Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The Peeps Turn 2!

Ruthie and Audrey celebrated their second birthday yesterday. Things didn't go quite as planned. I'm discovering that that is often the case once you have kids. We were hoping to check out a new kids play place in the afternoon (BOGO w/ Major Saver card. Score.). The girls love to run and jump around in inflatables, and supposedly this place has 'em, with a special area for toddlers. But Audrey woke up sick. Nothing serious. I think it's a cold. But she had a cough and ran a temp off and on. She would run crazy like a mad woman for awhile, then need to lie down. On top of that, Mark's 10:20 a.m. dr. appt. lasted until 2 p.m. (long story). So we'll delay the play place for another day.

We toyed with the idea of having a huge family party since the girls didn't get to have a blow out bash on their first birthday b/c we lived in PA. But that meant hosting 37 people in our house or renting a place, and well, it just started sounding like a whole bunch of no fun. So we decided on a little family party, just us four. As it turned out, Mark's sister, Mary, stopped over, and then there were five. We had an Elmo cake (I baked; Mark decorated), party hats/plates/tablecoth in a Sesame Street theme. The girls loved it. Mary bought the girls a bag of Cheeto Puffs (don't ask). We snacked on cake and Cheetos, then opened presents. Overall, very lovely. I think Ruthie finally picked up on the whole gift thing. After opening her last present, she made the sign for "more" and said, "More presents, please?" It broke my heart to tell her there were no more presents.

Both changed so much in their second year. I'm looking forward to the changes and challenges of year three.

(Note: I was going to upload more photos, but couldn't figure out how to arrange them. I didn't want to waste ALL of naptime trying to figure it out.)

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Meet My New Friend: Walthur P22

A few months back, Mark and I started talking about buying a firearm. Mostly for a hobby, something new to do together, but also for home protection. (Side note: I really liked the idea after I saw Bree and Katherine taking target practice on "Desperate Housewives.") We decided to wait until after the holidays, but in the interim Mark did the research, including stopping into a local gun shop to inquire as to what all is involved. The store is owned by Jim and Sharon, a husband and wife team. Jim is a retired police officer who still trains officers, and Sharon is a tough pistol-packin' momma who makes novices feel comfortable and at ease. They suggested I come in to get a feel for the different types of firearms available. I did and knew as soon as I picked up the .22, it was the piece for me. We bought it last week.

Today, Mark took a 1/2 day comp from work, and we had ourselves a little date. Lunch at Chipotle, ammunition shopping at Wal-mart, and a firearm safety course at the gun shop. We had the opportunity to fire several rounds, and I must say, I rather enjoyed myself. It took me a few rounds to get my aim down, but by the end of our session, I was feeling pretty proud of myself and lovin' every minute of it (Sorry, Loverboy. I stole your lyrical line). At one point, I called "eyeball" on our "bad guy" target and actually nailed the dude in the left eye! A proud moment for me.

I wasn't sure if I was going to like it or not. Outside of a BB gun, I had never handled a firearm. I thought I would be nervous about shooting a gun, but the weird thing was it felt rather natural. Like I was meant to do it. It is also a strange feeling to know that when holding a loaded gun, you have the power and potential to fatally harm another human being. Something not to be taken lightly.

On another note, it's been a long time since I stepped out of my comfort zone and tried something new. It's a great feeling. Today, I felt a little bit of the old me peeking through. Yay!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Mommy Who?

The girls had their first full day of Montessori today. The morning was going well until we got out of the car and reached the door of the center. Audrey surprised me. She waltzed right through the door and down the hall as if she were an old pro. Ruthie, uncharacteristically, hung back a bit and I had to coax her into the school. But by the time Ruthie and I rounded the corner, Audrey was back ... and bawling. Apparently, she suddenly realized this was one of those time when she stayed and mommy left. I put on my game face, got them settled, and high-tailed it out of there.

One oil change, Wal-mart browse, Home Depot paint stop, and home decor store stroll later, I returned. Ok, it was seven hours. Seven whole hours of solitude. Pure bliss. Don't get me wrong, I was ready to see the girls. You can't spend that much time with anyone and not wonder what they are up to when you are separated. During my absence, Ruthie and Audrey had discovered their versions of toddler heaven (Ruthie=live rabbit; Audrey = exercise trampoline). In fact, the girls who fretted over my leaving this morning weren't about to leave with me this afternoon.

The instant she saw me, Ruthie smiled. "Hi, Mommy!" she yelled across the room. She danced around, gesticulating wildly until she was able to shout, "BUNNY!" and toddled back over to check on Peter the Rabbit. No joke. That was his name. "JUMP! JUMP!" Audrey hollered, politely pushing away the poor chump who tried to take his turn on the great bouncing machine. It took a good 10 minutes to corral them and get their coats on.

And here I was worried they wouldn't like school. They barely remembered me when I popped back in this afternoon. That's how I know sending the girls to school was the perfect decision for my family.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Head Wounds ... Continued

The other day I wrote about Audrey falling down the stairs and the bruise she received. Well, this evening Ruthie fell down and knocked her head three times in one hour. The first time, she was very excited and came running over to me with the Dora and Boots transparencies for the Dora the Explorer Doodle Pro Santa brought Audrey. One of Ruthie's favorite activities is having me trace the transparencies. Right when she got to me, she tripped. Her forehead hit the wrought iron leg of the table. Immediately, a bruise began forming. I got her calmed down, we traced Dora, all was good ...

About 15 minutes later I went upstairs to look for Larry and Bob (VeggieTales characters, stuffed, lovies) as a pre-emptive strike against an ugly bedtime. Mark was chasing Ruthie when she tripped over a life-size (to her) Larry Boy (again VeggieTales). Her head hit the wall, and a goose egg formed on contact. Oh, I should mention that Ruthie is so fair skinned she might as well be translucent. So any injury, no matter how minor, shows up in a glaring way. Again, we got her calmed down by telling her it was bath night. All was good ...

After bath time, we let the girls run nekkid through the house for a few minutes. They love, love, love it, and it's hilarious to watch. There is just something endearing about watching little baby butts running wild and free. Mark set Ruthie down on the bathroom floor so she could run. I don't know if her feet were still wet, or there was water on the floor, or what. But her legs went out from under her, and she fell backward, hitting her head. For the third time, we got her calmed down.

So, Ruthie looks like she's been beaten about the head by careless parents. What's a parent to do? Mark and I sang "Frosty the Snowman," (or "Frosty the Man Man," as the girls call him,) to them and called it a night. Here's to an injury-free tomorrow.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Our Daily Existence

So many funny, scary, maddening and just plain weird stuff went on today that I don't know where to begin. Here goes. What follows is a long, and probably boring, recount of a typical day.

The girls start Montessori next week, and today they went in to observe their classroom. I guess it went ok. They seemed fine while I was in the room, then I stepped out. They still would have been fine, but I decided to sneak a peek. Mistake. Big mistake. I saw Ruthie fall and hit her head on the floor. She started crying, then she saw me peeking and started wailing. About that time, Audrey saw me, ran over to the baby gate separating us, and she started wailing. What did I do? I left. For real. Out of the parking lot. See ya. What else was I going to do? It was tough. We haven't been apart since June. While I'm looking forward to a little free time, it's not easy leaving the peeps. I went home and super cleaned our bathroom. That helped occupy my mind. Let's just say, it needed it. When I went to get the girls two hours later, they were fine. I knew they would be. But do they have to be so dramatic? I should enjoy it b/c I know the day is coming when I will leave the room, and they won't care. Then I will be very sad.

Audrey fell down the stairs this afternoon and gave me quite a scare. She was trying to go down them "big-girl style." Ruthie was making her way down the first set of stairs. She is prone to clumsiness, so I looked away from Audrey for a split second to check on Ruthie, and it happened. I heard her head hit the floor. Hard. She was doing the silent scream, which she never does (that's Ruthie's trademark), so I knew she was hurt. Her eyes sort of closed for millisecond, and I went into panic mode, fearing a life-altering concussion and permanent brain damage. I kept jostling her to make her stay awake. She cried, I teared up, and Ruthie played happily with her new Fisher-Price farm. Audrey's fine, despite a small bruise above her left eyebrow. Actually, she and Mark are now twins. He somehow slammed the car door on his head this past weekend, and it left a bruise above his left eyebrow.

Let's see. Oh. Ruthie mocked me. Apparently, I point my finger and say, "Right now!" on a regular basis b/c that's what Ruthie was doing. It made me cringe.

What else? Mark and I are thinking about refinancing our mortgage b/c the rates are incredibly low right now. So, he had the loan application, but didn't mention that he wanted to talk about it tonight, even when I asked him what his plans were after putting the girls to bed. So, I'm all geared up to Facebook, and he comes into the office huffing and puffing about needing certain insurance documentation and where can he find it, and he needs to make copies of such and such using the copier that is on my desk. Basically, he was all up in my grill, and I got irritated. So, we had a little spat. Over nothing. Because I'm grumpy. It's fine now.

Lastly, I was getting ready to blog, and heard the compressor go on and shut off immediately, as in something didn't sound right and the heat didn't come on. I had to go interrupt Mark. He flipped breakers and other switches. Nothing. No heat. Heat is the one thing I don't think I can do without. I had grand visions of having to call our home warranty company yet again (every major system in this house has failed since we moved in in July 2008). I envisioned the peeps morphing into popsicles overnight. I knew I was going to be stuck inside tomorrow waiting for a repair person. As a last ditch effort, Mark turned the thermostat off and on, and the heat kicked on. Let's hope that solution sticks.

So, not an an exciting day. Just a typical day. But I wrote something. I met my goal for today. And now, I'm headed to bed to read more of The Curse of the Spellmans. The second in the series. A third comes out in March. Lovin' it!

Sunday, January 4, 2009

My Husband, My Conscience

My family and I have a rather formal relationship. Everyone is on speaking terms and extremely polite to each other at all times, denying the desire to act otherwise because, well, isn't that what families do? My family thinks so. It is very important to my parents that we appear as one big happy family full of great love and admiration for each other and no issues whatsoever. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Long story. Gruesome details. But imagine anyone reading this would have an even more tragic family saga than I.

I am expected to call my father every Sunday at approximately 3 p.m. The conversation always follows this pattern:

Me: Hi. How are you?
Dad: Fine. How are you?
Me: Fine. What's new?
Dad: Nothing. What's new with you?
Me: Not much.

Eternal awkward silence while I try to find some way to hold a conversation.

Me: How's Wilma? (My stepmother of 20+ years).
Dad: She's fine.

Throw me a bone here, Dad!

You get the picture. My poor husband has had to listen to this painful exchange of words for more than seven years. He has patiently listened to me whine on Sunday afternoons about "having" to call my dad. He has politely, but consistently, turned me down when I offered him a dollar to make the phone call on my behalf. I know, it's wrong. I should want to talk to my parents. I know I should be thankful my parents are still alive. And I am. But I HATE the drudgery of the Sunday phone call. Why can't I just call when I have something to say? Because my dad is afraid I will never call because I will never have something to say. Because I am afraid I will never call because I will never have something to say. Because they must be able to tell their friends that they talk to their daughters on a regular basis. That makes them good parents.

Today we were driving home after a visit with Mark's mother (a completely different experience). It was 4 p.m. I was an hour late with the phone call. I started whining and complaining. It looked like Mark was going to take my side for a minute, but then he sucker-punched me. "If you don't want to call your dad, don't. But how will you feel if he drops dead next week and you didn't talk to him? Will you regret it? You know it could happen any time." For all my moaning and groaning, he knows I would regret it. His father died unexpectedly two years ago. Fortunately, Mark had just had a terrific conversation with him, but even though they had a great relationship, Mark carries around regrets. His heart is heavy, and it always will be. I know Mark is right, and I know the right thing to do.

Me: Hi, Dad. How are you?
Dad: Fine. How are you?

And so it goes.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Ladies Night

What a long day it has been. I'm beat,even though I really didn't do anything today. Mark was home until about 2:30 this afternoon, then he had to go into work to support year-end finance stuff. He wont be home until late. So, it's ladies night. The girls exhausted every form of home entertainment. They played the piano, listened and danced to their CD, watched part of "Frosty the Snowman," played with their toys, fought. By 4:45, I was tapped out. So, I put them in a crib together while I fixed dinner (hot dogs, carrots, and animal crackers. We are totally gourmet around here). I could hear them laughing and giggling. They really like to be together in a crib. It's one of the few times they acknowledge each other's presence. After dinner, they examined their new Leapfrog Fridge toy (as in magnetic letters were flung all over the house), and I called my sister for a little adult interaction. Bedtime finally rolled around, and here I am with a few hours to myself. I fought off the urge to head straight to bed and am taking the opportunity to write. Something. Anything. At least I am writing. That is my goal.

What to do now? I have it all planned out. I am going to change into my flannel pjs, snuggle into bed and read more of The Spellman Files (I'm really liking this book) or watch some of the "Monk" marathon on USA. I never get to watch that show, and I enjoy it. Maybe I will get a little crazy and do some of both. Whoa!