Thursday, February 25, 2010

The children are back from Vermont.

And I think it's likely their grandparents miss them.

K. misses this:

But seems very happy to be home, especially as I manned the children for three nights so he could recoup a bit.

My sister's still here! Longest visit ever! Really great, except yesterday she was felled by The Stomach Virus; body count, not including K and Annaliese, TEN so far. My apologies and thanks to everyone in contact with my family lately.

As for me? Well, I am restored. A better mama in every way now that I'm not so frickin' tired, and determined to stay that way.

More later.

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Friday, February 19, 2010

A Belated Birthday to my Sweetheart

K. does not tend to have great (emotionally) birthdays. Who knows why, but he spends the day kind of funky, and even the cookies I make him and the gifts on his plate don't cheer him up all that much.

Yesterday, he turned 29. I met him when he was 19, and wearing this same jacket:

He was working his way through school, substantially poorer than my prep-school boyfriend, subsisting at times on mango chunks and the candy at his aunt's office.

Ten years later, he's supporting our family and my ambitions. He's built a cabin and most of a building and finished a house. He's a wonderful father, the real kind, who gets up in the middle of the night and makes dinners and accompanies me to the pediatrician.

I'm just really proud of him.

And so it's ok that he had the best birthday ever yesterday, entirely without me, in which he went four-wheeling through our property in VT, made a cup of tea in our cabin, and sat watching the mountains next to a roaring fire. That's just FINE. DON'T EXPECT COOKIES NEXT YEAR.

Happy Birthday, sweetie-pie!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Alright. I admit it. I'm ready for my family to come home.

Amazing how three nights of enough sleep can un-do the hysteria of two years without, by the by.

But I talked to my babies on Skype last night. Annaliese ran around showing me her toys and her rocking horse and Caspian threw his arms up and chortled with glee and tried to climb inside the computer. I miss them.

The children seem to be having fun; Annaliese went sledding for the first time, Caspian's got a walkabout which he really loves-- but K's family is dropping like flies with the stomach bug that Annaliese, then Kagan, had for the first 24 hours. Who knows who got it first, but my bets on K, who went out to dinner with a guy in San Antonio TThursday night who couldn't make it to the business meeting on Friday because he had it. The business trip that just keeps on giving.

Anyhow, both his sisters, his mother, and now his father are ill. Isn't that just terrible? Hopefully it'll pass within 18 hours like it did for Annaliese and K, and they can salvage the last few days.

In the mean time.... I'll be resting up, because I'm pretty sure K's going to come home much in the state I did from my VA trip back in the fall: wild-eyed, a little hysterical, and in need of twelve hours of peace and quiet slumber.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Staycation, Morning #1

I slept like the dead last night. Got in bed around nine with a cup of tea, a book, and a few gingersnaps; read until I got tired; shut off the light and woke up seemingly 5 minutes later. It was light outside. In fact, it was nine o'clock.

It was fabulous.

Meanwhile, up in Vt... I wasn't worried about Annaliese on this trip at all. She's a complete Papa's girl. She was thrilled about going on an airplane. She gave me a brusque little kiss at the airport because her daddy told her to and kept her eyes fixed on the sky, looking for more airplanes.

And then she got on the plane and threw up, and has kept throwing up. Hopefully, cross your fingers, it'll be better today; K told me she's so far kept her breakfast down. And if she gets a little sleep and her tummy doesn't hurt, I know she'll have a ball, but right now... she's wearing her Papa out and making her Mama worry from long-distance.

Caspian, the one I was worried about since he's definitely a Mama's boy and also just a lot younger, has done just fine and seems thrilled by the VT crowd.

Go figure.

Wish K. better luck. He's the prince of Papas, that's for sure.

Friday, February 12, 2010

K's been gone, and it's been cold.

Annaliese loves painting. She paints polkadots, handprints, and strangely, avocados. Strangely because she hates avocado.

Paints courtesy of Grandmama, Apron courtesty of Godpapa. Lucky little kid.

Every day we go pick Annaliese up in the afternoon, and it is increasingly clear that it is Caspian's favorite part of the day. He adores his big sister. No matter how cranky he is, he cheers up as soon as we get in the car, cos he knows he's gonna see his best friend soon.

She likes him too.

Sometimes she picks his hand up and shakes it, saying "How do, baby, how do?" She puts stickers on the end of his nose, kisses him, tickles him, and occasionally pushes him onto the floor for a full-on body hug. Which he adores.

Cuteness, n'est pas?
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Sunday, February 07, 2010

Days Like Today

All we did of note today was go to church, take a nap, and clean house.

But it was so nice.

The kids... ah, the kids.

What humbles me and amazes me and thrills me most about being a mother is how little I have to do with my children's existence. It is as if they dropped from the sky, and finding out all the strange and marvelous things about them as they grow into people is so frickin' amazing.

Some people have children to take care of them in their old age. Some for their own immortality. Some to save a relationship.

Those reasons seem... MAJORLY flawed to me.

I don't even know why I wanted to have kids; I just did, there wasn't anything all that defined about it. It wasn't an experience I was willing to die without, and I am pretty good at taking note at those must-do calls and heeding them. K's the same way, so we had us some babies.

My favorite thing about being Annaliese and Caspian's Mommy (as I am increasingly known) is not the Eskimo kisses and how Annaliese asks me to sing her songs every night in the rocking chair, little arms wrapped around my neck and hair against my cheek. It's not the body-shaking smile that breaks across Caspian's face every time I walk in a room or he wakes from a nap.

It's the mere fact of them. That Annaliese and Caspian are HERE. I am so very glad my children are in the world. And it is increasingly satisfying to watch them grow up. I never, ever would have thought that an eight-month-old and a toddler could be entire entities in themselves, souls and all, but they are.

Motherhood has taught me two things simultaneously: one, that no one can do it for me (this became very apparent during labor, actually; a transition that I've found key, and a major reason I'm glad I went drugs/operation-free); and two, that it's not all about me. Motherhood has made me more confident in my decisions and more comfortable balancing the needs of others along with my own.

But that's not why I'm the most glad. (Neither is watching K. as a father, though he is an absolutely brilliant one and the amount that my heart cracks open watching him with our children is often actually painful.)

It's that they are here. Two little people the world never knew it needed.

Saturday, February 06, 2010

The Children Who Would Not Nap, In Pictures

After an hour... I said fine and turned on Finding Nemo. Crackers were provided. And all was well for over an hour, well past Nemo's escape from the aquarium.

Then things began to unravel. There was crying. Finger-sucking. Blanket-clutching. Frantic pleas to be picked up and NOT to go to bed.

I didn't listen. Put them in bed, turned on the music box, and closed the door to them both wailing.

By the time the music stopped....

their eyes were closed.

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We didn't take a single pic of the kids this week, just of this ginormous egg that came out of the chickens. HUGE. I went to break it open for dinner a few nights ago and inside was one completely normal yolk and...ANOTHER EGG.

Nature is weird yo.

Right now, it is Saturday afternoon and the children are long ago supposed to be napping. Instead I can hear Annaliese running around squealing, no doubt climbing on the crib, making faces at her brother, who instigated all this by steadfastly refusing to fall asleep and yodeling instead.

Next Saturday, I am taking my family to Memphis and putting them ALL ON A PLANE. Then I am going to drive home and spend five days completely by myself before my sister comes for a girls' weekend.

People's reaction to this plan varies. "You'll miss them," I hear a lot. "You won't be able to stand it."

That's the nicest one... ANOTHER, who shall go NAMELESS, said, "what will people think?" and "mothers shouldn't abandon their children."


In the last 25 months, I have spent 2 nights in Birmingham, 2 nights in Columbus on a business trip, and 2 nights with my husband in a hotel (a year apart, but adding up to 2). That's 6 nights out of well over 800 nights total, except you have to subtract the Columbus 2 because I was breastfeeding and got woken up by my boobs to pump.

So yeah, I'm going to miss them. And then I will shrug it off, because you know what? Seven days to myself sounds like sheer bliss and I am not going to spend them pining for what I have, enjoy, and love 99.9% of the time.

What IS it with people and their expectations of mothers anyhow? We put more *shit* on women in this country, about every facet of our life-- from relationships to weddings (God, the weddings) to pregnancy to birth choices to breastfeeding to parenting to... everything.

I am completely thrilled about my children leaving for a week. They'll be with K-- a parent to them in every sense of the word. They'll spend some serious time with their VT family. And they'll learn how many people love them, besides me, in this world.

As for the fact that K. will be gone on Valentine's Day? Well, no box of chocolates could say I love you like taking two kids on two planes for a whole week.

I definitely owe him big for this one.

(Squealing continues. I'm not going in until the door opens, though.)

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Night Night Mommy.

Annaliese is talking. She tells bonafide stories, lately often about a classmate named Reece who seems to bump his head an awful lot. The verb conjugations tend to be shaky ("daddy go sleeping", "no like oranges/dinner/water/Mommy") and we've yet to hear an "a" or "the". Anger renders her a little incoherent ("No!!!!!! No, Dido, no eat BOWL!").

But she TALKS. Today we found out she'd outgrown her sneakers when she said her feet hurt and "no like shoes, Mommy."

It's super fun. I watch in complete wonder as my little stranger methodically moves the trashcan next to the sink, climbs on top of it, turns the light on, turns the cold water tap on, pushes up her sleeves, washes her hands, turn the cold water tap off, turns the light off, and climbs carefully back down.

She's officially a Big Girl, at barely two. There's another little girl in our church who is two days older than Annaliese and sits on her mother's lap during the entire service, sleeping and looking around and sucking on her pacifier. I know I'm a proud competitive mama, but Annaliese seems so much older.

In Second-child news, Caspian is still the sweetest boy around who does nothing but fall on his head while the other babies crawl laps around him. Sigh. If he wasn't so unhappy with staying still, I wouldn't mind, but his urge to propel with no idea what to do when he's moving is getting old real quick. As is his new habit of waking the household at 5:30am.

The store progresses. Let's hope it flies, my friends, let's hope it flies. In any case, the job of figuring out sources for all the stuff I want to sell is beyond fun. K's down there now, starting my counter, which doesn't entirely make sense to me, but he assures me that on April 1st, I'll be able to take possession and spend a month getting everything how I need it to be before opening.

He's been incredibly supportive. We get ourselves in hot water a bit, what with the "go for it!" attitude, but there are no words for what it's like to be married to someone who not only gets YOU, but gets what you see.

We have a *lunch date* tomorrow. As there was a board meeting Monday and tonight he works and tomorrow night he's going to a movie with a grieving friend, it's very exciting that we'll get to sit down and see each other over a meal no one has to clean up.

But anyhow, have officially reached the rambling phase. Off to eat a little dinner, read a little Louise Penny, and then tackle the dishes.