Friday, May 22, 2009

Long Week

Alexa went on a weekend retreat with the youth group from my mom's church this past weekend. I left my peaceful blog-reading at 3:45, grabbed up the babies and headed to her school. She had planned to walk home with her friend. Um, school gets out at 4:20. The van's supposed to leave at 5 sharp, and you're supposed to be there by 4:45. And you haven't packed. So I took her and hijacked her friend's plan to walk home alone, because really, it wasn't safe for both of them to walk, let alone just one. We race to the apartment. I give all the kids snacks and juice. I'm sure the friend was thinking I was weird. (Because by snacks, I mean string cheese and baked chips.)

After barely any time at home, we get back in the car to go to drop Alexa off. We get there and Taylar starts crying because she wants to go in and go to class. Honey, there's no class right now. We race to drop off the friend, because there's no consoling Taylar. The friend apparently doesn't have her key, because she bypasses the front door and ducks down behind the air conditioner on the side of the house. I got out to check on her - not trying to bust her for smoking, which she wasn't - she was moving the bricks from in front of the gate. The bricks that both kept the gate from opening and kept the dog from digging his way out of the yard.

Ok, I could accept that. I really wanted to make sure she could get in and didn't have to sit outside in the heat waiting. But it was 5:00. I'm sure her parents or sister would be home any minute. She said she was fine. She's not Alexa. It should be ok.

We go back to check on Alexa. They haven't left yet. She has everything, as far as she knows. We leave her to her own devices, which starts a new round of crying because somebody wants to stay and go to class. We go home and check the mail. There's a graduation announcement from my cousin. Ugh, I still sometimes see him as the two-year-old I used to babysit. There was also a card from Alexa's school. I'm all set to go pick her up so she can't go to her retreat, but it's a good card. Her Texas History teacher says she's a joy to have in class. Um, maybe he has the wrong kid???

Saturday, Lee had to go into work from 10-12 for someone, so he hooked us up with breakfast before he left. Whataburger, in fact. Yum, my favorite! He did laundry most of the day, then in the evening, was outside helping a neighbor fix his gas tank. Or something. On one trip in, he mentioned having spent an hour trying to put something on backward. An auto-mechanics genius, he is not. In fact, I know just enough about cars to know how little he knows.

He came in after 10 reeking of gas. Ugh. A shower washed away anything I could smell, but he still noticed it. Before he showered, I was reminded of the shop my dad used to have and how it used to smell... Ahh, nostalgia.

Sunday, we took the babies to the zoo. Not at 10 when it opened, like I wanted. He waited around partly because he'd told the guy he'd help with the car again and partly because he has his own internal clock that is not set to the rest of the world. Or maybe he's on Mountain or Pacific time, while I'm on Central. We left to go to the zoo at noon. The babies' naps usually start around 12:30 or 1:00. I'm a joy to be around by now because, patience? Not me, so much.

It was 12:55 by the time we got to see any animals. We started with the monkey house. I had to change out batteries in both cameras first thing. So much for planning ahead. We also didn't bring any sunblock. We're not usually outside before 5 or 6 pm, so it really didn't occur to me. I got pink, the girls did not. I carried an umbrella through our entire trek in case it was really sunny. We only made it through about 1/3 of the zoo, and there was lots of shade along the way.

We finally left about 2:30. Just in time to pick Alexa up from her trip. She forgot her suitcase, so we had to go back and get it. Meanwhile, the babies fell asleep during the extra driving. Lee spent naptime playing Donkey Kong Country. Alexa was 8 shades darker after swimming all weekend.

When Jasmyne kicked the machine and it messed up, he went and picked up Subway for supper. All in all, a pretty nice weekend. Except for various attitudes, but that was pretty much a given, right?

Monday night was Lee's softball game. We ran errands all over the place then went to find this elusive field. I'd been telling Lee for months that his sports team adventures were fictional. But we saw him on the field with a bunch of other people in matching jerseys. Nevermind they were the only team on the field... The other team was a no-show. But they got a practice in. After 4 weeks of rain-outs, they needed it.

We took pictures. Met the wife of one of the players Lee talks about all the time. Along with her baby. (He's about 9 months old.) I might have offended her when I told Taylar she couldn't touch his hands or face, right after the mom had just told Taylar he was reaching for her. But, that's been my line for ever. We don't spread germs more than we have to, especially with the under-one set.

Taylar tried to grab a bat and head out on the field. Jasmyne fell backward off the bleacher seat and bonked her head. I took guilty pleasure in the fact that though Lee'd gotten to her first, when she saw me, she reached for me. Taylar was always a daddy's girl. On the way home, I stopped at a stop sign for a while to capture this interview:

We went to the car and ate the pizza we'd picked up. Then stopped by Wal-Mart on the way home. What was supposed to be a quick stop for diapers took nearly an hour. First, we changed Jasmyne's diaper and let Taylar go potty. Then we went to look for conditioner for Alexa. Which. Took. Forever. On the way to the diapers, I actually listened to the page, and wouldn't you know, they were calling my name to the Customer Service Booth. Instantly, I realized I'd left my wallet in the bathroom while on diaper duty. Some really honest person turned it in. The check I'd already endorsed to deposit was still there. My cash was still there. My cards were all still there. Amazing!

Taylar was really tired by the time we left. She'd forgone her nap that afternoon, and it was already bedtime. She was whiny and wanted to be carried. I refused - she had her own feet. It was a mess. We went home and straight to bed.

Tuesday night was Alexa's band concert. She rode the bus home from school. Fixed her own hot pocket for supper. Got her uniform on and was ready on time. Who wasn't on time? Mr. CPT. I told him I needed to leave at 5:45 to get her there in time, and if he couldn't be there by then, let me know and I'd drag all the kids so we weren't late. I called at 4:48 and he was still an exit away. I told him I'd meet him in the parking lot with the girls.

I got Alexa there on time, but with no time to spare. I stopped at the bank while I had a second and deposited that check I'd almost lost the night before since I had a minute. I got a call from Lee asking me what the puddle was. One of the sippy cups of water had leaked on the floor. I played dumb. It was his fault I had to run out the door in the first place. I got home shortly thereafter and made food for the babies. I had some little bit of leftover something and the next thing you know, it was time to leave.

The concert was long. We were not on time, but we were just on time to see Alexa get on stage at the first stage change. Perfect timing. I asked Lee to film the songs. He filmed much more crap than I would have. I've learned to make videos short and sweet. Start when the music starts or you might run out of battery. Lesson learned the hard way.

After the next stage change, another ensemble Alexa was in, he switched to the center section. Leaving the girls with me and my mom. Good thing she was there. I couldn't have gone it alone!
After an hour of keeping an 18-m-o entertained on my lap, she was ready to get down. I'd packed the bag really well, but nothing was going to keep her there any longer. Especially not once her diaper was not in place and she PEED ALL OVER MY LAP! Thank goodness I was wearing a dark busy-print skirt! It wasn't noticable at all!

Wednesday, the only excitement was when Alexa called at 6:30 to say the bus wasn't bringong her home because of a bomb threat, so I loaded the girls in the van just as supper was about to be ready. Two minutes later, Alexa called me back because her grandparents, who were headed to church next door to her school saw her standing on the curb and picked her up and could she stay and go to church? HELL NO! I just dragged your cranky-no-nap-taking three-year-old sister and the other one out to the hot car all in a rush to get you and you want me to turn around?!? I don't think so. You park your butt outside and wait for me.

Tonight was more nothing. I made chicken parmesean for supper, which involved a lot of whining on Jasmyne's part because she wanted to be held, then she wanted some of the broccoli out of the pan, then... I stuck her in her high chair and gave her a sealed can of Play-Dough to play with. She just eats it, so I wasn't going to let her have an open one. It's now my second after-two-AM night in a row. I'm going to need a nap tomorrow.
I like how the steam shows in the pic.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Wendsday, Wonderful Wednesday

Wednesdays are always different. At work, I've scheduled no lunch break, so it's my “long day”. Back when I used to let her go to church, it was my Alexa break. My mom would often pick her up from daycare, feed her, take her to church and bring her home afterward, without me needing to rush anywhere to do anything. But that was 2 babies ago. I've stopped letting her go on Wednesdays for a couple of reasons. There was the fact that she didn't get to eat supper until 8:30. That she always had homework left over to finish after church. She had her trombone to practice. And a bath to take. She never made bedtime, or really ever got close, so I axed it. It was a hard decision, but she had too many responsibilities. She wasn't going for the religion, anyway. It was the social aspect.

But I digress. Or do I? Have I even started going anywhere to veer away from? Weekday evenings have been just the girls and me for several weeks months. If Lee wasn't working, which was rare, he had a softball game or practice, or batting cages... And if for some reason none of those were an issue, he usually had some errand or four to run, which kept him out until after the babies' bedtime. I'm really used to being a weekday single-mom. (We won't get into the technicalities of this statement here, ok?)

This week was a little different. For one thing, Lee called me at 4:30. I asked whether he was working, as I do every day. He said he was on the grill. I asked was he home? “No, if I was at home, I'd say I was home on the grill.” Ok, fine. So you're working again. Don't poke me with a feather, I'm liable to fall over. Or something. My mind tunes out the conversation and starts planning what to cook for supper. Anyway, he's got to get back on the grill. Oh, but first, do you need me to drop off your prescription for you? The one you've been refusin to turn in for the past week? It's no problem, I have plenty of time. I'll just get the babies and drag them to the store before Alexa's bus gets home. We'll be fine. Is it in your car? Should I stop by on my way home and get it? (Yes, then no.) Oh, where is it in the house? Ok, I'll find it, I'm sure.

His car wasn't in it's usual parking spot on my way past, but since I was on a bridge, I didn't get a really good look while driving. I could have easily missed it. And sometimes, if he's real late in the morning, he doesn't get his preferred spot. So, no big deal.

I got the babies without running home first because of the traffic and the route I took. We parked down the hill at the apartment, because we were just going to run in, grab the paper and get back in the car. Except that there was a familiar car parked there, also. A quick glance up the hill showed the grill out in the common area in front of the apartment. Hmmm, so you were really at home. And I bet the prescription really was in the car. It supposedly being in the house was a ruse to keep me from hunting your car down on my way home. Punk. You know I hate surprises. And lies for that matter. It's bad enough when you just show up without calling to say you left. I always call. You always know where I am. But you're home. And in a good mood for the first time in a long time, so we'll have this fight another day. I'm sure it'll come up again. (The picture is from Easter two years ago at his mom's house.)

Anyway, so the babies are happy to see their daddy. I'm free to leave them home and go to the pharmacy without them. Yaay! So I go. And I grab a case of water from the back of the store and carry it to the front. Along with the strawberries I couldn't resist. Wouldn't you know that the second I get in the checkout line, Lee calls to ask if I was bringing home butter. Oops, I'd used it all on baked potatoes the other day. Ok. Fine. Luckily I found an abandoned cart on my way back to the back of the store. Those waters were heavy by now. Ok, water? Check. Berries? Check. Butter? Check. Rx dropped off? Check. Away we go.

When I got home, Alexa realized she hadn't turned in her paperwork for this weekend's trip yet. And she needed to go to church to do that. Except that church started in 3 minutes. Her grandma was teaching a class, so she couldn't come get her. Luckily, we didn't have to load the babies up and off I went again. I was back in not very many minutes. The troops were getting restless, though. At least the veggies had been started, so they could soon have plates.

While we were waiting, we were talking. Somehow the subject got around to me asking him “So, if I were bad in bed, would you still sleep with me?” He's typically not a straight-answer kind of person. “If you're the one I'm with, I'd have to, wouldn't I?” So not my question. So instead I said “Well, as you're fond of telling me, we're not together.” Without looking up from stirring the pot, he said really softly, “Well, maybe it's time I stop telling you that.” My eyes got kinda teary and I took Jasmyne in the other room for a minute.

Tomorrow, the 16th, it'll have been two years since we had that big fight and I accidentally told him to move out. Sort of. He came back in September. A few factors were at work there. Mostly, he'd had a fight with the girl he'd moved in with. But also, Jasmyne was going to be born soon, and with an active one and a half year old, I was having difficulty getting everything taken care of by myself. If he was gonna be of any help at all after she was born, he was going to have to live here. Period.

Anyway, he's been doing some soul searching the past month or two. He appears to have come to some decisions, because he's been spending the night here more often, he's been nicer and he just seems more settled. He doesn't feel the need to tell me and for once I'm not pushing. I've got a pretty decent argument to make him tell me what's up, but it *might* be nice if he spits it out already says whatever it is of his own free will, on his own time.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

I Loved Her the Most

Our favorite Great Aunt, my sister (right) and me. Circa '82-'83???

Monday, May 11, 2009

Oh Yeah, I *Do* Have a Blog

Sometimes I forget. Or get wrapped up in reading other blogs. I had 964 in Google Reader when I logged onto my computer tonight. Mondays are the the busiest blog days. Everyone telling about their weekend. I really appreciate those who only post once per day, rather than 3-4 times. I've been trying to keep my unread blogs low enough that I don't go over 1000. I'm drowning in a sea of blogs. I only have 114 subscriptions, which means I still have several (read: 50 or so) to import from my other Google account. Ambitious, maybe. Insane? Definitely. Particularly as I've been on a work kick lately. I haven't spent the typical 3-4 hours a day online. Duh, that's how I was keeping up before. That and staying up until 2AM every night. Well, problem solved. Thanks!

Yesterday was officially Mother's day. I'm still waiting for the mother appreciation to begin. It was a busy day, not at all relaxing. But really, what did I expect?

We got up early-ish. We were going to try and go to early service with my Mom, but had watched a movie past the babies' bedtime the night before, so we saved bathtime for the morning. Which meant not just baths, but hair, too. My kids have a ton of hair. Not that I'm complaining. It just means things aren't so quick when it's hair time.

The babies hate the shower-time part of the bath. Where I lay them across my lap and use the sprayer on their hair. It's the noise, it's being inclined, it's being pulled out of the warmth and bubbles and toys. It's whatever. Oh, and for the 3-y-o, it's fear of water in her face.

They always want to hug me after I get the shampoo in their hair. Who *wouldn't* want a big shampoo-ey mess in their face, right?

Lee had to be at work at 9, so he helped as much as time allowed. He even ironed Taylar's dress, although I doubt anyone would have noticed a wrinkle or two. Especially since going anywhere included being strapped in a carseat...

The girls got lotioned, their hair got lotioned, combed out and styled. Then Lee fed them breakfast. Chocolate cereal for one and sticky fruit for the other. And practically another bath each afterward. Alexa got her own breakfast. I missed breakfast. Apparently mothers don't get breakfast on Mother's Day. That's ok, though. We were doing the morning thing for my mother, not for me. I could have gotten up at 5 if I was really hungry. And I wasn't that hungry!
Especially after the early-morning injury someone sustained.

So, church it was. We got there sort-of in time for class. We dropped Jasmyne off in her class. She was good to stay, even though she'd never met these people before. There were toys, so she was fine. Next stop, Taylar's class. The teacher remembered her from before. She was all set to stay, practically forgetting I was there. Alexa went off to somewhere, supposedly her class. And I went in search of the class my step-dad teaches. The youngest person in there was likely my mom, who is 25 years older than me. And she's about 10-30 years younger than the rest of the class. It was a hoot. Of course, my step-dad was a preacher at the ultra-conservative church we used to go to, so I knew what to expect with him. I popped out once to check on Jasmyne. She was fine. And after the bell rang at the end, I popped out to pick her up, even though we weren't dismissed yet. The teacher said she had been great. She bobbed her head along with the singing and had said thank you when given a snack. Apparently that was impressive. Yaay, I had the well-mannered kid for once!

Taylar was holding the teacher's hand and was already just around the corner from me. Alexa had been with her, I think, but had gotten stopped by the youth minister's wife to get some paperwork for a retreat this weekend. She can really use a christian retreat. Hopefully, she won't rub off on the other kids...

So class was over and we were heading out. Mom wanted to take Taylar. Do you have a carseat? No. But she didn't use one last time, she just sat on a pillow. She's over 40 pounds, right? She doesn't need one. Then my step-dad starts in about how I never rode in one and everything turned out ok. Ummm, you can take the one out of my van and use it. Or she can ride with me. So Alexa came and got the seat and hooked it up in my mom's car.

Jasmyne and I went home to grab the flowers from the fridge and I put playclothes in a bag for the babies, so their good dresses didn't end up trashed. Then we went by Pappadeaux to pick up the food. We hadn't ordered all that much, but the bill was nearly $95.00. Glad I wasn't paying. Lee made his boss pick up the tab for making him work so much. (Thursday and Friday nights to close - from 9AM - Saturday from 7AM-6:20PM - he'd been promised he could walk out at 5, or 3 if it was slow. And Sunday from 9AM-5PM, although he was still there at 6PM again.)

Then it was off to Mom's house to eat. We ate out of the take-out containers, because, really, who needs to do dishes on Mother's Day? We left at 1, so the girls could get a nap. I had them mostly asleep by 2, when my step-sister called to make arrangements for supper.

We were going to a hamburger place at 6. Taylar slept for 2 hours, but we ended up really paying for it. Jasmyne didn't let us know she was awake until 5:30, although she was playing in her crib. Quietly. In a dirty diaper. Poor baby! Taylar and I were quietly watching TV on the other side of the door. Ok, maybe I was reading a blog or two online while she was watching TV. Not-so-quietly.

So we got dressed very quickly and left in a hurry. And were not late. For once. But it didn't matter, because step-sister was. Apparently it was a surprise to their mother. Which explains why step-sister was doing the planning. Usually it's me and my dad that make the plans. (We Capricorns tend to take over.)

7 adult dinners and 3 kids meals for 4 kids and it was barely $80. I was going to buy supper, but wasn't fast enough and my dad did. I think he would have let me if the other kids were chipping in. But they're bums, even though it was their mom's dinner. She was all interested in ordering pasta from Pizza Hut. I think she was a little disappointed she didn't get to. But she was surrounded by family, so it ended up being ok. Since it was in the 80's yesterday, I decided not to bring the strawberry shortcake and leave it in the van at 6PM. So we didn't get to do that. :(

Lee was home when we got back after supper. He was headed out the front door with his R/C dragonfly, so we joined him outside. Up until this point, I'd taken zero pictures of Mother's Day. I suppose it was the lack of fun I was having. Not that it was a bad time, it was just a lot of work so far.

We stayed out until 8. Taylar colored with chalk on the sidewalk. Jasmyne colored with chalk on Taylar's drawings, which made Taylar mad, so she colored out Jasmyne's marks. They were both covered in chalk dust. Lee and Alexa and I were bumping the volleyball around some. Something I hadn't done since Jasmyne was born. I'm always holding the camera and keeping her close, especially when the big kids are out, playing rough.

I got 3 figurines for my glass menagerie. A frog, a dragonfly and a hummingbird. The frog was because I have a few toy frogs I've collected since middle school or so. The dragonfly was a nod to the R/C one and the hummingbird was because Taylar broke another of my hummingbirds a few months ago, when they were on a lower shelf.

It wasn't a bad day, but it definitely wasn't a Mother's Day.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Last 2 Days!

Go, Enter, Win!
Mothers Day 2009

Thursday, May 7, 2009

The Absent Mother

Well, here's where I was today instead of blogging. Ok, for a few minutes, at least.

I've had a headache since last week about this time, so I've been trying to get plenty of sleep, and stay off the computer so much so my neck doesn't contribute to my headache. I've decided it must be the muggy weather we've been having. Just in case it isn't, I've decided what to do with the standard-issue AMEX gift card I figure I'll get for Mother's Day. (Seroiusly, does the man have NO imagination?!?) I'm chopping my hair off.

For the past decade, I've cut my own hair. And I use that phrase in the loosest way possible. Every few months or so, I take a pair of scissors, go in the bathroom and find how long it needs to be to pull up into a ponytail. I cut fairly straight across with a slight upward taper toward the front. My hair has enough body that it hides the butcher job I give it, though. Which begs the question: if it's not exactly obvious I cut my own hair, why pay someone else a ridiculous amount of money to cut it for me?

But I'm ready for a drastic change. I'm going with above-the-neck, long layers. No hi-lights or anything like that, I have these sparkly silver hairs dispersed throughout to mix things up. I'm giving up my scrunchies and braids and ponytail-headaches. And hair that stays wet until after my workday is over. I suppose it'll be a week or two before I get around to it, but my mind is made up. And if I don't get a gift card, I'll use next week's discretionary money. :)

Birthday Snapshots