Friday, August 22, 2014

Queen Of The Castle

Little Lady was given a hand-me-down crown on Monday.  She thought it was really cool, but after putting it on one time, she has decided it's much more fun to make Mama wear the crown.  So I've spent a fair amount of time this week in yoga pants and a tiara.  Which isn't so bad.  Once it's on, it feels just like a headband.  Which is why, if you've seen my in public this week at all, this is what I've looked like. 

It's always fun when you're in public and someone compliments you on your tiara and you realize you forgot to take it off. 

I'm kinda thinking I should wear this tiara more often, though.  Besides making other people smile a lot, and keeping my hair out of my face, it may actually be making my life more extravagant.  For instance, on Tuesday night, after wearing it most of the day, I got to take a hot bath and then go out by myself.  I went for a sunset drive down a beautiful tree lined road, with the windows down and the sunroof open, and the radio blasting good music.  I stopped off at one of my favorite stores and went shopping by myself.  My shopping spree was so successful that it actually took me two trips to get it all in the house.  And when I got home I was able to kiss my kids goodnight and watch a show on Netflix with Hubs and not do any housework at all.  Doesn't that sound so luxurious?  Yeah, this crown may be here to stay if this is what it brings. 

Maybe before you go shopping the Target princess aisle for your own crown, I should fill in a few details in my story.  I don't know, in my mind, it all went down just like I told you, but, for full disclosure, here's the long version. 

Little Lady refused to eat dinner again.  Perhaps it was because we decided to eat outside, perhaps it was because she all of a sudden doesn't like any of her favorite foods anymore, perhaps its because she's the most stubborn creature on the face of the earth and has decided this is not the week to eat.  Whatever it was, she didn't eat dinner and since she's not really great at the whole gaining weight thing, we went for the fallback, which is drinking carnation instant breakfast.  Thank God, there was just enough milk left in the gallon to fill her sippy cup all the way up.  I made her high calorie shake and then sat down to check email.  She came and sat on my lap and after about three sips, she somehow managed to unscrew the cap and spill the entire sippy cup of vanilla shake on my lap.  She's sobbing because she actually wants her milk now that she can't have it, we're both a sticky, cold, wet mess, so I suggest we take a shower together, something we've been doing since she was two weeks old.  But no, that idea is met with more screams and sobs.  So in the interest of getting out of my soggy, vanilla shorts quicker, I ask if she wants to take a bath.  Of course she does.  With me.  So we take a bath together.  Taking a bath with a two year old is not relaxing...unless your idea of relaxing includes having slippery toddlers trying to kill themselves by climbing on your head and dump bucket after bucket of water into your ears.  Right.  It was fun, though.  And she was so happy. And we both got clean.  So really, it was a win. 

Post bath, I had to run to the grocery store, since we were now out of milk and Carnation instant breakfast.  But Hubs was home and the kids were playing together, so I got to go BY MYSELF.  I rolled down those windows.  I opened that sunroof.  I cranked K-LOVE on the radio and I cruised to that Safeway with my wet hair blowing in the breeze.  I was feeling fine.  It may or may not have deflated my ego a bit when I remembered I was driving to the grocery store in a white mini-van, but let's not linger there.  After a half hour of leisurely going up and down the aisles at Safeway, never once having to say "no" or "put that back" or "sit down in the cart before you fall and crack your head open!" and not once having to abandon the full cart for potty break 15 of the hour, I checked out and was able to load the car up in like two minutes. It was amazing.  You better believe I cruised on home just as fabulously in White Lightening, which is what I named our gorgeous used van.  And just for the record, all you people who are too cool for are missing out.  Mini-vans rule.  I'm just saying. 

Right, so where were we?  Ah yes, home from the store.  I walk in with 5 bags(paper, since I always forget my own) and go back for 3 more plus two gallons of milk.  Little Lady's in the kitchen crying for mama as if she can't breathe the air unless I'm holding her.  Clingfest 2014 starts back up as we try slightly successfully to get her to drink another shake.  I have no idea what time it is because there are too many pots and pans blocking the oven clock and the microwave clock is flashing 13 seconds remaining because who ever presses cancel unless they have to?  But the sun was setting on my glorious drive home, so it's gotta be 9 by now.  She's so tired she goes right down after we've located all 12 pacifiers and the blankey we can't live without.  Little Man goes to bed super easy after we remind him 8 times that yes, he does have to brush his teeth.  All of them.  And finally, Hubs and I settle on the couch with a Netflix show to unwind.  After we both wake up on the couch and stumble off to brush teeth, we climb into bed exhausted.  I pull up on the covers and something crashes to the floor.  I say, "Oh crap what was that?" and Hubs replies, "Don't worry, it was only your tiara." 

And there it is folks.  I was laughing about it the next morning while clearing the forgotten dinner dishes off the patio table, the casual way Hubs called it my tiara.  As if an adult woman who doesn't even brush her hair naturally has a tiara and wears it.  And I decided that I should rock tiara more often. 

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

The Prize

There is a reason I will never become more than a home baker.  And that reason is because bakers have to get up early.  Mornings and I are not friends and never have been.  So its really no surprise to me that since I've been trying to get up earlier, I've been sleeping in later.  This morning my alarm went off for 20 minutes straight before I even heard it.  Which is amazing, considering how Little Lady only has to sneeze and I'm wide awake listening for her through two closed doors and down a hall. That whole Mama instinct thing is powerful. 

This week has been a bit of a doozy.  Little Lady keeps growing, sigh, so I was going through the closet and sorting out the too small things for Goodwill and looking through the hand-me-downs bin to see what we still have for her from her brothers.  The hand-me-down bin is getting really small.  And what is left in it are the things my Jameson was wearing before he got sick.  The snowman Christmas jammies.  The Irish Prince shirt.  The t-shirts and long sleeved T's that he wore on our last family vacation...the ones that have so much love and happiness wrapped into them that just holding them in my hands breaks my heart again.  And now she is going to be wearing some of them.  She is getting bigger than her big brother.  And soon she will be older then he ever got to be.  It is difficult to process all of these emotions...the happy and sad and glad and despairing that all roll together and tangle up until it's just one big mess of me and it seems right to be this constant jumbled mess of everything.

Life gets complicated.

Adding to the whole she's-growing-up-too-fast-and-outliving-her-brother-and-that's-a-very-good-thing-for-her-but-it-never-stops-sucking-so-freaking-much-that-he-is-dead moment, is the annual letter to the teacher explaining a bit of our family history so when Little Man inevitably brings up that his brother died, the teacher isn't caught off guard.  It wasn't as hard to write this time and that's because it's the fourth time I've had to write it.  Fourth.  I know that time keeps on moving and it's no surprise that every year is going to be another year farther away, but it still hits me over the head like a hammer when I think about it.

Two nights ago I was looking at pictures on the digital picture slideshow with Little Lady and we have a lot of our favorites up there.  It is very Jameson heavy, but also full of vacation pictures and recent shots.  She knows who Jameson is and is getting pretty good at saying his name and saying that he is her brother.  And while looking at these pictures, she asked me where he is.  And she's sitting on my lap almost nose to nose with me, waiting for my answer with these huge, serious eyes, and I have no idea how to explain to a two year old where her brother is.  So I looked at her and said that Jameson got really sick and he died and when you die you have to leave here and now Jameson lives in Heaven with Jesus.  And she looked right at me like she understood everything and she gasped and smiled and said "Yay!" and clapped her hands together and then she said, "He's not dead anymore Mama!  He lives in Heaven!"  And she said it like we should all think it.  Like it's the prize and he got it.  And that is truth right out of her mouth and it bowled me over.  And I'm sitting here reliving that moment with tears streaming down my cheeks and it's hard to breath and it's so true it hurts.  And Jesus' words ring in my ears, "And he said: "Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven." -Matthew 18:3

He's gone from here.  And that emptiness, the void screams out to me so much.  I work so hard to seek out Joy from this life, to find the gifts along the way and yet, so often I fail to see the greatest gift right in front of my face.  Jameson's already got the prize.   

Monday, August 18, 2014


My alarm was supposed to get me up an hour ago to write.  But I hit snooze.  Five times.  And now here I sit at the end of a table, covered with worn red vinyl and stickiness, coffee in hand and so much inside my head that its all kinda stuck.  But I need to write.  I've noticed that as my writing decreases, my stress and crankiness increase. And so here I am, at the table sipping coffee and wondering where to begin after such a long time.  It isn't easy.  Especially since it's a Monday.  And Mondays are always colossally harder than anything else.  Especially this Monday, because it's the first Monday back into our schedules after a week of vacation. 

Vacations are funny things when you have Littles in tow.  And since we know how to always make things as difficult as possible, we went camping in a tent for six nights on the banks of giant lakes and raging, deep rivers with waterfalls and rapids downstream, with a toddler.  A toddler who loves water.  And who, after being explained why she can't swim in the water for the umpteenth time, grabs my face in her hands, gets nose to nose with me and says "It'll be okay Mom," before taking off for the water like a bat outta hell.  She's fast, spirited, and full of wildness that amazes and terrifies me all at once. 

Vacation was not restful, really.  Keeping her out of harms way on the rivers and the hiking trails and the woods was not an easy task.  And when camping, there are still meals to cook and dishes to wash and it's even harder than at home without electricity, running water, and convenience at our disposal.  Sleeping with everyone all in the same tent on one little air mattress that has a hole is not relaxing.  And yet, I love it(maybe not the deflating bed part).  I love the chance to get out into the wild and live a different kind of adventure for a short time.  And I love the simplicity of it.  The lack of choices and stuff makes things infinitely more difficult and better all at once. 

We had no cell signal for most of our trip.  We didn't bring computers along for the ride.  Other than washing the one pot and four plates for dinner, there were really no chores to do.  No distractions, only attractions.  I had all the time in the world to listen to my kids and play with them and just be in the moment.  The only problem with this is that I didn't miraculously get all of the patience in the world to go along with all of this time.  If only vacations came with extra doses of virtues when they run thin.

But overall, it wasn't overly stressful and frustrating.  We were all together.  Team Us.  And we had so much fun.  The beauty and the magic we experienced was overwhelming at times. And even just a few days later, I can already feel the rough edges smoothing on the memories.  And all of a sudden, it's funny that the potty training toddler pooped in her only swim suit on day one and had to wear Wonder Woman underpants swimming for the rest of the trip.  And the number of fishing lures that Little Man lost on rocks and trees is entirely eclipsed by the two trout he caught in the mighty Rogue.  And the aches and fatigue from not sleeping well on the ground with two kids melt away after a night or two back on our own beds, but the memories of giggles and snuggles glow brighter. 

I'll be back soon. I can only hit snooze so many days in a row before this starts working!