Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The Door to Home

I pulled into my driveway from a trip to the grocery store, this was a couple of weeks ago. I pulled the car in the garage, turned off NPR and headed into the house. As I was walking up to the back door I realized there was a little person standing there, ready to greet me. Liam stood there quietly and expectantly until our eyes met.
At that moment of our eyes meeting, his face exploded into a huge grin. He jumped up and down and hollered "Mom! Mom!" over and over. I opened the door and grabbed him up into a hug. He told me a few things about what went on in the house while I was gone, though I understood none of it.
After that brief pow wow on the back porch, I put him down. He looked up at me and smiled again and he simply turned away, pushed open the back door and walked into the house.

It was such a simple thing. Pushing open the door. But it caught me right in the guts and  a profound thankfulness welled up inside of me.
Here he was. The boy that we had so longed for. The boy that needed a home so badly.
He turned, opened the door, easy as you please- and walked in. Into home.
He knew it. It was plain as day. He was so relaxed and non-chalant about it. He belongs here and he knows it. He's okay with that.
Hell, I am very okay with that.

Oh. You Wanted More Easter Pictures?

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Easter 2011

I could, I suppose, go on and on and get all mushy about how it was Liam's first Easter. I could tell you about all of the food, heck there is even a great story about meat and plastic in there. I could tell you about how it was a delight to watch the kids get covered in mud while playing in  Uh! Mawss*  backyard. I could describe my sister's inability to rein herself in when it comes to buying Eater candy.
I am not going to do any of that,  because I have the perfect picture that sums up Easter in the life and mind of a child.

Liam had not a single clue why he was permitted to have such a glorious morning getting sick on chocolate but he hopes it happens again sometime.

* Uh!! Maws!! is Liam's term for the Grandparents. Every time we pull up in front of their house he gasps and starts signing "Grandma and Grandpa" while saying Maws! maws! repeatedly. 

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Chile Surprise

If tonight's dinner turns out, it will be a Blessed Miracle.
I am making my mother-in-law's recipe for Chile. This is my absolute favorite Chile recipe as there are no green peppers, but instead you get to add celery and worcestershire sauce. It's simple, easy, cheap and it's delicious.
However, I THOUGHT I was out of worcestershire sauce. So I kind of compensated for that with a few other things.
Then I FOUND the darn worcestershire sauce.
So I added some.
Then I forgot I added it and added some more.
So I had to add a bit more tomato sauce.
And I MAY have been a little heavy handed with the chili powder.
So who knows.
I managed to potentially mess up the easiest recipe in my arsenal.

Sadly,  it's not the first time....

One time I accidentally used soy sauce instead of the w. sauce. We called that one Shanghai Chile and it was surprisingly edible and even--I would dare say--enjoyable.

Maybe I can distract the crew from the doctored up, corrected and re-corrected chile with some corn bread muffins. Man, I hope I get those right.

There it is, bubbling away and turning into God Knows What. 

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Red Letter Day

Anyone remember THIS?

Well, today he did that AND some.
First:  Notice anything peculiar?
No? Let's look again.

How about from over here?
I am not sure how he accomplishes these things. And let me say that this was neither the first or last "incident" of the day.
Today this child has:

  1. Been caught under my bed and required emergency extraction which, for some reason that is beyond me now, required ME getting partially under the bed as well, while clad in only a t-shirt and panties.
  2.  Been trapped between my antique trunk and my bedroom wall.
  3. He has been trapped as pictured above.
  4. While sitting on the bathroom floor, he leaned over in excitement for something and bunged his forehead on the toilet bowl (ew.), and the recoil sent him sprawling back to bung the back of his head on the bath tub.
  5. He has learned that he, in fact, can not read and walk and talk to mama at the same time. That was another blow to the cranium.
  6. And whilst indulging in some forbidden bed jumping,  a jump went awry and he ended up on his sister's bedroom floor with a floor fan on top of him. This particular incident shook the entire house and made me think he might be possibly, seriously injured when I got to him. He was fine. I, however, was not, as I had to make the full house and stairway dash with a gut full of bean burritos and my heart in my throat. 
His Grandfather has generously offered to buy the fella a bike helmet. That's not a bad idea methinks.

Friday, April 15, 2011

The Reluctant Scholar

Do I need to say anything else? And for the record this is her "self pity" face. You should see her "open rebellion" face.

Just Things

  • Liam had finally learned enough signs to put together two and three word sentences!
  • I took Ev to get her haircut and THIS girl did a great job. The last girl- not so much. The last girl took her bangs way too far out to the edge and now we have to grow out these little pieces on each side of her face. I am very frustrated by this as I make sure to take her to an expensive  reputable Salon. 
  • On a lark I did a full face of make-up on Ev today. The way she looks with make-up on really makes me afraid for her teen years and beyond. Can we say gorgeous?
  • Liam comes running and starts dancing every time I put The Cure on. Needless to say we have been listening to alot of The Cure lately.
  • The loss of my Aunt Ellen has left me feeling bereft and rudderless. Her funeral is Tuesday and we will travel to Indiana to say goodbye. 
  • I really need to get to the grocery store but I just can't stomach it right now. 
  • I worry constantly about my parents these days. 
  • My Dad is in terrible pain right now with his knees and he's waiting for his surgery date to get bilateral knee replacements. That's right- he's getting both done at once. I am not sure if I should stand back in awe or if I think he's gone completely round the bend. 
  • My Mom has lost her brother David and a very precious Aunt- within six months. I know that her heart is bruised and her souls is tattered. And I want to help but I feel so helpless.
  • My Mom has terrible health issues and she is not the best about taking care of herself or being assertive with her Doctors. I know that she could have a better quality of life if she would only consider herself as important as we do. This is a touchy situation and she will probably get mad about me saying something about it on the blog. Sorry Mom. 
  • Ev is utterly and completely fascinated with the soundtrack to the episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer that was a musical. I may have to risk letting her watch that episode just so she can stop asking me questions about it on an endless reel. 
And finally I overheard the following ridiculousness yesterday:

E: I am a Slayer! A Vampire Slayer!
(various running about and additional proclamations)
E: Liam! Liam! You rotten thing!!! You rotten vampire!! You killed my father, prepare....prepare....Prepare to be sat on!!!!!!
L: Oomph! Mom!!! Mama!!! Mom!
E: Hush you rotten thing!

And that friends is what happens when your six year old meshes vampire hunting and The Princess Bride. I think I get parent of the Year for that.

Thursday, April 14, 2011


Last night around ten p.m., my Aunt Ellen passed away.
She was not just a good woman, she was the best person I have ever met. She was gentle and kind and all good things. She was generous and soft. In all my life I never saw her look nothing than her best, I never saw her without her jewelry and her make-up. I never heard her raise her voice to anyone, not for any reason, not anger or frustration.
She never smoked a day in her life but lung cancer is what took her away from us.
I never had the chance to spend as much time with her as I wanted. She has been a beacon to me my whole life.
I loved her dearly.
I will miss her.

I have seen that woman take the shoes off of her feet to give to someone whom she thought needed them more than herself. I have seen her take the jewelry off of her body and hand it over to a family member because they admired it.

Please believe that she was good through and through and this world will be less because she is gone.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Oh How I love These Children

The boy. All rounded edges and soft angles. He always smells vaguely sweet, like pancakes with real maple syrup on them. My sensitive one, your tone of voice can lay him flat out in agony if you're not careful. He always takes a chubby hand and gently pat pat pats your back when he hugs you. His cheeks get bright red in any kind of heat and his ears get hot to the touch. He doesn't really like pizza or ice cream but he'll manage in a tight spot. He is forever watching his Papa and imitating him. He both loves and fears the cat. He is always walking around with a bruise or two on his forehead. He loves riding in the car and he sits in the back singing and humming and holding an entire discourse on the things he is seeing. He is all boy, he loves tools and cars and machines, swords and guns. He is settling in fine and I am so, so glad I got to have a little boy all my own.

The girl. Sharp as a tack. Witty and funny. My compulsive talker. My obsessive planner. The single most stubborn being that God has ever seen fit to put on the planet. She can melt my heart with a single glance. The little mother who worries constantly over Liam but will not hesitate to "instruct" him. Those dark dancing eyes of hers hold so much love and kindness and wisdom. We call her a crackling, sizzling live wire and that's just what she is. SHE smells like hot embers in a fire. She is a perpetual motion machine. She is as deep as the ocean and as wide as a summer sky. She holds her cards close to her chest but when she loves you and lets you in, she will never, ever let you down or betray your trust. This is my first child, the one that made me a mother. My sweet girl.

The two of them together have made me grow so much as a person. They have made it possible for me to dig deep and to keep finding bigger and better versions of myself. We have found solace and family in each other. I want to hold them just where they are, to never let go of them. But I am also desperately curious to see what they can do in this world. I love to grab them up and hold them against me and feel their hearts beating and the breath in their bodies. I love to hold my face against their heads and smell their hair. I love to hear them laughing. I love the way my husband looks when he is with them, holding them or kung fu-ing with them.
How can any one mother stand such love?

Sunday, April 10, 2011


The sun came out today. We are having a much needed day of warmth and sun and fun in the backyard. I can not begin to tell you what a difficult winter this has been- emotionally, physically, spiritually and couple all of those things with a long drug out winter- well, it was rough. I found myself waking up last week to one gray and cold day after the next,  and I would stand at my big window upstairs and I would sigh and wonder if I was ever going to get to feel the renewal that Spring brings.
The kids were going bonkers as well. The cat was walking about listlessly and yowling his displeasure to the world.
So we needed this.
And it happened on Sunday. Our enforced day of resting and just being at home with no schedule, no naps, no school. The kids have been out back now for about 5 hours straight. They even had lunch out there. The bikes are out. The scrapes and bumps that come with rough and tumble outdoor play have already made an appearance. The ice cream truck came by and we sat on the back stoop enjoying a cool treat together.

No matter what tomorrow brings, we had our day in the sun today and we are so much the better for it.

All of these pics were taken with my new camera. A Pentax K-r, the best surprise a picture taking, bloggin mama could ever want. 

Friday, April 8, 2011

It's My Life

Here I sit, in my home, in the suburbs of Cleveland, Ohio. I am a stay at home mom. I homeschool. Both of my children are as far removed from me biologically as you could get, I suppose. I have a cat that is part dog, part cat and part bird and he has 23 toes. My husband is a military man. I have been a nurse. I have lived in New York and Alaska. I have travelled to China. 
This life I am living? It in no way resembles what I thought my life would be like years ago. If you had asked me in my twenties to describe my life, I would have gone on and on about my nursing career. I would never have even mentioned Alaska as a viable option for living. I would have told you that my kids would go to school and day care and all of that. 
I would have never, ever been able to guess where life was going to lead me.

In this life I have, my days are measured out and framed in by the needs of a boy and a girl.

This is Liam watching Ev chop strawberries while signing that he is hungry.

I spend long moments of each day just looking at these two children and getting lost in their faces.

I spend long hours just trying to make school fun and interesting and keep Ev challenged.

Every single thing I do is interrupted by the "Watch me Momma's" .

I get to listen to the sound of little giggles. I get to remember how the sun on my face made me feel when I was young. 

I get offered sweet, heartfelt gifts of cheerios and the like. 

I get to dress these two up and take them out in the world and walk proudly with them at my side. 

And some days it all feels like too much. Too  many meals need preparing. Too many messes need cleaning. There are lesson plans and baths, fights to settle. I DO work, long 12 to 14 hour days where I move from one activity to the next and I get tired. Oh so tired. I get sick. I get down.
But I would not change this life for the world. 
I love my life. 
I love my children.
 I love my husband. 
This life is a good life. No. A great life. 
I never really do anything that the world would consider important. I'm okay with that. What I do and how I spend my days seems really important to two small people.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011


  • I decided to do a "Kitchen Week" with Ev in school. It's a way to reward her and keep schooling at the same time. You see, she adores the kitchen. I have never seen her so excited. 
  • I have added in a bunch of science experiments with her week of Kitchen Witchery and she is starting to "feel just like a real Scientist".
  • Everyday we end Kitchen Week with a cheer, it goes like this "I am a Kitchen Witch!! I am a Scientist!! I am a girl!! I can do anything!!!"
  • She is cooking at least one of the meals each day this week. Last night she cooked dinner and it was really, pretty good. My favorite part was her face splitting smile of pride and accomplishment.
  • Liam had been testing Papa lately. It's kind of fun being the one not getting pushed to the limit. 
  • I have the house decorated for Easter but, it's one of my least favorite holidays and my decoration stash reflects that fact. As Ev put it, "Well that's ok but...don't you have anything else?"
  • I am recovering from Strep. Man, that's a nasty bug. I feel like I got hit by a truck and kind of like a Victorian Lady with some sort of exhausting, lingering illness.
  • The new season of Dr. Who is starting soon and I can not wait. Also I know that Neil Gaiman was involved in an episode and that is gonna rock this geek's world!
  • Special K is just hours or minutes away form her referral! She has waited too damn long to see the face of her daughter. So stop by and send her some love. Special K and her Baby!
  • I am hauling my tired, sick self out for a hair cut and dinner with Jodi tonight. I desperately need both the haircut and the time with my friend.
  • Leslie did the laundry this week. That was sooooo nice. I didn't realize how much I stress and fret over that mountain of crap in the basement.
  • My cousin, Sarah, is graduating from college. She is Magna Cum Laude ! In Nursing!! I am so very proud of her. 
  • Liam has learned his right from his left. I think that's pretty cool.
  • I am off to lay across the couch to recover form today's round of cooking, kitchen math and science experiments.
And now for some random pictures......

These shoes are at Target right now. Ev NEEEDS them. (She's a size 8 Grandma- hint hint)

 I think I have posted this one before, but he's so damn cute. I love that Coastie of mine.

 I was trying to get a pic of Liam in full on laugh mode. Almost got it.....
And the most handsome-est, kitty in the Universe.

Monday, April 4, 2011


Puh. Mop. Oh. Lee.
You may know it as, Monopoly.
The littlest mogul calls it Pamopoly. It's so cute and we haven't corrected her because she so rarely gets things wrong.
She got Pamopoly Jr. for Christmas and it has taken us this long to break it out because I hate that game with a white hot passion. It's too much like real life for me- always broke and loosing. Then you have to add in the fact that whoever is winning turns into a loathsome gloating pig Slum Lord and...well... Let's just say, I usually steer clear of the adult version of the game.
The thing is, playing Ev is not really a walk in the park. She is a shark! A shark I tell ya! And she does gloat, but in an innocent way, like she is just so darned pleased that she keeps getting what she wants and she has like 12 pamopolies on the board and oh! Mama! You only have one. (giggle). And she HAS to be the Banker. And when you land on her properties she holds out that tiny hand, palm up and yells, " Hit Me!! Three Dollars!!!" and she smiles and gleefully adds it to her growing pile of money. And on your next move you have to go to lunch. And she NEVER has to go to lunch. She is a mogul, a force to be reckoned with. She has won every single game so far.
But you can't REALLY get mad at her.
She's not being deliberately rude and gloating.
She just Loves! It! So! Much!!!
It's the culmination of all things wonderful to her. Money and dice. Owning things and counting them. Making more money. Fondling the money. Arranging booths. Getting free ticket booths.
Plus it's something that takes place when Liam is napping or in bed so it's just her and us and all of those wonderful bits of paper and blocks of properties-sheer bliss to this particular six year old.

And the cat? Well, he just likes watching.