Sunday, May 22, 2011

How Great Thou Art?

I've always been the artistic type. I mean I can't draw for shit but I like making things out of nothing. I like creating something, no matter the medium that wasn't there before. That's one reason I write. I like to make shit up. Well that and it's a release which is healthy for anyone.

When I was in school I would visit art galleries on a daily basis, I even worked in one in SOHO for a while which I won't name here because between you and me, the woman who owned it was a total bitch who was sleeping with a married man. She spent more time in the Hampton's than she did at work and when she did show up, sent me to Dean & Deluca to get coffee for her, knowing she just passed the fucking place on her way in! I substituted whole milk for skim and also charged a white hot chocolate for myself, so I WIN!

Anyhoo, I went to all kinds of shows when I was in school including one where someone had a bowl of urine that they sat a cross in which I thought was a stupid grab for attention that worked and then Love Spit Love which was three naked couples (gay, straight and Bi) hanging out while possibly kissing or whatever. I got the point of that one but the point was better than the actual show. I think I still have the card from that show. I remember it being a big deal at the time in the early 90s so I was glad to go. We also had a show once all about orifices and a homeless guy came in and stole one of the, um, holes and the curator had to chase him down the street to get her, um, hole back. Priceless!

A lot of famous people came into the gallery when I worked there as well, which was fun. Alec Baldwin came in before he started deeply hating his wife and Matt Dillon as well who I have always loved. I had a 10 minute conversation with him about screwdrivers and my accent. Matt Dillon was more fun and Alec Baldwin is even harrier than you'd imagine. He also didn't really seem to have a sense of humor but that just may have been his arrogance. Who knew he'd one day become Canteen Boy?

The point I'm making is that I used to have a completely different life and while the life I have now is wonderful even when my kids make me feel like I want to stand in traffic, I still find that I miss certain things that it just isn't as easy to do. In fact sometimes it's been so long that I've done something that I once did daily that when I finally do it I'm shocked that I stayed away from something so long that I loved so much. You get so busy with kids that you look up one day and that baby you brought home wrapped in blue is now four years old and tearing through a museum past priceless paintings at break neck speeds.

On Sunday my husband and I went into DC to the National Portrait Gallery. It closed for renovations in 2000 and reopened in 2006, but I haven't been since it opened again, so it's been a while. When my kids weren't screaming and Owen wasn't trying to climb on statues (they frown upon that, who knew?) it was nice. I actually could have stayed all day but in an attempt to get out before the kids burned the place down, I found myself running from room to room. I took a few photos here and there of my favorite things but I couldn't really do more than that, but what I was able to see was pretty neat.

I plan to go back sans kids and have already set the wheels in motion. I could spend an entire day walking around this museum and not tire of it. I didn't even make it to the photography section. I did walk through the Hall of Presidents which had other photographs as well as portraits of all the Presidents. Most of them were nice and they looked as I've seen them portrayed in photos and paintings before. John F. Kennedy looked more like Bobby than himself and Bill Clinton's was painful to the eyes. I didn't like anything about it, not to mention it's HUGE! I guess it would have to be because you have to stand far away before your eyes can focus on it, but that junkx just wasn't necessary. I also noticed as we exited the Hall of Presidents that most of the slave owners were in the same room. Just an observation.

I wonder if the artist even liked Bill Clinton. This portraits makes him look like a bumpkin, which he isn't. He is a Rhodes scholar. He's just so smart that he made everyone think he was just like them. Love me some Bill Clinton.

Like I said, they had photographs of others besides Presidents in the Hall of Presidents, people who were important both during and to the President's term. The one that stands out the most was of Martin Luther King Jr. He was in JFK's section, of course. It was a black and white photograph that I'm kicking myself for not taking a photo of. I didn't because Owen was running around slapping the feet of Jimmy Carter so I was a mom in motion. In the photograph he was looking into the camera lens with clearly tired soulful eyes. I've always loved him but I especially loved this photo. This isn't it but I love it as well.

I can't wait to go again and soon. NO KIDS ALLOWED!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Oh the Places You'll Go!

I'm a thief. I can admit it. I steal ideas and make them my own, but I lie to my children daily with a smile on my face to keep them young and naive so this revelation shouldn't really be that big of a shock. Although in my defense, I was upfront about it. I told the person I was lifting it.

A girl a went to high school with, we'll call her Laurie Tompkins because at this moment her married name escapes me, posted something on her Facebook page yesterday that immediately tugged at my heartstrings. I'm the sentimental type which is clear to anyone who has ever stepped foot in my house and seen all the shit I can't throw away so I knew immediately I'd be stealing this idea.

She says someone gave her this amazing idea last year so it isn't a new idea but I knew I'd be doing this so I got up bright and early this morning, made sure the kids were dressed, fed and ready to go and we headed off to Barnes & Noble before the school bus came. I skipped Borders cause I wanted to avoid the mall and that stupid train at all costs!

Laurie purchased the Dr. Seuss book, "Oh the Places You'll Go!" for her young daughter last year and is having each of her teachers through the years sign it like a yearbook that she will give her as a gift when she graduates from high school. I mean really, is there anything sweeter? Such a great idea! I was able to find a nice special edition that comes in a groovy slipcover. I worried about getting one with a paper slipcover. I could see it getting ripped across the years so I opted for the cardboard box slipcover type. I think it's more durable and it was only $6 more! Also, the only other version I could find was the "party edition" with a shiny cover. I don't do shiny if I can prevent it.

Now I know there will be years when he has a teacher that he doesn't care for and certainly there will be years when I hate a few but I'm going to do it anyway. My plan is to take a photo of him with the book today, write an inscription in the front from me and then never let him see it again until the day he graduates from high school. I missed his first teacher last year but luckily she is my friend on Facebook so I'm certain I can make sure that happens. If I couldn't, I'd probably toss the whole idea completely because she was such an excellent teacher it would be worthless without her.

I'm not an idiot. I don't think he'll appreciate it when I give it to him as he graduates but perhaps when he's older, long after I'm gone, he'll appreciate what it took to keep this project going all those years and love that I did it for him and maybe do it for his own kids. I certainly think it will be nice to have a photo of yourself at 4, holding your graduation gift.

And just think, I've got a whole year before I start this with River.....

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

A Frothy Nail in My Coffin

The worst/best thing imaginable has happened! I drove down a road I don't frequent on the regular because I was picking something up and I discovered something awesome! I hit a major street in our area just at the corner and noticed that Popeye's Chicken is no more. My husband might think this earth shattering but I don't. That place was a shithole and needed to go to make room for something better and that's exactly what happened. They're ridding my part of town of a cockroach infested Popeye's to make room for a new Starbucks! And not just any Starbucks, this one has a drive thru!

I can't tell you how many times I've wanted a Chai Tea but skipped it because it was a pain in the ass to unload the kids. There were times I wanted one and I had to go grocery shopping so I went to that Giant (asshole central) on Rt 2 that I hate so much, just because it has a Starbucks. Once this puppy opens, I will never go there again!

While I've tried to cut back on Starbucks, it's kind of a thing for River and I. We almost always go there on Tu Tu Tuesdays when Owen is in school. I wish they had regular 2% milk and sometimes they do, but it's rare. I will get her that stupid organic vanilla milk if it's all they have but River loves it so I've let go of my annoyance with that shit. We also split a lemon poundcake that she eats more of than I do. As soon as we walk through the door, she jumps up to the same table and starts yelling "I want cake! Get me cake!" The only thing funnier is when someone is at our table and she walks over and just stares at them. She's usually wearing a tutu so we can play it off while they comment on how cute she is.

I can taste the ice cold goodness just sitting here. The damned cinnamon dolche that my brother introduced me to is the best part. Now I can't drink one without it. I wonder if I could get an ETA on the drive thru. I've peeked in the windows a couple of times and it's moving pretty quickly. All the outside work is done and the Starbucks signs are up!

I'm way too excited about this Starbucks, so pretentious. Also, I can't even tell you how much I should not even entertain the idea of Starbucks. I just want a Frappachino. Is that so wrong?

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

I Just Watched a Baby Being Born!!!

Holy shit!

My friend Michelle has been pregnant for what seems like an eternity. Truthfully she went one day past her due date so it really wasn't but it sure felt that way. I'm not even sure why because she was all baby. Even in the photos I took right after she delivered, she looks totally normal. She never looked pregnant to me when I couldn't see her belly. Her face didn't seem fat and neither did her ass. I'm sure my ass was the size of China but since I couldn't see it, I didn't worry about it. That wasn't my problem as far as I was concerned. Even if she never showed it, she was past miserable and had been trying to talk anyone who would listen into inducing her early because her lot in life is that she has BIG ASS BABIES!

This is her third (and last) child and each one has progressively gotten bigger. I don't know what her son weighed but her daughter weighed 9.5 pounds. They seemed to know all along that this one was going to be even bigger but the baby was doing well so no one would induce her. She married Stretch Armstrong so I can't even imagine getting a tiny kid out of that. Her fear was that the baby would keep getting bigger and then in the end she wouldn't be able to push it out and she'd send up with a c-section. I had two c-sections and I know they can be kinda daunting if you've never had one or if you've had one that went not so great. Mine were OK. I mean I threw up, A LOT either during or after both but Excedrin Migraine makes me throw up so I'm not so sure it's like that for everyone, but I've heard horror stories, who hasn't? She's a nurse so I'm sure her stories are worse.

Anyhoo, Michelle had asked if I'd like to take some photos for her and of course I said yes! Who wouldn't jump at the chance to witness something so beautiful? I like this baby already because I said to Michelle when I heard her induction started at 6 AM, "Please tell that baby not to come til after 6 PM so my husband can be home with the kids." Don't you know I got there at like 6:39 and she started pushing just after 7? I love a punctual baby! I know adults who can't get their shit together that well so I'm really impressed with it in a soon to be newborn!

When I got to the hospital (the same place I delivered both my children) I was concerned I'd have trouble navigating my way around with all the changes they'd made to the place since then but I figured it out pretty quickly and once I saw this I knew I was in the right place:

A nurse allergic to latex. That's gotta suck.

I keep calling the baby "it" or "the baby" and that's because they didn't find out what it was until it was born. Well, until he was born. It was pretty awesome to find out that way, but I know I would never be able to do that. It's like sitting in front of a wrapped gift for 10 months, something I am totally incapable of. But, on came the contractions.

It was nice to see the look on a father's face when he sees the nuts and bolts on his son for the first time. Endearing really. I couldn't help but cry. I mean birth is a beautiful thing, I know, I've done it twice. Three times if you count my own birth but this was different. This is kinda the way it was intended. While I'm totally at peace with the way my children were born because of the issues I had, there is a part of me that stood there watching my friend give birth and both longed to do it again and mourned because I knew I couldn't. Even if I wanted to try, for the safety of myself and a child I might try to have, it isn't going to happen for me. I have two perfect living children that are more important than any third child I may or may not have, but if it were possible, seeing that baby being born would have pushed me over the edge into the "we're going again" category and I didn't expect that when I rushed the the hospital with my camera over my shoulder.

Another thing I didn't expect was how easy my friend made it look. She's a tough cookie but I thought giving birth breaks everyone. Clearly she was not just uncomfortable, she was in pain but that baby was HUGE and she popped him out and was on the phone texting within 30 minutes! Besides my own photos, she had photos of little screaming Nathan on Facebook within 30 minutes or so. I guess I'm just shocked by this because after I gave birth to either of my children I couldn't even sit up for hours. I threw up for a full 48 hours after I delivered my daughter so to see someone raise the back of their birthing bed and start texting was not what I expected.

I was kind of the 3rd wheel in the room. Obviously her husband was there and her mom as well so I stayed glued to the wall. I wanted to be as much out of the way as I could be. I'd planned to try to take a few photos of her as she was giving birth but her mother told me she didn't want that so I refrained. I kinda wish I had. I would think a mom would want to see the babies head cresting, but I didn't want to be intrusive.

I once heard someone say in a movie to a bride that "you don't change a Vera Wang wedding gown to fit you, you change your body to fit Vera Wang" and that's kinda how birth is. I always wondered how you get a big honkin' baby out of that little space and now I know. I didn't find it gruesome at all and I made a point to not look where I didn't need to but it was truly an amazing experience. I'm hoping another friend gets knocked up soon so I can do it again! Karen, I'm looking at you!

I always wonder about other mothers though. I told my husband before we even got to the hospital to have my son, before I knew I was having a c-section, I told him this, "I love you but please understand, I will be in pain, annoyed, hot and possibly sweating. Please don't touch me or speak or I will lose my shit." I tried to be as quiet as possible because of that memory but it seemed like there was a lot of talking in her hospital room. I kept wondering if it bothered her but it didn't seem to. Between the talk of sodas, cameras and the jokes her husband was cracking, my favorite being "Every body's ready. We're just waiting on you!" I thought she would be annoyed, but she seemed OK. Her husband is much funnier than I had realized so maybe that helps. Good humor always does me good. I remember when I was sitting in the Infant CPR class with my husband when I was pregnant with my son and the lady asked the room, "Where would you find an AED (defibrillator)? My husband leaned over to me and said (in what I'm sure he thought was a whisper, "Old Country Buffet?" It was something so stupid but I laughed so hard that the lady asked me why I was laughing. I answered the best way I could, "Because my husband is an idiot." It's that kinda humor that always helps. That's kinda what Brian was doing. I think it was as much for himself as it was for everyone else. Waiting for a big baby to come is stressful and when you hear them say, "Call NICU", that makes it even worse, even if it is precautionary.

Once Nathan was born, weighing 10 pounds 4.7 ounces, I did what anyone would do, I took over 200 photos! I know it's said that all babies are beautiful but just between you and me, that's bullshit. Total misconception! All babies are defenseless and sweet, but they're not all cute. Nathan is cute with a big ole' round noggin' and he screams like a banshee! My favorite photos are of his mouth open in a wide, loud scream! It's OK to say that because he won't be keeping me up at night.
Look how big he is......

I find it hysterical that they crammed him into a newborn diaper because that's all they had in the room. He must have one hell of a weggie!

Seriously, does this chick look like she just past a watermelon through her love shack? She looks like a total rockstar!

This is me with Nathan:

Look at that face. How can you not love him?

Total angel! Funny how I feel like the lucky one.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Thanks To My Babies

Mother's day is a day to thank Mommas. I understand that, trust me. I get it. However you can't have great momma unless you have kick ass kids, so I wanted to take a moment to thank my babies for being my babies.

For Owen & River:

Thank you for being so beautiful. I can take credit for some of it but not all. I think you're the most beautiful children I've ever seen. I feel completely comfortable saying that because I gave birth to you, I didn't mold your faces. I hope all mothers feel this way about their children.

Thank you for surviving 10 months in my belly. Thank you for surviving the pre-gestational diabetes, mono, enema, high blood pressure, the kidney stone and everything else that made for two completely miserable pregnancies. So miserable that I would never even consider trying it again but I have no reason to because I couldn't have done better than the two of you.

Thank you for eating like rabid animals and being allergic to nothing. I don't take it for granted. So many kids can't even drink milk or play in the dirt. It just makes life a lot easier when there is less to worry about.

Thank you for letting me hold you when you have nightmares and when you're scared. I consider it a priledge to be so trusted.

Thank you so much for being good friends. Nothing makes me more proud than when the mothers of your friends tell me, "My son likes playing with Owen because he said he likes the way he plays." It does my heart good that I am raising such sweet little people.

Thank you for letting us read you the same stories over and over again, sometimes for months. As tired as I am of that book, once we stop reading it, a piece of me misses it and longs to hear you repeating every word.

Thank you for allowing me to throw you great Birthday parties. I know sometimes I went overboard (IE: the tornado from the ceiling fan and the chocolate fountain) but it was so much fun, no matter how stressed I got.

Thank you for loving my music so. Few things please me more than seeing both of you run through the house singing, "Put your paws up Momma!"

While your daddy and I may have given you life, I only ask for a few things in return.

I ask that you love each other. Parents grow old and friends move away but you'll always have your sibling.

Always accept people for how they're made. There is nothing wrong with judging a book by it's cover. I've always done that and it has served me well but don't count people out because they're different, different from you or just plain different. You'll miss out on a lot of wonderful people that way.

Stand up for the little guy. It's just the right thing to do. Not everyone will be accepted by the masses and those people are almost always the most interesting. You should questions those who are loved by all because it isn't real.

Always love yourself. There will always be someone who makes fun of you for being you. Ignore them and be yourself as loud as you can. I don't know everything but I do know that being you without appologies is liberating. You're good enough. Never question that or appologize because others don't understand. Dance to the song that is in your heart and you can never fail. This is the best gift I can give you. I just hope you're listening as momma dances to her own song.

I love you.

National Michelle Day!

Also known as Mother's Day.

Before I had children I celebrated Secretary's Day. Not because I was a secretary because I wasn't but there is no such thing as Personal Whore Day so I went with what was available and made it my own. I remember once getting a card from my mother on Mother's Day and she wrote inside, "You live with a man so you should get a card!" She had no idea how true that was! That asshole couldn't order a pizza, fold a towel or wipe his own ass without assistance. Again, I'm sure there was no card that said, "Your boyfriend is a giganto toolbox. Can you break up with him already so I can tell you I think he's functionally slow?" She did the best she could.

On Mother's Day I would take the day and do something I wanted, read a book or watch a show I'd been meaning to catch. I'm one of those people that likes to be alone. I love it actually so quiet time doing me things is perfect! It is calming and it's free! I don't want to get away from my family because they're pretty cool but maybe on Mother's Day I get to pee alone? It's a small thing but one of those little things you don't realize you miss until you're reminded on a special day that you can still pee by yourself, eat a bagel without someone bitching that they'd like a bite and perhaps enjoy a frappachino without sweet tiny voices begging, "Can I have some cream Momma?"

I'll be honest, I don't care about flowers or expensive gifts. I mean I like and appreciate them but I don't expect it and don't feel upset that I might not get them. I've had a pretty good year. I have zero to complain about. My husband is too good to me and my babies really are awesome! I'd just like to go to Sakura and have the rest of the day be downtime. Downtime usually means sleeping until I wake up, sitting in the basement on my laptop while the kids run around me and not much more. I might sit on the deck if the mood swings me but I won't do more than that. There was a time I'd plant a garden every year but I got tired of whatever dirty fucking creature was eating my tomatoes so I'm not doing one this year. Too much stress involved in plotting that fuckers death so I'm abstaining.

So, I'll hang out with the fam and remember why my life rocks and all the reasons I' love being a Momma!

Top 10 reasons I'm a lucky Momma:

1. I love my job! I get to get up everyday and spend it with my babies. My job is to teach their hearts to sing and I love doing it. They run around laughing and giggling all day long and sometimes drive me insane but they're such fun!

2. My husband is good to me. Today while River was napping and Owen was at school, he came into the sunroom and said this to me, "You know I saw something on Facebook about renting a house on the water just outside of Forks, Washington. We should look into that someday." I almost got a little teary just hearing him say that. He knows how much that would mean to me and it's really, really sweet.

3. I'm my best friend. I can do anything by myself and I've never met anyone who loves that as much as I do. I love going to movies alone, shopping, going to a restaurant. I find it liberating. I just gleefully took a 12 hour car trip that turned into a 15 hour car trip by myself and I loved it! I got out of the car once! I sung at the top of my lungs and I had audible conversations with myself! I recommend this to anyone.

4. My son is doing well in school. He's basically been in school since the week he turned three, even in the summer. So, I look forward to him having the summer off and spending it at the Zoo, the train museum and seeing our friends again! I have a feeling next year will be a busy one.

5. River is like me. Maybe in a pain in the ass way but it will serve her well. I have a friend who has a daughter Owen's age. She's spunky and willful as hell but she's also so very sweet. I always hell her that she'll be a pain in the ass to raise but what a wonderful adult she'll make! It's nice to not have to worry about a kid in that way. She'll do what it takes to get what she wants and so will River.

6. My children love each other. They don't just love each other, they "like" each other which is way more important. I love a few people who I'd rather press a hot iron to my face than be in the same room with so "like" is important. Owen asks every night if River can sleep with him and even though he hasn't napped in almost a year, sometimes he'll ask if River can nap with him and they'll quietly play in his room for over 2 hours, not once coming out. They're so good to each other.

7. I have good friends. Really good friends actually. I've learned over the years how to distance myself from those who add nothing to my life and always have something stupid to say. I mean I've got a few of those in my life (who doesn't) but they're so insignificant that it doesn't phase me in the slightest.

8. I write. I feel like I'm a little behind in my writing at the moment because I've been so busy but I always come back to it and have no problem getting back into it. I wish I had more time to write. I could do with another 8 hours in the day actually. I'd get so much more done. Running the site is a full time job but I love it. It's nice to hear people say they check it often. Good feedback is helpful when you sometimes feel like you're talking to yourself. Getting up daily and reading about Twilight on a daily basis pleases me.

9. I take pictures. More than most people I guess and I fry computers with storage being a constant problem but I can't stop. I see my life in a series of frames and my babies are so beautiful! How am I not supposed to capture that? I'm lucky to have a really good camera...or two. It's an outlet of expression, one that I desperately need. Writing is that as well so I'm lucky I have options in that area. There have been times that I didn't have that and I'm a miserable person to be around when I don't have something.

10. I'm satisfied with my life. There are things I want but there always will be. I don't have everything I want but I love what I've got. I have a husband who adores me and I know I'm a pill. I have a family I love, even when they're crazy, and I mean crazy. My kids are like spun butter, sweet as shit! They're a complete joy, even when they're running around yelling about sunglasses, treats and "Momma, make Owen share!"

We took the kids to National Train day in DC, which for me was a nightmare of shitty trains and annoying people, but I think the kids had fun. They both got cheesy conductor hats and crap I've yet to go through. My favorite part was probably when they argued for 20 minutes over some stupid blue frozen drink I'd never let them have had we not been in what felt like a fucking bread line.

Tomorrow is Mother's Day but since I discovered the mighty Mojito tonight, I am going to wait and proof read this in the morning before pressing "Publish Post." I have a feeling that's the right thing to do.

I woke up this morning to Mother's day gifts that Owen made me at school!

The flower pot was full of candy. I opened it and Owen said, "Can I have all of that?"