every Wednesday for an hour or so. I loved these women, still do. I felt like I fit in with them from day one. We had so much in common and never once did I feel out of place around them. Not long after we started our group, I invited another friend, Wendy to join in and soon the four of us were inseparable.

Unfortunately, that fall Leslie moved a few hours away, and later that winter Angelle moved back home to Louisiana. Wendy and I continued our play group, but missed the other girls terribly. We just felt like something was missing. Then, as luck would have it, I met Amanda through My Space. She brought along Rebecca who in turn brought Jody. We became a strong group of five and got our children together often, still do. In the last two years, four babies have been added to the play group. We have shared so many laughs and have looked to each other for advice, support, and most importantly, girl talk.

This mommy group was the first time that I ever truly felt like I belonged. I am comfortable with them and I do not analyze every little thing that I do or say because with them, I am safe. Now though, I am going to have to step out of my comfort zone to make some new friends. I want to be involved with the school and all of the activities that take place there, and I desperately want to fit in and not have a repeat of high school.

While I know that it shouldn't matter which shirt I wear, or whether or not I have lipstick on, it matters to me. I know that it shouldn't, but it does, and I hate myself just a little for that. I feel like if I look right, then I will have the courage to approach these new people and let them get to know me. How sad is that, right? I would never want Aaron or Elyse to feel this way, so why do I do it to myself?

As Aaron's first day of preschool quickly approaches, I am going to try really hard to chill out about the social aspect of it all. The important thing is that Aaron makes friends right? No matter how we are dressed, or who we are friends with, the bottom line is that we all love our children and want the best for them. Of course this doesn't mean that I'm not going to try on ten different outfits before we leave for school on Wednesday morning. What? I said that I would chill out. Normally I would try on twenty outfits.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Slacker, Thy Name is Amy

I have been bad, so very, very bad. I have pretty much been on a junk-food bender ever since I ran that 5K on August 1st. It started innocently enough, it always does. I would think, "Oh, I will just treat myself today." Then, before you know it, I'd wake up in a puddle of melted ice cream, surrounded by M&M's, chocolate smeared across my face, wondering how I got there. True story.

So last night, in an effort to regain control, I decided to do the most logical thing...punish myself on the treadmill for an hour. I figured that a good, painful workout would snap me back into reality and remind me just how much better I feel when I am on track with my diet. I started with a five minute warm-up, followed by running the 5K distance of 3.1 miles, and I finished with twenty-ish minutes of grueling incline work. Oh, hurt so good.

It's funny because every time that I veer from my workout routine, it takes so much effort to get that first work out in, but when I am done I can't figure out why I ever slacked off. I always feel good when I'm done and the pain is always worth it, usually.

I feel like I have renewed my commitment to myself to get back on track, but do you want to know the sad thing? I have to bake cookies this weekend for the church picnic and I am already drooling over the thoughts of cookie dough. I've got a real problem.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Bald Just Isn't the Look I Am Going For

So I'm kind of freaking out because, well, I have found that, um, I've been loosing a lot of hair lately. I am routinely shocked at how much ends up in the drain after I wash my hair. At first I chalked it up to not being on prenatal vitamins anymore, but let's be honest, Elyse is fourteen months old and stopped nursing at three months, so I have been off of them for quite so time. Then I thought, well, maybe it isn't really that bad, but I am starting to notice that my hair isn't as thick as it used to be and kinda looks a little thin. Not, "Run from the freaky bald lady kids," but just slightly thinner than I am used to. How much longer is this going to go on? Will I eventually have to cut my hair really short to camouflage, or maybe I need to look into Rogaine? Good God how bad is it going to get?

My most recent theory is that, you know, I have lost fifty pounds since January, and maybe the dieting has taken a toll on my body. I haven't been taking vitamins like I should be and so maybe I am just a little deficient in some mineral. In an effort to save my remaining follicles, I have started trying to remember my daily multivitamin and I have also added Biotin, aka Vitamin H. In my Google research about why I am slowly becoming Mr. Clean, I have found that having a vitamin H deficiency is a cause of hair loss.

So keep your fingers crossed that the supplements start to kick in, otherwise I am going to have to invest in a lot of Blossom hats, and nobody wants to see that trend come back.

Monday, August 24, 2009

My Tiny Princess, With Just a Touch of Evil

Elyse is cutting molar number three which means we are in hell. It makes sense because her last horrific round of teething was a little over a week ago, so yeah, we're due. I won't get into what it has been like to live with a minion of evil because I think that I explained it fully the last time we went through this. Even though she has been very difficult to live with, there was one small bright spot last night.

It was about 3:30 AM and Elyse started crying. I went in to check on her and knew immediately by the aroma that filled the air that she was crying for good reason. So I got her all cleaned up, new fresh powdered bottom, gave her the pacifier, and covered her back up. She looked so peaceful and content. Then I tried to leave the room and all hell broke loose. Ever since she has been cutting this last molar she has not been as willing to go to sleep as she normally is and the incredible wailing brought Mike in to see if I was torturing her.

He tried to soothe her while I went to wash my hands and she was quiet when I got back. This goes without saying, but Elyse is a Daddy's girl. When she wants comforted, she wants Daddy. Oh, Mommy works in a pinch, but if all else is equal she'd really rather have Daddy. Of course my main goal is for her to be happy and content, but I have to admit that there are times when I wish that she would let me comfort her the way she does Mike. Well, last night she gave me the chance.

I sat down in the rocking chair with her, and while she screamed for Daddy for a few seconds, she eventually gave in and let me cuddle her. It's so hard to believe that it has already been fourteen, almost fifteen, months since she and I spent so much time together at that hour nursing. She was so little then and now her legs completely draped over my lap. Then I could walk all around the house with her in one arm, last night it took both to hold her.

I felt like I really got to soak up the moment because unlike fourteen months ago, I wasn't exhausted and completely sleep deprived. I felt like I could have held her there for the rest of the night without ever getting tired; stroking her hair, kissing her cheeks, and just watching her. She has already changed so much. How different will she be this time next year?

Our cuddle time didn't last long, it was probably less than ten minutes later when she squirmed to let me know that she was better and ready to go back to her bed, but for those ten minutes she was my tiny little girl again and it was just her and I in the dark of the night. I love her so much, and I am so grateful that God blessed us with this little princess, even if she does show us her evil side sometimes.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

A Hello and A Goodbye

Sometimes I can't help but be consumed with trying to figure out how the world works and why things happen the way they do. I am one of those people who believe that everything happens for a reason and I am continually amazed by how those things happen sometimes. Let me explain.

Yesterday was a very significant day for two reasons; there was a birth and a death. My sister Angie called me yesterday evening to let me know that my brother-in-law Derek's grandfather had passed away sometime that morning. Mike was a wonderful man. He was one of those people that you could just sit with for hours talking about nothing in particular. He was a really genuine, sweet man who will be missed terribly.

Several hours after Mike passed on, my friend Amanda gave birth to a brand new little boy named Mario. He is healthy, and perfect, and Mom seems to be doing great. He has a full head of dark hair and gorgeous little baby features. I am so excited for Amanda and her family and I can't wait to see the little guy in person.

One soul comes in and another goes out. One family is broken by a loss; another is rejuvenated by an addition. It's hard to really wrap my mind around, and I have been trying to ever since I got Angie's call. One minute I am overwhelmed by feelings of sympathy and sadness for Mike and his family, and the next I am thrilled and excited for Amanda and her family. It's been a lot to take in.

I would be lying if I said that this didn't take me right back to a year ago when a very similar situation affected my family, only the loss and addition was all our own. You see, on May 30th of last year, after being in the hospital for a few days, my grandmother Mary, "Gum Gum," passed away. It was something that we knew was coming, but had no idea it was coming so soon. She went into the hospital Monday evening and was gone Friday night.

At the time that she went into the hospital, I was very pregnant with Elyse. I had been having contractions off and on for some time and the weekend before I was in the hospital with contractions that wouldn't stop. Since I was still only thirty-six weeks along, the doctors thought that it was best to try and stop the contractions so that I could hang on to her for a little while longer. Once the contractions stopped, they advised me to limit my activities and try to rest as much as possible.

That Monday Gum Gum went into the hospital. Because I was supposed to be taking it easy, I didn't go in right away to visit. As the days passed, she was getting good reports and it sounded like she would be released soon. Because everything seemed to be going so well, I never did go in to see her, I didn't get to say good-bye, and I didn't get to tell her that I loved her.

It was a Saturday morning when my Mom came to my house to tell me what had happened. I was so shocked that I couldn't even cry about it for hours after I got the news. She wasn't supposed to be gone. She was getting better and was supposed to be coming home. She had a new great-grandchild that she still needed to meet.

That Sunday morning at 3:45 AM I was practically thrown off of the couch with an incredibly intense contraction. It was much different than the ones that I had been experiencing for so many weeks before and I knew that this was it. Mike and I went to the hospital and at 7:10 PM Elyse Rose was born. One soul came in and another went out.

I pray that Mike's family will find some peace in this incredibly difficult time. I hope that they can be comforted by their memories of him and find strength in the family that he left behind.

I pray that Mario will always be as healthy as he is now and I hope that Amanda and her family can revel in the happiness of the new life that they have created.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Social Situations Just Aren't My Thing

Socially, I am as awkward as they come. In unfamiliar situations my heart races, I start to sweat, and I stumble over my words more than Teddy Kennedy on his way home from dollar draft night. Thank goodness I met my husband online and had the opportunity to get past the first few conversations behind the safety of my computer because otherwise I would most likely still be single, working to feed my twenty cats, and waiting for Wal Mart to have a good deal on yarn. Oh yeah, I'm that bad.

Before I was a stay-at-home mom, I worked in a pathology lab. I absolutely loved the job and the people that I worked with were wonderful, but from time to time we would be short handed and only two people would take their lunch break at a time. When these days rolled around I was completely sick to my stomach because it meant that I would have to come up with fun, witty conversation for an entire thirty minutes with only one person in the audience, and I would have to have a response for everything that they said. Most of the time I didn't even hear what they were saying because in my head I was going, "Come on, how hard can it be to come up with something to say? Surely you have an interesting anecdote tucked away for theses situations. My God why can't you come up with anything to say?" And so on and so forth.

I bring all of this up so that you can fully grasp the magnitude of what went down today. Tomorrow, Mike's family is having a reunion and I made these delicious maple cookies to take with us. Because I am always concerned about having enough of what ever I make, I over baked, as usual. A little more than seven dozen cookies covered my kitchen counters and as I started to put them into a container I realized there just ain't no way almost ninety cookies are going to fit into this container. What to do with so many cookies? I know, I could be all neighborly and fix up a plate for our neighbors.

And so I did.

I fixed up a nice plate with wax paper that I cut into a circle to fit onto the plate perfectly and layered cookies meticulously onto the plate, circle-shaped wax paper between each layer. That was the easy part. Now I had to deliver those cookies, me, the socially inept, word stumbling idiot. I swear that I stalked them for a good ten minutes through our kitchen window trying to see if by chance they were outside, but alas, they were not. I knew that they were home because I saw them go inside about twenty minutes before hand. So now I am standing there, plate of perfectly arranged cookies in hand debating on the consequences of walking up the road to their front porch and having to actually knock on their door. Knock...on their door..which is going to bring them outside... to where I stand struggling for the right words to explain why I am there on their porch hyperventilating and sweating more than Hillary Clinton at the Salem witch trials.

Before I stepped out the door to take the long walk of anxiety induced panic, I asked Aaron, my four year old, if he would like to come with me. Of course he was engrossed in a TV show and declined. Damn kids.

So now I am walking up the road thinking, "Well, they probably saw me walk out onto the porch with these cookies and if I don't continue on the journey they are going to think that I am a total dumb ass who takes plates of cookies for walks around my yard." There was nothing that I could do but continue onward.

And so I did.

My heart was pounding so hard when I got to the door that I was afraid if they answered right away that I would be too breathless to explain myself. Breathless from terror not from lack of being in shape because, you know, I work out with Jillian and stuff. I pressed the door bell.


So now I'm thinking, "Does the door bell work? I didn't hear it, but that doesn't mean that it doesn't work. Should I ring it again or knock this time?"

So I knock, but still nothing.

Well now I'm invested. I have been seen, probably, by other people passing by and I can't just turn around and walk my cookies home. What if when I turn to leave they come to the door and then I have to walk back up the porch feeling like a loser? Also, their two dogs have come around the corner and they are sitting there mocking me with their smiley doggy faces as if to say, "What a dumb ass? Why is she here? Is it normal for a person to sweat like that?

Three knocks later, yes I'm serious, I heard some rumblings from within and finally the mother emerged. I smiled and told her that I had made cookies and that I thought they would like some. She was very friendly and smiled and thanked me.

Triumphant, I turned and headed back home... and then passed out as soon as I walked through my front door.

The Open House

Yesterday, Aaron's school held a community open house and we got to go for a tour of the brand new building. His classroom is so cute, with the little tables and teeny, tiny toilet. I can't believe they make toilets so small. He got to see the cubbies where he will hang his jacket and backpack, and he even got to meet his teacher.

Being in the actual room where he is going to spend so much time this year, I couldn't help but imagine what all will take place behind those walls. He is going to make friends there, and learn, and play, and there is going to be so much that I won't get to see. That is really hard for me to get used to, the fact that he is going to be doing things without me, because for four and a half years I have seen it all. I wonder if he is going to be scared, or if the other children will give him a hard time. I hope that he doesn't give other children a hard time. Is he going to have fun? Will he miss me and Elyse?

Walking through those halls, Mike and I both couldn't get over how sending Aaron to school made us feel like real parents. Like somehow we have been pretending for the last four years, but now it is real.

Elyse walked through the halls like she owned the place. She'd peek into a room and then move on. She'd go into some rooms and skip others. I think that when we take Aaron for his first day, she is going to be mad that she doesn't get to stay. I can hear the wailing now. "But why do I have to stay home with Mommy? What have I done to deserve this fate?" Sorry, Charlie, Aaron had to deal with it, now it's your turn.

PS. I realize that this is sort of a lame post, but I have had a cold for four days and my brain isn't quite firing. I'll try harder next time I swear.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The Not Knowing...It's Killing Me!

I am the kind of person that needs to know. Not knowing drives me insane. I had to find out what gender my children were before they were born, it drove me crazy not knowing when Mike would propose, and Lee Harvey Oswald, did he act alone or was there a conspiracy? Why won't somebody tell me?

So you can imagine how nuts I am over the fact that Aaron's school has still not sent any kind of information regarding when school starts, what he is going to need, and how I am supposed to cope with my baby leaving me. Apparently this county starts school on the 26th, as in one week from now, but supposedly pre-school starts later. So which is it, the 26th or the 2nd?

I have no school supplies because, you know, I have no list. Mike assures me that the stores are not going to run out of crayons, but what if they do? What if I take Aaron to pick out a backpack, but everything is picked over and all that is left is a Dora backpack. Then he is going to get made fun of because he is lame for having a girls bag, and then he is going to hate me for not being prepared, and I'm going to be all, "But I didn't have a list," and then twenty years from now he is going to be lying on a therapists couch saying, "Why wasn't she prepared?'

BECAUSE I DIDN'T HAVE A LIST!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Not knowing, I don't do well with it.

She May Not Be Saying It, But You Know She's Thinking It

Here is a list of words that Elyse can say:

Thank You
Here are a few words that I believe she wants to say, but can't yet:
Aaron, please stop pushing me down or else I swear to Elmo and all I hold sacred that I will totally go Oscar the Grouch on your ass. That's a promise!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Help! I've Lost My Motivation and I Don't Know Where to Find It.

I'm currently in kind of a workout/weight loss slump. Back in January, my husband and I decided that it was time to take off some weight, and so we did. It wasn't easy. It was hard, really hard. It sucked more than anything has ever sucked before, but we did it. Neither one of us has hit our goal weight yet, but we have each lost about fifty pounds, and I can't even begin to describe how amazing that feels.

Earlier this month I ran in my first 5K. I still can't believe that I did it because this time last year I couldn't have run across the street to catch the ice cream truck, let alone 3.1 miles. In all honesty, I ran the first two miles, walked most of the last mile, and then finished running, but I still finished and that was the goal, to cross the finish line under my own power instead of being carried across on a stretcher shouting, "There ain't gonna be no rematch."

Anyhow, since the race has been over, I have found it a tad difficult to gather the motivation to work out. I want to, I think about it all day, but when the time comes for me to hit the treadmill or work out with Jillian Michaels, I have a hard time pushing myself to do it. By the way, Jillian doesn't actually come to my house to work out, I have her DVDs, but wouldn't that be awesome if she did? Maybe I shouldn't have clarified that and you could have thought, "Wow, she is so cool that Jillian Michaels actually goes to her house to train her. I totally want to follow her blog to revel in her coolness."

Not only am I not working out enough, but the diet has slipped a little too. In the beginning, we were very strict with what we ate. For a good six weeks we didn't eat out or cheat in any way. I confess that I did have impure thoughts about M&M's and Pepsi, but that was as far as it went, just thoughts. Ok, maybe I would visit them in the store, but I never touched them I swear. I have also been drinking way too much pop, diet, but still pop, and I have even been eating, wait for it...french fries. I know, for shame. I feel so dirty, and when I do manage to work out with a Jillian DVD, I feel like she knows what I have been up to, and she judges me.

I only have a little less than twenty pounds to go before I hit my recommended "healthy" weight and I am wondering if I can achieve that by the time my birthday rolls around in another six weeks. This year I am turning the big 3-0 and I can't think of a better way to kick off my thirties than by finally loosing the weight. Twenty pounds is probably a bit too ambitious in just six weeks, but I am hoping that if I embrace this challenge that I will at least be able to get back on track otherwise, I am going to have to do something drastic like have all of the fast food restaurants post my picture at the drive thru with a caption that reads, "Do not give this woman french fries."

Saturday, August 15, 2009

A Day with "Pack"

Yesterday I decided to take the kids to the park. We just haven't been able to get there as often as I would like and it was a beautiful day to be outside. I called my Dad to check in on him before we left and he decided to come along too, and I was so glad that he did because the kids and I just don't get to do a whole lot with him very often.
It seems like the first grandchild always decides the grandparents nicknames. Grandma, MeMaw, Nana; it's pretty much whatever the first grandchild comes up with that sticks. When I was little, before I could say grandma, I came up with "GumGum", and my Grandmother was "GumGum" until she died last summer. Aaron called my Dad "Pack" and so now that is who he is to Elyse as well. So anyway, we got to spend the morning with Pack.

I'm really not sure who had the most fun, the kids, Dad, or me watching them together. It's surreal to stand back and see him with Aaron and Elyse knowing that at one time my sisters and I were that small. You can see it on their faces how much they love spending time with him.

Time with Dad has been all that more special because on Memorial Day this year he had a heart attack and when the doctors first came to us to explain the severity of the situation, we weren't exactly sure how things were going to turn out. He required a quadruple bi-pass and for four days my Mom and sisters and I all camped out outside the Cardiac ICU. Those were the longest days of my life. He remembers very little about that time, but it is something that we will never forget.

Thank God everything turned out well. The surgery was successful and he recovered in record time, leaving the hospital less than a week after he had the initial attack. I like to think that GumGum had a small hand in his recovery as well. I look forward to many more park trips with him, but most of all I look forward to watching my kids grow up playing with their Pack.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009


Unfortunately there just isn't much to write about today, so I will leave you with some words of wisdom from Aaron.

While playing operation he notices the little picture illustrating gas. It has a skull and crossbones on it:

Aaron: Mommy, does this mean that the guy has pirate farts?

Me: Um, well, sure Aaron.

While watching Wonder Pets:

Aaron: Mommy, do you know what oooooooo means?

Me: What Aaron?

Aaron: It means you like it in Spanish.

After hearing that my Dad was sick:

Aaron: Well suck me down a whirlpool!

When asked if he would like to learn how to play an instrument:

Me: Aaron, do you think that you would like to learn to play the violin?

Aaron: I already know how.

Me: You do not. Well, what about the guitar?

Aaron: I know how to play that.

Me: You do not know how to play the guitar. How about the piano?

Aaron: Mom, I already know how.

I think that today is the day that I officially loose it

I love my kids, I really do, but being a stay-at-home mom I see them a whole lot. So in order to get a little mommy time, I try to get up after Mike has had his shower (5:30ish am), get my shower, do my make -up, and head downstairs to the computer, coffee in hand, to catch up on email, write a clever, witty blog, and see what stupid thing Jon Gosselin did last night. I love this time because the house is quiet, all is calm, and the day is new with possibilities, usually.

This morning, however, was not so peaceful.

It started with our cat Bella sounding the alarm that I had slept a little longer than usual. This cat has the most annoying meow that you have ever heard. Besides the fact that it is annoying, she is also persistent, and apparently she can tell time because when I hadn't entered the bathroom, where she waits for me everyday, at my usual hour, she started to panic and decided that immediate action needed to be taken.

So I flew out of bed to muzzle her before she woke the kids, but I was too late because I could hear Elyse starting to stir. I wasn't too concerned because usually she will settle down and go back to sleep if she is awake at that hour, so I went about my usual routine. Periodically though, she is still making some noise.

When she still wasn't completely out after I was finished in the bathroom, I decided to go in and make sure that she was covered up and had her pacifier. She had neither and thus commenced Operation: Find the Damn Pacifier Before She is Too Awake and All Hope of A Quiet Morning is Blown to Hell. It was finally located wedged between the mattress and bumper, after I had moved the entire crib in a desperate attempt to find the stupid thing.

Still hopeful, because I am pathetically optimistic like that, I got my coffee and headed downstairs to enjoy some quiet mommy time. Just as I settled in to write my newest post, Elyse started to cry, and not the cry that you think she is going to settle herself, but the kind where you know you are going to have to take action because you're the mom, and it's your job, and like, the law or something. So I went back upstairs to see what was wrong, but of course when I got there all was calm.

Fingers crossed, I went back down to settle into writing mode when I heard the furry siren blaring again...BELLA. So back up I went to retrieve said dumbass and lock her in the basement with me. By this point I am starting to get a little, let's call it irritated, but I sat down to try again. You can see where this is going right?

Not five minutes later, the screaming starts again, and I decide that she must be having some teething pain, so I go up to get the Orajel, only the Orajel isn't in the medicine basket in the bathroom, it is in the diaper bag, and the diaper bag isn't hanging in the closet upstairs, it is in the basement, on the washing machine. The basement that I had just left to go upstairs and retrieve the Orajel. Son of a.....

Back down to get the Orajel.

Back up to administer the Orajel, but baby is quiet.

Now I wait, because you know, fool me once...But nothing. Only quiet is coming from her room. Still I wait, and nothing. Deep cleansing breath, in and out, and then back downstairs...again...because I'm dumb like that.

Typity, type, clickity, click... screaming. The universe hates me. It's the only explanation. This time I just go in, apply the Orajel, give her the pacifier, cover her up, and say a little prayer that this works because 7:30am is just too early to start drinking or so I have been told.

Of course it doesn't work and that is why I am writing this from my room at the Home for the Completely Insane.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The End of the Baby Stage

This Saturday, my Mom and I are going to take part in a community yard sale. I thought that it would be a good way to clear out the basement and get things a little more organized. What is the source of the clutter? Baby gear and a lot of it. I have to admit that while Mike and I are very sure that our family of four is complete, I can't help but feel a little sad to see some of the things go. Weren't we just picking this stuff out when we were expecting Aaron?

As I sort through all of the stuff, I am overwhelmed by so many memories of both Aaron and Elyse. For example, there is the sleep positioner that Aaron used when he first came home from the hospital. His entire body fit on that little pillow, but to look at it now it's hard to believe that he was ever so small. Or the red, white, and black baby gym that kept Elyse so entertained. It was one of the first things that she played with, and she loved the little white bear with the black circle on his belly. So many things that, at the time, seemed indispensable. Things that we could never live without are now sitting in the basement collecting dust, completely unused.

Touching these things again took me back in time to the days when I was still carrying Aaron and tried desperately to imagine what it would be like once he came, but would never fully understand until he was here. Back to the early days with him when I wasn't sure if I could handle this awesome responsibility, and when I lived hour to hour, and sometimes minute to minute just to get through. I can see Aaron and I in the basement cleaning the baby swing in preparation for Elyse's arrival and talking with him about what it would be like to be a big brother. I can feel the weight of Elyse's baby sling as I walked with her, trying to ease her to sleep, and I can see both of them at four months old playing in the exersaucer while I marveled at how much they had changed in just four months.

It is so hard to look at these things and know that there won't be another one of our babies to use them, even though I know we are both done with the baby phase. I guess it's so difficult because I am so sure that it is time to close this chapter in our lives. Maybe if we weren't certain, and were hanging on to some things just in case, it might be easier to let some things go, even if down the road we never did have another baby. But oddly it's the knowing with my whole heart that we are done that has been the hardest to accept.

Four and a half years have flown by so quickly, but at the time it seemed like we would be in the baby phase forever. In a few short weeks, Aaron is going to start preschool, and Elyse is exploding with new developments everyday. While I am sad that we are done with the baby stage, I am so excited to see where we are going to go from here. I can only imagine the memories we have yet to create.


As any mother of a child who has gone through the teething stage will tell you, living with a baby who is cutting teeth is like being aboard the Titanic as it's going down. You desperately want to get off the ship, you will do anything to escape the cruel reality of dealing with where you are, and you know that before it's all over there's going to be a whole lot of wailing and gnashing of teeth. So, yeah, it's been like that at our house lately.

Needless to say, Elyse is cutting teeth. Not the cute little teeth in the front, but the gigantic, nasty, torture devices known as molars. The poor girl is in agony. She looks at me with those tiny little teary eyes and begs me to help her, but nothing I do will make it better. Teething tablets...did them. Tylenol and Motrin...wussys in the face of this kind of pain. Popsicles, ice cream, and all related frozen products...nada. Hard liquor... still an option.

When Aaron was teething, he basically decided over night that he would get a new tooth, and by morning it was through. You would have never guessed that he was cutting teeth. Elyse has had to fight for every tooth in her mouth, all nine of them now counting the new molar. She has had every teething symptom in the book; fever, diaper rash, lack of appetite, drooling, crankiness; trust me, you don't want me to continue.

I hope that she starts to feel more like her old self soon. She is too bubbly and sweet to be this miserable. But I have to be honest, if this lasts for too much longer, I am totally ditching her for the first life boat that circles back around.

Monday, August 10, 2009

O Romeo, Romeo! Wherefore art thou, Romeo?

Elyse is in love. Yes, I know, she is only fourteen months old, but love knows no age. Who is her beloved you ask? Here are some clues. He is red, fuzzy, has a working knowledge of his A,B,C's, and has mad counting skills. Yes, her true love is Elmo. I am surprised that she has such a deep love for this character because Aaron paid little attention to these kinds of things until he was close to two years old. Elyse, however, has adored Elmo since she was about ten months.

It started innocently enough. We were strolling through the toy isle at Target when he caught her eye, and she started frantically pointing in his direction. I thought that it was interesting because at that point she had never seen Sesame Street, nor had she been formally introduced to Elmo, but that was it. She was hooked. Now she has Elmo cups, toys, clothes, you name it, she has it. Her first birthday party was Elmo themed, complete with Elmo-shaped smash cake. Just the other day she saw a picture of him and said "Elmo" for the first time.

I think that it is sweet that a baby so young has such a love for something. Will this love stand the test of time, or will another Muppet catch her eye? Perhaps a huge, annoying purple dinosaur will lead her astray. While she does enjoy a good Barney episode, I think for now it seems clear that Elmo is her one and only.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Home Remodeling and the Domino Effect

We are currently in the middle of some home improvement projects. We have a list of several things that we would like to accomplish before winter, and the current project is installing the last few windows that need to be replaced. Excited does not begin to explain how I feel about this finally getting done. You see, when we moved into the house, it had those old, crank out style windows that did little more than prevent wild life from crawling, and/or flying right in to set up residence. They were drafty, and let moisture in, and had these hideous marble sills that allowed huge puddles of water to build up and then drip all over the floor. Are you getting the picture? They sucked.

In their place now are new, white, sliding windows that slide open and closed with the greatest of ease. I literally stood at the kitchen window the other night opening and closing it just because I could. Instead of those terrible marble sills, Mike is going to make wooden frames like he did for the other windows, and let me tell you, they are gorgeous. The new windows have made the whole house look brand new, but there is a problem. As soon as we start one thing, I see something else that needs to be done, and then something else, and then one more thing after that, and I become totally consumed with home improvement ideas. It's a sickness really.

Have you ever read the children's book, "If You Give a Mouse a Cookie" by Laura Joffe Numeroff? It basically says, "If you give a mouse a cookie, he's going to ask for a glass of milk," and it goes on and on explaining that if you give him one thing, he's going to want something else. In my case the book would say, "If you replace a window in Amy's kitchen, she's going to ask if she can paint the walls. When she paints the walls, she's going to want to do the cabinets." I think you get the idea. So while Mike is just as excited to have these windows replaced as I am, I am pretty sure that he is trying to figure out how he can give me a cookie, without me asking for a glass of milk.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

My First Post...Can't You Just Feel the Excitement?

I have been contemplating starting a blog for a long time now. I thought that it would be a nice way to start writing again, a good opportunity to record all of those little things that make life crazy, err fun, but most of all, I wanted to record my journey as a mother and all that comes with that title. The last four years have been filled with many highs, lows, and in betweens, and I am afraid that one day I am going to wake up and forget what this time was really like. So, here it is, my first post...enjoy.

Summer is drawing to a close, and I find myself, as I usually do, regretting that we didn't do more with our time. So instead of just letting summer pass by, I decided that we would just start doing things, dishes be damned. After dinner, Aaron and Mike went outside and started collecting firewood for a camp fire while Elyse and I went out to buy smores supplies.

Elyse is just still too little to be around a camp fire, so I got her cleaned up and put her to bed while the boys got the fire started. Aunt "G" and Uncle "D" came over and we commenced Operation: Make yourself Sick on Smores. We all succeeded. It was a wonderful evening. Aaron ran around chasing fireflies while the adults got to talk and tend the fire. I think that I am still high on all of the family togetherness. Too often I get caught up in what it is going to take to make these things happen instead of just doing them. So now I am on a mission to do more family things and focus on the fun, rather than the work involved.

So what's next for the Hick's family? Maybe we'll load up the Wagon Queen Family Truckster and head to Walley World.