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Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Rainy Day

When thinking of a good rainy day activity, one may consider the museum, a matinee, or perhaps a trip to the mall. For us? Why not just stay home sick?

I find myself begging for sleep every night by 9 p.m. and 5 a.m (with one wake-up from Maya in between) comes early. This seems like it should be enough sleep. Last night, in between those precious hours, my slumber was interupted three times by Ella and three times by Maya (only one of which she actually got up and needed to eat.) Of course, none of these was timed to match up. This morning at 5, Ella woke up throwing up. Lovely.

I think it is just a cold with a sore throat and she got coughing and gagging and she has a low threshold gag reflex. But, nevertheless, we are in today and had to cancel our trip to the library and a visit at the McKay's house this afternoon.

I found myself literally stumbling around this morning in exhaustion, hunting like a dog with my nose to the ground for some caffeine to give me a jump start. I managed to get the girls both back to sleep at 8 am and caught a desperately needed 45 more minutes of sleep. While my handiwork to get them to sleep simultaneoulsy was actively being thwarted by both girls, I found myself at one point on the floor in between the crib and the bed (Maya was in her crib, Ella in our bed) relaxing in child's pose (knees on the floor, bum on heels, arms outstretched in front) and I actually fell asleep for a second. Until Ella roused me. No sleeping on the job.

The irony is that last night I got them both to sleep by 6:30 pm (Ella had had a busy day with no nap) and I enjoyed a magical hour on my own- cleaning up dishes, making phone calls, making dinner, reorganizing the house from an active day. And to think I used to relax with a glass of wine and my feet up. Adding wine to the equation would ensure a sleeping Suzanne within 10 minutes. No drinking on the job, either. Is it any wonder I turn to chocolate?

P.S. Sandi and I did get out on a date this Saturday. My mom came up to babysit and we had a lovely dinner at Thistle's (our favorite) and then what romantic activity did we embark on? A trip to Home Depot to buy appliances for our investment house while they were instock and on sale. I know, truly and really gay as my mom said. What can I say? We had a super fun time up there and, by some lovely unexpected events and an incredibly nice sales associate, we got an entire floor for the house for $17.84 instead of $408. Now this is a good time. They don't call it the Homo Depot for nothing.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

the adventures of a modern mom

All the park hopping, bubble blowing, spring cleaning (attempting) and general adventure of the Carver girls (at least this mom and the two girls - the other mom has been holed up at EMMC for days on end taking care of the neverending line of sick people as Ella says) has kept us out and about with nary a moment for a blog entry. I wonder sometimes if Ella thinks that it is some sort of goal or competition to see how much we can cram into one day. Will she grow up thinking "Carpe Diem!" or "God, I wish I could just sit down but my mother won't let me!"?

I can't remember a more spectacular April. We have no mud season! The snow melted and absorbed leaving only brown grass to green and tulips and daffodils to flourish. It is allegedly going to be in the 70's again today. I know spring is here when I can sit at the park and listen to David Bowie resounding from the speakers of a passing truck with the windows rolled down, driving very slowly, for all the world to share. I would have preferred some "YMCA" if it was for all of humanity to share in a musical moment, but hey....

Yesterday was one of those days where things just don't quite hit their mark and all you can do, if you want to maintain your sanity, is sit back and laugh. I had to drop off a check at the Bangor Hydro Credit Union so power could be turned on to our investment house. I was in the process of begging the lady to accept my payment through the drive-up instead of making me come in and unstrap my kids out of their seats when she pulled the drawer back in unexpectedly. My hand was barely on the check and, through some freak of physics, it got sucked into the mechanical part of the conveyor. We tried scissors, a letter opener, my bare hand- all to no avail. I could see her behind the window muttering (she had muted the sound through the speaker) but I can read lips and "shit" was being used freely inside the confines of the credit union. Meanwhile, Emilie and her kids were waiting for me in the parking lot as we were caravaning to the park. I finally told her to just rip it up when, and if, she retrived it and I would get another check.

Emilie and I took the kids to the park for a "picnic" which consisted of her chasing Skyler and Reed around, me feeding Maya and trying to manage Ella on the baby swing she insists on still and popping food into our kids mouths as they flew by. Ella unwittingly ran into the street causing a strong terror reaction from me and her subsequent tears and presumable shame at my reaction. Fortunately, the women from the credit union called to say they had retrieved my check and all was well. When we left the park to go home (trying to leave early to avoid any meltdowns) both my girls ended up in tears (Ella was involved in an unwanted chasing incident) and Emilie I wrangeld our kids in the cars commenting that we had not one full conversation the entire time.

We drove to the box office at the auditorium to get tickets for the circus this weekend, Emilie staying next to my car with the windows down so I wouldn't have to get the kids out to purchase the tickets. In some prehistoric act of foiling a mother's plan of multi-tasking, the box office would not accept a debit or credit card for the tickets and I was short $9 in cash and left without the tickets.

After both kids were down for a nap (Maya slept for 10 minutes), my phone rang. I looked at the caller ID and saw that it was my cell phone. Oh, crap. I answered the phone, "I've lost my phone, haven't I?" and a nice woman said, "Yes, I just found it in the grass at Fairmount park." Is it any wonder? This mom, who happened to live a few streets down and clearly knew how a day of a frazzled mom could go, dropped my phone off for me at my house. I love Maine where kindness and helpfullness overshadow any presence of theft or selfishness.

Perhaps the highlight of the day was that Ella found her MIA stuffed kitty, the one presumed abducted, the one that I hiked halfway back up Chick Hill for last year when Ella inadvertently left it on the rock ledge and cried "KITTY!" so feriously that I ran most of the way to return the animal faster. Needless to say, we had quite a reunion party for kitty.

I guess it doesn't matter too much to me if things go wrong. What I most appreciate is that the solution is right on the heels of the problem.

Looking forward to the week ahead: Mochy's 9th birthday party, more parks (is this more fun for me or Ella?) the circus, Beckett's birthday party, a visit from friends who we never get to see and MAYBE even a date for Sandi and I. Will wonders ever cease?

Friday, April 18, 2008

Sandi's hotline

No, not a 1-900 number.

Sandi, overtired and overwhelmed at work the other day, was nearing the end of a long shift in the ICU when the phone rang. She answered it, naturally. It was an outside call (meaning not from other hospital staff.) Now imagine who might be calling ICU. Yes, you guessed it- a family member of a critical patient. Sandi, in all her professionalism and summoning every available neuron for this not-so-challenging task, answers the call. And this is what comes out.

"ICU, this is Sandi, can you help me?"

Friday, April 11, 2008

Caffeine and Crocuses

The first crocuses are blooming!! They are a gorgeous deep purple and they take my breath away. I showed Ella and she was equally as excited- so much that she had her baby doll smell them and then ran over to me only to scoot back after she realized she hadn't smelled them herself.

Maya has had a stretch of days of waking for the day at 4:30 a.m. Sandi is beyond exhausted with her long days and nighttime feedings (yes, after 3 consecutive nights of sleeping all night, Maya has resorted to 1-2 times a night again- we are hoping for a turnaround soon.). I have been working out with Trish doing this hardcore 6 day per week, 75-90 minute a day exercise program (for anyone who has seen the infomercial it's P90X.) Likely, you won't even recognize me when you see because I'll be so fit.
Caffeine has been a necessary part of my day. Today I got my first iced coffee of the season! It is a strange story, actually. I don't like coffee. I tell people I don't drink coffee. But I love iced coffee. Really I like milk with coffee flavor and plenty of sweet. Anyway, the girls and I were out with the sunroof open, sippin' some iced coffee and apple juice in a sippy cup, and playground hopping. We also flew Ella's kite yesterday (which she has been asking to do once a week since Christmas) and there are no photos of that because I was managing Maya in the bjorn, Mochy on the leash and the kite. The wind was so strong that it snapped the flimsy string but we had so much fun. I love spring!

Ella and Sklyer- what buddies!

Sklyer loved climbing on everything. She informed me the rope climb wasn't for Ella. "She would be too scared," she told me. She's right. But Ella doesn't mind that Skyler will be ready to mount Kilamanjaro next week. She was happy on the slide.

Maya has been eating lots of new foods. This is her introduction to prunes. She actually liked it but it was nearing bedtime and she tends to unravel. Ella thought it was chocolate and had to have a taste. Can you imagine the disappointment?

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Lost and Found

I had a dream last night that I lost Ella. I dropped her off somewhere and didn't check that the people were home. Hours went by and then I saw the people and they apologized for not being home. I began to panic as I realized what had happened and no one would listen to me. I was searching frantically and the only one who would help me was Sandi's dad. In the dream, Sandi was at work and I actually thought, she'll kill me when she finds out.

We went to a hospital and they said there was a little girl who was hiding under a table and had been for hours despite their coaxing. I ran to her, knowing it was Ella. My heart shattered into a thousand pieces when I saw her balled up, hiding under the table. It took her a beat to recognize me- she was a younger Ella, maybe just two. But when she did, she launched herself into my arms and the emotion that flooded through me is like none I have ever felt, ever. We sat there, locked together, for an eternity and I woke up sobbing.

I have been overwhelmed lately by the brevity of her young childhood. She is expressing such mature ideas and grasping truly global ideas. All day, after waking from that dream, I just want to soak in every single morsel of her. Today, in our beautiful spring weather, she rode her bike on our road for the first time with me and Maya in the stroller alongside her. She told me her bunny should really get outside and enjoy the beautiful day. She appreciated a bud on a tree in the park for the first time. She is going to preschool next year. She talks everyday about her family, all the members in it both immediate and extended, and how much she loves them and wants to see them. She wants to know if our cat misses her sister who died a year and a half ago.

Tonight when I put her to bed, I wrapped my arms tight around her and told her I was going to stay latched on to her forever. My arms ache at the thought of not being able to pick her up and snuggle her close. I can't comprehend what a mother's arms do when they are absent of a child in them. I don't understand how her heart heals as her baby grows into an adult, never to look back. I don't know how to let her know how I feel when "I love you" seems incredibly insufficient. As I had my arms muckled a hold of her, I told her it would be difficult but I would stay attached forever and she would have to flip extra hard in gymnastics to get us both over the bar, she would have to squeeze over in her car seat so we could both fit and I would try to make myself as small as possible so I could fit on her bike with her. She looked at me, alarmed, and said, "But it will break." And so might my heart when she doesn't need me anymore.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Dear Ella

My Dearest Ella,

I know that these moments when you are little, but not so little anymore, are really just a snapshot of your life rather than the permanent state they sometimes seem to be. I know that someday we will be having serious discussions about how to make responsible decisions in the face of social pressure instead of serious talks about manners and respect. There are so many things I want you to take from this time of your life and I struggle most days to make sure my actions serve my intentions. Sometimes I deserve 100 pats on the back while other moments I cringe to hear the words that fly out of my mouth and I resolve to do it better next time. The good news is that I do -that I am working with herculean effort to become an ever better and more enlightened person mostly so that I can be a better mom to you.

What I want for you to know, the essence of all my intentions for this time of your life boiled down to some specifics, is as varied as it is challenging for me to maintain day to day. I want you to feel the freedom of spirit that allows you to run with your head tilted back, mouth open releasing a screech of delight, and legs flung every which way as the pure exhilaration of life pulses through your veins. I want you to know love, so deep down in your core that it is never questioned, is mapped out in every cell in your ever growing and changing body. I want you to have a life so blessed that as you look ahead, you expect goodness and you know the fullness and wonder life has to offer you at every turn. I want you to appreciate with awe the incredible world around you, from the magic of the trees budding in the spring to the transformation of a caterpillar into a butterfly. I want you to climb to a mountaintop and understand that you are visitor here but that all your actions and words matter. I want you to always have the self-assurance and unshakable confidence that prompts you to where anything from pajamas to a tulle princess dress to the grocery store. I want you to have a profound respect for the spirit of living things, from the ladybug who crawls on our window to a loved one in need of a hug or a gentle word. I want you to have the stubbornness to not let anyone push you around (even me) when their agenda is against what you know to be true in your heart. I want you to love with complete abandon and to experience everything to the fullest.

I want you to know that being your mom is the best and most privileged title I have ever held, that you have reminded me of the magic of life and the blessed experience of living, that you are a beautiful spirit and a gift to this world, that I love you in unimaginable ways.

There is so much I want you to know, dearest one. The incredible part is, you already do. Sometimes I mistakenly think that I am the teacher when it has been you all along. And this is what I hope to remember as you grow into the amazing person you came here to be.

I love you with all that I am, Momma

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Bring on the blonde jokes

My hair is fixed!! Hooray for me. Ella says, "Momma, your hair is light again!" I am soooo relieved and I got a great new haircut to match. I didn't actually take any pictures of the brunette Suzanne so, other than cataloging it here, I will likely erase it from my memory.By the way, thanks for the stories. They made me laugh.

I'm sure you've missed them so I've collected some of Ella's latest funnies:

"Momma, what restaurant is that?"
"It must be cold in there."

The mailman delivered a replacement piece for Ella's train set. She says to me later that night, "I like the mailman. He is a good toy bringer."

Ella was telling Tia about how her toe nails are painted pink. She says, "They used to be purple but I wanted pink and the Easter bunny brought it for me. The Easter bunny knows just what a I like." Yes, he and Santa are in constant communication.

Ella was helping me with the laundry last night and here is her perspective (which I should try adopting): "Look at all the bubbles!" "It's like a water fountain in here!" "Doing laundry is fun!"

Ella tries to play Red Light, Green Light with Mochy. Needless to say, Mochy doesn't always play by the rules and Ella will come to us and complain, "I'm trying to play with her but she won't stop when I say red light." Poor Mochy.

Despite some disagreement between her moms, Ella finds herself in the position of needing to work a bit harder for things she loves. Specifically, because of the regression of Ella pooping in her pants, we (I) have instituted a reward system for when she does. The reward? TV. Yep, hard core, I know. I am SO tired of cleaning it up. I thought for sure this would be a one day thing because Ella loves TV (much to my dismay sometimes) but we are on day three with nothing too promising on the horizon. She asked for a pull-up today. She is 3 1/2. This is about control not about physical ability, right???

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Brunettes and Burgers

Okay, so I know it isn't a good idea to color my own hair. This is one of those lessons I thought I had already learned a few years when I had a bad outcome. However, my friend Jeanine had some snappy looking highlights from a box and I thought, that would cheap and easy. They came out okay several months ago so I did a repeat performance - on the morning my family was coming over for Christmas (as in this past one). Bad idea. My mom said, "That seems kind of crazy to do now." What does she know? Apparently a lot. It came out brassy and with more than a tinge of cooper. I think I was a tad hurried and distracted.

This past weekend I went to have a much needed haircut and decided to throw in some highlights to disguise my mistake with the bleach bottle. After some consultation with the hairdresser, I decided to dye it all one color to get rid of all the crazy streaks and start with a fresh slate. Again, bad idea. I swear I looked like Grace as in Will and- it was bright red at the roots and brown at the bottom. I went home, didn't cry which was a huge improvement, and called the hairdresser. I went back a few hours later for a re-do. What did I get besides coarse, damaged feeling hair? Now I am a brunette. Full on. Like, people don't recognize me. Seriously. I've had people tell me it doesn't look bad and I appreciate the attempts but I really despise it. Maybe I'll have the guts to post a photo. Ella told me the next morning, "Your hair looks nice Momma." I think Sandi put her up to this. "Really? Do you like it better brown or blond?" Without missing a beat, "Oh, blonde. Can you color it blue or purple next time?" Apparently even Ella could see there would be a need for a next time.

This is a hard situation to remedy. Do I just go somewhere else and spend $80 to have it fixed. Dare I go back? Or do I just settle into a life free of blond jokes and dark roots?

The story is no where near over since I am still a brunette, but I have made a plan. After a long conversation with the manager at the salon I decided to go the route of no further expenditure and I am going back tomorrow to have it fixed. The reason this plan has some potential is that I am going to a different stylist, one the manager recommended. God, I hope this works. Otherwise, as one friend said, it will all fall out from all the chemicals and I can just start over. I am hoping for the former.

And as Part II, I have a really scrumptious burger recipe to post. (sorry vegetarians)

Moroccan Turkey Burgers

3/4 c. drained canned chickpeas
1/2 c. dried apricots, chopped
1/3 c. minced shallots
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp. fresh ground pepper
1 1/2 lb. ground turkey

1. Place chickpeas in a food processor; pulse 3 times or until chopped. Combine chickpeas with the other ingredients. Divide into 6 equal 1/2 inch thick patties.

2. Cook burgers on grill or in a pan. Serve on multi-grain buns, on flatbread, or Naan (that was really yummy).

3. These are really good served with Tzatziki sauce- combine 3/4 c. plain yogurt (or sour cream) 2 TBSP grated, peeled, seeded cucumber, 1 1/2 tsp. minced red onion, 1/8 tsp salt, 1/8 tsp pepper.

I love to cook new things so I think I will post some recipes from time to time. Okay, face it, I'm trying to get people to check the blog and listen to my stories!
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