Delinquent blogging

It’s the delinquent blogger, resurfacing ever so briefly, to report that contrary to appearances, I have not given up blogging. It’s been a busy couple of weeks, what with a workplace that expects me to work and a family that expects me to spend time with them. A recap, you ask? Well okay, here’s what’s been keeping me away from the blog.

For those who are keeping up, Maia was "caught with character" at school due to her hair donation to Locks of Love. Her picture has been on the morning announcements, and she is quite proud. We also had her first grade awards ceremony, where she earned the "language arts" award. And in our parent-teacher conference, I learned what I already knew—she’s a smarty!

Mother’s Day was a lovely day filled with church, family, furniture shopping, dance recitals, and lots of hugs from my kids.

I made an unplanned trip to a neighboring city for a visit with a friend who was unexpectedly in the vicinity. The visit was much too brief, considering that we hadn’t seen each other in some 20 years and had much to catch up on, but it was very much worth the early morning drive.

I am in the midst of packing for yet another early morning road trip, this one to Tennessee for a nephew’s graduation. So this blog will once again remain quiet for the next few days. I’m sure I’ll have much of import to write about upon my return.

A blogging milestone

Congratulations to FTS for being in the right place at the right time, and achieving the distinction of leaving the 1000th comment in this humble blog. Let’s celebrate with all the usual pomp and circumstance. Your prize is, is, is… drumroll, please… this public proclamation of your accomplishment! I hereby officially confer on you the title of "Commenter Extraordinaire," with all its accompanying rights and privileges. You herewith possess the exclusive bragging rights for this honor.

Enjoy your new status and 15 minutes of fame. You’ve earned it. In no small part because you gave me a topic to blog about when I otherwise would not have had a post today. Just don’t let it go to your head, because as the blog owner giveth, so the blog owner can taketh away. :)

Locks of Love

Yesterday was the big day! Readers of this blog know that Maia has been growing her hair for an excellent cause—Locks of Love. We’ve been measuring regularly, waiting until we could cut the minimum 10" and still have some hair left for a cute new ‘do. Yesterday, we determined the time had finally arrived. After lunch, we adjourned to Great Clips, where they give free haircuts for those donating the sheared tresses to Locks of Love. It was a nail biting moment for both of us as they took the first snip, but Maia is left with an adorable chin-length bob. She looks like a totally different kid. I couldn’t be more proud!

Upon our return home, Noah, ever observant, asked Maia with all the tact a three-year-old can muster, "What happened to your hair?"

We of course took the obligatory "before" and "after" photos, which I turned into "before" and "after" collages. The collages went to school today for show and tell. Maia can’t wait to tell her classmates all about the needy child out there who will be wearing a wig made from her hair.

Kid bragging

I officially declare today kid bragging day, for no other reason than I feel like bragging about mine.

Brag #1:

Maia made me a beautiful dolphin sculpture in school last week, which I am proudly displaying at work. One of my staff, who used to be an elementary school art teacher, marveled at her talent and eye for spatial details. I absolutely refuse to entertain the notion that it was merely an attempt by the employee to butter up her boss. Maia comes by her artistic talent honestly, through her dad. She also drew a very realistic solar system recently. Her sun, earth, and jupiter were especially well done. That’s one we’ll be saving for posterity.

Brag #2: 

My little Noah is so gosh darn sweet! The boy always has a smile and a laugh, and his laughter is constant music to my ears. I didn’t think 3-year-olds were supposed to have such sunny dispositions, but this one sure does. And he is so easy all the time about everything!  He still lets me call him "baby" and readily agrees that he’s still my little guy. Even when given the choice between being a "little" guy or a "big" guy. My son sure knows how to charm his mother!

  1. Suffer endlessly with a memory impaired system that is woefully inadequate for your resource-hog applications.
  2. Reboot frequently when the repeated virtual memory errors slow the machine down until it finally stops responding.
  3. Contemplate chucking the thing out the window during the 10 very long minutes it takes to complete the reboot.
  4. Complain to anyone who will listen about how slooooow your machine is, documented with specific examples.
  5. Complain some more.
  6. Continually apologize to those who are waiting for you to locate files on your uncooperative piece of junk.
  7. Silently curse the lack of compassion in your IT guys when they tell you that everyone thinks their system is too slow.
  8. Wait for a new IT guy to get hired.
  9. Give him a couple of weeks to settle in, then catch him while he’s still trying to make a good impression.
  10. Pitch the same pitiful sob story you’ve already pitched a million times to his predecessor.
  11. Sit back and watch while the industrious new guy snaps to attention, eager to prove himself useful.
  12. Within 24 hours, enjoy your speedy new computer. And don’t forget to proclaim the new guy’s genius.

My sister sent this to me last week. It really did make my eyes hurt, and I stayed cross-eyed for days. So naturally I felt the need to inflict it on my unsuspecting readers (for lack of anything interesting to blog about).

6 weird things

I was tagged by Peach for this meme, so I’ll play along. Six weird things about me. Let’s see what we can find, shall we, as I plumb the inner depths of my weirdness for those oddities that make me uniquely me.

  1. I have a weird symmetry thing. Like if I touch one side of my face, balance is not restored to my world until I touch the other. Or if I touch my nose, I also have to touch my chin. I can’t tuck my hair behind just one ear. If I have an itch on my left, I’ll mysteriously develop an itch demanding equal attention in the identical spot on my right. Or any of a million other things that must be done in pairs to keep my existence in perfect harmony.

  2. I like pepperoni pizza, but without the pepperoni. Really. I pull most of the pepperoni off. I just like the flavor it leaves behind. This is very fortunate for my husband, who loves nothing better than to score some extra pizza toppings.
  3. I love canned Spaghettios. I eat them All. The. Time. I would even fight my own kids for the last can in the pantry (but I don’t have to because they like a different brand). Though somehow my family got the misconception (maybe because of the pepperoni pizza thing) that I like Spaghettios with meatballs, but without the meatballs. This is not true! I MUST have the meatballs. And Kraft parmesan cheese. Only Kraft. I will accept no substitutes.
  4. I still sleep with teddy bears. Two of them. One I got when I was in the hospital as a kid, and the other my husband gave me when we were dating. They are both very special to me.
  5. I can move one eyeball separately from the other. It’s a special talent I have. People are either very intrigued or very grossed out.
  6. I love math. No really, I do. I was a math geek in school. I was on the math team. I have awards. Yet somehow I ended up in a career that is much more about writing, so it’s a good thing I love that too. Does that make me well-rounded? Maybe I’m not so weird after all!

So those are my six mildly unusual things. Now I’m probably supposed to tag others to play, but I am shirking the responsibility. If you want to give it a whirl, consider yourself tagged.

My legacy to you

Dear Maia and Noah,

This blog is for you. Not just this post, but the whole accidentally thought out thing, warts and treasures and all. Some parents create elaborate scrapbooks for their children to capture precious growing up memories. I’ve seen some of these albums, and they are splendiferous works of artistic perfection.

I am deeply sorry to report that you have not been so blessed.

Your mom is simply not creative enough or patient enough for such crafty pursuits. But she’s using the technological talents she does have to make sure that someday, you’ll look back on your childhood and know just how much you were loved. For starters, in place of cleverly designed scrapbooks, your technophile mother keeps up a personal website for showing off photos to far-flung family and friends. Your unprecedented adorableness has been admired around the globe, and every iteration of that website from Maia’s infancy on has been archived for your own future viewing pleasure.

And your mom’s inner writer also keeps up this online blog of ramblings and reflections, for many reasons, not the least of which is for you.

When I started this blogging experiment, I had no idea what I would write about. It was just supposed to be a temporary outlet to rejuvenate my dormant writing ambitions and get me in the habit of writing regularly, on my own time. Then a funny thing happened. I got readers. Some whom I invited, and others who found me on their own. People started encouraging me with positive feedback (some might say they fed my aspiring author’s ego), and your grandfather began asking if I was saving these stories for you to read someday. And before I knew it, you became the purpose behind much of what I write here. So often, you provide the content, and I am merely the scribe, picking and choosing the right words to relate your escapades. The rest I write knowing that you will read it one day. When you do, you’ll find an eclectic mix. Some of my stories are about you, some chronicle those silly little events of daily life that would otherwise be lost to the ages, some are about my own memories and life experiences, and some will probably teach you a little more about your befuddled, bemused, absent-minded mom—her interests, her sense of humor, and the person she tries to be.

Someday, when I’ve written enough, I’ll be weeding out the duds from this endeavor and self-publishing the rest in book format. It will be a tangible legacy to you of the things I found important enough, or funny enough, or endearing enough to write about. It will be something that, eventually, you’ll be able to remember me by. It’s not why I started this blog, but by golly, it’s why I’m sticking with it.

Of course, this blog legacy must remain hidden from you until you are much, much older. After all, I can’t have your innocent young eyes reading about things like the time I snuck out of my house, or the trickery by which I ensnared my first real boyfriend, or the post which spills the beans about Santa, or the one about your mother as a hot babe, or any of the myriad deceptions we have pulled off on you (tuna fish as butter, anyone?) during your tender formative years.

But there is so much more to what we want for you than what you will find in this blog. Your dad and I hope for so many things for your lives. We want to equip you with the knowledge and self-esteem to make wise choices in life and to be happy with those choices, but we also want you to know that while we will hold you accountable for your decisions, we’ll still love you even through the mistakes. We want you to appreciate the value of an education, and practice lifelong learning. We want you to always be willing to lend a helping hand. We want you to see first-hand what a committed, loving marriage looks like. We want you to look back on a happy home life filled with traditions and fond childhood memories. We want you to see the positive around you, rather than the negative. We want you to share our system of values, attitudes, and beliefs. We want you to love God. And we are trying to set an example for you on all of these things—an example of responsibility, love, loyalty, and kindness.

Our legacy to you doesn’t begin or end with your father and me, however. We also want you to know something of your heritage and culture—both your paternal Irish side (a few generations back) and the Spanish side from my own father. And we want to pass down to you the same things our parents gave to us. I attribute a lot of who I am to my own parents’ teachings and guiding example. They have instilled in me a strong work ethic and an insatiable desire to learn. They made me believe I could do anything I wanted, if I set my mind to it. Because of their influence, I know how to make the most of the opportunities available to me. I’m a doer, not a victim of circumstance. You will be, too. And your daddy’s family legacy, passed down from his parents, is an environment filled with sports, music, laughter, and fun.

So far, I think we’ve been mostly successful in providing the foundation for your future. One need only look back on the stories I’ve already written about you here to make that case. You are both beautiful spirits—loving, affectionate, kind, caring, smart, and respectful of authority. Everyone you come in contact with sings your praises. We can’t take all the credit, since often it’s in spite of our influence, rather than because of it, and I sometimes suspect that you are really angels in disguise, sent by God, but we’ll accept the compliments and keep bragging about you all the same.

However, I would be remiss in not mentioning that along with the good, there is the bad. Not all legacy is desirable, I’m afraid. Your mother? She’s not such a good housekeeper. And judging by the current state of your rooms, neither are the two of you. Here’s a fair warning… I might have to pull this trick on you one day. You can blame your Ama for THAT legacy. And your father? He might be a little OCD about checking that the stove is off, things are unplugged, and the doors are locked. When you find yourselves reciting the daily mantra, “turn things off, lock things up” to your respective spouses as you kiss them goodbye each morning, well, you know who to thank for that harmless obsession.

We’ve made some mistakes with you along the way, too. There have been examples too numerous to count where I have unintentionally hurt your young psyches. Times where I have been impatient or angry, when instead, I should have turned the source of frustration into a teaching opportunity. Times when I have made other things more important than spending quality time with you. Times when I have said “not now” or “in a minute” or “maybe later.” Times when I have adopted an attitude or used a tone of voice that I later regretted.

But despite the parenting faux pas, it’s our hope, as your role models, that the good we do for you outweighs the bad. That the memories trump the mistakes. That the legacy we leave behind for you is something worth passing down to your own future generations. And above all, we want you to know that we always have and always will love you enough to rave about you to the world.

Maia and Noah, this blog, and all our love, is for you.

Love always,
Mommy

The weather has been warm here in sunny Florida, so yesterday we made our first venture into the swimming pool at my parents’ new house. The 78° water was a little chilly for our thin blood, but survivable. Unless you happen to be a certain three-year-old. Lured by the waterfall, he refused all attempts to recall him to dry land, despite his shivering. By the time the pruned boy finally consented to solid ground and a towel, his lips were blue. Maia dramatically proclaimed that they looked purple, then inquired as to the shade of her own lips. She, being slightly more adaptable to the differential in temperature between water and air, had a perfectly pink kisser, and we told her so.

Noah, not to be left out of the conversation, piped up, "My lips are green!"

Like many bloggers, I have Site Meter set up here to get an idea of how many people are visiting my little corner of the internet and how they find me. And like most bloggers, I’ve had hits that resulted from some rather interesting searches. Here’s a sampling.

little girls in bikinis: Sorry dude (or dudette), this isn’t THAT kind of website. This is exactly why I don’t post pictures of my kids here. 

my husband is too girly: Sorry ladies, I can’t relate to your pain. You won’t find any advice on this subject here. 

"you are not my husband" bed story: Um, this is just never gonna happen.

why am I always mad: I don’t know about you, but here is why I am Always MAD. A true but funny story.

perfect lavender paint color: Let me save you the research. It’s called Weeping Wisteria, by Behr. It’s the ideal shade for a girl’s room, and you can find it at Home Depot.

preschool crushes: My sincerest apologies to the three-and-under set, but my son has already been claimed

sleep assault monique: I have neither assaulted anyone nor been assaulted in my sleep. I might have kicked my husband a time or two to get him to stop snoring, but that was done in love. Frustrated insomniac love, perhaps, but love all the same.

gigantic monique/miss fat monique: Well if you can’t be nice about it, go visit some other blog!

hot babe: Well alrighty, then. That’s a little more like it. I’ll take it!

pavlov’s dogs accidental: This one tickled me only because it came in just today. A check revealed that I am the #1 match on this topic, according to Google. It’s always good to be #1 at something, and my head is a little swelled to know that Google considers me the world’s foremost expert on Pavlov’s dogs who accidentally do anything.

There are many more, of course. My daughter will someday be proud to learn that the searches which bring the most traffic to this site are the ones that include a reference to Locks of Love, thanks to this post where I described Maia’s hair donating mission. Way to go, Maia! Your cause is a good one. And a popular one. I’m so proud!

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