Here's what happens when you take a 2 year old(the Pumpkin) and a 3 year old (Hollis), both with only the vaguest notion of "trick or treat," out on Halloween:
Here's what happens when you take a 2 year old(the Pumpkin) and a 3 year old (Hollis), both with only the vaguest notion of "trick or treat," out on Halloween:
It's older and has a lot of quaint charm. By "quaint" I mean it has original plumbing that will need to be completely replaced in the next ten years. And by "charm" I mean the house consists of several additions, none of which really match the original Cape Cod style of the farm house. Our house also has some slightly creepy features like the "Window to Nowhere." But still, we love our house. It was built in the 1920's as, we believe, a second house on the original farm upon which our subdivision was built.
We have the largest remaining tract of land from the original farm, at 4 acres. The original farm house sits vacant next door to ours, it's beautiful Colonial bones waiting for a new family. Of course any home with that much history has, well, a lot of history. Unfortunately, we haven't discovered much about the original owners of our home or the land around it, although I hope to spend some time researching it when the boys are a little older. It seems a shame to not know the history of this house and the lives of the families that loved it. But with the history and character of our old home, we also got something unexpected.
We have a ghost.
Laugh if you will, but creepy things have been happening in this house since we moved in. First, it was just lights and ceiling fans turning on and off. For awhile we weren't really sure because, with the chaos of 2 small boys, 2 cats and 2 adults, who keeps track of whether or not you turned on the ceiling fan in the kids' room?
Then the cat started getting trapped in the boys' closet. (Although it was really only Hollis's closet at the time. Holden was still in utero.)
We have 2 cats. One is laid back and affectionate. The other - Pandora (or Pandy for short) - is a bit annoying. She randomly whines/meows at all times of the day or night. It's an ear piercing whine that can't be easily ignored or tuned out. About 2 months after we moved in, and about the time we were noticing the light and fan machinations, I came home from work early and Pandy was whining upstairs. She'd been trapped in the boys' closet for the day.
We don't really use the boys' closet. It's smallish and deep, built into some spare space in the dormer. It doesn't have a light so I don't like to put much in there because I can't see a darn thing. I keep the few hanging clothes the boys have in there and use the rest of the space for storing off season clothes and extra quilts and blankets.
The day Pandy got stuck in the closet for the first time, I wasn't sure if I'd opened the closet in the morning. There's a trash can in there, so I figured I just hadn't closed the door until it latched. Ditto with the door to the boys' room. At the time, I always closed the bedroom door because if I didn't, Hollis would run back in the room and slam the door behind him in the always fun game of "run away from Mommy." But still, I thought I might have left the door open.
Then it happened again. It still didn't bother me much. I suppose Mommy brain really could be striking on a regular basis. But then, I've been tempted to close Pandy in the closet in the past. I could certainly understand if "someone else" in the house couldn't resist the temptation.
About the time "someone" started working on our whining cat problem, the light and fan show became a little more obvious. I can't sleep without the fan on, so I always turn on the ceiling fan when we go to bed. I would wake up in the middle of the night or the morning and the fan would be off. The overhead light in our bedroom would switch on at 2 am, waking me from a sound sleep. T and I started to get a bit freaked out. But we figured maybe another "charming" feature of the house was a whacked out electrical system.
Then, one afternoon Hollis and I were playing in the living room while T vacuumed. (Yes, he vacuums. Hollis comes by his love for the vacuum honestly.) Our living room is situated between the entry way and our sunroom, an addition that was a side porch to the original house. An earlier owner added on a garage and enclosed the porch with a large square picture window on one side and glass doors leading to the pool patio on the other, leaving in the step down from the house to the former porch. The sunroom is perfect for plants and we keep them all safely tucked away in the sunroom, behind a sturdy, automatically closing baby gate that the kids still can't open to this day. When I walk into the house, I have a tendency to kick my shoes off and let them fall where they may in the sunroom on my way to the living room. Of course, we all trip over my shoes on a daily basis.
So T vacuumed his way through the living room and moved into the sunroom to vacuum the rugs. I got up to ask him something and noticed that he had carefully lined up my shoes on the step down into the sunroom, with the toes on the sunroom floor and the heels up on the step to the living room as if they were on display in a shoe store. I got T's attention and, after he shut off the vacuum, laughed at him for tidying my shoes. We all know that's simply a futile task!
T insisted that he hadn't moved my shoes and that when he'd come through the sunroom earlier, he'd tripped over them by the door. The door to the garage, across the room from the entry way to the living room where they were now.
We both stared at the shoes for a few minutes. They were artfully arranged with the toes pointed slightly outward and heels touching, as if the heels had just lightly clicked. Neither of us had moved the shoes. We knew Hollis and the cats hadn't done it. That left another possibility....
Now the possibility of a benign little ghostie playing with light switches and taunting the cat really hadn't bothered us up until that point. The shoe incident freaked us out because it happened right under our noses. Action was necessary. T was out of town for the next few days, so I sat quietly in our bedroom one night, right under the overhead light, and had a little chat with our "someone."
I started out telling our "someone" that I loved her house and that I hoped she'd been happy here. I asked her to refrain from scaring the kids and freaking the crap out of me. (T was on his own. He'd left me alone in the house with a ghost, damn him.) But then I kept talking. I told "someone" about how conflicted I was about moving away from D.C. in search of a more balanced work life. I told her how scared I to have another child so quickly. I shared that I was afraid I wouldn't love the new baby as much as Hollis or that Hollis would be neglected or scarred in some way. I talked about how much I loved my new role as a mother but how I missed the old me. The me that was so much more than just Hollis's mom.
The words just spilled out. When I finally started to wind down, I tossed Pandy a bone and asked our ghost to stop trapping her in the closet. I explained that Pandy was annoying and a little dim, but that we loved her nonetheless. I know my conversation wasn't really a conversation. I just needed to talk and feel as if someone was listening. (Kind of like this blog. Hmmm....)
I can't say whether I honestly believe we have a ghost. I just like the idea of her, so I still talk to her. She keeps turning our lights on in the middle of the night (in fact, T said it happened again last night while I was in Savannah), but Pandy hasn't been trapped in the closet lately and we still trip over my shoes on a daily basis. Whether she's real or just a product of my (over) active imagination, I don't really care. I love having a ghost.
When the boys are older, I'm sure they will too. How many of you can honestly say that you believe your kids when they insist they don't know who ate the last of the Oreos or broke the screen door? I guess in the Lawyer Mama household we'll never really know....
You may be wondering why I keep referring to our ghost as "her" and "she." Isn't it obvious? I haven't met many men, living or dead, who would pick up a pair of shoes.
This is part of Julie's Hump Day Hmmm for the week. Our topic was, of course, Halloween. Cross posted on DC Metro Moms Blog.
Size is a mindset.
Not Exactly A Princess and the Pumpkin. Everyone please tell her that she does not look fat in this photo.
Labels: Polaroid Moments
Last month, several of the MOMocrats had the opportunity to meet with Elizabeth Edwards and to participate via conference call in a discussion regarding many important issues facing this nation. We discussed health care, education, Iraq, and many other issues. But one comment Ms. Edwards made in particular has stuck with me. She said:
I'll admit it. Before becoming a parent, I didn't feel much responsibility for the world. I wasn't as concerned with ensuring that all children in this country have opportunities. But since I've become a mother, I see our world in an entirely different way. In every child, I see my own. In every parent, I see myself. And the thought of a child growing up without the opportunities that I had and my children will have makes me incredibly sad. Read More....
John talks often about his biography. About how it is that he came from nothing. John's policies are about the ladder that people used to climb up to the American dream. A lot of those rungs are broken.
Education was a part of it. Making certain we were healthy and hearty. Making sure we got a good wage. All those things were a part of what made it possible to step from economically disadvantaged to middle class, from middle class to upper middle class. And the rungs
are all broken now. There is not as much mobility between the various parts of our society as their used to be. Disparities are becoming wider and more entrenched. The top 300,000 wage earners in this country earn as much as the bottom 150 million and the people in that
150 million feel less and less like they have a pathway to the top.
One of the things we are going to do is re-instill this idea that we can move, by our own efforts, move. The government can't make you climb the ladder, you have to climb it, but the government is responsible for making sure the ladder is there.
Anywho, thank you for being so understanding. I'm trying to cut back on my blog reading so that I can still write and get my corporeal and psychic houses in order. T and I cleaned out our bedroom closets first. I'm already feeling more grounded. And a bit appalled at the sheer volume of clothing in our house. Goodwill will be getting a windfall this weekend. (Do you think they'll take all of my mental baggage too?)
Despite all the Mommy time this week, Hollis is still singing the, "Why Can't I Have All of Mommy's Time, All The Time?" blues. Whenever I pay the slightest bit of attention to Little H, who at 21 months requires quite a bit of attention, he immediately launches into pay attention to ME mode. This evening, bath time ended with Hollis writhing at the top of the stairs screaming, "DON'T YOU LOVE ME, MOMMEEEEEEEE?" while I carried his little brother down the stairs instead of him. Ah, the injustice of life.
Where on earth do they learn these guilt inducing techniques? I can guarantee that the phrase, "Don't you love me?" is one that has never before been uttered in our household. Is there a subversive class in preschool called "Stab Your Mother in the Heart 101?" It must be taught along "Passive Resistance 201," "Advanced Clothing Avoidance 302," and "The Art of Ignoring Seminar." Maybe we should rethink this private school thing and send him off to military school.*
*Completely kidding here, folks. Well, mostly kidding. On a good day.
I'm living in my head and trying to figure out who I am and where I want to go. Who I want to be.
Life seems so overwhelming right now.
I'd like to write about it, to write through it.
But I just can't.
It's not that I don't have the words, I do. I have too many words actually. S0 many thoughts are jumbled in my head right now that I can't sleep.
I'm organizing my life in a futile attempt to organize my head. We'll see if it works, but I promise I'll be back as soon as I can. I mean really be back.
In the meantime, I may just post fluff and pictures of my kids.
Oy. I'm too young to be having a midlife crisis.
In other events, a dear friend of mine, Not Exactly a Princess, is facing some seriously life changing news right now. To describe my thoughts about what she and her husband are facing would take more words than I have right now. She's relatively new to the blogging world, but one of my best friends. Keep her and her husband in your thoughts, would you?
It seems completely trivial to mention now, but NEaP also has some video up of my Big H with her Pumpkin from this weekend.
My Little H will eat anything.
Unless it's supposed to be eaten and is served to him on a plate.
Rocks? Eaten them.
Sand? His digestive tract is well exfoliated.
Grass? Dirt? Small twigs? Money?
Check, check, check, and $0.37.
When my parents were watching the kids he ate the TIVO button off of our remote:
Then, he devoured part of a flashing super ball:
My parents were horrified. See, no one really believes me when I say Holden is a goat until they experience it for themselves.
At our local farmers market, he got a free stress ball shaped like a stalk of broccoli.
As for actual edible things, if it doesn't involve french fries or come from Starbucks, he's not touching it. Read More....
My youngest has been sick and cranky as hell for the last couple of weeks. As a result, I've found myself with more time for quite reflection than I normally have in a chaotic day. When Holden wakes at 1am and wants me to rock him back to sleep, a rare treat for me, I fight the exhaustion and hold my little boy. There is something meditative about rocking my Little H, not quite a toddler, no longer a baby. I smell his clean sweet smell and feel his chest rise and fall. I put my cheek on his soft curls and think about how I got here. To this moment in time, in a room with my two little boys, with more blessings than I could possible have imagined. But with more quiet discontent than I ever expected.
Even though I ask myself how I got here, I know. The path behind is quite clear and completely unremarkable. I got married. I have a career. I have children. I have a castle and a kingdom. My path has been surprising only in its predictability. I should now live happily ever after.
But what happens when you look back along that path and see that what you thought was there really wasn't? That something you thought was an important part of your life might have been an illusion?
When I was 15 I fell in love for the first time. Well, I thought it was love in the heady, romantic, hormonally driven way that many teenagers do. His name was Mark. He was 17 and about to start his senior year in high school. I was about to start my junior year. We were both swimmers. We were both honor students. He was handsome, I was strangely quiet and moody and therefore fascinating to him.
Mark had had a thing for another of our classmates, Kerry, before he met me. Kerry was a sweet, but uncomplicated girl. I don't remember much about her other than she had horribly feathered eighties hair (as we all did) and was very tall and a bit gangly. (I am short, so this was notable to me.) Before the Summer of 1988, I hadn't even known Mark existed. He ran cross country. I was a cheerleader. Our lives didn't intersect until he saw me swimming at the pool where he was a lifeguard and decided to meet me. And then to date me. We dated for more than 4 years.
I was 20 and he 22 when we broke up. To say that it had ended badly would be a gross understatement. He had cheated on me. I had flirted with cheating on him. He hated how stubborn and argumentative I was. I hated how traditional and boring he was. I didn't want to live a life of the usual. He wanted the white picket fence and a happy family. I didn't know if I wanted children or a predictable life. We were nothing alike.
I used to say that Mark went looking for something and someone easier than me. Less complicated. Less argumentative. Less moody. Less me. I liked to think that I was something special. But the thing is, I don't think that Mark knew I was all of those things. (Aside from the moody. That much was obvious.) I let him inside my head about as much as he let me in his, which is to say, not much at all.
But still, when I think of high school, I can't help but think of Mark. Most of my life in high school was spent with him by my side. My friends were his, his friends were mine. In a way, we grew up together. But in a way, we also prevented each other from growing up. We both feared discovering who we were or leaving the safe path and so we put a lot of effort into what should have been a simple high school romance. But, yes, he was my first love and I was his, I liked to think.
After we broke up, Mark became almost immediately engaged to another girl. The cheatee. They got married shortly after they graduated from college. Later, I met and married my T. I didn't hear much from Mark after that, aside from the occasional email. I knew that he was working on his doctorate in pharmacy and that he had had two hip replacements in his late twenties as a result of degenerative arthritis. Ironically, his wife and I graduated from law school the same year. (So much for hating my argumentative nature.)
A few years ago, I Googled Mark after not hearing from him for awhile. What I found shocked me. After his surgeries, his life took a dark turn. He got divorced, lost his pharmacy license, and ... other bad things happened.
Even thinking about this now, I'm disturbed. The Mark I knew is not the Mark I found in criminal and civil court records. In hindsight there were warnings. Alcohol abuse of the sort rampant in college, black outs, and some depression. What I thought was an unfortunate result of fraternal excess was apparently a sign of things to come. At the age of 20, Mark once asked me if I ever stared at the ceiling at night and wondered if this was all there was to life. That should have been a big red flag.
Upon reflection, I knew Mark about as well as he knew me.
I was incredibly saddened to hear about what had happened in Mark's life. I wanted him to be happy. Well, he had cheated on me. I didn't want him to be super happy, but I didn't want his life destroyed. I didn't want him to end up in jail, with no future and no family. I found it hard to believe that the Mark I once knew would be happy without children and a family. That much I knew for sure.
Over the last few years I've thought about Mark on and off. I've wondered how he's doing and if he's happier now. And so, this week, I Googled him again. I discovered that he remarried in October of 2005.
He married Kerry.
Yes, that Kerry. The girl he had admired before I came along. Sweet, uncomplicated, tall and gangly Kerry. Who was everything I was not.
I found myself inexplicably upset. Why should Mark marrying our classmate upset me so much?
Because I've always thought of Mark as my first love. Yes, I know now that it wasn't the love. It wasn't what I have with T.
My love for T is so much more than 4 years in high school and college. It's pounding hearts and calm peace, tears, smiles and slammed doors, wedding bands and bills, promotions and miscarriages, ultrasounds and celebrations. It's all those big swirling emotions and all the little nothings of life. What I have with T is everything.
But still, Mark was my first love and I was his. Or so I thought.
Now our history has been rewritten. I wasn't his first love. I was his second. And strangely, after 15 years, that still hurts.
I have my happily ever after, such as it is. Clearly I was meant to be where I am, who I am, with my beautiful boys and my T. Mark was a part of what brought me here. So why should I begrudge him his own happy ending?
I wish I knew why this bothers me so much.
This post is a part of Julie's weekly Hump Day Hmmm. I have two posts for this week's topic, a journey. My other is a post I wrote about a more literal journey I took with my family in July.
If you'd like to read about something fun from my life, go here. I'm just bummed that Not Exactly a Princess and I forgot our cameras.
I also have a new review up at Lawyer Mama Review. Are you interested in getting your kids to eat more healthy foods? Then Deceptively Delicious may be for you.
We also have a mention in the NY Times Caucus column today. Glennia, our astute managing editor and blogger extraordinaire, was interviewed for the piece!
For every horrible thing we read about or hear about on the news, there is someone else out there doing some good, caring, or writing about a cause with passion. This month's list of Just Posts is a good reminder that there is hope in a world of chaos.
A few posts really struck a chord with me this month, and I nominated them for Just Posts. Take a moment to read these posts if you haven't yet. They're written by bloggers who care passionately about their children and the world they will inhabit. Their issues and passions transcend political parties. Whether motivated politically or socially, they all give me hope.
Jen for Door to Door and Chasing Tails
Pundit Mom (and Pundit Girl) for Iraq War Solution by Pundit Girl
David for Facebook Better Smarten Up Fast
The Dynamic Duo at the League of Maternal Justice for The League of Maternal Justice
Amie of DC Metro Moms and Mamma Loves for An Open Letter to the Political Candidates-From a Mom
Special thanks to the kind soul or souls who nominated my posts On Becoming A Lawyer and Facebook Sucks.
You can check out the full list of this month's nominees over at the sites of Jen, Mad, Susanne, and Hel.
As part of her contest, Miss Sunshine has also asked that I write a post listing all the bloggers I love. Now this takes some effort! I have no less than 123 blogs in my Bloglines. Um, yeah, that's not going to happen. But I am going to put my blogroll in here. Bear with me. (And please don't be insulted if you're not on here. It just means I've been too lazy to update my blogroll.)
The View From Here
Serving the Queens
Queen of the Mayhem
Her Bad Mother
The Soccer Mom Vote
Bub and Pie
The Positive Pessimist
Mommy off the Record
Chicky Chicky Baby
Angry Pregnant Lawyer
Mom, Ma'am, Me
Her Bad Mother's Basement
Oh, The Joys
Wherever Ewe Go, There Ewe Are
A Family Story
a little pregnant
one plus two
The Ravin' Picture Maven
Slouching Towards 40
Not Exactly a Princess
And the pursuit of happiness
Check out this great video from the League of Maternal Justice:
It's part of The Great Virtual Breast Fest. If you'd like to participate, see details here. Stop by and offer the ladies some "support!"
Labels: The Breast of Times
Seen on Saturday in Lowe's:
It was October 6th, people. October 6th! Heard from Hollis, who was clearly creeped out by all the inflatable pseudo-Christmas tackiness hanging from the ceiling, "Mommy, I don't like this." Neither do I, sweet boy. Neither do I. (I apologize for the crappiness of the photos. They were taken with T's ancient camera phone.)
According to H&H, this is clearly the only reason one should ever enter Lowe's or Home Depot:
I'm sure all the parents whose kids climbed on that afterward will thank us for the germs.
Labels: Mama Drama
Forgive me for not following through on my promised Mother of All Memes post. I know you're just dying from anticipation but I spent the last two days messing with my template. I'm insanely proud of myself for figuring out how to make my old template into a three column template.
Yep, that's my old pink Zoot template. I just changed the color scheme, Photo Shopped a new banner and footer, and redesigned the template from two columns to three columns. Easy peasy.
Clearly, I know just enough html to be dangerous. I love the three column layout though. I feel like I have more room to breathe, stretch my legs out and hog the comforter.
I'm not sure about the blue color scheme though. I kind of liked my pink. Let me know what you think.
Folks, if you're thinking of making a design switch like this, hire someone. Dear lord, PLEASE hire someone! That's 10 hours of my life that I'll never get back....
Labels: Random Crap
Apparently taking a group photo was like herding cats.*
T got to see all of this first hand while I sat at home with the puking, pooping, germ machine known as Holden. I've been sick the last few days so the plan was for me to go to work while T got to do the fun stuff with H&H. Unfortunately, Holden puked in the car on the way over there and I had to redirect my car to go pick up the sickie. So I ended up staying at home anyway. With puke and runny poo.
To steal a line from Jessica, "oh the joys"....
Speaking of Jessica, she was kind enough to nominate me for a Perfect Post Award for this post. Thanks, Jess. It meant a lot to me.
Stay tuned for tomorrow's post where I once again shamelessly
After tomorrow I may do Jenny's Get-Yer-Ass-Naked Meme if you people keeping tagging me for memes.** I'm warning you, you really don't want to see me naked!
* This image will self-destruct in a few days. I don't know that the parents of all those kiddos would want images of their little darlings to be my blog fodder.
** You know I secretly love it. I'm just lazy.
A recent column in The Caucus, the political blog of the New York Times asks whether men are more involved than women in blogging about politics. The consensus seemed to be that, yes, they are, although no one seems to be able to explain it. I think the answer lies not in brash statistics, but in redefining "involvement."
Women bloggers, at least the bloggers I know, don't tend to blog exclusively about politics. We write about the environment, education, health care, our families, our jobs, our lives and politics. However, we aren't always looking for the next sound bite from a politician or dissecting the latest poll figures. We write about what concerns us in a way that concerns us and resonates with our readers. Read More....
My completely embarrassing story about my kids screaming in the background while I was on the phone with Elizabeth Edwards has been quoted for all the world to see. I'm tickled pink.
I'm such a geek!
On a more serious note, a fellow blogger needs our help. The lovely Jenn from Serving the Queens recently lost a family member in Iraq, Sgt. Matthew Blaskowski.
Jenn has put up a card of sorts, online for Matt's parents, Terry and Cheryl Blaskowski and they'd like to get as many "signatures" as possible before the funeral on Thursday. Please go over and send them your good thoughts. (No anti-war messages will be posted. They don't need that right now.)
Thanks for your help, my bloggy friends.
(And yes, we are all wearing our 'Canes gear by Sunshine Designs. It was Saturday, after all.)
Now on to the REAL photographer:
A few weekends ago the Lawyer Mama family had professional photos taken. This is the first time we ventured away from the Holy Baby Shot Trilogy of Picture People, Sears, and J.C. Penney's. And my dears? I'm never going back to those hacks. Amy, of Amy Sandoval Photography, was wonderful. She spent a few hours with us at the Norfolk Botanical Gardens and captured some amazing shots of my boys and our entire family. She'll be doing our photos from now until eternity. So, Amy, babe, you're never allowed to retire. Got it?
Amy is also a blogger with one of the cutest little girls I've ever seen and she is also the mastermind behind Work It: A Blog For Working Moms. You all know how I like to pimp out my bloggy friends, but they all truly deserve my praise. Amy is a true artist.
You can see a few of the photos from our session with Amy here, including my favorite pictures of the boys. I was tempted to lift one from her page but, ever the lawyer, I couldn't do that. So you'll have to go over to her photography blog to see a few of the pictures. If you'd like to see the rest of the photos from our session, email me (it's in my profile) and I'll send you the link and the pass code.
You know how difficult it can be to get toddlers to pose, right? It didn't faze Amy a bit. She just started following the kids around and got shots of my boys just as they are. You can see it in the individual photos of Hollis and Holden on her blog. Hollis was being inquisitive and introspective. Holden, impish and mischievous. And, yes, our goat was about to eat that seashell.
Labels: Polaroid Moments