Sunday, May 31, 2009

Some good old fashioned family summer fun

We continue to be amazed and overwhelmed by the love shown to our little girl and to our family. A few of our wonderful neighbors are putting on a carnival that promises to be a fantastic day. I mean come on, pony rides? The Lightning Girls? A DJ? Bouncy Houses and a raffle? What's not to love?!

We hope to see you there!!

Friday, May 29, 2009

Old English

As part of the Great Bedroom Flood of '09, the insurance company decided that our furniture needed to go.

I was glad someone else finally agreed with me. And even better, that they were going to pay for it.

My first instinct was sweet, gimme your check, I will keep my crappy furniture and we will call it even. Ok? No? Whaddya mean no?

Seems the insurance company is onto people like me ... they send a salvage company to come get your old stuff, thus forcing me to go on a hunt for new stuff.

Here's the thing. I don't like new stuff. I like old stuff. Well, not MY old stuff, someone elses old stuff from long ago.

So, I found the most amazing, breathtaking bedroom set from the late 1800's brought over from England that made me swoon. It was well under my insurance company appointed budget and came home to live with me.

I love it!!!! It makes my heart all gushy everytime I think about someone else opening the drawer a hundred years ago. I love the old oak with it's amazing inlay work and love to think about the man who toiled over creating it. I love, love, love it.


One of the pieces was a nightstand, known in its former life as a chamber pot stand.

I explained to Zachary what it was.

He looks at me like I have two heads.

He opens the cabinet door.

He sticks his head in.

He sniffs.

He looks at me and says, "Funny, it doesn't SMELL like old English poop."

I still love it, but, he may have sullied that piece for me just a little. Just sayin'.

Love to all~

Thursday, May 21, 2009

A dream is a wish your heart makes....

Alannah: "So, Momma, I had the strangest dream last night."

"Yea? What's that?"

Vivid, strange dreams in our house are not all that uncommon. When I was a kid, I once had a nightmare about an escaped tiger that lasted for days, literally. I would go to bed and it would pick up where it left off the night before. It was my own personal hellish "As The Zoo Turns."

As an adult, I always had very vivid dreams that I was pregnant before I had any medical expertise, or even a pee stick to back it up.

And much to my poor husbands chagrin, I have had incredibly vivid dreams in which he has done something wrong....didn't pick up milk at the store, quit his job to chase his dream of becoming a the worlds first combination rock star/monk, got a "belly button massage" from a young woman who made a living in a way that her parents were probably less than thrilled with. Now, I have no earthly idea what the heck a belly button massage is, nor did I witness it in the dream, but lemme tell you, I was one irrationally, ticked off wife when I woke up. As I recall, I threw a pillow at him(which he totally had coming) and made him apologize(which I totally deserved). And because he is the best, (and totally knows what kind of crazy he is married to) he ducked the pillow, gave a semi heartfelt apology and then went back to sleep.

Alannah has inherited the funky dream gene.

"What was the dream about, Bear?

"Well, I came home from school and you were here, in the back yard I mean, with a bunch of friends.... Miss Anissa, Miss Cindy, Mrs Firios....a bunch of your girlfriends were there."

"Saweet! Sounds like a great dream, though I gotta say, not particularly strange."

"Well, see here's the strange part. With you and all your girlfriends, there was a steel drum band. And waiters. And they were serving margaritas. And there was a guy grilling stuff."

Meanwhile, last night, I had a stress dream about balancing the checkbook while in pilates class, suddenly realizing I was late to pick up the kids from school and frantically sprinting out of the Y, clad only in my pilates mat.


Not fair!

Alannah's strange dream so kicks my not-near-as-strange-as-I-would-hope dreams Uranus.

Chemo was uneventful yesterday. Mandy's counts were good and thankfully, she is feeling better this morning than she was this time last week.

Love to all~

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Star Student

As a general rule of thumb, Mandy will show up for anything that calls her a star. So when she found out that she was Star Student this week, and that even better she got to bring in whatever she wanted to share with the, toys, dust bunnies from under her bed(not that there are any, but ya know, if there were, whatever.

So, Monday morning I trudged into school carrying a trash bag worth of stuff. We had pictures, videos, a Lightning pennant, stuffed animals, even a caricature of her with Zachary and Alannah. Seriously, we were in need of one of those Grand canyon donkeys to haul all her treasures in for us. Due to my brut strength, I hauled it all in, with only minimal need for a post star student adjustment from my friendly neighborhood chiropractor.

Once we had relocated the entire contents of her bedroom to her classroom the design could begin. She pinned stuff on the bulletin board, arranged stuff on the shelf, repinned, rearranged until it was just right.

Finally perfection was achieved and I am told minimal redesigning was required through the week.

Friday morning, I was instructed, numerous times to show up with Oreos and juice boxes at 10 am so she could present her star student stuff and I could throw sugar in both solid and liquid form at the hungry mass of 2nd graders.

And that? Right there? Is where it all went wrong.

Very, very wrong.

I walked in...schlepping two boxes of Capri Suns, four sleeves of Oreos and my purse. I dropped one sleeve of Oreos in transit and darn near lost a box of juice, but i made it to the classroom with everything relatively intact.

I walk into classroom. My sweet daughter, stands up and waves. Awwwwww ,I love her. She is so sweet! All the other 2nd graders are equally thrilled to see me. So cute!

Oh. Wait. I have cookies. No one is happy to see me. They are happy to see my cookies. And my juice. But mostly my cookies.

Whatever. I can pretend.

As I walk past a table my purse knocks over a shoebox.

Oh, crap.

It is not a shoe box at was a diorama. A space diorama. That some hard working 2nd grader had undoubtedly spent hours on. It crashes to the floor with all the destructive drama of being sucked into a black hole.

I, realizing what travesty I have committed, turn around and gasp. I look down and see a planet in ruins...not in the Al Gore way, more in the Star Trek way and am horrified.

"Momma!!! You broke Uranus!!"

Um, excuse me? I did what? To what? Cause frankly? That sounds painful.

My beautiful, girly daughter shouts again, just in case, people three zipcodes over didn't hear it the first time.

"Momma!! You killed Uranus!!"

The teacher, laughs so hard that she feels the need to leave the room to go tell the teacher next door about my, posterior.

I laugh so hard that I look like I am crying from the pain of my broken....youknowwhat.

Mercifully, the owner and creator of the diorama forgave me. Cause, even more mercifully I came armed the the greatest way to achieve forgiveness of a child. Cookies and juice. We fixed his Uranus display, ate and drank and were merry and all was right in the solar system.

And my broken parts will heal. And I am told, Mandy has achieved the funniest Star Student of the year, thankyouverymuch. Oh, yea baby. Cause, that's how we roll.

Love to all~

Thursday, May 14, 2009

My girls...

Alannah is an amazing young woman. Truly. She makes me proud every single day.

Why just this week...

She was awarded Most Outstanding Freshman in her performing arts high school orchestra. 'Cause she has got the mad skillz on the viola. So proud of her, we are.

This week... one of her photographs of historic Ybor City was on exhibit at a city library. She wrote an amazing essay to go with it. 'Cause again...did I mention? She has some serious talent, that one. Yup, one proud momma, I am.

And then....this week.... she jumped into our little pool(that she has swam in roughly 9.3 bazillion times over the last 5 years), pushed off the wall and swam head first, at Michael Phelps speed into the opposing wall.

Her eyes were open, people. So she could see.

She had on goggles. So not only could she see, but, she could see clearly.

And yet?

She hit so hard that she darn near knocked herself out. She has a huge bruise, atop an even huger knot. She hit so hard that the hair was ripped out at the point of impact. She is 100% fine, mind you. Hence my freedom now to mock her, just a little. She was more than a little annoyed when I woke her up at 2AM and made her tell me her name and address and birthdate just to be certain there was no head injury.

Thankfully, there wasn't. Just the semi permanent tatoo of our pool surface on her forehead.

That's my girl...taking klutzy to a whole new level, one bruise at a time.

And that, boys and girls? Is why you are never, ever, never, ever, never, never allowed to swim by yourself. Got it?

Chemo went well this week. Mandy had a tough day after, with more tummy issues than she has had in a while and lots of fatigue. But, in true Mandy fashion she smiled and pushed her way through it.

It truly is a gift to be these three kids mom. I am blessed beyond measure.

Love to all~

Monday, May 11, 2009

I don't have a note from my Mom to excuse my absence

When I was in high school, I had a nasty tendency to be late. A lot. Not a lot has changed. I am perpetually late. Usually about 15 minutes. Those who know me well know to lie to me about what time I am expected to arrive somewhere. You need me there at 4:30, tell me 4. I can almost guarantee I will be there by 4:30.

As an adult, I have a canned, though sincere, series of reasons why I am late. Those reasons usually involve traffic or kids or, occasionally, dogs. I am always sincerely apologetic and truly despise my tendency to be tardy. But as an adult, that is all the justification that is required of me.

My tardy ways started long ago. And more justification was demanded of me back in the day. In the interest of efficiency, I would write a note, on behalf of my mother, signed by "mother", explaining numerous, creative and varied reasons for my chronic tardiness.

Mercifully, journalism was my first period class my junior and senior year. Excuses were easy, I was interviewing this person, chasing that story ... whatever I could come up with. Either way, I successfully explained away my frequent tardies and semi-frequent absences with help from my "mother's" notes. She was very helpful, my "mother."

Right up until the point at which I was legitimately absent. I was sick. My mom actually wrote a note. I turned it in, feeling all official and honorable and stuff. And then it happened. Busted. HARD.

Why? Well, cause ya see, the office had numerous notes on file from my "mother", signed by my "mother" and that day I turned one in and that looked completely different from the other eleventy bazillion notes. Whoops.

I kinda feel like I owe y'all a note explaining my prolonged absence. So, here ya go...

"To Whom it May Concern;

Please excuse Natalie's tardiness in posting an update. You see, she has had stuff. There was a small flood, mold and drywall dust. There was also a floor rip out and replacement, and the air conditioning died to the tune of several thousand dollars. All of this resulted in a 6 week long displacement from their home.

"At one point I am relatively certain her house starting throwing light fixtures at her, but she doesn't like to talk about that. Suffice it to say there was a pop, and a thud followed by the sound of glass shattering on the tile floor. They are still in need of a new roof. If you have an extra one of those lying around, please feel free to send it home with her.

"Amidst all of this fun, Mandy had all the usual chemo appointments and an MRI that showed mostly good news, but left some questions unanswered.

"Oh, and? She got a traffic ticket, had a dentist appointment, overslept, had a bad hair day and I am pretty sure the dog ate her homework.

"This all may or may not have led to her polishing off a bottle of Pinot Grigio before the salad even arrived. If that did happen it was not her fault. The waiter told her it was 'Wine Wednesday' and she was merely trying to be accommodating.

"However, they are back in their home now and she promises to try to do better to show up on time, or for that matter, just show up.

"She may or may not have her homework. But, she will have a bottle of Pinot Grigio. I will send a Doctor's note for this under separate cover.

"Thank you for your understanding in this matter.

"All the best,
Natalie's mother"

You can feel free to place your bets on the validity of that signature of my mother.

Love to all~