Thursday, October 30, 2008

Soooo Squidgy.

Oh, not so happy I see? Conch shells too tight? You don't like the pink mermaid hood pinching all around your face? I understand, I do. But in the interest of all things delectable, you are wearing this whether you like it or not.

Affectionately,
Mom

Monday, October 27, 2008

A Treat.

Ruby's Nana had a few moments with her today. She stopped working (she works at home) and let her granddaughter splash in the pool. She dusted off her camera and took some photos. As I looked at them I realized how differently Ruby interacts with her grandmother compared to the way she is with me. With her Nana, she feels elevated and special, the way she should. Her eyes twinkle with the knowledge that many treats and a welcoming warm lap is always waiting. Those little bug eyes and bubbly soul are lucky, and loved.

From this month's visiting teaching message: Margaret D. Nadauld, former Young Women general president: “Women of God can never be like women of the world. The world has enough women who are tough; we need women who are tender. There are enough women who are coarse; we need women who are kind. … We have enough women of fame and fortune; we need more women of faith”

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Weekly Reflection.

The best part about raising girls...
is seeing their potential...
as friends, mothers and wives...
while swallowing hard and tucking all their faults and follies in my pocket. For future reference. Just in case.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Cereal At 11 a.m.


Today I: woke up to a broken fridge, five loads of laundry, mommy-daughter cereal with Ruby (she really calls it that). I: re-committed to morning yoga, got a new fridge, washer broke, lots of phone calls, a fixed washer, more phone calls, chewed on bottom lip, waffled about growing Ruby's bangs, stole my husband's night table and made it mine (we only have one), folded spouse's socks, had a Smylie talent show, made dinner with baby in a bjorn, shoulders tingled. Realized that for the first time, Grace can shower herself completely, get her pajamas on, brush her own hair and teeth and just generally act old and mature. Who would have thought...?

Monday, October 20, 2008

A Constant.

I woke up this morning to this. A very squidgy baby indeed! And getting chubbier by the minute! Here she is in her pre-morning-stretch phase. How can you not wake up when you're bare chested, being stared at? How can you finally wake up, with a bare chest, and not wonder how you got like that? If you're Lill, you don't think. You just wake up half naked and GO WITH IT.

I also woke up to the sound of my neighbor's six kids getting ready for school in the morning rather loudly. Their mom struggles to raise them since the [younger children's] father is in jail for a probation violation. He comes home at the end of November. The mother had a baby in April while the baby's father was in jail. Now the baby is six months old and has never seen her dad.

We babysat this little sweetheart the other night. I held Lillie while Jake walked around with this little brown-eyed girl showing her various things around the house. She was terrified of him, though minute by minute, she stopped crying and stared into his eyes, at his scruffy beard, his big hairy arms. She sat with him in the rocker and fell asleep against his sprawling chest. Jake and I had tears in our eyes while the thoughts hit us all at once. This little bug of a baby, the youngest of six, was missing so much. Dads just do weird things, like walk around saying weird phrases in Spanish so loud it practically bursts your eardrums (or maybe that's just Jake). They tell crazy stories, feed babies ice cream, and many other crazy things that moms would never dream of. Her father has missed everything about his new baby daughter and will come home not knowing her at all. How unnecessary and sad for both of them! It really made me want to adopt a few babies. Give them what they deserve, a loving home with support and stability. Babies should know that things change, friends come and go, possessions are temporary, but parents are here to stay.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

On Saturday.





We are surrounded by water here in Florida. I've always had a spiritual relationship with water in all its forms. I think a tall glass of water is more delicious than chocolate cake. I love the rain, snow, rivers, lakes and fog. I even like chewing ice. When I am at the beach, I feel more in tune with my soul than any other time. It's peace and equality. It's earth, sky and ocean converging during which I am only a humble witness. This evening the ocean made music when it lapped my ankles and reminded me of how small I am compared to this huge moving mass of liquid. The world is big, it's wonderful. It lays itself out ahead of me like the galaxy above it.

Friday, October 17, 2008

It's Still Summer Here...

I want to spread some barbeque sauce on Snow White's arm and munch.

Thanks everyone for the wonderful and heartfelt advice. I have healed a bit from Tuesday's incident but Grace is now on a 4-step program to earn the right to even GO to the store. That's right, Sarah's CRACKIN' DOWN. That experience has transformed me into Hardcore Mama. My own mother would be so proud.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Why I Eat Chocolate Late At Night.

(Photos taken in June, Redington Shores)
I almost completely lost my mind yesterday at the North Lakeland Walmart what with all the screaming, pushing, yelling, tears and rage. My skin was crawling with confusion, steam came out my ears, tears threatened to spill down my cheeks and I hoped that someone would come in and save my life, right then.

Allow me to start at the beginning.

I hate Walmart, it's dirty and stinky, there are very interesting customers who shop there and their produce and meat are questionable. But they have great prices on trash bags, so sometimes I go. Some days I do not think ahead and I go with all three of my animals after my oldest one has had a long day at school and her blood sugar is low. I could feel my heart start beating faster the moment I parked. We walked through the doors and within the first two minutes, Grace had me agreeing to buy some strawberry milk as long as she "wouldn't complain about wanting anything else". I held her to that. Until she did actually complain, then I forgave her. I forgave her about ten more times still threatening that, "the next time, you really aren't going to get the strawberry milk". I realize my inconsistencies, but give me a break. My brain goes to scrambled eggs when I'm carrying a 3-month-old, pushing a cart and trying to plan dinner in my head while making sense of cheese labels.

Here we go, on to the present. At the check-out. She cries bitterly when I say no to the chapstick. Somehow, that's the last chance. Sorry pooch, that's the one. Mommy's invisible button. Strawberry milk gets set back onto the shelf. Not to be purchased this time. The world's orbit is reversed, and the consequences begin to spill out like water from a broken dam. I will spare you the details on this one, but trust me, it was horrible. She went completely out of control. Did I mention she freaked out? Shaking the cart that Lillie was IN, stomping her feet, going red in the face. I proceeded with checking out, trying to ignore her. Nasty woman in front of me suggested I, "take her to the bathroom and whoop 'er ass, I'll watch your other two. I would NEVER let mah kid embarrass me like that". Uhh... The old lady behind me kindly said, "I saw you being firm, that was good. Be firm, they'll thank you some...", and then I couldn't hear the rest because Grace was being so loud. She's five. But she looks like she's seven. Which makes the spectacle a huge spectacle.

I made it to the crosswalk before I broke into tears behind my sunglasses. The staggering thing was the amount of restraint I practice on a daily basis compared with the constraint that she offers me... which is absolutely zero. That's what really hurts. I left her standing outside the car while I loaded groceries and other two girls and sat in the car until I didn't feel like slapping her anymore. It only took about ten minutes.

I am patient. I feel like I am kind. I want to give her room to be herself, I don't like to micro-manage. I try to listen to what she says, let her make messes and put myself in her shoes when she is upset. I don't spank or hit her. I try to divert her when she is feeling down and creatively excite her. Does this really get me anywhere when I'm sobbing in the Walmart parking lot because my five-year-old made me embarrassingly angry and emotional? Should I have probably just left my groceries behind right when she started screaming at me? Should I start spanking her now? Is this completely my fault, that I let her get away with too much? I appreciate advice since I have no idea what I'm doing and need a serious makeover. Oh mama, somebody help me.

Monday, October 13, 2008

It's Usually Nothing Special.

Just a normal day, drive home from picking up my big and mature Kindergartner, reach back and quiet Lillie by rocking her car seat and notice that today's after school snack has been crumbled deep into the carpet of my van with yesterday's. We walk into the house. Shoes, backpacks, socks, cups, books, bags, get dropped and tripped over in the entryway. I get the baby out of her seat, serve some milk to the girls with my free hand, help lovely daughter with homework while I bounce almost-four-month-old on my knee. After awhile, the rhythm of the day brings us upstairs where Grace and Ruby glue trinkets and charms atop a perfume box I received for Christmas last year. I don't think much of this photo that I quickly take in the few seconds that Lillie sits in the swing without chirping to be entertained.

But when I look, really LOOK at this photo, I realize it's pricelessness. Grace is still wearing her school uniform shirt that she insisted on. Ruby is clinging to her "suitCASE" that she keeps all of her ponies in. There is writing and drawing and colors all over their little table, despite my constant command, "Only draw on the PAPER", and arrows that Grace drew pointing to the label on the box. There is her name spelled phonetically, which phase lasted only a few days, but is evidenced here! My instinct is to scrub that table clean one of these days. But I really have to halt and ask myself why I would ever do that? The erratic evidence they leave behind is something I will crave, though time will tell when exactly that will be!

Just another day in the life. All of us struggling to be people and to find ourselves.

Jake and I did some organizing last night and he came across journals I kept since I was a very young girl. He read through them starting at my tender age of 12, all the way until I was 22 and in love with him, married to him and pregnant with my Gracie. How in love we were! How much time we spent gazing into each other's eyes and swimming in togetherness! And to think where we are now, with all these years of experience and getting to know each other.

I just have to say: keep writing all of it down. On a blog, in a journal, whatever. It changed our lives last night reading how we felt about each other, never suspecting we would forget a little of that each day until we picked up a journal 7 years later to read my words as a young newlywed, and have it come flooding back to us like a rich surge. It sank deep into our souls to remember snowy nights, him walking me in from our little car, carrying my things, kissing my face, staying up half the night talking with me only to get up early for work and school. I am simply unable to describe how it made us feel. So keep writing all of it down. Those little things will change your life (again) someday!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Dear Photoshop, I Want To Grow Old With You.








I finally got Photoshop! And I am a very happy girl.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Why?

Because Halloween is coming.
Because my mom let me wear blush just for this special occasion.
Because you can just feel the honky tonk rising like steam.
Because the jacket is a men's large.
Because the car in the background was the same car I drove 8 years later when I got my license.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

We Had a Lovely Time.


I definitely got my work out. I lost the battle of "who would take Grace to Skate Night" (read: who wants to be repeatedly kicked in the shins with very heavy skates?). That girl looks little, but my back feels like it got punched and smashed with a baseball bat while straining all of my muscles too far to the right. It would be better if she actually tried to learn how to roller skate while they blasted ABBA songs and flared disco lights. But she was constantly searching for friends, any friends, with whom she might shoot a glance, "Your mom brought you to skate night too? Man, kindergarten is such a drag." And another pleasantry that I became painfully aware of: it's popular to fall down.

I reminded her to 'focus' and 'be steady' but that really didn't help since her feet are the size of life rafts. (Gracie, you get them from me and I sincerely apologize). So while I instructed her on how to steer her roller skates out of death's tight grip, her eyes darted up and away from me, into the dark, searching for her precious classmates that said they would come. All I saw were weary and confused parents, their brittle expressions ready to crumble if heaven forbid, their child fell down ONE MORE TIME. I felt the same way.

All I want to know is how she held it together falling on that little tail bone a thousand times? Because minutes before we left for the skating rink she was on the ground screaming for the world to end because of a tiny scrape on her knee. It's all about the audience.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Nothing But Pure Squish.

It's 10p.m.
Instead of:
Doing laundry
Washing dishes
Going to sleep early
I:
Breathe in my baby.
Survey her perfect body.
Give her all of the attention that I can possibly give.
Yes, 10p.m. in our house means Jake and I chat on and on about how perfect she is for our family, how lucky we are and how much we needed her. After she's bathed, lotioned, dressed in warm cotton, wrapped in a flannel blanket and rocked to sleep, I manage to eek out a few piles of clean clothes to be put away in the morning. Before she wakes up.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Spyin' On Her.

I went to Gracie's school for 'Garden Day'. I was supposed to help the kids plant flowers in their little square but instead I did what any other mother would do: I followed Gracie around school and took like a thousand photos. I mean my kindergartner, in her element?? Does it get any better than this?
Her friend earned a no uniform day... usually they're all dressed like Grace. Most beautiful face ever.

There are some things that are fantastic. Like the new Audi A4, cobb salad from Cheesecake Factory, grand pianos, a full body massage and a long night's rest. But better, by far, than any of those things is watching Grace skip away from my arms to dance by herself in the middle of the playground. My head almost exploded.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

After School Activities

Identifying food items in newspapers.
And crying...
And watching a movie.
And being together.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

On the First Day of October


Jacob,

If you can't find your guitar picks... your daughter took them and is talking to them like they are real people. And I don't have the heart to take them away. We love you.