Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Fall of 2006

I love Fall...the colors, the (hopeful) change in temperature, the events and holidays. I am very marked by the school year calendar, and Fall, to me, always feels like the first of the year. That’s when I take stock, and do inventory, make plans and decisions.

First things first. We felt the need to do more in our church. We had been faithful church goers and Sunday school teachers up to 2004. When Angelia died in 2004, it’s not that we left God....far from it. It’s just that our church is so large, and hubby had been a member there since the 70s, and his older kids had basically grown up in that church, so for a long time after Angel’s passing, we stopped going, simply because there was always someone coming up to hubby, and wanting to know the details and needing to re-hash the story, and while everyone was sympathetic and understanding, it was a constant ripping open of Pete’s heart, every time someone, well-intentioned as they may have been, wanted to talk about it with him. So we just backed off for a while, only going to church occasionally, and not doing any of the extra activities that we usually took part in. Well, it was time to return to our “home” and our other “family”. So we went back to church and joined a wonderful adult Sunday School class, with young marrieds and young parents (haha, we’re literally the old folks, the “grandparents” of the class, but everyone made us feel wanted and welcome). We also put Alex in a Sunday School class (well, more like the nursery) and it took a while, but even he warmed up to going and made some new friends!

We enjoyed Matt’s company when he came to town for Gator homecoming that year. Matt plays in a band, plays drums and guitar, and for days after Matt’s departure, Alex would go over to Pete’s guitar, pat it and say, “bruh-bruh Matt”. It turned into a mini-family reunion, with the other kids, and hubby’s nieces and nephews there as well. Cooking out, making smores, music, we had a blast!

Alex continued to amuse us with his new verbal and other skills. Our efforts at baby proofing the house proved useless in one aspect, however. When Pete went all over the house putting the socket protectors in all the sockets around the house, unbeknownst to Pete, Alex followed him all around the house, took them all out, and then went to Pete, handed them all to him and said, “Here you go, daddy”, helpful as you please! He really thought he was helping Daddy out!

Alex is a comedian in so many, many ways: one evening at dinner, at Perkins restaurant, we caught him pulling on the top of his own head, and then he would bunch up both fists and stick them under his chin and push. This continued for several minutes before I finally had to ask him what in the world he was doing. His reply: “I can’t get my head off, Mommy!” After choking on my Diet Coke, I asked, “well, what on Earth would you want to do that for?” Well, dumb Mommy-me: “To see what’s inside!”

And to tell a story and pick on dear hubby a little bit: one evening the three of us were lounging on Mommy and Daddy’s bed, Alex jumping around and us trying to have a conversation simultaneous with trying to keep the baby from landing on his head on the floor. Hubby and I were chatting and hubby either said something or asked a question that was patently, certifiably absurd (shocking, I know, isn’t it...I can’t remember now what it was he said or asked, all these 2 years later, because THERE HAVE BEEN SO MANY ABSURD THINGS HE’S SAID SINCE THEN). My loving and laughing response was, “ Good grief, man! Where are your brains!”, to which hubby then replied, “Um, I really don’t know...I think I lost them about the time the baby was born...I don’t really know where I left them!” (My hubby is good like that: we have a very good, joke and prank filled marriage, that I hope you all are reading in the right context here). Well, again to illustrate that little ears are lurking everywhere and we have to watch what we say, Alex jumped in at this point and said, “Dada’s brains right he-uh!”, and proceeded to slam both hands down right on hubby’s blue-jeans covered crotch! Hard! Slam, bam, no thank you, ma’am! Hubby kind of doubled up and said, gasping, “Alex, watch that! That hurt daddy!” I began cracking up laughing and kept on with the whole thing, telling hubby, “well, if we’ve found your brains, please do me a favor and put them back in your head!” Alex, always on the ball, went on to “scoop” Dada’s brains out of his crotch, and with another well-aimed slam to the forehead, screamed, “He-uh, Dada, put you brains back in you head!” Over, and over, and over again. Scoop, slam, scoop, slam....Mommy is the who falls off the bed at this point! Laughing! What a joy children are! I think my husband ended up with a mild concussion!

Alex is also a caring child: saying “God bless” to all his friends during night time prayers, as well as insisting on singing each one of them (as well as all of our cats) the “Happy Birthday” song at bedtime (do you sense the delay tactic here that I do); he’s a happy child: “Mommy, go to work and talk to Annie Annie and kiss Annie Annie for me (referring to a beloved friend and co-worker, the one that gave him his favorite blanet or “mee-moo”), and making sure every morning that everyone is happy, “everybody make a happy face! Smile!”

Well, we were enjoying our time with Alex and getting ready for the onslaught of football games, parties, bar-be-ques and the holidays! There’s always something happening....I just didn’t know what!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Summer of 2006

So Summer of 2006 kept rolling “baby” got his first haircut, and his first pair of athletic shoes! My goodness, what a difference that made in him! I came home from work one evening, and there he sat in his high chair, his daddy feeding him supper, with a new, short haircut and light up, velco Elmo shoes! He almost didn’t look like my same baby! But then....he smiled, ah, that’s my boy!

Alex was becoming very popular....he’s very friendly and says hello and waves to everyone! He had been to the beach a few times, and some play dates and birthday parties, and baptism receptions, and for the most part, he was very well behaved. I was very proud of my son.

We had a wonderful, long, July 4th weekend that year. We kept very busy. On Saturday, we went to St. Augustine and Alex took his very first boat ride. It was a scenic cruise of the Matanza Bay, about an hour and a half long. We saw birds and dolphins and heard the cannon launch from the old Fort. Alex loved it, and did not get seasick or upset at all, which is great for us, since we love boating, and anything on or near the water. We strolled the historic district and went shopping at the souvenir shops and the candy store. We saw a man dressed as a pirate, with a real live parrot on his shoulder; musicians, and a 1700's marching band. Later that night, we had dinner with some friends who are English, and they say the funniest things, which I love, like “pip pip” and “cheerio” and Alex, of course, took it to mean we were having Cheerios.

On Monday, we went back to the beach at Cedar Key. After lunch, Alex found a crab crawling on the beach and had his first experience with play ground bullies. Some older kids stole his sand bucket and his crab! Well, mean old mommy here is gonna have none of that...I marched right over and made them give it back. It pays off sometimes for a momma to be going through “the change”; she can be a scary old be-yotch!

On the actual day of the July 4th, we went with my parents to Silver Springs in Ocala. We had a perfect day: took the glass bottom boat ride, Alex got to feed the giraffes, pet a baby alligator, ride the carousel (3 times), took a safari jeep ride, visited bears and monkeys, the petting zoo and ride the lighthouse ride! We went from there to my SIL’s house for a cook-out: all in all, a perfect family day!

Alex continued to grow, getting bigger and bigger, off the charts to be exact! In the 95th and 98th percentile for everything. He really began to use a lot of words over the summer, too: boom (for broom); poo (for pool); baboon (for balloon); Ruck-ruck (for Luck-Luck); Mock (for Uncle Mark); dees (for cheese); doos (for juice); elmo (for elbow); ro-ro (for Grandpa’s dog, Rose). And to really brag, he could even say some actual, real words, too: down, up, mama, dada, pawpaw, bat, star, more, moon, beep, car, and then some. It’s been fun, really, to keep track of his words: we have to act as translator to visitors who are not fluent in Alex-ese.

He also listens too well, too, reminding me as always to pay attention, coz he hears everything I’m saying. Dateline, Summer, 2006. Place: my kitchen. Attendees: mommy and daddy, with Alex hovering nearby. I had been trying to reconcile myself lately to living with the clutter and uproar and chaos that having a husband and a toddler bring along. But by nature, I’m a very neat, tidy, precise, and immaculate person, so it was rough. I was complaining to hubby: “Hon, I don’t know, I know we really can’t afford it, and I hate to spend the money on something I SHOULD be able to keep up with, but I can’t seem to do it, so part of me keeps screaming in my own mind: ‘Get a maid! Get a maid! Get a maid!’ I don’t know, what do you think?” Before hubby had a chance to reply, Alex, who had been lurking nearby, came up to me, tapped me on the elbow, began nodding his head, very solemnly and seriously, with those big, blue eyes focused right on me and said, “Mommy? Get a maid!”

Once Alex’s language skills really began to take off, he began to chatter and has never really stopped. Truly, I tell you, the kid even talks in his sleep. I guess it’s good that he’s so verbal, but now he just wants to know about EVERYTHING. I love that he’s curious and inquisitive, I hope he always has a thirst for learning, but having to stop ALL THE TIME and explain and describe everything I say or do or pass on the street: it was getting exhausting. Once at dinner, during a rainshower that was turning into a rainstorm, Alex got a little afraid of the thunder. To calm him, I used the technique that my mom used with us: telling him there’s nothing to be afraid of, that noise is just God bowling. I caught myself, and so did hubby, because he said, “Uh, oh, you’re in trouble’ll have to explain to him all about bowling.. Sure enough, Alex turns to me and says, in all seriousness, “Mommy? Bowling? Start talking.”

As summer wound down, we planned our annual Labor Day weekend: pretty much a repeat of Memorial Day and July 4th: A trip to Cedar Key (our new family favorite haunt) and Silver Springs in Ocala, this time including us, my parents, my Aunt Chris, Pete’s sister Gloria, BIL Darrell and niece Sandy, and our friends Wendy and Steve and their two little boys. What a crowd we were!

It had been such a wonderful summer. Lots of friends, lots of trips, lots of family, lots of good food, good fun, good times. We were blessed and we knew we were blessed. Alex was a healthy, happy, well-adjusted little boy, and we adored him. We thought about him being an only child (well, from my side anyway) but neither hubby nor I had been an only, and none of the older kids had been an only, so it was decided: we were ready to start our heart’s journey to find our number 2. Let the paperwork begin!

Monday, November 17, 2008

A Baby becomes a toddler...2006

Well, back to my time-line driven (or not so driven, sometimes) blog. Before I got sidetracked with being sick, and two of my kids being sick, I had taken you all through the beginning of 2006, with my hubby fresh out of the hospital and my Aunt Chris and cousin Tabatha having left, and Adrian returning home from her hard-partying New Year’s Eve weekend.

So 2006 got underway, and even after the holidays, and a round of hospitalization, and relatives in the house, things just seem to stay hopping busy in our family. January alone contains 5 family birthdays: my mom, my dad, Adrian, me and Aunt Nell. February has Valentines Day (Alex’s very first chocolate, and a coloring book about dump trucks), as well as Alex’s very first steps, taken at my mother’s house on Valentine’s Day; March brought the birthdays of my step-son and his wife, my boss, Tabatha, and two dear friends, as well as remembering Angelia’s birthday again. April brought not only warmer weather, but also the celebration of my sister-in-law’s birthday, and May is just jammed with Mother’s Day, Pete’s birthday, and our wedding anniversary on Memorial Day weekend. (I got a kitten for Mother’s Day that year, a stub-tailed, covered in soot, totally chilled out 10 week old kitten, named Lucky Luciano, or Luck-Luck for short). We celebrated our anniversary, not by taking in a movie, or a romantic dinner for two, or even chocolates and champagne, but with a wonderful trip to Cedar Key with our little boy! Alex went into the ocean for the very first time! And he loved it! Now, for those who know, the beach at Cedar Key is not much of an ocean, but it is the Gulf of Mexico, and that was where my baby took his very first dip! We played at the playground, built sandcastles, ate the picnic lunch we packed, went back in the water for more fun, and tucked the baby in a stroller for a leisurely walk around the waterfront at Cedar Key! What a wonderful day we had. The only fly in the ointment being me, of course: I was so worried about my baby getting sunburned, I chased him everywhere he went squirting sunblock on him every chance I got. In my paranoia, however, I forgot to put any on myself, and went home with a pain whopping sunburn on my back and shoulders. It took days to get over it, and made it very difficult to sleep.

Having a true toddler in the house now made life begin to get very interesting: he could now get on and off of beds and couches, turn door knobs, reach the cordless phone and push buttons. That resulted in some interesting outgoing answering machine messages several times that year. Alex would reach up and push RECORD NOW and there we’d be, one big happy family: talking, chatting, laughing (ah, who am I kidding, this is me we’re talking about: sobbing, shrieking, hollering) and not realizing that we were being recorded until the next time one of us called the other at the house and HEARD the sobbing, shrieking and hollering, instead of my usual, “Hi, you’ve reached...blah, blah, blah”).

Alex was hooked on Baby Einstein by now. Loved it...good thing, because we bought all the DVDs. The only thing he did not like about Baby Einstein, however, was one scene in the animals movie of the sea otters, rolling around and squirming. He hated that scene, hated it with a passion. The other scene he hated was the lawn mower cutting the grass scene in one of the movies. I think it was the noise, not so much the scene he hated. The sound of the lawnmower really made him scream!

He also developed an odd attachment to mommy cleaning the house. He loved to help me load the washer and dryer. He loved the feather duster and even took it outside on several occasions to help me by “dusting” the dirt in the back yard. His oddest house cleaning fetish, however, had to be the toilet bowl cleaner. I use those Clorox scrubbing wand cleaners, you know, you attach a scrubby pad to the end of the wand, use them once to clean the bowl, and then throw them away. Well, he loved that toilet bowl cleaning wand. One Saturday morning, I was cleaning the house before leaving to run errands and he grabbed that cleaner and would NOT, for dear life or bribery or anything, let it go. Daddy was gone on his own errands, and I had to get to the bank before it closed. I begged, pleaded, threatened, and that child went into a screaming, hiccupping, sobbing breakdown when I tried to pry that toilet wand from his hands. Time was rushing past, was off to the bank we went. Alex held it with him, high above his head, all the way to the bank, and then, again, another freak fit when I tried to get him to leave it in the car while we went inside the bank. It was no use. At least, I will say, that the scrubby part, the nasty, dirty toilet part, had been previously discarded. But that boy insisted on carrying that wand part inside the bank with him. Me carrying him, him carrying his wand, high above his head, and using it to point things out every now and again, like some kind of crazy Olympic torch runner. What a sight!

So, we proceeded into summer with our little family intact and enjoying every minute of the craziness. Pete and I have always loved summer and all summertime activities. I was enjoying summer of 2006 a lot better, too, since I had worked by butt off to lose about 30 pounds during the winter and spring. So we were ready to charge, full steam ahead into come-what-may!

Stay tuned!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Spiders, Part II

Well, back to’s been a crazy couple of weeks, and not in a good way...but when I last blogged, it was a look back to Halloween of 2003, the hubby’s spider bite episode. I’m going to resume blogging where I left off before that, but before that, I had to share an odd episode that occurred after blogging the spider bite event.

As I stated in that blog, I had to poke fun at hubby for the spider bite (after I knew he was going to be OK, of course) and bought a boat load of fake spiders to tease him with. He’s cool with that, and almost everyone who knows us was OK with it, too. A joke is a joke....looking at the bright side of things, taking it easy, etc., etc. Gotta laugh in life, right? Well, at the time the spider episode occurred, and hearing of my spider purchases, one person in particular thought my humor was in very poor taste, and told me so. Well, so what? I didn’t buy the spiders for him, did I? It was my hubby, and hubby thought it was funny, and that’s all that matters.

So when this person learned of me blogging the event (on the actual day of Halloween this year, Friday, October 31), he again stated his thoughts (verbally to me) on my sense of humor about the whole thing, to which I said, “whatever” and then wanted to...ahem....point a finger at him, ya know what I mean. Well, I didn’t, but I wanted to, and I kept that negative thought with me all morning, I’m loathe to confess. Then, later that morning I had to leave the office, and when I went out to my car, I SWEAR to you, I kid you not, my car was covered in spiders. Well, not entirely, every single square inch, but if there was one spider on my car, there were about 50. My right hand to God. It was eerie. Halloween day, I’m dressed for the holiday, and so was my car! Not great big hairy spiders, but a slew of itty, bitty, teeny, tiny spiders. I had to brush them off the door handle to my car in order to get inside! I was afraid I would find some inside my car as well, but I did not.

So, I ran my errand, thinking the spiders, as little as they were, would blow off my car as I drove. But, they did not. Those little suckers hung on for dear life and continued their parade all around my car while I drove through town. I finished my errand and returned to my office, hoping to find them gone when I left work at the end of the day. Not so. There they still were at 5PM. I drove home and showed them to hubby and he was just as befuddled as I was. Hubby hosed them off my car, and in the 10 days since Halloween, they have not returned, not even one.

So, I just don’t know what to make of that. Was it just an ironic coincidence that a creepy bunch of spiders landed on my car on Halloween day, just after me blogging the spider event of 2003, or is there a more ghostly, spooky hand at work here? What do you think? MMMMMMMUUUUUUUAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHH!