Friday, February 27, 2009


How cute is this boy?  I don't usually brag about my children, oh that's probably not true, perhaps I don't usually gush.  My friend Holly took this picture of him last Saturday night.  I'm feeling a bit sentimental.   I want to freeze time, right now.  I want to remember details.  

Parker and his friends are so cute.  There are about 8 of them.  The make up varies depending on the activity, but sometime during the weekend the 8 usually gather.  Whether it's skating at the winter club, skate boarding at Nollie's, shooting bees with airsoft guns (they don't recommend it), or just buying 64 oz cups of Mountain Dew at UDF.  OK yes, we are all against the bee shooting, and I'm terrified of what 64 ounces of Mt Dew will do to his growth.  They are good boys.  They are sweet boys.  They are good friends.  They are kind. They are considerate.  They are bright.  (Hopefully someday they will have common sense.)  They are mischievous in a good way (witness the giant cups of Mt. Dew they know their parents would never purchase for them).

No one who was there will ever forget the day they were nicknamed the Terrace Park Brain Trust.  That was the day they were playing with airsoft guns in the nature preserve.  Henry was stung by a bee.  The boys were outraged, so they took revenge on the bees by shooting at the bee hive.  Bees 46 boys 0.  That's my estimate of how many stings the boys got versus how many bees they hit.  Much Benedryl was distributed that night.

Last Saturday night, when the non basketball pictures were taken, was a "sock hop."  Because of an unfortunate double booking, all the fourth grade girls went camping (they would have LOVED it) and their big brothers and friends were drafted to take their place.  Anthony dj'd the party and there was a dance teacher who taught them things like the hand jive (oh to have video of that!).  Well one of them snuck away from the dance and bought a 12 pack of Dr. Pepper at the UDF (which happens to be next door to the Community Building where the dance was).  Once all the Dr. Pepper had been consumed, they wanted to leave.  Apparently they kept inching closer and closer to the door and then out onto the ramp.  They were told not to go any further.  So they didn't (with some encouragement).

We play our last basketball game(s) this weekend.  Parker probably will not get a basketball scholarship to Duke, but rec basketball has been so fun!  Watching Parker go from looking clueless on the court and never shooting the ball, to making a three pointer and leading in rebounds (he was probably 2nd or 3rd in rebounds but this is my story) has been such a great experience for both of us actually.  He's been with the same team for five seasons.  How cool is that?  They are really a great little team.  They aren't the biggest team and they aren't the best (although only 1 loss and that was a nail biter against a rival team they'd already beaten whom they will be joining in Jr. High next year--imagine if Duke and UNC played each other for 5 years and then the players were told they'd be merging the two teams next year to play together in Grad School), but so much fun to watch them play and grow.

OK enough sentimentalism.  Next up, Mollie has an art opening....

Monday, February 16, 2009


My dad has seemed somewhat depressed lately, OK he's seemed somewhat depressed since my brother died (and before), but lately he's been really depressed.  I thought I'd cheer him up by sending him one of those greeting cards where they kids can say the message.  I thought I was being sweet by sending this and that maybe it would cheer him up.  (Oh the last email I got from him he asked if I would have the kids email him sometimes so that he could feel in touch.)  

So he calls to say thank you.  Then he drops that he didn't send the kids anything because they hadn't thanked him for a DVD he sent and hadn't been appreciative of something else and hadn't written a thank you note for something.  Well um this is the first I've heard of this.  Also, excuse me, but I didn't know he expected a thank you note for a used DVD he sent.  I mean don't get me wrong, he is very sweet to want to share his interests with my kids and I really want him to.  But really, could you mention something before you let the resentment build up to where you don't send your grandkids a Valentine.   OK yes, Valentine's is one of those made up days to make money for Hallmark and if he never sent them one that would be OK (my mom doesn't send them).  But don't send them and then stop because of built up resentment you haven't shared with anyone.  I mean they really appreciate them and talk about them a lot.  How do you convey that?

Maybe the word for the day should be communication.  Oh and don't get me started on the whole thank you note thing.  I KNOW we should write them.  I feel GUILTY for not writing them.  They are SO appreciated (especially by the older set) and we should write them.  Hand written, not emailed, hand written, not phone called.

But really, how do you convey to someone who doesn't see the joy, how much joy there is? 

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Tennis Elbow Sucks

Tennis Elbow sucks!  You know what sucks the most about it, I've had it twice and I don't even play tennis!  The weird thing is that it can come and go for almost no reason.  This time I know the reason.  

Way back in September, our Brownies were becoming Girl Scouts.  After putting it off a few times, we decided they would "fly up" at our inaugural outdoor camping trip.  (I'm sure this is direct conflict with Girl Scout USA rules so if you are an informant, you may want to stop reading now.)  I volunteered to go get what we needed for the sashes.  We needed 5 numbers for our troop, two patches for our region, a rainbow, and something else I can't remember and didn't have enough of to put on Mollie's sash.  We have 18 girls.  So I ironed on these 9 patches on 18 different sashes, wait it was 17 because we had a sample Becca had done.  Each patch takes approximately 3 minutes to iron on because you have to iron on the material, then iron on the back of the material and you have to iron on the patch.  So doing the math it's almost 200 patches and that's 600 minutes and I'm not even going to attempt to calculate that in hours (after a while I did start cheating and ironed on several numbers at a time).  

Well when we went to the camp out, my elbow hurt, but I thought it was just sore.   I mean you not only have to iron, but you have to press down really hard.   It would come and go but finally mostly stayed.  I started wearing one of those groovy tennis elbow bands (I'm now the proud owner of 3, it would be 4 but I gave one away one night, in 3 different colors and 3 different models--none of them work worth a crap)--I got a lot of attention (which I love) and I often felt quite athletic.  Plus, if I couldn't lift that 8 pounds one more time in sculpting class, I looked like I had an excuse.  Anyway, that was October, this is the beginning of February, it still hurts!

The final straw happened this weekend.  I went to take our youth group for laser tag.  In laser tag you get these lasers (aka guns) and you have to hold them with both hands in order for them to fire.  I knew this was going to be a problem as my right trigger finger is connected to whatever tendon creates the pain from tennis elbow.  I tried using my left, but I was inaccurate and it turns out more competitive then I thought because I wanted to shoot the people who shot me (and I'm somewhat of a pacifist--very strange to want to shoot someone, especially your own child or a neighbor or the 6 year old who follows you around and keeps shooting you every time your lights come back on).  So I paid for my rapid fire shooting, by being woken up in the night by a throbbing pain.  This is TOO MUCH!

So Monday, I decided to wander into the Orthopedist's office at my gym.  They happened to have a cancellation and took me right in.  The doctor said, yep tennis elbow, there are a few things you can do about.  It could go away tomorrow by itself or you could have it for the next two years.  Alternatively , we can treat it with a cortisone shot or some cortisone treatments and physical therapy.  One shot and I'm done?  Let's do it.  Like childbirth, I forgot how much cortisone shots hurt.  This doctor was nice and put some anesthesia in it and so it hurt like hell while he was injecting it, but then BAM pain gone.  I actually think I might have had the urge to play tennis I was so joyful.

I went grocery shopping on my way home.  I unloaded my car.  My arm began to throb.  I put the groceries away.  Shooting pains began to radiate throughout my entire arm.  Seriously,  I think there was a point where I might have chewed it off it hurt so badly.  But there was laundry to fold.  Fortunately my dear husband came out and yelled at me to stop folding and rest my arm.  I took a couple of Advil and sat down to watch soap operas, icing my arm 20 minutes out of every hour.  Soap operas are so boring when that's all you are doing.  I mean how many times can Stephanie try to sabotage Brooke and Ridge's relationship?  and they blew up General Hospital.  Will Dr. Drake make it out alive?  I honestly, it turns out, don't care (well maybe a little about Dr. Drake--he'd be Dr. Noah Drake's son).

Anyway, all of this is to say, it now feels better.  Not perfect, but we'll get there.  It would help if I quit bumping the bruise where he injected me.  They must put A LOT of drugs in the ones the NFL players get.  You know they hurt their shoulder, they go out at half time, get a cortisone shot and then play the rest of the game.  They are getting something way better than I got, but at the same time I do feel quite the athlete now that I've been shot up with cortisone.

And to think, I could have gotten the shot in November.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Free Time

Does that sound like an oxymoron to you? It often does to me. I get lost in the "shoulds" and ought tos". I love snow days because they are free time. Well, they have the capacity to be because you could clean closets, but there's snow outside and you should go play in it. Oops I said should. I don't think I always knew this. And certainly when I worked full time I was mostly feeling guilty all day and couldn't enjoy the day. I was either missing some important meeting or could be working on some letter or document on the computer.

Since the windstorm in September, I feel like I have a new-found understanding of what a gift a snow day can be. In September, the power was out, the days were warm and long and we hadn't really gotten into the swing of school. Those days were like extra days of summer. Rather than shooing the kids out and cleaning closets (which I couldn't because I couldn't really see with no power), I took them to the river or the reservoir. We went on hikes and played board games. We came up with reasons why no electricity is a good thing. Among the top ones for my kids were--playing with fire, no homework and no school. The top ones for me were family night every night (no internet or video games), community grill outs and meals, and of course drinking all the beverages in the refridgerator before they got warm. Hey here's a thought--no internet, no guilt. hmmmmmm

Recently we've had 4 snow days. We kept power, thank goodness, because no power when it's 2* out is way different then when it's 70* out. My first instinct was to curl up in my pjs and watch movies while my kids went out sledding. I mentioned something about "walk" and George, one of our golden retrievers looked at me with his doe eyes and then attached himself to my side until I acquiesced. Mollie and I got our snow clothes on and joined some friends and took a magical walk in the woods. I think we were out for 3 hours. It was so beautiful. We, and later I, went on a walk like this every day--discovering some new spot or snow covered field. We laughed at the dogs, we laughed with our friends, we went sledding down an icy hill on our knees (on purpose).

It was unexpected. Maybe that's the trick, maybe it's not free time, but found time that makes it so special. I found it the first day, but I made sure to enjoy it the subsequent days and I hope I remember it always. Take time, make time, be in the moment.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Monday Morning Blues

I woke up this morning exhausted.  I seriously considered staying in my pajamas so I could go back to sleep after the kids left for school.  I didn't go to bed terribly late, although I did make four big sandwiches for our Super Bowl party and we watched the entire game.  (I must say I may have a new talent--making big sandwiches--we had a muffaletta, an italian, a turkey club and a plain turkey.)  So it should be no surprise that Parker is tired and "sick" this morning.  

I always feel guilty letting him stay home.  If you aren't throwing up and/or have a fever, you should go about your day.  I made him get dressed but then I looked into his bloodshot eyes and acquiesced.  And here we sit.  It's a weird balance between making a not-too-sick kid go to school and letting an actually sick kid stay home.  I'll never forget when Parker was in nursery school.  He had been sick for a couple of days and had a fever.  Our pediatrician had walk in hours starting at 8:30 so off we went to the pediatrician.  Being rush hour, we couldn't get a taxi so we walked to the ped. He cried and wined the whole way there, but I made him walk.  When we saw the ped he said, "has he been complaining that his feet hurt."  I reluctantly replied, "yes."  He said, "he has blisters all over the bottoms of his feet, he has coxsackies aka hoof and mouth."    So the resulting guilt allows him to stay home without throwing up or having a fever.....