Monday, May 23, 2011

Fertile Myrtle

That’s right,  I can grow more than people.
I decided this year with so little going on in my life that I should grow a garden. 
Not just flowers.  Those gardens are for amateurs. 
No, I’m talking vegetables – real ones. From seeds, oh yeah.

So off I went to Lowe's, to purchase the making of a garden box.   With my own two hands and the help of a power drill I built myself a garden box, 4 x 5 and filled it with top soil and love.
And then there was the waiting.
After the initial work was done, it turns out that vegetable gardens are pretty boring. 
And then it rained.  A lot.
So when the sun finally came out days later, I wandered to the back yard to check on my veggies.
To my shock and amazement, my beans had sprouted, my peppers were popping, my tomatoes grew tall. 
When I set out to plant my garden, I figured I would see a comparison between gardens & friendships, you know….fostering friendship and then watching it bloom…crap like that.

But instead, I find my garden reminds me more of parenting.  A lot of preparation and then a lot of waiting.  I found Monster Monkey to be rather boring as an infant.

I read a lot in preparation for him.  Scoured the Internet for answers and advice to make sure I did everything correctly, sure that if I didn't prep correctly I would ruin him forever. 

Once he arrived my search continued as I asked everyone from our child care provider to the cashier at the corner store, “Am I doing this right?”
Somewhere along the way, however, I realized that much like my garden, with very little effort I was growing a great little man.  He learned, and grew, and blossomed sometimes in spite of me.

Now that my mutliple Monkeys have sprouted I see that they need more support as they grow.  Like my tomato plant, bending under the weight of it's fruit, my Monkeys need guidance to grow tall and strong. 

Gardening, like parenting, is a lot of work if you intend to do it correctly.  But I think the fruits of my labor are so well worth it.   

It's funny how it all started with a couple tiny seeds. 

Friday, May 20, 2011

I Get a Kick Outta You

I am standing in the grocery line waiting to pay for my purchases when I feel it.   That movement so gentle but unmistakeably real. 

It startles me so much that I turn around suddenly, suprising the woman behind me.  Realizing my mistake I smile to myself. 

All the thoughts that had been floating through my worried mind scatter like leaves on the breeze.

That feeling, that nudge from deep inside reminded me that I wasn't alone. 

I remember the momement that I felt each of my babies move.  I remember the day, the season, the surroundings, the circumstances. 

I remember how with that one tiny movement everything seemed real. 

Monkey-in-the-Making...Can't wait to meet you!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Sex? Yes, please.

In a few short hours, the Monkey-Maker and I will travel to Maternal Fetal Medicine for the anatomical survey of our Monkey-in-the-Making. 

It is a very exciting time for us, and so naturally my reaction is to worry.  A lot. 

With each minunte that ticks off the clock I think of 76 more things that could possbily go wrong at the ultrasound.  Instead of being excited for the big " boy or girl" announcement I am worried about all the "what if"s?"

My twisted train of thought is that I haven't spent enough time worrying during this pregnacy and so now, something terrible will happen.  I know....I'm sick.

We have been blessed with three perfectly healthy, wonderfully amazing Monkeys.  Why should we be so lucky to have another? 

These are the things that scroll accross the bottom of my mind, like the endless loop of sports news on the bottom of the ESPN channel.  But scarier.

Fox News Channel ticker has nothing on me.  Words like Down Syndrome, Hydrocephaly, Fragile X Syndrome, Spina Bifida and of course, Autism snake thier way along the bottom of my brain.

I realize in my rational head that there is nothing that can be done to predict or even prevent most of these terrifying birth defects.  They are simply the luck of the draw. 

As a longtime believer of the philosophy that the universe will not give you more than you can handle and in everything there is a "plan"  I have to release my worry into the wind.

And so I will. 

"I cannot control the wind, I can only adjust my sails."

Impotence: Are You Suffering in Silence?

Impotence (n) powerlessness: the quality of lacking strength or power; being weak and feeble .

I feel completely impotent.  I cannot fix the lack of motivation in my students, nor can I change the lack of involvement of their parents in the educational process.  I can't fix the cycle of poverty that I see everyday.  The emphasis placed on the choice of "godparents" for a child being born to a 15 year old who will just never have a chance.  I cannot bridge the divide between the haves and the have-nots.  I can't make it right. 

This impotence extends beyond my career choice.  It reaches out to the grocery stores and the T-ball fields.  There are so few things over which I have any control.  The weather, the climate, the attitude of other parents.  I can do little about the political landscape in our country and even less about the Middle East.  The economy is outside of my circle too. 

But impotence in these areas is expected.  It is understood. 

What I didn't see coming was the feeling of powerlessness in my personal life. 

I request few things of Monkey-Maker when it comes to parenting decisions.  Most often we are on the same page but occasionally, we have different points of view.  Allow me to enter into evidence, Exhibit A.

Monster Monkey was invited for a play date, leaving Middle Monkey to cry hysterically about the unfairness of it all.  The Monkey-Maker was then faced with a small dilemma, what to do to appease Middle Monkey. 

His answer?  Let him watch WWE Smackdown. 

Now, you should know that as a parent, there are FEW things I feel exceptionally strong about, but on this short list, WWE is Public Enemy #1. 

I HATE WWE.  HATE everything about it. 

So....while my children are small-ish and while I can control what vile images entire their vision, I want to keep them away from this shit. 

My call right?  Within my control?  Think again...

The Monkey-Maker does not share my disgust and disdain for all things WWE and therefore, I suppose, it seemed to him that the logical choice was to allow Middle Monkey to watch the latest installment of WWE Smackdown. 

And how did I learn about this violation of my one simple rule you may ask??

Well, Middle Monkey greeted me at the door of our home and sheepishly confessed his sins, and the sins of his father. 

Is this the end of the world?  Certainly not. 

I am sure that if my Monkey's have not already heard and seen far worse demonstrations of human conduct, then they will eventually be spectators of the worst that our planet has to offer.

 HOWEVER, I was hoping to shield them for a bit longer...

And so....impotent is how I feel. 

How about you?

Sunday, May 15, 2011

In a Pinch.

My mother approaches the world armed with a hot glue gun, a pair of scissors and a can-do attitude.  There is NOTHING that the universe can hurl at her that she can't fashion into something wonderful. 

If you ask her what she truly fears, the answer may surprise you. 

You would not hear the standard, "I fear something happening to my family"  or "I fear a nuclear holocaust."  No, no, not my mom. 

She has virtually no fear.  Except for the fear of stale snack foods.  

My mother is, was and always will be obsessed with the proper storage of food.  She has been known to utilize masking tape to reconstruct a cookie box.  She will happily save a pretzel bag with 3 tablespoons of salt and crumbs as long as said bag can be securely closed with a chip clip. 

The sheer volume of items in my mother's pantry that require a secure closing require her to be resourceful as the "Chip Clip" factory could never actually produce enough to satisfy her need.  She will instead find any number of solutions to counter this "stale" situation, including, but not limited to, tape, staples, close pins and most recently the "Hangar Pinch." 

That's right.  Something else you should know about my mother is that she is a God-Damn Genius. 

Allow me to introduce you to the "Hangar Pinch." 

You know those extra hangars you have lying around?  Well - put them to good use.  Simply snap the ends off and "Voila!" 

Make-shift chip clip. 


But hey, what would you expect from the woman responsible for molding a mind like mine???

Friday, May 13, 2011

Facebook Failure

I am a Facebook failure.  A Twittertard.  A LinkedIn loser.

I am not a person who is skilled with boundaries, as has been referred to in earlier posts.  I lack follow through and I am easily distracted. 

Facebook, for me, is like crack. 

I spent nearly one entire year in the blue glow of the computer screen finding the perfect, witty status update to best represent every event of my life.  Endlessly updating photos and videos, I was the most attentive "friend" that ever existed in the social media realm. 

There was NOTHING I didn't know about EVERYONE. 

Kid who sat two seats behind me in third grade, I could tell you exactly what day his sister-in-law was due to deliver her twins.  I could give you details that would startle the CIA.  

If only I had been as attentive to my own family. 

I missed one year.  A year of life spent tucked away behind my laptop.  Updating about my life instead of living it. 

And then I left.  I deleted my account.  I cut ties with all contacts digital.  I entered social media Siberia. 

And I got my family back.

Somewhere in the interim, I found blogging.  When I started, I promised my love that I would not become "the woman behind the screen"  and I have held up my end of the bargain.  

For his part, he is incredibly supportive of my blogging and the creative release that it brings me. 

In the beginning he had big plans for his talented writing wife.  I was to be the next "Big Blog" and he would quit his job to manage my fortunes.    Hold your horses there, Slappy. 

I quickly schooled him on that action by showing him the 6 month result of my AdSense "earnings." 

"$5.35 ?!?!?!!?  - WTF????" He exclaimed!  "How are you supposed to live off of this???"  He asked, clearly in shock.

"Ummm, you're not."  I replied.

Blogging is not about making a living, its about recording our life.  It is my version of verbal scrapbook.  And I love it.

So...even as I tip toe back onto the social media scene with full spousal support, I am going to try to keep perspective.

It is not really approval from "others" that I seek, although more followers wouldn't hurt. 

The real kick is the satisfaction of knowing that I am saving our stories for someday. 

And that is the real reason I blog.

Three Little Monkeys Sleeping in my Bed (repost)

On weekdays, I usually leave the house at 6:30 am.  I am sharing this infomration so that you can get the full effect of just how late I was yesterday.  I stayed in bed until 6:12 am, snuggled with my three little monkeys, blankets pulled up over my head.

When I finally emerged from my fuzzy green cocoon, my hair was a fright and I didn't even care.  I had slept too late to have time for a shower, I barely had time to change out of the uniform of sweats that I have taken to wearing around the house.  There was no makeup, no thought involved in getting myself "ready" for work.

It has been like this more and more as of late.  I don't know who exactly to blame but I am irrationally sure it is my husbands fault.

It has been weeks since we have had our bed to ourselves.  Maybe even months.  Some nights the middle monkey will creep in and gingerly tap me on the arm over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over until I finally reach out, grab him and pull him securely into the bed.  Once he is nestled in the crook of my arm he will doze peacefully until the latest possible moment of the morning rush.  He is the best little sleeper. 

I, on the other hand, am not.
Some nights the creeper is a little princess girl with golden curls.  She will walk quite purposefully into the room with all of her "babies" in tow.  She will hurl each item into the bed and then hoist herself up and over my lump of a body and snuggle herself in between her father and me.  She too is a good sleeper but again, as she crawls over me to secure her spot in our bed, her bony little knees dig into my back, arms and face.  Following this invasion of my sleeping space, I am usually awakened but then abandoned, left alone with my thoughts while she slumbers peacefully beside me.

My third waker-upper is recently my favorite one to see at my bedside.  When he is up, he is up.  there is no such thing as "going back to sleep."  He is quite entertaining and has become a good friend of mine in the bewitching hours.  He has a great sense of humor and is perfectly content to lean against me on the living room sofa while I watch DVR'd episodes of The Daily Show.  Of course he doesn't fully understand the content that is discussed in the show, thankfully, but is able to grasp the nuance and sarcasm of Jon Stewart's comedic timing. 

The child can talk a blue streak and I generally don't have "time" to listen to him ramble, but at 3 A.M. I find myself with nothing but time.  We talk about school and wrestling.  He tells me about his friends and their families.  He asks me about divorce and why some parents live in different houses.  We cover death and Heaven.  We talk Santa and the Toothfairy.  He shares with me some ideas he has for streamlining the discipline procedure in our house, rules he thinks would be effective for his sister and brother. 

He is so much like me.  A creative worry wart, a dramatic insomniac. Ultra-sensitive and prone to anxiety.  He enjoys schedules, routines, and lists.  But like me he is also a creative spirit.  He loves to draw and color, creating millions of fabulous items of artwork, displayed all around his room.  He wants desperately to read and when he does finally "get it" I am sure he will have his nose in a book every spare moment.  He is compassionate and caring, he has a kind soul. 

He is my midnight monkey.

Credit Problems

"Guess what!" I chirp excitedly into the phone.

"What?" He replies cautiously.

"I just bought all the stuff for my garden all by myself!!  It only cost $50!!!"


"Aren't you proud of me?"


This is  a typical conversation between the Monkey-Maker and myself.  One where I list my accomplishments seeking credit for a job well done.  This is the story of my life. 

For my accomplishments, great or small, I desire credit.  I want another person to validate my efforts. 
This need is something of which my children are aware.

Middle-Monkey throws his arms around my neck, “Mommy, thank you for making this delicious dinner!” (**side note:   the "delicious dinner" he is referring to is re-heated spaghetti from my mother and meatballs from my Mother-in-law.  But in my defense, pushing that 30-second button on the microwave three times really knocked it out of me.**)
“Good job peeing on the potty Mommy!”  Mini-Monkey praises me as she accompanies me to the bathroom for the 76th time today. 
Monster-Monkey exclaims at 100 decibels, “Mom, I’m so proud of you for staying awake for the whole show!"  OR "Look Mom, you only spilled one time carrying your coffee!!”
I like to receive credit.  So sue me. 
I am PAINFULLY aware of the things that are not my strengths. 
Organization, for example. And cleanliness.  Not a strong suit. 
I am a distractable shopper and possess very little follow through.
I have a shoe buying addiction and it seems that the fatter I get the more impractical the shoes get...
I am a perfectionist and a control freak.  I am a perpetual klutz. 
And I have credit problems.
So when it does get clean, when it does get organized, when the coffee makes it to the top of the steps with zero drips....I better get some credit. 
Knowing my strength lies in my creativity, for years I  have sought an outlet to showcase my work.  There have been countless Shutterfly creations and family videos.  I have designed wedding invitations, programs, save-the-dates.  But nothing has been able to scratch that itch. 
Enter blogging.
I was sucked in immediately.  Feedback from strangers? People that didn't give birth to me telling me that I am good? 

I loved it.  From day one. 
However, here I am 156 posts later. And I want credit. 

I want to be known.  I want to be read.  I want to be liked.  I want to be followed.

I tried to quit, I really did.   I attempted to "refocus" and remind myself of why I blog. 

I blog because I love to write.  But truthfully, I love to write what people will read.  

I blog to capture the essence, the spirit, of parenting in this moment.  To pave a memory lane for my offspring to travel someday.  

I blog to connect with others and with myself.  Some of the most significant connections I have made through blogging have been with my own family.

I tried to let it be just what it is.  An opportunity for me to plug in and reconnect.  But...

Now, I'm obsessed again.  Checking stats every 20 minutes, just to see if there have been any new comments.
But there aren't.  Just the few, the faithful.  And of you readers I am likely not deserving.  But I still pine.  I ache.  For more. 

And so I ask you, how do I fix these credit problems??

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

The Healing Power of Blueberries

Blueberry plants are easy to grow, require little care and are seldom bothered by pests.  If you follow a few simple steps a Blueberry plants can thrive and last a lifetime.  
Both low in sugar and high in fiber, the blueberry is one of the few fruits native to North America.  

This small blue fruit with the low growing profile is claimed by Native Americans to have magical healing properties.  Magical properties I questioned until now. 

You see, long before I had Monkey's, I had a little sister.  I have written about her before.  She is, was, and always will be my first true love. 

Ours, however, is far from a perfect relationship.  Growing up it seemed that the four years that separated us may as well have been 40 years. It was only when I met the Monkey Maker that things really started to improve between us, connecting in ways that I had only dreamed of.  

It was a truly special time in my life, however short lived. 

On the day I found out that I was pregnant with Monster Monkey, even though my sister was only a sophomore in college, it was her number I dialed.  She was the first call I made.  She dropped everything and came right to me.  Driving from Maryland, the state she now calls home.  And she was so steady, so clam, so collected.  She could see, although I was blind to it, that I was born to make Monkey's.  

In recent years we have had our fair share of stumbles and rough patches along the way. As I moved through the phases of motherhood, it seemed I moved further and further away from her. 

Though there was no fault to place, no blame to bare, I know we both felt it.  The heaviness, the layer of expectations unmet and disappointments yet to come. 

The changes in attitude, changes in perspective, these are a natural progression, one over which we had no control.  There were hundreds of happy moments but in between were the misunderstandings on both of our parts, the inability for either of us to fully cross over and understand where the other was.  And it was a little sad.

There was so much about Motherhood that I wanted to share with her.  Parenting challenges and inside pregnancy jokes.  I wanted to be in the club together, but the timing was never quite right. 

And then one day a Blueberry arrived.

This Blueberry fixed what ailed us.  It brought us together in a way I always imagined.  Who knew something so small could do so much good...

**This post is dedicated to my little sister, her husband and their amazing Blueberry.  I am so excited for you both. **

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Celebration of Death?

The devastation of September 11th, 2001 knew no racial, ethnic or religious boundaries.  It had no allegiance to country or creed.  It was all encompassing, indiscriminate and horrific. 

Thousands of people lost their lives that day. 

The devastation of September 11th, 2001 came upon our Nation at the hands of a small group of radical men who were inspired to action by the teaching and prophecy of Osama bin Laden.

This one man brought untold sadness and loss to the world on September 11th, 2001. 

And so, although he is indeed someones son, someones husband, someones father, brother, confidante as Clearness very eloquently posted, to me he is better off dead.

I will not "celebrate" this death but I will respect those who do.

Remember the time...

that I posted a Wordless Wednesday on a Tuesday - and had NO IDEA?

Yeah...that is how my week has been going:)

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Single Sock Edition

This is my purse, the contents of which are always a suprise to me. 

Today, it contained one Buzz Lightyear sock.  Any guesses? 

Monday, May 2, 2011

McFatty Monday - HOLY SHIT Edition

This morning my alarm went off waking me from a wonderful dream.  In that dream I was healthy and fit - long and lean - and running.  Running like the wind.  It was amazing.  But it was only a dream. 

Here in the real world, there is no running being done by this McFatty.  Except if you count running to the bathroom to pee every 17 minutes. 

I have been avoiding the scale like the Bubonic Plague but knowing that this afternoon the mid-wife would force me on it I figured I should prepare myself.  But nothing, NOTHING....could have prepared me for the number that answered back. 


I weigh what I weighed the day I delivered my now 3-year old daughter.  And I am only 17 weeks pregnant.  Not cool.

And...its not pregnancy weight.  Its not water weight.  It's just big, fat Ben & Jerry weight.  And it's not okay.

So.  Today I wrote down my caloric intake.  Later today I am going to talk a walk.  Tonight I am going to fight all the urges to eat, well...anything after 7pm.  And tomorrow. 

Tomorrow is another day.

Game Plan:

Eat less.

Move more.

Drink water.

Maintain weight until Baby #4 makes his/her debut...

I think I can...I think I can....I think I can...I think I can...I think I can....I think I can...I think I can...I think I can....I think I can...I think I can...I think I can....I think I can...I think I can...I think I can....I think I can...I think I can...I think I can....I think I can...I think I can...I think I can....I think I can...I think I can...I think I can.