Friday, June 29, 2012

I Am Going to Be a Grandma

Does that give you a little shock?

It's not so bad as all that.

While in Boston, Madelyn declared that there is a baby in her belly, and she'll get married when she's "taller, maybe five."

Our second full day in Boston was Tom's brother's wedding.  It was lovely.  Heartfelt.  Full of love and tears and laughter.  I learned that Tom's and Matt's faces show emotions the same way.  Beautiful.

Madelyn danced with her daddy at the wedding.  I didn't see because I was off with Fynnie somewhere.  The dance must have been something.

Later that day, Mana (as Fynnie and I now call her), reported that she had married herself during that magical dance.

Now she has 10 babies in her tummy.  Ask what she's having and she'll tell you, "A boy."

It's the new math.

Last week the girls and I were driving home.  Up, up, up to the top of the Cajon Pass before descending into the Mojave Desert, an SUV was stuck in the number three lane (third lane over, counting from the fast lane).  A very pregnant woman was standing on the shoulder, too close to the truck lane, trying to wave drivers away from her car.

I pulled over about a quarter mile up, picked up the pregnant woman's guy at the call box (a California godsend if you are out of cell range when an emergency happens) and drove in reverse back to his girl.  The plan was that I would get behind his car, let him out and have him steer while I pushed his vehicle off the 70 mile an hour highway.

I asked him to let the woman know I would be squeezing past her, because I didn't want to freak her out, this woman who was 39 weeks pregnant.  I just wanted her off the highway.

Just then a Highway Patrol officer pulled up, took over and sent me on my way.

As we drove away, Mana asked, "You didn't want to freak her out?"

"No!  She's going to have a baby very soon.  You do not freak out the pregnant lady!"

"I'm going to have the baby in my belly soon, too."

Fynnie, "I ha- baby soon, too!"

Mana, "Did you hear Fynnie say she's having a baby, too?!"

"I did."

"Well, she didn't marry herself!"

Is there really ever a wrong place to be a frog?

Monday, June 25, 2012

Make Way For Ducklings

On our first full day in Boshum, Tom's mom and dad took us to Boston Common.
Fynnie thinks Gramma Judy is pretty smart.

Our girls are young and relatively inexperienced in the pleasures of the park.  They've been to playgrounds, something that our desert community has in abundance.  But a place like Boston Common?  Not going to be found in the HD.

Boston Common has a merry-go-round.  Madelyn and Dadelyn went around and around.  Daddy gets dizzy and queasy on spinny rides, but making this memory with his daughter was worth it.

Gramma and Grampy have been to Boston Common before, and knew all the best places to go.  Grampy isn't able to walk much, so he parked himself under various trees throughout the day.    Apparently the frog pond we walked next to is often open for splashing.  We're guessing the recent (non-flooding!) storms made it too dirty; no kids or dogs were allowed to splash around that day. 
Fynnie and I did not get the memo about the day's color scheme.

Remember how much Mad loves frogs and ducks?  Despite our attempts to encourage Fynnie's love for elephants, she is all about the fwogs, too.

That play area in the background?  Tadpole Playground, of course.
See a frog, be a frog!  

See a fish, be a fish!

See a turtle... ah, c'mon Mama!

I love this photo for the look in her eyes.  And for the fact that her hair isn't a crazy mess.

If Madelyn could sum up her greatest disappointment about our trip, it's that we only went to Boston Common once.

Did you ever read Make Way for Ducklings?  This is that place.  That is the island.  
Gramma made sure to give the girls their own copy of the book when we returned to the hotel that night.  I attempted to read it over the exhausted screaming, but we only got so far.

"Yes, Mama made me quack like a duck while she took my picture."

"She made Fynnie do it, too, bahaha!"

"I yike to quack like a duck!  Cack cack cack!"

"Somebody, put me out of my misery!"

"I put you out mizzy!  Cack cack cack!"

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Traveling With Kids

Madelyn picked out her travel attire early in the morning the day before we left.  Striped shorts, dirty socks with sandals, tutu, butterfly backpack with her name, velour hoody, undershirt with multicolored hearts (not shown) and a balloon.  Perfect! 

We used both of Fynnie's car seats.  The newer generation of Britax Boulevards have some features that make them easier to adjust than Madelyn's.  Mad doesn't care about that.  She's just glad that Fynnie didn't choose to sit in the coveted pink seat.

Speaking of which, Fynnie didn't get to sit in her black and gray seat on the way out.  Why?  Even though Tom had a couple conversations with people about our seats and the use of car seats on the airplane, no one bothered to mention that two car seats cannot be placed in the same row.  Since Fynn's under two, she could be a lap rider.  Yes, we could have forced them to find us another set of seats.  It was not worth the hassle.

This is not how Fynnie entered the plane.  There was a collective sigh of relief when her screaming and crying stopped after a couple of minutes.  It was replaced with periodic shouts of, "We fy-y big jet wocket ship Boshum!  Bash off!"

Virgin America has touch screens and remotes for every seat!  (The downside of leaving for the airport in the 4:00 A.M. hour - Mama doesn't care about bedhead... until she sees the photos later.)

Madelyn, who aspires to be Doc McStuffins, makes sure her friends practice safe travel, too!

Some highlights from our flights out and back:
  • Tom has now changed several diapers at 36,000 feet.  He reports that it is easier to change a diaper mid-flight than it is in the baggage claim area restroom at Logan, where the changing station angled down, forcing him to brace Fynn while changing an especially messy diaper.
  • I have not changed any.  Every time I enter an airplane lav there is turbulence.  It ain't right.
  • Yes, I know how lucky I am.
  • The free word game on Virgin's system is lame.  How is it that "etc." an acceptable word, but "tine" and a host of similarly simple words are not?
  • Being forced to fly out of LAX because the city of Los Angeles owns the much more convenient but ridiculously overpriced Ontario Airport, made it clear to me why people think Californians are jerks and asshats.  Almost every person we dealt with at LAX was minimally helpful at best.  
  • The flight attendant crew on our way out were the whiniest bunch of "professionals" I've ever encountered.  I'm sure the head whiner thought she made things better after complaining about one of the other families with toddlers in front of me by saying, "But not you.  You get it.  Your kids are under control."  That was the luck of the draw for us.  I'm guessing the woman does not have kids or she would know that.
  • Just as expected, the flight out was better than the flight back.  Aside from every experience being new on the way out, Tom and I sat a few rows apart, so there was no teamwork for us, and the girls weren't able to entertain one another.  However, the people at Logan were so much more helpful, even giving us a luggage cart and pre-loading our car seats (not installing them, however, they saved that special hell for Tom while I wrangled the girls), that we were a lot more relaxed than we would have been otherwise.
  • Whoever suggested gel window clings as a mid-flight distraction, I love you.  Ditto for the Dollar Tree, where I stocked up on garden scenes.
  • People who recline their seats into the face of a toddler in her car seat and then twist around to give her dirty looks and loud sighs when she pushes on the seat should not be surprised when said toddler's mama leans forward to "pick something off the floor" while remarking that "yes, it was a jackass thing to throw a hissy fit because the big dumb man took up all of your room."  It turns out that Mama doesn't care if the big dumb man is well over six feet tall and 300 pounds.  Tolerating fits is not something I do well.
  • Although she hardly nursed at all on the way out, Fynn nursed most of the six and a half hour flight back.  This probably made Big Dumb Man happy, and did not appear to disturb the lovely lady next to us.
  • Overall, both flights were smooth.  Although it was cloudy when we arrived in Boston (which in my mind is now called Boshum), the flooding storm I'd been warned of did not rear its ugly head.

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Trifecta (AKA The Perfect Storm)

Fear of flying


"Hey, did you hear there's a storm in Boston?  Something about flooding?"


My period


Clear and present danger.

Yes, Tom has been alerted.  It's only fair.

Monday, June 04, 2012

Me. On A Plane.

I hate flying.

I don't hate it enough to avoid doing it.  I hate looking like a big baby more than I hate flying, apparently.

I hate flying and I hate the stupid things people say to me about flying.

"Stop giving your fear energy.  Planes crash because people thought too much about it.  They brought it upon themselves."

Um, okay.  I watched The Secret.  File it right there with religion.  I just don't get most of it.

"Just pray about it.  Bring the angels around you."

Dude, do you even know me?  Wait, you do.  I do not try to push my lack of belief in god or angels on you.  Why do you do this?

"Drink.  Heavily."

Yeah, I'm not a big drinker.  I'll be partially responsible for two kids and their massive freaking car seats.  Oh, and I anticipate Fynnie will try hard to nurse her way through our six hour flights.  When she's not otherwise shrieking her head off, trying to antagonize her sister (with that adorable devilish look in her eyes) or doing exactly the opposite of whatever she's asked, instructed or commanded to do.

"If it's your time to go, it's your time to go."

Okay, fine.  If it's my time, I'll go.  But I don't want to.  I want to live.  I want to see who my girls are as they get older.  I want to see Corey take some major turns for the better.

And what about my girls, who'll be with us?  I don't want it to be their time.  And I don't want them to have such devastation as life without their parents.

What about Corey, who will not be joining us on this trip?  He's a wreck on his good days right now.  How would he cope with knowing we're no longer here if he decides he wants us or needs us?  And, honestly, what would happen if he had access to our life insurance?  Not like it's a lot, but it's more than he's ever going to see sitting around Grammy's house all day.  I totally foresee my mom's home being overrun with the latest in video game and tech gear.  And more junk food.

One of the things I try to have done before going on vacation is to make sure all of the photos are edited and sent off to my mother-in-law.  (Not even possible this time, ugh!)  As far as she's concerned (I hope), it's so that I have less to deal with when we get back.  But in the forefront of my brain is the idea that I want her to have everything possible before we go.  Same reason I'm hoping to get the bathrooms cleaned ASAP.  And, yeah, it's the same reason I wonder if I should toss certain things before leaving.  I mean, seriously, who wants to come across that while packing up someone's house?

It's at the head of every action and thought.  It's stupid and it sucks.  And I know it's wasted energy. I understand that the months of thinking "What if?" since booking the flights are moments upon hours I cannot get back.

But knowing it and making it stop are not the same.  The only cure is to go and to return.  To file another trip.  I've logged a lot of miles in fear.  Lame.

The upside?  Always looking for it.  There are a few highlights.  One, since we are flying with the girls, I will continue to avoid projecting my fear to them, thus not giving into all out panic.  Two, since we are flying directly across the country, we'll be up higher and hopefully have less turbulence than we have had on shorter flights.  Three, no one I've talked to has said that flying into Boston is bad.  Huge difference compared to flying into Vegas, for example.  On the other hand, no one I've talked to has actually flown into Boston.  Their stories are all anecdotes from others.

And then there's the fact that we'll be off on another family adventure.  A bizarre one where, two days before we leave, we still have no clue where we're staying or where the unnamed hotel is in relation to the airport.  We do have a room.  Somewhere.  And plenty of plans for the short time we'll be there.  Not that we know what the exact plans are aside from the wedding.

And should when we return, I will look back on this trip fondly.  As I usually do once the sense of free falling through the sky and slamming into the ground is no longer relevant.

Saturday, June 02, 2012

Coffee Slob

I cleaned my car last weekend.  Not only did I remove armfuls of crap toys, books, colored pencils and expired coupons, but car seats were pulled out and the vacuum and shampooer were employed.

I have washable seat covers for the front seats.  The seat covers look fabulous, as usual.  Underneath?  Not so much.

Why?  I'm a coffee slob.  Yeah no, not snob.  I don't care where it comes from.  Gas station or schmancy shop?  Fine, as long as it's reasonably strong and there aren't grounds in my cup.  Oh, and that nastiness known as soy milk?  None of that, thanks.

Coffee is the primary stain on both front seats in my car.  Sometimes while hopped up on caffeine (or not), I take corners and turns quickly.  And I figure that one perk of a four-wheel drive vehicle is that I don't have to slow down for dips and bumps in the road.

So why am I surprised to have found coffee splashed on the back side of the divider between my car door and Fynnie's?

Speaking of Fynnie, the area around her car seat now has 98% less yogurt crusted onto the fabric.

As I cleaned, I thought about the mailer we received recently from the Toyota dealership where we bought Tom's car.  The one where they offered to buy my Escape Hybrid for just over $17,000.

It wasn't exactly a laugh that came out of my throat as I thought about pulling into the lot and asking for my check.

On the upside, my car has been smelling quite good lately, despite having coffee and yogurt flung about.

Have I mentioned I now make my own laundry detergent?  I do.  One of my local mommy friends told me how.  Right before I went and purchased some cloth diapers from her.

Not only that, but I have learned how to change baking soda into washing soda (especially good to know if you refuse to shop at WalMart, which everyone assures me carries washing soda), a key ingredient in homemade detergents.

Yes, that was me just now wondering if I really need to shave my armpits ever again.  I probably do since I time the use of cloth diapers around Fynn's fairly regular schedule.  Oh, and we only use them on the weekends.  So, yeah.  Not quite the hippy earth mama I'd like to think I am.

I have all of the ingredients and materials to make the liquid detergent, too.  It's a bit more complex than the powdered detergent.  And will require that I wash out the two five-gallon buckets that I picked up from another mommy.  Who makes the most exquisite cakes.  With frosting that comes in five-gallon containers.  (She has five kids, people, give the woman a break!  It's still frosting!  And did you see what she does with it?!)

It's the frosting inside those containers that is keeping me from opening them and cleaning 'em out.  I mean, I'm sure it's 100% processed crap that no one in their right mind should eat.  Like the Twinkies factory tube that still had "edible" Twinkie goo in it half a century later, those bits of leftover frosting are not breaking down.

What do I care?  I love frosting.

So for now, one of the liquid detergent ingredients, Fels Naptha, is sitting under the passenger seat of my car, smelling quite fresh.  I had figured that Fels Naptha was going to smell like the homemade soap a relative made when I was a kid.  I believe tallow was an ingredient.  Nope.  It's really lovely.

Which is good.  Because since washing out the interior of my car less than one week ago, I have treated the girls to their first ever sundaes *splash* and dumped coffee all over the console while not taking out a cyclist *splishity splash*.

In almost unrelated news, I am sitting in Fynn's room.  I usually leave my computer in here because I use it while we're nursing or she's napping in my arms (still).  She's downstairs with Daddy right now and I've snuck back up for a few minutes.  Madelyn just woke from her nap.  She popped her head into see me, went across the hall and turned off the laundry room light before coming in here and straightening Fynn's fishy lamp.  Then she came over to snuggle.

I know she's my kid because I was there when she was born.  But I have a cousin who would be willing to claim her, I'm sure.  They could live together happily in a home where everything is in it's place and nobody's car interior is covered in coffee, yogurt and ice cream sundaes.

How Are The Kids?

This question came up recently.  My answer, with more details, was this:

Seriously?  If you were pissed because I said you will have to get a job in order to get things from here on out that you don't take care of anyway want or need, I wonder what you thought when I took you to Goodwill to find some clothes for jury duty.  On the upside, I spent less than ten bucks on  a pair of man pants, two dresses and some short overalls for Madelyn and a donation for the troops.
Back to the downside, what do you mean you came shopping for pants and didn't wear boxers?!?  Dude.  Oh wait, maybe it was my offer to buy you some man panties that made you decide to go straight home?  Or was it the way I didn't get so excited about your free-through-this-guy-on-the-Internet computer repair tech training that's going to help you become a department manager at Staples?

Well, this could be either of the girls, but in this case I'm thinking about how Mad and I had to have The Talk.  You know, the one where I explained, "Listen, when we see Aunt Carol with the baby in her tummy, we're going to talk about how beautiful she is and how lovely.  Even though you've been especially interested lately in how my body pushed you out, we're not going to talk about that with her.  Okay?"
For further clarification, I am not referring to the conversation my 21 month old wee bebe had with her father recently, wherein she asked, "Chase boys?"
And in no way am I referring to this conversation with Fynnie Fynn:

Me:  What happened to your diaper?
Fynnie, one hand on her bare heinie:  Um, wew (well)... dipey *mumble mumble* cyimb!"
Me:  Your dipey came off because you were trying to climb?
Fynnie:  Yesh.

Here's the crappy cell pic to use for blackmail later illustrate my point.

Again, could be either girl.  However, this is about Fynnie asking to be carried like a baby.  She hasn't let it happen in months now, and it only took place because she was copying her big sister, who would give just about anything to be the baby these days... while still maintaining her position as the leader of the pack, of course.  Fynnie let me carry her down the hall and into her room, all the while looking up with a satisfied little smile.  I had the same smile, I'm sure.  That would be a change from the days when I regularly carried her like a baby.  I'll forever think of those days as the time when I just barely made it through.
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