Thursday, July 31, 2008

Come As You Are

Theme Thursday this week was a hard one in which to participate. Stacy chose "Fashion" as this week's theme and I think we have established that a fashionista I am not. I'd like to say that I have a few classic pieces that make up my wardrobe but that would be a euphemistic way to say that I haven't purchased anything new or remotely stylish in years. But for Susie's house, that is the fashion. Anything else would look entirely out of place.

So when you come visit, here are some fashion rules to follow:

Bring your hat and your sunscreen. Don't be afraid to get wet.

Costumes are optional.

Never comb your hair.

Don't forget your fishing gear. It may rain so you can't be afraid to get wet.

And finally, shirt stains and dark circles under the eyes are required.

Happy Thursday everyone. What is your fashion?

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Simple Things

There are some days when I feel like I have it all together. Those are the days where the kids get to school on time, errands gets run, bills get paid, a toddler gets adequate attention, a dog gets walked, and a nice dinner gets cooked. Bonus points are given if that dinner gets eaten with little complaint and laundry gets folded before bed. Those are the days that I feel like I am a capable, accomplished mom. A good mom, even. Albeit tired, but good.

Then there are days when I feel like I am a disorganized mess. Those are the days that I hide behind my piles of dirty clothes and scattered toys. I try to get something done, anything – but I just spin my wheels. I get distracted by interruptions and wastes of time. Not much gets accomplished, no one gets what they need and my husband is asked to pick up dinner on the way home. Those are the days I feel like a failure as a mother, wife and human.

Today falls somewhere in between. The kids got to school on time, with out any yelling. I was early to Logan’s doctor’s appointment. From there, I went to get trained on how to do some volunteering for the Obama campaign – with a toddler in tow. I even found downtown parking after circling the block less than a dozen times (believe me when I say this is a true accomplishment). Then we went to the grocery store to pick up a few things that we forgot to get yesterday when we were there. And now, dinner is bubbling gently away in the slow cooker.

Now I can tell you what is wrong with the day but I don’t want to take away the good feeling that came over me while writing down today’s accomplishments. So let’s save that for another post and leave this one right where it is.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Theme Thursday - Summer (Birthday) Fun

I am taking a slight digression from Land of KA's Theme Thursday because today is a special day - Logan's second birthday.

We have a few traditions in our family and one that started with Dean is to look over the baby book together as a family. Each child's baby book chronicles pregnancy, birth and a few milestones. Dean's is very detailed with a calendar depicting each stage of his pregnancy from peeing on a stick to when my water broke. There are ultrasound pictures, cards from friends, a list of baby shower gifts, pictures of me smiling in my hospital room before my labor went to hell. All the tiny baby hospital keepsakes are there as well, including the hat he was already wearing when I held him for the first time. And then, pf course, there are pictures of our new baby and newly formed family.

Jess has a baby book too. His is considerably smaller than Dean's. The ultrasound pictures are there, minus of pregnancy diary. The newborn keepsakes are there, minus the ones that accidentally got thrown away. And there are plenty of pictures of our new tiny love so I let go of the guilt a long time ago that it would never have the same detail of Dean's.

Since Logan is the third baby, there is no baby book (yet). There are stowed away items to be put in a book - someday. And there are hundreds of pictures still safely in the depths of the computer. You saw one of those last week. But there is no baby book to look over as I tell him the story of the day he was born. But all is not lost - a mommy blogger I am, after all. Note: I can't take photo credit for all of these.

Modern technology gave us very clear ultrasounds.

This was Logan's infant persona - calm, serene and full of milk.

Preparing to leave the hospital is exhausting work.

This is still his favorite book.

First giggle, caught on film.

My mom made this hat for Dean and now Logan gets to wear it. Merry First Christmas.

Look who can sit up unsupported and properly pose for pictures!

This is how Logan spent his first birthday party.

Once walking, keeping up with Dad and brothers became more easy. Now we have to keep up with him.

Happy Birthday Baby!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Who Does Susie Look Like?

Well, I'm no Superman, I'll tell you that.

Madame Queen posted this little challenge to her readers and I took it. I'm not sure if I should be amused or insulted by my results. You upload a photo of yourself and you get matched with ten celebrities that you look like, you know, if you squint really hard. Most of my "matches" were men. Seriously. Have I really let myself go that much or did I just choose a terrible picture? Now I half expected a picture of Jamie Lee Curtis to come up because I have often been told that I look like her. (And I hope to God that I look half that good when I am her age.) But because I know you are curious, here are some of my results:

Shirin Ebadi. A Nobel Peace Prize winner, I suppose I could do worse. Maybe I will look just like this in twenty years but to be honest, I have more gray hair than she does.

Jason Biggs. Now I wouldn't kick him out of bed but I have a lot less facial hair (I hope). I spent some time tweezing last night just in case.

Now this one is flattering, Alison Lohman. I've never heard of her before and I think she's half my age. Also, I have brown hair - other than that, she's a dead ringer.

Runner up match - Gary Busey, I kid you not. Maybe before my coffee in the morning, I don't know. I repeat, my hair is brown. So are my eyes. Besides, I would never ever wear leather.

Finally, my closest match - Zach Braff. Separated at birth? I just don't know what to think about this. I mean, he's cute, don't get me wrong, but I don't even have that sweet little chin cleft thing. And he was way better hair than me.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Theme Thursday - UnRefined

Stacy had an interesting challenge for us this week - to post those pictures depicting the raw (or shot in RAW) and unrefined. Well my basic skills prevent me from taking the leap into RAW photography just yet but unrefined describes my family perfectly, really. Perhaps it's because he turns two next week, but what spoke to me from my archives was this picture of Logan's birthday and Jess meeting him for the first time. What could be more raw than a newborn baby and the awed expression on his big brother's face?

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Susie on Dieting

Ok, I know that I said that I was not going to get hung up on the weight loss. The Good Mood diet is about feeling better, not losing weight - blah, blah, blah. But if the author hadn't promised I would lose weight in the first week, I might not have even stepped on the scale. So after one week, I did step on the scale. Drum roll, please.... TWO POUNDS.... GAINED. Not lost, people - gained. This reminds of the time I tried Atkins, wooed by the whole "you can lose 14 pounds in the first two weeks so it's worth all the trouble" line. I gained five pounds and swore off dieting for awhile.

Now, that is not to say that I have not had success in the pound-dropping arena. Just before I got pregnant with Jess, I lost ten pounds without even trying. I started eating breakfast and was busy with a two-year old. We were living closer to downtown and walked everywhere. (Then I got pregnant and gained 50 pounds that never did come all the way off.) A few summers later, I tried the Step Diet and lost seven pounds. But that was a full-time job because that diet is based less on what you eat/don't eat and more on how much you exercise. I couldn't keep up the two-plus hour walks every evening so I abandoned the plan. And then I got pregnant with Logan.

So what is to be learned from all of this other than weight loss leads to pregnancy? Diets suck, that's what. So you know what I am going to do right now? I'm going to go put some butter on my toast - that's what will make me feel good.

Monday, July 14, 2008

What Has Susie Been Up To?

Trying to crack hairdresser code. You heard about Logan’s first haircut and how well that went so I thought I’d take the other two boys for a little trim. Jess was thrilled. He loves to get his hair cut and if I don’t take him when he feels he needs one, he cuts it himself. In fact, the front of his hair was finally growing in from his last attempt this spring. So up into the chair he went and I explained that I only wanted the sides and the back trimmed and to leave the top the way it is. She started cutting and just didn’t stop. Jess is happy with his military-style but I of course, am left wondering what language exactly do I need to speak to get hair cut the way that I want. I mean, why ask me what I want anyway? He’s going to Kindergarten, not BOOT CAMP. Geeeez.

Then it was Dean’s turn. Now Dean has been sporting a trendy surfer-boy shag that looks really good on him. And I promised that we would only get it trimmed so that he could see and not change the style at all. He flat out refused to get in the chair. This annoyed me at first because he used to do this when he was four and for an entire year his hair never got cut. But after looking at Jess’ hair, I really couldn’t blame him. So we left it alone for the time being. After all, it didn’t really look that bad. But when we got home, Dean cut the front of his hair himself so he wouldn’t have to go back to the salon. This was a very bad idea - I’m sure you can imagine why. “But this is what you wanted!” he protested. I countered with, “But don’t you see, now you have to go so they can correct this?” We haven’t yet. You can see why I have little faith that his hair will get cut in a way that we have requested.

And don’t even get me started on my own hair. If you know me at all, you know how I have been know to walk out of a salon looking like a displaced 80’s pop star. One time, I cried all the way home because I took my long, thick post-partum hair to get trimmed and came out looking like Reba McEntire circa 1980-something. Seriously, feathers? It’s one thing when I leave the house with my hair looking terrible because this is the South and it’s humid here. No one can blame me. But walking out of salon looking like I meant to do that with my hair is just embarrassing. I am old enough to know that hairstyle is out of date, not “retro.” And I’m young enough to give a damn, thank you very much.

Prepping the Kids for the First Day of School. I spent an hour yesterday filling out all the forms that go with the first day of school. Mind you, I just filled out a tree’s worth of paper for kindergarten registration but apparently our school system does not own a copy machine and I had to refill out all the same forms for the classroom, PE teacher, and cafeteria. I also had to fill out three different forms for each child regarding how they are getting to and from school each day. And a fourth one for emergency closings – this does not include the one required by the bus company. And then I filled out several forms all asking how to get in touch with me in case of an emergency. Mind you, this info is required on all of the other forms. Not the most efficient system. Condensing all the info into one form and then making copies for all the appropriate departments would save time and resources. Just a suggestion.

After the paperwork was done, we went through the supply lists like we were having a scavenger hunt and packed our backpacks with our almost $300 worth of school supplies - but not before labeling each and every item.

Pruning Back the Piles. Taking advantage of camp and babysitters, I have recently taken some time to de-clutter and reorganize a few things. I even cleaned off the top of the fridge, which oddly gave me a huge emotional boost. And if that wasn’t fabulous all by itself, some charitable organization called saying they would be in the neighborhood the next day and if I had any donations to please leave them on the front porch. To which I replied, “Why yes, my new best friend, but please pick up my stuff before my kids see it and schlep it all back into the house.”

Reading this Book. Translation: dieting. The title caught my eye because I feel like my emotions are completely out of control most of the time. I have no patience for my children unless they are doing everything that I want them to do every minute of the day, and really, what are the chances of that? I feel like I am PMS’ing all the time and I’m tired of feeling like crap. So I’m willing to try something that promises to improve my mood. The principles of the diet are sensible and easy to follow. It’s called balanced nutrition. The key is to spread out your intake of carbs, fats and proteins out over the entire day. It’s not as restrictive as some diets I have explored and I’m not feeling hungry at all, probably because I am eating all the time. It’s a lot like the diet I followed when I was pregnant which is really the last time I remember feeling good. But just like when I was pregnant, feeding me is now a full-time job that costs a lot of grocery money. I’m not sure if I am in a better mood or not (Dean says I am) but I do feel like I am doing something healthy for me. Now the diet is also supposed to promote weight loss but I’m not hanging a lot of hope on that. The last time I purposefully dieted, I gained several pounds. I have pretty much maintained this same weight (with the exception of being pregnant) since my second child was born so I don’t see that changing much. I’m right at the one-week mark so I’ll keep you posted on my progress.

Catching Up on All of You. I’ve been trying to catch up on all my usual blogs and some new ones. But you’d be surprised to find out how many times I might get interrupted trying to read a one-paragraph post so I don’t always comment. If I haven’t left a comment on your blog yet, it’s just because I was distracted by something noisy or I haven’t thought of something witty to write.

Speaking of comments, I was reading all the comments left for Erika regarding this post. I love reading the comments and this post’s comment section did not disappoint. I found about 20 people I have flagged to go back and read. And while I risk giving the incident anymore thought and time since it already got way more than it deserves, I just have to ask, “Why?” I agree with a lot of what folks were saying – that you can’t be nice all the time and still be authentic, that you can be not nice while not being hurtful for no good reason, that you can have your own opinion and twitter it all you want, and so forth and so on… So Blogger A can totally share her opinion that Blogger B is a poser – but what was the motivation do so? Can someone less na├»ve than me explain? Was it for attention? Was it for the blog traffic? Was it just to agitate the waters and provoke some thoughtful commentary? I don’t get it.

One of the reasons we blog and read blogs is for the connection to people like ourselves. We search for that commonality. So with over 70 million blogs out there, undoubtedly there are some that are similar in style and those are the ones to which we are drawn. No one has the market cornered on wit, style or clever, my friends. You can blog about whatever you want and I can choose to read it or click away. Ah, America.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Theme Thursday - Celebration

Celebrate the Love

When my husband and I first started dating, he would write me love notes in the most unexpected places. The first one was written on a small piece of tree bark. It had been left on the desk where he was studying one night. While we were talking, I picked it up absentmindedly and fiddled with it for several minutes before unrolling it to find the simple message, "I Love You." I still have that first note somewhere, even though I'm sure it has disintegrated into dust. This latest one was written on the driveway earlier this week. It took me awhile to notice it as well. It's nice to know that after sixteen years, he still wants to write me love notes and that he can still surprise me with them.

Happy Love Thursday and Celebration Thursday.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Bye Bye Baby (Hair)

It was time. The heat rash on the back of his neck told me so. The fact that he kept pulling it off his face and neck into a ponytail was a sign as well. So this weekend, with the help of my visiting sister, we took Logan for the Big Boy Haircut. Armed with the camera and a handful of lollipops, we went to the same salon that all my friends take their kids thinking it would be the place that would be most experienced and least annoyed with toddlers. He was fine for the first half and lost patience with the sitting and the combing right about the same time I decided that he needed more cut off.

Unless he was the new spokes-baby for Dutch Boy Paints, I couldn't leave his hair like that. The stylist worked painfully slowly and was quite crabby with me. She kept asking me how I wanted it cut and finally I snapped and told her to just CUT IT already. It's not like she was going to give me exactly what I asked for anyway and I don't really see myself trying to get his hair cut again anytime soon. It was hard enough for me to accept getting it cut in the first place and then to hold my screaming toddler while trying to give instruction, I just couldn't take all the stress. It didn't help that Logan was looking in the mirror and pulling at his now short hair crying "Put it back on!" He calmed down at the very end when she realized his issue was the comb and she switched to a brush. He slept off the trauma in the car and proudly showed everyone the new do when we got home. I, however, needed more recovery time.

I'd like to say that I would have felt better if I had taken him to more toddler-friendly place, or if I had gotten a sample of his cut hair before it had hit the floor and had gotten mixed up with all the other hair but the truth is - it was really hard to let go of that hair. Luckily, his Big Boy Haircut actually makes him look more like a baby to me than all that long baby hair. At least, that's what I keep telling myself.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Theme Thursday - Linear

Family Tree

Stacy's theme this week is "linear." Technical difficulties prevented me from posting my picture of a tree - so I took a different angle and am going with family lines instead. My father has been scanning old family photos and emailing them to me one by one. The other night, we emailed back and forth - enjoying a virtual family reunion of sorts. Honestly, collecting my family tree in photos is one of my favorite things to do. I can't take the photo credit, obviously, but here is my Dad, in 1959 with his parents and his grandfather. The back row is my Grandfather, Great-grandfather, and father. The front row is my great-aunt Eileen (now 94 years old) my grandmother and my uncle.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Some Updates

The baby birds that have appeared here as eggs and then here at two weeks, are baby House Finches. They now have feathers and are starting to explore the area immediately outside of their nest. They will take flight soon, probably by the end of week. The parents are already looking to the future by checking out the real estate in the twin planter across the porch. Before long, there will be a new nest, new eggs and new babies. There doesn’t seem to be much sentimentality about this brood. There are no baby books, no recorded milestones, no sadness over lost babyhood. Just the simple cycle of life observed – babies born, babies grown, babies taking flight on their own.

Speaking of being sentimental, the lost notebook has been found. My husband pulled it out of the junk drawer where he had placed it for me. The fact that I have a junk drawer is just one of the many bits of evidence that prove I am turning into my mother.

And the friend who took advantage of my good nature and got her two minutes of fame in the blogosphere, returned the favor last week by hosting Dean for an eleven hour play date. He had a great time.

Thanks for all the supportive comments that you have left when I was in Mommy Meltdown mode. The last half of the past week and this week have felt more manageable due to play dates, babysitters and camp. I really did not want to have the boys over-scheduled this summer but then they ended up under-scheduled – which was no good for anyone. I felt awful for my lack of patience and the striking realization that I’m just not the type of mom who can have all three of her children home together for too many days in a row. And by too many, I mean three. Possibly four if a weekend is included. They really require more stimulation than what I am able to provide – I’m really just not that exciting.

Nor am I in control of my children or my emotions. I had just made peace with how much television my kids were watching until last night when Jess was helping me with dinner. He had just finished watching Fetch with Ruff Ruffman and if you are familiar with the show, you will get this reference. Last night, we were making pizza and I was feeling a bit frustrated with all my “help” and the fact that my husband was not home yet from work. We came up short on the cheese until I dug around the fridge and found more. “Yeah, “ Jess exclaims, “Mom, you get bonus points for finding the cheese even when you are crabby!” Well, at least I know I am appreciated for my great skill of finding things.

And a final thought to leave with you: Now that I have been blogging for a few months, this seems like a nice time to evaluate this blog’s direction. A few weeks ago, a friend and I were discussing what I should do with the rest of my life. She suggested I start a blog. I laughed a bit and confessed that I actually do have a blog right here in my secret corner of the blogosphere. She, pointing out my degree and expertise, recommended that I write more about parenting and child development. Laughable, I know, after those two aforementioned posts but still a possibility for the future. When two of my children are in the care of the public school system for more than six hours a day, I may feel like more of an “expert.” But until then, what sort of topics would you like to read more about from me?