Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Mr. Birdie Pays a (short) Visit

Jack came running in to me this afternoon as I was typing an email. Mommy, I have to show you something in the backyard. It's something sad. It turned out to be a dead (or so we thought) bird. Shelby had grabbed it. Then - it breathed! It was wet and red, but it had been raining, so I picked it up to see if it was bleeding or not, and how badly injured it was. It sad there in my hand, blinking up at me. Now there was part of me that said I should just put the poor thing down and walk away, let nature take it's course. Or perhaps that was Shelby's thoughts I was overhearing. Whatever, with tiny little Mr. Birdie sitting quietly in my hand and blinking up at me, passively, there was no way I could drop it into the gaping maw of my suddenly evil dog. (Actually in this, as in everything else, she showed her wonderful personality. She just sat quietly by waiting for me to be done looking at her great accomplishment, patiently waiting for it to be dinnertime!) So, I shooed Shelby into the house, found a safe place for birdie to lie, and came into the house.

Then, it occurred to me to email Uncle Hugh, the ornithologist. He, unfortunately, made the off-hand suggestion that I could find a shoebox for it and possibly nurse it back to health. SO here is Mr. Birdie in his nice new home, having been recently plied with drops of sugar water.

Alas, there is no happy ending to our story. Jack and I went off to take a nap, and while we were sleeping, Mr. Birdie entered his eternal rest.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Shelby's Shame

Family Home Evening tonight was AWESOME. First we sang..and I mean, WE sang. All three of us. Can I tell you how long I've been trying to get Jack to sing with us? No, I can't, because it's been so long I've lost track. But tonight, he did! And so did Mike! Two songs!!! And then, he (Jack) gave the lesson. It was a very cute retelling of Jesus feeding the five thousand. Went a little something like this: All these people came to Jesus because they hoped he would bless them. And he said, Come on, come on, come with me. And he blessed them. Then, it started to be dark-time and they were all hungry but all they had were were two bread and five fish. But Jesus blessed the food and made a miracle and they all ate. And there were leftovers! So later, when the people were hungry again, they could eat more.

On to activity. Much to Shelby's dismay, we did not all head into the backyard to play with her, which is what she thought at first. Oh no! The hose came out and Miss Shel got a much-deserved bath. She is still skulking around and shooting us dirty looks! Midway through the bath, Jack -- holding the hose, mind you -- said, "Oh, Shelby, it's ok. I know you are having a really hard day."

Then, having finally managed to get us all working bikes, we took off on a tour of the neighborhood. It was really lovely! Jack pedaled away like mad on his little bike with one training wheel, being very careful to stop and look for cars at every intersection. And being even more careful to tell me to stop if I managed to get ahead of him and call "I'm the winner" whenever he was ahead. Finally, home for ice cream, scriptures, stories and bed. It was really a lovely lovely way to spend the evening.

Since bedtime, however, we've had a long parade of reasons for Jack to come out of his room. I suppose this isn' t too surprising as he did have a nap today. He was sent off to his room mid-afternoon for being first, disobedient and second, disrespectful (he called me baby, which , sweetly, is the worst epithet he can think of.) I went in to tell him when his time out was over and he'd fallen asleep on his bed. (Probably explains the misbehaving.) As I was walking back out, my little man woke up and said, Momma, I want you to sleep by me for a little while. Now who can resist an invitation like that? So, long bike ride and dog-bathing notwithstanding, Jack didn't exactly feel like going to sleep at bedtime. At last count I believe we've had four trips to the potty, one trip to tell me something that just couldn't wait but which he then couldn't think of, one trip to ask why his door was shut, and three or four trips to find out when I was going to sleep and could he come with me because "he's lonely".

Weekend at Nanny's

Despite whopping four dollar a gallon gas prices, the family made an escape this weekend down to visit Nanny and DocDoc on the farm. Their land is out really and truly in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by farmland and a nature preserve and it is absolutely gorgeous this time of year (and through the summer, if you don't mind the humidity wilting you by 10 am.) After a two year saga, DocDoc's pond is finally full and holding water, much to the delight of the frog population, which is surging. To our delight, as well, as we got to sit out by the pond, roasting hot dogs and enjoying the frog-chorus. Jack proved again that he is one of us, a pyro at heart, and spent the whole night poking at the fire

-- when he wasn't walking around the pond with me seeing what he could find.

(What he could find turned out to be a baby frog. Isn't he cute? Terrified, but cute.) I have to admit to being a bit proud of myself for picking up little froggie. Count that as one of the talents motherhood has brough to me. In needing to appear nonchalant before my wildly exploriative son, I've found that froggies aren't half bad, really. This one was so small I couldn't even feel him in my hand.

Highlight for Jack, or so he thought, was getting to spend the night out in the caravan with Nanny. Stay tuned for an eyewitness report of how that went from the Old Girl herself. Meanwhile, enjoy these two shots. The first is of Jack's new hero, IndieInnie Jones. If you look closely at the table, you can see he's holding a whip. The hat is a Nannie original . She found it in a thrift shop and dyed it the right color -- apparently it took her three days of trying to get it dark enough!! The other shot is Mike's -- from a cool series he took while fiddling around with around with our camera.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Graduation Day

Cue the Chris Isaak music. No wait, on second thought, don't. That dude is Deee-Pressing.

This past Wednesday, Jack graduated from Preschool. I've always pretty much made fun of this particular "rite of passage". But now that Jack's reached it, I love it! He was so proud of himself, and how great is it to have your first foray into the world of education end so incredibly? Mum attended the big day, Mike took the day off work, Miss Mandy came with Cregan and Millie in tow.

Jack, by virtue of our last name, got to lead the "procession" -- at least at first.

Their teacher led them through the Y, where all the staff and people working out applauded the little scholars.

Then came the "ceremony", complete with singing and diploma hand outs! And a yearbook!! And then....ribs and cake!!!

And then....ice cream!! That last part courtesy of Nanny, or took us Uptown for the yummiest ice cream of all.

Is it any wonder, that after all that studying and the stress of final exams, this is where my two boys ended up that afternoon??

Our House...is a very very very fine house

Ode to those of you who remember the Eighties like I do. Giles and I used to sing that song from the back of our Suburban, over and over again. How it must have driven everyone else absolutely bonkers!!

Mike and I are feeling pretty happy with our house, as we do each spring. It's just so dang pretty, with the trees leafing out again, the grass turning green, our flowers blooming. These pictures were intended to show the addition of our gorgeous hanging baskets (thanks Mum!), though you can't really see them. Still, home sweet home it is.

Mostly because of THIS little addition.

He was SO proud to be in the pictures and wanted to make sure (by asking me over and over again) that he was going to get posted on the blog. Love you Jackrack!

Mmmmm. Big drink.

Ok, so we all know there's something fairly wrong with me, and let me just prove it by telling you about one of my great joys in life. It is, wait for it....great big cups of soda. The kind you get from the gas station. Self serve, just the right amount of ice, big long straw. Mmmmm. Who knows why! Maybe it's because my mum would never let us have Big Gulps when we were kids. Maybe there's some deep psychological thing about waiting to drink deeply from the well of life (yeah, I wish it were something impressive and deep like that!) All I know it that it started the summer Jack was born, in Texas. Right around teh corner from us there was a Sonic, and the other great joy in my life (the first and foremost being Jack, of course) was to drive through and get a diet Cherry Limeade. Ahhhh. Icy, tangy, delicious. No calories!! 89 cents or something. The perfect indulgence! And the love has been with me ever since. I get the same gleam in my eye, I think, as I approach the self-serve station at Speedway as a heroin addict does approaching his stash. It's really not normal.

This weekend begins a new chapter in the love story. Why? Because now I have a PERMANENT plastic cup from Speedway. Complete with even cheaper refills! Ah, the joys of life. This thing is huge, insulated, holds the promise of sodas to come, even when simply filled with tap water from my kitchen. As I sit here, about to type up the latest installment of the blog, sweating through the first humid night of the year, I hear it beckoning to me from beside the sink in the kitchen.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Reality Check

About a week ago, I found out that a dear friend of mine, also infertile, just adopted a baby girl a few months ago, is pregnant. Out of the blue, astoundingly, pregnant. It's a miracle. And somewhere in my brain, I realize it's a miracle, and it's amazing, and I'm happy for my friend, and awestruck to see a miracle happening in front of me. But that's way way back in my brain. At the forefront of my brain is a screaming crazy person. This person is not a stranger, I'm afriad to say. I've spent a lot of time with her in the past. I thought I had put her to rest. Or maybe I thought she was better now, healed. But nope, here she comes again, on another pass. She's quite annoying, really, all absorbed in her own issues and she's BORING, always complaining about the same things. But I seem to be unable to shut her up, or shut her out, or shut her down. And this is a sampling of what she says to me: What's wrong with you, that you're the only one in the world that can't manage to have a baby? What's up with your stupid body, then, eh?? See, I told you you were worthless! See, if you only (insert pretty much any verb here: prayed more, read your scriptures more, had more faith, were a better person, dieted more, didn't diet as much, blah blah blah) you might have a baby, too. You'll NEVER have another baby, ha ha ha ha haaa. She's a pleasant person, this crazy screamer. You can see why I was pretty happy to think I'd put her away for good.

So here she was, tearing around my head again last Sunday evening. I took myself off to bed and had a good cry. I thought about praying, but in these moments, often it seems so futile. I'm pretty sure from 10 years experience that God is not simply going to *poof* me pregnant because I ask him to. Not that he can't, mind you, because I believe he can....I just don't think he generally works that way. And since at moments like this, the only solution seems to either *poof* be pregnant or *poof* get to adopt again, praying seems pointless. So I had myself a good cry, which was heading downhill pretty fast, as these types of cries tend to do, when I at least had the thought to say, please help me, Heavenly Father. And into my head popped a vivid image of the heartbreak of people all over China right now, who have lost parents, siblings, children, whole families. It wasn't a snarky response, mind you. I didn't get the feeling Heavenly Father was unsympathetic to my hurt. I did, however, get the very strong impression he was giving me a reality check. Does my situation stink? Yes, it does. But it's also extremely blessed and privileged. So have a cry and get on with it, I think he was telling me.