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Friday, October 31, 2008

Public Display

Don't ask me WHY I felt like running all over the city doing errands with the kids today. Today...FRIDAY...my ONLY weekday in which I do not keep any professional appointments in my office. But this is what I felt like doing, and so it is what I did.

I dressed the wee ones up on their matching pumpkin sweatshirts (it was Halloween today, after all) and off we went. They were very well behaved and tolerated my shopping in "boring" stores (as my daughter described them). I was looking for wall decor for my new office space at the clinic. As I unbuckled Dear Son from his carseat at about the third stop, he informed me, "I just detting some booders out of my nose." I sarcastically replied that this was "just great" and by the way, what did he do with those "booders?" His response, "I just put them on the floor in the car." Great again. Nonetheless, I was pleased that he got his nose pickin' done before we entered the store.

After the fourth or fifth stop the kids were hungry, and I still had more errands. Dear Son began asking "Tan we det a Happy Meal? PULEEEEZE? Tan we? Tan we?" I decided to indulge them because they had been so good while I shopped.

The lady wearing the McVisor was waiting at the counter when we walked in. I was holding Dear Son on my hip throughout the order process and then sat him on the counter as I dug in my purse for my wallet. He was busy with something, but I didn't pay much attention as I dug for the exact change to give the McVisor lady. That's when Dear Son screamed at the top of his lungs, "Look! Look! I dot a booder! It's a BID one!" and he waved his hand way above his head with a very large, pulsating, dark green booger stuck to the end of his left index finger. The thing was larger than his finger tip. I had to reply in order to get him to stop announcing it over and over and over again. Under my breath, trying NOT to draw any more attention to us, I said in my quietest but most validating voice, "Oh wow! That IS a big one!" as I snuck glances from side to side hoping and praying that no one was watching this event. If a McMeal doesn't turn stomachs on its own right, I'm sure the giant throbbing green booger at the McCounter could.

I, of course, had no tissue or napkin or anything in which to swiftly and casually capture this thing in. A few solutions raced through my mind. I could take it from his finger onto my own, thus ending his wild waving of it above his head, but then what would I do with it? I could wipe his finger on his pants, but the things was soooo large and I figured if someone were already all grossed out watching us, that could seem even grosser. I dared not wipe in on the McCounter, though I didn't figure I would be the first to do so. So I just pulled his little hand down closer to his body to not be quite so obvious about the giant booder. He complied...his little index finger still extended with the green glob on the end of it as he studied it. We made it to the condiment counter and Son continued to examine his treasure until whisked it away with the first napkin I could find. Then I put on my dark glasses and hustled the kids to the darkest and most remote corner in the joint and watched them munch their McBurgers.

I, on the other hand, had lost my appetite.

Monday, October 27, 2008

The Project

It started out like this:

Dear Husband: "We really need to install wood heat. The cost of propane is getting outrageous."
Me: "mmmm hmmmmm."

I didn't disagree, I was just too busy with other obligations to put too much serious thought into it. I think I just gave my husband my agreement to do whatever he thought he needed to so that he'd quit talking about it.

Next think I knew, my entryway closet looked like this from the front:


...and like this from the back (which now opens up into our utility room).


That's when I realized he was serious about this thing. Here's the rest of the progression:






















































Apparently the camera didn't come out during the long rocking phase, which is surprising as Husband spent many hours cementing rock up the nine foot wall. There were plenty of opportunities to get pics of that, but I guess we were barely surviving the day to day grind in addition to this project. I guess taking pics wasn't on my "to do list."

And then somewhere along the way, it was done. Just in time to fire it up and enjoy a cozy fire on a cold fall night. And that's when Dear Husband left my closet a gaping hole in the utility room in order to make haste in cutting down all those dead trees in the woods on our property. He estimates we've got enough on our own little acreage to heat us for this season. The only catch is we have to cut it down, drag it out and chop it up. I took my turn with the chainsaw this weekend, and I'm sure I'll get plenty more opportunities. It's a good thing we have all this free time on our hands for projects like installing wood stoves and playing lumberjack (*sarcasm noted).

As for the closet, Dear Husband says that's gonna be a rainy day project. I'm watching the forecast daily, and you better believe that the first sign of rain he better be getting out the crowbar and buying some sheet rock!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Treasured Moments

Time is precious these days. I have less of it to spend with my babies due to some unforeseen circumstances in our lives. I don't like it. I miss my babies. It's ironic considering that not all that long ago I couldn't wait for Dear Husband to get home from work to take the kids off my hands and give me a break from them.

I had the entire morning and afternoon to spend with them today, and I treasured it. I decided to break with the routine (as if there really is a routine these days) and put our usual school work lower on the priority list today. It's a rainy, windy day. I hadn't taken my kids to the library in quite some time as I’d been too busy. I'd exhausted all of my book renewals online while I stalled for the time to return the items in person.

Before we'd even had breakfast this morning, I suggested to the kids that we go to the "big library" where we could check out books and videos and play computer games and run and climb in the "hippo park" (if we didn’t get rained out) and do puzzles and, and, and... Then we would stop for a few groceries, and I would pack the cold items in insulated bags so that we could end our excursion with a Happy Meal. Dear Son loves him a Happy Meal. He can't wait for the toy, which is evidence that McD’s marketing strategies work like a charm.

Before we left the house, I pulled a long sleeve t-shirt out of Dear Daughter's closet. I've begun pulling clothes out of storage from last season as the weather turns colder. Dear Daughter has outgrown most of her wardrobe. I asked her to try on the shirt and expected that her belly would hang out of it like every other shirt I have pulled out of storage this fall. I couldn't help but notice that not only did her belly hang out of her shirt, but her ankles also stuck out of her pant legs. My stomach turned as I saw my baby disappearing before my eyes.

Every once in awhile, as I tote the wee ones around in the family mobile to run errands with me, I peek in the rearview mirror at their charming impish faces, round and baby-ish, and my breath catches in my chest as I feel overwhelmed with how richly my life is blessed. We bounce along the road, their curiously blond little heads swaying with the movement of the vehicle as they stare obliviously out of their respective windows at the scenery. It is all I can do not to impulsively pull over on the shoulder of the road and scoop them into my arm and hold them close.
The library was full of little ones today, all about 1.5 years of age. Some toddled about as if they had just learned to walk yesterday. I watched my Dear Daughter running around them in the Hippo play yard. She was the oldest, by far, among the children playing. I brought her to the same Hippo play yard when she was barely toddling about just as the others were doing today. I was sitting in the very spot on the very bench where I have sat countless times over the past five years. My mind raced with memories as if a movie were playing out in fast forward motion. The images were of Daughter toddling about the play yard uncertainly, requiring my help to pick her up and place her on the hippos to sit, my belly swollen with the impending arrival of her little brother, nursing her little brother discreetly as she climbed and played happily among the hippos. How did those days blur so quickly into where we are today?

Later, as we drove along in the family mobile to get their Happy Meals, the wee ones couldn’t have looked any more pleased with the world. I refused to allow my mind to race five more years into the future and wonder upon how quickly it would go, and yet I felt my eyes grow teary as I thought about my firstborn growing out of her clothing, and my second born forgoing his naps as if he has decided he is too big for this anymore. I ruefully quipped aloud, “My babies are growing up way too fast!” Dear Son never broke his gaze from the window as he quietly responded, “Yes, we are." I didn't know whether to laugh or cry while we drove the rest of the way in bittersweet silence.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Breaking the Silence

I'll break the silence with a couple pics and brief update. This may be the longest I've been absent from blogland since the inception of this blog nearly four years ago. I have good reasons for being absent, but for the most part they are not ones I'm going to share here. I don't typically share really personal stuff here. Well...except that time I had the tirade about the clogged nipple when I was still nursing my baby boy about two and a half years ago.

At any rate, I'll just say that there have been high levels of stress in our household and so I've had other things on my mind and on my "to do" list. Blogging just didn't rank high enough to take precedence. Still doesn't in the bigger picture of things right now, but I fear that if I don't stay at least semi-connected, I'll end up abandoning this blog for good.

I am about to be done with my work at the group home, which simplifies my life. Originally this was supposed to mean that I would also be working less and be home with my kids and family more, but some other bumps in the road are preventing that. Hopefully it will be short lived and I can regain my vision and commitment for my children and family. Meanwhile, one of my teenage girls at the group home talked me into continuing to see her on alternating weeks until she moves on with her life in three more months and emancipates from state custody. This works in my schedule, and due to the long term therapy relationship I've had with her, I let myself be talked into it. The neat thing about this is that this is a girl with whom I've been in the proverbial paper bag for quite a long time. What I mean is that she has had quite the time with therapy and has been among the most resistant of teenage clients with whom I've ever worked. This is a girl that a year and a half ago could not tolerate therapy to such a degree that she was unable to look at me and would spend the entire session belching and passing gas as an avoidance to doing any real work on anything. When we got the bodily functions under control, she would just get up and run out of the therapy room if we got anywhere near a difficult topic for her. Basically, if there were even a hint of tears or emotion that she could not stuff deep down and which threatened to betray her, she would flee the room as fast as she could. Then there was a period of time in which we took a hiatus from one another because after she fled from sessions so many times I told her that I couldn't commit my time for her unless she committed hers to me. I insisted that I would no longer schedule time for her unless she requested it and committed to sitting through sessions in their entirety. And I required her to have this discussion with me face to face. She couldn't tolerate it, so I held her accountable by scheduling her out of my calendar until she could do so. She eventually came back around and requested my time and committed to sitting through the sessions. This move proved to be excellent therapy, as she has never run from the room since, began making eye contact, and now even tolerates discussing tough topics. She has even begun to tolerate therapeutic confrontations from me. This young woman, who has done everything she could think of to be rid of the therapy experience, upon my notice to her a couple weeks ago that I was leaving my work at her group home, practically begged me to keep coming to see her. This was one of those rare moments that make the work I do with teenagers rewarding. Yes, I would relive the entire past year and a half with her again just to share in that moment of triumph and growth that was demonstrated when she not only did not jump all over the chance to be rid of me and rid of therapy, but when she actually pleaded with me to keep coming to see her.

My work at the clinic is busy, and I enjoy working with more adult clients. As much as I love my work, I love my babies more. I am hopeful to be able to slow my work down soon to be able to focus more on them.

We celebrated fall this weekend with a trip to the pumpkin patch and we carved a jack-o-latern tonight and enjoyed a bonfire with Grandpa and Grandma, which included roasting hog dogs and making s'mores by the fire.

We took a much needed day off from the outside world today and accomplished much around our home. Dear Husband completed his prep work for the wood stove just in time, as they deliver the stove tomorrow. I think we've neglected to take consistent photos of the process. We now have a wall of rock that rises the entire height of the wall to our 9 foot ceiling. The stove will sit in front of it. The closet that we inverted is not yet complete, and I look forward to that project being done as well. Dear Husband walled off the closet from the front entry and opened the back wall up to the utility room where the "new" closet will be. It's actually the same closet; it just opens up on the other side now.

My list of accomplishments for today included completing the skirt I began sewing last night (I really would have preferred to just buy the skirt, but could not find what I was looking for), washing the entire family's bedding, including mattress pads and pillow protectors and blankets, and hanging it all on the clothesline for that fresh outdoors smell, vacuuming the entire main floor of the house and cleaning bathrooms, washing the floor trim (it was embarrassingly dusty!), and scrubbing the north side of the house where the moss had begun to live on the siding. Too bad the brick only covers the front of our house. At least I don't think that moss tends to grow as much on brick. Then, after all these other tasks, I carved the jack-o-latern for the kiddos (which is why I look a bit drab in these pics) and then we enjoyed the bonfire. I am even catching up on this blog and then I have two pairs of pants to hem before I read the Sunday newspaper and go to bed. How's that for getting a few things done? I will enjoy a good night's rest in my freshly washed bedding that smells like country air.

A completely random thing to throw in is that I discovered a small lizard, a skink perhaps, in our basement today as I was sewing my skirt. I didn't know it was dead until I called my husband to come in his tights and cape and save the day. Turns out that one of the kids' toys smashed it against the wall and its tail was severed from it's body. I didn't know that would have killed it, though. I thought if they lost their tails, they just grew them back. It was definitely dead. Dear Son was extremely excited about the whole thing and has been jabbering about it ever since. I'm just glad he didn't beg us to be allowed to hold it!

Here's a pic of Dear Son with Grandpa fishing at the pumpkin farm and a couple pics of the jack-o-latern carving.