Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Hurricane Katrina Update - Wed. 8/31

No real news to report. Not much is being reported about West St. Tammany Parish, because it doesn't seem to be as catastrophic as Slidell, Orleans, Jefferson, St. Bernard.

This is what I've heard from various online forums, and news reports:
  • Most of the flooding in Mandeville occurred between the lake (naturally) and Monroe Street.
  • Madisonville experienced flooding at the Tchefuncte River, but I haven't heard that the Hwy. 22 drawbridge was damaged.
  • Most of the subdivisions in Mandeville have some type of wind damage - fallen trees blocking roadways, trees going through houses, downed powerlines. It seems intermittent, though. Most reports I'm hearing, from the eastern part of Mandeville at least, are that one house might be devastated but the one next door might be fine.

Dear Hubby and brother-in-law are going to try to visit Mandeville tomorrow. They're not planning on staying - just long enough to look around and perhaps secure our houses if there's damage. I'll post more news when I have it...

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

We Evacuated...

Just a quick post to let those of you who may be concerned know that my family and I evacuated from our home in Southeast Louisiana. We're safe and sound in Lafayette, La., awaiting word on when we can return home to assess the situation.

Our home is in St. Tammany Parish which saw significant wind damage, but fortunately not a lot of flooding. Our neighbors across Lake Pontchartrain in Metairie, Kenner, New Orleans aren't so lucky. We're watching the news coverage and those areas look like Venice, Italy - streets completely underwater.

Keep us in your prayers. More to follow...

Saturday, August 27, 2005

OUCH! Sam's Baseball Injury

Last night Sam, age 8, was injured by a baseball and he wasn't even playing the game. Our family was at a pro baseball game (a farm team). DH and youngest son were in the concession line, older two sons went to the men's room and I went to the ladies' room. As I was washing my hands, I could hear a child crying. I thought, that sounds like Zack (my youngest), but I knew he was with his dad waaayyyy over there getting snacks. I heard the crying again and said, darn it, that's one of mine! So I leave the restroom in a blaze and sure enough, there's Sam laid out on the ground with quite a crowd gathering around.

Oldest son Drew explained that Sam was hit by a baseball. What are the chances? We're on the second tier of the stadium, when a player hit a foul ball past the third base line, over the first level of seating and nailed Sam right in the hip/thigh as he was leaving the restroom. It didn't hit the ground and bounce first. An inch and a half over, it would've hit him in The Spot No Man Ever Wants To Be Hit (although at the time, we weren't sure it hadn't). Poor baby!

There was a really nice man in a bright yellow shirt who was asking Sam all sorts of questions to distract him while someone else went to fetch ice and summon the paramedics. We carried him to the first aid room so the medic could check him out in relative privacy. Sam started feeling better and paramedic took some ice from the giant bag and put it in a latex glove and tied it off so he could tuck it more discreetly inside his shorts. A representative from the team gave Sam a souvenir baseball (Drew managed to retrieve the foul ball, but Sam had seen enough of that one!). After we completed the incident report, Sam felt well enough to stay for the game. He has a bruise and his leg feels a little stiff so we're skipping his own baseball practice this morning so he can rest.

Never a dull moment with this crew!

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Neighbors...Gotta Love 'em (or do we???)

A new family moved on to the block this summer and I'm having a difficult time warming to the parents. They have two kids, one of whom is autistic (we rarely see him), the other is a little girl probably 7 or 8 years old. The girl has been over to play with Sam before and seems nice.

The family is a little 'different' than most on our quiet little street in that they're not exactly quiet. I was working in my yard a couple of weeks ago and I could hear the wife lay into the hubby. She was in their front yard yelling at him that it didn't "take (expletive) 45 minutes to go to the (expletive) store, you (expletive expletive)!" I live two houses away and I knew she had to realize that Dear Hubby and I were outside and could hear every word. Heck, people six blocks away could hear every word. Thank goodness none of the neighborhood kids were outside or I would've had to say something. In retrospect, I probably should have.

School started last week so we're seeing the parents at the bus stop in the morning. There's usually six adults out there with the kids. The potty mouth lady started hinting that she's starting a new job soon and will have to leave for work a little before the bus comes but that she figures "there are enough adults around that someone should be able to watch (daughter) get on the bus?" The husband doesn't work, but he has to drive the son to a special school and doesn't always make it back home in time for daughter's bus.

Another mom and I pretended to not to hear her, but this morning Mrs. Potty Mouth flat out asked me if she could send her daughter down to our house on certain mornings so that her daughter could walk to the bus stop with Sam and me. I asked what time she had in mind, and it seemed to be only 15-20 minutes before we leave the house anyway so I said okay.

I'm kicking myself for being a doormat, but I really do feel badly for the daughter. I'm sure that since the mom doesn't care if neighbors hear her cursing and yelling at the dad, she's probably doesn't tone it down in front of the kids.

Here's the other thing, though. This couple already has a reputation of taking advantage of the neighbors. For example, daughter was at another child's house playing and her dad asked if friends parents could keep an eye on her while he ran to the store "for half an hour." Sure, no problem. Until two hours passed and the dad still hadn't returned. Once they even left the house to run an errand without even telling the other parents they were leaving. It came time for the other family to eat dinner so they tried to send the little girl home, but she said she couldn't go because "no one was home." Sure enough, there wasn't. (At that point, I would've considered calling the authorities.)

Oy vey! What am I getting myself into?

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Turtle Funeral

Yesterday, I looked into the turtle tank in my older boys' room and discovered that Zippy, a little female box turtle, had died. My older son had already left for school, but my middle boy was home. So the tears started. He managed to pull himself together in time to catch the bus, but only after making me promise to bury Zippy in a place of honor in my garden. (By "place of honor," I mean a location under a statue, prickly plant or some other garden ornament where her resting place is less likely to be undisturbed by our insane cat.)

I gave the turtle tank a thorough cleaning just in case Zippy died of illness - it looked fine, though. She and her tankmate, Shellshocker, are the Felix Ungers of the turtle world, apparently. Zippy came into our lives in June 2004 when my husband came home from walking the dog and claimed the turtle "followed" him home. I figured any turtle that could keep up with a grown man and a greyhound must have the kahunas to survive in our house. ;-) We adopted Shellshocker a couple of months ago. She's bigger than Zippy, and much more sociable, but the two got along well.

I broke the news to our oldest son when he got home from school. He too got a little teary eyed, but handled it well in general. I got my garden shovel, dug a nice deep hole, placed Zippy inside, and we took turns replacing scoops of dirt before saying a prayer. She's buried in the very front of the garden in front of our porch, in a gravesite marked by a wrought iron cross on a stake. (If you double click on the righthand photo in yesterday's blog entry, you'll see a tall ornamental tree -- slightly in front and to the right of it is a clump of plants. Zippy's buried among them, but you can't see the cross in the photo.)

It occurred to me that there are a number of animals in my two gardens. Our parakeet and numerous lizards are buried in the garden in front of my living room window (the photo on the left in yesterday's blog). Zippy is the first to be interred in the newer garden; however, the cremated remains of two dogs were mixed in with the garden soil.

So rest in peace:
  • Zippy (box turtle, came into our lives 6/04, died 8/22/05)
  • Buddy (parakeet, adopted 1999, died 2002)
  • Lizards 1-4 (summer of 2004)
  • Cherie (toy poodle, born 12-7-81, died 4/15/95)
  • Annie (small mixed breed dog, adopted 1979, died 1996)
  • countless tree frogs who unwittingly crossed paths with my cat (2004-)

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Finally Finished My Garden

More or's always a work-in-progress, but I put a few more plants in and added mulch, which to me, means it's completed. Until something dies and I have to yank it up and replace it. Or until I see some cool fall plant that I think might look interesting. But for now at least, I'm out of money and out of energy. Two things you should know about me: 1) I don't know anything about gardening, 2) I don't have the attention span to learn - just let me play in the dirt, and 3) I have a "black thumb."

There's no rhyme or reason at all to my hodge podge of plants. I don't like to spend a lot of money (see #3 above), so I buy plants on sale or at the end of their season when they're reduced 75% and hope they'll re-sprout next year. I've actually had pretty good luck with this.I started my first garden at this house when we first moved in 4 yrs ago. This garden is in front of my living room window. I added a second garden in front of my front porch 2 years ago.

This summer I got the crazy idea to pull up the scalloped garden edger and build a retaining wall instead. And while I'm at it, why not make the gardens bigger.In May, I had the double split retaining wall stoned delivered by Lowe's. I spent a week moving my sidewalk, which is limestone rocks. I raked and raked those little buggers until I cleared out enough space to make a semi-circular garden that extended an additional 3' feet away from the house.

After that, I worked on the porch garden. Rather than ending at the edge of the porch, I decided to extend it to the edge of the house. This entailed ripping up a considerable amount of my lawn so I could built my retaining wall - this one is a little serpentine shaped. It looks nice (I think). The photos of my two gardens before adding mulch (if I did it correctly, the photos are clickable thumbnails so you can view a larger pic).

Thursday, August 18, 2005

You Won't Believe What Drew Ate!

A little background: my oldest, Drew (age 10) is the World's Most Finicky Eater! He truly does hold the title. He has been this way since he was about 18 months old. That was the last time he ate scrambled eggs, which he used to enjoy. He was around that same age when he had his first - and last - McDonald's hamburger. Wolfed it down completely, said he liked it, and would never agree to eat another one again.

I'm sure his diet is part of the reason he's so small. I do try to introduce him to healthful foods but I learned long ago [WARNING: the rest of this sentence is not for the squeamish! You may want to skip to the next paragraph. Still here? Don't say I didn't warn you!] - he can barf at will, without any silly tricks like using a finger. That's pretty much when I gave up the Food Fight. Meanwhile, none of the doctors he's ever been to have been particularly concerned about his finickiness.

He likes sugary breakfasts: waffles and pop-tarts, especially. I can, sometimes, get him to eat slow cook oatmeal, sweetened with just a touch of cinnamon and sugar. This summer at camp he discovered French Toast. He doesn't like the way I cook it, though (I, too, am a title holder: World's Worst Cook), so I end up buying the Eggo frozen kind.

He loves peanut butter and jelly sandwiches made on whole wheat bread. He'll eat chicken nuggets, but not chicken tenders. You see, once you bite a chicken tender it's no longer covered by batter on all sides so it loses all appeal. A nugget he'll pretty much eat whole. This is the only meat he'll eat, other than the occasional hotdog (which he'll eat begrudgingly). He'll eat macaroni and cheese only if it's made from the foul orange powder! Nothing that looks like real cheese, please. He'll eat cheese pizza, though. His favorite all time food, though, is pasta with marinara sauce.

He does sometimes eat raisins, apples, grapes and the occasional banana. He very rarely eats candy and despises soda. The only 'sweets' he'll eat (besides breakfast) are the cheap iced oatmeal cookies from WalMart. He'll drink milk, Hawaiian punch, lemonade or fruit juice. This past year, he actually added broccoli to his diet. He used to eat only the teeniest florets, he's now started to eat the stems.

And now to the point: Yesterday afternoon he says, "Mom, next time you and Dad have sushi, can I try some?" After I picked my jaw up off the floor, I called Dear Hubby who raced to the local grocery to pick up some California rolls for dinner. Our favorite sushi place had already closed for the day. I sat across the table and watched - with tears in my eyes - my picky baby eat four (!) California rolls. Heck, six filled me up. Granted, he ate them with his fingers and dipped them in ketchup but's sushi! (more or less) He said he liked them - and this is the kicker - he'd like to have them again sometime! Woo hoo!

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Raindrops on Roses, Whiskers on Kittens...

It seems I either have nothing much to say, or I can't tame my scattered thoughts long enough to write a coherent sentence. So instead of my usual rambling musings, I thought I'd steal a cue from the old Julie Andrews song from the Sound of Music.

These are A Few of My Favorite Things, in no particular order:
  1. snow
  2. fireflies
  3. an expensive bottle of champagne - or an inexpensive bottle of Asti Spumante
  4. fresh peaches
  5. picking blackberries with my kids
  6. a perfectly broken-in pair of jeans
  7. Harry Potter books
  8. email - more immediate than a letter, but not exactly like a phone call where you have to pretty much stop what you're doing and focus on the conversation. Know what I mean?
  9. InStyle magazine - pure fluff: no true crime stories, no scary health articles, no 'how to save your relationship' articles - just eye candy
  10. dragonflies - we used to call them 'mosquito hawks' when we were little...
  11. looking for 4-leaf clovers
  12. 80's music for the memories
  13. chocolate (how did this end up so low on my list?)
  14. hunting for fossils in ordinary rocks with my boys
  15. waking up in the morning to find Zack, age 3, curled up in bed next to me (when did he sneak in?!)
  16. the sound of children laughing
  17. leaves changing color in the autumn - I'm going by memory here from my decade spent in Virginia. We don't have autumn in southeast Louisiana.
  18. perfume - esp. Burberry Brit and Angel by Thierry Mugler
  19. feeding ducks
  20. I love it when it rains when the sun is still shining.
  21. a really, really good hamburger
  22. Tab - remember the sickeningly sweet diet drink in the pink can? Yes, they still make it.
  23. reading a suspense-thriller novel
  24. staying up late, and sleeping in the next morning - the latter rarely happens.
  25. unsolicited hugs and kisses from my 3 yr old - and my 8 yr old for that matter (my 10 yr old isn't a big hugger)

More to come another time...

Saturday, August 13, 2005

First Day of School

My older two boys started school yesterday (on a Friday!). Sam is in 3rd grade at an elementary school that runs from K-3. Drew is in 5th grade at a middle school which runs from grades 4-6. I had never heard of this until we moved to this parish. Although our state ranks among the bottom two in the country for public education, our parish ranks first in the state, so that should count for something, right? They both had good days.

I worry a bit more about my older son. He's small for his age and tends to act younger than most of his peers. He's also speech impaired, plus he struggles with ADHD, so I'm always worried that he'll be 'an easy target.' To the credit of the teacher and administrators at both schools, however, he has never been made to feel different from or less than the other kids. I hope that continues to carry through. He works really, really hard to maintain an A-average and is really an extremely bright boy. Quite a deep thinker.

My middle child - bless his heart - things just come easier to him with little effort. Perhaps in some way this is poetic justice for all those times that we were so busy helping big brother. Still, his accomplishments - no matter how easily attained - are no less valid. We're very proud of him too. He seems to be well liked by his peers, especially the girls. He's not as introspective as his brother, but he's witty and fun.

I know you should never compare your kids, but sometimes it's hard not to. I don't do it because I want to see who doesn't measure up, or who is 'better' (answer: none). But rather, if I were to write down a list of the traits that I admire most in a person, I find that I'm blessed to find them in one form or another in each of my children. Each one is unique. Uniquely irritating sometimes, uniquely lovable all of the time. Keeping my fingers crossed for a great year for each of my kids.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Still on the Quest for a Great Fitting Pair of Jeans

Last Friday's blog described my experience with The Gap's new line of jeans for curvy figures. It seems, at least for me, that they're not cut curvy enough. So here I sit in my Lee Classic size 6P jeans. They're fine - really they are. It's just that they're...well, classic. The style hasn't changed significantly since I started wearing them in the early 80's (and maybe that's a *good* thing!). Still, I find myself craving something a little more stylish, more contemporary.

Well someone mentioned that Lee also makes a line called One True Fit jeans. They're lower rise, bootcut, different washes ("whiskering" and so forth). I read the testimonials on the website and was so excited. No gapping! Stretch denim that hugs your curves! One of the testimonials was from a woman who described herself as 5'2", 115 lbs , with a small waist and big hips - and she loved them, she wrote! She's only an inch taller than me and a few pounds lighter so I thought, maybe.... I visited a local department store that carries the line. No luck there. On me, the short length is still too long and the gapping was terrible.

Nearing desperation (well, not quite - it's only jeans, after all), I recalled that several years ago Levi's had a line - I think it was called Original Spin - where you'd visit a Levi's store, the associate would measure you, enter your dimensions into a computer and a pair would be custom-created for you. You're measurements would be stored into the computer so you could re-order (or adjust them) at a later date. Unfortunately this program was discontinued, according to the nice person from the Levis website who responded to my question. She suggested that I try other Levi's styles - certainly I'd find one that I'd be happy with (oh yeah?).

I emailed her back explaining my dilemma (namely my misproportioned posterior) and told her that I didn't have the patience or the attention span to try on 3 sizes (I'm usually a 6 or 8, but not having ever worn Levi's, perhaps the sizes run differently?) in each of the gazillion styles they make. Okay, so gazillion may be a slight overestimation. So I asked the Levis gal to be honest: will any of their jeans fit short curvy women? I explained my problem with gapping, plus the fact that some of my curves are on my belly so very low rise is not an option.

Here, in part, is her email reply:

"Honestly, we do have various styles that sound like they will suit your needs. I highly recommend that you try the 515 (tm) misses boot cut jean .This is a slim fit, boot cut jean very popular this season. Now, it is a low rise, BUT, it only sits nicely on the hip area and is very flattering to the belly area, so in no way are they offensive :):):) "

How cute is that? I may just have to try a pair of 515s. More to follow.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Thoughts About Friendship

First some "me" time (Monday/Tuesday), now a girls' evening out. This never happens in the same quarter, much less the same week. Anyway, my friend, Renee, invited me out for coffee. We spent the next couple of hours just chatting away. Even though we're at very different stages of our lives, we're somewhat kindred spirits, I think.

She's young (mid-20's), single, in her first real professional job...I'm not-so-young, married, a stay-home mom. Yet we both have a BA in Communications from the same alma mater, neither of us knows what we want to be when we grow up, and we're both considering returning to night school to get a teaching degree.

I can completely relate to her hopes, dreams and disappointments even though I'm a decade and a half older. Am I young at heart or immature for my age? Sometimes there's no rhyme or reason why we bond with the people that we do.
Take ~D, for example. She's married to my hubby's dear friend. Is that why she and I hit it off? No, hubby has other friends whose wives I just don't get. With ~D, it's her sense of humor (somewhat twisted at times), her love for her family, the fact that she doesn't try to make it all look easy...but most of all, she puts up no pretenses. What you see is what you get. Is it always pretty? Perhaps not, but always refreshing, always welcome.

With Renee, she seems a bit like I imagine I might've been at age 25, had I not made some really stupid, boneheaded mistakes. Plus she's fun. I've encouraged her to start a blog of her own. If she does, I'll add a link to my sidebar.

Then there are other 'friendships' that are harder to explain. Maybe it's an email buddy in another state who offers the best advice (and sends the funniest off-color jokes). Maybe it's the fellow blogger who just seems to *get it* (whatever "it" may be - hi Jules!). I don't get mushy often, but here's a big hug to my friends near and far.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

A Little "Me" Time

As I mentioned in yesterday's blog, my dad-in-law picked up the boys yesterday and took them to his house to spend the night. Hubby and I enjoyed a nice dinner at an inexpensive Mexican place. Nothing fancy, but one of those places the kids would never enjoy.

Today, I slept as late as I could, waking at 10:20. I took a long shower (no speed-shaving and nicking my ankles!), then headed for the haircut place for a trim. I planned to do some shopping and mapped out 4 or 5 places I wanted to go. Here's what I discovered. At my leisurely, kid-free pace, I still managed to browse every rack in about 15-20 minutes. I grabbed a Starbucks iced mocha for lunch (just because I can) and realized at 2:15 I had already gone through my list of places to shop.

Fortunately the caffeine kicked in and I caught a 'second wind'. I managed to find a few other places to shop. I didn't buy much: two pairs of sequinned ballet flats - one gold, one dark brown, and a top.

It's 6:00 and the boys are home now - let the chaos begin! ;-)

Monday, August 08, 2005

The Sound of Silence

My father-in-law called this morning to say he'd be in our area (he's picking up my nephew to take him back to his house to spend the night since camp ended, and both my sis-in-law and her husband work). Dad-in-law stopped by the house to invite the boys and I to have lunch with him and the nephew at IHOP. I'm not one to turn down free food.

While we're having lunch, PawPaw decides, hey, wouldn't it be fun for *all four boys* (my three plus nephew) spend the night at his house? I'm also not one to turn down free, reliable babysitting.

After lunch, we came back to our house so I could get the boys packed (backpacks, pillows, sleeping bags, etc.). We swapped keys so I have his little Saturn and he has my minivan. I now have approximately 24 kid-free hours and I hardly know how to fill them. I could finally get my hair trimmed - it's only been 4 months since my last haircut. Perhaps browse the little boutique that's having a going-out-of-business sale. Visit an art gallery. The possibilities are endless.

First on my non-agenda, however: a nap. More to follow...

Friday, August 05, 2005

So the store advertises "jeans that fit every body" - except mine!

There's a retail store that claims to have a style of jeans for every figure. This month, they've even launched a line for "curvier" women. I was so hopeful...

I'm carrying a little more weight than I usually do (I'm working on that!), but nothing outrageous. I'm just a little out of proportion: my waist is small and my hips aren't. I've always been that way, whether I was a size 4 or a size 10 (right now, I'm mostly a 6, occasionally an 8).

My biggest pet peeve is pants that fit in the front, but gap at the waist in the back. I've been wearing Lee classic fit jeans since highschool. They seem roomier in the hips and smaller in the waist than most brands. The only problem is they haven't changed their look since I was in highschool. I'd like a more contemporary wash, or perhaps a boot cut.

Anyway, at the store today, there was a real nice sales girl who helped me pick a bunch of different sizes and lengths to try on. "One of these will work - I just know it!" she said. I should have asked her to placed a bet.

I found that the sizes run small. At least that's what I'm telling myself because size 8 was snug. I'm only 5' 1" so I tried the 'ankle length.' Oh they were ankle length alright - if you're five-foot-nine! What's the point of buying boot cut jeans if you have to hem them to the point that the boot part is gone?

These jeans for curvy women come in two rises: low and ultra-low. Excuse me, but some of my "curves" are in my abdomen - do I really want that hanging out there for the world to see?

Oh well, as a consolation prize, the store gave me a coupon for a free download from iTunes. (Actually, they give one to anybody who tries on jeans.). I'll end here...I'm hopping on iTunes' website so I can pick my song. Perhaps Queen's "Fat Bottom Girls' - because we "make the rockin' world go 'round." ;-)

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Another late night...

I've struggled with insomnia off and on throughout most of my life. As a baby, my mother said, I was a 'night owl.' My oldest son is the same way... Neither of us falls asleep easily. My husband and my middle son are the exact opposite. As soon as their heads hit the pillow, they're *out*.

Thursday nights are especially difficult because my dear hubby (DH for short) volunteers for an hour each week at our church's perpetual adoration chapel. He sets the alarm for 2:21 a.m. and spends the hour from 3:00-4:00 a.m. at the chapel. He's the sort who can fall asleep as soon as he's in a horizontal position. I on the other hand take 45+ minutes to doze. On Thursdays, he turns in around 9:30 p.m. I'm not ready to go to bed that early so I stay up to the point where I wonder 'why bother?'. For example, right now it's 11:30 p.m. here. If I turn in now, I might - if I'm lucky - fall asleep by 12:15 a.m. The alarm will go off 2 hours later - why bother? The alarms goes off at 2:21 and I wake too. If I'm lucky, I'll doze off again around 3:10 a.m. DH will be home an hour later. So why bother? He gets home around 4:10 or so and will either exercise or go back to bed (because he can fall asleep within 5 minutes). I, on the other hand, will be awake until around 5:00 a.m. His alarm for work is set for why bother?

It wouldn't be so bad if I'd just give up altogether on the idea of sleeping on Thursday nights.

On the plus side, Drew (my oldest) and I stayed and worked on his crossword puzzle book - good for boosting vocabulary and brain power. We also watch the DVD of a favorite movie of mine, "Waking Ned Devine." Not appropriate for children but so much of it was over Drew's head - plus he wasn't paying close attention. I don't know why the movie touched me - perhaps it's the breathtaking Irish countryside, or the naked old man riding the motorcycle. (Sends me in fits of giggles every time!)

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Motherhood & Identity

Journal Entry - November 1, 1994: I found out yesterday I'm going to be a mother. It hit me like a ton of bricks…oh my gosh, I’m going to lose my identity…I’m going to become “so-and-so’s mother.“ Am I trading my identity for that nondescript title of Mom? After all, it had been only recently that I began to see the PERSON who is my own mother.

Fast forward ten years. I now wear the title like a crown. Have I lost my identity? Some who knew me “when” might think so, but I’ve gained something more. My vocation of motherhood is one that on the surface has no glory, yet will impact the world for generations to come.

How I raise my children will have a direct bearing on who they will become and what they’ll contribute to the world. What an awesome responsibility…and privilege! I’ve learned more about myself since becoming a mother than I thought possible. What a surprise to learn that the person who existed before was only the outermost layer – she didn’t cease to exist altogether. Rather, she’s grown into the person I am now.

Do I live through my kids? Sure. Right now, they’re young and need me near (as much as I need to be near). But I live … I live, feel, love more deeply. The time will come when my children need me less and the person I am now will grow into the person I will become…

Sign me “Mom”

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Someone will let me know if that little picture to the left gets too obnoxious, won't they?

It's the only semi-decent photo taken of me in years... Thank you, D, for taking it. (You can read D's blog at cowbell35 - there's a link at the lower left.) Anyway, I thought it would be fun to include a photo, but there it is - attached to every comment I make. It's kind of odd, because I don't associate the photo with the face I see in the mirror every day. Maybe that's the appeal (to me).

I'm the one behind the camera 99.9% of the time. In fact, if you looked at our family album - if I had one - you'd swear my kids were mother-less. "There a shot of Andy and the boys. And there's another of just the boys. Wait, what's that? Can it be? Yes, it's a thumb! By golly, the woman *does* exist!" (Re: the lack of a family album: I bought all the stuff to do a scrapbook, but got so overwhelmed trying to figure out where to I didn't).

Anyway, I hope you don't tire of seeing my little mug. Not that I get much traffic here, but I don't want to scare anyone away. ;-)

I'm the type who needs 'closure'

In May, I ordered some materials to be delivered so Andy and I could work on a couple of outdoor yard projects. It took me three weeks, but I managed to re-do the two gardens I have in the front yard. It was a royal pain, but I'm happy with the way it turned out. I extended my garden space and built a retaining wall. I'm not completely finished, but all that's left is the fun stuff - adding plants and finally deciding what type of mulch I want to use. Lowe's has this wood-look mulch that's actually made out of recycled rubber but they sell out as soon as they get it in and I don't want to order it without seeing a sample first. Anyway, the point it, it looks pretty much finished.

Project #2 isn't faring so well. We're reclaiming some of our front yard that we're losing to erosion. I live in an area where drainage is an issue so the homes in our neighborhood have ditches in the front yard. A lot of people hate them, but boys and I kind of like them. We get to watch frog eggs hatch and see tadpoles develop into frogs. We have a lot of little fish (they look like minnows) and some water snails living there. We'll see an occasional live crawfish or turtle, all without leaving the front yard.

Anyway, we've used landscape timbers to build a bulkhead for our ditch. I don't know if 'bulkhead' is an official term but that's what folks around here call it - it's essentially a retaining wall to prevent erosion. Andy worked all day a couple of Saturdays ago to build the the bulkhead. It looks pretty good but we need some fill dirt brought in so we can re-build the part of the lawn that washed away.

The problem is it has been raining nearly every day - pretty typical weather for summers in southeast Louisiana - but I can't get the dirt until things dry out a bit. I know I should be grateful that after 2 1/2 months, I've finally got the landscape timbers and rebar out of the driveway, but it's driving me nuts not to be able to finish.

I want dirt! I want some sod! I need closure! ;-)

Monday, August 01, 2005

So now I'm deliberately trying to shrink my laundry...

School starts in a little less than two weeks and both my older two boys' schools require simple uniforms - khaki pants or shorts, and navy blue polo-style shirts. Sam's school also allows plain navy t-shirts, while Drew's allows plain white polos. Fortunately, we have plenty of shirts left over from last year (thank you, Mom!).

The problem is pants/shorts. Sam just turned 8. I would consider him regular size for his age, compared to most other 8 year olds I know. Drew just turned 10 and is very small for his age. He is the same height as Sam, and weighs about 7 lbs less. Neither of them, however, can fit into size 8 shorts or pants.

My mother, bless her heart, sent a bunch of brand new size 8 pants last year but they were at least 6 inches too long so I set them aside. The boys tried them on today - well, the length is much better (only a few inches long), but the waist? Both of them could probably fit into one pair. It's crazy!

It seems there is a big gap between the little boys department (sizes 4-7) and the young men's department (sizes 8-20). So now I'm trying to shrink a bunch of size 8 Slim pants. Wish me luck. (And why, oh why, can't they make a size 7 Extra-Long?)