Saturday, December 08, 2007

First Haircuts

The time finally came for two scraggly children to go get hair cuts. Ruth almost made it to her third birthday, and I'm sorry I didn't get a good "before picture" to show how long her hair was. The one my mom took shows a very nervous Ruthie watching Mac undergo his ordeal. Her hair had been up on top of her head in a bun which is why it looks so rough. That picture makes me laugh. Her hair was pretty, but it was just getting too long, and she would cry every time we combed it out after a bath, so I was fed up with it. Mac's was cute, in a boyish scruffy way, but it was time for him too. He pitched quite the fit, and I guess now the hairdresser is second only to the doctor's office for torture level for Mackiedoo.

Check out my Slide Show!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Check out my Slide Show!

Tales of a 1-year old

Apparently November has been "no blogging for Merrill month." Oh well. There ARE better things to be doing with my time. Like taking a shower. Hmmmm. Or taking a nap. Hmmmm. Sad that there must be a trade off in life nowadays. Stinky Merrill, or Blogging Merrill. Grumpy Merrill, or Blogging Merrill. Ok, that will do- I always find it odd to refer to myself in the third person.

The main event this month was Mac's first birthday. It was fun watching him destroy his first cupcake, and he did seem to enjoy the presents and of course, having family and friends there to let him know something exciting was going on.

The day after Mac's party we had a real scare when he somehow opened a bottle of nail polish and brushed it in his eye and mouth. Jay flushed it out while I was on the phone with Poison Control, and he suffered no ill-effects. Really, by the grace of God. We could look back and see his hand in the way it all played out. The rest of the day was just sweet family time, as something like this puts things into perspective. Even though it might not sound like a big deal, it really was in the midst of it. Every day I take things for granted, like my children's health, eyesight, ability to walk, even their little lives. So this day we put on more cabinet locks and humbly thanked the Lord for his hand in our lives.

Here are some fun facts about little Mac:
Weight: 18 lbs 5 oz
Hair: light brown and scruffy
Favorite thing to do: pull out all the wipes from the wipes container and distribute them around the room, then put one in mouth and carry it around like a puppy
Other favorite things to do: growl and wrestle, and pat people on the back, dance, romp with sister and Daddy
Teeth: he's getting 4 front uppers all at once, he likes to get them brushed too (he has three front bottom teeth already)
Walking: He is starting to branch out from the couch and wall more and more, but usually like he's running, and then he falls
Words: I swear he has said, Daisy (my parents black lab) and bootie (as in shake your)-this is learned from big sis; of course he says mama
Favorite foods: black eyed peas, deli turkey slices, cheese, ravioli
Hates: going to the doctor, what a fit!
Favorite toys: dino blankie to sleep with, and he loves his new Tonka walk-behind truck, and my cell phone
Bathtime fun: sitting under the faucet, trying to catch the water

Mac is such a delightful baby boy. I literally kiss his face off every day, and I love his huge grin and playful spirit. He is such a gift to our family.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

November is...

National Novel Writing Month: go to their website all ye scribblers and pound out a novel in thirty days.

Hot in South Alabama: today's high, 80 degrees. It makes me ill to hear my air conditioner come on. Good thing I didn't put my tank tops away.

My son's birth month! I simply cannot believe he will be a year old this month. This is also my nephew Alee's birthday month. He was born a day before Mac. (In case you didn't notice, I now have a niece named Alli and a nephew named Alee. Three cheers for gender neutral names.)

My parent's anniversary month. Way to go parentals. I can never remember how many years. I think 35 years.

My blogiversary. Two years and still typee -type- typing. I'd like to thank God, and Dell.....

Thanksgiving! One of my favorite holidays. I love turkey and stuffing and cranberries and green bean casserole. I think I could eat my body weight in green bean casserole. Jay likes green bean casserole. This is a good thing.

Time change I think it might be this weekend. I don't like the Daylight savings thing now that I have kids. It is sort of like jet lag, but you don't go anywhere.

Noviembre in espanol.

Eleventh month in the year.

Christmas Season at Wal-Mart. Hark the Herald, baby! Thanksgiving is definitely November's ugly step-child in the retail world.

The End of Hurricane Season! This is only sad for the Weather Channel people. I think they go into a "tropical depression" until June comes back around. What will they do without the chance to chase after a tropical storm in their Gore-Tex windbreakers with the wind and rain thrashing them around as they holler into their huge microphones and try to hold their hoods on with great effort but little effect? What will Jim Cantore do if he's not able to stand on a beach and talk with great intensity about the cone of uncertainty and storm surge and whether or not you have batteries and drinking water? I for one am glad to see the season go, and thank the Lord he spared the Gulf Coast for another year.

Did I miss anything?

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Reformation Day

sola scriptura
sola fide
sola gratia
solus Christus
soli Deo gloria

Scripture alone
faith alone
grace alone
Christ alone
glory to God alone

Tuesday, October 30, 2007


October has been a good month for us. I always mean to keep up better, but sometimes I get tired of just posting what we do. I like more variety, but then sometimes my creativity is staunched by, say, exhaustion, excessive vomiting, or laziness. I do want to mention some of the exciting things that have happened this month.

1. My niece Alli was born on October 12. She is a precious thing, and I am so glad to welcome her to our world. She weighed 6 lbs. 7 oz. and was 19 inches long. Alli has lots of dark hair, and I can't wait to hold her again. (We've been fighting colds and didn't want to get her sick.) Congrats to Greg, Kelli, and Jackson!

2. Our cat, Wally reappeared after a month and a half of being dead. Really, I thought he was a goner. I was away the night he came back and when Jay told me I was completely astounded. I just kept saying, "no way." Well, it was a miracle in my book. Ruthie was so excited.

3. That same night we had two weed-eaters, a blower, and a circular saw stolen from our garage. The Lord gives and the Lord takes away. So much for lawn maintenance. We have learned to keep our garage door shut. We had several things stolen at our old house, so this is not new, but we were sort of naive in thinking we were in a "safer" neighborhood. (Not that that was an issue in our decision to move at all.)

4. The day at the beach. It was wonderful. It brought back all those lazy carefree days of my youth that I spent on Navarre Beach. It brought back the day Jay proposed on the beach, and the times my brother and I drove down to the beach when a hurricane was coming to see what it was like. I have grown up on some beach or other, so I feel the pull, and I love " going down to the sea again." This day the butterflies were flying all about, stopping by on their way down to South America. They were delightful, especially for Ruthie and my niece Annabelle, who loves butterflies.

5. The trip to Meridian, MS. My aunt, uncle, and two cousins live in Meridian, and it is one of the dearest places to my heart because I spent time there every summer with Nanny, who passed away several years ago. I wrote about it the last time we went which was March of 2006 (I think). It was a fun, nostalgic trip including a fall festival (where I won brownies in the cake walk), a ride on the famous 1890s carousel, a visit to the train station (where my grandfather has a brick to commemorate his time working for the railroad), my cousin's daughter's soccer game, eating out at the Fish Camp on the Chunky River, and much good conversation and laughter with my family. My brother and I also found the "Monkey Tree" where we used to climb with my cousin Lang. It is a huge wisteria, the biggest one I have ever seen, growing up and around two large magnolias. We would ride our bikes there, after stopping by the corner gas station to drink an IBC root beer on the curb, and climb all around in the twisty vine.

Conversation with a 30 Year Old Husband

I think I was talking about how much I love quiche, and how it would be really good for breakfast sometime. Jay does not like quiche. Thus began one of our strangest, almost fighting conversations about a food item made of eggs and cheese and flaky crust; and maybe in a vegetarian version broccoli, or in a meat-eater version, bacon or crabmeat. Simple elements, but they combine and threaten to tear families apart.

(As best I can remember it, the conversation went as follows)

J: I can't stand quiche.
M: I don't see how you don't like it, it's made of eggs, cheese and it could be bacon. You love those things. Especially bacon.
J: I just don't like it. The consistency is weird.
M: I don't think you've ever had a good quiche, like this one I love at the Cafe that has crabmeat in it. Don't you think you'd like that?
J: I doubt it. Quiche is not good.
M: Well, maybe I'll take you there and you can try it.
J: I don't like quiche. I had quiche at the Blue Bistro and I didn't like it. You would probably consider it a really good quiche.
M: I don't understand why you don't like it!
J: I just don't. I've never liked it, and I don't want to try it again.
M: I love quiche. I think you are ridiculous.
J: No, and why are we arguing about this. You're getting mad.
M: I am not mad, I'm just frustrated because you hate quiche. And I love it. I want to make quiche sometime but I know you won't eat it and that frustrates me.
J: Well, I just don't like quiche.
M: (internal groan) Arrrrgggh.

By this time we were astounded at the ridiculosity of what we just talked about for 5 minutes. And the word "quiche" was starting to sound really funny. Like if you say the word "fork" over and over and over, it becomes strange, perhaps the strangest word you've ever heard and you end up in laughter over the English language and it's peculiarities.

We had quiche one night soon after this conversation, only because we had some frozen appetizer quiches left over from a baby shower and we had no other good option for dinner. And Jay tried them. And he didn't like them. (Sam I am?)

Monday, October 08, 2007

Check out my Slide Show!

Happy Birthday, Jen!

The stomach virus of death descended upon our family last week, so it was especially good to get out of the house and celebrate my friend Jen's birthday on Saturday. We went to the Cornfield Maze at the Alabama/Mississippi line. Ruthie was very excited about being in Mississippi because she knows it on the map. I think when we told her we crossed into Miss. she thought she would see the little shape of the state like on the map placemat. It was a beautiful evening to be out in the country, and I loved the wildflowers and the hay-ride, things that made me FEEL like it was fall, even though the weather says otherwise. Ruthie loved the cow train, which she rode with me and Jen, and I was again struck by how much Ruth has grown up- sitting there so calmly by herself, just enjoying herself. Jen has grown up alot too...I remember when she was just 20! (har har har) We never thought we'd be 29, but time goes by so quickly. So happy 29th, Jen, and I hope this year coming up holds wonderful things for you!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Waiting room

I wrote this last summer and I don't feel like it's finished, but I'll put it here for variety. It's sort of a vulnerable thing to toss certain things I write into blogdom, but let's be done with insecurity and fear, shall we?

The asphalt radiates heat like my crusty toaster oven. It shimmers in waves, suspended over the crumbly surface and making my feet cringe. My flip flops won't melt. At least I hope not. They are black and they have seen the heat of many a Southern summer. Maybe I should start running in order to reach the door more quickly. After all, I run when it's pouring rain. Wet precipitation from the sky as opposed to nearly invisible heat rising upward in torrents and downward from the punishing sun. Either one will make you wet. Some people carry umbrellas for both. Maybe I'll start carrying a parasol like they did in olden times. Just big enough to shelter the delicate skin from unwanted rays, and just lacy enough to be a decorative indulgence.

The door is heavy, the handle slightly greasy and the metal worn in the spot where thousands of hands have grasped. Inside I am greeted by a wave of coolness. It is not an altogether refreshing coolness because it is a waiting room. The waiting greets me just as the cold does. One is merely a skin feeling, the other reaches another level inside me.

First, the ritual. Pen to paper. Who am I? What am I waiting for? Can the pen really answer for me? Do I really know the answer? I shift from one foot to another. That piece of my hair has come undone. I put it back in it's place. Maybe it belongs somewhere else. I feel the eyes of others who are already waiting. I am a new face, a diversion from the droning uselessness of the television in the corner. Maybe they wonder why I've come. Not for long. Their eyes are drawn upward to the ceiling tiles or downward to the worn carpet.

I pick the perfect chair. Not next to anyone, not near the door. Middle ground. Once you sit down the waiting grips you. It holds you captive, and you can only cross your legs and keep both eyes busy as the hand creeps around the clock. I am aware that the chair is plastic. It is not really comfortable, merely functional, lined up next to the others. The mauve hue matches one of the flecks in the carpet. I wonder who designs these rooms. The one who designed this one liked Monet. I would pretend I was in an art gallery if not for the waiting and the shabbiness of the frames.

I instantly take inventory of the people in the room as I shift in my seat. The shifting is important. Maybe I feel like I am progressing, going somewhere. The man across from me hasn't shifted lately I don't think. He has a small black earring in his left ear and a scraggly mustache that does not make much of a statement because it is so small. Or maybe his face is big. He is a big person and his eyes are fastened to the rerun in the corner. This could be his favorite show and he feels very fortunate that the television is set to this channel. His beady eyes move to the couple checking in. This big man is not here for himself. He is here for someone else. But he is waiting.

A white-haired man comes in the door. He is wearing white shorts, suspenders, a t-shirt and a white hat. He has tattoos on his arms and I think he is a Navy veteran. His nose is large, but his features are pleasant, though tired. He has seen many things, but now he too is waiting. He wants to talk to someone. He has stories to tell but maybe no one will care. His tattoos will be his only statement and they are green and faded. He sits stiffly in the mauve chair. Perhaps he'd rather be sitting in his lawn chair sipping a soda, but he is here in the waiting room just below the noisy tv.

The nurse calls out a name. If you see whose name has been called you can see a change in their face. First it is recognition. It is MY name being called. I am Taylor. I am Hempstead. I am Winter. Something clicks. The waiting is almost over. Legs come unstuck from the plastic chair with a sucking sound. They straighten their shorts, and head toward the hallway where the nurse is standing. No one looks back. At least not that I've seen. If they do it is to see if they've left their umbrella. You never know, it might rain today.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

They say pictures are worth a thousand words, but I really like words, so I think I disagree with that statement. Words are powerful. I wanted to say a little about my children and what they're up to lately. As you can see in the pictures, Mac(10 months old) is pulling up and getting ready to walk. He loves electrical outlets and the fireplace so now he is learning what "no" means. He is a speedy crawler and loves following his sister around and seeing what she will do. If he wakes up from his nap before she does he crawls to her door and makes little frustrated noises because the door is shut. When we go in to wake her up he gets so excited and tries to dive out of my arms to attack her (which she is usually too grumpy to appreciate.) She makes him laugh more than anyone, and she talks to him just like she talks to us. I love love love watching their little relationship develop. They are already friends. Another thing I love that Mac does is get a toy and carry it around in his mouth, like a puppy. You can see how cute it is in the cookie picture.

Ruthie is such a little girl. She will only wear dresses, and has major issues when I try to convince her that a skirt and shirt is really just like a dress. She doesn't buy it. She talks all day long, and the conversations we have are priceless. She has a very lively imagination, and has fun cooking imaginary food, and talking on the phone with her imaginary friend. She still loves reading and amazes me with her attention span and ability to remember what we read about. Ruth loves our new house and one of her favorite things is playing in the backyard when Jay comes home from work. She also likes running in circles around the island in the kitchen. She runs and says, "I'm running in circles, I'm running in circles...etc." I found her a one-piece, bright green jammie with feet, and she calls it her "green bean" and is so proud because she can put it on all by herself. I'll have to get a picture of her in it.

We're settled in our house now, and I am loving it. It is very bright and snug. Some of my favorite features are: the big closets, the indoor laundry room, the dishwasher, and the garage. We have a toad that lives around the front door and eats bugs for us. We named him Hoppy Toad. I took his picture today as he was feasting on LoveBugs. He's very expressive as you will see. One very sad loss from the move is our cat, Wally. He ran away a couple weeks ago, and I'm hoping he found a new family that will take care of him. He was the sweetest cat I've ever known and we've had him since shortly after Jay and I were married.

Finally, I will put some pictures up of the baby shower we had this morning for my sis-in-law Kelli. She is having a little girl in October so we got together to shower her with what babies need the most besides love and milk...diapers. It was a really fun time with some strong coffee and some strong cake, both of which have kept me from napping and allowed me to sit wide-eyed at the computer, getting some things done. Congrats Kelli! oh and Greg too.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Saturday, September 08, 2007


This past week I drove up to Birmingham, AL to see two of my roommates from college. It was my longest trip yet with two kids and let's just say I learned alot. (Like how many things you can do while driving, how long my 9 month old son will sleep on long journeys i.e. not long; and how long my 9 month old will cry while on long journeys i.e. a long time.) I was so glad to see Faith and Karenina, and Faith's little boy, Duncan. We remembered the fun times and tried to catch up on current times. Faith lives in California, so this was my only chance to see her for a while. Karenina lives in Birmingham, so I hope to be able to go up without kids and be able to catch up better. It is hard to do so with two kids in tow. Plus, Ruthie came down with some sort of "fever virus" and was miserable for several days. One happy thought, these girls will be sharing eternity with me. I know this for certain, and I think it will be time enough to sit and talk and laugh and share our hearts. But, I'll keep trying here too.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

say what?

there once was a delinquent blogger
and everyone threatened to flog her
she said gimme a break
I just want a steak
And an unhurried game of soccer

Tuesday, July 17, 2007


Please note the new link to Beau Powers' blog. You can see his lovely wife and three sweet children. They have moved back to the Continental US after being in Hawaii with the Coast Guard. Welcome back Powers family!

In other news, our house is under contract, we have a contract on a new house, and my husband is serving with the Coast Guard in Cuba. He was supposed to be back in time for the closings, but that has changed. This equals a new level of craziness for me. I never, ever knew there was so much involved with moving. Growing up the Navy always moved us, which, let me tell you, is the way to do it. My learning curve is straight up. And my only prayer lately is, "Oh God, help me." He says "Be anxious for nothing," and I say, "Really? I think you're going to have to help me on that one. That is tough."

Friday, June 29, 2007

conversations with a 2 1/2 year old

Ruthie in the tub, pouring water from a little cup into a bigger cup. Jay and I watching.

R: It's juice, Mommy!
M: Neat, Rootie- is it orange juice or apple juice?
R: It's penguin juice. (very matter-of-factly)
M: Oooh. Wow.
J:Does it have feathers in it?
J: Does it have beaks in it?
R: No, just feathers.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

It's a miracle!


After:Thank you, Morgan!

Listen up all you sleepy housewives who wear makeup once a week, you bleary eyed working women wearing year old crusty mascara! Morgan Spivey of Mary Kay Cosmetics gave me a new face, and even plucked my eyebrows! She will help you!

Tuesday, June 26, 2007


The couple approached the huge, pulsating amphitheatre that reeked of beer and sweat. One had misgivings, not being a huge Poison fan, but having enjoyed several of their songs from the late 80s and early 90s. She was expecting some scary die-hard fans all glammed out and ready to rock their heads off. She was expecting some people like herself, just looking to hear some of their favorite songs, ready to have fun. She was expecting her husband to let loose, wave his arms, and scream his head off. Not really, but that's what happened. The smoke was thick as they entered, and they picked their way through the crowd; people dressed to impress, including the bleached blond with the thigh high boots and jean shorts. The shirtless men all slicky with sweat had turned out, and they preyed on the women with their eyes, throwing back their adult beverages with great aplomb. You could see the anticipation in the eyes of the stringy long haired rockers with black shirts and ripped jeans. The increasingly entertained couple walked on. Standing outside the restrooms she spotted one of her high school coaches. He nodded, she nodded and smiled, and he kept walking, pressed into the mass of bodies and unable or unwilling to come over and strike up a conversation. Hilarious, she thought. The couple kept weaving through the crowd, finally finding their section, when one of their names was called. He turned and saw two people from his hometown, now married, calling his name. They are a similar couple, half of the couple knows all the words from the old Poison albums, and half knows some. They sat and chatted and the concert began. It was high energy and the couple was swept up into the excitement of the crowd and the amazing displays of wailing guitar talent, relentless drum talent, lights, flames and smoke on the stage. They watched the girl in front of them who wore pink knee high striped socks and danced as if the world was coming to an end. They sang every word to the songs they knew and generally acted as people do at a great rock concert. Fallen Angel, Something to Believe In, I Won't Forget You, Look What the Cat Dragged In, some great covers, and then the moment she'd been waiting for, Every Rose Has it's Thorn, one of her favorite songs. If only she'd had a lighter. The couple walked out of the amphitheatre behind the big woman with the pink mini-shorts that read poison across the butt, trying to ignore her wedgie, and the fact that her shorts were two-sizes too small. Next year the couple will know how to dress.

Monday, June 18, 2007

sell this house

Well, it is official. Our house is on the market. I'm not going to wax sentimental about this sweet house, I just know it is time to move, and I hope we can sell quickly and profitably. I will wax sentimental later, I know, because so much life has been lived in this house, but not now. As for the next house, we haven't found it yet, but we're looking.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

fridge poetry

Yesterday I stripped my fridge of all it's kitschy decor: magnets, Ruthie's artwork, photos, clippings, comics etc. It is a heavy bag of stuff. Now my fridge looks naked and very white. One of my favorite things on my fridge was my fridge poetry-hundreds of words that you can put together to say things. I can get lost standing in front of the fridge rearranging, hunting, pondering and creating for longer time periods than I am willing to admit. I grew attached to some of our favorites so I thought I'd write them down and share them:

those shadows could chain them
leave their bitter road
smooth the frantic storm
with the light

rock you delirious goddess moon

your love is what I ache for

when tv is out tell a thousand lies

eat chocolate death symphony

heave after smelling his ugly facial sweat

whispering weak in love language

together think about blue blood show swim
after asking the purple sky

she is a true easy friend

crying boy wants mothers breast juice
she wants sleep
aaaah...milk drool

we sing away for sweet her

a retreat in winter please

(Those last three were from my newborn days with Mac. There were many months when Ruthie had to have us sing "Away in a Manger" every night at bedtime.)

Monday, June 04, 2007

keep it frigerated

I pulled up beside this refrigerator today. The sign on it says, "Take Me."

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

what's goin on in the kitchen? but I don't know what's cookin

Tonight I made Fish Tacos. They turned out to be very beautiful and tasty as well. This is the second recipe I've taken from Martha Stewart, and this one is my favorite. Her recipes tend to have obscure ingredients and are often pretty involved as far as preparation and cooking time, but this one was pretty easy.

I guess it's time for an update in general, so here goes.
-The hydrangeas are blooming. They are my favorite flower and I have loved the bush in my yard that so generously produces the gorgeous blossoms. I cut several to put around the house. Fresh flowers in my house make me happy.
-Last week I woke up one morning, looked out on my back deck and saw a mother cat feeding her four little kittens. They are adorable, and they played for several days on the deck, but I haven't seen them this week.
-Memorial Day weekend was spent at my parent's house in NW Florida. Saturday I got a day off from the kids and worked at my brother's nursery. (Ironic however, one nursery to another nursery.) It was fun to be working out in the sun, sweating and getting my hands dirty. It was also good to be around Alan. It brought back lots of fun memories of the two summers I worked for him, doing landscaping and lawn maintenance. Sunday was my niece Annabelle's 2nd birthday party. There was much eating and swimming and general felicity. Monday our friends Tim and Kelly Garland came over with their two boys and we swam and talked and played croquet and watched our children play together. It was a very good day.
-These last two days have been like a hangover for me. It is always tough coming home from out of town because the kids are crankified and exhausted, and I usually am one or both of the same. Plus it goes back to me taking care of the kids as opposed to six potential people available throughout the day. I guess it's always a readjustment.
-Potty training update-we were doing so well, but now we're having some relapses. Plus, Ruthie just refuses to do #2 in the potty. I'm reaching desperation on that front. Overall, the whole process has been easier than expected.
-Cute Ruthie story/facts: we were sitting out on the back step and I was talking on the phone when an ant crawled up on my toe. Ruthie said "Don't bite my mommy, bug!"
Ruth is into Dora the Explorer. She walks around saying "Swiper, no swiping! Swiper, no swiping!" And she asks me where some of the characters are randomly throughout the day.
Her favorite songs for us to sing lately are the Micah 6:8 song which we call the "Humble Song" and "Are You Sleeping, Bro John." She made up a song last night. It is called the Bum Bum Song and she gets hysterical when she sings it. So silly. I love it.
-Cute Mac facts: He is adorable and completely precious and kissable. When I lay him down to sleep and then return to get him up later, he is usually in the exact opposite position from where I laid him down. He loves to sleep with a silky blanky on his face. He is 6 1/2 months old! We call him Mackiedoo. When people ask Ruthie what her brother's name is, that's what she tells them. Mac is rolling around, and almost able to sit up by himself. He is at that stage where he gets so frustrated by his lack of mobility and cries and cries because he wants to be on the go.
-Jay spent two hours in line today renewing our car tags. He is my hero.
-I am ready for bed. Night Night.
(This is long, and I had it broken up into paragraphs, but when I post it it squishes it all together into the mother of all paragraphs. Sorry.)

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

potty training 2007

I finally decided to bite the bullet and start really potty training Ruthie this week. She has been going on the potty about once a day, and getting a treat for it, and I would keep asking if she needed to go and telling her that when she feels that feeling to let me know so we can go to the potty. She has started really not wanting to be still for diaper changes, and that is what made me decide on Monday that this is the week. Half-way training has been good to build up to this week, but it had to become an all-out assault. So far we are 0-3 for #2, but doing well with #1. She went on the floor twice Monday(I am so thankful for hardwood floors), and not at all yesterday or today. She's 3-0 for #1 today. She has figured out that peepee running down her legs is no fun, and she doesn't want to mess up her big-girl panties. I'm very proud of her, and I'm liking the money we're saving on diapers.

Ruthie is such a big girl, more and more. She is talking up a storm, becoming very opinionated and wanting to do things all by herself. She can express herself, and is really growing up in so many ways, which is bittersweet for me and Jay.

Yesterday Jay was cleaning out our nasty outdoor garbage can and Ruthie and I were playing in Jay's truck cab. (This is one of her favorite pasttimes. She steers, adjusts the radio, puts up the sunshade and takes it down, and we pretend to go get ice-cream. We asked her what flavor she would like and she said, "salami." Yummy.) So as Jay was hosing out the garbage can Ruthie asked "what's Daddy doing?" I said, "He's cleaning out the stinky garbage can." Her reply- "that's sweet of him."

Monday, May 07, 2007

Best Wishes, Hanno and Lauren Vanderbijl!

The sweet couple (sorry they're sideways)
The reception was held at the Eastern Shore Arts Center, and the art was full of flowers.
Mallory, Hanno, Lauren and Me
All Ruthie wanted to eat was strawberries. The wedding was beautiful!

Feliz Cinco de Mayo!

Sorry, I know it's Siete de Mayo now, but, as you can see by my postings, I'm playing catch-up, and alot has been going on lately. These pictures are from our favorite Mexican place, Los Rancheros. We celebrated the Cinco with our friends Jen and Brandon. Brandon has been out of town, well, out of country for many weeks so we were glad to see his smiling face across the table. It was muy divertido to hang out and eat some frijoles y enchiladas y guacamole con amigos. (Note Ruthie's hand stealing my cheese...Hey Ruthie, that's Nacho Cheese! And her appropriate for the occasion sippy cup with Dora the Explorer on it...Vamanos!)

Happy Belated B-day, Dad!

Happy Anniversary to us!

Our anniversary was April 20th, but we celebrated the weekend before. I forced Jay to take me to my favorite restaurant and we had a lovely dinner without the kids! Special thanks to Jen for baby're awesome, Jen!

Five years of marriage, two kids, one cat, and here we are. I love you, Jay!

Thursday, May 03, 2007

oh great ocean

Another thing to add to my list of things I don't want to run into while swimming in the ocean:

sea serpent/sea wormy thing

List includes:
hungry shark
angry manta ray with barbed tail
man-eating jellyfish
man-eating squid
men in speedos (especially hairy men in speedos)
men in thongs (gagging sound)
electric eel

Monday, April 30, 2007

Saturday morning I went to Bellingrath Gardens, a beautiful place to visit in the spring. My friend Jen had invited me to help her out with one of her Girl Scout programs, and I was excited to be a part of it. The theme revolved around the book The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett, which is one of my all time favorite reads. I read it over and over as a child and I keep revisiting it as an adult because of its wonderful characters and themes of regeneration and redemption. Plus I love gardens and growing things.

Jen's program started with a discussion of the book, then a tour of the gardens with a scavenger hunt, lunch, writing haikus, and creating tussie mussies. It was really a well-put-together event, and I enjoyed seeing Jen in action. I hear alot about her programs but I've never actually been to one. Jen is really amazing in her organization, planning and execution of these events. She is really gifted, and I was very impressed! The gardens were wonderful, and it was fun to see the little girls enjoying the different flowers, fountains and all the winding trails as they walked about.

Here are my haikus:

The water is clear

See the fish swimming around

Blue green gray fins shine


Green is the great lawn

Bordered by tall blue foxgloves

Bees hover weightless


Mermaid in the sun

Cascading water droplets

Will you make a wish?

Bellingrath Gardens

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Somedays I am just frustrated. I feel thwarted in most of my pursuits. Some days I just want to do something that I want to do. Today I want to work in my yard. It needs a lot of work and I've been itching to do it, but Mac rarely naps long enough to get it done, and I doubt I could get it done with him out there with me. So these days of frustration build up and then I end up in a full scale pity party.

Right now Ruthie is lying in her bed saying "paint my toes, mommy," and Mac is working up to a full scale wail.

Now Mac is asleep and Ruthie is wailing. She has started fighting naptime. This is not a good development.

Yesterday I went grocery shopping and usually when I go into a store people admire or come see Mac and comment on how cute he is or something along those lines. Yesterday this sweet old couple, probably in their 80s came to see him and ended up telling me how they had three sons who died from various causes. It was sort of awkward, and very sad, and they were saying to enjoy the children while I have them. I mean, what do you say to people? I'm sorry. I'm sorry. Wow. They were really a sweet couple, and I took what they said to heart. So then TODAY I'm at Lowe's buying a few plants and this lady in her 50s says, "Look, Mom, (to her mom) a baby boy." Then she turned to me and said, "I lost my grandson three days ago." She proceeded to tell me how he had fallen into the pool when no one was around, and basically drowned. This may sound horrible, but I was annoyed. I am sorry for her pain, which I'm sure is consuming, but I just don't think you tell complete strangers things like that. What a horrible story to tell a complete stranger with two children(unless it is meant as a warning to watch out for pools). It is an unthinkable tragedy, and I'm not sure what she wanted me to say. So two days in a row I stood there, sort of dumbfounded, saying I'm sorry, I'm sorry and trying to get away. I am not going anywhere tomorrow.

But I love my son and my daughter and I hold them close. I hate to draw a cheesy lesson from these morbid moments, but maybe that's why they happened. I don't know.

I think people these days have no sense of propriety. Everything is revealed; for example, I was sitting in my pediatrician's waiting room one day, and a lady came in with her little two year old girl. She saw someone she knew and here's the gist of their conversation (names have been changed to protect the innocent):

Mom #1: Hi So-and-so! How are you?
So-and-so: Hi, what're you here for?
M: Little Mary has a lesion on her butt and it just won't go away!
S: No kidding? Do they know what's causing it?
M: They think it's a staph infection. It's been going around. What's wrong with little Johnny?
S: Oh, just an in-grown toe nail.
Continue small-talk.

I was directly in between the two women, and I was really surprised at their lack of discretion in revealing their children's health issues. Seems like they could have waited to discuss it when Mom#1 sat down beside So-and-so, on the "well" side of the waiting room. I think our world of "reality shows" and news shows revealing everything about everybody has fostered the creation of a society of people who have no tact and no shame. On the other hand, I know some people are too closed-off, and invulnerable, building walls to keep other people out. But some things need to be handled gracefully. The lady at Lowe's showed no emotion, it just seemed like she wanted attention or some sort of sympathy from me, someone who doesn't even know her name. It was not as if she was crying out for real help, but merely sharing a sensational, shocking story in order to satisfy some sort of pain that maybe she doesn't know how to deal with. By doing so, she created an awkward situation and cast a dark cloud on someone's day.

Now Mac is crying and Ruthie has given up and is resting. Oh the drama of it all.

Now I'm holding Mac and I suppose I won't get my plants planted today. That's ok. And Mac just pooped on me. That's ok too.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Ruthie loved seeing her dancing rockstar mommy so much that we made her one too!

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Friday, April 13, 2007

blah blah blah yackety shmackety

I guess I can say the reason I haven't written for a while is that I've been a single parent for two weeks. Jay has been up at Camp LeJeune for basic combat training. I've only gotten brief snippets of what the heck that actually means based on our brief phone calls, but I think it was all worth it because he got to fire a grenade launcher. He is flying back today and I am very glad.

I stayed home the first week he was gone, determined to tough it out and test my self with the thought that there's a good chance he will be deployed in the next few years, for six months or more at a time. My week went much better than I thought it would, partly because we stayed busy, and kept to a pretty tight schedule. I even got to watch one of my favorite movies, "Wives and Daughters" which is several hours long. I was definitely exhausted by the end of each day, and longing for adult conversation. My parents came for Easter weekend, just as Mac and Ruthie were coming down with colds. I don't know what it is about them getting sick when Jay is gone, but it seems to be a trend. So we went to our church's egg hunt, and Ruthie just wasn't feeling well. Her favorite things were the pink-frosted cookie she got and the tiny bottle of water that she could drink out of all by herself.

This brings me to some of my thoughts on parenting. Sometimes I do things with Ruthie because I think she will have lots of fun, and when she appears to not be having fun(or not having fun in the way I thought she should or would) I get very frustrated and I want to shake her (not dangerously) and say, "would you have fun because you are a little kid and this should be totally fun for you! What's your problem?" And I realize I should add, "and I would be fulfilled as a parent when you act as I think you should and be the perfect little daughter frolicking excitedly around the egg hunt, getting as many eggs as you can and looking so cute so I can get a good picture." It is crazy to me that I feel this way and get so intent on having these "happy" moments. I am a generally laid back person, and I never wanted to be the mom who forces her kid to do things just for her own gratification or because of some sort of control issue. If I don't get the reaction I want, I need to let it go and say, ok, sit and enjoy your bottled water. Delight in what you will, it is still precious two-year old delight, even if it is not so picture perfect. Forget the eggs. She is only just two for crying out loud. (And she was not feeling well.) So I did get over it and let her sit and happily chug her little Nemo bottled water, while I got some cute pictures which I will post when I get home.

Ruthie's trend is toward introversion and I don't want to force her to be something she's not. I also don't want to label her at this young age and use it as an excuse or plant the seed in her mind that this is what she is and always will be. I was a very shy child, but really turned around as I grew and became very outgoing. And I'm not saying being an introvert is bad, by any means. I just want her to be free to be herself, yet I want to challenge her and shape her carefully, without crushing who she is. I'm glad my feelings at the egg hunt bothered me and made me think about my motives and figure out what was behind my frustration. Do I do things for her enjoyment or for my own? Is my fulfillment contingent upon her meeting my expectations? Does she know that she is free to enjoy things in her own way? And why do I get so hung up on getting a good picture? (This could be a whole-nother post for another day.)Am I trying to create her after my own image? Thinking is a good thing. Over-analyzing isn't usually a problem for me.

Yesterday we took Ruthie and Mac to the Gulfarium just outside of Fort Walton Beach, FL. It was a beautiful, no, glorious day on the Gulf Coast and my brother and mom took the day off to take our families to see the dolphins. I was trying to not have expectations for Ruthie's reaction, and it was so sweet to see her eyes light up as the dolphins swam past us in their underwater tank at the windows for viewing them up close. She was so excited, and said "hi dolphins!" and laughed as they came back around. She loved every bit of it, the stingrays and sharks, the loggerhead turtles and sea lions and penguins too. I loved seeing her experience and enjoy these creatures and I think that's what it's all about.

Now I'm going to go outside and enjoy our San Diego weather.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

one fine weekend in march

These pictures are from this past week. My children and I got to spend time with our friends at the beach and at Amy Oaks' wedding. It was so much fun! We also went to my brother's nursery again and got to see the new plants and people there. The weather was wonderful, and we made it back home tired but with some new happy memories.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

confessions of a twenty-something housewife/mom

when I'm alone in my car I turn the radio up really really loud and play Led Zeppelin or Bush really really loud

during naptime I get out the sweets and eat them (today it was Little Debbie Zebra cakes)

I dream of weekends where I do nothing but sleep and read and watch movies and never ever do dishes

I have cussed these past two years (usually internally or under my breath)-and I don't remember ever cussing before

I am mean to my cat sometimes. Before children I was not mean to my cat. I have decided it's because I can't stand to have one more little creature needing something from me all the time. I can't deal with it. He's an animal for crying out loud. (I have been convicted about this and I'm really trying. The other day I petted him for a long time.)

I cannot keep laundry done. It is a perpetual pile and I've decided the only solution is for my family to go around naked for approximately 2 days, and that would allow me time to catch up with the pile and get ahead of the game. I often think of my dear Ms Oaks with seven children. I think every time I was over at their house she was folding laundry. I don't know how she did it. I only have two kids and they're pretty small right now. I will say that my son does two or three times his share of soiling clothes- mine and his.

I listen for the sound of the mailman clicking my mailbox closed. I love checking the mail. Somehow it is very very pitiful that checking the mail is one of the highlights of my day. Even though it is usually bills, I love looking for my magazines and wedding or shower invitations or the occasional fun letter or card from a distant or not so distant friend. I could not do without email, it is so convenient, but I love good old-fashioned mail.

Sometimes I go two days without showering. Personal hygiene takes a backseat when sleep is required.

I dream of a dishwasher, an indoor laundry room, a pantry (really a redone kitchen), and a garage/storage shed. I try not to dwell on it, but these would be lovely luxuries for me.

My last confession is that I love being a housewife/mom. I love hearing my 2-year old say "I'm cranky, mommy" or "I need help, mommy." I love seeing my 4 month old smile with his whole being when I go to pick him up in the morning. I love it when my husband comes home from work and gives me a hug and a kiss. I love getting in bed at night, tired from a long day spent with two precious children and a neglected cat.

Monday, March 12, 2007


This is the most precious baby boy ever! It is hard to imagine loving a little person so much, but I totally do. Mac is growing and growing and becoming more and more enjoyable and personable. He is very ticklish and is figuring out how to laugh. When he laughs he inevitably gets the hiccups, a trait shared by his sister and dad. This is so strange to me. It is obviously genetic, but I've never heard of it before. It makes laughing bittersweet because he hiccups and then spits up, and the hiccups are so strong, convulsing his whole self. One day he'll say, "thanks Dad." The other thing he can thank his Dad for is sweaty feet. (Mac's cousin Jackson also had very sweaty feet as an infant. Maybe it's a boy thing.) Mac's feet are either cold and clammy or hot and clammy. It is kind of nasty and it produces lots of toe lint from his socks. Which I've given up putting them on now that warmer weather is here. Speaking of baby socks... here's a quote from Jay, I think it was yesterday-"why is there a sock in the bread basket?" Good question. If you think big people socks are hard to keep track of, try baby socks.

Friday, March 09, 2007

can't fake the foo

Here is my rave on the best stinkin chicken fingers in the world. Where might you find the best honey-mustard in all of creation? Foosackly's. Where might you find the most tender chicken fingers in any hemisphere? Foosackly's. With just the right amount of spice in the crispy coating, and just the right amount of the said coating on the finger, I find these fingers to be matchless. Just today my mom and I went to Foosackly's and got our lovely styrofoam containers and took them to a park to eat. What a greasy delight. Oh, and the sweet is suh-weeeet. And they have that rabbit turd ice that is ice at it's best. Ok. One more thing I like is that they are not afraid to destroy the environment; they serve their drinks in styrofoam cups which I prefer because they actually keep drinks cool-nay, cold- even in the inferno of the summertime in the Southland. Antibiodegradableness is sometimes a blessing. Before all you AlGorians jump on my back, I would like to state that I love the environment. I actually recycle paper products in a little green container that I put out by the curb when it gets full. (Notice, it is a GREEN container.) I love trees, and I actually got teary eyed when they cut down some huge oaks up the road from me several years ago to widen a road. (I'm not referring to Hillcrest. I was a little sad for those trees but that street drove me insane. I needed to get my tires realigned and balanced and rotated after every drive down that road.) I love birds and I have not one, but TWO feeders in my yard for those that feel the need, the need for seed. I could go on and on about my enjoyment of the outdoors, mainly one of the few things I do in life that make me feel like I am doing what I was made to do and God is smiling on me. (All of you should find these things for yourself and do them...) So what I am saying is that I believe in the Dominion Mandate, that we are to "subdue" the earth for our needs and pleasure and ultimately for the Creator's glory. So I occasionally drink from styrofoam cups, I pick up litter, and I eat meat.

This stream of consciousness post brought to you by Foosackly's, with three convenient locations to meet your foo needs.

This is what happens when we don't "subdue the earth" i.e. the proliferation of purple dinosaur populations resulting in unnecessarily violent attacks, even in places where children play. My brother lived to tell about this attack.

Monday, February 12, 2007


What is Quirkiness anyway? "Quirkiness is in the eye of the beholder." I've been tagged and I must post 6 quirky things about me. I agree with what Jessie said about feeling like I'm normal, but I remember a quote, not sure from whom, “Everyone is someone else's weirdo.” So I tried to step outside of myself and determine my weirdness from an objective perspective. You'll have to let me know how I did.

I pick my eyebrows when I'm thinking, reading, or stressed out. If I happen to pull an eyebrow out I roll it in my fingers. I like the sound and feel of it. After I had my first baby I literally had bald spots in my eyebrows from pulling on them.

I like to eat cream cheese wrapped in slices of bologna. I'm not sure where I came up with this, but it is yummy.

I hate monkeys. Not sure why. They disgust me somehow.

I love words. Big words and little words. I like reading the dictionary.

I like Kevin Bacon but I hate Footloose. (this doesn't count, I just thought it fit here.)

I love vinegar. I eat it on my spinach. One time my husband dared me to drink the leftover vinegar after the spinach was gone, and I did it. And I liked it except for the burning. I love things with vinegar-salad dressings, pickles, mustard. They make my mouth water.

I have a very strong sense of smell. I love lots of weird smells, like new books; shoe stores; new tires; that shiny paper that lots of newsletters and mail come on; gas stations; old books; woodsmoke; bandaids; and beach air. I love the smell of freshly turned dirt and newly mown grass. I like driving by bread factories and not paper mills. This smelling thing is a blessing and a curse.

I have very small wrists. I think they've been the same size since elementary school.

Monday, February 05, 2007

happy birthday, Cary Perry!!

Today is Cary's 30th birthday. She has already celebrated her birthday because she lives in South Korea and she is 15 hours ahead of our time. I miss Cary and I'm glad she and her Army husband Craig are going to be moving back to the States this spring.
I love you more than all the platypi in Australia Cary!

the ball

Saturday night Jay and I went to a military Mardi Gras ball. It was fun to be Cinderella and get dressed up and dance the night away. I found that the military part of the ball gave it a little more purpose than just a "mardi gras" ball, which I think is a purposeless celebration. I was very glad to meet two people that Jay works with when he goes to Drill, making it seem more real and tangible to me. The band was good, and dinner was pretty tasty. We posed prom-like just for the memory. The reality of the evening was leaving in the middle to go nurse my baby (who refuses to take a bottle, so far- we're gonna keep trying). All in all it was good to wash off the spit-up, get out of the house, and enjoy a few dances with my husband.

Friday, February 02, 2007

old-school obsession

Every once in a while we break out the old Nintendo. I say every once in a while because Jay is an obsessive compulsive Nintendo player. Once he has gripped the rectangle controls, there's no going back. I have to pry it out of his hands at midnight or later so he can stumble into bed, eyes glazed over and thumbs twitching. He is really good at Nintendo. He can rescue the princess in Super Mario Bros. in no time, and he can play Tetris in the hundreds of thousands score level, and he wins the Super Tecmo bowl every time. It is amazing. He does admit to his obsession, which is the first step toward beating it.

I on the other hand, am not good at playing Nintendo. I get killed by anything that moves in Super Mario Bros., including myself. I get very frustrated, chasing mushrooms down chasms and biting the big one at the hand of annoying flying turtles. I get frantic playing Tetris, and I can't play it for very long. I guess it's because I spent my childhood READING and PLAYING OUTDOORS. Or maybe I have limited thumb dexterity. I don't know. But I think it's time to pack up the old gaming system for a while. It is fun to watch people our age when they see the box at our house...their eyes light up and they can't wait to get their hands on the controls. It is definitely a fun relic to keep around. I bet we could make some money off of it on ebay though....hmmm.