Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Skinamarinky Dinky Doc

Yesterday, as I was finishing up my "Finding the Happy" blog, my kids put on this performance. Last night, as the day was winding down, I learned about the passing of one very remarkable Americana musician, Doc Watson. Matt and I danced to his music when we were falling in love at MerleFest, and we played his song, "My Special Angel," for our first dance at our wedding. His music has a special place in our lives, and, were it not for that music...these little ones might not be here right now. So, with that said, I dedicate this song to Doc. Rest well, kind sir.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Finding the Happy

In light of my big, huge rant yesterday, I realize that some of my pals out there may think I've lost my mind and that I'm one big angry mess. Well, while that may be partially true...I'm not completely destroyed. I know that there is a whole lot to be thankful for. I have awesome kids, a great husband, and a nice (albeit small) home. I have a wonderful family and delicious friends. But, everyone reaches a breaking point. Everyone. I think it's a damn shame when we feel forced to keep so much frustration bottled up inside, so I was merely letting out some of that pressure...trying to let my people know that they aren't the only ones who feel like they might explode some of the time and that it's okay to vent.

Today, I've focused on the good stuff...looking past the things I so desperately want to change or improve upon or have control over...I've sought out the humor, because, as we all know, life is way better when we're able to find the happy. So, here are some of the things that I appreciate about my life on this day:
  • My kids. They know I've got a lot going on...and just when I thought that they might kill each other from my lack of focus on them, just when I thought that they don't hear a thing I tell them or that they haven't absorbed a thing I've tried to teach them, they go and make me a book about the ways they think I'm special. And, if having your kids tell you that you're exciting, loveable, loyal, adorable, a good reader and cook, in addition to being pretty when you know you look like a humpback gorilla doesn't put a smile on your face, there's no hope. P.S. I am aware that the 16 was crossed out to make 15.
  • Ella's rendering of Matt on her dry erase board. Um? Awesome.
  • Summit playing his version of Adele's 'Rumor Has It' on the guitar and singing along. Off-key never sounded so good.
  • The dog being on her best behavior while I gave her a flea bath. (That could have ended up one of two ways.)
  • Getting to actually speak to Ella's neurologist's assistant on the fourth call this morning rather than getting her voice mail for the fourth time. And, it's good that I did, seeing as how she lost my message from 8 a.m. How about that! Neurotic behavior has its rewards.
  • Boxing up all of our winter stuff to make more room in our bedroom closet. (The house BETTER be sold by the time I need sweaters and jeans again. If it's not, I'm abandoning ship.)
  • Listening to Ella explain to Summit why it's not a good idea to put an ice pack in his underwear. (Why couldn't he figure this out on his own?)
  • Having the good sense to know what not to wear while I'm carrying an extra humam in my body. Being in a bathing suit is quite a challenge when pregnant, and I'm really thankful that I didn't look like this at any of the Memorial Day celebrations that we were part of this past weekend. Clearly Tori Spelling didn't get the memo. (Monokinis are not pregnant lady friends.) In Summit's words: "That is inappropriate." Yes, my little man, it is.

See. I do know that life isn't so bad. Do I expect to have more freak outs before this baby comes? Absolutely. Do I know that I'll find myself miserable and annoyed and angry? Sure. But, I know where the happy is. I know what's important.

Monday, May 28, 2012

a major rant: not for cry babies

because i'm not one to shy away from the truth, i've got to be completely honest here. i am freaking out. freaking out. despite the fact that i'm a few days away from being 9 flipping months pregnant, the world in which we live has been a ridiculously exhausting, emotionally challenging, mind bending rollercoaster. and, frankly, i'm freaking over it. i've done a damn good job of keeping the peace, keeping a smile on my face, keeping up a happy demeanor for everyone to make sure that our world is stable and normal. however, i have reached the end of my rope. my breaking point is here, and i am broken.

i'm having a baby in a month. a baby. a beautiful baby girl. i love her. i adore her. i can't wait to meet her. and i am completely unprepared for her. completely. unprepared. and i'm pissed off about it. i have no room for her. no space for her. not a single drawer for her. she will live in my room. her belongings will be minimal and stored in a tupperware container that can be easily removed from sight in the event that someone wants to see our house in the very unlikely chance that they may make an offer. i have not a single stuffed animal for her. not a single blankie for her. not a single idea for a nursery or something that i would hang on a wall for her, something that i would give her one day, many years from now, to let her know how excited i was for her arrival. how prepared i was for her.

this house. this freaking house has been on the market for 5 months. 5 months ago, cleaning and perfecting things weren't such a challenge. 5 months later, the case is not the same. i'm tired. i hurt. i'm sick of making things perfect in the unlikely event that today will be the day that someone actually wants to buy this pain in my ass. and with each passing day, there seems to be less room for the things in our family. there's less room. and there's less appreciation for how much i am required to do to maintain the dwindling amount of space that we have. i should be going through the attic, finding things for the baby. if i could fit in the attic, i'd have no room for the crap i need to pull out. i should be going through all of our things, the kids rooms, the closets, packing up the non-essentials. i should be minimizing the stuff that we have now, perhaps putting it into storage to make the house appear more spacious and less full... i wish i had the energy and patience and time to do this stuff. i should have some help to accomplish these goals. i should. i wish it were important to someone other than me.

i also have two other children to take care of. ella and summit need me now, maybe more than ever. their world is about to be turned upside freaking down, and they know it. i can tell that they're nervous. i can tell that they are having some internal stuff with everything that is going on. there is a lot of pressure for them to deal with that, having a mommy who is tired and stressed out, a home on the market, and a life that is not so easy. it's not fair for them, and i'm so anxious for them.

so, what would i expect to be happening? i don't know. but, i know i'm tired. i know i'm sick of putting on a happy face all the time. i am sick of doing it all on my own. i am too far invested in the selling of this house to turn back now. too far. and there's not enough space for us as it is. we have to get this over with. we have to. we have a baby coming. i'm torn up about the fact that she'll have her first baby things in a damn tupperware container. that sucks. sucks. sucks. it breaks my heart. i should have prepared better. this house should have been sold before she was conceived. i should have known better.

on top of all of this, matt wants me to drive two and a half hours to asheville to see bob weir tomorrow night. seriously. i need to buy a baby swing, and he wants to spend money on a concert? seriously? he expects me to go hang out at a show with a bunch of wasted hippies. me, stone sober and huge, trying to protect my belly from stumbling drunks, and completely exhausted? seriously? does that sound like fun for me right now? thanks for the consideration. i'll sit this one out.

and then there's my mother. she's worried about me. she doesn't know what's wrong. for real? how can she NOT know what's wrong? how do women NOT understand instinctively what may be going on with another woman, specifically their daughters? matt wants me to call her to let her know i'm okay. i won't. because i'm not okay. sorry if she's worried, but i've got a little more to think about than if my mom is concerned about me. if she wants to stop worrying, i have a few suggestions. i'm sick and tired of basically doing all this by myself.

while i'm certain that many people would not ever think of posting something so raw and un-pretty, i really couldn't think of anything else to write. i suppose i could follow the age-old advice of "if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all." i suppose, but i didn't. i think it's okay, even good, to rant. women are expected to be perfect and beautiful and have it all together all the time. and, that's just not fair. it's not acceptable. life can be quite a bitch, and women letting it be known that their worlds are too heavy doesn't make them failures. it doesn't make them bitches. it makes them honest.

the end.

Friday, May 25, 2012


...I'm a mermaid, and you're a merman...
...this toothbrush is a magic wand...
...this board is a magic ride...
...the water is full of blood... have to rescue me...
...the pool is way deep in the ocean...
...we have to go to the queen and king's castle and free all the slaves...
...I was a human...
Turn me back into a mermaid...
...I can free them with my smash...
Turn me really strong...
Turn me really big... we defeat the queen...
Give me all the power... you have all the powers... we have it all in the whole wide world... saw me defeating her like crazy...
...I turned into the evil king...
...I got knocked out...
Nice try...
Why are your lips purple?
Snap out of it. turned back to normal...
...but I really was the evil king...
Pretend it was the morning.

This is the conversation between my Ella and Summit yesterday in the pool. Can you imagine what it looked like to them? Do you remember? To live in a world where imagination is so's the time of their lives. Do you remember?

Thursday, May 24, 2012

His small hand.

These past couple of days have been tough. Really tough. I don't know how it got to this point, but when I realized it had, it brought me to my knees.
Yesterday morning, it hit me. As my little boy, my little guy, my Summy Poopers slipped his hand into mine on our way into his classroom. His small hand. That small action, which has become so commonplace, so much like reached up for mine as it has every time we've ventured into his school for the past three years...and it pushed forth a million and a half heart flutters, a million and a half heart aches. It was the end of the road. The end of his time in preschool.
I'm not one of those moms who likes to drop her kids off at school. First of all, I don't like waiting in car pool lines. Most importantly, I love taking the time to walk them inside their classrooms. I love it. When Ella started kindergarten, that was one of the hardest parts for me...knowing that walking the kids to class is frowned upon and that it would end that brief moment of every morning that I loved so much with her. But, it made me cherish it that much more with Summit. And, so, every day I've walked him to his classroom. It's a small space of time that belongs to just him and I. A small walk that we have with his hand in mine and us just being together. I relish in that moment. And, I relish in watching him write his name to sign in and telling him "I love you" one last time before I leave him for preschool and hearing him say it back to me. So small, but so big. So sweet.

I know next year I won't get those. Today, my baby boy graduated from preschool. From beginning to end, the experience was perfect. Along the way, he has made some super friends, and had some super experiences. I couldn't be more pleased with how well he was taught and loved by all of his teachers, especially Mrs. Dawn and Mrs. Dani, who were Ella's teachers three years before Summit. Truly, they are outstanding. Outstanding. I will miss them as much as Summit has told me he will.
But, I'm so happy for him, so proud of all he has learned and all the ways he has developed. The director, Jane, said this moment was bittersweet for us parents, and she couldn't be more spot on. I feel today like my heart has been torn into a million pieces for the moments that I won't get back...but I also feel so very fortunate to have a child who is growing into such an amazing person.

Congratulations, Summit! I love you the most!

Monday, May 14, 2012

How's that for a lesson?

Here's a little exchange that took place between me and my 5-year-old little fella earlier today:

Me: Summit, put Mercy Lou in her cage.

Summit: What's the magic password?

Me: Do it or I'll take your DS for a week.

Summit: I was looking for 'please.'

Ouch. How's that for a lesson? I take so much time telling them the importance of saying 'please' and 'thank you' and all that... At least he's paying attention. And reminding me that I need to pay attention, too.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Generations of Gamecocks

This past Saturday was a big day. Huge. My baby brother graduated from the University of South Carolina.
It could have been a big deal because of the simple fact that my brother was up early, really early for him, at like 8 am, to attend his commencement ceremony. It could have been a big deal because of the incredibly boring successful commencement speaker from JP Morgan *yawn*. (But, this was definitely not it...not when the girls' private school, Columbia College, had our former president, Bill Clinton, speaking...especially not with the innumerable jokes that go along with the irony of old Bill speaking to all those women...)
But, seriously, this was a major deal. Not because he's the first in our family to get a degree from USC. Nope. But, because he isn't the first in our family to get a degree from USC. On this Saturday, my baby brother became a third-generation Gamecock. My Popa was the first to receive a diploma from the best university in the state way back when in 1950. My dad and mom followed suit some thirty years after him. And, now, 30 more years later, John Wesley has earned a bachelor's degree from the University of South Carolina. 
So, my parents and I got to see my baby brother put on his graduation attire. We got to see him place on his finger the same gold ring that my Popa placed on his own hand 62 years before and wore with pride until he passed away. We got to see him walk across that stage, honoring the culmination of hard work and years of determination. And it was a big deal.  
And, we are all so proud of him. Congratulations, John Wesley!

A Cake a Day..

There are certain things at which I am not very good. Waiting in lines. Driving slowly. Ironing. Being in a good mood in the morning. Admitting I'm wrong. There are others, of course. During the past week, my family and I have been able to experience one of the most unfortunate of my ungood abilities: baking. Now, don't get me wrong; I like to cook. Sometimes I even fancy myself as a half-way decent chef. Howevah, baking is NOT part of that half-way decency. But, as the first week in May would have it, I either bake some or spend a lot on baked goods.

The first of May is a most special day: my dad's birthday. Because Summit had a ball game that night, we celebrated with some yummy cupcakes that a mom of one of our baseball players brought to the field, and reserved the next evening for my dad. Summit and I were charged with dinner patrol and cake-baking duty. Summy selected a most delicious strawberry cake mix (you didn't think I'd actually make a cake from scratch, did you?) with perfectly whipped chocolate icing. Thanks to Pillsbury's secret ingredients, the cake came out tasty...and it boosted confidence in this old gal. My dad seemed to enjoy it, but more than anything, I think he was happy to have his family gathered together, enjoying each other's company, and laughing. 
On the third of May, we honored our coaches pitch baseball team with a party at El Poblano and, you guessed it, another cake. This time, though, that puppy was purchased from Publix. I knew what my caking requirements would be in the coming days, and I didn't want to wear myself out....
Over the weekend, Matt's parents came to town to spend time with Summit for his big #5, and they, being the smart grandparents that they are, bought a fabulous icecream cake. Summit loved it!
Summit's birthday is May 7th. Because I've never been one for homemade cakes, I started to feel a little inadequate...seeing how awesome all the other moms are on Facebook with their super-creative birthday parties and exquisite cakes will do that to a store-bought mama. Armed with my semi-success from my dad's cake, I resolved that for my little guy's true birthday celebrations, I'd be that mom.

For Summit's school party, I decided cupcakes with sprinkles were a perfect hard can cupcakes be, after all? Well, they can be messy and complicated, that's for sure. Especially when you can't find your regular cupcake pan and you're forced to make 58 mini cupcakes rather than the simple 24 the box recommends. When I pulled those things out in his preschool classroom, I was very thankful that the other moms weren't there to see how the things had all spilled over on top of each other in the car on the the blue crystal sprinkles had melted in the white cream-cheese they all of a sudden weren't so pretty. Luckily, the boys didn't care, and they happily relied on their taste buds for a simply evaluation of right on to my cupcakes.

For the family celebration, I gave the baking one more go. Thanks, again, to Pillsbury's special ingredients, the cake came out just fine. However, the cake decorating was a big fat disaster. For this cake, the birthday boy chose chocolate cake with strawberry icing. Overly confident, or just completely ignorant, I thought that writing 'Happy Birthday, Summit' would require a quick wave of the hand with my blue icing decoration. Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. Fail. After rubbing the writing four times into the pink icing, I settled on a simple 'Summit is 5' with some candles. Again, thank goodness the thing tasted better than it looked, and Summit ate a huge piece of the tie-dyed mess.

We still have one more party for the birthday boy on Saturday. One more party and one more cake. This one will be ordered. For obvious reasons. I have an incredible revived respect for the challenges that bakers face, and a renewed resolve that I should just not bake.