Monday, August 31, 2009

Perfect Moment Monday

This Perfect Moment Monday is going to be dedicated to someone who touches my family more then any of us could have imagined. She is our cleaning woman.

Long ago and far away, a neat freak (me) and a slob (him) married. For quite a while they got along okay and eventually learned to compromise on domestic duties. Then they had a son. And the slob got promoted, meaning more money but longer hours. And the frazzled neat freak asked if it was okay to hire some help because the house was "going to kill me" (paraphrasing, of course)

So, we hired a maid service for a while. And what bliss it was. Occassionally. Because the service had good cleaners and bad cleaners and you never knew which ones would come to your house. But it was fine.

Then, we had some hard economic times, so we stopped the service. Once things got back to normal, we found her--on a bulletin board. Adrianna.

Adrianna has cleaned up our house every week since my son was 5 years old. And now she seems like part of our family. Not just because she has been with us for so long. She is more than just a service to us.

Like any family member, she trys to help out when she can, well meaning, but not always in the ways one needs or wants...like the time she moved all the organizational stuff around in our large bathroom--and we ended up putting it back the way we wanted to that weekend. Or the times she has dusted pictures on the walls and accidently broke the frames...or the many things (books, toys, important papers) that she has put "away" for us...and we couldn't find them.

But there are other times. When she brought down our huge hamper of laundry (which is not one of her duties) to the basement because she knew I was pregnant. Or when she moved the furniture in Michael's bedroom--and we liked the new configuration!

Or, the two Perfect Moments below:

Perfect Moment #1: Husband is not a morning person. Meaning, given the opportunity, he will fall asleep..which kinda sucks because he is in charge of the kids in the morning, as I go to work earlier. About 2 weeks ago--Willow fell asleep in his arms and he fell asleep. He woke up to noises. Voices in the other room. Then he realized Willow was not in his arms. Panicked, he got up--to see Adrianna and her helper playing with Willow, while cleaning the kitchen. They had been there about 1/2 hour. Adrianna LOVES Willow and has doted on her since she was born.

Perfect Moment #2: This Friday I got home as usual. Kids in tow, rushing around, trying to get things dealt with because we had people coming over in a few hours. I rushed upstairs, not looking forward to having to go through the HUGE pile of clean laundry to find a more relaxed outfit to wear...when I walked into an utterly clean bedroom. Our laundry was all neatly put away in our closet. And the broken shelving was put up on top of the bar--and in pencil (as I only afterwards found out) she had written "shirts" "pants", etc. under the neatly folded laundry. Adrianna even put up the hanging sorter I had bought months ago and put my shoes in it!

Bear in mind, we let her know that we are grateful to her (monetarily and otherwise). Bear in mind, that we have come to know each other through the barriers of class and language.

The sense of relief, care, warmth and gratitude I have for this woman, a woman who I don't really know as well as I should. That is a perfect moment.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Sad News, and a way to help - Updated

One of my friends has lost her youngest sister in an awful accident. A fund is being set up to help her children (who witnessed the accident). If you can help, please click on the article to find out the information:

http://www.wwaytv3.com/node/17956

The family of Kristen Belair, who was killed on I40 near Burgaw, NC. on Aug. 26th around 1pm wants to thank a young woman who stopped and prayed with her 8 and 10 yr old son and daughter while the investigation/pictures were being taken.

Kristen's family says "We don't know her name - only that she may be in her 20's, was wearing a pink polo with a butterfly on it and her cell phone had polka dots on it. The woman stopped to help calm the children, she prayed wtih them and then left without giving her name. The gentleman with her was wearing black pants.

Kristen's children have told the family what a great comfort she was to them in their time of need, and we would love to thank her. Could she please contact Channel 12 in Wilmington NC? If she does not want to come forward we just want to get word to her how much her graciousness means to our family."

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Craft Give-Away

Taking the challenge from Anla:

Doing a “take one down and pass it around” craft give-away.
Here's how it works....
The first five people to respond to this post will get something made by me, especially for you.

This offer does have some restrictions and limitations:
1- I make no guarantees that you will like what I make but I hope you will.
2- What I create will be just for you.
3-They say I have a year to get it to you. But I hope it will NOT take that long!
4- You have no clue what it's going to be. It’s a surprise to both of us at this point.

The catch? You must re-post this on your blog and offer the same to the first 5 people who do the same on your blog.


So the first five people who post, and are willing to pass it along,will get a handmade gift in the mail from me.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Creature Comforts

The new job is going well. I think I am making myself a useful member of the team and I am gaining confidence every day.

However.

I am missing creature comforts. Being a small office in the middle of town square, some things are taking a bit of time to get used to. Like the fact that we have assigned parking spaces, which means when I leave (for lunch or for the day) I have to ask if anyone has parked behind me—and then they have to go down with me to move their car. Being small, we have less space. The kitchen is not really a kitchen…the refrigerator is a small dorm size.

And then there are the intangibles. I miss my old office mates. I miss the fitness room. I miss my music playing in the background (maybe this will eventually be okay, I just haven’t felt comfortable yet). I miss my old job.

Luckily, there are new creature comforts at home to look forward to. A new couch which I am in LOVE with. Nothing like being able to mush right down in a comfy couch. And then, make it recline further! Aaaaaaaaaaaaaah. I could sleep on that couch. But I don’t have to. We have a new mattress! Which I also love!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Perfect Moment Monday

Perfect Moment #1: I step into the noisy arcade. I search for my husband, my children and my son’s friend. I see them. Tall furry, lumpy man with two boys. And a baby crocked in one arm, other arm being used to shoot a video arcade weapon, while the boys and the baby girl root him on excitedly.

Perfect Moment #2: She picks up the play phone. Crocks it between her ear and her shoulder. She babbles, sounding like “hello” and I ask who she is calling. “Daddy”. And we converse with daddy in babbles and smiles.

Click Here to see more Perfect Moments.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Most Wonderful Time of the Year...Not - Click Title..

The school year is fast approaching. And frankly, I am NOT one of those parents leaping for joy. Not only is it the end of a turbulent summer, turbulent year. But it is also the beginning of new stresses in our lives.

School has never been easy for Michael. Not academically, at least not in the truest sense of that word. He is a smart kid with spongelike abilities to soak up knowledge. He is interested in science--biological and technical. He has a creative mind and is often thinking up all sorts of imaginative games, etc.

No, the part of school he cannot deal with is the structure. He gets bored, his attention wanders. If it is not interesting enough to him, he zones out. He does not always pick up on social cues from others, so sometimes he will be talkative or disruptive in the classroom. In other words, "classic" ADHD.

As a parent of a child who is "quirky", who has ADHD, school becomes not only his struggle, but my struggle. Homework, which is already taxing for a normal elementary student (see my rant on Homework here) can be ten times harder to complete for someone who has been fighting all day to maintain their focus. The last thing either one of us wants to do once we get home is do homework. I find myself constantly inwardly struggling on how to handle the "Homework Situation". I often am frustrated at having to ride herd on him, help him to do something that I myself would not want to do. Something that I have an obligation as a parent in so many ways (Does he really need homework or time to relax? Does he really need to be drilled in this now? But he needs to know that their are responsibilities out there and you shouldn't shirk them. And there is the final grades, etc.) I usually come up with a happy medium where I give it a set time, and once it hits that time--we stop. (One of the few times that him being labeled helps because the teacher usually cuts him some slack because she knows it takes a long time for him to focus and process things).

The school year brings the flood of papers, fundraisers, deadlines. It also brings parent/teacher meetings, various calls from the teacher ("he was disruptive today, couldn't focus, he got frustrated and threw a pencil box"), notes from the teacher ("He was much better today."), IEP meetings, further meetings with his therapist and doctors, changes in his prescriptions (because, of course, he has to "FOCUS"--with a little help from medical science). It brings parental guilt about PTA meetings missed, school functions that cannot be attended, after school care which is not always stimulating or fun...the new guilt of having a second child and juggling both their needs...It brings Cub Scout meetings because said therapists and doctors think that he needs more social stimulation--which eats into the very little time we have for other things (like homework, fixing/eating dinner, bathing, reading--oh, maybe spending time with each other). So yeah. Yippee for the school year coming. Not.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Vacation Meditation - Show & Tell #45

Wrote this earlier this week, but its got lots of showin' and tellin'....

It has become a tradition for me to re-read “The Time Traveller’s Wife”* while I am vacationing on Cape Cod. Part of this is because I love the book and it is so big (and hardbound, so it is so bulky) that the only time I have a good chunk of time to read it is during our vacation.

But I think that part of me likes the past/present/future time travel element to it during my vacation. Going on a traditional long vacation each year in the summer is like time travel. I get the same kind of feeling I have during the holiday season. Something new, something old. Remembrances of times past come seeping in. The past/present and future is right there and you can sense it and feel it.

Going away for the summer, remembering being a little girl and anticipating our drive to Indiana to my grandparents house for a week (sometimes 2). Sometimes I remember those vacations while doing things with my children, so very far away from Indiana and the Midwest. At the beach, I can remember Lake Michigan as a little girl. I remember digging my feet into the sand and kicking and digging out hills and holes with my feet. I watch my son do the same thing right in front of me in Provincetown. I can imagine my daughter doing the same thing next year.

My son's french fries look and smell similar to the ones I used to eat in a small soda shop in Indiana; the wonder of picking up small living creatures and showing them to my daughter reminds me of times I used to catch garter snakes and crawdads and lightning bugs.

I think of the recent past.

The times we came here as just a couple. Having moved 800 miles away from family and friends. Having little money but still wanting time on vacation. We went to Bed & Breakfasts and found the ocean and low tides with creatures lying on the rutted sand like a museum display. We rode bikes along the ocean and we found ourselves as adults.

I spent time with just my four year old son (dad had to go back to work early) and we went in bumper boats (I was scared to death--he was in a bumper boat by himself, while I was in another bumper boat). This year my son and I did a motorized Go Kart.

Feeling the present. Wanting it to last. Wanting my life to just PAUSE in the moment. To enjoy the sea breeze and sunset. To enjoy Willow seeing waves crashing. Michael wading in the ocean and being 20 yards away from a seal.

I want to write down what we did, but I know that it is inadequate. Memories and time are fluid and even now this vacation is becoming part of the past, part of the passage of time that sometimes makes us forget. All I can do is merely journal notes and post pictures so that my mind can remember.

-----------------------------------------

(Pretty somber, eh?!) Okay, enough of that...here's some places we went and stuff we did...

When we first got there, we went to one of our favorite seafood restaurants and had some good ole fried seafood:



The next day we went to Martha's Vineyard. We found these Ginger Houses that we did not even know about...even though we have went to the Vineyard many times before.



This was also where Willow decided to keep working on her shoe fascination. She took off her shoes and found some abandoned flip flops.



Later, Michael engaged in one of the favorite things to do on Cape Cod--eat ice cream--on a carousel figure!



Another day we went to Eastham.

We had pizza and pasta at the Red Barn and played video games and mini-golf.

Willow liked the pasta...



One day it did rain...


I love this picture. It has so many colors I like and embodies my son in so many ways...

But, we went to a paint your own pottery place and have mementos of our time there...



And, the next day, it was beautiful and we went to the beach again...



Amongst the things we did: laughed, played, got sand everywhere (hey, did you know that sand can be digested? imagine that in a diaper!). We watched boats and ships; we went on a ferry, we played mini-golf more than once--and Willow liked to take our balls off the green and run away with them...we had fun and time together as a family. I am glad for it.

Now, back to regularly scheduled life.


Show & Tell exclusive: Extra Picture--a blue and red lobster!



* No, I did not go to see the movie. Had the opportunity to go to the drive in to see it, but the reviews sounded like it sucked. I will probably see it on the cheap. I hate it when they screw up books!

Show and Tell
Click to see who else is Showing & Telling.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Home

Just got back from vacation. It is always surreal to come back home after being away for a week. Out of touch from reality and then to come back to it. The past week is a blur of images and experiences. Some were our traditional/annual pilgrimages (to Provincetown to the private beach that we park at; to Eastham and the Red Barn Pizza/MiniGolf/Arcade) and some were new (an Alpaca Farm; Go-Karts(!)). I want to journal more about our adventures. I want to remember everything. Pictures do not do it justice. There were many times during this vacation that I was proud of our children. Many times when I was awed by the splendor of nature. And many times when I was relaxed and happy. More thoughts later...

Random pictures:


View outside our window. Ocean/private beach across street.


First morning. I love the hair!


Woods Hole--aquarium (its free!). This is the part where the kids can pet a horseshoe crab...


An octopus in a jar!


Alpacas!


Provincetown Beach yesterday.



Saturday, August 08, 2009

And, I am Outta Here!

Well, to a tune of more money than I wanted to spend before vacation, we have a new toilet! But, hey...the toilet we had was from when we moved in...this one seems nicer! (Now, its got me thinking we should replace the upstairs toilet too...)

Went to aqua areobics, kids are off to Michael's karate. Going to shower and then finish the packing...and then...traffic most probably. And then...grocery shopping...and then...FINALLY we will be at our place on the Cape. With a private beach. Ahhh....

Probably will update with some pictures. We, of course, could not leave on a week's vacation without our Laptop or our Wii (or our DVDs...).

Thursday, August 06, 2009

So Flipping Ready for Vacation...

It began like an ordinary night. Picked up Willow (who lately protests being dragged away from the daycare provider's back yard). Picked up Michael (they had a field trip to a roller skating place--where someone broke their wrist--luckily, not my son). Got home--Willow immediately wants milk and a snack. Like RIGHT NOW! Michael says "Can I go on the computer?" Gabby the cat says "FEED ME!" (Yep, that is a normal night)

Then. Willow was a bit irritable tonight. And a bit curious. And she got into EVERYTHING. Allowing me not to make dinner, or clean up the crunchy cereal that she threw all over the living room floor this morning that my husband IM'd me about 2 hours ago saying he did not have time to clean it up this morning....

And then she is pulling books off shelves. Then, when I see that Michael has gone outside to play with his friend, I see them trying to skateboard DOWN our driveway into on coming traffic. So, I stop them. And then Willow has now seen the SWINGS in my neighbors yard. And is trying to get to them...through the dirty path way. In her pajamas I just struggled to get her into...

So, 20 mins (or 5 hours, if you are mommy) later, DADDY comes home. And we take Willow off the swing (screaming) into the house. I make dinner, the boys come in to the house to play, Willow makes a further mess with her dinner...

Later, after more book pulling, screeeching, and Michael bouncing on our furniture...we take them up to bed. Going into our bedroom we see what looks like TONS of dandruff on our bed (luckily, my husbands side of the bed...). While we wonder where that came from, wheather it was the ceiling crumbling, or bugs in our bed..., our son confesses--he used the Pedi-Sure foot scrubber...and those are flakes of his heel (!). Promptly, my husband rips the sheets off the bed....

While he puts the kids to bed, I pack a little, I go downstairs to clean up the kitchen...I go into the bathroom...and step in a puddle of water...yep, our toilet is leaking into the basement (again).

Yep. I need a flipping vacation already.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Show & Tell #44

Ode to my old exercise equipment...



This is a picture of the old elliptical machine at my work. My old work. As in, I took this picture the last time I was there. Because I missed this machine. And the fitness room. Because it was a small, private room in the building of my old work. This machine helped me lose 70 lbs. (and I so need it now to help me lose it again!)

I miss it. Many were the times that I could be found during my lunch hour, watching "Judging Amy" or "What Not To Wear" or "Barefoot Contessa" or the occassional "Buffy" or "Dr. Who" while working up a tolerable sweat on this machine.

(Well, my new work doesn't have a fitness room--but it does have 3 very steep flights of stairs!)

Show and Tell
Click to see who else is Showing & Telling.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Cape Escape

I am now at the point before vacation where all I can think about is "Vacation, vacation, vacation..." And being the little organizer that I am, checklists are coming out and packing is starting to happen.

We are going to Cape Cod for a week. Just me, my husband and the kids. (Still feeling nice about saying "kids"--still seems kinda new and wonderful and different)

Usually we invite someone to come with us. This year, for a change, its just us. And I am soo looking forward to it. This has been such a hard year for us, and finally things have started looking up. So what better way to celebrate new beginnings than to relax and enjoy the things we have.

I am looking forward to re-reading one of my favorite books (Time Traveler's Wife), hanging out at the beach...watching Willow enjoy Cape Cod for the very first time (we went only for a brief time last year--she was too young).

I am looking forward to some SLOW, unhurried time with my son and with my husband.

Oh, and the seafood...

Yes, my mind is totally not here right now...