Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Bum, bum, bum, bum, buuuummmmm!

Hmmm... It's been a while since I've blogged, huh?

OK. QUITE a while... Like, two weeks. What have I been up to?

Work: Busy, busy, busy... roll-out events, guests on campus, redoing the budget forms for one of my programs, on and on -- good, yes. Unfortunately the college is struggling with budgetary issues and it sounds like Scott and I will both be receiving a 2% pay cut next year. Ouch! And the college will be reducing their contribution to our retirement accounts, boo, hiss... We'll be OK overall, but it's not gonna be a fun year by any means, and who knows what will happen next year.

Play: Scott's been hard at work on the kids' playset -- it now has rubber mulch underneath and a roof on the platform -- very cute. I think we'll stain it caramel color and paint the roof green to match the hardware. On to more landscaping stuff -- before the dogs smash all of the hostas that I just transplanted. I think I foresee a big dumpster in our future and a week of Scotty cleaning out and throwing away crap from the garage.

Other: Scott was in NYC from the 17-22 for the Broadway Lighting Master Classes. I think he got something from them, though maybe not as much as he expected. Ah, well... He did get to eat some pretty good food and see some good shows, something about which I am infinitely jealous.

Kids: Both kids are doing pretty well. Violet cracked me up yesterday as she drung me down the hall at the Olinger's to the chair where I usually nurse her when we're out there. She said, "Mere, Mom!" and took my finger and pulled me down the hall. She pointed to the chair and said, "You sit here. Nursing you!" I guess she wanted to nurse... Then, while nursing, she smacked me with an open handed slap on my belly, giggled and said, "I'm so silly! I silly!" Although it was likely the wrong thing to do, I couldn't help but giggle... She has also taken to shaving years off my life by vaulting off of the top platform of the swingset into my arms -- whether or not I knew that she was going to do it... Scares the heck outta me...

She's also been protesting her diaper. "My bum! My bum! My bum!" she says... Yes, it is your bum, but until your bum knows how to use the potty, your bum will be in a diaper. And not the one that you put on yourself... You know, the backwards one jammed between your legs that leaves your whole backside hanging in the wind... Yeah... Your bum will be in the diaper I put it in, little missy! "No, it's MY bum!" appears to be a battle cry.

Milo has been a conundrum lately -- he's so whiny that I think he's forgotten how to talk using a regular voice, but then he'll be startlingly sweet and kind about the most unexpected things. On Tuesday night, I took the kids to Subway solo because I was starting to feel icky and didn't really want to cook. I managed to get their food ordered, no small feat considering that the kids working the counter had smaller attention spans than my children. We sat down at the table and as I was portioning out food, Violet spilled half of her milk on the table. We had two napkins. Two... Who thought THAT was a good idea? After I finally managed to get another four napkins from the dimwitted teenaged cashier and mop up the mess, I sat down to eat with my left hand and help Violet with my right. Milo was sitting across the booth from us, eagerly chowing down on his "foot-long" (a six-inch spicy Italian). He watched me carefully -- feedign a toddler in a restaurant is akin to training an octopus -- and remarked softly, "Wow, mom, it looks like it is hard to eat and take care of someone at the same time." Yeah, that's my sweetie... Tears sprung to my eyes as his little round face looked at me with admiration. Yep, that pretty much made me feel like a heel for being annoyed with him whining mere minutes before...

And onto what has occupied the majority of my week: a sudden and harsh case of pneumonia. Completely out of the blue. As in Tuesday morning I wake up sneezing and think, "Gee, my allergies are pretty annoying today" and Wednesday at noon I'm trying to convince a doctor that I don't have swine flu and that I don't need to be hospitalized. Although I do apparently need a chest x-ray, in-office nebulizer treatment, a shot in the bum (rocephrine), two oral antibiotics (zythromax and augmentin), oral steroids, albuterol in both nebulizer and inhaler forms, and ibuprofen for the 102 degree fever. So not cool. I'm still hacking and I have oh-so-sexy man voice. What fun! I paid a sitter to sleep at the house in case I needed help Wednesday night and was off work until today.

I just can't believe how crazy it is that I haven't been sick in ages, then both times I get flat-on-my-back SICK sick, Scott's out of town. I managed to get some rest this weekend, but the kids wanted to be outside with daddy as he worked on their playset, so that meant supervising them outdoors, where my allergies aren't likely to speed recovery. I needed a day to loll about in bed, but aside from a Thursday morning nap, that didn't really happen, either. Oh, I was plenty lazy, but I didn't really REST rest, if you know what I mean. Thursday night Milo woke up croupy at 2 AM, so he and I were snuggled on the deck for a while, then I brought him back to bed with me -- not particularly relaxing as he flipped sideways in the bed and actually kicked me in the face. Then I rescued him three times from falling onto the floor. So not too much sleep that night, either. Violet has been waking once a night again, but I am luckily able to nurse her for a few minutes, then put her back down and she rolls right over onto her tummy, bum in the air. Anyway -- Milo went to the doctor where he was diagnosed with a cold and croup and prescribed steroids, which I will not give to him. Are you kidding me? He's amped up and whiny enough as it is -- I can't imagine him roid raging on top of being almost four... no way, baby!

In the meantime, the crazy amount of antibiotics in my system have done two good things and a bad thing. The bad thing, of course, is destroy the good flora in my digestive tract. Hence my yogurt all the time diet. The good things? Well, the pneumonia has been tamed into a bad chest cold. And the skin on my face is pristine! Who knew...

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Live Long and Prosper

Yesterday was the thirteenth anniversary of our wedding -- happy anniversary to my dearest love. Lucky thirteen years!

We celebrated by going to the new Star Trek movie. I must preface this by saying that Scott had been helping his parents re-side the house on Saturday when his cousins dropped a piece of siding on his head. He went to an insta-care and ended up with three staples in his head and a tetanus booster. Apparently, he's having some odd side effects from the vaccination as he's been chilled to the bone since then. He's not feverish, but he has been bundled up like a sumo wrestler on ice. So, he was clothed in a dark sweater, dark pants, and a dark stocking cap (because his hair hasn't been washed in three days) and shivering, so I apparently spent my anniversary with a man who looked like he was a junkie in withdrawal. Classy, huh?

So this post should probably be one about my darling husband and the wonderful love we've had for each other through the years, but it's going to be about Star Trek instead. Not necessarily the new movie, though I did enjoy it as an action flick. But as in the iconography of Star Trek and how that has impacted my life thus far.

"Space... the final frontier..." Well, yes, this is true. But not a frontier that this person can fathom, nor enjoy exploring. I enjoy looking at the startling images brought back to us by the Hubble telescope, but the enormity of the universe frightens me and thinking about the distance involved in space travel sort of makes me feel like I'm drowning a bit, so space is not my likely frontier.

So what is? Where can I "boldly go where no man has gone before?" Aside from the rather obvious entendre, I get stuck on BOLDLY. I am not a bold person. I don't know that I ever have been bold. In fact, I think that I am rather introverted. I really don't like the telephone and my preferred method of communique is email. My handwriting really stinks and I'm a much better and more fluid typist than I ever expected to be. So I think the only bold you'll see from me goes with Crtl b.

The characters from the original Star Trek series are as familiar to me as my uncles. Star Trek was one of the shows (and later movie series) that my whole family would watch. If someone were to ask me "Star Trek" or "Star Wars," my easy answer is Trek. By a mile.

In college, Scott and I watched "Star Trek: The Next Generation" and "Deep Space Nine." In graduate school, it was "Star Trek: Voyager." I even went one Halloween as a Klingon. We used the music from the end credits of Star Trek 4 as our wedding recessional. I will admit that I've never seen en episode of "Enterprise." Life got too busy to make it appointment TV.

I did, however, realize that I am a Spock kinda girl, particularly after watching the updated movie. I have always found the journey that Spock goes on as a character to be the longest and most difficult. Sure, Kirk got all the glory, but, oddly enough, Spock had all the heart.

I think that, as a tween, I sort of saw my father in the rakish Kirk -- he'd talk about his escapades as a kid and I could see some of that "Oh, yeah? You wanna make me?" rebellion in him. He was a smart kid masquerading as an average student, a pioneer as an early baby boomer. I often wonder if he'd been just a bit more bold himself, if he wouldn't have run with the counterculture, ditching the security of his Iowa home for the romance of following Route 66. That maybe with a little nudge, he'd have stepped into another universe. With his sandy blonde hair and round baby face, it wasn't much of a stretch to imagine my dad as Captain James T. Kirk.

And yet, still Kirk was not my favorite. I think that as I was entering those formative teen years, the struggle and angst not unusual to a pubescent girl drew me towards the conflict Spock felt as an inter-species love child. The part of me that wanted to be so dang grown up and capable was the Vulcan, the little girl who was afraid of growing up, changing and becoming a person unto myself, then Earthling. As I said, the usual teen angst. That whole ego/id struggle, you know.

And then during my parents' divorce, my perspective changed -- about nearly everything. I began to see what I thought was silence and disconnect from my father as the Vulcan in him, bravely trying to hold the all-too-human in him back, to reign in the fear, loss, and yearning. Captain Kirk had lost his way, and Spock had come to find him. Never again have I regarded his slow intake of breath as disinterest -- I realize now that my father's love is so consuming that one drop over the dam would start a flood. That all of the times I was searching for a word of encouragement or display of pride, that all he could safely muster was a hug and a pat on the back -- to show more would betray his passion.

Thankfully, as Spock ages he finds no need to reign in the human influence over his heart -- and the same can be said for my father. Getting to know him as an adult has been one of the best things in my life. Perhaps this is the final frontier... knowing one's self. I think it might be mine and I think I want to go exploring, boldly or not.

And Scott? Well, I must admit that I did marry a Scottie -- he's got a solution for everything if you just give him a minute, his sense of humor flaps behind him like a superhero's cape, and he's never met a donut he couldn't refuse. Live long and prosper, my love!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009


So I seem to be posting a lot about Violet right now. I think it's because she's hitting a real explosion in language development right now. That and she's the second child, so I feel the need to spread some glory to her instead of focusing so much on Milo's milestones, ya know?

Anyway, here are some of the cute things Miss Vivi has said lately:

"Wha happened?" with her arms up, shoulders shrugged like she's looking around after a tornado blew threw. She looks completely bewildered, eyes wide and everything. This is said frequently after loud noises, crashes, close-calls with falling objects, and outbursts from her brother. Her, "bwuh-nuh," that is.

"Up-ere!" or "Uppy!" I think she's saying up here, as in pick me up here where you are. Always said with arms stretched up and usually with legs trying to climb, too.

"Nertz" or "nursss" or "nuhssss" for nurse. At my "bets", of course.

Those bendy things in your arms? "Eh-boos." The caterpillar-y things above your eyes? "Eye-bows."

Our pets? "Poppy!" pant, pant. Yes, she pants every time. Sometimes she says "doggie" clear as a bell, but it is still followed by two pants. She correctly identifies "Mona" (Mocha) and "Tess" (Tess).

Time to go somewhere? "Bye-bye! See you!" and then I "buck-uh" her in to her "seat." Sometimes she wears a "jack-eet" when she goes "'side" to play, too.

When she wants to run around naked, she insists, "My potty!" so you'll help her with her diaper, since she can get un-"dessed" by herself. She does this both when she's getting ready for a bath and when she just thinks clothing should be optional, though she is very good about "wasss"-ing her hands and using wipes/wet Kleenex to clean the house.

When she's hungry, she'll always ask for a "nack" so she can "eatit" with her "wadah." She likes me to sit "right-here" on the couch, sometimes she'll be "back" if she gets down to do something. Usually to bring me a "bebe" -- often "Si-cella" (Cinderella) or a "bick" (book) about "Pee Bear" (Pooh Bear).

And the rest of the time, who knows what she's saying....

Monday, May 4, 2009

Spell of Joy

I think last night just might have been a perfect night.

Iowa is lush and green right now -- spring is bursting out all around us and Scott's parents' lawn was a thick carpet of new grass yesterday evening. Scott and the kids had been kicking a kickball around while I was helping Dianne with dishes. When I finished inside the house, I headed out to see what the fam was doing.

Milo was sprinting after the kickball, his cheeks flushed and eyes snapping. He dove over the ball so that Scott couldn't sneak it away from him. Right about then, Violet noticed that I'd come outside. She squealed, "Mommy!" and ran headlong towards me. She was wearing a lavender dress that had a tiered skirt and a pink sweater with red polka dots. As she ran to me, arms up, she reminded me of the little girl who played Carrie on the "Little House on the Prairie" show -- the one who tumbles down a grassy hill during the credits. Violet did not tumble, but her glee as she ran sort of hit me like a sonic boom. I scooped her up and called to the boys to kick the ball my direction.

Thus started a crazy game of kicking the ball. There was really no rhyme or reason for it, but we kicked the ball willy-nilly to each other, laughing and teasing and cheering at each other. I was wearing slip-on shoes, so my shoe went flying on several kicks -- something that thoroughly entertained Milo. Violet was only able to kick the ball a few feet, so Scott picked her up and began to use her as bat of sorts -- holding her under her arms and swinging her so that her feet connected with the ball. She was thrilled! We carried on this way for almost an hour, maybe. It was hard to tell as time was suspended while we whooped and hollered.

My completely exhausted children fell asleep in the car mid-conversation and both managed to stay asleep as we tucked them into their beds. I checked on them when I went to bed, both were curled up tightly, Violet with her bum in the air and Milo like a shell on his side, their faces still flushed -- this time with sleep.

To have an evening where everyone was happy, where everyone was enjoying just being with each other, where our crazy kickball dance cast a spell of joy -- this is the reason I want the life I have.