Friday, May 27, 2005

My favorite picture of the day. Cinderella must really love Snow White to play dress up like this.  Posted by Hello

And this is what she looked like after she turned three. Posted by Hello

This is the last photo of Bella as a two year old little girl.  Posted by Hello

I have this alarming habit of making each child's birthday cake myself. Can you guess what the them of this year's party was? Posted by Hello

Here's a family shot on the day of Bella's birthday party, last Saturday. Posted by Hello

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Happy Birthday, Pink Ice Cream

Well, my little girl is three years old today. Yesterday she was two, all hugs and kisses and snuggles, and now she's morphed into this screaming little adorable bundle of "I want a banana!" and then when you hand her a banana, she puddles onto the floor wailing, "I don't want a banana!"

Three, I told you.

My little girl is a rush of independence. If she tells you that she wants lemonade, and you respond by advising her that the neighbors don't have lemonade but we have it at home and we'll get some later, she will whirl around and head for home before you finish your sentence. Never mind if you are 15 miles away, she's hoofing it. Now. This is what led her to stroll out of McDonald's a few weeks ago. I told her that it was time to leave, expecting that shoes would be put back on and purses picked up and the usual we're-heading-home-now sort of gathering to take place. But of course, she just left. Unfortunately, I thought she had headed back up into the play nets and I sent Riley in after her. That was when I saw the nice woman (thank you nice woman) holding her hand and guiding her back into the restaurant from the parking lot.

Bella is not quite potty trained, though we did purchase the requisite truckload of princess and Dora panties, with some Care Bears thrown in for good measure. I left my mother home with her for 15 minutes yesterday, and when I returned, she announced that she felt like "that crazy woman on Desperate Housewives." Bella had told her that she needed to poop, so my mother sent her upstairs by herself and said she'd meet her in the bathroom when she was done. She was greeted with a bathroom smeared with feces - it was even between my daughter's toes - and incomprehensibly, on the cap of my Secret deoderant.

Bella continues to be the favorite child of her teachers - they whisper it to me in confidence as if I haven't heard it before. She has a way of looking at you and making the rest of the world disappear, and the effect is certainly not lost on me, either. Nose to nose, breathless, she'll whisper, "I love you Mommy" while gently stroking your hair. Time stands still.

Bella is and always has been just like her father in being able to focus completely on the object of her attention. In contrast, Riley was a "nosey" baby, as my grandmother liked to put it. He would not allow you to snuggle him in to your chest as an infant. Rather, he would scream unless he was psitioned out so that he could take in the world. He gets this from me. But Bella, from the time she was an infant, would pat you on the back as she hugged you, kiss your boo boos, and gaze lovingly, unflinchingly into your eyes. When she regards you, she is looking into you, and you relish the attention. You are honored.

She's also my silliest little one. "Eat me!" she will exclaim. "I'm pink ice cream!" And then she'll giggle as you gobble her up. Her imagination is endless, and sometimes I see her fluttering imaginary wings or hopping like a frog through the house all alone. She strolls through our house singing, gloriously oblivious to being completely tone deaf (also like her father) and yet her voice is like an angel.

Every morning as Adelyn naps, I soak in the tub after I shower - it helps me to think and clears my head. On the mornings that she is home and Riley is at school, Bella will wander into the bathroom and become my bathmaid. She hides behind the shower curtain and "cooks" me french fries and chicken - her favorite - and what I love most is that she is so absolutely Bella as she prepares our imaginary feast. She stares intently down at her hands as they act out placing each piece of chicken on a plate from the oven, and presents her bounty to me with all the grandiur of a five star chef. She will share her greatest treasure with you without a moment's hesitation. Her trust in others is remarkable, and yet, she is no victim. She will bellow with rage if you do her wrong. Her strength amazes me every day.

Bella, I don't spend enough time with you, painting your toenails and putting on lipstick and "driving" under the covers to your cousin Mason's house. I spend too much time trying to get you to behave, to hold my hand when you cross the street, to stop smothering your sister with kisses and voracious hugs. But of course, these are the things that I love most about you. Please don't change. Please don't stop kissing your sister and chasing after your dreams, even if right now that only includes some lemonade and a quick trip home from McDonald's.

My princess, my wandering angel, my pink ice cream - happy birthday sweetheart.

I love you.

Monday, May 23, 2005

For the record, Grandma bought him this ridiculous sweatshirt, and he dresses himself.

Posted by Hello
While I realize that it looks as though I am killing him WITH HIS OWN GUN, I assure you that this child is extraordinarily happy with his Power Rangers weapon of choice. He saved his allowance for a whole THREE MONTHS to buy this gun, and this evening, when Grandma gave him the $2 to send him over the edge, he insisted that we go to Target just this instant to buy it. Of course, I obliged. It was his first Target purchase!

Of course, when we went to purchase it, another Mom was there with her son. Looking disapprovingly at me, she advised her pleading little boy that no weapons are allowed in her home.

HEY. The boy saved up for the damn thing himself. He could have bought a whole fucking Power Rangers arsenal if he could afford it.

Just another friendly neighborhod drive-by*, I guess.

* Damn! Grrl took down her archives, I frgot. No link. If you get it, you get it, and if you don't, you missed out.

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Thank you.

Thank you everyone for your kind words. I'd email you individually to thank you, but I know Cecily, and I am no Cecily.

Your support and kindness and commraderie (did I misspell that?) really helped me through the last few days. I'm feeling much better now, so I'm guessing I (mostly) have a PMS problem.
Do they sell Paxil at Target??

The blog ate my homework and other sad excuses for not posting lately.

So I had high hopes. In my head, I wrote a beautiful Mother's Day entry about my amazing children whom I adore.

Then there was the entry thanking the nice woman for bringing Bella back inside of the McDonald's without kidnapping her.

And Adelyn's dancing. That was a good one. She is absolutely divine. She bounces and rocks her shoulders and I had to openly admit to her that she is just my cutest dancing baby, but shh, don't tell the others.

And the one about Bella strolling into the kitchen, asking for chocolate milk, and declaring that "poop fell on the floor" (never leave your child in a skort with no diaper or panties. Bad bad bad.).

And Riley and his little best friend Jack holding hands while walking home from preschool, declaring each other best friends and then licking each other (is that what little boys do with their best friends? I suppose it's more sanitary than pricking fingers and becoming blood brothers, but not much).

Oh, and the time that Riley told me that he would hug me and that maybe that would make me less cranky.

But that's really what my problem is, because it hasn't been working.

I have been alarmingly depressed lately about being home with the kids, and quitting my job, and the great big home addition not starting yet.

I'm tired of living in a bedroom with no closet.

I'm tired of having a kitchen that is older than I am.

I'm tired of my toddlers eating every meal on my antique dining room set because we don't have an eat in kitchen yet.

I'm tired, tired, tired.

I brought my kids with me to drop off papers at my (very part-time) jobs the other day. So yes, my kids have now seen an inpatient psych hospital and an outpatient mental health clinic. Anyway, we were in the neighborhood, so we stopped at their old daycare and spent about two hours eating lunch and visiting their old friends and teachers.

Can I tell you home at home Adelyn was in that daycare? And Riley told me that he likes his old school better, because he misses his friends (he later recanted, I'm glad to say, and told me that he likes being home with me and going to his preschool, which is what he's been saying for a while now. I would have been devestated if he had really changed his mind but not surprised because I really have been that monstrous lately). And Bella hung on her favorite teacher (OK, OK, she's also our babysitter) and had a grand old time.

Melissa wrote something once about the "Starbucks Suggestion." Basically, a friend of hers suggested that she get a part-time job at Starbucks, in order to get out of the house without the kids and regain some energy. Melissa (brilliantly) points out that you would never make the same suggestion to someone working full-time outside of the home, if he or she was complaining of being tired and run down after working all day.

I bring this up because before I quit my job (that I loved!), Vincent and I decided that we could save money to finance the addition if I did some part-time work in the evenings when he was home from work.

Voila! No daycare!

Plus, I'd be able top get out of the house and have some grown-up time for myself. And get paid to do it! Bonus!

So here I am, now a behavior specialist, and I really don't like it. Worse, I'd have to work ALOT to truly make this addition affordable, and being a behavior specialist pays pretty well but it's not like you can work for large chunks of time - it's two hours here, and an hour there - because hey, kids need to sleep more than they need in-home mental health services. Can't hang out until midnight yammering on about family systems issues to a 5 year old, can I?

I'm afraid that I'm experiencing some delayed onset PPD. I don't feel like being someone's counselor. I don't feel like a specialist in anything, especially children' behavior. I miss my old job, and I'm tired of being in this damn house all fucking day. Even so, I don't feel like going anywhere at night.

And I've been mean mean mean to the kids. Downright mean. You know it has to be bad if your four year old is using magical thinking to cure your moodiness. Worse, Bella cowered the other day as I screamed at her for who-knows-what.

Now, I am feeling a little bit better the past few days. My period just ended, so I don't know if it was major PMS, or PPD, or Spring Fever. Or that I just threw a brithday party for fifteen 3 year olds yesterday and I need to start planning the next one for mid-June.

But no matter what, I need to keep writing, because it helps to clear my head.

Is anyone still reading?

Thursday, May 12, 2005

If I actually knew the lyrics to the Macarena, I'd post them here and then make a witty word change to Macaroni...get it? But I don't. Oh well.

Good Lord Julia has a ton of readers.

Hello! I'm glad that you (and Patrick!) enjoyed the recipe. We love it too.
Anyway, for those of you expecting the gravy recipe to be prominently displayed on this website, here ya go:


1/4 c olive oil
5-6 garlic cloves, minced
1 small can tomato paste
3 28 oz cans tomato product (I usually use 2 crushed and one diced, but it's a matter of preference)
Rinse out tomato cans into one can, thereby getting all of the pulp out of the bottoms of the cans - you will add about one can of this pulpy water
1 small can Rotel tomato (this is a spicy diced tomato and it adds some kick to the gravy - skip it if you don't like spice)
a pinch of sugar
1/4 to 1/2 cup of red (think Italian table) wine - I never measure so I am totally guessing, just pour some in
2 bay leaves
1 T dried basil
salt & pepper to taste
country style pork ribs on the bone
hot & sweet Italian sausage


Wake up in the morning, pee, and then GO CHOP GARLIC. You'll want to start the gravy by 8:30 am at the latest or it won't be ready.

Heat the oil in a big pot and brown the meat in the pot that you will be making the gravy in. Put browned meat aside on paper towels.

Heat garlic in the oil (do not burn or toast garlic - if you do, start over).

Add tomato paste and saute for a minute. Then add all cans of tomato products, seasonings, wine, water, and sugar. Finally, add the meat (if you are using meatballs, don't cook them all day, add them about an hour before eating).

Simmer the gravy until dinner time, at least eight hours. The pork will be so tender that it will fall off the bone (it is absolutely amazing cooked this way), and the sausage will help flavor the gravy.

Bake some garlic (cut off top of head of garlic, drizzle with olive oil, wrap in tin foil and bake at least an hour in a 400 degree oven), get some nice Italian bread and a good salad and you are set.


Wednesday, May 04, 2005

The earth's pull

Vincent and I are sitting on Riley's bed last night when I farted, or, as Bella puts it, my tummy burped. Loudly.

"My tummy burped!" I quipped.

"Whoa," says Riley, "What if the whole earth burped??"

"Well then, I guess we'd fall off." Nothing like reassuring your children before bedtime.

"No mom, there's that thing that keeps us from falling off," he says, with that adorable preschooler insinuation that I do in fact know everything.

"Do you remember what that's called?" I ask.

"Gravity!" he yells, beaming when he realizes that he's remembered such a grown-up word. "Did I get it right?" he wants to know.

My husband and I glance lovingly at one another, sharing pride of our little genius boy.

"And grass," Riley adds.

Of course. That's why they make cleats, silly. To help you stay put.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

I'm looking forward to (possibly) weighing less than her in about six months.

This is lame.