Saturday, June 30, 2012

Movie Lines IRL

I love good dialogue.

Disney's Pirates of the Caribbean has some of the best dialogue, and great one-liners.  While imminently quotable, it's not often that I can just work "I can't bring this ship into Tortuga all by me onesie, savvy?" into normal conversation.

I really wish I remember why I was using big words around the kids this week.  I think it was when Mom spelled out "ice cream" and Small Fry knew right away--and she's not even in school yet--what Mom was talking about, which immediately put Dad on the hook for buying ice cream for everyone.  (And so we all trundled out to The Meadows for frozen custard.  But I digress.)

Clearly, we're at the end of being able to spell out words to get things past the Fries.

Now, we have to use $20 words and talk over their heads.

Poor Hubby.  He has issues with my vocabulary sometimes as it is.

Innyhoo, for whatever reason, I was having to use my mental thesaurus at this point.

I gazed fondly at my youngest child, and said in response to whatever she'd asked me, "'I'm disinclined to acquiesce to your request."

A chuckle exploded out of Dad.  "Does she know what that means?"

I channeled Geoffrey Rush again.  "'Means no.'"

Small Fry just grinned at me and giggled.

It's a good thing I wasn't serious when I said no.

Thursday, June 28, 2012


Large Fry has been darn near worn out just about every day this week.

I've been making the twins nap in the afternoons, but not Large Fry.  Yesterday afternoon she got to hang out with Boppa while both Gramma and I were out, and we've dragged her along shopping with us twice.

Come to think of it, we've probably worn out Gramma and Boppa.


By the time I get the kids jammied, pottied, teeth brushed, and night-time-prayered, and then downstairs to bed, Large is drooping like a day-old plucked dandelion.

It's almost comical.

So, tonight, I'm ushering them down the stairs.  The twins are punch-drunk tired and bouncy, and Large is wilting so much that I'm thinking she might not make it into bed before she falls asleep.

I adjusted my normal routine based on that, and followed Large into Dad's office, which has been doubling as her room this week.  She collapsed in Medium's old toddler bed, which Roo had used when Sis, BIL, and the boys were visiting earlier this year.

I pulled up the blanket around her.

Her eyes were already closed and I figured she was about two nanoseconds from being completely out.

I sang anyway.

"♫ Goodnight, goodnight.  I'll tuck you in, goodnight.  I'll kiss your cheek, so you can sleep.  Now close your eyes, goodnight. ♪"

I stroked her hair back, turned off the light, and left to go tuck in the twins, who were bouncing off the walls in the family room because they had infected each other with a serious case of the giggles.

It took five minutes to get them settled and everything set the way it needed to be.  I had just finished the song and was about to evict all monsters, giants, wombats, dragons, and snakes when Large appeared on the landing.


"What, honey?"  I tried unsuccessfully to tuck in Small Fry, who was still giggling over my attempt to kiss her cheek at the appropriate spot in the song.

"You forgot to sing to me."

That made me stand right up and grin.  "No, I didn't, honey.  I think you fell asleep while I was singing."

"Well, I didn't hear you.  Can you sing again?"

"Sure.  Go on back to bed.  I'll be right there."  I looked first at Small, and then over at Medium.  "Monsters, giants, wombats, dragons, and snakes: get out!"

"Fwiendly fings go to Gwamma an' Boppa's," Medium mumbled sleepily around her thumb.

"Go to sleep," I told them, and went in to re-tuck Large.  I pulled up the blanket again as she closed her eyes and smiled, and I kissed her cheek.

♫♪ Goodnight, goodnight, I'll tuck you in, goodnight.  I'll kiss your cheek, so you can sleep.  Now close your eyes, goodnight. ♪♫

Bleg Update

My friend Bill posted this earlier regarding the fire that destroyed their home and most of their belongings.

They have confirmed they lost two of their four cats to the fire.  (That just makes me want to cry.)  They also lost their guinea pig.  One kitty is safe and sound, and the other remains a small Waffle at large in the area around their neighborhood.

I'm sure they're all still in shock.

There's information at Bill's link for how best to help, financially or otherwise, if you're able.  (Which is better than my information in my last post, for the record.)

Otherwise, lots of love and prayers will help in the best of intangible ways.


Wednesday, June 27, 2012

A Bleg.

I learned this morning that some friends of mine lost everything (or nearly so) in a house fire last night.  The family is fine--they weren't home when the fire happened--but they're obviously devastated.

One of the family cats was found and resuscitated last night, and is bunking it out at the local SPCA for now.  Three other cats are still MIA.  I'm sure the not knowing makes it worse.

I live too far away to do something practical like let them bunk at my place (which I totally would, if I were closer).

I live too far away to do something practical like organize a good, old-fashioned burn-out shower, and collect gently used items to help them rebuild.

I do not live too far away, though, to try to offer help somehow.

I do not have the world's greatest readership, but I reach some folks.

If you've got a few spare bucks, would you mind hitting Bill's KickStarter tipjar?  He's trying to fund a book publication project, but somehow, I think living is going to be a bigger priority.  And every little bit helps.

If you pledge at the $1 level, and then change your pledge at the end, whatever is above that pledge will almost all go directly to Bill and his family.


Sunday, June 24, 2012

Total Sweetness

Large Fry climbed into my lap.

"Mommy?  I love you so much."

I kissed her head and wrapped my arms around her.  "I love you, too."

"You're my best mommy ever.  I'll always love you."

"I'll always love you, too."



"When I'm a grown-up, will you be a gramma?"

"Yes, when you have children, I'll be their gramma."

"But what if I don't have children?  Will you still be my mom?"

I stroked her hair, still damp from tonight's bath, behind her ear.

"Yes, honey, I'll still be your mom.  I'll always be your mom."

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Visitation Day...or, "Are you there, God?"

I hate visitation days.

They knock me off-kilter in a bad way.   It's even worse when Hubby isn't around to help me buffer, like now.  I am immensely grateful that my mom will drive the kids over to the visitation location and pick them up.

I do not think I could see my brother and maintain a civil tongue in my head, much less the attitude that the kids need for me to portray so that they don't pick up on my own unease.  (As much as possible, anyway.)

I find it much easier to tell the Fries to have a good time--and mean it--if I don't have to see my brother in the flesh.

So that's what happened today.

I promised I would miss them, and yes, I love them, and yes, I'll be here when they get back at lunchtime.  "But I'll miss you," Small said.  "I'll miss you, too, but you'll have fun with Daddy-S," I said.

Mom returned from dropping them off and said that Bro and his wife had arrived with a laundry basket full of water balloons for a water-balloon fight.  And clean, dry clothes for the kids to go home in.  (I could only hope, based on past experience, that they would fit.)  I was irritated, because I had swimsuits I could have sent with the girls...if Bro had just checked with me.  (But noooo, he has to do this all himself.)


I tried to amuse myself as best I could throughout the morning.  I worked some more on the scrapbook of Po memories.  I listened to music.  I read.

Mom left to pick up the Fries, and I started working on lunch--pizza muffins, since the kids have been raving to Gramma about how woooooonderful they are.

Large Fry came in first, and leaned into my side.  "Daddy S said not to be sad," she informed me in a quiet voice.  "But I am, a little.  I miss him."

I gave her a hug and said it was okay to miss him.  She schlumped over to Dad's recliner and moped for a few more minutes until I called a halt to that, recognizing it as the attention-grabbing device that it was.

The twins piled cheerily into the kitchen, arms loaded with grocery bags overflowing with...Easter baskets?  Hoo boy.  At least this time the things purchased were generally age-appropriate (if cheap), but the sheer volume of STUFF was definitely my brother's tendency to go seriously overboard if he's going to make any kind of gift gesture at all.

Part of me sternly told the rest of me that he's not deliberately trying to make me look bad, even if it's how I feel.  He's trying to make himself look good, and make himself feel like he's a good, generous, well-providing daddy (when he's not).

Dad looked at the haul of loot that the twins were eagerly showing him.  Candy.  Toys.  Big, animal-shaped, super-dooper balloons.  Toys.  12"-long pens.  Necklaces.  Candy.  "Is anyone else hearing The Beatles?" Dad observed.

Having just finished a conversation with Mom about leaving the automatic slider for the driver's side rear door turned off, my first thought was "Let It Be" (we've been having issues with that door, and we keep the auto function off for now).

"♪ Can't buy me looooove... ♫" Dad crooned.

Okay, so I'm not the only one.

And despite the (admittedly very small) logical part of me that declared I was not a poor mother for not showering my kids with a ridiculous amount of cheap gifts, I still felt very much like my position as mother and parent was under attack.  I felt like he was trying to bribe their love away from me, to him.

Even knowing Bro's tendency towards sheer overboard-ness, I was still surprised by the staggering amount of stuff my kids hauled home.  They'd left today with their stuffed animals (the $8 ones we bought at the Museum of Natural History on Monday) to show to him, and came home with ten times as much.

I finished making lunch and called everyone to the table.

Medium wanted to pray first.

"Deawr God, thank you for dis food.  Thank you for everything.  And thank you for my mommy.  I'm so glad I have her as my mommy, an' that I have her hewre.  If I didn't have my mommy here wif me, we wouldn't be a family.  So thank you for my mommy.  Amen."

I squeezed Medium's hand--I'd been holding it--and gave her a quick kiss and a hug.

"Feel better?"  Dad asked, only to be overrun by Large Fry insisting on praying, in which she thanked God for the food and then pretty much everything in the entire world.

After lunch, Large Fry found the butterfly box that her butterfly necklace had come in.  She wanted to put it away for safekeeping.  She carefully showed me how to take out the cushioned bottom, rehang the necklace, and put it all back together.  Then she closed the lid.

And handed me the box.

"Mommy, can you hold onto this and keep it safe, until we go to our real home?"

I really need to do something about these lumps in my throat.

I smiled.  "Of course."  I set the box next to my purse, on the counter, where it would be safe.

As I was hunting through the other bags of stuff for the necklace boxes for the twins, since naptime was coming and I didn't want them to be wearing them then, Large was pawing through her candy haul, looking for dessert.  She held up a box with chocolate praying hands.  If you opened the box's outer layer, before even getting to the candy, you could see the words printed inside.

"Mommy, what does this say?"

I glanced over, setting down the fine-point Sharpie that I was using to write the kids' names on their necklace boxes.

The Serenity Prayer.  In sweeping script.

Oh, crap.

"God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference."

Dad started laughing.

"Shut up, God!" I said.

Which, of course, led to a mini-theological discussion.

"God was telling her stuff that she didn't want to hear," Dad explained conspiratorially to Medium.  He looked over at me.  "I thought it was pretty clear earlier exactly what mattered."

I knew he was referencing Medium's prayer.

Okay, Lord.  Message received.

*       *        *

After the twins were settled down for a nap, and Mom and I discussed some of the other things that happened while Large Fry happily decorated Gramma's lamps with ribbon (which we found after bedtime tonight), Mom decided she wanted to go to A.C. Moore.

Large and I went along.

Without warning, this pronouncement came from the backseat:  "Daddy S says Mommy J is my real mom."

There's this scene in an episode, somewhere in the first three seasons of M*A*S*H, where a patient comes into the 4077th with an unexploded shell embedded in his body.  Hawkeye and Henry Blake have to sandbag pre-op and do a grenade-ectomy right there, without exploding the shell and taking out half the camp while they're at it.

That's about how tricky this felt.

"He's right; Mommy J is the one who gave birth to you," I agreed.  "But I'm the mommy who takes care of you all the time."  I looked back at her.  "Did Daddy S say something about me not being your real mommy?"

Large shook her head.

"Okay."  Well, that's a relief.  There would have been holy heck to pay if that had been the case.

Mom jumped in.  "Mommy J gave birth to you.  So she is your mommy.  But your mommy here--" Mom pointed me "--she's your real mommy, too.  A real mommy takes care of you when you're sick, cleans up when you throw up, makes sure you have food to eat and clothes to wear, tells you she loves you, reads to you, plays with you, and is always there for you.  That's a real mommy.  And that's all the things your mommy does for you."

By the time we got through at A.C. Moore's (where Large Fry wanted everything in sight that had Minnie or Tinkerbell on it) and Kohl's (where Large Fry was supremely disappointed that I not only failed to try on everything that she thought I should but also failed to buy it all, and yet, still had a grand time playing hide-and-seek in the clothing racks), Large was getting bored and happy to be heading home to play with her now-awake sisters. She didn't drop any more bombs.

*        *        *

But...just in case I didn't get the message loud and clear before, when we sat down to dinner tonight, Medium prayed again:

"Dear God, thank you for dis food.  And thank you for my mommy.  She's my best mommy.  Thank you that she's hewre and that we'wre a family.  If I didn't have my mommy, we wouldn't be a family.  Thank you for my mommy."

And when I asked what she was thankful for at bedtime prayers tonight?

"I'm fankful for all the new toys and candy and stuff fwom Daddy S.  And I'm fankful for my family and my mommy."

Friday, June 22, 2012


The Fries are sitting on the floor in a small circle.

"Large Fry," I said, "what are you thankful for tonight?"

"That Daddy got to go on his trip to tell the other kids about Jesus."


Why, yes.  I did find it very hard to swallow around the huge lump in my throat.

"Go ahead and pray for that, honey," I managed to choke out.

"Dear God, thank you for Daddy.  Thank you that he gets to go help the kids.  Thank you that he gets to tell them about you.  Amen."


Money Quote of the Day

Hubby & Medium, June 2008
"I want to snuggwle wif Daddy.  He's mohwre snuggwly than anyone else!"

Medium, to me, after a temper tantrum this morning in which she decried me as a villainous Mommy who doesn't love her anymore and a ran through a whole litany of my sins of motherhood.

But I will admit...Daddy is more snuggly than I am.

The Single Mom Experiment Redux

Hubby is out of town again this week on another job-related trip.

This time, he's gone for nine days with a group of fourteen others, on a short-term missions trip to a camp that our church supports financially.  This is an annual trip, so we knew it was coming.

However, unlike his sufferin'-fo'-da-Lawd trip to Daytona Beach earlier, this time school is out.  (And he's actually going to be doing manual labor.  Which is really neither here nor there, but it amuses me.)

This time, I do not have to suffer through his entire time gone by myself.

This time...we've invaded Gramma & Boppa's.

Small and Medium Fries just finished up helping Gramma water her flowers outside.

Medium has kiped one of Boppa's t-shirts because we don't have a Daddy shirt for her to wear when she misses him.

Large is impatiently waiting for anyone to play a pickup game of Go Fish with her.

I'm still itching, because my hives are my closest friends, and I really hope the steroids I'm on kick in soon and beat 'em out of my system.  I'm telling you, the "we don't know what causes them, they usually go away on your own, but you'll suffer until they do" explanation is decidedly unhelpful.

Looks like it's time for Go Fish.

Further bulletins as events warrant!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

I hate summer vacation.

Let me be really clear up front (since I am, after all, writing unmasked):
  1. I LOVE my kids.
  2. I LOVE being a stay-at-home mom.
  3. I really, really, really LOVE my kids.

I hate summer vacation.

It's hot out, so it's draining to go outside and play.

It's hot out, so it's exhausting to take half an hour to walk around the neighborhood.

The kids want to watch TV all the time, which I could do, but really, I can only take so much Swan Princess or VeggieTales or Lion King or Bob & Larry's Christmas Song Sing-a-long.  Plus, they should be exercising their imaginations, not sitting on their butts and staring at the TV.

We have one car.  If I want to go do something, like take them to the community pool, I have to take my husband in to work, and then go back and pick him up later.  It's only a mile or so from the church to the house, but when it's hot enough to make you wilt as soon as you open the door, who wants to walk home for a mile in that?

When does school start again?

(Please, do not remind me that, once school starts again, I will be gnashing my teeth and begging for summer because I can't wrap my head around kindergarten and second-grade math.)

Hubby is a youth pastor, and so he does have a small amount of flexibility in his schedule, and he can come home in a pinch, but I try not to pinch him like that too often.  He has a job he loves, for which I'm grateful.  He has a fabulous boss and a great ministry assistant.  I love them for the support that they give him, and the fact that they let him be a husband and daddy when he needs to be.

But being at home with three little girls, day in, day out, who are only sixteen months apart in age from oldest to middle and a whopping minute from middle to youngest, is exhausting.

Large and Medium Fries like to play together and enjoy playing together, and Small Fry plays well by herself.

The hiccups come in when Large and Medium deliberately exclude Small from their play when she wants to join in, or when Large and Medium think that Small needs their help to play, and she doesn't.

By the time I get to the end of the day, I'm wiped out, and all I can see is another day of insanity looming on the horizon.

Our family has had a rocky couple of months.  Two months ago, Hubby and I made the difficult decision to put our 14-year-old cat to sleep.  Po was well-loved, both by us and by the Fries.  The fact that she had terminal cancer only somewhat mollified the ache in our hearts.  Medium in particular loved Po a lot.  She had lived with Po for only four years.  Hubby and I had had her for fourteen.  There's nothing worse, as a parent, than watching your child in pain and not being able to assuage it or fix it.  I'd never felt so lost.

We hit a financial crunch, because I got laid off from my job, and then the child support that helps to supplement our income went on hiatus for five weeks.

And last week, we said goodbye to another of our cats, 13-year-old Keiki, who I had desperately hoped would make it to fourteen.

Summer is rough.  I'm waging a one-woman war and I feel like I'm losing before I'm barely out of the gate.

I'm mixing my metaphors, too.

Hubby leaves in the morning for a nine-day mission trip with his youth group.

I arranged for a teen not going on the trip to pop over and kitty-check for the next nine days.

The Fries and I are packing off to Gramma and Boppa's, where I hope I'll enjoy a bit of a breather from normal, some adult company and conversations, and perhaps some balm for my heartaches.

Well. THAT was ineffective.

It's a balmy 93-degree real-feel outside, but I took the kids out for a walk after lunch anyway.

Large Fry asked if she could ride her bike.

Sure, as long as she wears her helmet.

The twin Fries announced that they could ride in the wagon Daddy got for them, as soon as I evicted the spiders and webs from it.

When did this walk turn into a drag?

As we trundled down the sidewalk and passed the house of our behind-the-rear-fence neighbor (our home is on a corner lot), Small Fry piped up, "Dat's da house I'm going to latewr."

I ignored it.

We didn't get halfway around my chosen route before I evicted the twins from the wagon, which was getting heavier with every step, and definitely not helped by Small Fry hanging her legs over the front of the wagon, scuffing her tennies on the sidewalk as we went along.  And Medium announced, "I'm getting da spiderwebs wif my duckie!"

Yay.  Please don't do that, honey.

We made a loop of the neighborhood and eventually were back on the same street we started out on, headed for home.

The behind-the-fence neighbors were out in their front yard as we walked by.  I exchanged pleasantries.  The kids waved.

As I parked the wagon by the shed in our back yard, Small Fry followed me.  "Okay, I've gotta go now."


"Becawse I don't wanna stay hewre wif you all da time."  She kicked at the long grass in the yard.  "I'm gonna go away."

"No, you're not."

I opened the kitchen door, and we all gratefully gasped in cool, refreshing air.  "If you leave, where will you go to cool off and be out of the sun?" I asked Small.

"I'll go in da neighbohwr's house," she said matter-of-factly.

I can't fight this logic.

"If I stay hewre, I'm gonna be late fohwr my neighbohwrs."

It started this way:

"Small Fry, take your thumb out of your mouth."

We managed to break the pacifier habit, but we still have the thumb thing.  Both twin Fries, in fact.  So they're only supposed to suck their thumbs now when they're in bed.

Small was clearly not in bed, but sitting on the floor, w-style (that was going to be my next correction), by the paper bin in the dining room that holds their coloring books, construction paper, crayons, pencils, and scratch paper.

Small recalcitrantly pulled her thumb out.  "I'm gonna go away, an' not say hewre anymowre!"

"Oh, you are?"

"Yes!  I'm gonna go away, an' nevewr come back!"

I'd detail more of the conversation, but it pretty much repeats ad nauseum for the next fifteen minutes, as Small trails me from the dining room to the laundry room to the bathroom.

"So where are you going to go?" I finally asked her.

"To my fwiends house."

"Which friend?"

"To Shehwlby's."

"Do you know where Shelby lives?"

Small nods her head defiantly.

"How are you going to get to Shelby's?"

"I'm gonna walk, becawse Daddy has da cawr."

"How are you going to do that?  You can't even cross the street by yourself."

Not to be dissuaded.... "I'm gonna go to da neighbohwr's."

"You are?"

"Yes.  An' if I stay hewre too long, I'm gonna be late fohwr dem."

"They know you're coming?"

Mutinous silence.

"I'm leaving an' I'm nawt coming back.  You'll nevewr see me again!"

"I'll miss you!"

"I'm not gonna stay hewre anymohwre."

"Well, I wish you would.  I don't want you to go.  I love you."

"But if I stay, I'm gonna be late fohwr dem."

This was about when I realized I was in over my head.  So I did what any decent, self-respecting mom does: I called my own mother.

Who was not at home, my father said when he answered the phone.

So I figured I'd give him a trial run.  "What should I do with my little wannabe-runaway hooligan?"

He laughed and asked which one, and why.  I explained the whole thumb-out thing.  Dad wanted to know what Small was going to do to enact her statements, and I said she had a whole plan and I'd had to stop her from going out the door twice.  Dad even talked to Small and asked how she was going to come see him tomorrow if she left home today.

Small's answer was the same.  She would be late for them if she stayed a little longer at home.

I'm still trying to figure out where she got this whole late concept.

I called Mom's cell next.  I got shouted advice from more people than I could count, since she was with her stamping buddies.  Mom suggested getting Small to talk through her plan (see above), and to let her go out the door, as long as I could watch her to make sure she didn't go too far before reeling her back in.

And we might want to consider hooks-and-eyes near the top of the doors to prevent non-accidental escapes when I wasn't in a position to stop them.

I called Hubby.

He laughed.

He talked to Small, too.

Once I was off the phone, I fixed lunch.  Small helped, preening with importance.

She hasn't said she's leaving again for almost an hour.

Fingers crossed.

I think I'll take my goobers for a walk to burn off some energy and/or cabin fever.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Doing the right thing...

...does not mean it's the less-painful thing.  Or that it won't hurt.

It's been one week since we lost Keiki, and almost 9 weeks since we lost Po.

I miss them so much.

I struggle sometimes not to totally break down when the twins ask me at bedtime to pray for Keiki and Po, and to ask Jesus to take care of them for us until we get to heaven.  The requests to pray, asking Jesus to take care of Po and remind her that we still love her, had decreased until they pretty much stopped.

Small Fry would even obnoxiously remind Medium Fry, when she would ask me to pray about Po, that God already knows we still miss Po and we love her, so we don't neeeed to ask for that.

Which made me smile, even as it yanked at my heartstrings.

But now, with Keiki's death last week, the requests are coming back.

Balloon catcher.
My house feels so wrong right now, with less felines in it than there are people.  That's a ratio that's suddenly shifted after over a decade of it being the other way.  And it feels off.

It's easier to say we made the right choice for Po; that was so obvious, in the cancer that had so viciously invaded her mouth, the lost weight, the refusal of her insulin shots that she knew she didn't need anymore.  It doesn't make it any easier to have lost my first kitty, but I could not, in good conscience, let her suffer and go hungry--the tumor meant she wasn't really eating much--just because I wasn't ready to let her go.  (Especially since I knew that the ugly truth is that I'd never be "ready" to let her go.)

Keiki's death is harder to take, since we just don't know so much.  We don't know what was causing her behavioral issues.  We don't know for sure that she was arthritic, although we suspect it, because she moved stiffly sometimes and limped frequently.  We don't know what caused her seizures.  The only way to know was to run seriously expensive tests on a cat whose middle name should have been Contrary instead of Kaikaina.  And then, if the tests were inconclusive, a course of treatment that may or may not have actually treated what was wrong.  Could we put her through that?

In the end, no, we couldn't.
13 years ago, you'd have seen more chair.  But not much.

So, most of the time, I'm confident we made the right decisions.

I just wish that doing the right thing didn't hurt so much right now.

There's a lot I'd give to be ignored by Po or awakened in the middle of the night by a Wookiee-purring Ke (who would wake me for affection when she couldn't rouse Hubby).

And I really hope they know how much I loved them, and still do.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

It's Boppa's Birthday!

Well, it was.  On Friday.

Since, by now, all of you realize that I come from a warped family, it shouldn't surprise you that I come by my warpedness honestly.

It's a gift.

And I'm not the only one who has it.

So does my dad's sister Pat.

She sent him this card.

And as if the evening wasn't complete enough right there, the Fries really loved Great Aunt Pat's card:

A fabulous time was had by all.

And it made such an impression that Small Fry drew this picture for Boppa in church today:

The Underwear Legacy lives on.

Happy Father's Day!

Our day went something like this:

  • Barely heard Hubby get up and leave to go to church in time for first service, taking his mom's minivan (she's been visiting with us the last few days).
  • Got up, got kids ready to go, remembered to bring the folder Hubby called to ask me to bring but forgot my Bible, and dashed off to church in time for Sunday school and second service.
  • Medium proceeded to sit in her usual spot with Jester, while the rest of us--Gramma Bevvie, me, my parents, Large and Small Fries--all filled up the pew behind them.
  • Lunch out at GVD, which was yummy, as usual.  My mother nearly died a thousand happy deaths when she learned that GVD offered sugar-free butter pecan ice cream (her favorite flavor, and also corn syrup free).
  • Cards were passed out and enjoyed.  Dad was really amused when I related the story of how Small Fry was most put out when I refused to let her sign my card for Hubby.  Realized I forgot to add an s or three when I was pluralizing Hubby's card from the girls.
  • Got to sit on my nice patio with Gramma Bevvie and my folks and chat for awhile.
  • Went to the community pool (we bought a summer membership, so we can go whenever, and I will likely drive Hubby to work a couple days this week so the kids and I can go to the pool when it's insufferably hot this week) for a couple of hours.  Gramma Bevvie stayed home to nap.
  • Exciting box mac & cheese here for dinner.  And that's when the fun began.
  • My brother called.  Because, after all, it's Father's Day.  He deserves to have his daughters recognize that he is their father and he should get "a little extra" because it's Father's Day and, well, he's their father.  (My thoughts: no, the Fries got to spend all day with their father.  The one who hugged them and loved on them and let them sit on his lap and dragged them all around a pool.  They've had plenty of time with their daddy today.)  Our supper was late because of our pool trip, so when he called the first time, we were just sitting down to eat.  Hubby was going to let the kids talk to him, and then the call got dropped, and Bro didn't answer when Hubby called back.
  • Hubby orchestrated what was undoubtedly a superb plan to get me out of the house so that I wouldn't have a conniption, which had the benefit of letting his mom get some gas and a few groceries.
  • Our trip out a success, we came home just in time to hear the phone ring again.  "This is reaching the level of harrassment," Hubby observed.  He pointed to the house phone, and said, "23 times."  Then he indicated his cell phone.  "13 times."  In two hours, he'd called our home phone or Hubby's cell nearly forty times.
  • I went upstairs and sang to the Fries.  I love the sound of "I love you, Mommy" in sleepy little voices.
  • Hubby spent probably thirty minutes on the phone with Bro, who threw everything but the kitchen sink proverbially into Hubby's face, saying he's been "trying" to reconcile with us, and see how we treat him?  Yeeeeeah.  Like we saw his reconciliation intentions loud and clear through his hateful actions and his leveling of false accusations against us.  It was so freakin' obvious.  How did we not know?!
  • Hubby's mom was gracious enough to listen to us vent a bit, and then pray for our peace, since we were now both supremely irritated and more than a little upset and annoyed over the way our evening had gone.
  • Ending the day with James Bond on BBC-A.  Bond + cake + ice cream + Pringles = not a bad way to wrap up the night.  (No, not all at once.)

Thursday, June 14, 2012

My house is a mess. The children are making memories....

I have vacuumed and cleaned and generally decided I don't want to see another cleaner or cleaning solution again for quite awhile.

Gramma Bevvie, Auntie T, and Uncle B arrive in a little while.  Auntie T and Uncle B are only spending the night before heading down to Virginia to see their son and his family; Gramma Bevvie will be with us for a few days.

I've determined the house, while still cluttered, is clean enough.

I still have editing to do.

And this morning I broke out in hives for no apparent reason.

I'm just gonna go sit in the corner and itch.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012


I should not be having to write two posts like this in less than as many months.

Keiki Kaikaina, I miss your crotchety little self so much already.

I remember when we went to look at this litter of kittens.  Mom was a gorgeous, solid black.  Dad was a black & gray mackerel tabby.

And every single kitten was a carbon-copy of Dad.  The five in your litter, plus the two from a previous litter.

And there you were, four and a half weeks old, the runt out of a litter of five.  Tiny little thing!

Hubby was standing next to an armchair as we chatted with our neighbors and learned you and one other kitten were still up for grabs.  The others were spoken for.  And really, you all looked alike, so it wasn't like we were choosing on looks.

Hurling your little self at that chair, you pulled yourself all the way up to the top before launching yourself at Hubby, climbing him like a tree, to settle in, curl up, and take a nap right there on his shoulder.

A nearly six-foot climb had to be exhausting.

All four of us looked at each other.  "You've been chosen," our neighbor said.

There was no doubt.

There still isn't.

Hubby was your person, through and through.

I've known this day was coming, when I'd have to say goodbye.

I didn't like it.  But I knew.  And I tried to be ready.

I wasn't.

In the last couple of weeks, I've reminisced:

  • Bringing you home for good, and trying to get you to sleep in a little bed on the floor that first night, because it had worked so well with Po on her first night.  Nothing doing; you needed your person.  Hubby hardly slept that night because you curled up under his neck.
  • Watching you bounce around after Po...who was terrified of you.
  • Realizing you were too little to clean yourself without falling we had to bathe you.  (Po was not motherhood material.)
  • Getting bathed twice because you jumped in places you shouldn't have: the toilet and the tub, respectively.
  • The night we thought you snuck out, and we searched the bushes in a panic...only to find you, behind some shelves and a filing cabinet, taking a nap.
  • You getting stuck up on top of the refrigerator.  More than once. And crying for us to come get you down.
  • Having to put pie tins of litter around the house, because your bladder was so tiny that you couldn't make it to the back of our small apartment to use the big box...which was probably too tall for you to even get into.
  • Your first collar being so small that we had to cut it and heat-seal it back together so it wouldn't just slide off your neck.
  • Watching you turn my father-in-law into a big pile of goo when he first met you.  You guys were buddies from that point on.
  • It was terribly amusing to watch you bounce around the house, hissing for no reason other than the fact that you thought it was cool.  "Look at this!  I can make a cool sound!"
  • It was heartbreaking to watch you grieve when Hubby's dad passed away.  You were never quite the same.
  • Being startled by hearing you talk to yourself, and having it come through the baby monitors.
  • Discovering that you'd broken the second-to-last bone in your tail...months after it healed.  I still don't know what you did.
  • You're our only kitty who would religiously follow sunbeams around.  Or any source of heat, for that matter.
  • The funny way you would lay, with your front paws extended all the way out in front of you, and your back legs stretched out straight behind you.
  • The way you stomped all over the linoleum at our last home in Columbus, just because you could make noise when you walked.
  • Your little feet were still almost kitten-sized, even at 13.  They were so cute.
  • Your obsessive love of ice cream...even today, you still had remnants of Red Velvet Cake ice cream stuck to your ears.
Keiki ~ 1998-2012
The house will be much quieter with you gone.

The others don't talk to themselves like you did.

The others don't Wookiee-purr like you did.

You were so very special.

I miss you, you little goober.

And when you see your grandpa, tell him we miss him, too.

Monday, June 11, 2012

On french fries, diet cherry limeade from Sonic, working to keep busy, creamsicle Oreos, and Dr Pepper....

Sometimes there's just not enough.

Of any of it.

I should have included chocolate and ice cream in that list, too, but I thought the title was ridiculously long as it was.

We are likely losing another kitty this week, and I want to crawl in bed, pull my covers over my head, and forget reality and adulthood and responsible parenting (of both the two- and four-legged urchins) for another year.

When your vet's first reaction, upon hearing that your 13½-year-old cat has had seizures, is "I don't think it's the meds, given her age; it could be a brain tumor," it's not good news.

We are sure now that it's not the meds.

Which means that our very smart, usually-right vet is probably, well, right, and it's not something we want to think about.

I just wish I could actually concentrate on the work I'm trying to distract myself with.

Why I Blog.

Shamelessly borrowed from the brilliant Kirkman & Scott....

Friday, June 8, 2012

Not Quite Overheard

I was sitting outside, attempting to both work and enjoy the beautiful weather, when Hubby came out to fire up the grill for dinner.

He asked who I'd been talking to.

I explained that my dad had called, to say that their primary home phone number was once again live.

That's when Hubby told me about this.

Me [from outside]: Woo-hoo!  [I was the first call from their number via their new provider.  Take yer victories where you can.]

Large Fry [to Hubby]: Why did Mommy do that?

Hubby: Why does Mommy do anything?

Large Fry: She's really silly.

Me [still outside]: Woo hoo!  [Dad got an English-speaking customer service rep, as he was relating the adventures of setup with the new phone. And you just know how hard that is these days.]

Large Fry: Oh!  She just did it again!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

How is it possible... be feeling such heartache and yet such overflowing love all at the same time?

Scene:  Kitchen

Hubby: Large, Medium, and Small Fries...come here, please.

[scrambling of tootsies]

Hubby: In a few minutes, your mother is going to call on the computer.

Large Fry: Our mother?

Hubby: Your mom, yes.

Small Fry: Mommy?

Hubby: No.  Mommy-XSIL.


(And about where my heart dropped into my shoes.)

Large Fry: Can I tell her I'm in second grade now?

Hubby: Yes, you can tell her.

Small Fry: Whewre's my Mommy?

Hubby: She's in the den.

Yep, in the den, melting into a big pile of gooeyness.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012


Wart [on Disney's The Sword in the Stone]: Jumpin' hoptoads!

Medium Fry: What did he just say?

Me: "Jumpin' hoptoads!"

Medium: Why did he say that?

Me: Because he did!  It's in the script!

It starts.

When I pulled out Large Fry's lunch box today, since she wouldn't be needing it (the PTO was cooking lunch for all the students--pretty neat), I noticed she had brought home all kinds of books and papers and stuff yesterday.

Including two math workbooks.

And there, on one of them, on the sticker with her name on it, was written these words:

I Love <3 Mason.

I'm so not ready for this!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Hubby and Large Fry: A Photo Essay

As I talked with my dad after he responded to my last post, I went back and looked at some of the pictures I had of Hubby and Large Fry together, even before the Fries came to live with us.  Even then, it was so obvious how much she loved and trusted him.

Take a look:

Sharing cake! (July 2007)

Snuggles (July 2007)

Silliness (July 2007)

Labor Day 2007

The other adults were playing cards. Large wanted to be with Uncle. (9/07)

Boppa's shoes on Uncle's feet.... (Sept. 2007)

"This Little Piggy" Duet (Nov. 2007)

This little piggy had roast beef.... (Nov. 2007)

Peekaboo. (Nov. 2007)

Giggles! (Nov. 2007)

Tug of war (Nov. 2007)

Story time. (Nov. 2007)

*honk* (Nov. 2007)

Bowling (Dec. 2007)

Playground fun (July 2008)

Helping build shelves (Oct. 2008)

Checkup.  (Oct. 2008)

Trimming the tree (Nov. 2008)

Meeting a bunny (with twin Fries). (May 2009)

Game time. (May 2009)

Snuggles.  (Sept. 2009)

Horsey ride. (Oct. 2009)

First day of preschool. (Nov. 2009)

Dominoes! (Summer 2010)

First day of kindergarten. (Aug. 2010)

Learning games. (Fall 2010)

Wrestling.  (Dec. 2010)

♫ The best things happen while you're dancing... ♪ (Winter 2011)

Kindergarten graduation (June 2011)

June 2011

Father's Day 2011

Summer 2011

First day of first grade! (Aug. 2011)

Silly snuggles!  (Dec. 2011)

Easter 2012

My Little Big Girl

Large Fry had a slightly tumultuous bedtime tonight, having been caught in a lie of omission.  So when I laid down next to her on the floor (her stomach bug at the end of last week has resulted in her sleeping on the floor, which has been good, since it hasn't been quite so hot there), I reminded her that I loved her, and always would.

She nodded, but still looked discontented.  "What's wrong, honey?" I asked.

And the floodgates opened.

"I don't want to leave Mrs. H!" she cried, then buried her head in my shoulder (which is still damp) and sobbed.

At last, I knew what's been bothering her the last couple of days, and it explained her being ill again last night, in combination with a too-long day on Sunday.

I held her.

She cried.

I prayed out loud for her.

She still cried.

I stroked her arm and held her close and murmured what I hoped were soothing phrases.

My big, almost-seven-year-old girl, who had been so excited about summer and second grade in the fall, was now terrified of leaving first grade and her teacher.

Hubby & Large, Easter 2012
When she couldn't stop crying, I kissed her forehead and went into my room, where Hubby was laying in bed, half out of it after managing to stay upright for the high school Baccalaureate service that he was in charge of tonight...after being up most of the night, being extremely ill with a violent stomach bug.  He and Large Fry have a very special relationship, and if anyone could get her to calm down, it was him.

I made sure it was okay for her to come in--he's been avoiding snuggles today so he doesn't pass this bug on to the kids--and helped her crawl up on the bed next to him.

He got her talking about what she was so upset about, and proceeded to tell her some of the same stuff I had, about being able to see Mrs. H. in the hallways next year and everything.  Coming from Daddy, it was apparently more believable.

She was almost asleep, curled up against his side, when I sang the first verse of "Goodnight, Junior" for her, which has been something of a tradition now at bedtime for the last several weeks.

My poor little big girl.  The end of first grade is rough.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Quote of the Night

"Koa!  Cats don't eat Cheerios!"

No Fever.

But also no appetite, no energy, no normal bubbly personality.

Will someone please explain to me why Large Fry threw up tonight?

I know she had a stomach bug at the end of last week.  But I also know she was over it by Sunday afternoon.  Still tired, but over it.

She didn't want dinner tonight.  She fell asleep before I could tuck her in.


I have a looming deadline in a week and needed to take tomorrow and work.

Like that's going to happen with a sick six-year-old at home.