Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Egads! Only a few weeks left!

On November 27, I turn 40. As I've mentioned before, I don't enter this new decade unwillingly or terrified. Instead, I'm running toward it. Embracing it. But still, I'm bringing with me much reflection. Some enter with a bang. They decide to do something grand. Some really large something to make a difference for them and perhaps someone else as well. Like a charity run...even more meaningful if they've never run before. Well, I'm not a runner and I don't think the time to start would be when I'm turning 40 since I'm already realizing I've got extra aches and pains in the mornings after laundry day from carrying those loads of laundry up and down my one flight of stairs. No, I won't be running. As a matter of fact, I'm not going to use the day to impose some sort of great meaning to this milestone. However, I will be reflecting on all the wonderful things the past 40 years have shown me. For now, here are 5 things for which I am forever grateful...
1. The memories I have of a yearly vacation to the Isle of Palms with my family and the fact that I now live just minutes from where that house stood. (Hurricane Hugo took her away but the memories are ever-lasting.) These trips began for me when I was in a crib and ended when I was in college.
2. Knowing I inherited my mother's looks and metabolism and my father's sense of humor and personality. My mother is very attractive and it is a good feeling when I catch a glimpse of her in my mirror. And, the fact that I've never had a struggle with weight is due to her genes. But, it was my father who taught me to not worry about every little thing and just be. And, for sure, he taught me that humor makes life more enjoyable.
3. My marriage. We've had 16 years of wedded bliss...or at least "blissish." It would be untrue to say it was always a walk in the park. But we were both committed and worked through the hard times and are happier today than any time in the almost 21 years we've been together. That's a great feeling.
4. My children. Jonathan, Porter and Millie give me reason to awake every morning. Hey, someone's gotta feed them! Watching Jonathan grow up, just about to enter his teen years, is challenging yet rewarding. Keeping my eye on Porter, trying to come up with new and innovative ways of teaching him right from wrong, keeps me on my toes and makes his hugs and "I love you"s even sweeter. And, waiting to hear what funny thing Millie will say next is a great way to turn a not so good day into the best yet.
5. All the travels I've been so lucky to take. Nova Scotia; Quebec; Montreal; St. Martin, FWI; Disney Cruise; Honolulu; Maui; not to mention a plethora of American cities! But the most rewarding trip had to be to China (Beijing, Changsha, and Guangzhou) to adopt Millie. What a beautiful country, people and event.

I know as the years continue to pass there will be more and more to join this list. And, honestly, I could have added more today but this entry was already long enough.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

When our words come back to haunt us

This past week was full of tons for me to do. Joe's family was coming in town for a wedding. Aunts, Uncles, Cousins, his parents, sister and her family...all were coming and would be joining us for dessert on Friday night. Needless to say, I had plenty to do to get ready. Not that I minded but there was lots to do. And, I guess the stress got to me a bit as I picked up the same things over and over again. You know, the kids' clothes, toys and shoes that can't seem to find their way to the proper place...ever?! Millie was following me around with a deck of cards in her hands. As I looked back at her, I noticed the entire deck was no longer together. She'd left a trail. I suppose it was just in case we got lost in her brothers' closet and needed to find our way back out. Kinda smart since the closet was a disaster area. Anyway, in my frustration of having to stop the clutter control of my closet duty and focus on finding all 52 cards, I think my voice may have left calm and entered an obvious peeved volume. She looked at me calmly and said, "Mommy, I think you need a nap."
No. There was no nap for me but the humor of her comment (the same one I'd made to her a zillion times) was just the kick in the pants I needed to put it all back in perspective and get it all done. Thanks Millie!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Questioning my self-image

There are just 2 months standing between me and the fourth decade of my life. Up until a week ago, I was quite comfortable with what was ahead of me. In fact, I was looking forward to this milestone. Oprah is the woman who put me at ease. When she turned 50, she went on and on about how empowering it was. It was hearing her comments that changed my idea of maturing. (I choose the word maturing over aging because I don't like the connotations society has put on the word aging, especially where women are concerned.) So, what changed in the past week to shake my resolve? Maybe noticing my skin isn't as elastic as it once was? Perhaps it's the adult acne that erupts monthly? Oh, maybe it is the little lines around my mouth and eyes? No. No. No. It's my husband, that's what. There have been two different instances when he decided it would be a good idea to tell me the outfit (two different ones) I was wearing may be a little young for me. WHAT?!!! He tried to talk his way out of it. I suggested he stop talking. In my defense, I am 5'2" and weigh...well, I don't want to tell you, but it's not enough to allow me to give blood. So, I wear a 0 or a 2 depending on the brand. And, I can find things that fit in the girl's department but it's been years since I've done that. No, the outfits he was referring to came form real stores for grown-ups. I don't know, maybe he's expecting me to turn frumpy at forty. Perhaps he's looking for more poly-blends to appear in my closet come November 27. Dare he suggest I start wearing "mom jeans"?
Honestly, I'm quite comfortable in my clothes. Maybe I'll buy some new duds that look less young but that I still like. But I can assure you this...frumpy at forty? Forget it!

Monday, September 10, 2007

Catching My Breath!

Whew! School is back in session now for all three of my kids. Jonathan started 7th grade (one more year of middle school -yikes!); Porter is now a 2nd grader and Millie is in an awesome 3-day program at our church. All three have enjoyed returning to a schedule and they all like their teachers. But, before you assume I have time to sit back and relax into my new-found time alone, let me assure you, there is a reason it's been so long since my last post...it's called the return of our scheduled, over-active calendar. Some would call it calendaritis, others may say I'm raising well-rounded children. You see, Jonathan is playing soccer (on a premier traveling team), playing cello, involved in student council and youth group at church. Porter is playing football (touch...it's just his second season) and is starting scouts. Thankfully, Millie is sitting this year out with extra-curricular activities, she's only three after all. So, when you look at our family calendar, we have one weeknight at home together, Wednesday. Of course, this has meant my husband has had to give up his night of mountain biking and it will probably be forever until I have a night to join my girlfriends for a night out. Before we start to feel too resentful, I think we need to start entertaining more on the weekends (when we're not out of town with the soccer team!). Joe and I had already...before all this chaos...decided we were going to pick a day each month to go out either just the two of us or with friends. So, we need to institute that and keep it up.
Over-scheduled or well-rounded, this is my family's life. There will come a day, sooner than I can imagine I'm sure, when Joe and I are sitting at home with no soccer or football uniforms tumbling in the dryer, no cello music playing in the background, no scouting badges left to earn, and no carpools to run and we will be a little sad. We'll wonder where the time went. Sure, we'll no doubt be proud of who each of them became but we'll miss the boy who without fail notifies me of a meeting the day of and can't understand why my schedule cannot change, the sweaty-headed boy who can come up with a million excuses why he doesn't need a shower after practice, and the oh so talkative little girl who rarely allows me to get a thought in sideways. Until then, just think how special Wednesday nights will be! (Two more days!)

Monday, August 27, 2007


I find it amusing when I sit down to watch a kids' show (with my kids) and it turns out, I've seen it before. Honestly, I don't watch a lot of kids' shows. Every now and again, I'll catch a bit of Drake & Josh, Hannah Montana, Sponge Bob, or Corey in the House while I'm running through the house trying to do way too much at one time. You know the simultaneous laundry, cooking, and picking up chore? I'm beginning to wonder, though, how many episodes they actually make of these shows!

Last night, while dinner was cooking, I tried to persuade Porter it may be a good time to take a bath. He could be clean before dinner, then eat and we could read another chapter of our book before going to bed. But, alas, I was up against Drake & Josh. It was the one where Josh plays one of the FBI's most wanted, a theater hold-up guy. Porter swore to me he'd never seen it. Jonathan also said he'd never seen it. OK, then, how come I had?! Do they think I sit around during the day (without them) glued to Nick TV? Not only was I getting nowhere convincing them that they had, indeed, seen it before, it was also nearly impossible for my 7 year old to understand that they would show this episode again. Is showering that bad? I'd be the happiest woman in the world if someone would tell me to stop what I was doing and take a shower or bath. Of course, I don't know, then, what would become of all that laundry, cooking and picking up.

Friday, August 24, 2007

The New Role Models in Hollywood (Disappointment)

I am so disgusted by the all the news coverage of Lindsay, Paris, and Nicole. I could vomit! These out of control girls need a major time-out. Not the few hours of time served they've been wrist-slapped with but a real time-out. I read of Lindsay's sentence today...1 day in jail, a visit to a morgue, talks with victims of drunk drivers, oh and 36 months of probation. Probation?! Hasn't that happened before? The ankle bands, the alcohol monitors? And still subsequent offenses. Wake up legal system...it's not working!!! I'm guessing the month in jail will be a nice rest for her. Not to mention worthy background for a book deal of movie deal one day. As for the morgue visit and talks with victims, these may have some lasting impression on her...unless she choses to drink the memories and the horror away. This girl needs a major intervention; a boot camp. And her parents? They need to visit skid row and death row to learn how kids without proper parental guidance end up. Then they need to open their eyes and see how close their little girl is to this same fate. Erase all the cover-ups and excuses her Hollywood people have placed on her lack of judgment. Hopefully, her mom and dad will see the part they played in her becoming who she is and beg for her forgiveness. This family needs therapy...BIG TIME. And the media? Could they glamorize it any more?! She's an actress for crying out loud. She longs to be on camera, in the magazines, and on the tips of people's tongues. Stop the coverage! Even negative attention is attention folks, and attention reinforces our actions.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

When It Rains, It Pours!

Funny how misfortune (or the idea of it) has a snowball effect. We awoke Saturday morning to a very warm home. Our upstairs unit was blowing hot air. The downstairs unit wasn't working at all. After a quick inspection by my hubby and a hard reboot at our circuit breaker, the downstairs unit came back on but no such luck upstairs. So it was a call to our home warranty company and 3 very long and hot days and nights before a crew came out to take a gander. In the meantime, our ceiling in our downstairs hallway sprung a leak! Another call to the home warranty folks. Thankfully, the leak stopped and it only took the plumber a day to come out. While waiting for him, I noticed our 12 year old dog was limping. Of course it was 4:30 in the afternoon and they couldn't see us until the next morning. So Tuesday started off with a visit to the vet. Berkley has a sore neck and the pain is radiating through his shoulder and into his leg. He should be better in a week or so. Next was the plumber. What could have been catastrophic was only the absence on caulking around the faucet in the tub upstairs. Easy, easy fix! The word on the downstairs unit is that it needs to be replaced. But, it is covered under our home warranty. It may take 5 more days to get the unit. Luckily our next door neighbor had a window unit in her garage that she lent us. The kids are now sleeping in the frog (bonus room) with the window unit. Joe and I have moved from the kitchen to the living room. I think we all slept comfortably last night. So three unfortunate instances that could have been so very bad, were not after all. Praise the Lord!
Oh, one final misfortune...Joe got a flat tire this morning. While changing it, though, he received two offers from good samaritans to lend a hand. So, after 5 days of misfortune, it looks like we're only out the cost of a tire.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Back from Vacation

It's good to be home, to have my whole family together again, and to sleep in my own bed.
It's funny how the once plush king-sized hotel bed with an assortment of pillows, the billowy duvet, and extra-soft sheets can so easily be forgotten as I sink into my queen-sized familiar bed. The one that knows my every curve. Who's sheets are nearly 7 years old and who's duvet is stained with who knows what from my three kids and two dogs. It's also a wonder how the peace and quiet I was so in love with while Joe and I vacationed without the kids (and dogs) can so easily be filled with the sounds of two boys wrestling and a little girl trying to protect them both. (Joe says it's how the boys express that they missed each other while Jonathan was at camp for 2 weeks.) I do my best to ignore it all...until the wrestling laughs turn into fightin' words. Yep; we're home!
Our vacation was interesting, to say the least. It was to be our celebration for reaching 16 years of marriage. With Jonathan away at camp, we only had two kids to drop off with Joe's parents. Then it was off to Nashville to visit Joe's brother. It had been years since we'd been to Nashville and we were looking forward to exploring the city and seeing his new home in Franklin. We never made it into the city. His new home, however, is awesome. I kept thinking if the past 16 years had been different, this would be the ideal place to live. Such a different lifestyle than what we have. Not that I don't love our lifestyle, it's just fun to dabble outside of it every once in a while.
After a couple of days in Nashville, we made a stop in Chattanooga. We had high hopes here, too. After all, we'd read the recent article in Southern Living promising us a fun city, a clean city, a city robust in fun. What we found left quite a bit to be desired. But, this was an anniversary trip. Who really needed all that?
Our marriage has been full of dreams realized. The most prominent is the dream of our daughter. After losing Hope, I yearned for a daughter. It took Joe some time to join me but when he did, we were united in seeing the dream become reality. We have another dream we're trying to find a way to make reality. On this trip we thought we'd done just that. Only to find out, for now, it has slipped further from us. We're currently a little crushed, deflated, heartbroken.
But I think the best thing that came out of this anniversary trip is we learned that no matter what else happens around us, we have each other. Together we can always chase our life's dreams, relish in what we've achieved so far, and make the most of a not so great vacation. We're together and together we're home.

Friday, July 13, 2007

The Snack

Remember being a kid? There was always that one mom who bought the best snacks. She always had Kool-Aid made and those little paper cups ready to fill. It was always a treat to play at that house because you knew snack time would come. And once it did, you would take your place around the kitchen table, devour your Little Debbie Swiss Roll and drink down all of your grape Kool-Aid, except for the two drops that clung to the side of your Dixie cup refusing to let go. Then, you'd say "Thank you."
Things have changed since I was a kid. Today, my kids (and my neighbors' kids) enjoy popsicles and juice boxes out of my garage fridge, often without my knowing. Other than the fact that they need me to cut the popsicle wrapper for them, they don't include me in their snack time. So the privilege of snack time is gone, along with the thank yous.
Yesterday, I watched as my daughter ran home on the heels of a neighbor kid with two others in tow. They were running straight for the garage. (I knew they would by-pass all of the toys and beeline for the fridge.) Moments later, Millie was in the kitchen with 3 popsicles asking me to cut them open. I tried to explain to my 3 year old that you don't run to someone's house for snacks. If you've been playing there, the mommy may offer you a snack, but you don't run to a house and get your own. This was difficult for her to grasp. I cut them open. Seconds later, she was back to say someone else wanted one. She handed me the popsicle and I cut it open too. Then, I sent them all home. No one said, "Thanks for the popsicles Millie's mom!"
So, I'm moving the juice boxes and popsicles inside until further notice. See, when it comes to other people's kids...if you can't beat 'em, you gotta trick 'em.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Ahh...sleep. It's a funny thing

I'm so not a morning person. Yet this morning I found myself awaking at 6:45 for a hair appointment, of all things! When you are approaching 40, I guess you kinda start taking anything you can get at the salon to cover your gray! So I rolled out of bed and joined the half of the world I never knew existed...the folks who start life early, who hit Starbucks before the crowd, who drive with dew-kissed windows on a summer morning. My appointment was at 7:30. It was the first time I'd done anything so drastic for my roots. And, it was the last time. My sleep is much too important to me. But, my hair looks fabulous, if I do say so myself. Worth it? Not sure.
My daughter's sitter came today. She was off last week for the Fourth and vacation, so Millie was a bit out of sorts with her. (I have to clarify that I have a 14 year old girl come for 4 hours a day, twice a week so I can run errands or clean the house without Millie in tow.) Anyway, around 2:00 Millie really was getting tired and I really needed to clean my bathroom. The sitter was trying so hard to pull Millie from my leg to no avail. Why is it so hard for a 3 year old to succumb to sleep? That's all she needed. A nap was the perfect solution. Instead, she and the sitter were hold up on the stairs... waiting for me to complete my domestic task. I took my time.
A while later, when we were taking the sitter home, Millie fell asleep. This put a stop to her cries for her Night Night. (Her Night Night is a threadbare, dirty--even after multiple washings--small, soft blanket of sorts she carries around. She must have it at all times...especially if she is upset or tired.) One minute, she was screaming for the Night Night, the next out cold. Unfortunately, she didn't stay that way for long. Waking up as soon as I removed her from the car seat, she asked for a movie. I put one in hoping she'd drop off to sleep once more. No such luck. The rest of the day was spent trying to persuade her to let me take her to the pool (she wanted none of that) and listening to her pitch fits about anything and everything. So I ask you, why is it so hard for 3 year old to succumb to sleep? A nap is treasured gift at my age. Why is it fought with such resistance at hers?

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Before I get too far into this...

Let me introduce you to my family.
My hubby is Joe. As I've stated, we've been married a long time! It will be 16 years next month. I guess somewhere along the way, we got old. Other than a few aches and pains, we really don't feel old and can still be caught in bed at night laughing hysterically and goofing off. Our marriage is a spirited one. We scream as much as we laugh; no apologies. We are just real. And, it seems to be working. We met my first day at college, he a year older than I. It wasn't until October 24, 1986 that we had our first date...Cheap Trick concert.
I mentioned we have 4 kids. In order, there is Jonathan, Hope, Porter, and Millie.
Jonathan is 12. He is intelligent, outgoing, and everybody's friend. I am in awe of his qualities. There is quite a bit I can learn from him. The key is balancing that with all I have to teach him!
Hope would be 10. She was stillborn on October 24, 1997. Even after 10 years, I miss her presence daily. I'd give anything to see the preteen she'd have turned into. Having Hope enter my life taught me a great deal. I don't take a single moment for granted with my kids. And, I take each day as it comes. Nothing is guaranteed in this life.
Porter is 7. He is a very old 7. He has a gift of humor and is not afraid to try anything. He keeps us on our toes and I'm sure that's not stopping anytime soon. We pray he heeds our warnings and we struggle to keep him straight But there's a lot to be said for his "balls to the walls" attitude. Neither Joe nor I were ever like that growing up. I'm a bit jealous of his ability to take the path less traveled, the not so safe road. But as his mother, I'm also terrified.
Finally, there's Millie. She is 3. We adopted Millie from China in 2005. She has so perfectly completed our family; she's the perfect match, filling the hole in my heart and accepting the love we had to give so completely. She is not only a beautiful little girl but she is wise beyond her years, funny, and kind.
So this is my family. My reasons for celebrating with drinks made with swizzle sticks.

Monday, July 9, 2007

Oh...it's Monday morning! Swim Team is over for my boys and I'd thought it'd be a great morning to sleep in (translation...past 7 AM) but sadly, I was mistaken. Millie was up before anyone and climbed into bed with us. Her sweet rubs and whispers of "Mommy, I love you so much!" were hard to sleep through. And I wouldn't have wanted to. Who'd want to pass that up? She did get out of bed with Joe when he decided to let our 8 month old Weimaraner out...and proceeded to lock himself out of the house. His knocks brought a another level of consciousness to my still-in-bed self. (I was trying really hard to sleep in.) Luckily, Porter was awake and downstairs. He let his Daddy in. I was safe, covers pulled tightly to my shoulders.
Moments later, I decided all the trying to stay in bed wasn't worth it. The sound of Joe's shower was annoying and there was a strange smell of coffee....
I made my way to the kitchen and there the new coffee maker sat in a puddle of coffee and more was flowing. Of course I knew just how it had happened. Joe had forgotten to empty the pot of yesterday's leftovers before he started the machine. There had been quite a bit left as we found ourselves locked out of our house yesterday and couldn't drink our planned quotas. (Joe only took a car key to church; I took no keys since I wasn't driving. Thank goodness my neighbor and my mom both have a key. Only too bad my neighbor is out of town until Tuesday and my mom was not home. We would have called her but, alas, we didn't bring our cell phones either. So, after eating a less than desirable Wendy's burger, we drove back to my moms. Thankfully she was now home. But, by now, it was way to late in the day and HOT to enjoy a cup of coffee.) But back to today's drama. I got the Monday morning mess cleaned up and restarted the coffee maker...correctly. I'm now on my second cup.

Friday, July 6, 2007

First Concoction

Welcome. Grab a drink...something cold, sit back and enjoy. On my blog you'll find musings, fond memories, and even some ramblings of all my life has given me (and a weekly cocktail recipe!) I'm a stay-at-home mom of four very different children who have me so busy I often forget to make note of what they're teaching me. My hubby of 16 years (this coming August) has walked with me on a path of both steady deck boards and quicksand, always holding my hand tightly, pulling me along. We are a family doing our best to grow. We may not always appear sane and folks probably question our methods often but we're making it...of course drinks with swizzle sticks always help!