Friday, February 26, 2010

Musical Interlude Friday

I'm not sure if I'm going to make this a regular thing or not, but I want to share with y'all this funny video/song my husband introduced me to last night. It's all about the love of words and how much fun certain words are to say. It sounds like it might have been made by some of the people who do Sesame Street (has the Street vibe), but I'm not sure.

Bulbous Bouffant by the Vestibules

Enjoy! (Mukluks!)

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

A New 'Do

So, do you notice anything different about me?

I've got a blog design, I've got a new blog design, I've got a new blog design!!

I owe special thanks to one Ms. Cass Comerford over at Cass. Just Curious. I gave her a couple of ideas, but she came up with this one all by herself and I loved it more than anything I had suggested.

I loved my old blog design -- I created that one all by myself -- but I felt like I needed something new. Sort of like spring cleaning.

Anyway, thanks again, Cass!! I LOVE IT!

What say you, my loyal subjects?

Monday, February 22, 2010

Disco Roller Skating Queen

Last night our church's children's group went roller skating. Now, I used to be the roller skating queen in middle school, but it has been quite some time since I tied on the ol' skates.

Well, actually, I took Bubba to a skating birthday party last summer, but that was the first time in at least twenty years that I had skated. I wanted to try it again just to see if I still could. I could still skate, but I was kind of surprised to find that it didn't come quite as easily to me as it used to. It is not, in fact, like riding a bicycle. I felt very unsteady on my feet and I think that feeling of unease is the same one I felt the first time I climbed a tree as an adult. I'm all to aware these days how much it would suck to break something, not to mention how inconvenient it would be.

I learned very quickly on that visit that it is much easier to keep a small non-skater on his feet if I was also not wearing skates. I had not counted on this, though, and was wearing only some cute summer slides. I think I only lost a toe or two though.

The funniest thing about that trip was Bubba's insistence on telling everybody he encountered "I'm not very good at this!" As though he needed to explain. He must have said it every ten seconds. Between trying to keep him on his feet and attempting to assure him that of course he wasn't very good, it was his first time, I was exhausted. But, by the time we were ready to go, he was starting to get the hang of it.

Last night was Punkin's first trip to the skating rink and I could tell she is a girl after my own heart -- a magpie. She is attracted to anything sparkly, shiny, or shimmery. The rotating lights and the disco ball were pure magic to her. She couldn't wait to get out there on the floor. I'm sure in her mind she was watching herself gliding across the floor like some of the older girls who were there.

After we got the skates on we headed out to the floor, whereupon Punkin's legs each went in a different direction. I felt very much like Dorothy when she's helping the Scarecrow right after he hops down from the post and he's flopping his limbs about willy nilly. Only Punkin's scarecrow feet had ten pound weights on them. I was wearing tennis shoes this time so my feet fared a lot better, but next time I think I'll invest in some steel toed boots.

We flopped and slipped and fell and "skated" one rotation around the rink before we retreated to the bench on the side. One of the other beginners told Punkin how much easier it was to skate on the carpet, so we gave it a try. We started out with my hands under her armpits, but she quickly set me straight. "No, Mommy! Let me go!" I was scared to death she was going to fall and break something (what with her recent medical luck and all), but she got her balance pretty quickly. And with that, she was off. By herself. Down the whole length of the skating rink and back.

As soon as I was willing to let go of her, she did it all by herself. I'm sure there's a metaphor for parenthood in there somewhere, but I've got a little something in my eye. Give me just a second....

By the end of the night she was sort of skating -- though she said "I was just WALKING, I want to skate like those girls!" You will, Punkin. You will.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Musical Interlude

In keeping with yesterday's post, take a listen to this song by Secret Agent 23 Skidoo, one of my favorite new artists for kids.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

The Art of Being You

Before I launch into my Deep Thoughts, I wanted to give y'all an update on Punkin. I didn't really tell y'all about this, but Punkin's eyeball under her upper eyelid was blood red and it was freaking me out. Her pediatrician deemed it a subconjunctival hemmorhage, and while freaky it is basically harmless. He also cut her antibiotic dose in half which has alleviate her stomach troubles.

When she returned to school today all her friends greeted her like Norm walking into Cheers and Mr. Daddy said they all came up and hugged her. Her sweet little smile when she was telling me about it did my heart good, especially when I think back to those months when I worried about her social skills and whether or not she had any friends.

Anyway, back to my Deep Thoughts.

A week or so ago I read a post Alice Bradley wrote over at Finslippy talking about fear. Specifically, she was talking about the fear people get when they've done something creative like write a blog post, or a poem, or paint a picture. There's always going to be someone out there who has something negative to say about whatever topic is at hand. Most of us have had trolls on our blogs (though, thankfully I've had very, very few of them and they actually weren't very troll-y) or have read ugly comments on other people's blogs. Unfortunately, because of the option to comment anonymously, I think that this has let loose upon the world a river of hatred, vitriol, and negativity that I honestly wish we could do without. I'm all for free speech, but I believe that if you want to say it, you should be willing to give your name.

Anyway, I digress. Sort of. Because I haven't really been the target of online negative comments I can only imagine that they are quite hurtful and if received often enough, could dampen one's enthusiasm for the creative process.

But what actually came to my mind when I read Alice's post was my friend Sara. Up until about 3 months ago, Sara had long, full, vibrant, naturally curly hair. It was, so to speak, her crowning glory and the thing that people noticed immediately about her. It was just gorgeous.

But, Sara is also a full time student pursuing her Master's Degree in Divinity, a full-time mother, a wife, a friend to many, part-time pastor at her church and other duties as assigned. And I think, and this is partly conjecture on my part, that Sara's hair began to feel like a burden. It was one more thing she had to deal with and it was the one thing that was expendable. Also, because of some other things she's dealing with, I think she wanted to prove that a person is more than their physical appearance.

So she cut it off. All of it. It's pixie short and so cute.

But the reactions she's received. My Lord, you would have thought the world had come to an end. Her first Sunday at church the reactions ran the gamut from "Please tell me I'm dreaming that you cut all your hair off" to "Oh, don't worry, it will grow back!" as though she cut it off by accident. People have actually seemed to be offended that she dared to cut her hair. As though it were THEIR hair.

The day before I read Alice's post, someone had said something to Sara that had particularly hurt her feelings. They'd caught her on a low day and she began to question herself, whether she HAD done the right thing by cutting her hair. And so, when I read "A few words about fear" I thought of the trolls in our lives, the ones who stifle our creativity with backhanded compliments. The ones who can't stand it when we do something for ourselves, or something that takes us outside of the little box they've placed us in. I think we've all had those people in our lives who try to sabotage us by taking our good and making it bad.

On Ash Wednesday our minister preached about the real face behind the masks we wear every day. I think that as we get older we get more comfortable presenting that real face to the world. We become more comfortable in our own skin, more willing to stand up for what we believe, for what we want to do, for how we want to look.

I'm not going to lie, I've let other people's expectations of me keep me in their little box for many years. But I'm trying to put down my mask and be the real me.

That day I forwarded Alice's post to Sara and told her that I thought of her when I read it. That she is creating Sara every day -- the Sara she wants to be and the Sara that she presents to the world. And if other people don't like it, screw them. Actually, if you want to know the truth, I said "If they don't like it, fuck 'em." I'm sorry for the language, but sometimes I cuss. You should know that about me. Especially when I'm mad. This is the real me.

So, don't let the trolls in your life hold you back. Be you. And I'll do the same.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

If It's Not One Damn Thing, It's Another.

Sorry for the radio silence around these parts. It's been a crazy couple of days.

First there was the snow. And as you know, the threat of snow around these parts tends to cause chaos. Bubba's school let out early on Friday, so I picked up both kids on my way home. About an hour after we got home, the flakes started falling, small at first, then thicker and faster. Even Mr. Daddy's office closed early. As the snow started accumulating on the ground, Mr. Daddy and I both began to worry we'd have a repeat of last year. Fortunately, we only got about three inches this time and the power stayed (mostly) on.

The kids had a blast in the snow, especially Punkin. She would have stayed out all day if I'd let her. But, as we are, for the most part, woefully unprepared in the snow-approved clothing department, I made them come in after a while before they caught their death of snow (and mud).

But, we didn't really get to enjoy the snow as much as we'd have liked due to a small but potentially complicated medical issue.

Let me back up a little. Also, warning, slight grossness ahead.

Last summer, Punkin got what looked like an infected bug bite on her knee. It looked like a boil and was extremely painful and I debated taking her to doctor, but by the time I had decided that she needed to go, it was looking a lot better and eventually healed on its own.

Fast forward to about three or four months ago (they've all run together at this point) when Punkin told us that she'd mashed her finger at school and it was really sore. The end of her finger began to get bigger and bigger and redder and redder and finally, when pus began to form under the skin, we took her to the doctor. They had to lance her finger and they tested the pus as a matter of course. I was floored when the test came back positive for MRSA. Surprisingly, the didn't give us any oral antibiotics, only an antibiotic cream and instructions to add 1/2 cup of Clorox to her bath twice a week.

Now, I'll tell you, I was freaked out. If you've never Googled MRSA on Google Images, DON'T. It will haunt your nightmares. But, our pediatrician was pretty matter of fact about it. While he admitted that we probably dodged a bullet last summer, he said that as long as we were diligent about keeping cuts clean and responding to infections and/or boils appropriately, we'd probably be fine.

Since then Punkin has had one more boil come up on her knee -- this after skipping one of the Clorox baths one week. We treated this boil with a combination of the antibiotic cream and some liquid turmeric. I have done a lot of research about natural remedies and found that turmeric is an ayurvedic remedy known for it's strong healing properties. Also, if you're interested, Manuka honey, from New Zealand is a great (though expensive) remedy. Anyway, I had skipped the Clorox bath because the Clorox was drying Punin's skin out, even though I slathered her with lotion after every bath. But, the boils are way worse than dry skin so we're back to twice a week Clorox baths -- which I was comforted to read aren't really that much different than swimming in a chlorinated pool.

Anyway, fast forward again to Friday when I noticed that Punkin was getting what looked like a sty on her eyelid. On Sunday she woke up and it was more swollen and looked a little more like pink-eye. So, we went to the local doc in a box and because of her MRSA they prescribed bactrim and some drops for her eye. After we left I dropped Punkin off at my mom's because they had a date to see the Cinderella ballet.

They had a good trip to the ballet, but when I picked Punkin up on Sunday night, she had just woken up and she was cranky and her eye looked terrible. There was bloody looking pus at the site of the sty and when she cried it looked like she was crying blood! Needless to say, I freaked and we headed straight to the ER.

Three hours later, we saw a doctor. He consulted with an opthalmologist on call who prescribed a very strong antibiotic shot and some stronger eye drops and a followup appointment with him the following day. He declared her "on the mend," but today we're dealing with a severe upset stomach caused by the antibiotics. I've added in some probiotics to her diet, but I'm not sure how long it will take for those to make a difference.

And we have an appointment at 11:30 with her pediatrician to take a look at her and to address an issue still going on with her eye.

So. That's what I've been up to in a very large nutshell. We'll be going to see our 4th doctor in five days. I just want my baby to be well.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Sniffle, snort.

So, I have a cold. It's not fun. Amazingly, it's my first one of the year. I asked my immune system the other day if it couldn't have held out just another month or so. Thank God for Dayquil is all I have to say. And tissues.

I didn't blog last night because last night was "one of those nights." For me that means that I'm feeling overwhelmed by the world. It was bath night for both kids, I had to prepare a veggie tray for the Valentine's party at Punkin's school, and I had to make a dessert for the kids' Valentine program at church tonight. AND I had to get all of Punkin's Valentine cards ready AND I had to sit on my butt for a little while.

On nights like that, all I can see around me is everything that needs to be done. The dishes need to be put away, some need to be handwashed. The clothes need to be folded. The carpet needs to be vacuumed. The floor needs to be swept. The piles (of crap) need to be sorted and or straightened or assigned to new piles. The checkbook needs to be balanced.

And I start to feel overwhelmed. To say the least. Tonight's not going to be much better, but at least the weekend is on the horizon.

Monday, February 8, 2010


For what it's worth, this is my 400th post. In a way, that doesn't seem like many since I've been blogging for 3 1/2 years. Wait, is that right? No, just checked the archives and it's only 2 1/2 years.

Anyhoo, Mr. Daddy and I went to Savannah this past weekend, our third visit to the Savannah Book Festival and we had just as much fun as we always do.

The keynote speaker this year was Vince Flynn. I gotta be honest and say that I've never heard of him, but that's probably because he writes political thrillers and that's not my bag, baby. He doesn't look quite as much as a brylcremed Matt Lauer as he does on his website, but he wasn't hard to look at. And his talk was entertaining, though he liked to name drop about all the Presidents he's met. That's President of the United States, just to be clear. And if I'm being completely honest, his approach to writing seemed to be very different from that of most writers I've met or talked to. He approaches it quite like a business, making it his *GOAL* (his asterisks and emphasis) to be #1. And that seems to be his only motivation -- to be #1. Most writers I've talked to, or read, talk about the joy/pain of writing and the necessity of getting the story out of one's self. I don't know. It was just weird. Different.

We also heard Jonathan Rabb speak, as well as one of my favorite poets, Starkey Flythe! Rabb writes historical fiction, one of my favorite genres, and it was fascinating to hear him talk about how these stories come to life for him and how he chooses that one moment in time to write about. And Starkey. Well, Starkey is...he is frankly, indescribable, but I'll try. Humorous, self-depracating, obviously brilliant, somewhat scatterbrained, bewhiskered, and poetic. His poems are hilarious and touching, confusing and illuminating. Mr. Daddy and I were talking this weekend about who we'd rather hang out with, Vince Flynn or Starkey Flythe. And without hesitation I said "Starkey. Because you just know he's got better stories."

This was the first time we went back to Savannah that we didn't drop by our old places of employment to say hi or to see who's still there. We didn't drive by either of our old houses. We didn't go to our old church. So that was kind of weird. It sort of felt like that chapter of our lives has closed, no matter how much we loved it.

I don't know who the Savannah Book Festival will have lined up for next year, but I can pretty much guarantee you that I'll be back. I'd love to see you there too. All of you!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Stuff and Nonsense

Wow. I'm feeling very rushed tonight. We're leaving for Savannah on Friday for our third annual visit to the Savannah Book Festival. I've got a lot to do. I've got a Deep Thoughts blog post brewing but I don't want to rush it.

A couple of things...I've started a new blog that will focus strictly on my Grace in Small Things posts. It's called "What Grace is Given Me..." (A big attaboy to anybody who can tell me what that quote is from). I tried doing it here last year but I didn't really stick with it. I'm hoping that a separate blog will make me more accountable. You can click on that link in the sidebar anytime you want to see what I'm feeling grateful for on any particular day.

Also, I have to share that today someone found my blog by Googling "Van Halen," "wrecking machine" and "record machine." I can't tell you how much better it makes me feel to know I'm not the only one!

Also, in a similar vein, Henri Bendel is pronounced Hen-ree Ben-dull, for all those people out there searching for the correct pronunciation who keep finding my blog.

Since that's all I've got for today, I thought I'd share some of my favorite pictures from the last few months:

Me and Punkin at The Nutcracker Ballet at the Fox Theater in Atlanta.

Bubba at the Gwinnett Braves v. Pawtucket Red Sox game (we're Sox fans, baby!)

Goofball Macgillicuddy

Christmas in their new pajamas.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

They Work Hard for the Money

When I was growing up I never really had any chores to speak of. Oh, once I got old enough to learn how to use the washing machine I was pretty much in charge of my own clothes. From the time I was in sixth grade until I graduate from high school, it was just me and my mom at home. Neither of us are what I would call "neat freaks," but we weren't complete slobs or anything. My memory is that I would help out with the dishes or cleaning, but I didn't have specific jobs that were my sole responsibility.

My dad gave me an allowance, though. A big one. $20 a week starting when I was 8 or 9 or so. It was his way of assuaging his guilt about his absence in my life and at the time I was easily bought. I would save my money every week until I had enough to buy whatever was catching my fancy at the moment -- though I remember clearly how horrified I was that an Izod shirt was going to take my entire $20!!! But I never earned this money. And I never saved a penny. I firmly believe that this is how I ended up seriously in debt in college and that it is a large part of my poor spending habits now.

As of yet, my children don't have chores or an allowance, but there's a part of me that thinks that needs to change. It's become Bubba's job to take Toby out in the mornings before we leave for the day and in the afternoon when we get home. Punkin occasionally helps me empty the dishwasher.

I've never made them make their beds because we're always so rushed in the mornings that it's a miracle they get their clothes on and their teeth brushed before we have to head out the door. The same is pretty much true of the evenings, too. We get home at 6:00, eat dinner by 6:30 or 6:45 and then sometimes it baths and then straight to bed. Other times we have a little free time to just hang out together before it's time to hit the hay.

But I don't want them to feel entitled. I want them to earn some of the things that they get. I want them to learn to save. And I want them to learn to give.

The children's choir director has asked that we give the children jobs to do around the house and that the children bring in a portion of the money that they earn to support our church's mission trip to Mexico this summer. I think this is a wonderful idea, but when I broached the subject with Bubba on the way home, he didn't think too highly of it. "But why do I have to give my money away? I want to buy something with it!" I get that that's a normal reaction for a seven year old, but I want him to start learning that there are more important causes than a new game for his Nintendo DSi.

So, what say you, dear readers? What are some appropriate chores for a 4-year-old and a 7-year-old? And what should the rate of pay be? I patiently wait your sage advice.

Monday, February 1, 2010

My Girl

Some of you may be wondering what's up with Punkin these days. As you may remember, when we last left "As the Punkin' Turns" there was some drama. You may also remember that our pediatrician referred us to a specialist. A specialist whose call we are still awaiting.

Yes, it's now been five months. They told us there was a wait, but this is a little ridiculous. If Punkin were in serious need of some help, I think we'd all be at the end of our rope by this point.

But, we're not. In fact, our rope seems to have grown a couple of feet. And, in fact, when (or if!) the specialist finally calls, I think we'll tell them that we're no longer in need of his or her services. It's not that everything's perfect, but everything is SO much better.

Punkin started pre-K at the beginning of August and she got the teacher we were hoping for, Oliver's former pre-k teacher. Miss Anita is a warm, no-nonsense teacher who was wise to all of Punkin's tricks before Punkin even had a chance to try them on her. She knows exactly how to handle Punkin's willfulness, her whininess, and her grumplestiltskins.

Add to this the fact that Punkin is now five months older and we've seen some big changes. Her increased maturity combined with my doing a better job of holding my ground have made things much easier around here.

We still struggle with some issues. Punkin continues to be very shy and doesn't like to have attention focused on just her. She and Bubba have recently started attending the children's choir at our church. Bubba loves it and lends his little voice to all the songs. Punkin, while she goes every week and eats the snacks and does the crafts, has yet to sing a note. I must confess that this drives me crazy.

But this is much more my problem than hers. I've realized that I struggle with the fact that Punkin is different. Different than what, you might ask? Different from Bubba, that's for sure. Different than the other kids, who all seem so willing to take the spotlight. I have to admit that my own lack of shyness and my spotlight-seeking nature as a child makes her very difficult for me to understand.

I feel the need to explain Punkin whenever she starts acting shy -- hiding her head in my leg when someone she doesn't know well says hello, refusing to sing at the Sunday service last week. "Oh, she's my shy one, I'll say," as though people have never seen a shy child before.

And I struggle with how hard I need to push her, if at all. At first I told her that she couldn't go to choir practice if she didn't sing, but I didn't really want to enforce that. It's a great group of kids who go every Sunday night and they do some really fun activities. Is it really all that important that she sing? The choir director says no, let her come anyway, even if she never sings a note. But we've pushed/rewarded/encouraged her to do things in the past and now she's comfortable doing those things.

This morning I was using my quiet drive in to work for some prayer time. I just asked God to help me be the best parent that I can be for Punkin. I asked for guidance to know what's best for her, to help me know when to push and when to hold back. And I asked for help in accepting her for who she is. Because that's all any of us want, whether we're 4 or 40.