Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Thanks Willie...

As I walked through our bathroom to the laundry room THIS is what I encountered!
No. Growing up in Kentucky we didn't have lizards....or armadillos.
Yes. I jumped outta my skin when I saw him perched on our counter.
Clearly he (or she) are they asexual? Let's call it a 'he'--honey you know Mama lizard back at the ranch holding down the lizard-hole while this dude is runnin' around exploring. So. He is not that big, however, his presence was unexpected and I let out a shrill. Kids run in--"Mama what is it?" "Get me the broom" I say as I march toward the kitchen to the fetch the broom. The kids can't move quickly enough, I think, gotta do it myself--"Mamie can get it," my youngest declares. That's already crossed my mind. Our housekeeper-she picks them up by the tail and casually pitches him-or her-outside. I tried. I walked toward the lizard and took a deep breath.....and even reached for the long tail. Will his tail drop off? Or is that a chameleon? In my mind, I see myself holding the thin tail and the lizard wildly wriggling toward my wrist.....Nope. Can't do it. So I go for the broom. I hold the broom trying to get the small-minded beast to jump on. He races toward the corner of the mirror. I lay the broom out again, hoping he'll race up it and then I'll run outside....
He scoots to the edge of our counter....and then, incredibly, does a 'hail Mary' jump onto the bathroom floor. "Eeeeek" our children scream and run backwards to our closet. "Get in the shower" one of them screams. I'm stunned by the lizard's jump. Damn. Surely he's dead.
He wiggles around....and I begin sweeping him. If I can get him over the threshold and into the hallwayI think, we're almost outside. I give him a firm whack and he rolls into the hallway. As I scoot pass the door and get my broom ready for the next threshold....there stands our faithful dog Willie. Relief! Willie stands firm and looks at me....he senses tension, I see it in his stance.
I give the lizard a tap, "Look Willie," and Willie knows from the tone of my voice he has a treat. Willie braces his legs and eyeballs the little reptile.....before I can speak he pounces the lizard--I see the lizard wriggling--Willie readjusts his mouth and takes the green little varment outside.
Ahhhhh. Willie. Of course. Why didn't I think of him sooner.
I'm slightly embarrassed that I didn't just pick up the lizard.....what would Ma Ingalls have done? She could do it. My Appalachian ancestors could have picked it up--hell, they might have boiled it up for dinner.
I've been thinking lately about how comfortable life is today. I think of the struggles other generations of Americans have faced. I think of the suffering in other parts of the world. As a society and Nation we don't value the Blessings of freedom, of having plenty of food and shelter. When we're too hot we turn up the air conditioning and if we're too cold we turn up the heat. Gotta give a shout-out to hubby Buford T., who builds an exceptional fire and impresses me as a person who could truly live off the land. Me? I'd be fine, as long as I can bring Willie.
Ma Ingalls had a dog, I reassure myself. That's why pioneers had dogs--for protection and help as much as companionship. I'm not advocating we get a covered wagon, move out West and live in a yert, but I do want to be more intentional about counting my Blessings. Like our faithful dog Willie.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Happy Belated Birthday.....


I refuse to do a post before I wish my older daughter happy belated birthday!!!
This precious girl made me a Mama....and Sammy an An-tie!!

The BLessing of motherhood arrived for me 10 years ago...thanks be to God for our first-born! And thank God Buford T. is considerate and did NOT eat a double cheeseburger in front of his laboring wife who feasted on ice chips.....

Baby girl weighed in at a healthy 8lbs 3oz...and was a textbook delivery.....
She was in no rush to get here (always content with her surroundings!) and arrived precisely 1 week to the day after her due date.

We celebrated her 10th with a birthday tea party last Sunday.....
TWENTY TWEENS joined us to celebrate!!!!

I have my own favorite birthday memories, including:
all-night slumber parties in our recreation room...
seeing Raiders of the Lost Ark on the big screen....
and of course, my 8th birthday when Aunt Paula gave me the Shawn Cassidy 33 and a yellow plastic turntable....also loved the Donna Summer 33 "Last Dance"
thanks to my Mom for plannig and executing these parties and for my Dad who paid for them!!!

Friday, November 13, 2009

She sleeps...now what?!?

Hello MommyDivas...I know it has been a while, and though I have not written in some time...all MommyDivas have been on my mind. In fact, when dealing with each and every "situation" in life, I always tell myself..."I am not alone, my dear MommyDiva friends experience this too!"...and, my friends, that does help get me through the day.

So, as most of you know I have 2 fabulous children...a 5 year old little guy, and a glorious little 10 month old daughter. And, for the past 10 months I have blamed absolutely every single part of my unorganized life to my baby girl not sleeping all night. I hear myself constantly say..."when Anna Grace starts sleeping all night I will ________________ (fill in the blank - start exercising, clean out closets, organize the kids playroom, finish my scrapbooking, keep laundry caught up, make the kids follow a nightly bedtime routine - you name it, I've said it)!! Well folks...she has done it...for almost 3 weeks now...the little one is sleeping all night.

Funny thing is...this is a good thing, I want her to sleep all night...I want to sleep all night for goodness sake. BUT, with her sleeping all night comes the reality of me REALLY following through on all of those things I said I would start doing..."when Anna Grace starts sleeping all night".

OK...well, in 3 weeks I have exercised once...I have only moved piles of paper...I have done better about supper and bedtime rituals...just not to the extent I had thought. What is going to be my excuse now...time?...hell, that is always going to be an excuse. So, I think I am making a commitment...today, Friday the 13th...I am going to take 1 of the tasks I have "said" I was going to start doing and be committed...what is it, 2 weeks to create a habit?? Therefore, if I stay committed to 1 task for 2 weeks...that should create a habit, and then I can move on to the next task of priority.

This is all great in theory...I just don't know about execution. But, in all honesty, I am a much happier and healthier person when I exercise on a regular basis. So, I think exercise is going to be my first task to attempt to get back on track. Screw routines, laundry, clean closets...Mama wants to look good and feel good...exercise & sweat rolling down my face...here I come!

(FYI...since Anna Grace was not sleeping all night at the time of decorating for fall...I did not get the wonderful Indian corn garland completed like my fabulous sister did, and I have yet to clean out my closet as she has...so, I am throwing in the towel on those challenges that I openly started myself...you win sis!)

AND...for those who would like to check out this adorable baby girl that is finally sleeping all night...below is the link to her latest photo session...enjoy!

www.nickersonphotography.com/annagrace9

Until later my dear MommyDiva friends...love & hugs!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

God Bless the USA

Jar your brain hussies and rehearse the lyrics:

from the lakes of Minnesota, to the hills of Tennessee [Southerners let out a "Wha-hoooo"]
Across the plains of Texas, from sea to shining sea
From Detroit down to Houston
And New York to L.A.
Well there's pride in every American heart,
and its time we stand to say.
That I'm proud to be an American,
where at least I know I'm free
And I won't forget the men who died
who gave that right to me.

Surely you know the rest. Today, on Veteran's Day, belt it out hussies.
In carpool, at the dinner table at bedtime discuss the importance of this day with your children.
I've been thinking this morning about Roy, Earl, John B. and Bill. Our grandfathers who served in WWII and faced the world's biggest challenge--who gave the ultimate sacrifice and never, ever thought their actions were extraordinary. Their wives, our grandmothers, married, delivered babies, and cared for families all under the threat and cloud of war.
The servicemen and women of our military, and their families, confront different dangers and extremism today but face them with the same unparalleled courage and unwavering resolve as generations prior.
We thank them.
We honor all those who serve and we remember all those who died serving.
Let's talk with our children about the importance of these men and women who serve in the military, and their families who continue to live life in their absence.

Sam and I want to give a special shout out to our James stepbrothers who served in the military, and especially to John who packed a gun on the streets of Baghdad, and his wife Tisha who also served in Iraq.

We want to give another special shout to our dear friends the Tannehills, whose Daddy, Rhea, has been serving in Afghanistan for 11 months.....you can go up to our 'Soul Sisters' list and click on thetannehillfamily and check out Robyn and Rhea's website. Robyn is one of my very best friends and I am so proud of the way she held up her precious family while Rhea has been serving in Afghanistan. And of course to Jack Rhea himself--a true patriot. Thanks be to God for men and women like you Rhea!

We also want to give a shout out to the ROTC chapter at Ole Miss. Our brother, Will, serves in the Army ROTC. He and his friends give us faith that the next generation of soldiers will protect and defend this great country with the same honor and courage as those who served before them.

We can't change the world Mommy Divas.
But we can educate & inform our children on meaningful topics like Veteran's Day.

Monday, November 9, 2009

7:00 a.m.

The digital clock in my husband's car (that I loathe) says 8:13. In fact, it reads 9:13 but I know it's actually 8:13 because of the time change, and of course I have no f-ing clue and no interest in changing the time.

So. I really don't even know where to start. But something tells me the beginning.
I'll start at the beginning but first you should know this is unchartered territory for me.
Writing on the computer, that is.

I pulled into my drive...
(side note: my mother just called my home number, "I'm writing my novella, can't talk." I tell her. "Whaaaat??! Mom says in her best that-sounds-like-a-waste-of-time-and-something-your-father would-be-doing voice. I laugh. "Call you back" I say hurriedly. I'm thinking gotta get this down--get 'it' out of my mind to go on with my day. "Byeee." Mom says and I hear the doubt and sarcasm in her voice.)

So. Unchartered territory. Not the writing but actually sitting down at the computer.

I pulled into my drive awhile ago, and I immediately began looking for a pen. I now keep paper in my car so I can record my thoughts. No pen. I look in console--ahhh, the broken $5 Book Fair purple pen....maybe I can put the pen part....and here's the top with all the fun big beads....no use. My purse. I pull the top of a pen.....and it's broken too. Fuck. I'm gonna have to walk IN the house. Fine.

I walk in the house and grab a pen. No messages, I glance at our machine. I walk outside and get back into the car.
Ahhhhh. My office. My make-shift office. My 'rolling' office--hah!

My favorite hobby is to sit in my car (or my husband's shitty Lexus) and write. I like sitting in my drive-in this office I have a panaromic view of my yard. Which calms me. Depending on the season, I see shades of green, or even vibrant purple when the red-bud trees are blooming. Today there are piles and piles of brown and gold crunchy leaves.

I'm in the car. Comfortable.
The anticipation of writing--uninterrupted is very satisfying.
I'm relaxed--finally! I reach for my notebook. Open it.....flip thru my recent writings to a blank page..... and at the top of the page write 8:13 a.m.

Wait.
Hold on hussy, I tell myself. This is 'beautiful mind' style writing.....again. You told yourself NO more. I mean, I know this is heaven--just sitting and recording your thoughts. And you've worked through a ton of smuck but come on.....the blog? Instead of writing this shit in another notebook.....just document it on the computer. That's why you agreed to do the blog. So you'd have an avenue to share and record your thoughts, impressions and all the crazy shit going thru your fucked-up mind.

All true.
Do you know yourself well. Do you listen to yourself, even when you don't want to??
Sometimes I do. And sometimes I don't. This morning I do.

The beginning.
7:00 a.m.
"Can you take them to school?" John asks. Damn, I think. "Sure." I say. I need to get to the office also and finish discovery for his Dad but.....John does a lot and yes, of course I can.

"Get your clothes girls. You're both old enough to pick out your own outfits."
We should be picking them out the night before. I know this. My fault.
"Girls this is why we pick them out the night before," I tell them.
They're not even listening, or maybe they are.

"He wanted to wear his Halloween shirt." John tells me as I survey the shitty outfit he put on our youngest. I kinda roll my eyes. "What?" John takes issue with my eye-roll. "Hell, he wanted to get himself dressed, it's not a big deal." John is making his case. That's the only thing about 2 lawyers....."Whatever." I say shortly.
I'm thinking of all the cute outfits in his drawers. Fuck it. No time. Not this morning.

Just 30 minutes agoI was sitting blissfully in my den--cup of coffee. It was 6:39 am.
Talking with John."This is one of my favorite things to do--have coffee in the morning with you."

And now...at 7:07 am I'm in the middle of a shit-storm.

"I want pancakes." My youngest says. "Mama, you said we would have pancakes."
No time. I think. Hell, I blew that off at 6:36--I had a choice. Get my ass up to make the cakes, or sit for a minute with John.
"Honey, we'll have them tomorrow." I tell him.
"Mama will make them tomorrow, son." John backs me up.

"Come on girls. Frosted Flakes ok?" I hurry them up. They are dressed.
Not a typical outfit. Cute though. My girls usually don't go for the pants with matching top.
Ahhhh, hell no. We gotta mix it up. They both look darling.
Something tells me I have played subtle role in this---after all, their Mama isn't a matchy, simple person either.
Hmmmm. Sorry 'bout your luck girls, I think.
I'm just complicated, I think. Sometimes.

"NO. I not wearin' those." My 3 year old defiantly tells his Daddy.
"Oh yes you are son. You are gonna wear the green ones." Tennis shoes, that is.
My youngest is in the middle of a full-blown meltdown.
My middle child goes over to console him.
"I want the BLUE ones....." he cries.
Our Daddy is being pushed. "Nope. You're wearing these." John slams his foot into the shoe.
More tears.
The girls finished with cereal have moved on. My middle child playing her Nintendo.
"Get off the Nintendo." John says. She doesn't move.
Ahhhh, hell. I think, listening in the kitchen.
"GET OFF THE NINTENDO" he yells.
He grabs the game, "You are grounded for a week from that thing."
A week? Hell, that's too long, I think. Mama doesn't say a word. Even I know now isn't the time.

7:17 am
Youngest still crying. I walk to car and find his blue tennis shoes.
"Girls, brush your teeth." I tell them.
"Are we gonna be late?" My middle child asks.
"YES!" John responds....."NO" I respond, at the same time.
"You should be leaving now," John says with full authority--like he's the gestapo.
"We're fine." I say.

We have moved onto the BLUE tennis shoes. John has put one shoe on.
"That NOT the right foot......" my son screams. "It hurts me...." More tears.
I walk over with the other BLUE shoe--"honey, yes it is." "NO," he screams.
A boot is laying nearby. "What about the boots?" Anything--for God's sake shut him up.
I know where the other boot is--I found it and washed it. The mat. Also don't forget the sleeping mat in the dryer. And his sleep friend. Kinda wet--the boot. I get the hair dryer.....

7:24
"Alright, y'all gotta go. I'm done....just take him. I'm not doing this anymore." John declares.
The boots don't fit. Damn, these kids have the biggest feet I've ever seen.
John's family. They get that from John's family.
"Girls go ahead and get in the car, please." I say.
My youngest in the floor crying. No shoes.
I scoop him up.....take him to the car and put on our seat belts.
Throw his shoes in the floorboard.
Ahhhh. Somehow Mama is the good witch this am. Ahhhhhh. I like it.

My oldest is dropped off without incident. "Do I have soccer tonight?" she asks. "Yes." I say.
Plenty of time, I think. On schedule.
"Honey, have a great day."
Can't do the spanish I think. It's just too much. No spanish lessons after school. But another language is important, I think. I dunno. But her regular schoolwork....and doing the 'select' soccer team. Just can't do it all.

I turn left to take my middle child to school.
"Mama, I have no breakfast." My youngest says from the backseat "Mama I hungry."
Oh shit. He's right. He never ate. GREat. "Ok honey, we'll get you something," I say.

Look at that beautiful yellow tree." I point, as we are stopped to turn down the street.
"When you were 4, you would've said, 'that tree lost its chlorophyll.' " I remind my middle child, who enjoys these stories. She smiles a big toothless grin.

"And," I continue,
(my daughter loves this, and I must rehearse these stories so I don't forget them!)
"you were 4 when you recited the entire Thanksgiving story." "I know Mama."
"In 1620 the Pilgrims left England for a new home" I continue in my best 'drama' voice.
And I'm thinking, this is MY favorite story about her and generally I love the Pilgrims....
"Ohhhh no. Did I just pass your school?!"
Damn. I did.
"Mama, yes you did. You passed my school. What are you gonna do?"
My middle child is distraught.
7:44 am
No way I can circle back around.
"NO ENTRY...." I see the sign as I turn right into the bus-only entrance.
I follow a white jolopy who is pulling up to the sidewalk.
Here come the teachers---waving wildly at us not to stop at the sidewalk.
My children are mortified. "Daddy never does this," she says.
Daddy doesn't give a shit about the Pilgrims either, I think.
I roll down the window. "You gotta park." The woman yells at me. Her face full of disgust.
I pull into a shaded no-parking spot....."Honey, I can't walk you all the way."
"Mama, just walk up here, you HAVE to." I hold her hand tight. We stomp up the sidewalk to the corner of the school...."Bye Mama" she says lovingly. "Bye honey."
Oh God. I see the bus pull up. I see John's Lexus and driver door open....surely he won't get out.
Surely. He's buckled in the car. He wouldn't get out to follow us.

Ok. "Let's go get you a biscuit." I reassure my son.
7:53 TExt from John Door locked. Love you.
My youngest quietly eats the sausage from his biscuit--not great for his tummy, I think. Oh well.
And drinks his milk. "Ahhh. All gone." He says. Damn, he was thirsty.
"I not go to school." he threatens. "Oh. Ms. Anne Fairley has so many fun things planned."
Still hasn't put on his shoes.

We drive up to the school. Ok. He's eaten.
The mat. Fuck. Later, I'll bring the mat later.
I look around for his shoes. The teacher has opened the car door.
"See his shoes, they are..." I'm straining to reach behind me.
"Wait!"- the teacher yells, "You're movin'...."
I look at the dash "R".....
I quickly reach for the gear and attempt to move the gear--my Iphone is stuck behind it....
I push the phone....I feel us rolling backward--I look in the rear-view mirror, shit!
Get the MFer in park, I think---the P, look for "P."
Ok.
"Sorry....my foot was.....I thought I had put it in park but...." I try and explain.
"No problem," the college-age girl smiles.
Hm-hum. She thinks I'm crazy.
Soooo f-ing cute, well just wait until YOU have kids, a husband and a mortgage, I think.
As I drive off I notice 2 ladies laughing--I know them. I like them both a lot.
Huh.
They saw me. I've become one of 'those Moms.' The bat-shit crazy ones??
Maybe they are laughing at me. Shit. I'd laugh at me.
I was inches from a full-blown catastrophe.....
What if I'd hit the accelerator on accident when in "R" and smashed the Director who was behind us......
Dear Lord.
I wouldn't of. I didn't. Everything's fine.

8:01
Exhausted.
Change this Radio Disney shit.
Ahhhhh. Peace. Enjoying the ubiqutous coffee (got me a decaf at Mickey D's).
As I drive home. I smile. I kinda laugh.
I review our crazy morning in my mind. Just life.
My life isn't perfect. God knows I'm not perfect. Sometimes it's just crazy and mixed-up. Life.
You can't even make-up this stuff.....
BLack Eyed Peas come on.... I turn it up....loud. I'm singing, loudly. Snapping my fingers.
Get out of the way!! I almost run over an elderly woman turning into the animal clinic.

I'm so thankful. And grateful. To be at this point in my life. To feel settled.
I'm now on our road.
My neighbor lost her dog a few days ago.
"Dog Found. Thanks, everyone." The sign in her yard reads.
I'm more than comfortable in our community. I'm home.
I pull up our driveway. There are piles and piles of brown and gold leaves.
I think about our community.
My husband. My church friends. My Mom-friends. My girlfriends. My in-laws.
They've given me more than they will ever know.
Freedom.
Freedom to define myself.
Freedom from the control of my parents bitter separation and divorce.
I want to share my experience. I look for a pen. The purple Book Fair pen, it's broken.
I walk into the house to get a pen.
I walk back to the car.
I sit. Looking out the windows of my rolling-office-hah!
There must be others who could benefit from my experiences.
Other people--women--who sometimes feel alone and isolated even in the midst of family and friends. Not all the time but occassionally.
People who carry the burden of grief, loss, rage or bitterness.....whatever the cause.
My heart is so full, I think.
My husband, my family and my friends gave me the love, strength and courage to let go of the bitterness and sadness. And of course, my God.
The day in the courtyard at Everyday Sisters.
I want the world to know 'the peace that passeth all understanding' is available to everyone.
To anyone.
I reach for my notebook.
I write at the top of the page 8:13 am.
Wait. No more 'beautiful mind' writing. I tell myself.
Today, I listened.
Thanks be to God!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Mistletoe Madness...

Are you familiar with Mistletoe Marketplace??
The annual holiday extravaganza
put on by the Junior League of Jackson, Mississippi.

My soul sister, Robyn, and I have a tradition of attending every year. We normally bunk-up with my darling cousin-in-law, Christie Farese, but this year sick kiddies prompted a change of plans. Do you have a tradition where you 'get away' even for a night with a friend?
Mistletoe is the purrrrfect opportunity!

From the fabulously decorated booths...
to the funky & unique clothing, art and gifts available from vendors across the South...

Mistletoe Marketplace
is a fine example that Mississippi women just know how to throw a party.
These girls are NOT messin' around!!

Once you see, you'll agree Mississippi women take CUTE to a new level.
It's just true.
Give Mississippi #1 in putting-on-a-party....
They are inventive and original with decorating, design, advertising & events.

Beware, it's not simply the party atmosphere that's impressive.
The entire 4-day extravaganza is organized & planned with a corporate precision and effectiveness that would make any CEO green with envy.
The League's primary goal of raising funds for charity is accomplished within the confines of a true holiday wonderland....all executed by a group of dedicated Mommy Divas!!!

The girls at Monogram Magic have a booth that looks like my room in heaven! You can find them online at monogrammagic.com. Pop Fizz, a children's store in Jackson is a must-visit.

You never know when traditions will present themselves on this journey of life
but when they do make a committment to keep them....
Robyn & I have, and we both look forward to our annual Mistletoe trip....

Also--try the recently opened restaurant MINT, in Ridgeland's Regency Center.
Any Mommy Diva will LUV the atmosphere-it's moody & hip.
Executive Chef David Farris is a family friend.
You must have the Appalachicola oysters w/bacon & cheese. And the redfish is fab!
We stayed at the Embassy Suites in Ridgeland and it was v. nice (the Hyatt Place at Regency was booked). In addition to our annual TJMax & Marshall's run (Dr. Ash, the ultimate bargain-finder, I thought of you and Leslie) we hit Anthropologie & JCrew at Regency. Whew.

Wanna give a shout out to Buford T. who held down the fort while we were gone!!!
3 kids, carpool, homework and tests, while getting to court & managing his domestic relations clients all by his lonesome....

Buford T. you may qualify as a Mommy Diva....
nah, I like you better as a hot Daddy!!