Thursday, March 25, 2010

We've Been Invaded

I love Spring, the sun shining down and making even a chilly day slightly warmer; the daffodils popping up almost immediately after the snow melted; the ants making their way towards my freshly baked cookies.  Stop! I don't like that last part.  They must be on the same schedule as the daffodils, popping up everywhere right after the Great Thaw.  "We survived the winter down in the ground.  Now we're starving.  Let's eat."  And poof, they're on my bookcase, counter, and Owen's lunchbox.  I'm telling you.  We're been invaded.

Of course, we're not new to this.  No matter where we live, ants always seem to be a problem. I'm starting to think that the same colony follows us everywhere, like they declared war on us 8 years ago in Atlanta.  They probably breed their armies just to make sure they win the war: full-on annoyance.  I wonder what would happen if I just surrendered.  Do you think they'd understand if I waved a teeny tiny white flag.  Or better yet, does anyone speak ant?  Maybe we could start negotiations.  Is Jimmy Carter still available for that? Scratch that, he'd probably be more willing to work for them. 

Owen and Blake have already enlisted themselves into the battle.  Yesterday, while I'm packing up Madison, the boys on sitting on the front porch marveling at the little beings.  Then Owen starts pounding them with his finger.  First of all, gross.  Second of all, "Owen, if they're outside of the house, then it's neutral ground.  You shouldn't be smashing them." Then Owen says, "But Mommy, we have to kill them."  Oh boy, considering the boy can't even fathom death yet, where did he pick that up?  I'm picturing a school yard, several boys, an ant hill, and a magnifying glass.  Wait a second, Owen isn't in school least not where there is a yard.  Hmmm!  I guess he gets it from his role model parents then.  Yikes!

Still the battle ensues, one that has just begun and will most likely continue until the snow falls again.  Never thought I'd be ready for another Snowmageddon.  Maybe that's all part of God's amazing plan. 

Monday, March 22, 2010

Crossing the Line

I'm about to do something I said I wouldn't do post last September, but this time I can't help it.  I have to share this with all of you.  If you're as angry as I am over this whole Obamacare debacle, please consider getting involved in some form or fashion in your local political circles. 

Most of you know that I've been working on a local County Council race for the last 6 months.  Being a Republican in Maryland is difficult in it of itself, especially when you're attempting to replace a Democrat seat with a Republican.  However, I have to say that I've never felt so invigorated.  I was so tired of yelling at the TV when those dopes in Washington said this or passed that.  Finally, I feel like I can actually make a difference in my own community.  I know that most of the people that read this blog aren't actually from my area, and many of you might consider yourselves apolitical, but regardless of where you are, whether it's a red state, blue state, or truly purple state, there is always something that can be done. 

I just posted a blog entry on the PVRC site that I would love each of you to read.  If you're interested in getting involved, whether it's in Maryland or wherever you live, just send me an email and I'll hook you up. 

Thanks for putting up with me. 

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Spring Flinging; No Bitterness Lingering.

I've spent the better part of the day clearing, cleaning, and organizing. Slowly, I'm digging through the muck of winter and changing over to Spring. It's freeing, almost, being able to let go of "too smalls" or the "too bigs" or even the "too uglys". The more I clean though, the more there is to do. It really is an endless cycle. Honestly, I can't wait for our annual Yard Sale, coming up on May 1. Finally I'll have the use of two closets that have been taken over by unwanted stuff. If I wasn't so selfish and greedy, I'd just donate it all to charity. Of course, that's where most of it will end up after all is said and done, but I'd like to have some kind of return on investment.

I've been setting up an office in one of our spare rooms in the basement, reclaiming it from the boys. It's so nice to have a place to gather the four corners of my life, campaign, church, mom's group, and neighborhood association.

In the process, I've also been digging through old picture frames. Keep this, chuck that, hang this...pause, who's that handsome man in that photo embracing that fabulously young and rather skinny girl? Oh yeah, it's my Dad. I love that picture, taken just months before Neil and I relocated to Maryland. All was well then. No one was sick or hurting. That picture now hangs on the wall next to my desk, along with a montage of old and new friends, early pics of Neil and me, and even my Dad's first magazine cover. I feel surrounded by love and good memories.

I have to say that for the better part of two years, I've been hiding my Dad. Anything and everything that reminded me of him, I placed inside a box. It was just too painful to look at. And even today, as I glanced upon his face, tears would fall, but it felt different...peaceful. I smiled. I chuckled to myself as I remembered that very day at my sister's house. Maybe the bitter times have passed and I can now remember him for who he Dad, who once again hangs on my wall, greeting me as I pass by, reminding me that I'm his little girl. I truly think he would be proud.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Pee Pee in the Potty

After months of hinting and begging and all but forcing Blake to go potty, it finally clicked. The boy apparently just needed his Daddy. While I was away Saturday, working on the campaign, Blake decided it was time to transcend into boyhood. By lunch he had put his pee pees in the potty three times. Like any parent, I was prepared for this to be a fluke, an accident of pee pee proportions. Or maybe Neil was the magic key? Would his return to work signal a reversal? Low and behold with the exception of a few minor accidents, mostly my fault, and of course #2, Blake has been in underwear all week long.

For those of you without kids, you must know, on some level, that this, my friend, is no minor feat. Potty training, in it of itself, is a full time job, and I already have several of those. You have to plan more time into everything, especially when venturing out. As I found out yesterday, there is no such thing as a quick run to the store before picking up Owen. In other words, I set Blake up for failure. You simply can't tell a 2 year old, who a few days ago peed at will, to hold it, even if it is just for a few moments. Yes, yes, I've been through this before, but that was a year and a half ago. I can barely remember what I did last week.

The good news is that I see the light at the end of the tunnel. Having two potty trained children means being able to go to Ikea and letting them play in the Smaland while Madison and I wander aimlessly through the store with Katy and Bekah. Yep, that actually happened. I'm thinking that Ikea might become a weekly trip for us. But probably I have time.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Why Is Everybody Always Picking On Me???

It seems that my high school bully has reincarnated herself in the form of three monsters named, Owen, Blake and Madison. Seriously, you don't believe me? Honestly, it's actually fairly genius. In fact, I could make a fortune if I could market this strategy to high school bullies everywhere. Or better yet, maybe I was a bully to someone else and this is my payback. Regardless, I have a whole gang of bullies living under my roof and I have become their target.

What? You can't see how such sweet and innocent children can torture me so? Let's start with a for instance. Earlier this morning, I'm sitting in my reclining chair attempting to read my Bible when Blake comes pummeling towards me, throws himself into my lap and tosses my Bible onto the floor. Moments later, I hear Madison screeching from inside the confines of her lair. I carefully remove my first leech and head into her room with a smile plastered on my face. As soon as I open the door, I'm greeted with another ear piercing screech and a stuffed animal flying towards my face. At this point, I realize I am under attack. I duck and roll towards the crib and spring up. I grab the bully baby, sweep her into my arms, and head towards the kitchen. Bullies are always a bit nicer when they've had a bite to eat.

As I round the corner, I find Thing 1 and Thing 2 hovering over a box of donut holes. When they see me, their eyes widen like deer caught in headlights, mouths lined in white powder. Owen smiles coyly. "Hi Mommy," he mutters while drooling crumbs onto the floor. A quick "mom" look from me and the two scatter, fleeing to the table, where Owen asks, "Mommy, may I can I have a donut please?" There I stand surrounded and completely speechless.

I little while later, I ask Owen to get dressed and Blake to pick up the toys he'd just dumped all over the floor. Guess how long it took them to accomplish said tasks? I'll let you know when they finish.

Maybe I'm over exaggerating a bit, and maybe the events of this morning weren't as extreme a picture as I've painted. Maybe my kids are just kids and I'm border lining on conspiracy theorist, but sometimes I swear it's a calculated take down of the "Mommy."

Could there be some sort of underground school where children go and learn just what buttons to push? I'm quite positive there is and that it is taught my high school bullies.

Disclaimer: I, in no way, feel that my children are in fact monsters. I love them dearly.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Standing By Strangers

Every once in a while, someone posts a comment on my Dad's blog.  Normally though they're just spam, but today I got a post that literally broke my heart.  I've been thinking about Dad a lot lately, being reminded of him in the whispers of life, but this was more of a slap in the face (and not in a bad way).  We're coming up on two years, you know?  That just seems unbelievable.  I honestly think that the more time passes, the more I miss him, the harder it is to imagine he's gone.  Maybe I never really dealt.  Maybe I just avoided and put off the pain.  Either way, a loss is a loss is a loss.

Here's what Jeanette wrote to me on the his blog:

"You probably weren't thinking this blog would ever get checked again but I wanted to say thanks to you, your mother, and your father for sharing your journey. My father was diagnosed with terminal kidney cancer 4 days ago and I'm learning everything I can, everywhere I can.  Some people prefer ignorance.  For myself, if this disease is going to take my father, I am going to know every last stinking detail about it and read every story I can.  Your father was a special man.  God Bless all of you.  Jeanette"

And here is what I felt compelled to write to her.  I hope you, as my friends and confidantes, will keep Jeanette and her father in your prayers.  It is not an experience I would wish on anyone. 

I’d like to say that I can’t imagine the horror you must be feeling right now, but I still vividly remember the day my Dad told me he had cancer.  I was at lunch with a pseudo-friend, someone I knew but wouldn’t necessarily lean on.  Seeing as my Dad rarely called, I simply had to answer.  I could tell immediately that something was wrong.  Dad certainly tried to cover his pain and confusion with a few light hearted jokes and heavy sarcasm, but it wasn’t working.  At first we had no idea how serious it was.  They didn’t even know what type of cancer he had, but they were thinking it might have been lung. 

He went to see the radiologist on the same day my husband and I were scheduled to find out the sex of our baby.  I can’t tell you how surreal it was to walk into the Radiology Department knowing that I was getting good news and he was getting bad.  A few hours later, he called to tell me that it was Stage 4 Renal Cell Cancer.  I didn’t even know what a renal cell was, much less that it would take my Dad away from me.

Dad lived for just over three years post diagnosis, and I was there was the last 5 weeks.  If you’d like you can go to my blog,, click on Dad under the Tags, and follow along my journey.  I didn’t even start blogging until that February 08, just a couple months before he passed, but I chronicled my time with him up until the end.  I don’t know if it will bring your solace or not. 

I would also suggest befriending Manual Lopez on Facebook.  He is a warrior in this great battle and was a good friend of my Dad’s though they never actually met.  There is a great network of people out there waiting to support you and your Dad.  Please let me know if you need anything.


Sometimes we're called to embrace strangers, to stand together, to support one another, to lift one another up.  Who needs you today?  Who could use a hug?  Or a prayer?  Or a hot cup of coffee?