And so.

Friday, May 21, 2010
Here I sit on the love seat on a Friday night, the house quiet, save the off-beat ticking of a couple of clocks. It has been a long time since I've written, and I offer no apologies tonight. What can I say, other than life gets in the way of a luxury such as free time to sit and think and type without interruptions, and a lot of times, I just plain don't feel like it. And so. Here we are, at a time when, I guess, I do feel like it.

In one bedroom, my five-year-old shifts and stirs in her sleep, sometimes murmuring unintelligible phrases, sometimes resorting habitually to sucking her thumb. This is a very exciting and taxing time for her. The ending of things very near and dear to her are drawing close or have already happened - pre-K, swimming lessons, Irish dance lessons. And the beginning of new adventures loom near - t-ball, gymnastics, summer break, French Immersion camp and kindergarten. As well as all the other Very Exciting Things happenings in the life of a five-year-old... loose teeth, almost riding a two-wheel bike, READING, the independence of walking into school all. by. herself. The extent of her excitement and trepidation are palpable. And seeing all that in print makes it much more clear why she is so tired and dramatic and giddy and excited all the time.

And in the next room, the almost-four-year-old flings herself from end to end of her bed, tossing blankets and stuffed animals and baby dolls all the while. Her room never quite looks the same when we enter in the morning from when we leave her at night. She is now an officially registered pre-kindergarten student. She's not quite sure why she just can't go ahead and start right now, and when in this elusive "fall" we keep speaking of? Tomorrow? No - then the next day? Fine, when can we play in the sprinkler? She continues to be my continual source of laughter and frustration, comfort and exhaustion. She has mastered the art of giving the best hug you've ever had in your life, oftentimes wrapping her entire little body around the recipient. I want for her to grow big and strong and healthy, but yet, will so miss the day when I can pick her up with ease and have her enfold me in her sinewy little limbs. Every day, I admire the zeal with which she lives her life. She'll yell "hug!" from the next room and come running to do just that. And the next moment, she's off to play a tune on the keyboard and make up a song. All the while, she's probably contemplating how to con me into letting her watch a movie and have a snack.

And lastly, upstairs, the husband sleeps, having returned today from what, hopefully, will be his last business trip until August. It's always a weird rift in our routines when he travels, but, I daresay, it has become easier as the girls have gotten older, and definitely much easier since I've been a SAHM. Speaking of which... the year anniversary approaches near the end of this month. And that - I cannot fathom. What a different life. And now, I'm tired. More soon... or perhaps, not. But there will be more, again, another time.

Days of Ghillies and Hockey Skates. Or, You'd Better Appreciate this Video, Because it Took 2 Days to Upload.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Couldn't you just eat her up? I feel so inept at putting into words the... just... everything... that she is and does and says. She is bright and curious to no end. Considerate and kind. Competitive and determined. I can't do justice to the light in her eyes, the depth of her understanding or the softness of her sweet little cheek. She is my sun on the darkest days.

Josephine turned 5 on January 19th. The three birthday parties celebrating the occasion, along with the planning, cleaning and cooking that naturally come along for the ride, consumed a large part of the month of January. She got to go to school on her birthday, and take treats to share with her school friends. Then we spent the afternoon at the Mall of America, just the four of us. I'm not sure which of us enjoyed ourselves the most. Josie got a free unlimited ride wristband at Nickelodeon Universe, and definitely made it worthwhile, even venturing a ride on a big-kid roller coaster, and the Log Chute.

Otherwise, our days this last month and a half have been full of school, Irish dancing and hockey practice for Josie, and ECFE and skating lessons for Eve. She ended the class able to stand up without the "pusher" and even could take some steps on her own. Eager to start her own journey on skates.

We talk a lot about spring now. The sun feels warmer, the days longer, and we're waiting, waiting to be able to spend more time outside.

And Baxter, my black and white cat of almost 17 years, is no longer with us. It's the first time in the 8 years we've lived in this house that we haven't had a cat. It was hard to say goodbye, but a relief at the same time. The vet said Baxi had a large tumor in his stomach, and that we made the right decision at the right time. Who knows if it's the truth or not. But I'll be eternally grateful to him for saying the words, either way.

I won't lie...

Thursday, December 31, 2009
The main motivation behind this post is only to be able say that I did, indeed, post in December of 2009. I find that my motivation to write is difficult to predict or track, and unfortunately, I just haven't found much of it as of late.

We are happy. And we are healthy. And that's all that really matters, isn't it?

Right now as I type, the girls are running around "on an adventure to find the lost kitty." I am sad to say that there may not be many more adventures with our kitty, Baxter. He is 16, and he is failing. I feel like we are basically running a kitty hospice right now, as it is only a matter of time. But, with that being said, watch the stubborn bastard pull through another couple of years. 'Cuz that's kinda how he rolls, and I know deep down inside he'd relish outliving the dog. We aren't quite at the point to say that we can decide for him that it's his time to go. He's still happy (well, relatively speaking, as far as Baxter's happiness goes,) and from what we can tell, he isn't in any pain. That decision may be upon us soon, and I hope I am strong enough.

Josephine is a hockey player. And I got the opportunity to see her skate a couple of days ago, and it almost brought tears to my eyes how... good... she was. Sure, she still falls down a lot, but now it's because of her desire to go faster, not merely because she can't really skate. Her favorite thing about hockey is when the coach gathers the kids around, and he counts 1, 2, 3, and the kids all yell, "Eastside!"

Eve has found a new love for all things Scooby Doo. She says her name is Daphne, and cried buckets when we had to return her beloved Scooby Doo movie to the Redbox. This Christmas season was especially fun to celebrate with her this year, as she really kinda got "it." She loves to give gifts, and extended her enthusiasm for life, as only my Evie can, in all aspects of the holidays. What a boring holiday Christmas was before we had children. :)

And now it's the eve of a new year. We're laying low, pizzas are in the oven, gonna make some sundaes and watch some movies and play some games. And then, it's the month we've all (if all of you are Josie, at least) been anxiously awaiting. Happy New Year, everyone! I hope tonight and the year to come find you happy and healthy and filled with optimism for the fresh, new year ahead!

Hello, Darlin'. Nice to see ya.

Thursday, November 12, 2009
We're still here. And, we're healthy. We've all had our bouts of illness, but for the most part (knocking on wood), have been able to bounce back quickly. Poor Josie got sick right before Halloween, and had to miss a couple of parties, but was well enough in time to be able to go out in the neighborhood for trick or treatin'. It was a very sad thing having to be the one to tell a sick little girl that she can't go to a party she has so been looking forward to.
Here are the unicorn, the hero, the witch and the little lamb:

A happy surprise for Miss Jo, she received Student of the Month at her school for September! Apparently, each teacher in the school submits their nominees and discusses with the principal, who then picks the recipient. I don't think she really knew what was happening when the principal showed up in her classroom to congratulate her. Jo's account was that "I had to go stand in the front by Ms. Peterson, then she talked, and all the kids clapped."

We've had our first official teacher-parent conference. Really makes it real, this whole "we've got a kid in school" thing. Our conference went swell - Jo is doing just fine across the board. Not that we had any worries. The only constructive criticism her teacher offered is that Jo is a bit of a "wanderer" and doesn't commit to free-time activities without a little guidance, and isn't interacting socially quite as much as she'd like to see. But, like I said, we don't have any worries, and this is pretty much just what we'd expected. She'll decide in her own time when she's ready, and if there's anything I've learned with my Jo, it's not to rush her or pressure her. There is another "wanderer" in the classroom, and her mom and I are hoping to connect the two outside of school and help them form a friendship.

She's so purty...

Eve and I are attending an ECFE (early childhood family education) class on Wednesday mornings. She loves it. And I love it. She's so proud to be able to go to "her school" with "her teachers." Here she is going on her first big kid bus ride with the ECFE group to the apple orchard. This was a happy day for Evie...

At the apple orchard:

For now, that's all I've got. For the most current happenings in our lives... join facebook, and ask to be my friend. :)

Funny Eve Sayings

Tuesday, October 13, 2009
At least, I think they're funny. And it's my blog. So there you go. Just a couple of things Eve has said lately that I want to get down, before I forget....

She calls play-doh, "potato". It took me a really long time to figure out what she wanted to do when she asked to "play potato."

The other morning we walked out of Josie's school and Eve pointed across the softball fields and said, "Look! It's all funky out!" And when I looked to where she was pointing, it was a little... foggy. Or, "funky."

We were in the van on the way to the thrift store the other morning (which was during the Columbus Day 50% off sale - and HOLY BEJESUS - that was an experience worse than trying to be out and about shopping the day after Thanksgiving!) and Eve says, "Mommy..." And I say, "What?" And she pauses for a couple of beats and says, "Butt cheeks." And, that was that.


Monday, October 05, 2009
There have been a lot of days since I've been a stay-at-home mom where the drudgery of the chores, the hassle of the never-ending, relentless tasks, the annoying grate of little voices needing something from me, again, the squabbling and questions and mess have made me want to run away. Days where I haven't wanted to even get dressed, never mind get someone else dressed. Mornings when I curse the tiny busing area for Josie's school as I hustle both girls out the door.

Last night, Eve fell down the stairs leading from our main level to the basement. From the top. To the bottom. Hurtling head over toes. I heard the thudding as I was pulling Josie's bedding from the dryer. I turned just in time to see her little body tumbling down the last bottom half of the staircase. The floor of the laundry/utility room half of our basement is not soft. It is hard, and it is cold, and it is the last thing in the world you would want the body of your child to fall against - especially with the speed and force gained after tumbling down the stairs. And yet, somehow, with some unseen, guiding hand, she landed at the bottom sitting upright.

As I screamed "omygod omygod omygod" and rushed to her, she started sobbing. I frantically touched her everywhere looking for the bumps, scrapes, bruises, blood, broken parts. There were nothing but big, sad tears.

She reached her arms around my neck, and patted my back. She said, "I fell." Then sobbed, "Josie, I brought you your bunny." And there at the bottom of the stairs, was Josie's favorite stuffed animal, unharmed, looking up at us. Josie was sad and tired and ready for bed and came with me to retrieve her blankie from the dryer. Eve was bringing her bunny to her, and either slipped or missed her first step on her way down the stairs.

It was my biggest fear in our house come true. I've pictured someone falling down those stairs many times, pictured unthinkable images of what could happen to small bodies and heads hitting that floor. After Eve and I returned home this morning from dropping Josie at school and running an errand at Target, I went to the bathroom, and thought about what happened last night, and burst into uncontrollable sobs. She was fine. She is fine. But I couldn't stop crying.

Next time I'm feeling ungrateful, burdened, bothered, I'll will myself to snap out of it before I need a reminder of why I'm doing what I'm doing. Or pray for a more gentle reminder. I stayed home so that Josie could participate in the pre-K program. I stayed home so that I didn't have to write out a check to someone else to care for Eve. I stayed home so that I could be the one to answer their questions, to dry their tears, to help them clean up their messes. I stayed home so that I could play a million games of dominoes, have my hair "fixed" with fifty barrettes, and have helping hands with grocery shopping. I stayed home to learn from them, to teach them, to be a better person, a better mom.

And, for now, there is a rug at the bottom of the basement stairs. And a whole lot of thanks going out to the unseen helping hand that placed Eve upright at the bottom.

If I had a title. I'd put it right here.

Monday, September 21, 2009
Jo: Um, yes - Mommy? I love you. Now... can you please get me a snack?
Eve: Will Josie be upsided to see me?
Jo: Mommy. Hear this. Um, it's a joke - okay. Why didn't the bear eat his food? (dramatic pause) 'Cuz - it was expired!!!
Eve: I don't wanna ever be a sweetie, and I don't ever wanna be a honey ever again, do you hear me? I'm an Evie and I don't wanna hear any more about it! (and stomps foot.)

And those four examples of things overheard around here lately could have occurred within 10 minutes. It's like watching a sitcom, drama and reality show all at the same time. I don't know whether to laugh or cry or pick my jaw up off the floor. So I usually do all three, just to be safe.

Not to anyone's surprise, Josie loves school. No - let me rephrase that. Josie LOVES school. Since we're outside of our school's busing zone, I drop off and pick up Jo every day. The thing that I like about this arrangement is the chance to walk her into her school, watch her hang up her backpack in the hall, go into her room, wash her hands and sign in for the day. I get to scope out her room, see some of her classmates and say hey to her teacher. And I thought that she would relish the chance to have me there, too. But by the end of last week, I was barely inside the door to her room and she was giving me a quick kiss and basically telling me to hit the road. The first day this happened, I assured Josie that I had all the time in the world, I could stay and watch her pick up her name plate and sign her name on the board, and she looked at me and said, "It's okay, Mommy. I'm good." Seriously, kid. Doesn't she know how much time and worry I put into her potential separation anxiety? Throw me a bone.

And Eve has taken the transition to her big sis being in school in stride. At 3 years and 2 months of age, the importance of everything in Eve's life is relative to when she's going to get to watch her next movie. She's fine with being lugged around between dropping Josie off and picking Josie up, as long as there's potential between these two events to go home and watch a movie. Which has only happened about one time so far. It's been a refreshing change to be up and about and out DOING THINGS at 9:00 a.m. Eve and I can hit the park, get groceries, take them home and put them away before it's time to go get Jo. And today... today we went for a walk/jog around Phalen after dropping Josie off! It was beautiful! And I could cry at the thought that it's going to be snowing in like two weeks. Eve does miss Josie while she's at school, and checks in with me frequently to ask when it's 11:40, and is Josie waiting for us, yet. And every day when Jo climbs in the van, Eve asks her in a sweet little voice, "Did you play with new friends today? What were their names?" Then turns her attention to me and asks, "Mommy, can we go home and watch a movie?"

It's been a hoot having some one-on-one time with Eve. While we were wogging around Phalen today, I swear that girl's mouth never stopped moving. She's full of questions. Or she thinks of some random tidbit from a movie or thing we did recently that she needs to tell me. My stomach turns at the thought that I may have never gotten the chance to experience any of this. I've never been so in the right place in my life before. Speaking of right places. Right about now, that's in bed. It's exhausting being a chauffeur/therapist/waitress/confidant/playmate/chef/maid.