Thursday, June 30, 2011

It always starts at home.

It's a sure sign Devildog watches too much wrestling and UFC fights, oh and boxing. The Blur was laying on the couch last night, slapping the cushion saying "One! Two! Deeng Deeng Deeng!" repeatedly.

This makes me glad I have managed to control my colorful language. She's already saying "oh dang it!" so "motherless goat" is next I'm sure.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Happy Birthday Dad!

It's my dad's 84th birthday. It's his brother's 88th birthday. It is also the 92nd anniversary of their parents' wedding.
He'll tell you Grandpa was a mathematician, but I'll tell you that Grandma had a very regular cycle.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Hanging On

Some days, I feel just like this apple looks. Hanging on by the end of my small stem, clinging to the very net that holds me together. My net is not nylon and red though. It's blonde, brown, red, tan, Hispanic, Irish, Philipino, or who knows what. I have survived this long in my life with the help of many people around me, total strangers, and people I know solely online. I've not gotten where I am alone, and I'm sure I won't get where I'm heading without a few flight attendants to help me.

You know it's busy when my oldest sister calls the house to tell me about our Dad's birthday dinner on Sunday, and tells my 16 year old that I need to call her more often. This from the sister that just doesn't do talking on the phone. Somehow, I channel that Jewish mother voice when I hear her in my head, saying "You should call me more often".

My job takes me to a few stores each week. Then for 2 weeks out of the month, I squeeze in a bunch more stores that we visit monthly. Those 2 weeks are the ones that usually have me looking like this apple. The kids and husband are tired of "Fridge Fiesta" extending beyond the pre-trash-day Thursday. I tire of food I didn't cook. Yes, I'm weird like that. I enjoy cooking dinner for my family. I just don't enjoy forcing my brain to think farther ahead than the next 3 minutes and plan meals, because I'm constantly trying to stay ahead of the Blur's antics.

She's been in extraordinary form lately because it's been either too smoky from the vast number of wildfires surrounding us, or the heat index is high enough to simply put food outside to cook - thereby sparing the expense of using a stove and the associated cost of the air conditioner trying to negate that extra heat. So she's got cabin fever and she's making me and everyone else crazy. Devildog has homework to do, and I have work to submit, and now Beast has summer school work to do daily. The day to day stuff of family life still must be done. And my brain reaches shut-down point and all I can muster is vegging out, with the occasional brainless bit of crocheting a blanket square. You know it's bad when you go get the mail and she's very excited to go with you. If she'd sit still long enough, I might be able to teach her to knit so she can fidget productively.

What? She's gotta get a break from her Ph.D. thesis at some point.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

How to deal with a teenager: send him packing.

I'm down a child, and my house is quieter for it. Of course the Blur makes up a lot of the Oldest Child's noise deficit created by his absence. She's taken to shrieking and squealing at every opportunity. She's proven very well that her vocal cords work, as well as the lungs, and that the decibel tolerance of my ear drums is significantly gone. She's also proven that her brother the Beast shouldn't breed any time soon, as he's got a short attention span and is long on impatience with her. My oldest is now currently spending his summer before his senior year of high school in Ann Arbor, Michigan. He turns 18 in a couple weeks, which makes me feel like I am old, but then again, it feels like "hey wait, I just turned 18 last week myself" too. Oh and it may surprise you to know this: He also has his learner's permit.

Yes, I violated my own rule for my kids to drive. Yes, I allowed a looophole in the one that requires them to get a job to pay their insurance when the bill comes due. The PreggoX3 is on bedrest and since she blacked out a few weeks ago, she's not allowed to drive herself to the multitude of doctor appointments a high risk pregnancy entails, and the stuff involved with the BabiesX3 big sister. DadX3 is trying to finish his PhD stuff at U-Mich and GTFO of that forsaken place. So the Oldest child is up there serving as what amounts to a wife for H.D. because she can't be the kind of wife she's accustomed to being, minus any sexual favors of any party aforementioned. This is not the boy scouts here ok? So far he's learning to drive from a person who is an excellent teacher of anything she teaches. And she's probably going to teach him all the other things he refuses to act like he's learned from us. Because she's not his mother and kids don't listen to their own parents. They will listen to anyone not related to them by blood, and the child free siblings of their parents.
That's ok though, because PreggoX3 and I are doing our part to overpopulate the world so that our siblings don't have to do it.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Zumba & Midway Island

My Saturday was totally exhausting. For starters, my friend Jackie teaches Zumba at a gym near her house across the big ditch from me. I've been interested in this fitness thing, but just haven't gone to a class. So, Jackie talked to Father H and worked it out so that whatever is collected at the door for class fees, would get donated to the church for something. Today's class was to help fund VBS. Jackie took it easy on us, and it kicked my gringa butt. But it works all the areas I need to reshape after the Blur-baking flabbed it out for me. Plus the chiropractor has been after me to rebuild my core muscles. So this would make him happy too. I can see why it's so popular.
Then I rested, cleaned my kitchen, and next thing I knew, it was time to get dressed for the Midway Dinner. The local Navy League branch puts on this big dinner to commemorate the Victory at Midway Island. There was even a record set as having the largest in attendance, totaling 624.
Dress was formal or business, and I debated what to wear. I didn't have time or budget to go shopping, and my luck nothing would've suited my preferences to leave cash and prizes to the imagination. I remembered the formals in my closet. Yes, I have dresses from high school. One was too big because I was pregnant with the oldest when I wore it, and one is quite honestly very dated looking. It either needs to meet a tailor or my daughter's dress up bin. There's the bridesmaid dress from SIL's wedding, but Devildog didn't want to see me in that again after I wore it for the wedding, and then Easter. (Yes, I went there. I wore the dress for Easter with a short sleeved sweater to cover my bare shoulders. I don't wear spaghetti straps to church either. I'm old school like that, just not at the point of veiling.) I didn't want to wear a black and red dress that I wore for Christmas that Devildog said he preferred. Do you see me rolling my eyes? Oh dang, will you catch my left one please before it rolls into traffic? Thanks.
Then, I remembered "oh wait! the one I wore to the Marine Corps Birthday ball!" The last time I tried it on, was several months after the Blur was born, and I still hadn't shed the hips enough to wear it. I nearly ripped seams. I never got around to consigning that one either. I am glad I kept it. It was open back though, which was a ballsy move for me 12 years ago when I wore it last. Having classic tastes pays dividends in the long term, and for cost-per-wear. I got the dress off season and dirt cheap. I think I paid $40 for it in October, because it was still in the store after the Spring prom season. It has a side split in the skirt, when at that point, everything had a split up the front of one leg. I remember that detail because I was mildly annoyed when I bought it that it didn't have a front split. But it was blue, and I look good in anything blue. This time, I tried it on, and it fit. I'd had 2 more babies since wearing it so I needed some help in the northern end of things. I didn't have time to take it to the seamstress for the sewn in boobs because I was trying to find shoes and a wrap for it, so I bought some sew in boobs at JoAnn and did it myself. It's far from a professional job. At least I wasn't directing traffic or looking like I'd had a mastectomy. I did do some power, mission-mode shopping to find shoes and a shawl - to no avail for either. I'm thankful for other big-footed friends with silver shoes, and my nearby JoAnn store having just enough navy chiffon & ample supply of steam-a-seam.
We had a good time, debaucherous group that we were. The friend that gave us tickets seated us with Dick Stratton. Most of the tables had a significant designee such as a POW, wounded warrier, or VIP of some sort. Ours had the most debaucherous POW, who spent almost the longest amount of time as a POW. When forced to make a propaganda video telling how well they were being treated, Mr. Stratton, out of sight of his captors and between his knees, extended both middle fingers on camera. At that point in the ceremonies, we understood why the softball goons got seated with that particular POW. We had a good time with Dick, and his wife Alice. Interestingly enough to me, Alice & I both wore long, navy blue dresses. Hers had way more sparkle to it though. I should've gotten pictures of that stuff, but didn't. I didn't think to get someone to take pictures of me and the Devildog, before he had enough alcohol to make his liver spasm. We did get a bartender to take a picture of us before we left.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Birthdays and brains

Clone turned 9 Tuesday. NINE. That's like - half grown already. I kind of feel old, but then I realize I'm apparently not allowed to do that yet. She has a sister behind her that is running headlong to age 2 later this year. But to have 2 teenage boys, and now an official pre-teen girl...I think I'll just feel a little old. She asked for makeup for her birthday.

I've been raptured by Facebook apparently, because my ADD, instant-gratification self seems to be addicted to the stuff. That, and I've been crocheting. I tried a new pattern, which means I have a new mindless project that I can do when I need to unwind but can't muster the cognitive function to follow another pattern. I have too many things on my knitting needles and crochet hooks. I have let myself get unfocused again. School is out for the summer next week. I have mixed thoughts about this given Devildog's class schedule and homework load in conjunction with my varying workload, and the propensity for the kids to get bored easily. I've been trying to figure out how to meld it all this summer and my brain shuts down before I start.
I've been dealing with frequent visits to the pediatrician with the youngest. Her nickname has been changed to The Blur. For the sake of fewer keystrokes, it's just Blur. I took her for 18 month shots and at that point she weighed 21 pounds, at 32 inches tall. She was "on target" according to the CDC growth chart for height, but less than the 5th percentile for weight. There was bloodwork to check thyroid levels, and some other basics. Everything came back negative or normal. Then we had to do another round of labs to verify more clearly the thyroid levels, as well as collect exit samples to rule out parasitic causes for such a peanut. I was willing to entertain the thyroid concerns because there is a family history of thyroid stuff. Outside of finding anything in the labwork, I think she simply hit the genetic lottery. My dad weighed 155 pounds till he was 70. Then he gained 5 pounds. I weigh 10 pounds more than I did in high school, and I'm sitting on that leftover 10 from growing the Blur. It's slowly leaving, but I'm out of shape and that's another issue altogether - albeit related. My brother is a skinny rail. My kids eat way better than my siblings and I did as children. I offer the Blur everything we eat for dinner. She loves fruits, and don't you dare try to avoid a choking hazard by cutting her grapes. She will not eat them if you do.

She's an independent-minded toddler who is constantly moving from the time her eyes open till we can finally get her to stop moving to go to sleep. I can't get any knitting or crocheting done without setting down the work to keep her off the monkey bars, or she's trying to "hep" me. Her vocabulary is growing exponentially, and she's putting words together in sentences. We can have little conversations with her. She's starting to articulate her needs, either with words or a few of the signs we've taught her. She's learning Spanish words. She climbs, jumps, runs, rides scooter toys, puts on her own shoes, dresses, undresses, brushes her hair and teeth, washes her hands, and rips off her diapers and prefers to be naked. Till she wants to get dressed. She's interested in using the big potty. That has occurred twice in the last 2 days, but I'm not holding hope she'll be the youngest and easiest trained. I'm still convinced that she'll be like her sister and pee on the floors for the next 2 years.

In short, she's hitting or exceeding every other developmental milestone for children her age.
And by the time she's 9, I think Persnickety will have a nice long Ph.D. thesis to edit for her.