Friday, May 27, 2011


I am full of little platitudes and mantras that I often quote to myself and others. Honestly, I am a walking Hallmark card and how it hasn't annoyed anyone is beyond me (are ya'll too polite to call me on it?). One day I want to take some of my favorite ones and cross stitch them. It would be even better if I could get my friend to put them into a quilt. I can think of no better testament to the art of motherhood (even funnier if I use the stupid things that I say over and over on a daily basis).

My favorite chant is Breathe. So often, I am so stressed, that I forget to breathe deeply, fill my lugs all the way, give my body, my mind, oxygen. It is amazing how well it works. The other afternoon I was manning yet another insane recess time, trying to simultaneously mediate fights, patch minor boos boos, and watch new jump rope tricks. I paused took a deep breath and smelled... honeysuckles! Unknowingly I softly sighed "Honeysuckles!" One of the little boys tearing past me stopped, sniffed the air in wonder , and broke out into a huge grin. "I smell them too. Where are they?" I pointed them out and he continued charging past me, but for a moment he and I shared a moment of peace. That has been so rare.

Ironically, one of the most important people in my life has had such a hard time breathing even shallowly. My poor Lily has been miserable with allergies and asthma. All of her life doctors have been guessing at what in the world causes her such distress. We medicate, she hacks, we pound her back she hacks, we prop her up, she hacks, I don't sleep, she hacks. Currently she is on Calritin once a day, Veramist twice, Patanase twice, Advair twice, and rescue inhaler as needed. This week was the worst. The school called me twice at work. She wasn't able to stop coughing even with the inhaler. These are the times that being a teacher is the worst, I am torn in two directions, switching Mommy hat and teacher hat, loving all my kiddos, hating to leave any of them. Finally, Rob was able to take her to the doctor and they gave her a nebulizer. So far so good. This summer, once she clears up, the allergist is going to do a full battery of tests to figure out exactly what she is allergic to. We don't want to keep her on all of this medicine any longer than necessary. Meanwhile we are all tryign to slow down and breathe.

Monday, May 23, 2011

When Life Gives You Lemons

Well, it pretty much same old same old around here. Allergy season, spring colds, two over worked parents, one anxious and moody teenager, Lily, and a rabbit. Yup, Caroline got her rabbit. We adopted a rabbit from the pound. Of course, being us we managed to find a "teen bunny with a sassy attitude." While romping upstairs, she likes to stop every once in awhile and thump the ground. Is this the bunny way of giving me the "paw?" She also likes to make her hutch as messy as possible. This prompted us to move her from Caroline's room to the playroom. Dirty clothes and books all over the floor is bad enough, but add rabbit shredding and well you get the picture.

Last week was probably the longest week of this spring. It is testing season in VA and with that comes stress and crazy schedules. Last week I came home after a very long day of switched schedule and lunch with my kiddos. I had a nasty cold and truly just wanted a break from children. I believe the exact quote as I stumbled through the door hacking and snorting was "I have been with kids all day. I really need a break." What Lily heard was "Please try to fill the giant cup left from Mommy's maternity stay in the hospital with as much lemonade as you can. Do this while standing on tip toe. Make sure to flood the counter (especially the spot with the bills and Mommy's To Do list). As the counter floods jump away so the lemonade can cascade down to the floor and create a "Club Med" for the sugar ants that have taken refuge in the kitchen." Can you guess what lily heard in response to this? Needless to say it was said with much snuffling and nose blowing and accompanied by a couple of lines beginning with "Is it too much to ask..." and "All I really want is....."

The true irony? All this happened while I was on my upstairs to take a long hot relaxing shower with my new lemon sugar scrub.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Navigating a Minefield

Parenting a teenager in this day and age is so very difficult. Most days I really don't feel at all equipped. Especially when you take into account that when I was a teen I was shy and stuck in a time warp. Think a Lousia May Allcott/Sandra Dee hybrid. If I didn't experience a normal teen life in the 80's, how in the world can I help Caroline through the here and now?

I guess, I just do my best and try not to take anything personally. It is hard when I feel like there are so few parts of my daily life where I am not being attacked or having unreasonable demands made upon me.

I am so glad that at least I am not charging through this field alone, I have Rob. Every once in a while though, I need to escape to the time when I was semi-normal or at least felt comfortable with who I was. A time when I had hope and optimism and really had no idea what true exhaustion was. I time travel to the 90's. I was still fairly alone, but I had best friends like Salinger and Faulkner. I listened to amazing music (still do!) like David Bowie, U2, REM, The Ramones, and The Clash. I had my own style of flowy gypsy skirts with Chucks and the most awesome patched jean jacket. I wanted to change the world and had an idea of how to do it. I had no idea how overwhelming a task that truly is.

I get together with my "pre-kid" friends a couple of times a year. They know me as myself, not just a mother. We have traveled to adulthood together. I can clearly look back and remember the moments when we crossed over together: marriage, houses, pets, births, deaths. That was my journey. I had/have amazing people to share it with me. It created me. All of it was important: the good and the bad. I need to let my girls take their journey. I can be the GPS (look at me moving into the 21st century), but they might not always follow. I can't force them, although I wish that I could. I would save them the heartbreak. But then again, how do you know joy, if you've never felt heartbreak?

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

On a Lighter Note

I have discovered how to change the background on this puppy. Watch out guys; it's time for me to flex my creative muscles:)

Monday, May 2, 2011

Mixed Emotions

"Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that."

Martin Luther King Jr.

I don't for a minute condone the acts of 9/11. I live outside of Washington, D.C. I will never forget the horror of that day. I just can't see how our nation dancing in the streets over a death is any better than other nations doing the same. I am very torn over this. I have a terrible feeling that more violence is yet to come. I also have a glimmer of hope, maybe it is the first grade teacher in me. I do think that the young people around the world are looking for better answers, better lives. Look at Egypt. We are not born hating. We are not born knowing that one race or culture is different from another. I see this first hand daily. I have a class of children from nine different countries, they speak seven different languages, they are followers of at least four different religions, yet they are united in one common goal: to play and to outwit the woman (that would be me) who tries to keep them from playing all day long:) They don't see color. That is why I choose to raise my children here. Caroline and Lily really don't see color or religion. All they see is friend/not friend, mean person/kind person. Maybe that is the way our future is headed. I doubt it, soon enough some dumb adult will come along and teach them all that they are different. Their belief system is the only right way and by default all others are wrong. As these thoughts weigh on my head, I go about my comfortably normal life. I argue with Caroline about homework, I cook dinner, I con Lily into eating "one more bite," I do laundry, I play spider solitaire, and I go to bed with this thought "I am so blessed, I am so blessed."