Friday, November 27, 2009

Blue Ridge

Going home, to a surrogate home, is often as rich in memory and love as an actual home.

Yesterday, we went home to Blue Ridge. We spent the day with our friends, on the creek, in a place I have been going to since I was a child.

My children ran to the creekside, and my mind's eye replaced them with a glimpse of myself
and my brothers.

Running along that creek, at different bends throughout the years, we visited as the Boyd Family moved along the creek with each new cabin they built. The anticipation as our car pulled up yesterday echoed the remembered thrill of years ago, as we finally arrived after hours of driving. This place has a special peace about it that is a combination of the beautiful land and the beautiful people that live on it. These friends are woven throughout our lives, in a happy tangle of memories and shared experiences. Our children will build the 3rd generation of shared family friendship. Tom & Naomi Boyd started as my parent's friends, became our friends, and presided over our marriage on an NC mountain. Just as it should be.

Tom blessed the Thanksgiving meal with a prayer, and touched our hearts as he spoke: Today may be the last of some, or the first of many...

Either way, his voice and heart resonate through my life. My Uncle Tom, and father in the absence of my own. We smile at each other, and the years of shared meetings and love are a balm to my soul. These people know my heart, and it is safe in their care.

The joy of a girl allowed to roam. The simple pleasure of watching sticks and leaves swirl down through the current. The icy water on curious fingers. The inevitable slip of a foot on muddy, mossy rocks... (It was Cole this time - splash, under the water - a frozen boy)

Stacy, Landon's wife - my sweet friend of 13 years; Esther Wood (sister-in-law to a dear friend of my Dad) - an enjoyable, vivacious lady; Naomi - "Aunt Oma" as the kids call her - my friend of heart and wisdom.

Uncle Tom & Rick catch up on the happenings.

Isabella snuggles with Landon. The sight reminded me of my adoration of Landon when I was 4, and he was a Big Kid at 11.

And as long as there are Boyd's in Blue Ridge, there should be a little blond-haired girl that loves them.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

5260, 629

Two random numbers
Two meanings.
Is this the deep post on days as a mother?
Is this the number of sleepless nights I have enjoyed?
The number of diapers I have changed?
No. nonononononononono...

There are 5,260 emails in my inbox.
There are 629 unread emails in my inbox.

Morbid curiosity drew me to the beginning of my downward spiral of email management, and it coincides with 2004 - the year of the twin pregnancy. And I started reading some of the mail, from some dear friends and family and.... I STILL! Could. Not. Delete.
I love to look back at those!

I do not love to see the Unread column - which is e-bill notifications that I, in my clear and present state of lucid evaluation (which has lasted 5 years) decided to leave unread, because as we all know - if an email is left unread it Will Be Noticed! And Paid On Time! Of course! At least.... until it scrolls down to the next page. Into the email underworld of forgottenness. We're lucky our power is on, water still runs, and trash gets picked up. And you just learned something about me. I Pay The Bills.
Oh scary thought. Oh scary bill-paying-forgetfulness. Oh butt-clenching-middle-of-the-night-remembering-of-mortgage!
No, really, we're in no danger at all. Auto-pay is my friend. Auto-pay and I have a love-love relationship. It takes care of our bills, I leave the emails Unread.

So I deleted a few emails, and then distracted and congratulated myself by reading a few more oldie-but-goodies.
I cannot even say that I will ever clean out the inbox. Thankfully, hotmail, in it's wisdom, has done away with whatever came before 2004.

Umm, overwhelmed much? Is your inbox empty or full?

This is how I spend the morning when the ducklings are home from school, roaming around waiting for something to happen. Writing a post about nothing.
You're welcome.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Feast Day

It was Feast Day at school today. And this turkey had a tight schedule, 2 turkey lunches and a toddler nap to squeeze in the middle. I am stuffed and a little bit dizzy and not responsible for any coherent account of the day.

9:45am - turkey songs in the preK class.
"Mr. Turkey, Mr. Turkey are you getting nice & fat? We will have you for Thxgiving, now what do you think of that!"
And there stood the 4 year olds, wiggling their arms, humming the words, and staring at the roomful of parents. Like deer in the headlights. Dressed like Indians.
Jadyn camouflaged herself, and phantomed her way out of any pictures I tried to take.
Next, the teacher had them each step forward and say what they are thankful for.
They are such herd animals! One boy said he was thankful for his Mommy, and that was it - the whole class was thankful for their Mommy - except one little boy who preferred his dog. Wide eyes, all, thankful for Mommy... Mommy... Mommy... dog... Mommy...

10:45-11:15 Sleep, Phoenix, sleep fast! (And then go play at Rachael's - because one feast is enough for you!)

11:25 - 3rd grade Feast. Complete with handmade placecards and placemats. Cole enjoyed his pb&j and I enjoyed his feast.

12:15 - Whew. One feast and 3 desserts later... I waddled home feeling like it was naptime. (Yes, I finished every one of my children's desserts. Strawberry shortcake. Mmm. There are very few things public school cafeterias make well. This was tasty.)

In other news, Phoenix had his 18 month check-up yesterday. I love to get those print-outs, and come home to compare his growth with the others. But it's not always a good thing to have tall children - they become small giants just when you want to freeze them. For example - the girls at 4 are wearing size 6. They are sweet and tall - and got there too quickly. All of a sudden it is hitting us, just how big they are getting. We watched some videos last weekend, of them at age 1 and 2, and it was hilarious and bittersweet.
Isabella, so verbal and vocal - "It's my turn!"
Jadyn so scampy and mischievous.

I pulled out their baby books today, to see their size at 18 months - and said "Oh no!"
Phoenix is the same height, 33 inches, that they both were at his age. Though quite a bit leaner, if you remember the fat-rollage on those girls. :) They were 3 pounds heavier than he is, my long lean little fellow.
You know what this means. Small Whirlwind will get an extra measure of grace for all of his hijinks today, because he is on track to sprout and shoot up and not be my little Mr. Big anymore. And for all their troublesome messes, toddlers are sweetness. The excitement of each first word, and the thrill of understanding what in the world they are trying to say. It's my favorite age, when the words start.

The years passed so slowly when they weren't marked by inches.

Friday, November 20, 2009

A World where magic is real...

Dear Kids,

You are invited to spend a week where magic is real and dreams come true...

Please join the fun at Walt Disney World!!

We can't wait to meet you!

The questions that followed were in turn funny, practical and downright strange. The girls both needed to know what size Mickey Mouse would be. They are still slightly skeptical about large costumed characters, having been terrified by Chuck E Cheese earlier this year. (And by terrified, I mean that when the singing mouse came out, they ran and held on to my leg under the table. Yeah. Same scene with Santa every year. Oh my.)
They were assured of Mickey's general friendliness, and that he was about the size of a grown-up.
Cole wanted to know how long it would take to get there, and how we would travel. He then assured the girls that flying was fun and nothing to worry about. This discussion sparked the girls' next questions:
Isabella wanted to know where we would leave our car while we were flying.
Jadyn wanted to know if someone would steal our car while we were gone. (See? Downright strange.)
Another concern of Isabella's? Would it be dark when we left the house. It will in fact be dark, and that adds to the fun. They are always up in the early morning when it IS dark, but rarely leave the house. Anymore. Not since we put the high locks on the doors. (Not kidding.)
The Secret Santa of this Family Fun-cation is Rick's brother, Uncle Dennis! We equally appreciate that he will accompany us and join in the fun. Parents of 4 love additional adults around!
Since the Big Reveal, we have gone over The Plan in detail, from packing to departure, to traveling on planes, trains and automobiles, from eating-out manners to sleeping arrangements. Whenever I sit on the couch, here they come to snuggle in and ask "Can we talk about Disney some more?"
Three weeks left to talk and plan, and yes, it really is fun to dream about the place where magic is real...
There you go.
Big Trip '09 is coming our way!
Shiver me timbers...

The whole idea has brought back memories of my childhood trips to Disney. I'll wrangle some time for one of those stories soon.
Happy weekend!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Almost News... OK - News!

I teased you. I honestly didn't mean to. My intentions were sweet and grand and would have made a memorable story. The Unfolding of The Trip. But somewhere between me sitting down to write & me typing the first sentence, things began to happen. It felt like a Curious George adventure: "Oh, what happened! First this, and then this!"

Please notice the remote, down there in all the dirt. Have no doubt, it will be filthied and then hidden somewhere that will force us into a three-room, down and dirty trash-can search.

This bodes no good thing. When did 18 months surpass the entire neanderthal intellect? Pushing chairs and using them as tools to reach a desired outcome? I see the crib tent in our near future. That lovely mesh device that keeps insane toddlers from launching themselves out of bed in the night...
The missing picture in this sequence is the one of Small Monkey pushing the high chair to the wall, by the desired phone, climbing up on top of the chair... and then slipping and falling just as I reached him...*bang* on his noggin. That's when I called it quits and went to sit with him. I thought the pictures would tell the story, 'cause, you know somesuch phrase about a picture and a thousand words being sufficient... and you'll get your thousand words too, I'm sure. He is at the gate staring at me, even now, and throwing trucks at me. If he could get his jammies off, he would be throwing poo like a zoo denizen, I am sure.

But back to the teasing. It was unintentional, and I can make it up to you!
I'll start... Oops. As I wrote this, Small Monkey showed up at the gate carrying a small chair - suitable for climbing over a gate. Darn his neanderthal superiority!
Tomorrow? I'll get back to you...

Monday, November 16, 2009

In Which I have News but Don't Tell It

I know I promised not to title any post, anything to do with "News."
Settle down.
Despite Cole's daily wish for another baby sister, it is not to be. That is not The News. (Seriously? He does wish for more babies every day. Every. Day. I feel a little twinge for his future wife, and hope she's a good breeder. The boy loves babies. As he left for school, chattering all the way out the door, he remarked out of blue about how surprised he was when he found out Phoenix was coming. In a sentimental way, like he wanted that feeling again. Of course, combined with the feeling of superiority he carries as the eldest. Oy.)

But back to The News. A certain Secret Santa has provided a certain sizable family with a certain Trip for Christmas. Care to guess who, what or where?

It is News. Big News.

It is all I can think about and plan for and obsess about, because, you know, wow. Wow!!
A Gift And a Trip! A Gift OF a Trip!
The Trip will take place in 26 days and last for 6 days. A countdown calendar has been made, and if you think you detect {almost} equal parts excitement and apprehension, you would be right.
This announcement is also by way of explanation of the no-show I've been pulling lately, here at the Borderland. As I plan and ponder, I put forth every effort to control the uncontrollable - and we all know where that will get me. Well, hopefully down to the Mexican bar on the corner - Ole! But realistically... ahem.

Go ahead, give it a guess - you've got a {random} clue to go on, somewhere in the last several posts - and I'll be working on The Reveal post for tomorrow. 'Cause I can't stop thinking about it long enough to write about anything else. Even cute babies. Ack!

Monday, November 9, 2009

I have not gone to Ninja

No, no, still here. Not far away in Ninja, not at all. I am, however, learning the fine art of parenting with a missing voice. I woke up today, after a week with a cough, to a hoarse whispery voice. This may work out fine. Without Old Yeller I will be whispery mommy. I would advise you all to stay clear of my neighborhood, as there will be random, roaming children, with no Yeller to keep them in line. Speaking of Ninja, coincidentally, yet another pre-K child has gone to Ninja. Gotta watch out for that place. It sucks up pre-K students.

There are many things going on, as usual in our household, and most have been photographed in hopes of delighting and enlightening or at the very least, umm, inspiring posters for birth control. But I have promised to show you My New Spot, aka The Desk-y Love of My Life - and today I deliver! In the words of Zach Gill, keyboardist for Jack Johnson, don't touch my stuff... I know right where everything is... (take a listen, if only for that first line, very catchy stuff.)


Hours have passed since I began this post. Is that information crucial? Well, yes. Yes it is. It is pertinent because I was about to reveal The Spot, which was rearranged and created by shifting furniture and houseplants. The houseplants, which are huge and greatly loved by the adults around here, have resided behind enemy lines (eg - baby gates) since the girls began crawling. But in order to arrange My Spot, we risked moving a big corn plant into the family room. I gave it until Thursday. As you will kindly notice, that large appealing dirt pile made it until Monday, noontime, which is only 3 days. Small Boy was busily flinging dirt everywhere, and when I caught him and whisper-croaked "Stop!" he just flung himself belly-down, right on top of the dirt.

I thought he was happily entertaining himself while I blogged. OK, yes, so he was. But isn't it ironic that he entertained himself with the one messy addition to the room that was occasioned by my new desk?? As I was telling you about my desk?? Ironic?? Or just toddler-ish and scampy.

And now for the great reveal of my new home-at-home! It's a bird, it's a plane.... it's Super-desk!

Here it is in lock-down mode, where the aforementioned Stuff, which does happen to include scrapping and card-making supplies, can rest and wait for me to come back at leisure. Ahhh.

And here it is in work mode! There I sit, clickety-clacking away! Check out all the outrageous doors o' storage on this baby! The bottom two are still {empty} which is just thrilling.

Are you ready for the kicker?? Did you know there would be one?? The desk was a good luck find at an outlet, for the preciously low, low price of $99.

Yes, friends. $99. I saw her, I dreamed about her, I could not sleep until I had her in my possession. Why she is female, I do not know. Perhaps the mystery of her many and varied compartments? Her elegant yet spacious accoutrements? This is getting weird. I'm out of here.

This concludes your introduction to Ms. Desk. Consider yourself friends. But don't touch my stuff.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Irresistible Mickey

It's innate.
Cute babies are irresistible. Cute Mickey Mouse-clad babies even moreso. But cute Mickey Mouse babies that clean up after a party? Bring it, Mickey! My neighbor/ friend Rachael had Vega's 3rd birthday party on Halloween, and little Mickey saw the mess and went straight for the vaccuum.

The ultimate party guest...

Go, Mickey, go! Turn that hoover on a dime! Thanks to Rick's Mom for that Lanese cleaning gene. :) Phoenix can sure Lanese around...

This one I love, because he can't stop looking at the gloves. Next, he poked at the round white buttons - and thought they were giant eyes. He was a little bit "seared" of them.

I don't know why a baby boy in black tights & a puffy Mickey suit is so hilarious - but we smiled all evening as he puttered around in that round dumpling. So I thought I'd spread more smiles... and work the Mickey suit for one more day.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Halloween run-down

Happy sunny day!

I am happily writing to you from my new desk - which I will soon show to you. Let's just say that my new desk has almost eclipsed Halloween and its craziness. I heart this desk. It is a large, fine desk. Suitable for holding all of my things. This desk has so much storage, it can be my computer center, bill-paying center AND craft center. Uh-huh.
Did you hear I got a new desk? I did. Anddid you hear that I'm no longer perched precariously on a stool beside the sideboard, bruising my knees each and every time I write to you, which, interestingly just reminded me of penance? My penance for chattering on and on about mundane drivel? Oh, I hope not.
Well. I hope you enjoyed the Halloween reveal.

What a sight, the sight of the 4 Learlings in the costumes of their choice. Yes, not only do I not do school art projects for my kids, I also do not make them wear things I think are cute. Clearly. Because, if I did, they would all have matched and been something fun that comes in fours. Right? Instead, I could only have my way with little Mickey Mouse - and isn't he
s-w-e-e-t?? Even with the shiner, which made him look like a tough Mickey.
Maybe next year. Maybe next time - as Isabella says, each time I try to convince her to wear a certain outfit. Maybe tomorrow, as Jadyn says every time I try to sway her choice of clothing.
There's always next year, next time and tomorrow, right?
So. We traipsed around with 2 ninjas, a reindeer named Rudolph and a Mickey Mouse. We were hardcore, baby! We walked a few miles in the rain, without even a stroller - let alone a tan suburban. (that one's for you, Susan!) I was pleased to find you all concurred with the "trick or drinking" proposal (to quote Shah's phrase - hey BB!), and I can say it made me not only happier, but is the sole reason I agreed to keep slogging around in the rain. I became a "Sure we can!" Mom instead of a "Head home NOW!" Mom. :) Though I will say maybe I laughed a little too uproariously when an alien answered the door at one house. I hooted and hollered and yelled "Good one!" - mostly because all the kids jumped back when she opened the door - and that was worth it all.
A good (soaking wet exhausting) time was had by all, and now I'm ready to trash all that sugar because it has turned my children into demons. BOO!