Saturday, November 28, 2009

The Baby Is 7

Can you still be called 'the baby' when your 7? Today I have wondered. A year older. My baby. The one I snuggled a little longer and squeezed a little tighter, because I knew she was my last. As newborn, I seemed to linger longer and smell her sweet baby breath more. I soaked it all in knowing that this baby was 'the baby'.

Today she advanced to 7. We bought her bigger clothes, bigger shoes and a bigger bike.

But yet, when I look at her, I can still remember 1. First cake, first doll, first birthday. I'm not quite sure how she moved from 1 to 7 so quickly.

We spent the day opening presents and racing go-karts. All the things you can do when you're 7.

But here she is at 2. Sitting on the table with chubby cheeks and a Fisher Price toy. Again, how did 2 become 7? I blinked my eyes and the toddler grew into a little girl.

At dinner I looked at her racing around the restaurant. She didn't listen to my incessant requests to sit and be still. Not once. When Todd asked, she stuck her tongue out at him. No more sweet newborn to squeeze and smell. No more toddler who follows the older girls around. Now she is bigger. Now she is 7.

If I look at her closely, bigger just may be better. 7 is just as sweet as 1. It's definitely sweeter than 13. And no matter what age, and no matter how many times she sticks her tongue out, 'the baby' will always be my baby. Even at 7, I linger longer and squeeze her tighter. I will for always.

Happy Birthday my Addie Bean. Thank you for being mine.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Giving Thanks

We feasted on turkey, stuffing and pie.
We shoved so much in, we thought we would cry.

With cousins we played both inside and out.
"We are grateful for family!" we wanted to shout.

This day we celebrated all we hold dear.
Through the gravy and whip cream, our blessings seemed clear.

Food and family make the perfect Thanksgiving Day.
We hope you celebrated yours in your own special way.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Bean's Bash

On top of all Thanksgiving prep, I added in a party for Addie Bean. Her birthday is on Saturday, and today she celebrated with her 3 friends. McDonald's, decorating gingerbread men with mounds of sprinkles and painting wooden Santa's. Hours packed with fun. I'm just awesome like that. It was a happy day with a little girl who is soon to be 7.

Hip, hip hooray! We celebrated Addie today!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Thanksgiving To Do

I'm a list keeper. It's the only way I can keep my brain from exploding. I write it all down and for some obsessive reason, I'm driven to check items as complete. My kids are home for the next week. Add in the weekends and you get 9 full days of sibling bliss. I'm so excited, I'm nauseous. Thank heavens cousins arrive in a couple of days.

Thanksgiving To Do List:

1. School program where I spent 90 minutes ironing costumes. Check. Cutest pilgrim. Double check.
2. I refuse to stick my hand in a turkey's privates. It's just not proper. I've convinced my sister to cook the bird. Check.

3. Last week I thought about making really cute, coordinating place card holders. But today, right this very minute, I've decided that I'm just not that kind of mom. Paper plates and cups will have to do. If you're lucky, I'll use a sharpie to write your name on your cup. Check.

4. A few days ago, my mom strongly suggested that Thanksgiving dinner be held at my house. I disagreed and told her I'd leg wrestle her for it. I'm hosting the feast. Discussion over. Check.

5. I recently sent an email to my family members dishing out assignments for the holiday. I informed my brother that he was in charge of the nature hike where we could all enjoy God's bounteous gifts. He has yet to respond. I'm sure it's because he hasn't finished mapping out the route and the various bird species along the way. I better check on this.

6. Just tonight, I checked in with Todd to make sure that he is taking off work for at least 2 days this week (I'm campaigning for 3). My throat got dry and I shut my eyes real tight when I asked. I wanted to prepare myself just in case he said he could only stay home for 1. Check.

7. I'll hit the grocery store tomorrow. So far, Coke and Hershey Bars are the only things on my list. I will probably add whip cream, Reese's Cups and Excedrin. Stocked pantry. Check.

So much to do and so little time to get it all done. But, there is one thought that keeps me going....pie, pie and more pie. Check.

Friday, November 20, 2009

When She Is Bored

Things get dicey around here when there is nothing to do. Well, let me rephrase that...when Makell thinks there is nothing to do. If the air in the house gets still and quiet, I know that trouble will fall soon. Most of the really naughty things she does somehow get blocked from my memory. But every so often, boredom spawns creativity.

Ever wonder how many hair ties and clips you could arrange in your hair? I guess Makell did too. She left it like this for quite some time. When she needed to read a book, she simply tucked the front pony tail around her ear.

She got tired of carrying Keagan. For some mysterious reason, she found a need to pull the cooler from the back of the coat closet. It makes a handy carrying case. Keagan stayed nice and fresh.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Worry Box

This is a Worry Box:

It's so tiny, it can fit in the palm of your hand. Who knew that you could hold all your worries in such a itty bitty container. Todd was given this box while at Woodbadge (his little scout sleep over). A member of his group (uh, I mean troop) is from Guatemala. He brought each person their own box. It's native. This little Worry Box has traveled far.

When you slide off the top, these little dolls are inside:

Can you imagine making these little dolls that are no bigger than your fingernail? That would give me some serious worry. But they're so cute. I find myself opening the box sometimes just to take a peek at them.

This Guatemalan Worry Box is to be used to rid yourself of worry. The keeper of the box is instructed to remove a doll for each worry and place it under your pillow at night. When you wake in the morning, the worry will be gone.

Don't you wish it was that simple? I do. Or, maybe it is, and I just make it more complicated than I should. I worry away all time and reason. I think all mothers do. We're just wired like that. I wonder why?

The other day I read the results of a recent survey that found that women are less happy than they used to be. How sad, but not all together surprising. We can't seem to stop ourselves from the worry and guilt. We promise not to take on too heavy a load, but we continue to say yes to those who ask. I wonder if the women in Guatemala are less happy? Do they lay in bed at night and review in their mind all that they haven't done right during the day? Or, do they use their Worry Box and drift calmly to sleep?

My guess is that we are all simply trying our best to get it right. Sometimes we hit our target, and sometimes we don't. Maybe we spend too much time worrying about the targets we miss instead of celebrating those we achieve.

For now, my Worry Box will have to suffice. I look at it every day, and each time I think to myself, "I'm going to need a bigger box."

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Foreign Matters

Sam is my child that is most like me. Pretty, witty, an unusually angelic voice. She gets it all from me. It's true. So, when she says or does something that is beyond the realm of what I would do, it gives me pause. It actually makes me stare at her extra long while I wonder if she is indeed my offspring.

At the age of 8 or 9, she started to veer from the path. She announced one day that she didn't want to take dance classes anymore. Instead, she wanted to play soccer. I bowed my head in shame and then proceeded to ignore her requests. I figured that she must have low blood pressure and oxygen wasn't reaching her brain. No one in their right mind would want to run outside in baggy shorts while you chase a ball. I didn't have the heart to tell her that soccer uniforms are not cute or flattering.

She persisted. I gave in. I reasoned that one round of a community league would cure her. She showed up to her first practice in her cute levi shorts with a ruffle edge. An hour later she told me that she needed soccer shorts and cleats. That one stumped me. I had no earthly idea where one would even look for such items. And cleats? Eew. So unattractive and uncomfortable. I was pretty savvy on where to buy leotards and ballet shoes. Not cleats.

Over the years she has defied logic. Well, what I consider logical. Last year she tried out and made it into an athletics class at school. It's kind of an athletes-in-training all year long. Every week they run/sprint a mile, race the stairs on the bleachers and lift weights in the weight room. She thinks it's fantastic. I look at it as torture.

Before she tried out for this class, I sat her down and had a cold, hard talk. You know, the kind of serious talk you give someone who is making a life altering stupid decision. I had to be blunt. I told her that she would get sweaty EVERY. DAY. Hair does not look pretty when it's sweaty. And, for the love of all that's cute and darling, you. will. have. to. lift. weights! That one I could barely get out. Just saying it made me slightly nauseous.

Last week, Sam was made the manager of the 7th grade girls basketball team. I asked, "So, what exactly will you do as a manager?" She responded, "I get to work out with the team, run the scoreboard, attend all the games, step in if they don't have enough players." Oh good glory.

After school today, the team has their first scrimmage. I don't even know what that word means. Scrim- what? It sounds like some kind of mini sprinkle. One that you would put on mini cupcakes. Whatever it is, she has to travel by bus to get there. I'm sure the team uses this time to bond and coordinate their outfits with their shoes. Sam will fit right in. She is soooo like me.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Joy Can Be Found In A Cookie

I hope you enjoyed your Sunday afternoon as much as we did. I know it's hard to tell, but we ate Oreos. Just a couple.

Thursday, November 12, 2009


Several happenings as of late:

I fell off the wagon. Er, I mean, the treadmill. I got off a couple of weeks ago and I can't bring myself to get back on. It started out innocently enough. I hurt my neck, so I took a mini break from exercising. I fell back into old habits. The ones that don't involve sweat or tennis shoes. I felt joy seep back into my life. It was then that I realized my treadmill was only bringing me despair. Thus, I fell off the wagon. On purpose. I'm trying to harness all my mental powers to will me back on. I'll keep you posted.


There are many things I love about Texas. There are also many that I don't. But this makes me happy:
There are more trees in Houston than people. I'm serious. It's beautiful. This live oak tree is at the entrance of my neighborhood. It's breathtaking, no matter how many times I look at it.


It's that time of year where I'm thrilled to live here. Today it was sunny and 78 degrees. Gorgeous. Mid November and we can take a walk wearing flip flops. Delightful. Go ahead and be jealous of us Texans. But just keep in mind, summertime is the equivalent of living on the face of the sun. The winter months are simply our reward for not bursting into flames in August.


Several days ago, I was at the school and I needed to talk to Makell's teacher. As I walked into the classroom, Kellie took one look at me and loudly stated, "Oh no, not that face!" My mother pride swelled and beamed. I took in the moment as her teacher stared at me with her mouth wide open. I reassured her that this was all very normal.


I'm toying with the idea of skipping Christmas. Not the day itself. Just the presents and decorations. Too much effort and money. Whose with me? If we all pinkie swear together, then our kids won't have anything to complain about. It's a group effort. All in. But, if you insist on giving a gift, I've got a treadmill for you.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

The Line Is Growing Thin

A year from now she will be in junior high. That thought makes me shiver just a bit. For many reasons. Lately, when I look at her, she just feels, well, older. The other day I found her with her hair clipped up and her music blaring to a song I had never heard.

I watched her from afar for a moment. She sang the lyrics and curled her hair. Before my eyes that line got thinner. You know the line. The one that separates girl from young woman. Little from big. That line in thinning. Pretty soon it will be hard to even see.

Several weeks ago she bounded down the stairs to show me that she had hair on her armpits. Upon close examination, I found two. She then told me that she is going to start putting on deodorant. She now keeps a post-it note by her sink and she makes a little mark on it every time she swipes her Lady's Speed Stick. So funny, this girl.

For a mother, it's somewhat soul changing when those lines of change start to blur. I seem to watch them happen with amazement and also a tinge of sadness for what has been left behind. Yet, she grows. She changes. She reaches. All three of them do. And simultaneously, I too grow and change and reach. The line grows thin, but not so much that it will completely disappear. A part of me will always see her as whole made up of each stage and part. A girl whose light brings life to mine.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

A Spoonful Of Sugar

Addie had her Veteran's Day program on Friday. She had the opening part and she performed it with flair. "Addie, smile for me":

"Uh. Try not to look constipated."

"Try again. This time, try and pretend your lips can actually move."

"Ok. One more try. Just look at me and smile normal."


On Saturday, we were here:

Mary flies. Chimney sweeps walk on walls. I'm convinced I need a nanny.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

I Know How To Spell!

Over the weekend, Makell was fretting. She explained (over and over again) that there is a new policy in 5th grade that if you don't have homework completed, enough AR points (reading), etc., you will have to stay in the office until 4:15. Then her eyes got wide as she told me that I would have to come pick her up at the school. I think she was more terrified at the thought of being seen with me than she was of doing her homework in the front office.

By Monday morning, Kellie had asked me to email her teacher at least 17 times. Because she is learning disabled, she follows a different set of rules in the classroom. She was worried that she would be required to complete everything the remainder of the class was required to do. I reassured her that she would not have to go to the office and that I would talk to her teacher.

Later that day, I logged on to read my email. I noticed one from her resource teacher. I opened it and found the following message that was sent from MY email:

makell tolled me that on Tuesday ,Thursday to go to the front office because she dose not have enaf ar points.
she tolled me that she needs 10 points or more.

The teacher responded to this email without the slightest hesitation. Did she not take a second glance at my spelling!? Did she actually think that I regularly spell 'enaf' that way? She knows me. She has talked to me in person. The fact that this email was not strange to her definitely says a lot about how I normally present myself.

I quickly replied to let her know that Makell was the original writer, not I. She found it hilarious, and then reported that my child had told her that I had asked Kellie to write the email for me. Uh....seriously? Did she take that explanation as truth? Did she at all wonder why I would start a sentence without a capital letter!?

I questioned Makell once she got home. She looked at me and said, "I almost forgot how to spell your name." For reals? There are only 4 letters in it! "Well, I was just nervous that I would have to go to the office." Alright, I understand. Good enaf.