Saturday, September 29, 2007

Stolen Moments

I captured this picture of Austin and Ashlyn this morning and it reminded me of how much I love the stolen moments when my kids are displaying their love for eachother, without prompting. Austin was just sitting on the couch watching tv when Ashlyn crawled up next to him to cuddle and he just wrapped his arm around her!! Their capacity to love and forgive is beautiful. Although their capacity to scream at eachother and their desire to claw each other's eyes out at times is equally astonishing.

Later this same evening, Austin got in major trouble- he jumped off the chair while holding his Star Wars light sabre and decided to throw it across the room mid air! He fell to the floor in a roll while the light sabre managed to hit Toby square in the side of the head, bending his glasses and bruising his eye bone! I don't know how the thing managed to miss Ashlyn who was sitting beside Toby. Maybe the thing does have some magical powers as Austin keeps insisting. Maybe it was divine intervention because if the thing had hit her it would have been ugly. He didn't mean to throw the light sabre and hit Toby in the head but he had already been told to stop horsing around on the furniture. Austin lost his light sabre and was sent to his room. This ofcourse led to giant alligator tears and hysterics as he stormed off to his room. When I went in to talk to him about the incident a little while later he was still crying and sobbing (he gets that from me). Ashlyn couldn't get out of my arms fast enough to climb up onto the bed and give her brother a giant hug!! AWWW!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Little Miss Sunshine

One of my favorite parts of being a Mom is listening to the sounds of my kids waking up in the morning after a good night sleep. I love listening to them wiggle around and play quietly in their crib. I love the sounds of the jibber jabber and endless chatter that rises with the sunshine. I love walking into their rooms only to be greeted with bright smiles and outstretched arms. It is a beautiful thing and a perfect way to start the day.

"You are my sunshine, my only sunshine

you make me happy when skies are gray

you'll never know dear, how much I love you,

please don't take my sunshine away."

Hmmm, I wonder if I could be any cuter?

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Enough with the BUGS already!!!

Did I mention that we found this creepy crawler in the house?

And you guys didn't believe me when I told you that every bug known to man has decided to land here in our back yard or living room for that matter. Toto, we are definately not in Kansas anymore. Can someone knock me on the head so I can go back to OZ where the bugs are not the size of munchkins? I mean seriously, this is ridiculous!!

After millipedes mate, the female eats some soil and poops it out. I guess "he" is a she. What is it with mating bugs around here?!! Austin asked if he could keep it but after seeing the size of her poop (it has bigger poops than Birch and Birch is a rabbitt) I decided that was not happening. Besides, she pooped in my 'Famous Dave's" cup- rude!

So, what did I do with it, you might ask???

Being the soft-hearted person that I am, I captured it, held it prisoner in what was once Rochello's roach motel-without food or water-and then took bets on who was going to win the next Ultimate Fighting match in the bug ring. His opponent: Goliath The Giant Beetle.

Next, I tortured the bugger by pulling off each of it's 1,000 legs one by one- ahh, ahh, ahh!!!!

I now sleep with this under my pillow and have already ordered this for our bed.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

A Whole Lotta Lovin Going On

It’s no secret that I am not a big fan of bugs! Remember this post: As summer comes to an end and fall approaches, I find myself looking forward to a few less pests. Wishful thinking I suppose as September is apparently “Love Bug” Season.

After conducting a little research, I discovered that love bugs are not bugs at all but rather small black flies with red thoraxes called Plecia nearctica. “Upon reaching maturity the love bug spends the entirety of its life copulating with its mate, hence its romantic name. The male and female attach themselves at the rear of the abdomen and remain that way at all times, even in flight. In fact, after mating, the male dies and is dragged around by the female until she lays her eggs (Wikipedia).”

“Copulatory behavior begins with the male darting and grasping a female that is flying through the swarm. The pair falls to the ground where they couple. Initially the male is positioned on the back of the female and both sexes face the same direction. After coupling, the male turns 180° and faces the opposite direction (Denmark, H.A. and Mead, F.W.).” As one might imagine there is intense competition among males for females at emergence sites. Just like a typical male, the male love bugs fight for one last fatal fling with the sex goddess. I guess if you have to go, this way is better than most!

(These pictures were taken in our back yard. Looks like I caught them after doing the deed since the male is turned around! I have to admit, I felt a little voyeurish capturing these pictures)

“Although their behavior and their common name may be amusing, their presence in such large numbers can be somewhat of a nuisance. Cars driving through these aerial orgies become spattered with these loving bugs. As a result, radiator fins may become clogged causing cars to over-heat. Insects spattered on the windshields (click here for picture) can obscure vision, and if the dead insects are not cleaned off, they can ruin the car's finish” due to their highly acidic body chemistry (Drees, Bastiaan).

I can attest to the danger of driving through swarms of love bugs. I was driving home from Dothan late one afternoon last week and it appeared as though it were raining love bugs. As the suicidal pairs of love bugs splattered their love potion all over my windshield, not even my washer fluid could touch, let alone remove, the remains of this potent love juice. I drove home through the smeared streaks of what looked like some concoction of Love Potion Number 9.

Urban legend has it that these overly amorous bugs were the result of a genetic experiment to rid the world of mosquitos gone wrong. Acording to, this legend is false. See for yourself: They apparently migrated from Central America and now swarm the Gulfcoast region twice a year, first in late spring, then again in late summer for a period of 4 to 5 weeks.

Yet another reason to love Lower Alabama or LA, as it is so cleverly called. Not only do I have deal with these pesky, sex-crazed critters during what is normally my favorite time of year, I have to scrape them off of my windshield after an afternoon drive and explain to my five-year-old son why they are, um, connected together. Rather than explain that these bugs are “copulating”, as one source claims, and that the female is such a sex goddess that she kills her mate with her sexual prowess and then drags him around for good measure, I simply tell him that they are two-headed bugs!!! :)

I Found THIS in the Dishwasher

It is a music box that my friend Michelle gave me on her recent visit (sorry Michelle). I have no idea how it got there but I can only suspect that it was one of two little munchkins who live in this land of OZ! And yes, it went through the cycle last night and was soaking wet when I pulled it out this morning.

Diamonds are a Girl's Best Friend

I got a special birthday gift in the mail the other day from my Mother-in-law and this is what it was (yes, my birthday was in July, but this was definately worth the wait!):

I don't know what I did to deserve this...
I'll just assume it was marrying her son and giving her 2 beautiful grandkids!! That's gotta be worth something, right? ;)
Thanks Mom!

Friday, September 21, 2007

Before I was a Mom

This was sent to me by a friend today and I felt inclined to share. I don't know who wrote it but it is very touching- so here's to all of you Moms out there!!

Before I was a Mom ...
I never tripped over toys or forgot words to a lullaby.
I didn't worry whether or not my plants were poisonous.
I never thought about immunizations.

Before I was a Mom...
I had never been puked on; pooped on; chewed on; peed on.
I had complete control of my mind and my thoughts.
I slept all night.

Before I was a Mom...
I never held down a screaming child so doctors could do tests. Or give shots.
I never looked into teary eyes and cried.
I never got gloriously happy over a simple grin.
I never sat up late hours at night watching a baby sleep.

Before I was a Mom...
I never held a sleeping baby just because I didn't want to put him down.
I never felt my heart break into a million pieces when I couldn'tstop the hurt.
I never knew that so mething so small could affect my life so much.
I never knew that I could love someone so much.
I never knew I would love being a Mom.

Before I was a Mom...
I didn't know the feeling of having my heart outside my body.
I didn't know how special it could feel to feed a hungry baby.
I didn't know that bond between a mother and her child.
I didn't know that something so small could make me feel so important and happy.

Before I was a Mom...
I had never gotten up in the middle of the night every 10 minutes to make sure all was okay.
I had never known the warmth, the joy, the love, the heartache, the wonderment or the satisfaction of being a Mom.
I didn't know I was capable of feeling so much, before I was aMom.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Weaning the Breastfeeding Bully

Ashlyn is finally weaned. Halleluiah!! It was a long, arduous process that involved blood (literally), sweat, tears, about 44 different varieties of bottles/sippy cups and a breastfeeding bully.

Weaning Austin was so easy; he just about weaned himself. How hard could it possibly be? Well for starters, Ashlyn never took a bottle. We tried, albeit not very hard since I was staying at home with her. We started offering her bottles when she was a couple of months old. I would pump and leave milk in the freezer in case I had to be away and Toby had to feed her but she never took to it despite the variety of bottles and nipples we offered. She would just scream whenever I left, even if it was just out for a run or to get groceries. I think she could tell (or smell) when the BOOB had left the building.

We finally gave up on bottles and decided to try sippy cups. One less thing to wean her from, right? I must have bought every variety of sippy cup that existed. I literally went to Wal-Mart one day and bought one of every kind, thinking surely we would find one that she liked. Every single one of them flew across the kitchen faster than the speed of light. Even the so-called "no-drip" cups flowed like Niagara Falls upon hitting the floor with such vehement force. This continued for weeks at which point I decided to cut out her middle feeding in an effort to expedite the weaning process. Big mistake! And the breastfeeding bully reminded me of this every chance she got. I tried, I really tried but after the first week I gave in because we were both sooo miserable. She was clearly not ready I told myself.

Then I wound up with a bout of Mastitis and ended up in the Emergency room. I felt so bad that I didn’t really care whether she was ready or not, I was. Unfortunately (for me and my boobs), weaning is discouraged when you have Mastitis because it increases the risk of a breast infection turning into a breast abcess that requires surgical draining. Guess I wasn’t ready afterall but OMG, I have never felt such pain in my life; and I am a girl who can handle her pain!! It was excruciating and there were times when I honestly felt like I was going to pass out while feeding her. A couple of weeks of antibiotics and I was as good as new- until the biting began- that is. These weren’t just little nips either; these were full on yank and pulls!!! And it didn’t help that my daughter had both of her bottom teeth before she was 4 months old. How could my sweet, innocent little girl by day turn into such a ravenous vampire by night? Some nights I felt like I was Little Red Riding Hood trapped in my very own, twisted version of a folktale that went something like this…
My, what big teeth you have Ashlyn.
The better to bite you with Mommy!

(Do you see the size of her teeth???)

The day finally came when enough was enough. I sat on the couch laying with ice packs on my breasts and decided it was do or die. My nipples could take no more abuse. This was coincidentally also around the same time that she started trying to help herself. I felt like an all-you-can-eat buffet!! In actuality, it was a call from the Dermatologist that provided the motivation I needed to finally wean the bully. They wanted to schedule my Botox injections to treat my Hyperhidrosis (to read about this click here) but I had to be done breastfeeding before they would do the procedure. I had been waiting 5 years for this procedure and not even the breastfeeding bully was going to keep me away from my Botox!!
So the journey continued to finally wean my breastfeeding bully. Thankfully, this time we were successful! My boobs rejoice!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Don't Hit the Baby!!

The part of learning to ride a bike I didn't share.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Fall is in the Air

Fall is in the air and I couldn’t be happier. I LOVE this time of year and everything that comes along with it- the cool crisp air, the warm colors of the leaves as they change from yellow to orange to red, watching the leaves dance through the air as they fall from their trees, the sound of the leaves crunching beneath my feet, jumping in the giant piles after an afternoon of raking, warm apple cider, pumpkin patches, hayrides, and of course, Halloween.

It reminds me of a poem I wrote a few years ago on a cool fall day called Whispers of the Wind:
When I am alone and one with nature,
When I can hear the whispers of the winds speaking to my soul,
When each leaf that falls tells a story that I can only hear if I am quiet enough to listen,
When I am still enough to hear the whispers of truth emanating from my inner voice,
When I am comfortable enough in my own silence to let my soul speak,
When I feel guarded and protected by Mother Nature,
When I can stand in awe and appreciate the beauty and glory she has to offer,
When I know that my secrets are safe in the hands of God,
When I can feel the angels of mercy dancing around me,
When I have let my soul sing its song and scream its sorrows to the point of internal tranquility, then and only then does my spirit feel free.

My Cool Dude

Yesterday morning-
Austin: "I want to change my name to Dude!"
Toby: "Why?"
Austin: "Because it's cool!"

Last night at the dinner table-
Me: "How is it honey?"
Austin and Toby in unison: "Good."
Me: "Aww, I have 2 honeys."
Austin: "Yup, and there are two womans in the house, you and Ashlyn!"

I can thank my husband for that one!! He calls me "Woman" as a joke sometimes and now my son thinks it is a term of endearment, like honey!!!! Thanks honey!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

It's Like Riding a Bike!

A Day in the Park!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

She Colors My World

I have always loved to color, even as a teenager and adult. There is something about it that just brings me back to a place of simple pleasures and careless freedoms. Today Ashlyn brought me back to that place. We hung out at the table and colored together while Austin was at school. We bought these new Crayola Twistables Slick Stix and a giant Backyardigans coloring book and went to town. It was so much fun. The Slick Stix are like really smooth crayons; they are so bright and vibrant-just like my little girl!

Sunday, September 9, 2007


Talking about marriage at dinner...
"Mommy, when you and Daddy saw each other for the first time did your eyes turn into hearts?"

Playing Lego Star Wars video game with his new friend Vince...
"You should never kill your friends!"

Saturday, September 8, 2007

My Daily Bread

Today as I was driving around I noticed these 2 church bulletins:

1) "Forgiveness cannot change the past but it can enhance the future."

2) "The last time things were this bad, I sent a flood." -GOD

Which church would you rather go to? :)

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Love at First Sight

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

I Love A Rainy Night

Friday night before I left for my trip it poured!!! We let the kids play in the rain before their baths and they had a blast! If you haven't played in the rain lately, we highly recommend it!

Well, I love a rainy night
I love a rainy night
I love to hear the thunder
Watch the lightning
When it lights up the sky

You know it makes me feel good
Well, I love a rainy night
It's such a beautiful sight
I love to feel the rain
On my face

Planes, Trains and Automobiles-Oh My!

I'm back. I went to visit my Sister in Philadelphia for a few days and then up to NY to visit my Mom who is out of the hospital and seems to be recovering well. It was a whirlwind of a trip...

For starters, I left Fort Rucker at 4:45 am on Saturday morning and drove 3 1/2 hours to Atlanta to catch an early flight. When I checked in, the kiosk informed me that there were no seats available on my flight. Of course there aren't! I love how they let the kiosk be the bearer of bad news. I suppose there is a method to this madness as the kiosk seems not to notice as I and several other passengers rant and rave. So, I head up to the gate after waiting in the security line for almost 45 minutes to see if I can get a seat on the flight that they overbooked. After some whining, I manage to get a seat- phew! 45 minutes later as I am finally getting settled into my seat, the captain announces that there is a problem with the engine (not exactly what you want to hear as you are about to take off) and that our flight has been cancelled. Of course it has! Swell! I head back out to the gate and wait in an incredibly long line and watch the US Airways employees become increasingly exasperated with the line of passengers they have to re-route to Philadelphia. It seems that there is only one other US Airways flight to Philadelphia that day and it is already booked. Of course it is! When it is my turn in line, I smile, try to be as pleasant as possible and explain my situation to the nice woman behind the counter. She manages to get me on a Delta flight leaving at 5:50 pm. Only 9 hours to burn in the Atlanta airport! I thank her and head to the Delta counter. Once at the Delta counter, I kindly explain my situation to the nice lady behind this counter and she is able to put me first on the standby list for an earlier flight leaving at 1:58 pm. I was able to get on this earlier flight, which I was grateful for but apparently it was a bad day in the airline industry and after another 45 minutes of sitting on the airplane, the captain announces that there is a problem with a part that impacts the engine RPM's-but they are attempting to fix it (again, not exactly what you want to hear!). Here we go again! After I don't know how long, the aircraft is supposedly fixed and we prepare for takeoff. I can't help but be a little nervous at this point. I finally make it to Philadelphia but my luggage does not. Come on, say it with me, of course it doesn't! I file my luggage claim and hope that the adventure is coming to an end but soon find that it is just begining. This is where the transportation tango begins, or shall I say continues. Let me remind you that at this point I have already driven 3 1/2 hours in my car, rode the train at the airport to my terminal, boarded a plane, de-boarded a plane, rode the train to another terminal, boarded another plane...

So, my sister Dayna and I have reservations for dinner at 7 pm with 2 of her friends and her boyfriend, none of whom I have met before. It is a little after 4 pm when we leave the airport to catch a train to catch a subway to catch a trolley to catch a bus to catch another bus to catch a taxi! Did I mention that I get carsick?! Oh, I almost forgot to mention that as we are standing in the subway station, my toes inches from the yellow zone, my sister tells me not to stand in the yellow zone because people have been known to get pushed into the subway track for standing in the yellow zone. Back away from the yellow zone! All in all, it took us 3 hours to get from the airport in Philadelphia to a restaurant in Philadelphia- not NY, not NJ- but maybe 6 blocks away in Philadelphia! And it only cost us, I mean, my sister, close to $50. The cab fare alone to take us a total of like 3 blocks cost $27! I could have driven the entire way and still made it in time for dinner! Ok, not really but close! This was all fascinating for a small town girl like myself.

At dinner, I look forward to relaxing with a nice glass of wine but before my first swallow, I excuse myself to use the bathroom and find that my period has started early. Of course it has! I find it rather important to mention here that I am wearing white pants, with thongs no less; and did I mention that I have no luggage! After finding that the restaurant does not have one of those sparkling silver boxes containing feminine products and/or other adult novelties I did what all woman in this situation do-improvise! When I get back to the table I consider drinking the entire bottle of wine but somehow managed to refrain from doing so. Oh, what a day! I wonder what tomorrow will bring. My luggage????

Here is my Mastercard Moral of the Story

Plane Ticket: $203
Parking: $44
Train fare: $7
Subway fare: $2.50
Bus fare: $1.25
Cab fare: $27
Surviving the Transportation Tango and the Yellow Subway Zone in Philadelphia: Priceless