Monday, July 31, 2006

No hard feelings

Ry's been complaining this afternoon about not being able to do anything fun, being bored, hating being in our family, blah, blah, blah...

I finally just suggested she go next door and ask Elisa if she would adopt her so she could have a new family.

"But that means I won't be your Mommy anymore, and Daddy won't be your Daddy and Jax won't be your brother anymore either," I said.

On her way out the day, she called, "Well, a girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do!!"

Saturday, July 29, 2006

When Bratz Attack

Apparently all my efforts (as righteous as they've been) in steering my daughter away from the Pre-K Pin Up set have been the parenting equivalent to farting in the wind.

I've resisted Ryan's pleads for any Bratz item, preferring to wait until she's at least 10 to introduce her to the fashion stylings of Sally Streetwalker, and in doing so have created a monster.

Bratzilla, to be exact. In lieu of playing with a Bratz doll, my ingenious protege has turned herself into one. She's taken to singing the Bratz commercial's song in front of the mirror, posing and pointing and for the love of God, make my daughter stop before she asks for a pole.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Friday Fling

Jax is barfing and I've got work up to and above my ass so Im just gonna throw this one out to ya I know it's been around more than Paris Hilton but it's still friggin funny Ive accomplished four today how many can you do

20 Ways to Maintain A Healthy Level Of Insanity
1. At Lunch Time, Sit In Your Parked Car With Sunglasses on and point a Hair Dryer At Passing Cars. See If They Slow Down.
2. Page Yourself Over The Intercom. Don't Disguise Your Voice.
3. Every Time Some one Asks You To Do Something, Ask If They Want Fries with that.
4. Put Your Garbage Can On Your Desk And Label It "In."
5. Put Decaf In The Coffee Maker For 3 Weeks Once Everyone has Gotten Over Their Caffeine Addictions, Switch to Espresso.
6. In The Memo Field Of All Your Checks, Write "For Smuggling Diamonds"
7. Finish All Your sentences with "In Accordance With The Prophecy."
8. Don't use any punctuation
9. As Often As Possible, Skip Rather Than Walk.
10. Order a Diet Water whenever you go out to eat, with a serious face.
11. Specify That Your Drive-through Order Is "To Go."
12. Sing Along At The Opera
13. Go To A Poetry Recital And Ask Why The Poems Don't Rhyme
14. Put Mosquito Netting Around Your Work Area And Play tropical Sounds All Day.
15. Five Days In Advance, Tell Your Friends You Can't Attend Their Party Because You're Not In The Mood.
16. Have Your Co-workers Address You By Your Wrestling Name, Rock Bottom.
17. When The Money Comes Out The ATM, Scream "I Won!, I Won!"
18. When Leaving The Zoo, Start Running Towards The Parking lot, Yelling "Run For Your Lives, They're Loose!!"
19. Tell Your Children Over Dinner. "Due To The Economy, We Are Going To Have To Let One Of You Go."
20. And The Final Way To Keep A Healthy Level Of Insanity.......Take parenting tips from chunkyrhino. Hahahahahahahahahhahahahahahahahahaaaaaaaaaaaa.

Yeah...that's maybe more better...

RYAN: You know what Mom? I've been thinking, and I've decided that instead of saying bad words like 'shit' and stuff, I'm just gonna say 'Oh Poop'. Isn't that good?"

P.S. Congrats to Chaika and Barrett, and welcome to the world, Addison Grace!

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Bloody Hell

What's with the whole bloody nose thing? Someone's gonna have to fill me in, because I've never been a victim of said disease, and yes, it must be a disease, becasue it just,won't.go.away.

Jax took a tumble a while back, leaving him bleeding out the nose like a stuck pig, and ever since then, anytime his face/head area makes contact with another hard surface, the flood gates open.

What the hell? Is he gonna be the Bloody Nose Kid, because, EWWWW GROSSS!!! I'm hoping that there is some simple medical explanation dealing with broken capillaries or something, or else we're in for a long bloody ride.

Not only that, but when he hits himself, he also starts crying, so what we end up with is a nice visous mixture of snot and blood. Mmmmm. I think I'll go start dinner now.

We're having spaghetti.

Do what now?

Ryan was playing with a friend the other day when the friend started having acid reflux pains. They called me into the room andRyan said,"Doctor, it's an emergency. I've done everything I can to help her respectful, but the purpose of the matter is that nothing is working, and I think she may be dying."

I think she may actually be in the running for "ER".

Monday, July 24, 2006

I told you so

I'm wondering if the symptoms of roid rage show up this early in life for kids who have to use inhaled steroids for asthma treatments. They must, and surely their effects are concentrated in such tiny bodies, for how else can you explain the testosterone pumping through (and out of) our baby boy??

I've seen other boys, and I've seen parents of boys react to Jax's outbursts, and I'm thinking it really is just him.

At first we were thrilled with his early ability and propencity to throw a ball, but now things have quite literally gotten out of hand. He no longer finds joy in tossing the pigskin, and has instead taken to flinging all matter of Unintentional Flying Objects, such as hangers, trains, toy houses, etc...

Again, we started out reacting to this with a measured mix of delight and fear, but now it's weighing more on the fearful side, and with good cause. The kid knows what he's doing, and he's doing it on purpose. If you piss him off, you best be duckin', because chances are something heavy, pointy, and dangerous is coming at you.

Exhibit A: This afternoon I was munching on some potato chips when he came toddling up begging, so I handed him a couple of chips, which he proceeded to crumble and toss on the ground. Less than a minute later, he was back at my feet whimpering for a bite. A member of life's slow learning curve, I handed him another, and the cycle continued. When he approached me again, I refused, to which he responded by screaming at me, retrieving one of his previously discarded chips, and hurling it at my face.

Granted, not a scary object to have thrown at you, but just the fact that he made a point of picking up the object of debate and sending it flying into my face made it very obvious that the flinging was an act of anger towards me, and that I really should fear for my life from this point on.

Exhibit B: We were recently in a restaurant when he ran out of food on his plate, at which point he threw his head back and beat his chest like some Incredible Hulk Mini-me, screamed bloody murder, and chunked his sippy cup at our table. The entire restaurant suddenly got very still, until one by one, parents began laughing, children began pointing, and Mommy and Daddy began packing up.

So now all I want to know is how much I can get from our pediatrician for pain and suffering as a result of the meds she insisted would not adversly effect our little angel. I'm thinking a small negotiating session with a hungry, cranky, angry Jax should seal the deal.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

The Shit Hit Everything BUT The Fan

It's been too long since I've discussed the poo, no?

Jax has made up for that today. Twice he exploded, covering his bed, his jammies, my robe, the carpet...

Not that unusual anymore, but the fact that I forgot about the poo on the floor until 4 hours later? Yeah, that managed to get the blood pressure up a bit.

We're Not in Corpus Anymore, Toto...

Not that things are ever 100% normal anywhere we go, but the brilliant shine of vacation life has definitely faded, leaving the blurry, dull reflection of reality, York style.

Packed the kiddos up to leave for the lake yesterday (after spending the entire morning and majority of the afternoon in my pj's, working on the chunkyrhino shop), and proceeded to spend the next 30 minutes searching frantically for my keys while Ry and Jax sweated buckets in the black car on the hottest day of the year thus far -- are we even keeping track of my MOTY points anymore?? Shawn finally suggested we stop looking long enough to resucitate the children, during which time he also suggested we call down to Corpus to see if, perhaps, the keys had simply refused to come back with us and were lounging around in the sun. Which, of course, is where they were, although their lounging location was more under the recliner than the sun, but they were lounging none-the-less.

So. No keys, no spares (since those are the 2nd set of spares we've had to make for Frannie Forgetful), and therefore, no way for me and the kids to go anywhere. Not to mention, I was not exactly batting a thousand, seeing as how I'd earlier sent Shawn off in a mad-dash to Jaxson's doctor's appointment, only to find out I had sent him to the wrong doctor. He was not pleased. Luckily, I had the forethought to only use doctors practicing in the same medical building, so all he had to do was take a hike down the hall, and it was as if the little mix-up never occured. (Or something light and breezy like that.)

Anyway, I was in crash mode, ready to throw in the towel, tears streaming down my cheeks, depressed all the way to my knees, when Shawn pulled me in for a hug, and Ninny called saying she would happily shuttle the kids and I to the lake.

We spent a great evening sipping drinks, catching up with old friends and family, taking a moonlit boatride, and chasing the kids away from the water's edge. We followed our mini-vacay evening with a mini-vacay nooner of snacks, conversation, and mansion-touring (our friends just moved into their newly built McMansion, complete with elevator), which is when the joy and elation pretty much ran out.

Once home, I began trying to set up for the small girls-only gathering I was hosting for my friend's belated birthday, complete with pizza bar, decorations, and cookie dough, when sure enough, Jax turned on the NEEDY, Ry morphed into Hyper-Princess, Screaming Diva, and the oven broke down.

Blessed with long legs, I cleared those hurdles, only to discover that the mailbox had been declared "too full" while we were away (all those FOUR days), and our mail has now been taken hostage at the post office, awaiting our rescue. Which would be easy enough -- if we had a car to drive.

The kicker? The keys are in the mail.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Love.Laugh. SHOP!!!

We've sooo gone retail.

That's right! We've just opened up shop at Go on over, check it out, then spend some moolah (the kids will be needing braces, glasses, chastity belts...all before you know it!)

If you see something you want on a different product, let me know! Our brains are buzzing, so check back often!!!

Monday, July 17, 2006

Pit Stop

(Or Pic Stop, as it were -- am I even using that phrase correctly? Do I even care?)

We've just come back from Corpus, where the mosquitoes were as big as the roaches, and twice as plentiful. The laundry is going, Jax is napping, Ry & Shawn are hunting for dinner, and I'm uploading pics in the silence and airconditioning. All is right with the world.

CC was nice, especially Saturday, when Shawn and the kids and I took some time alone at the beach.
Jax quickly learned the best way to get Daddy to chase you is to run directly into the ocean and not look back,
Ryan met her idol, and I spent most of the time sucking in my stomach.

We got to see family -- here are Shawn & the kids w/Aunt Courtaney --

love on the dog, and Shawn and I even came up with a great new game on the way home this afternoon: "See how many Pop Tarts we can feed the baby at one time". We're at 2 1/2 right now, but with a little training, we think we can get him up to 3.

Ahhh, my perfect moment has been interrupted (I hear Shawn calling on my phone), so I'll just post the rest of the pics on Flickr and be on my way.

We're off to the Lake tomorrow, so this will have to hold you over until Wednesday at least.


Thursday, July 13, 2006

Peace Be With You

Well kids, it looks like we've got a new contender for the position of "Old Lady Who Really Pisses Me Off."

I haven't had any run-ins with Ye Old Librarian Wench in quite some time, and to be frank, I was becoming a little sentimental. Luckily, someone new has stepped in to take her place.

Since I am nothing if not the perfect model of respect and decorum, I will not use her real name, and shall merely call her "Crazy Old Oderous Church Hag", hereby referred to as "COOCH".

COOCH and I had our initial run-in on Monday morning at VBS, when she scolded me for talking to some of the girls in my 4 yr old class while the director of VBS was making a speech. What with my theatre background and all, I am usually completely in favor of sitting quietly and showing respect in a venue such as this, but the girls and I were in the middle of an extremely intense conversation about our toe nails, and whose color was prettiest (I sooo won). So even though I was miffed, I let it slide, seeing as how it's VBS and all, and I'm pretty sure name calling and violence amongst the teachers are looked down upon.

But today? Well, today, my friends, she went too far.

She was subbing in Ryan's class this morning, when some sort of altercation involving biting occured. Naturally, Ryan was the one biting. When her class and mine met up for snack time, I could tell something was wrong. My normally exuberant, bouncy daughter walked in with her head down and a frown on her face. She explained to me that she had gotten in trouble for biting, and when asked what had provoked her to bite, she explained that it had something to do with wanting to be "line leader" (natch). We calmly discussed what she did wrong, why it was wrong, that as a pinushment she would not get the donuts we had been planning on having for breakfast tomorrow, and that she needed to go apologize to the little boy.

As she was pointing out the victim of her hate crime, my friend, who happens to be another of Ryan's teachers pulled me aside and said, "Listen, she's already apologized. That crazy old lady subbing in our class got all in Ryan's face, yelled at her that she was bad, made her apologize, and then sent her to the end of the line. She really went off on her."

Here's where I start reminding myself to breathe.

I tell Ry to sit down and have her snack, and then spend the remainder of snack time glaring at the back of COOCH's head, planning my attack. Distracted by some of my students running around, my attention was turned for some time from the situation, but as I began herding my little sheep into a line, I noticed COOCH bending down talking to Ryan. Straining to hear her words, all I got was "very it again...." I approached Ryan and asked her what COOCH had said, to which Ry responded that she didn't know, she couldn't hear her. Umm, okay, this from the queen of the mimic? I wasn't buying it for a second, but I let it slide.

At this point, all the 4 yr old classes are making their way to the playground, during which I take some kiddos to the bathroom. When we re-joined the group on the playground, I saw COOCH standing next to a mother whose daughter was so distraught over being without Mommy that she has stayed with her (Not that I'm judging, or anything) I gingerly walk up behind them, and overhear COOCH telling the mom, "and then I told her what she did was very bad and that if she bit another child again, I was going to let them bite her back. You better believe her eyes got THIS big!"


A. Who let Satan's minion into VBS?
B. Why was she discussing my kid with Crying McCrierson's Mother?
C. And what made COOCH think it was funny that she scared the shit out of a 4 yr old?

This is when I stand still, shocked and frozen to my spot, wondering how many Hail Mary's I'll have to say for a blow to the head, (allowing that said blow doesn't actually kill), when COOCH turns to see me seething and approaches me.

"I want to talk to you about your daughter. Does she have a problem with biting?"
(Breathe, Amy. You are at church and you are NOT 18 anymore. Breathe.)
"No. Not usually. She's 4, though, so we're still keeping our fingers crossed."
*vacant stare*

COOCH then proceeds to tell me what she said to Ryan, most likely because she knows I know, and believes the best defense is a good offense.

When she finishes her speech, I summoned all my strength and calmly (yes, ME, calm) replied, "Well, you're right. She definitely should not have bit, but I'm not so sure that telling her you are going to let someone bite her back is quite the best way to go about teaching forgiveness and right from wrong at vacation bible school, you hairy, smelly, funky-toothed old bitch. (I added the hairy smelly bitch part under my breath, but whatever.)

She made some lame excuse about wanting to make a point, I smiled and nodded, and then ran to my precious adorable baby girl (who was stuck in a tree), and proceeded to hug and kiss her all over her little boy-biting face.

I,of course, begin planning how I'll write about the situation when I get home, then think better of it, deciding to turn the other cheek, and continue mr reign of righteousness.

Until I got home and told my Dad, Mom and Husband, who are all 3 pissed at me for not bitch-slapping COOCH and reporting her to CPS.

So here's the deal: Yes, Ry was wrong and needed to be reprimanded. No, the lady did not handle it in the best way, seeing as how we really prefer that only her immediate family threaten her with bodily harm. But she's old. That's what old hags do. They frighten children. Am I mad? Does the Pope shit in the woods? Wait.....whatever.

The point is, I am now having to defend myself for not being a bitch AT CHURCH, and so rather than feel all proud, I now feel like I completely let my baby down.

All in all, another great day of parenting by Amy.

We've got the final day's program tomorrow, which Menana, Big Daddy, and Shawn will all be attending, and during which all three have claimed first rights to COOCH. I'll let you know how it goes.


Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Forget cutting the head off a chicken; stick the head up her ass and see how she runs!

Is there anything more exhausting than preparing to go on vacation?

More to the point, is there anyone as stupid as the woman who volunteers to teach VBS and meet with potential consignment sale sponsors during the week of said preparation?

I think not.

Before any of you dare mock me, yes I did consult Flylady on the most efficient ways to plan for a vacay, but all of the suggestions left me wanting alcohol: Things to do before you plan to pack; Things to do before you actually pack; Things to do while you are packing; Things to do when unpacking. I'm certain all of the lists I will be compiling will make the packing go much smoother, but where's the list for what to do when suffering from perpetual brain fart? I couldn't find that section anywhere...

Apparently, there are reasons why I usually run around at the last minute, throwing half the contents of our wardrobes into one large duffle bag, and then spend the entire vacation wearing sundresses with rainboots, two non-matching swimsuit pieces, and having to wash and re-wash the same pair of underwear because that was the one thing I forgot to pack. It's so I can dress like Mary Kate & Ashley without even trying. I'm just that hip.

Right, so I've done the meal planning and grocery shopping, made plans to make whole-wheat chocolate chip cookies to take with us (to counter-balance the Family Pack of Frito-Lays I purchased), and even have Ryan's bag packed and ready.

But that's it. Nothing else has been done. Nada. Zip. That damn VBS has totally thrown me for a loop, and now I'm morphing from SpongeBob (early-morning brain-dead VBS teacher mode) into Patrick (late evening house-cleaning, brain-dead Mommy mode) faster than Ryan can sing the theme song. Now I remember why I wanted to stop teaching and become a stay at home mom: My kids...and everyone else's. (Did I really say "What do you saaaayyy?" when she asked for more snacks? Bleggh.) I cringe every other minute all morning long and repeatedly find myself switching from sickly-sweet high pitched voice to low and melow laid back voice. You know, because 4 yr olds care how cool I may or may not be and all.

They also really care what I wear. At least, this is what I'm assuming, as it took me 90 minutes and 13 costume changes to finally settle on an outfit for today. Really? This is what I've become?

*Takes Shot of the Hard Stuff*

That left the kids and I running late, which leads me to my next rant. Why is it, if we leave the house at 8:05, we end up being 20 minutes early, but if we leave at 8:15, we end up being 10 minutes late? Did I miss the Time Continuum notice?

Once I dropped Jax off at the nursery, it was off to prep for class. Smugly, I set about creating paper bracelets for the kids bearing the phrase, "With God All Things Are Possible". Which certainly rings true, unless when referring to moi attempting any craft last-minute. The "bracelets" were like 8 inches long, clearly too big to fit their 4-yr-old wrists, so they ended up sporting very bright, lovely colorful arm casts for the rest of the day. They were totally pimpin'.

Back to the whole "vacation" bit: May I please just inform those of you not in the know that moms never really take "vacation" when the kids are along. Don't "oh, poor baby" me, either bitches. If you are:
a. A mom,
b. A dad,
c. A Kid,

then you know what I say is true. We're still the ones getting up bright and early with the kiddos, we're still the ones planning activities, making meals, and keeping the herd in check; we're just doing it in a swimsuit with sand up our ass and stringy, tangly salt-water hair (which, btw, my husband does NOT find sexy).

So while I'm on pins and needles awaiting our trip, there are still things that have to be done, like securing sponsors for the Mommy and Me Fashion Show and purchasing birthday gifts for family members accompanying us on our vacay. Luckily, my "sales pitch" was being conducted in an upscale, Fredericksburg-ish gift boutique, so there ya go. Shoulda been a piece of cake, except for Thing 1 and Thing 2.

Thing 2 was actually quite well-behaved, while Thing 1 brought new meaning to the term "Bull In A China Shop." Luckily, Thing 1 managed not to break anything, I scored the sponsorship, and left with 2 beautifully gift-wrapped presents in tow. Check those off my list, thank you.

And now I'm actually beginning to feel better, until I check my email and find a reply email from the owner of the Mommy and Me Consignment Sale, wondering whether or not I'd intended to send the long, professional, thorough email detailing the events of my meeting, and if so, why had I addressed it to someone named Tina? Well, Teresa, that's easy: Tina is the woman with whom I'm co-teaching VBS this week. Duh. (Gawwd. Some people.)

That leaves me with the iron, Shawn's work clothes for next week (you know, so I won't be frantically rushing around quite as much when we get back), and Project Runway.

*Takes Another Shot*

Don't wait up.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

This Just In

I about spit my Lay's and Dr. P all over the kitchen when I saw a picture of one of my former middle school students posted on the news. For SHOOTING at someone (luckily, his aim was as bad as his grammar, so no one was injured). Couple that with the fact that another former student took her own life a year ago as a result of drug abuse, and I think it's safe to assume the world of education isn't necessarily hurting from my absence.

Seriously? Nothing short of losing my own children leaves me quite as heartbroken...

See? It's not JUST my kid...

Overheard today at VBS:

Girl #1: "Are you thinking what I'm thinking?"

Girl #2: "No. I'm thinking what I'm thinking."

Badumbum, ching.

Monday, July 10, 2006

ACast of Characters

They really should screen who they will/will not allow to teach Vacation Bible School.

That said, I am teaching this week, both as a way to help out and as a way to cut Ryan's registration fee in half -- it was only $15 normally, but think of all the things I could buy with that reamining $7.50...

Anyway, today's theme was The Birth of Jesus, and I was in charge of leading the class activity. Originally, I had this big elaborate plan to bring assorted costumes, and instead of having them use the nativity scene characters to act out the story, they would be dressed as the characters themselves. I really am clever, I just like to wait until the very.last.minute. You know, to boost the creativity factor. And boost it, I did.

Around 9pm last night I realized I didn't really have any Baby Jesus, Mary, Joseph, 3 shepards or 3 angel costumes -- not even a spare sheet to rip apart (flylady's got me flinging everything!!). So, I opted for the next best thing -- actual nativity characters, which I'm assuming the director of VBS thought those righteous enough to teach 4 yr olds about the bible would own. I, of course, do not.

*sigh* Fine. After much deliberation, this is what I came up with:

Mary ...... Mini Belle Doll
Joseph..... Mini Aladdin doll (very ethnically correct, BTW)
Angel #1... The Giant stuffed Angel Dog Ryan made for me at Build -a-Bear
Angel #2... Fairy Doll
Angel #3... Tinkerbell Doll
Shepard #1...Half-Naked Ken Doll (don't worry, it was the right half)
Shepard #2... Wooden Merlin the Magician figurine
Shepard #3... GI Joe
Baby Jesus...The rubber door-stop from the classroom, wrapped in a scrap of piece of paper, tied up with string. Very swaddling.

And now I'm just waiting for my notice of ex-communication...

Sunday, July 9, 2006

Grab some Kleenex and get ready for the "Ugly Cry"

When I'm old and decrepit, please send my kids a link to this site (just don't ever tell them about the blog!).

Go ahead. Visit the site. Cry, wipe your tears, then come back and read the rest of the post. I'll wait...

*chintzty Muzak playing*

...I know. It's like Josh Groban got together with AARP and created the World's Biggest Guilt Trip.

Not that I necessarily think of it as such, you understand...

Actually, it quite obviously leads my thoughts to my grandmother, Honey, who has suffered as the butt of many a joke here at chunkyrhino. Why all the teasing? Well, duh. I have a hard time handling emotions, and so use laughter as a defense mechanism. Sheesh.

If I were to really bare my soul on the subject, I would talk about the immense love and empathy I feel for her, and how sad it makes me to see her fading away. Notice I said empathy and not sympathy. While I obviously am sympathetic to her trials with Parkinson's, I think empathy is the better word. It fits. She and I fit. I can't explain the connection, and unfortunately, it's not a warm fuzzy one, but it is ours and it is strong.

I remember as kids when Honey and Pappy would come to visit, how we would be on cleaning duty the entire week before their arrival. Mom would be completely freaking out over the mess that was our home, and rightly so, seeing as how not only was our grandmother a domestic goddess, she was also a judgmental perfectionist. Just the combo you want to have in a mother, right?

Honey could be stern and cold, but her intentions were honest and good and usually based in love. I firmly believe she did the very best she could, coming from a background which haunts her to this day. Things were not spoken outside the house in her day; troubles were ignored, abuse was overlooked and accepted as the norm. The loss of a baby? Not to be mentioned -- not even to their only other child, who would come later in life. Mental issues? No such thing, just bad moods, or bad children, spouses, siblings, neighbors, etc...

She adored my mother in ways that I really think are unspeakable and hidden, but always there. Wanting different and better for her daughter than the hand she had been dealt, Honey was strict to a fault. Critical, harsh, unwielding, but also vulnerable and proud and desperate to do what the Lord asked of her. When my parents showed up at their house to announce their engagement, Honey begged my mother not to go, clinging to her daughter's knees even as she was getting into her fiance's car. He was a divorced man, a non-Catholic, and her faith was rigid and devout; she honestly felt she was trying to save her only child. I believe that. I think my parents do, too.

The situation between she and my dad never really got much better, but they made fun of it, teasing and poking and prodding...made for some lively family vacays. Eventually she came to love him, and he her; the tenderness he shows towards her now, the resigned way she will not eat one. more. bite. unless he's feeding her -- all of that seems to cancel the years of torment and tension.

Not that those years were easily forgotten. Again, her intention got in the way, and in times of crises, though she was there to support us, she blamed him always. Even as he lay in the hospital on the brink of death, she cursed him to us as she supervised our scrubbing of the baseboards with our toothbrushes. She went back to her upbringing, like most of us do when faced with difficult times, and I think her love for us and anger at the situation manifested itself in her hurtful words and actions, because she knew no way else to filter through those feelings. I've been there.

That was me in high school, when my "disease" first came to light. Angry and unsure, scared and frustrated, I took my emotions out by screaming, yelling, hitting, crying, and begging forgiveness. I will never fully know the damage I did to my relationships with my sisters and parents or my husband, and that is something I will carry with me to my grave. I didn't understand what was happening to me at the time, but that didn't matter to the people I was hurting. I think it must have been that way for her. I was fortunate enough to get the help I needed, while there was really no such thing available when she needed it most.

I know I've made her out to be a monster, and many of you have probably stopped reading this by now, but that's okay. This is for me, anyway. She was not a monster. She was quite possibly one of the world's greatest grandmothers -- while she could turn a cold shoulder faster than you can say "grudge", her embrace was always warm and inviting when it came to me and my sisters. The woman could cook a cajun meal like nobody's business, but it was her honey toast and frozen grapes that I still remember to this day. Her recipes are just sitting there, waiting for us to rifle through them, and many of our favorite dishes will never be reproduced, as they are locked in her mind forever. I actually think that is a relief for us, because it feels like a betrayal to even imagine anyone else cooking our Christmas dinner.

She had the softest skin, paper-thin, much like her figure, and we were always arguing with her to sit down and enjoy a meal with us, a feat she rarely accomplished in her business to keep everyone's drinks and plates full. She was amazing with her hands, and sewed each of us the most beautiful life-size Raggedy Ann dolls that are now dirty and dingy and collecting dust somewhere. She made all the little crafts women of her age did, and it hurts me to hear my grandfather talk about how guilty he feels sitting in the empty house night after night, surrounded by her knick-knacks and decorations, knowing she will never again be able to enjoy them.

She was the master of the guilt trip (taught me everything I know, by way of my Mom), and when it came time to tell my family about our surprise, out-of-wedlock pregnancy, she was the one person I could not face. As hard as it was to deliver the news to my Mom, I could not even imagine saying the words to Honey. And so I didn't, and once again my Mom bore the brunt of my mistakes, taking the blame from Honey for my shortcomings.

Oh, but the love she had for my babies. The delight in just holding them -- not watching them walk or laugh or talk, but merely to rock them in her arms -- that's all she wanted to do. One of the greatest gifts I have ever been blessed with was to see her hold my babies, and know that in the end, it wasn't all bad, and that my "mistake" was actually a blessing. Jax doesn't remember her, obviously, but Ryan does. She will sometimes ask me about her, show me pictures and remind me what they were doing in each of the shots. Of course, now she's scared to go near her, and that breaks me. It's at these times that i want to show her the pictures of Honey and I when I was little, or play the tapes that she would make of me and my sisters singing songs. One day when I'm strong enough, I will. But not today.

I guess I feel guilt over thinking of her as though she has passed, when in fact she is still alive and breathing, just not "living". Her spirit and soul are no longer there. Her wicked sense of humor has vanished in the vacant look of her eyes. She does not really know me, and the kids upset her when we visit. I do not wish her death, but I do wish her peace, and I fear she is suffering still.

Her illness came upon us slowly, many many years ago with the initial Parkinson's diagnosis. I distinctly remember hours on the computer, researching terms and symptoms and treatments. At first the shaking was hard to deal with, because I cannot remember her ever having been sick before. Then her foot swelled up and she eventually had to use a walker. She became delusional, another excuse to crack jokes in order to avoid pain. Talking to us when we were not there, claiming my grandfather was out to kill her. And thne just like that, she would come back and insist we were wrong, she never did any such thing. Oh, how offended she became if we told her of her actions, and who wouldn't be? Pretty soon, we just began to go along with it, more for ourselves than for her. And now she's bed ridden, can hardly speak, won't eat, and sleeps all day long. What LIFE is that? But there's my grandfather, by her side, morning, noon and night, still holding on to the faint hope that she will get better and come home with him once more.

So, yeah, that video dug deep, but not because I pity her or her circumstance, but because my soul suffers with hers. We are made from the same cloth, and though our lives took different paths, I feel her with me all the time. I love her and I miss her and I wish she was here to hold me right now. But more than anything, I wish her peace.

Consider it the "Granddaughter's Wish".

Friday, July 7, 2006

Send in the Clowns

Right, so here's the deal. I have this sick twisted fear of clowns. When I was younger, it was just one of the many many things that made me unique *cough*weird*cough*, but nowadays it seems there are many who share my phobia.

Shawn is not one of those people. In fact, he relishes in freaking me out whenever possible, often going to lengths to catch me off guard. His latest tactic? Our love child, of course.

He has taught Ryan how to make the exact same scary-ass clown face that he makes, and now she is an expert. Her eyes go all vacant, head tilted to one side, big creepy smile plastered across her face.

It's enough to make me choke on my lunch and send Diet Dr Pepper shooting out my nose.

So congrats, Shawn. You have bested me this time, but the war is not yet over. Sleeep with one eye open, my friend, the gauntlet has been thrown...

Thursday, July 6, 2006

Grilled Pork and Peaches over Baby Greens with Almonds

Sounds good, right? You'd think so. You'd think, "hmm, this mom really strives to feed her family yummy, interesting, healthy meals." You'd think they'd be jumping at the bit (or plate, as it were), ready to devour every last morsel of goodness. You'd think, but you would be wrong.

Post-poned dinner until 7:15, Shawn's ETA. By the time he showed up at 8pm, Ryan and I were not speaking (a result of her gagging and holding her nose as I chopped fresh thyme, declaring, "OOH! Sickening! That is so really disgusting! I'm gonna actually have diarrhea!!"), Jax was turned completely around, facing away from the table (a result of me being tired of him pelting me with pork chop bites. And yes, he was aiming), and the hot grilled pork and peaches had gone cold.

If only there were some sort of magical device that he could use to alert me as to the exact time of his departure from work...

(Much more from our kids-free weekend -- including being the heckler in the audience called out by the comedian for "woo-hooing" the Shaken Baby joke -- and the fourth. And yes, there will be a test, so please be ready to take notes. )

Monday, July 3, 2006

Not in Kansas Anymore

One of the very best things about my daughter is her incredible imagination. If you're a regular of chunkyrhino, this is obvious to you by now. But, my dear daughter has stepped up her game and now she's got the boy involved.

They've been staying with my parents the past couple of days, (sweet relief!) and during one of my nightly calls, I was greeted by Menana's howling laughter.

"What's going on?"

"Oh, Amy. This is so funny! All day long, Ry has been telling us that she's Dorothy and Jax is Toto, and I bought this big gypsy puppet, so we've been playing with her a lot. Just now, Ryan walks up to the doll, followed by Jaxson, and introduces herself as Dorothy. She then asks the doll about tornadoes and whether or not there is one nearby. After being "told" that she's safe and doesn't need to woryy, she turns around looks at Jax and says, 'C'mon, Toto' -- and he followed her right along, sguealing and giggling the whole time. Now he's been doing it all night long, and won't answer to his name anymore, only 'Toto'!"

Poor little guy. Never had a chance.

Saturday, July 1, 2006

The King and I

Want to know what I love about my husband? There are just so many things, but I'll keep it down to 10:

10. I love it that when he has a day off, all he wants to do is sleep and watch tv.

9. I love it when he yells that the kids are too loud.

8. I love it when he complains that the kids watch too much tv.

7. I love it when he declares that I'm not disciplining the children enough.

6. I love it that when it's his turn to discipline, he "swats" Ryan on the butt, and they both start laughing.

5. I love it when he drills me on how often I read to Jaxson, and asks me to remember what accomplishments Ryan had mastered at Jax's age.

4. I love it when he tells me that the kids need to eat better.

3. I love the way he refuses to eat any vegetable of any kind, and always makes a point of digging through the meal, smelling it, and asking, "What'd you put in this?"

2. I love it when he lets me know that he thinks the kids should be getting more sleep, and lets me be the one to get up with them to "redirect" them every.single.night.

1. Most of all, I love the way he blanches at the mere mention of having to spend any time alone with both the kids at the same time. I love that.

Long Live The King!!!