Saturday, May 13, 2017

Mother's Day

This is my eighth Mother's Day as a mother. I gotta say, the first five were pretty great and then. Well, then my mom died three days before Mother's Day in 2014.  I spent that Mother's Day driving eight hours  back to Texas from my mom's funeral.  That one probably ranks as one of the crappiest days of my life. After that, Mother's Day just seems to be a bit of a mixed bag for me.  On one hand, I love being a mom. I love these two monkey boy children beyond all reason and I am happy to be reminded that even though they've started trying to fart the alphabet, they've made my life immeasurably happier and I am incredibly grateful to be their mom. But I'm not sure I'll ever truly be able to enjoy Mother's Day again.

I don't mind so much the wall-to-wall pink in all the stores. I can ignore that, mainly because my eyesight is not what it used to be and as long as I'm not wearing my reading glasses, I can just pretend it's all one big super sale on Pepto Bismol. It's just...right when everyone is reminding you how much you should love and appreciate your mom, I don't have mine anymore. And it hurts. Still hurts.

 I had my mom for 42 years, but it wasn't enough. I didn't call and talk with her enough. I didn't ask her about her childhood enough. I didn't ask her for advice enough.  My boys didn't get enough time to get to know her. They won't remember her, they were just too young when she died. How do I make sure they know who she was? I show them pictures and they recognize her as my mom, but they won't ever know her as "Grandma Donald" like all the other grandkids did. Sometimes I get irrationally angry at myself for waiting as long as I did to have children. If I had them ten years sooner, they would have known her better. I know it's a stupid thing to think, but grief doesn't exactly help things make more sense. That's what Mother's Day does to me: simultaneously makes me be grateful for what I have but regretful I didn't do more. I have yet to be able to strike some sort of balance or find peace with it.

But this year, I've decided that it's ok to give myself a little bit of time to be sad and to cry about how unfair it is that I won't be able to hug my mom on Mother's Day. I'm going to let myself... MISS her. And then I'm going to take my boys to Schlitterbahn for their very first time ever. We're going to spend the day running around the water park, riding water rollercoasters that are probably going to make me want to vomit (but I won't because I plan on not eating for 12-16 hours before we go), we're going to get hellaciously sunburnt and exhausted and I'm sure pretty hoarse from screaming with delight. Because I don't know how many Mother's Day those little guys have with me, but I'm going to make every single one of them count.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Introduction

Have yall met Mamie? No? You should meet Mamie. She's our new dog. Specifically, she's Sam's new dog. She was my new foster til Sam told me that she was his new dog (about 12 hours in) SO, now she's our new dog.




What happened was:  I was at the shelter picking up another dog. (I feel like this is how every dog hoarding story you see on Animal Planet probably begins), but I was at the shelter picking up this other dog who was in the small dog cages. If you've never been to the Austin Animal Center (which is very nice, by the way and whose staff and volunteers do a kick ass job),  there are buildings for big dogs, cats, a little section for rabbits and then these built in little units for small dogs with two rows. The dog I was picking up was on the bottom row. Mamie was on the top. I noticed her because she kept trying to throw herself onto the bars and trying to kiss me. This is a photo of our first meeting, it's blurry because she wouldn't stop moving. 

So, I took her out for just a little walkie so she could get a break from the cage and the volunteer who was working there trying to walk all the little dogs would have one less to worry about. This was my fatal mistake. Because she gave me this face.   


And so I asked her if she could maybe make a little effort to look
like a cocker spaniel so I could take her home with me and she gave me this face.

And I was like, "Good enough. Let's go home." 

Once we got home, I had to explain to Sam  how I had gone to pick up one dog and came home with two, but apparently, Mamie and Sam stayed up late together that first night chatting and watching cooking shows and he told me the next day that he thought we should keep her. I mean, it's not like you can resist this. 


The questions people seem to ask the most are:  What is she?  (no clue, but I did just order a DNA test kit. I have a theory..) 
Also, how old is she?  She's five. We think. She was actually in the shelter earlier in the year and was adopted and was "guesstimated" to be five then. So, give or take? She's certainly not a puppy, though I wouldn't blame you for thinking that. 


People also want to know how big she is-- well, she was listed in her paperwork as "overweight" at 13lbs. I don't know that she was so much overweight as she is "built like a small keg with fur."  She has no neck to speak of. She did lose a bit of weight when she had the major barf/poosplosion event the week before Easter, so at her last vet visit, she was around 11.5lbs. 


Personality wise--well, she's a mutt of indeterminate origin who loves to eat
and let it all hang out at the beach. In other words, she fits right in. 

We really really like her. 



Wednesday, April 05, 2017

Lessons Learned

Last Summer, I was having a bit of a hard time getting Rowan to brush his teeth. I mean REALLY brush his teeth, beyond sucking the bubblegum flavored kid toothpaste off his toothbrush and doing a cursory once over with the brush. So, in a moment of frustration, I made a bad parenting decision. I googled. Specifically, I googled "bad teeth" and then I showed the results to Rowan and I told him, "If you don't brush your teeth, this is what they're going to end up looking like." I know. I know. It wasn't the smoothest mom move. And might I highly recommend that you NEVER ever do this, unless, of course, you never want to eat again.
What happened as a result of the Bad Mom Move was that Rowan became OBSESSED with brushing his teeth. I mean, he would brush his teeth for like 10 minutes and then come show me, teeth clenched, lips open wide, "HOW ARE THEY MOM?" He'd ask. And then about 20 minutes later, ask again. "ARE MY TEETH STILL OKAY?" And then after every single meal. And also, if he happened to eat a raisin or, I dunno, breathe air that he thought smelled funny. "STILL OKAY MOM?" And then when I wasn't around, he started asking his teacher after lunch til she sent me a concerned text and I explained that he was really into dental hygiene. This went on for MONTHS til it finally petered out in late Fall. And then, I told him the night before that he had a dentist visit and he panicked, "I DON'T HAVE ENOUGH TIME TO BRUSH MY TEETH, MOM." I know. I'm sure  he will be bringing this up in therapy when he's older. But: point is, his teeth are lovely.
The toenails on the other hand.. JESUS CHRIST. I really don't know how people handle cutting toenails of little boys. I'll be honest, I stopped really making an effort when they were like, 3 and 5. I was getting kicked in the face every time. I think part of me understood that I was complicit in the fact that they were probably just gnawing on them when I wasn't looking, and chalking that up to a WIN for the IMMUNE SYSTEM. But tonight I looked and it was like something out of Rip Van Winkle. Twenty years of toenail growth on a six year old's foot. So, I brought out the clippers. Holy. Hell. There was kicking and screaming and writhing around. I managed to cut 3 out of 10 nails before there was blood and then I just gave up and dealt with the next 10-15 minutes of sobbing about how I "cut off the good toe." (which is totally false, it was like, the middle toe, which I hardly think qualifies).
But I want you to know that I learned my lesson and am not googling "overgrown toenails" and showing it to them because all of us need to sleep between now and sometime when they're 30 years old.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Bluebonnets Redux

When the boys and I were on our way out of town for Spring Break, I saw some pretty bluebonnets and made/forced/bad-mommed them into stopping on the side of the highway to take photos. In those pictures they look like they're having to sit on active fire ant beds and freezing to death...which they sort of were because it was like 55 degrees and raining. I also got a thorn in my leg from kneeling in a briar patch on that photo shoot that caused an infection on my lower leg which did not resolve itself til this week, so you know: instant karma and also, eww: gross.

BUT TODAY. Today is about as beautiful as Austin gets--it's 80 degrees and sunny and the wildflowers are just out of this world.  Snakes are moving, but, you know, AWAY from me... so that's ok. This time no thorns, just a lot of chiggers (it's like 3 hours later and I'm about to douse myself in rubbing alcohol). But I'll do anything for a great bluebonnet shoot...














For their last picture, I let them pose however they wanted to do. Rowan went with doing the Twist and Hopper went with "Public Restroom Squat"-- it's a keeper.



Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Eight

As you may remember, we adopted Mr. Bean when he was 6 weeks old... just a few days before we went into the hospital to have Hopper. We make great decisions like that.





Still, for eight years, we've not had to worry ONE time about the fake burglars coming to invade our homestead, otherwise known as "Anytime a doorbell rings in a commercial, on the TV... or radio... or even in someone else's house three streets over." Bean is on top of it.


My particular favorite is when he barks at flying bugs. At 3am. 

This year, you can see a little bit of graying coming through around his eyebrows and it occurred to me that he's actually considered a "senior dog" now. 


A couple of months ago, I got a sad email that one of Bean's sisters had died. She had developed cancer. The family had written this just absolutely lovely note about how she was a  loveable goofball til the day she died--it made me sob 'cause I know about the loveable goofball part, and eight is way too young for a dog to go!


I'm hoping that Bean is with us for a lot longer because even though he stole an entire canister of virginia peanuts off our dining room table and ate them in one sitting, resulting in a fart situation that I have not yet recovered from fully, we do love his big fat head. 


Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Travis County Fair & Rodeo 2017

We did have fun today, minus that whole Pirate Ship Incident.  It was a gorgeous day and those 16 hours we spent at the fairgrounds seemed to fly by! (no they didn't).  I have nothing really to add, other than that little lamb you'll see was quite possibly the most contented creature I have ever seen in my entire life.

































Anatomy of a Ride Gone Wrong

First of all, I'd just like to point out that there WAS in fact a height requirement for this ride and he met it. Secondly, there is no merit to this post other than I could see this unfolding as I was taking pictures and I laughed so hard, I snorted my $7 Cherry Limeade up my nose.

The ride?  The Pirate Ship, as  Rowan now refers to it as, "That Horrible Boat Thing." If you do not know what the Pirate Ship is, or does, then you have obviously not attended a State or County Fair any time in the last 30 or so years. The Pirate Ship heaves you back and forth until your stomach physically separates itself from the rest of your body. It makes you vomit, that's what it does. That's it, there's no other purpose. But, they wanted to ride it, so I said yes.

Here we are buckled in, before the ride starts moving.  Faces looking a little apprehensive, but so far so good.



 Here the ride has started and there is some obvious fun going on.  Smiles. Faces look happy!




See?  Obvious fun.  That look is a little bit on the line between I'M HAVING SO MUCH FUN and also I'M ABOUT TO START CRYING, but there's really no cause for alarm.

And then, THIS moment right here.. This is the exact moment I believe that the tables started to turn. 


Let's zoom in on that a bit, shall we? Yep. This moment right here is when the "OH SHIT" started to happen. 


And it did not get better. 


In fact, I believe at this point, he's just given up and is trying to physically hold his stomach inside his body so it does not fall out. 


Aannnd, here we are at the end of the ride. A bit less happy looking. 




I want you to know that I finished laughing before he unloaded and by the time he ran to me looking like this, I had all the Cherry Limeade wiped off my chin.