Friday, August 29, 2008

Does Speed Stick make a candle?

My house is in a current state of STALE, meaning that it smells like a combination of what we had for dinner last night and dog--only we don't have a dog, so it's in need of smelling fresh.

So, today after I dropped off L and O at school, K and I went candle shopping. I'm a big fan of Beanpod candles because not only do they smell great and last a long time, but they don't give off that black junk that makes my walls look like the inside of a chimney. As I was trying to figure out which one I wanted, I was letting Kate sniff a few.

I handed her one and she took a big whiff and then said, "Yuck! That's smells like Daddy's armpits."

Puzzled, since I don't think that Beanpod makes a candle in B.O., I said, "What are you talking about?"

"It smells like Daddy's armpits," she explained, "after he puts on his 'oderant. I don't like it."

And so, we bought very un-deodorant smelling candles because we can't have our house smelling like armpits.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Painted Shirts

Tomorrow, my babies will be starting Kindergarten.

My silly, smiley, smart, once "weighed less than a big roast" babies. Let's remember with a picture, shall we?

This was taken the day we were finally all going home from the hospital at the same time. What a wild ride we were about to begin.

One of the things they need for school is a paint shirt. Instead of buying a plastic smock, I bought big t-shirts. I did this with J as well and I decorated it with his name and designs, so that it was more fun. His paint shirt came home from Kindergarten with paint smudges and spots all over it. Now he has a wonderful reminder of his creations in Kindergarten because I'm a sentimentalist and cannot throw it away. So, here are L and O's t-shirts that will see them through this, their first year of school. These aren't great pictures because I stood on a chair to take them, hit my head on the light above me, felt woozy and almost fell off.

I love you both and I hope you feel that love every time you wear your shirt.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Big Girls Don't Cry

Last night while we were eating dinner, the subject of shots was brought up. More specifically, the fact that L and O were going to RECEIVE shots today at their doctor's appointment was discussed at length.

Immediately, O started crying so hard she couldn't eat. It was a mess. We all tried to comfort her by saying things like, "It only hurts for a minute!" or "Compared to all the surgeries you've had, this is nothing!"

She wasn't convinced. And then her baby sister chimes in, "Well, if I were going to have shots, I wouldn't cry. I would laugh. Remember that song Big Girls Don't Cry that Mommy makes us listen to in the van? You're a big girl."

Her wisdom at only three years old astounds me sometimes, but I figured a lot of her confidence was bolstered by the fact that I had told her she didn't need to have shots.

I was wrong.

Today we went to the appointment and the doctor first listed all the shots L and O would have. Then she paused for a moment and said, "Um, from my records, K is overdue on a couple as well."

Suddenly, I remembered my error. I had postponed her MMR and chicken pox because I was being a paranoid spaz and asked our doctor if we could wait until K was a little older to give them. That wasn't a problem until at the next check up she was sick, so she couldn't get the shots and then I forgot. Suddenly, I started to panic. THREE kids getting shots at the same time and I had no back-up help? Was I crazy?

So we broke the news to her and I expected tears and a lot of them. There tears, but they were all from O. K bravely sat on the table, stuck out her little, scrawny arm and said, "I won't cry."

And she didn't. Her sister; however, more than made up for it. She cowered in the corner and sobbed her eyes out claiming we were all "so mean" and we just "didn't understand how afraid she was". Oh, we understood alright, especially after it took the nurse and me to hold her down while the other nurse gave her the shots. She is currently walked around with her arms glued to her sides claiming she cannot move them to carry anything--specifically toys that need to go to her room, but she IS able to raise them to put food in her mouth. Interesting...

I don't know where she gets this dramatic behavior0--certainly not from moi.

It's been a long day. I think I would rather get all 10 shots myself than to take two 5 year olds and a 3 year old to get shots.

I need a nap.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Aging gracefully

Growing up, I had all girl cousins. There were seven of us and this was both the delight and torture of my Nana's life. She loved to brag to everyone about "her grandbabies," but since we were all girls, and she had a hard time keeping our names straight in a hurry, she would often just start at the top and work her way down to the person she needed.

It wasn't unusual for her to holler through the house, "Dorrell, Debbie, Dina, Heather, come to the table; the food's ready."

This is what we still continue to tease her about--well we also tend to tease her about her love for the word S@#%. Seriously, it's a hilarious topic of conversation in our family--how Nana, when she doesn't think anyone is listening and something doesn't go right she'll say, "Well, s$#% fire!"

I don't know the origin of such a phrase. Could it be her Alabama upbringing, or is this just an Evelyn creation? Either way, it's safe to say I've never seen anyone s@%$ fire and all I can say about that is OUCH.

This evening my sweet grandparents were here visiting. The older I get and the older they get, the more I appreciate each and every visit no matter how short it may be. I find myself watching out more and more protectively of them. The roles are reversing and I often caution them to drive carefully. When they got ready to leave, Nana missed the step in our garage and would've taken a nasty fall if she hadn't fallen into my mom who caught her. It's funny that at the beginning of our lives we fall a lot and everybody worries and once we're old, everybody worries that we'll fall a lot. Anyway, after she tried to laugh it off by saying that she was too busy talking to pay attention to the step, I noticed exactly why she almost fell. Was it the step? Probably, but it almost might've had something to do with the three inch heels on her sandals.

No, I'm not kidding. My 85 year old grandma was wearing sandals with three inch heels. Who does she think she is? Paris Hilton?

"Nana!" I said shocked, "Your shoes are so high! Don't you find them difficult to walk in?"

She looked back at me and smiled, "Oh, do you like them? I've noticed that it's the style now-a-days...heels with slacks, so I figured why not?" (side note: who still calls pants slacks, anyway?)

Why not? Can you say BROKEN HIP? TWISTED ANKLE? FRACTURED VERTEBRAE? That's why not!

AHHHH! This just adds to my list of worries. Why can't she be a granny who wears sensible shoes with gripping soles and laces?

But, I didn't say anything to her because I realized that part of the reason that Nana is still so active and with it is because she refuses to believe she's old. She calls people in their 70's old men and women! We've stopped pointing out to her that someone who is 70 could technically be her child because she loves to think young. And, I guess if wearing shoes that look like she bought them at Forever 21 make her feel young, then more power to her.

As long as she doesn't start wearing mini-skirts.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

I see London, I see France, I see O's underpants

I discovered today that I had maggots in our outside trash cans. Yes, I said maggots. Excuse me while I throw up.

Anyway, while I was washing out the trash cans with bleach and then lots and lots of Pinesol, my dear daughter decided to come outside and join me. When I walked to the front yard for a minute, she decided to soak herself in the water from the hose. I didn't really care, but told her that once she was done giving herself a shower, she needed to go into the garage and take off her clothes before entering the house. "Sure!" she said.

I guess I never told her that she should put clothing back on and in her 5 1/2 year old mind, that meant it was perfectly fine to trapse around the neighborhood in her underware because a few minutes later when I was across the street talking to my neighbor, suddenly, my neighbor starts laughing. I turn around to see O running out the front door with nothing on but her High School Musical panties.

"Hi Mommy!" she yelled. "I took off my wet clothes!"

Fortunately, my neighbor has 4 grown children and now has 8 grandchildren, so she is not shocked at all by public nudity. In fact, last week her granddaughter ran down the driveway to wave at me without a stitch of clothing on at all. However, the lawn service that was at my OTHER neighbor's house was not quite so accustomed to seeing naked children running around. They literally stopped what they were doing and watched as O flashed the neighborhood. They didn't have the look of pervert written on their faces; they were genuinely horrified that this little girl was in her skivies.

Oh to me young again and not care if people see you in your underware. I'd be mortified if anyone saw me in mine.

Monday, August 4, 2008

The Piano

As a little girl, I wasn't naturally athletic. Maybe this was due to the fact that my dad died when I was 7, leaving my mother to navigate the world of t-ball and such, or more likely, it's because I have zero athletic genes in my body.

What I did long to do was play the piano and dance. For many years, I took lessons for both. Once my mom married my step-father and we moved to Smalltown USA where the nearest dance studio was 30 minutes away, I had to quit. I still kept up with piano and loved it.

I wasn't the type that needed to be hounded to practice. I love to practice and I love to play. Then one day in my junior year of high school, my parents decided I needed to be more challenged and sought out to find me a teacher who would groom me into the piano virtuoso they wanted me to be.

Yes, I said that THEY wanted me to be because while I loved to play and learn something new, I didn't really enjoy performing all that much. This was the source of much contention between my parents and me. They couldn't understand how someone who had this talent wouldn't want to show everyone, and I couldn't understand why I just couldn't play for my enjoyment. At any rate, I was signed up to take piano lessons from a man in our nearest big town who was interesting to say the least.

First of all, he was an excellent pianist. He played with a local symphony, played with well known musicians from around the world, and had an overwhelming desire to share his knowledge with his students. Because he was such a busy man, he had six only six or seven students at a time. Three were always adults that were his friends that had begged him to teach them and the other four were hand picked, fully auditioned, high school students.

I couldn't believe I had to audition for a piano teacher to see if I was "worthy" enough to learn from him, but I did it. His life was consumed by piano, his living room contained two grand pianos and an enormous stereo system on which to listen to various pieces of music during lessons. I sat down at this audition and played an entire movement of a Mozart sonata, a Beethoven sonata, and the ever popular Fur Elise. As I was playing, he was typing on his word processor notes and comments of what I was doing while I played. At the end of my audition he hit PRINT and the machine vomited out his thoughts on me.

My fingernails were too long and painted. That was a no-no.

I didn't "feel" the music as much as I should. I needed to work on being a performer and not just a player. (Duh, I didn't want to be a performer.)

My fingering was off in certain places.

There were other suggestions and things he didn't like, but you get the drift. I realized then that I didn't want to do this any more. It wasn't fun, but considering he didn't really seem to like me, I figured I was in the clear. Imagine my surprise when he told me, "I would pleased to have you as a student. Please come on Wednesdays at 5:00."


And so it was for the next two years, I sat in his living room at a piano with my now short, unpainted fingernails while he sat at another with his trusty word processor at his side. I began hating piano. I would still play at home, but I tried to avoid the pieces he had given me to do. Finally, they would call to me and the thought of disappointing this man was too much for me to bear, so I would practice and practice and practice.

He began talking to my parents about setting up auditions for me at various universities into their music departments. I felt like throwing up. Still, I never said anything to my parents.

Then I became a senior and it all changed.

I broke up with my long time boyfriend that my parents loved and started dating around before finally beginning to seriously date a guy that they would've loved to run over. I wanted more freedom. I wanted to make my own decisions. Most of all, I wanted to stop playing the piano.

It was spring of 1991, and it was time for solo and ensemble contest at my school. I always did a piano solo and this year I was playing something by Grieg. I had practiced and was prepared and there was no reason why I shouldn't have received a first, but I tanked it. I didn't prepare my music with the measure numbers as was required. I rushed through the piece. I didn't perform, I just played--and not very well I might add. I literally hit wrong notes on purpose. It was embarrassing and I received a 4th.

I did all of this to prove a point. I wanted my parents to finally know that I didn't want to be a performer. I didn't want to major in music in college. My mom finally told me I could quit, but I had to be the one to tell my teacher. Not thinking twice about it, I called him up and told him I was done. He responded by sending me a 2 page letter on the many way I had wasted his time the past two years and how I was making the biggest mistake of my life by not continuing to persue my life with the piano.

I didn't feel any remorse about this decision until last night. My piano is still at my parents' house due to the act that we never have enough able bodied men around to move the crazy thing to our house, so last night I decided to play when we were at my parents' house. Maybe it's because I'm getting older, but it seemed really hard. Like an aging athlete, what was once so easy, was now difficult and I realized now, 18 years later, that I made a terrible mistake. I know I made a good decision to quit the lessons that I so hated, but I shouldn't have turned by back on the piano entirely. So, I told Mike last night that next weekend the piano is coming to our house. I will start playing again and I will teach my children to play the piano...but only on their terms.