Saturday, July 2, 2011

Catching Up. Getting Ready To Say Good Bye

It's been a long while. There has been much that has happened. Kindergarten graduation, losing teeth, learning to read, jumping roap (record 29 in a row), diving into the deep end and touching our tummies on the bottom, triple summersaults under water, beach trips with grammie, papa and Tony 2, Yosemite trips with mom and dad, turning SIX, liking Dane at school for the simple reason he liked us first, getting over princesses and deciding we are truly nature girls, getting the flu and missing emi and luke's carnival, long days of Popsicles and talks with mom about heavy subjects, water day at the park, parades, hikes, learning to skate in the sac, making bread with Grandma, doing a talent show with Grandpa, making up jokes, doing cheers, hosting circus and magic shows in our playroom and printing tickets for our parents to present at the door, new lullaby sung by Dad..."come see" by enya. Learning what it means to dress appropriately and to follow " Shirley Temple rules at nice restaurants. If they serve Shirley Temples then a different set of behavior is expected than say at McDonalds. Winter fell into Spring and Spring bloomed into summer.

Official moving orders for our Dad to go to Colorado Springs, Colorado. We move next week. We feel medium about it. We hear there are horses and snow in the winter but it's very far away from Grammie & Papa. As long as we can come to California 4 times each year and stay for 5 weeks each visit then we think it will be okay. We will just have to see. But if it's not enough, Grammie and Papa can move to our house and we'll just have a slumber party on our parents floor.

We'll let you know how it all turns out...

Love, Katie-Kate & Jessica Rose

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Tooth Fairy Objects To Being Called A "fairy"

Jessica lost the most significant of teeth in her mouth last night. Her right upper front tooth. It's the one that was a little crooked from smashing into playground equipment when she was 3. It was her largest tooth. It had been wiggly for weeks and finally last night it came out. It always amazes me how excited she is when it comes out. This is my child who will cry hours after scraping her knee because she has looked down and noticed the scrape for the first time. This is the child who bawled about an arm injury until I wiped the arm with a wet paper towel and proved it was only ketchup! But a tooth and a bloody mouth? It's like Disneyland and she has to call Papa right NOW and yay! And Katie is so happy she gives everyone congratulatory hugs as if to say " whew...we made it through it"! But the weirdest phenomenon is Mike and his total joy in getting to be the tooth fairy except he doesn't like me to call him the tooth fairy. So I said " look, if you don't want to be called the tooth fairy, give me the cash and I'll do it.". He didn't even hesitate..."nope, I'm doing it. I'm much more stealthy than you. I just want to be called the tooth elf.".

Yeah, because that's a lot cooler.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Let's Clear Out The Cobwebs

Man it's been depressing up in here. If you need a good laugh and who doesn't...go to today and read about Leta's lost tooth. Seriously if you have ever been a kid, parent, person or tooth fairy it's the best story in the world. I laughed out loud and read it to mike out loud and dropped my phone because I was laughing so hard. I need to get myself out of my funk.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Iron Woman

Today I received an iron infusion. An iron infusion is a highly concentrated bag of iron sucrose that goes into an IV in your arm. It is for people with severe anemia who are also iron deficient. I don't talk about it a lot. I have chronic anemia and have had it for several years. I have had some blood transfusions and three series of iron infusions. The last time was in May. Having iron deficient anemia causes the following symptoms. First, you have something called Pica. Pica is where you crave chalky or different types of things to eat. In my case, I will crunch on ice all day long. If I get a glass of ice water I will ignore the water and chomp on all the ice. I also crave peppermint lifesavers and those old fashioned peppermint puffs. Some people have pica so badly they want to eat chalk or dirt. Some people will eat cigarette butts or Rolaids by the handful. I crave sour patch kids as well. Another symptom of iron deficient anemia is weakness and fatigue. It starts out by just feeling more tired than normal. Like life is overwhelming. The idea of grocery shopping or clothes shopping or any kind of shopping is like the last thing on the earth you want to do. This is always a clue to me that my anemia is back because I love shopping. The fatigue continues to get worse until I am where I am at right now. A shell of my former self. A shut in. A person who cannot muster up energy to blow dry my hair or get the milk from the top shelf of the fridge. I sleep most of the day and night. I think I am up for about three or four hours per day in various intervals. My children are being raised and cared for by a babysitter that works in our home who I used to call her a "mommy helper" but now I call her our "house/life/sanity manager". She is wonderful and makes the shame I feel about my failings as a mother a little less painful. Mike does what he can which in this case translates to getting off work early and handling everything when he gets home from bed time, homework, dishes and mostly holding me while I cry and telling me I'm not a bad mother or wife. It must be very fun for him. What a party his life has turned into. If I do attempt to do anything like go someplace or make dinner I end up shaking like a leaf, dizzy and so emotional that I start crying until Mike gently takes over and sends me to my room where I curl into a ball and cry myself back to sleep. I try and bathe regularly but I don't have the energy to wash my hair. My bedroom is a disaster area of clothes, books, and clutter spread all over the place. The rest of the house looks fine because of our wonderful "house/life/sanity manager" jumps in and just does whatever needs to be done without me asking or giving her directions. It results in a different brand of cheese or bread but it also results in my family being fed. So who gives a crap about the brand of peanut butter?

I see an oncologist for this condition. He is awesome. We have the same birthday. The same year even. I love him. Today, he had me go to the cancer center and get a bag of iron put in my IV. The last time I had iron infusions, they were given in a 5 part series with each bag of iron being the size of a small kids juice box. This time I have having one infusion and it was the size of a gallon ziploc bag. Given my physical reaction to the little bags of iron in the past I am pretty scared about how this round will go.

If you need IV iron you go to the cancer center where people receive chemo and all sorts of cancer treatments administered by IV. Since most cancer patients are also anemic, it makes sense they send me there. You sit in a room that have light blue recliner type chairs. There were six chairs in the room I was in today. They were all filled. I don't know the stories of the other people that were there, but it was obvious that they were at different stages in their fight against cancer. It's a horrible place to be. My infusion takes three hours. Every time I go, I feel this immense guilt because they have cancer and the medication they are getting is going to make them feel worse. My medication is going to make me feel badly for a few days but then I'll be so great, full of energy and vigor. As this energy and life giving liquid drips into my veins I watch as poison drips into their veins. We all have the same hopeful look in our eyes. Because hope is universal. It is where we all go no matter how badly things seem. We can't help it. My heart breaks every time. I hate being there. Their strength of spirit is inspiring and the nurses are amazing and many of them will be cured. But I still feel this overwhelming need to run from the room. I can't help it. And I am ashamed because of how I feel.

For the first twelve hours I will feel actually a little bit better. My face will be rosy and I am so glad to be done with the infusion that I am giddy in some ways. I am happy always on the evening of my infusion. I chat away with the girls and Mike and make jokes and watch TV. Then, around midnight, I start to feel cramps in my stomach and the next three to four days are so bad that I won't write about them here. I don't want to remember them. They are dark and cold and painful. The details aren't important. Because of the amount given in today's infusion I am scared that my physical reaction will be worse. But how can it be worse than last time?, I think to myself. I guess we shall see.

I want to remember this process so that I don't take days that I feel good and strong and healthy for granted. I want to thank you for your prayers. I want you to know that someday, I will get this anemia under control so I get an infusion every once in awhile but not so willy-nilly. I, along with my doctor will manage it better so I don't have to ever get to the stage where I'd rather get a root canal with no Novocaine than blow dry my hair if it means I can just lay here and not move.

Your prayers would be cherished and so appreciated during this next few days. And if you could add in a prayer that this won't have long term effects on my sweet girls. They deserve the best Mom in the world. They deserve a Mom to go on bike rides with and who bakes cookies and who dances around the kitchen with them as we make a healthy and wonderful dinner together. They deserve more than what they have right now. I am so grateful for the stand in moms in their lives. My mom and dad, mike, our helper Jessica...I would be lost with out them.

What I am going through is so small and insignificant in the grand scheme of things. There are so many who have such larger challenges. For me, I am scared. I am so frightened that something could happen that would keep me from raising my babies. I am so scared that something will pop up that can't be fixed. I'm not done yet because I have so much more I want to see and do and give. So I talk to God and ask Him to please heal my body for Katie and Jessica. My sweetest, most wonderful Aunt Lori who I love like another mother sent me a scripture today that I printed out on a card and have on my nightstand so I can see it as soon as I open eyes. It says..."For I am the Lord your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says, do not fear. I will help you." Isaiah 41:13 I know this is true. I feel the love of the Lord and prayers and angels all around me. It is humbling because I don't feel deserving of any of it. But I'll take it. Because I need it.

Tonight I am sick. Tonight I am grateful. Tonight I am loved. Tonight I am sad. Tonight I am happy. Tonight I miss my babies. Tonight I miss my husband. Tonight I miss having a home I am proud of. Tonight I am scared of what people are saying about me and because I know some of it is unkind it makes me embarrassed. Tonight I am giving all of these feelings over to the Lord so that I can rest. I can't carry it tonight. I need to let it go.

I am imagining a helium balloon in the color of pink and inside it has all of these feelings of fear and anger and frustration and sadness attached to the ribbon and it is going up, up, up and now I can't see it any more. To me, that means God has it. I think now I can go to sleep.

Thank you. You know who you are. Thank you so very very much. You mean more than you will ever know.

Monday, February 21, 2011

It's Like Jessica Gave Katie Her Daughter's Kidney to Save Katie's Daughter But Really To Save Katie...

Jessica and Katie have lots of toys. But they each have one particular baby that goes everywhere with them and that they can not sleep without. Jessica's baby is a rabbit named Clarice. If you know our family you have met Clarice. Katie's baby used to be in the form of a bear/blanket but the bear lost it's head long ago and she didn't care one bit. This baby (now just a scrap of material) is named Sophie. If you've met our family, chances are you've met Sophie as well. It is a my worst of nightmares that somehow we will lose either Sophie or Clarice. They've been left on the lawn, in parking lots, thrown out the window onto busy streets, lost in laundry, playrooms, cars etc. But we've always found them. It's sometimes taken hours, but they've always turned up somewhere. Even the fridge. If I had a nickle for the minutes I've spent of my life looking for them (primarily Sophie) I'd be a rich rich woman. But that's not what this story is about.

As I said, Sophie lost her head awhile back. Since then, it's been a downhill road for the old girl. She's literally coming apart at the seams. Katie is rough with her and doesn't take very good care of her so it's not wonder she is torn and tattered. Katie has always comforted herself to sleep with Sophie in a very particular way. She sucks her left thumb and then flicks the silky tag attached to Sophie's border with her other hand's finger. She closes her eyes and sucks that thumb and flicks that tag and you can just see she is in utter bliss. Jessica on the other hand is much more gentler with Clarice. She's needed some repairing on her head lately and one of her bunny ears needed a patch job but other than that, for being six years old and going through what she's gone through...the bunny is aging well.

They went to Grammie and Papa's this past weekend. I got a call from Katie letting me know that Grammie had gotten out some needle and thread and was fixing Sophie and Clarice. I was glad because Sophie's tag was starting to unravel and I had no idea how to keep it from completely coming off. I knew it would not last another two weeks and I had no idea what we were going to do. Fortunately for all of us, Katie informed me that Jessica had given Sophie Clarice's tag and Grammie had taken it off of Clarice and sewed it onto Sophie.

You guys, I seriously cried. Mike cried too. Jessica was so excited to give Sophie Clarice's tag. I told her it was super nice of her and she said "aw Mom, that's what sisters are for!" Which of course made me cry harder. I love these girls. I love how much they love each other. I love that Jessica even thought to give Katie her baby's tag. They take such good care of each other.

Please God. Let me remember this day when they are 14 and Jessica wore Katie's best shirt and got it dirty and they are rolling around on the floor pulling each other's hair out. Please let me remember that Clarice donated a vital part of herself to Sophie and that someday it will be good again. And maybe if they could just skip pre-teen and teenage years all together and jump to having sense, being responsible and liking me that would be awesome. Amen.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Dearest Mike Meeker,

Dearest Mike Meeker Lover Of My Soul...

Thank you so much for coming home last night with a bag of assorted treats for me and your other two girlfriends. Did you ever think when you were teased in junior high about being Mike Meeker the Geeker Seeker that someday you'd have three beautiful, smart, successful girlfriends who worship the ground you walk on? It probably feels pretty good.

Anyhoo...last night, you melted my heart when you appeared at our humble abode carrying the things we need to make us feel special and cared for in exactly your perfect way you do. First, the diflucan for me was so needed. If I didn't get some relief soon, I might have considered voting my lady parts off the island. Then out of the same bag you surprised the girls with two clam shells of fresh strawberries from some south american farm which you called "magic strawberry land that gives us strawberries in the winter". They looked and smelled just perfectly red and strawberry-eee. We promptly cleaned them and divided them into two bowls for the girls. Then I got out the spray whip cream and did a whole routine of whip cream dancing and filling strawberry hulls that the girls found charming. They were so glad for the berries. You also saved dinner by delivering Carl's Junior to all of us. But because you are so cool, you let us eat our strawberries first. You and Jessica chowed on chicken strips and katie and I enjoyed a messy burger. It obviously wasn't the best choice for dinner, but these days are not what I'd call strong work in the kitchen so we were so grateful for the meal. You also put on sweats and climbed into bed with me and watched Surrvivior with me and totally engaged me a conversation about how much we LOVE Boston Rob. He's the best player ever. Then, you put the girls to bed with stories and prayers and left me to fall asleep in our room and rest.

You basically, swooped in and saved the day. Sort of like a super hero. And you had spent the day saving people too. When you think about it you are the closest thing to a super hero we have here in this cynical old world.

Thank you for loving me first and leaving room in your heart to fall madly in love with Jessica and Katie. We are all madly in love with you too. For different reasons. Katie loves your sensitivity, your animated way of speaking, that you watch her performances and compliment her on her hair and jewelry. Jessica loves that you do math together, snuggle on the couch together, play heroes game together, play computer together, play fort and that you are her soul mate. I love that you are the best dad in the world that you love me good and bad and that you get that I am doing my best. Even if my best is not very good.

Thanks for loving us and saving us and being there for us and working so hard and swooping in to make us feel special. We adore you.


Wednesday, January 26, 2011

We Don't Need No Stinkin' Super Nanny...

I like watching Super Nanny. Frankly, it makes me feel rad as a parent. That is reason number one. Also, I get good tips and I think Nanny Jo is a genius. That's reason number two. And lastly, I like to look into other people's homes and lives because I am nosy. There. We've established my reasons for watching. We have all had the flu lately and it has produced some time to lay in bed and watch useless junk on TV online. I found myself watching an episode of Super Nanny today when Jessica crawled up into bed to in her words "spend some time with me" which meant tickle my back and let me watch what you are watching on TV.

She asked what the show was about. I explained that this family wasn't being very nice to each other and this lady had to come to their house and teach them how to show love and be kind to one another. Her name is Jo and they call her a Super Nanny because she helps families know how to be nice and mind their mommies and daddies.

Jessica watched for a minute or two and saw these two girls hitting each other and the Dad yelling. She said "Mom, we don't need that lady to come to our house at ALL. We love each other and we treat each other that way." I was so happy and beaming with pride and had a very rare pat myself on the back moment. I asked her "So you don't think we act like that family?" and she very sweetly said "No Way Mom." And I asked her if she feels Daddy and I show her enough attention and show her we love each other and told her how many times in the day she and Katie show love to our family and it makes me so proud and happy. I was so excited about our conversation and feeling so much love my poor sick flu infected precious baby girl. I proceeded tickle her back and whisper sweet things to her. Then....silence.

Jessica: "well, actually Mom. You sometimes yell."
Me: "yes, sometimes I do. I try really hard not to and I try and say sorry if I yell.
Jessica: "and you sometimes don't listen to us like if we have finished a job you sometimes tell us it isn't good enough and we have to do it better"
Me: "yes, sometimes I do need you and Katie to go back and finish a job I've given you and do it completely. I do that so you can learn the right way to do a job."
Jessica: "and sometimes Dad yells. And sometimes Katie yells. And sometimes I argue a lot."
Me: (feeling worse by the second) "yep. I guess we have things we can work on in our family too."
Jessica: "I guess you better call that lady! Think we'll be on TV?" (soooo happy & excited)
Me: "I sure hope not sweetie."

Friday, January 7, 2011

Hawaii 5-0 vs. The Mentalist (or the reason Amber & Chuck are going to disown us)

Mike and I had a serious discussion last night. And I mean serious, people. I had been thinking earlier in the day how awesome Hawaii 5-0 is as a new show. And then I started thinking about how much Amber loves the Mentalist. She just loves that Patrick Jane and Cho and that pretty but big boned Grace. And I have loved the Mentalist right along with her. I've followed the Red John story with loyalty, trepidation and glee. I even have a print in my house of a bird that I named Red John. See, I'm a big Mentalist fan. But then friends, Hawaii 5-0 entered my life and things just haven't been the same for me and Agent Rigsby. And why can't I think of the dykey side kick who's in charge of their little band of agents? Irish, short, cute but sort of masculine. Come on Aim think....agent....Agent...Lisbon!!!! I knew it was sort of lesbian-ish. I'm not saying she is or isn't I'm just saying. It's possible. And he's not exactly the most masculine dude in the world. Anybody that gets a perm and highlights and curls his hair with a flat iron and wears those little suit vests isn't screaming kick ass murder ace. But I've always been okay with that. He was more of a thinking man's hero. And he had gone through major trauma when his wife and daughter got killed by Red John. So let's cut him some slack.

But now...Hawaii 5-0. There's a show. Mike and I did a point by point comparison that I know will not be interesting to anyone but maybe Amber and possibly Chuck but here you go anyway.

Main Characters: Steve McGarrity vs. Patrick Jane

McGarrity Background: Navy SEAL, Mother killed by unknown persons when he was a kid, father murdered by brother of Irish terrorist that he, as a Navy SEAL, killed. Comes to back home to Hawaii to work on a special task force for the Governor getting rid of high end crime on the island. Has a sister.
Jane Background: An enigma. Former talk show host, con-artist turned mentalist performer. Wife and daughter stabbed to death after he talks about serial killer Red John on TV. He is obsessed with hunting down and catching Red John. He now works for the CBI (California Bureau of Investigations) helping a team of agents solve various homicides in California all the while working the Red John case on the side.

Sidekicks: Dano vs. Lisbon

"Dano": "Book Em Dano" is one of the best cop lines from any show ever. Now that it has returned to television you'd think it was cheesy and sugary nostalgia. But McGarrity and Danny Williams make it seem fresh every time. Dano is a single Dad from New Jersey who transfers to Hawaii as a detective to be near his daughter Gracie. He becomes McGarrity's partner. He bumbles through the cases, knowing nothing about Hawaii and the back and forth between him and McGarrity is awesome.
Lisbon: Patricia Lisbon is the head of the CBI team that Patrick Jane consults for. A real hard nosed no nonsense cop type of girl, you'd expect her in NYC rather than Sacramento. She wears a leather jacket and black jeans in every episode and delivers her lines with a perfect blend of sarcasm and unemotional cop speak. You sense some attraction between her and Jane, but wisely, the writers are taking it nice and slow. They deeply care for each other but there's no love story as of yet.

Hot Asian Team Member
Chin: Same actor as played Jin on Lost. I think his name is still Chin/Jin. He's hot in an intellectual nice Korean guy way. He is the computer tech guy for the team and is a fallen cop who is given a second chance by McGarrity to prove he's an upstanding fella.
Cho: Cho is the hottest asian dude to ever be on TV. Chinese, buff and a man of little words and even fewer emotions. However, when he gets pissed off...LOOK OUT. He's unstoppable. And you know he actually feels a lot more than the rest of them just by his eyes. A great actor and a great character.

Hot Female Team Rookie Team Member
Kono: The actress Grace Park played Athena/Sharon Volarie on Battlestar Gallactica. For that reason alone she is super awesome, kick ass and hot. (I know I'm a girl but she's hot.) She is a Hawaii street kid and the cousin to Chin. She grew up tough and manages to convey toughness and sweetness at the same time. She's a rookie so we get a to see a lot of this through her eyes for the first time. She is not jaded but not naive. She rocks.
Grace: She had brown hair, then red hair that looked like Ariel the Little Mermaid. She is doe eyed and always seems scared and shocked. She has kicked some butt, however it is rare. She is also the tech person in the unit and does not pull off the tech speak or the cop speak very well. She always seems to be talking in a whisper too. And her shirts are too tight for her rib cage. She reminds me of a giraffe. Can you tell which girl I like better?

Extra Characters:
The Governor: Played by Designing Woman Jean Smart. First she's from the South. I love the good people of Hawaii but they'd never elect a southern houlie as Governor. She has some ties to McGarrity's father and plays sort of a pseudo mother figure to him. She tries to be tough and very politician like but she can't quite pull it off.
Agent Rigsby: The final agent on the CBI team. Smokin' hot with a great partnership with Cho. Rigsby is all thumbs and fingers to Cho's cool calm. He also had an affair with Grace and it was secret and stuff and that was okay for awhile but I'm glad they broke them up.

The state of Hawaii: how freakin cool can it be to film exclusively in Hawaii? It makes me feel like I'm there every week. The producers do an amazing job of showcasing the very best of Oahu and setting the action in real towns, real parts of the island, real streets etc. They also could be so much more risque in how many bikini and skin shots they show and they are tasteful both in that area and in the gore part of the violence. They celebrate the people of Hawaii in a great way.
Sacramento: my home town. Sacramento is beautiful and is overshadowed by other California cities like LA, San Diego and San Francisco. We are the capitol and have rivers, bridges and tons of natural beauty. The only city in the world that has more trees per square foot in Paris which is known as "The City of Trees". Paris is our sister city. The problem with the Mentalist is they do one or two shots of the characters in Sacramento and the rest of the hour is either shot indoors, on some film set or in other places than Sacramento. Also, they travel to fictional towns all over California like Sierra River, Pleasantdale, Ocean View, Sierra Lake etc. None of these towns exist. Why not film in Lake Tahoe, Nevada City, Fairfield, Sonoma, Napa? These towns are picture post cards and would add so much credibility to the show.

Our final estimation is that Hawaii 5-0 kicks Mentalist butt. Luckily, CBS owns both shows. Sorry Amber, your boy Jane has gone down. The way I see it, the score is 5-1 with Cho being the only win for the Mentalist. He's a strong reason to keep watching but just about everything in Hawaii 5-0 is better. Steve McGarrity rules!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

A Wonderful List of Christmas Rememberies...

Post Edit - This isn't a wonderful list at all the way the title says it is. It's actually pretty negative. My official resolution as of right now is to be more positive in the New Year. I think I'm just tired and stressed because it was a nice Christmas. Not the best Christmas ever in the entire world, but still fun and full of warm memories of my kids and their excitement. Any Christmas Mikey is home and not deployed is wonderful as well. We might not be as lucky next Christmas and if not next than for sure the Christmas after that. So I will try and remember to appreciate the positives in my life. On that note, here's my summary of the holidays.

Just doing a list this year. It hurts my brain too hard to put it into a narrative.

  • girls are 5-the best age so far for Christmas. They loved, caroling, Santa, cookies, lights, trees, hot chocolate, marshamallows, night gowns, staying up late, candy canes, christmas chains, decorating for Dad's birthday, wrapping their own presents and giving their presents to each other that they picked out.
  • Our last Christmas living in California
  • Marilyn's broken foot
  • Steve & Vanessa just married
  • My broken rib
  • Hosted Christmas Eve for second time
  • So many appetizers! shrimp cocktail, arrancini, steak wrapped in bacon, meat and cheese tray, veggie tray, pickles, olives, crackers, big fat wedge of brie, seriously amazing mocktails
  • Decorating spiced sugar cookies with Grandma Houlie.
  • Both my Grandmas were there physically (90 and 85)- not sure about mentally
  • Missed my family in Oregon and Washington - wishing we were together
  • Spent Christmas Eve night at mom and dads-happy to all be together under the same roof
  • Excitement not contained Christmas morning
  • We went a little lighter this year on presents - good thing since....
  • I bought Mike a cruise for his birthday/Christmas combo and he bought me...
  • My first ever real grown up lady purse - Mr. Louis Vuitton is his name thank you very much Mikey. I sleep with him by my bed each night.
  • Girls got array of stuff they had asked for from Santa - earrings, watches, American Girl stuff, horses, remote control cars, lots of art project
  • We gave mom and dad gift cards because they are getting so skinny they need new clothes and a olive wood salt holder.
  • Gave the grammies thermacare patches and sweaters
  • Gave Mike's parents many gift cards to go out to dinner given Marilyn is in a wheel chair
  • Had our normal William Sonoma croissants - not as good this year
  • Dad made the best egg white omlette I have ever had. He is the omlette master.
  • Had a boring dinner of honey baked ham selections with a really good spinach salad.
  • Mike's birthday next day - cioppino seafood feast - everyone was so tired it was sort of boring. Poor dude, he gets so jipped having his bday Dec 26th. He turned 40. We are going on a cruise. He's glad about that though.
  • Had to hire me a helper around here because of the broken rib. Her name is Jessica. We call her Jessica 2. We love her.
  • Rang in the New Year with mom and dad, jessica and katie, mike, ryan seacrest and poor old Dick Clark. Mike pissed me off just before midnight (can't remember why exactly) and I didn't want to kiss him but then I did really quickly because I was afraid of bad luck.
  • New Years is Katie's second favorite holiday because it has so much love and kissing and the sparky drink that tickles her nose and clinking glasses. She seriously loves it more than anyone. They banged pots and pans and yelled at the top of their lungs into the night.
  • I think it will be a Happy New Year indeed.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

The Secret to Happiness...Turn 40. Stay Married To Me.

Today, we celebrate my beloveds 40th birthday. Not a small milestone. Not a let's go to pizza for event. And the day after Christmas makes it very very very easy on me to get it all done. But I did. Not without a few compromises of my soul and a couple of promises to God that I will totally make it up to HIm this week. But it got done, Mike is happy and that's all I cared about. We had yet another combined Meeker/Oliver/Santos event. It was not what I'm sure Mike envisioned when throwing down 40 but it was nice for a lot of reasons.

First, this is just the prelude to his actual celebration. We go on our cruise on the 15th for his actual birthday. We'll be gone about 10 days and are sailing to an unknown location that is a big surprise. He was so excited to get the "ship" for his birthday. Today, he got additional clues. A pirate lunch box, a CD of pirate songs and gold chocolate coins along with some binoculars. He knows he's going, he knows it's where they have had pirates in the past. That's all. I'm so happy he'll be surprised. His party consisted of crime scene tape on the outside of the house, a ciopinno feast for a king for dinner, presents and a video that chronicled all that was cool in 1970. It was a fun night but the real present and fun starts on the cruise. I gave a toast for his birthday and I realized that I have loved Mike for over half of our lives. I love this man more than I could ever do justice on a blog about. He is my (fill in the blank) and that pretty much sums it up. I am not me without our partnership. The person he thinks I am is exactly who I want to become. He makes me laugh. We argue big. We still fight big (although not as big as when we first got married and never ever in an unhealthy way in front of the kids) and we play and love even bigger. I would say our marriage has been 3% hell, 5% hard, 80% happy, contented, affirmations of why you picked each other, and 12% this is the best day of my life I love this person so much it hurts I can never lose them or I would die I am so happy I can't believe my life turned out this way I can't believe the love I get to have is this kind of huge sort of swamp you and take your breath away love I am so lucky. I think those are pretty good percentages. I feel so very lucky. And today is one of those days in that 12%.

So at 40...Mike can still run faster than most people I know. Sometimes I'll be walking into the mall, restaurant, movie theatre etc. and he's forgotten something in the car. He runs back to get it. I'll hear running right behind me coming closer and I know to stop and steady myself because without asking he's going to jump over my head. And I feel the lightest pressure of my shoulders and he goes flying over my head and lands on two feet like it was no big deal. He can still run really fast. He is not jaded or cynical. He still loves life, loves people, loves his job, loves this country, believes there are tons more good people in the world than bad and believes that you can't judge a person by what they look like or who they hang around with our their economic or religious affiliation. He loves my family and has accepted them into his heart. He is the type of Dad who plays hard, loves hard, tells his kids why he thinks they are so awesome every day and why he would want to be their friend even if he wasn't their dad. He still wants to put them to bed, read them a story and snuggle for a sec even if he's had them all day. He never tires of his kids or being with them. He is a friend to the end, always on my side, always backs me up, even when I'm wrong. Then, in private he'll tell me "Aim, you need to rethink this situation because you are wrong." I can tell him anything, even stuff that we need to change about us. I will never ever leave him. I will never want to leave him. If I had a million dollars to bet, I would bet the same would be true about him. I don't believe he will ever leave me and I don't believe he'd ever want to leave us. We are each other's person. And our family dynamic is so overwhelming in it's feelings of belonging, trust, love and forever that I think we will end up together for as long as the Lord allows us to continue this fantastic journey together. This man, this man/boy who is 40 today stole my heart 21 years ago.. And I'm all the better for it. Thank you my favorite friend, for just being by my side, growing old but refusing to act it and making me giggle, roll my eyes and just be for the past 21 years. I'll love you forever.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Hot Potato

It's just a potato. Why is it such a big freaking deal? I LOVE potatoes. I grew up in a house where we ate rice every night. Our dinner always was a piece of meat, steamed Asian style rice in an old rice cooker with kikkoman soy sauce and a vegetable of some sort. When I got married I was so excited to be rid of rice forever. Unfortunately or fortunately (depending on your take) Mike had served as a missionary for two years in the pacific islands. And guess what he ate every day for two years and absolutely loved and HAD TO HAD TO HAD TO have it every night with dinner? Rice. Cooked in a rice cooker. Yuck and yuck.

But I digress. This post is not about rice or my resentful history with this tiny grain. (Random rice fact: did you know if you go to Japan and eat sushi rice it is most likely imported from Sacramento, CA? cool huh?) So potatoes. The simple spud. Cheap and relatively easy to make in a variety of ways. Mashed, roasted, baked, boiled, in pot roast, in stew, scalloped, au gratin, potato latkes, potato pancakes, potato rolls, all deliciously awesome. But today, I'd like to talk about the best way to eat a potato. You guessed it...FRIED BABY. Specifically the french fry. Be warned, the rest of this post may stir controversy that could sweep our nation and over shadow Christmas this year. I guarantee, if you keep reading, you will be compelled to discuss this issue with your relatives at Christmas dinner.

French Fries? When served hot and salty with a ton of room temperature ketchup, is there anything better? The answer is no. But I'm disgusted by the way most restaurants have castrated the little french fry. Most fast food joints make disgusting, cardboard tasting versions of fries that we Americans shovel into our pie holes as fast as we can get them down. Gross. Even In & Out burger who makes you watch the potato cutting production as you sit in the drive thru makes sucky fries. sucky. Maybe the suckiest of all. That is why when my beloved and I found ourselves at our new 5 Guys the other night, I gave a silent prayer of thanks that there are people in the world that take fry making seriously and do it right.

Back in the nineties, Mike and I were a dual income no kids Washington DC working couple. Summer would take us to old town Alexandria, Virginia for walking and shopping. There was a greasy, crowded, run down 5 Guys on Hwy 1 in which we would stop for a burger and fries. In the summer, the grease residue would stick to the floor and you would literally have to slide your feet on the grease or you would slip and fall. I've seen grown men enter the 5 Guys in Alexandria and promptly biff it on the floor. I was VERY concerned when I found out that 5 Guys had gone corporate and they were opening franchises across the country. I figured they would go the way of Krispy Kreme where their product wasn't even recognizable after they expanded. Seriously the hot glazed doughnuts of the original Krispy Kremes was not at all even close to what those green roofed impostors sold out of their drive thru windows. ANYWAY, 5 Guys. I was scared. Because they have been the gold standard of french fry I have used for a long time. We entered our shiny new 5 Guys the other night and I sniffed. Hmmmm, it smells too new. I thought. I tried sliding my foot. No grease residue, people were just safely walking about. But then I saw the white board. It listed what kind of potatoes they were serving that day and where they came from. Just like the old 5 Guys did. I always thought that was a key to their fry success. If you care enough to write down the source of your potatoes, you probably care about them. The night we went to 5 Guys the potatoes were from a farm in Wyoming. We stood in line and ordered our burgers which is a very involved process if you've ever been to 5 Guys. Then, I ordered a small order of cajun fries. We slid down the line moving further down the counter. We paid for our food in an area in which you could see the fry station. And what I saw that night let me know that all was right in the world.

A new employee was running the fry station. She was obviously new because the store was new so unless she transferred from another 5 Guys, she probably had not worked there longer than a few weeks. Her manager was standing next to her watching. He stopped her. He took over the fry station. He plucked one of his fries out of the basket and broke it in half. I heard him say, they need to be crisp on the outside but do you see how soft and fluffy they are inside? That's how we need them to look. And he went over the very intense process 5 Guys uses in making their fries. I wondered if it was possible that my fries might actually be decent. We took our bag of grease to the car. We each took a fry. Mike looked at me and said "Moment of truth..." and we dipped in ketchup and sampled the fries. I think we both moaned. They were the same. Exactly the same as when we had them six years ago. Perfect french fries. And we high fived and drove home happily munching our fries.

The perfect french fry is a lot harder to make than you think. You first must have fresh potatoes. Fresh!!! Then you must cut them. Then you must soak them in cold ice water overnight. This releases a lot of starch that will screw up your fry. Then you drain and rinse them. Next, you half cook them. You lower your temp of oil to like 325 and you cook them until they are half way done. Then you take them out of the oil, drain them and set them aside. When you are ready for fries to eat, you crank up the oil to like 375 and crisp them up. This leaves you with a crisp outside and a fluffy, soft inside that can steam but won't affect the integrity of the fry. Season with whatever makes you happy. Sea salt and ketchup is the safest and most sure bet. But if you are at 5 Guys, you may trust their cajun seasoning. It is excellent.

Now go and discuss. Be prepared to have a fight on your hands. There are people out there who love In & Out fries. Gross. And people swear McDonald's fries are the best there are. And they aren't bad if they are super hot and cooked properly. But 5 Guys fries are still good cold. Swear.

So this Christmas enjoy your turkey, prime rib, ham and pumpkin pie. But before you start your diet on January 1st, swing by a 5 Guys, eat an order of fries and think of me.

Thank you very much for your time and attention. Merry Christmas.

Peace (on earth).Out.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Christmas is sort of hard. Joyous. But hard.

I think I'm supposed to feel melancholy at Christmas right? I miss old friends who I wish were in my life. Usually, it's through some fault of my own that they are not and that makes me sentimental and a little bit sad. And then I got shopping and it seems like everything that screams to me from the shelves is saying "Amy dahhhhling, you would look so fabulous in me. Buy me my puppet and we'll live forever in fashion heaven!" But isn't buying yourself something the week of Christmas sort of inviting bad and selfish kharma? Is it even allowed? And my girls. Oh my girls. They are at the prime age for Christmas magic and wonder. They are so excited and want to do it all. Carolling, lights, cocoa, marshmallows, Christmas Specials in this order (Rudolph, Frosty, Polar Express, Grinch-old version, Charlie Brown, Santa Claus in Comin' To Town, some new one about the little elves getting packages out and delivered I think it's called Prep and Landing, The Santa Clause, Miracle on 34th Street -the old one in black and white but never ever NO NEVER will they watch It's A Wonderful Life. But yes, we have to watch all of those specials. Then, tree trimming. Mike and Jessica are Katie and my nemesis when it comes to tree trimming. They want everything hung just so, lights balanced, ornaments not clumped. "YOU'RE CLUMPING KATIE" screams Jessica. "Amy, the lights look like they are in a straight line, you need to twist them around the branches", scolds Mikey. So Katie and I plop ourselves on the loveseat in each others arms and we tickle backs and snuggle together and share kisses and whispered Christmas songs. All the while we watch our two favorite people decorate the tree in gleeful holiday harmony now that we are out of the way. We watch the two go at it, hands on hips and high fiving each other every two seconds and we giggle and go make cocoa. It's funny. But our tree looks nice and we get it done.

It's a tradition in our house that IF YOU ARE A SPECIAL CHILD...A VERY EXTRA SPECIAL CHILD...then sometime before Christmas, Santa delivers a note and a snow glow with him inside the globe to your house and under your pillow. The note says something about how special you are and how he can watch all the good things you do for others from inside the globe and keep track of all the good you are doing between now and Christmas. Our globes usually appear the night we decorate the tree. Somehow, Santa knows when that is going to happen and when the girls climb into bed that night, their globes and notes are waiting for them. They have a different globe for each year and we've saved all the letters. This is a tradition we just totally made up so I hope it's one the girls love as they get older.

I am hosting Christmas Eve on Friday night. We just do heavy appetizers and mocktails. We have a gingerbread house decorating contest and we frost cookies for Santa. We read the nativity story from the Bible. We have a nativity set that is one of those Fischer Price Playschool ones. The girls love getting to play with it every year. As we read the story, the girls place the people when they are mentioned in the scripture. It's so fun for the girls and man they know the story of Jesus' birth backwards and forwards. I wish so badly they had more cousins so we could do the Christmas pageant. But such is life. They don't seem to be lacking for anything.

We'll be doing Christmas morning at my Moms. Then, we'll be getting ready for Christmas dinner at our house but going over to my Mom's to actually eat the dinner. Mike's parents will join us this year which will be nice. It will be a quiet group, just us, our parents, grandmothers and that's it. But I'm glad. I wish some of Mike's brothers would be with us but they are all spread out all over the country.

I think the reason I think Christmas is hard is because it all seemed magical as a kid. The food just appeared on the plates. The home-made cookies, fudge etc. seemed to be never ending and came out of nowhere. We stayed up late and watched each person open their gifts one by one. We stayed up until 2 or 3 in the morning playing with our new presents and getting them ready for use. Never did we wonder who made that yummy jello salad or who made sure we had santa napkins or my pretty holiday dress. It seemed like I always had that one thing under the tree that I was hoping for. I lived this idyllic, perfect childhood. Don't think I don't know how wonderful and perfect I had it. We loved each other on top of it all too.

Now, it's my job to make sure my girls are raised with that same sort of security. I want them to believe Santa brings the globes to their rooms . I want to make their favorite snacks for Christmas Eve and leave time for their very favorite thing which is decorating cookies. I want them to see Christmas in sparkles, with pictures of smiling faces, kisses, hugs, cuddling and good times. I want there to always be that one special thing under the tree that they are hoping for most of all. I want them to always give their own Christmas presents to their grandparents, parents and each other. They are more excited for people to open a present from them than for them to get a present them self. I want to instill and excitement in giving. That it's not a hassle, it's not something you have to cross off a list but it's something joyous that you do with thought and you give with love. I want them to tell their children..."my mom and dad made Christmas perfect for us...they took care of everything"

So that's why Christmas is hard. I realize it's a lot of work and that my parents and grandparents have been busting their butts for years. But they did it because of what they wanted to give me as a memory. And I am so thankful.

Both of my girls are very excited to sing about the birth of Jesus and to tell the story of Jesus this year. I'm very happy they aren't just excited about the presents and Santa. I think we'll get it all done. It will be joyous...

What are your Christmas traditions? I'm always looking for new ones to add....

Sunday, December 5, 2010

The Road To Getting A Baby Sister

Thanksgiving really is my favorite holiday. I love the honesty of it. I love how, for one moment, our souls are stripped bare, like the trees outside and we are forced to stand in front of a group of people and declare what we are most thankful for. I don't think we do enough thanking in this world. I don't think we take time to look someone in the eyes, put our hand on their arm and tell them that the act of kindness they just bestowed on a child or the card in the mail last month or the telephone call out of the blue meant something to us. It's very easy to go through this life wondering if anything you do matters at all. Does anyone notice how hard I am trying? Does anyone realize that was hard for me but I did it anyway because of love? Does anyone care? But then, just as I'm about ready to take the electric turkey slicer thingy to my throat and end it all because I can't get gum out of the Halloween costumes, Thanksgiving quietly taps me on the shoulder, opens her arms for a hug and says "it's okay, I'm here". And I know I'll be okay.

This year we headed south for the holiday because (and I can hardly type this without getting teary) Mike's baby brother Steve got married. The same Steve I met in 1989 when he was 3 and I was 17. The same kid who was so shy he wouldn't talk to me but he'd pull my ponytail and say "ponytail" and then run away laughing. The same kid who I eventually won over and then proceeded to take everywhere and talk about everything with. The very same kid who has held this incredibly special place in my heart for 21 years is grown up and graduated from college and married. How did that happen? Just yesterday he was on the floor playing with our dog Josh and his stuffed soccer ball, laughing for hours as they tugged and pulled and wrestled.

Apparently time passes and little boys grow up and they fall in love. Luckily in this case, he fell in love with a gentle, kind, sensitive soul who will be a wonderful sister to me and Mike and a loving, enthusiastic and positive influence as Auntie to my girls. We totally lucked out on this one. Vanessa really is perfect for us as she's perfect for Steve. I love when it works out like that.

So we found ourselves traveling down to Corona, California. We stayed at a hotel all together. My mother in law broke her foot in three places (OUCH) and is completely in a wheel chair, unable to put any bearing on her foot at all. So my sisters in law along with our husbands got together and we put together the Thanksgiving/Rehearsal dinner that Marilyn had already planned out. Amber took over decorations because she's amazing at that . Her flower arrangements looked like they were hundreds of dollars. She had the cutest ideas for name tags and she did a great job with color scheme and making it look Thanksgiving-y but also Wedding-y which is hard to do. Faith...oh Faith. Faith got all the pre work dumped in her lap because she was the only one there in So Cali prior to the event. She did all the shopping. I sent her a list and she and Ken got all the items and began prepping for the event on Thursday at 10am. I made the list and was responsible to make sure we weren't missing a step and I have to say "yay" for my list making abilities. Bill took over hosting duties and Heather helped us where we were short handed. I didn't want to give her an official job duty given she was without Rick and might need to tend to something her kids needed. The boys all ran herd on the kiddos and somehow, by the Grace of God (truly) we pulled it together. Luckily it was catered so the only thing we made was the peas and the corn. I know there's no way we could have done more stuff than that. My favorite part of the day came about half way through dinner when Bill asked each person to stand and say what they were thankful for and how they knew Vanessa and Steve. I love this part because it always surprises me what people are thankful for. This year, I was very thankful for family and how families can come together because of a union of two people. When two people get married, a new family is created. I think families are one of the strongest forces against evil there is in this world. I think a family that tries to have The Lord be part of their home and who invites Him into their family as a full member is an incredible force against evil. I feel that way about my original family of three with my mom and dad, my little family of four now with Mike and the girls. But I especially feel it when I see the girls with their grandparents and I see my Mom teaching my daughter right from wrong or I see my Dad playing some game with them all the while they are laughing and unaware a wonderful memory is being seared onto their heart and that they'll carry it forever. I grew up as an only child so there wasn't a lot of family when it came down to numbers. But there was plenty if you measured in love. I missed my family this Thanksgiving but I was so happy to be with Mike's whole family. All the brothers were there except for Rick who is deployed with the Air Force. But all the sisters and cousins were there. It made me so happy to see the girls laughing and playing with their cousins. We took the kids bowling while the boys had their bachelor party. We went to the San Diego temple for the wedding then back to Corona for the reception. The reception was in her parent's backyard with a large tent and space heaters all around. There were pearls dripping from everywhere and candles flickering. It was a romantic and beautiful setting for a reception. We danced and danced and danced and then everyone went to the front yard with sparklers to see Steve and Vanessa off on their honeymoon.

All of my sister in laws are special to me. But there's always been this part of me that knew that the day would come when I'd be cruising into age 40 and Steve would come waltzing in with some hot babe in her twenties and all the brothers (including my husband) would be fist bumping and high fiving him. And of course, then I would have to hate her. And I wasn't looking forward to it. Now, don't get me wrong, Vanessa is one hot babe, and I've caught more than enough high fives and giggling from the grown men I call my brothers to last me for a long while. But thankfully, she is so nice that it was not even a little bit painful and I don't have to hate her. Not one little bit.

Friday, November 19, 2010


I plan on much more confessing to be done next Friday. I'll be in the throws of a family wedding and I have high hopes of saying/doing things that were awesome at the time, but possibly not in the best taste and prudence over all. This week, not so much to report. Sickness and a house plagued by it, does not provide for much more than a bad attitude and a hope for the ability to squash cheerful people like bugs.

Let's see, oh! Here's a good one. I ordered a certain product online and did not tell Mike I ordered it. The item cost over $200 and making a purchase of that size and not telling each other is just not done around here. But it was a selfish, needless item and one I was pretty sure Mike would not agree with me using the product in the first place. So I didn't say anything. A teeny weeny lie of omission. WELL. Of course he found out. He freaked out. He gathered all debit cards and credit cards from my person, sternly lectured about how we make decisions together and this was just useless and not even good for me. He was pretty steamed. I was appropriately contrite and really did feel pretty badly about it. Sneaky is not my motive operendi. I like being an open book. So this transgression bothered me far more than it bothered Mike. But none the less, he was pretty pissed. It was a good lesson to all of us that if we have to hide something we are doing or that we want from our significant other, then it's not the pricey item that's the problem. It's all about how you communicate and value each other as a couple. I let him stew for a day and one night and peppered his stew with I'm Sorries and I was wrongs. After the second sun had set on his disgust I told him he'd need to pull his head out of his butt now and get over it. He was glad frankly that a truce had been called because he's not very good remembering things let alone why he is mad (an emotion I am thankful he feels so much less than most) A truce has been established and joy has settled back over the land.

Long story short, just maintain full disclosure with your man. It's a good practice and one that I am going to try and be more faithful to in the future.

More confessions to come. (Hopefully of raiding the groomsmen rooms, jumping into the hotel pool at midnight and letting some cute groomsman get to third base at the very least. hubba hubba Until then...


I'm not much a fan of formulas. I don't like prediction and for a to always proceed b followed by their trustee amigo c . I like a little unpredictability in life. For example, I hate red roses and broke up with a serious boyfriend one time over them because if I figured he didn't know by now that I hated cliche's then he wasn't trying hard enough. I like movies with twists and turns. Who Done It's are my favorite where you don't know the killer until the last few pages. I have often said I would love to be a spy but have too big of a mouth and could never stand up to torture. I loved when in college and I thought we were super broke, that Mike surprised me with a secret savings account he had been putting money into for a new computer. I like to change things up now and then, go for the unexpected. This is why today turned out to be so incredibly lovely.

I thought I knew how today would go for sure. I mean,two sick kids with scarlet fever and strep throats no less. Their mother, me, also sick with the same. Their Father unable to take off from work. Not a grandparent or helper in sight. It was going to be me in charge all day long and I knew it was going to be another tough day. I figured a lot of holding of hot, smelly, sticky children, administering of antibiotics, Popsicles and food requests for stuff that doesn't hurt my "froat". A lot of whining about being hot/sick/bored/tired from all sides and by the end of the day me seriously wondering why I paid $30,000 to modern medicine for the opportunity to procreate. But see, it didn't go down like that at ALL.

At 7:45 Katie awoke to a desperate need for hot chocolate and a gooey ham and cheese croissant because it was soft and would not hurt her throat. I laid there staring at her eager face. "Come On Mom. Get your jeans on and let's go pick food up from La Bou." The fact that she knows about picking up breakfast foods from French boulengeries at age 5 is a different story for a different day. The fact that she knows these particular croissants have been my single breakfast weakness since I had one at 10 years old is just about paying attention. "Go see if Jessica really wants one too". Not long passed before two ratty hair, stinky kids were jumping on my bed begging for warm croissants, french ham and melted guyere along with shaved belgium chocolate melted into fresh dairy milk and steamed to the perfect temperature. My kids are foodies. I grabbed my jeans, stuck on a hat, told them to put on their warmest footie pajamas and we headed out. I wondered about the wisdom of doing this when we were sick but we had been not hungry for a lot of days now. I think I was just overcome that there existed a food option out there that sounded good to all three of us and I could go get it without having to comb my hair. I called the order in so it would be all ready and all I had to do was pay and lug a bag of warm croissants and three cups of not too hot, not too cold chocolate to my van which was parked in front of the shop. I had eyes on the van at all times as the whole place is glass fronted and there were like two pepole there just in case you were going to leave me a hate comment that I let the girls stay in the car.

We were happy to have food that tasted and went down easily. We ate much less than usual as we were still not feeling great but it was still a far better cry than the bowl of milk soaked wheaties I thought was in our breakfast plans for the morning. Score one for Katie, her bright ideas and excellent palette.

I hunkered down with a book actually entitled "Happy Ever After". Not my normal thriller genre. It was actually the forth book in a quartet about four best friends who grow up playing pretend wedding day. Fast forward to adulthood and they form a business in which they plan and execute lavish weddings in Greenwich Connecticut. The first book as the best friend/wedding photographer meeting a groovy lit professor and having her "Picture Perfect" love story. The next features the best friend/florist getting her Bed of Roses. The third installment has the best friend/pastry chef Savoring The Moment as she falls in love with a guys she's known her whole life. Now in this one the best friend/wedding coordinator gets her Happy Ever After with a tough no nonsense mechanic who happened to be educated at Yale. I normally do not like these types of books. They annoy me. But when I am sick, I like the comfort of the simplicity of when love runs smoothly and the guy gets the girl. I put on the free babysitter known as the PBS Sproutlette channel and the girls were snuggled up with me with their own 5 year old version of formula stories. We normally never spend time like this. But today it was called for. And it was so nice. We had long conversations about Uncle Steve and Auntie Vanessa's wedding coming up. They wanted to know what the deal was and why the heck they weren't the flower girls because don't they know "we are EXCELLENT flower girls cuz we have TOTALLY DONE IT BEFORE!" I explained that there were two nice little girls were hadn't met yet who hadn't gotten a turn to be flower girls yet so Auntie Vanessa is going to give them a turn this time but that they still had a very important job. They had to check out Uncle Steve before he went into his reception and make sure he was perfect from head to toe. They were the groom checkers. And they are highly excited about this new job. They spent the rest of the day making ghetto gifts to give out at the reception to people that are coming to the wedding. We shared popsicles, talk about cigarettes and how they are bad, new rules about the handling of aluminum cans. The most exciting news of the day was Jessica has an officially loose tooth. Katie asked me if she would get money too when Jessica looses her tooth and the tooth fairy comes. I told her the Tooth Fairy is going to pay Jessica for her tooth and then whatever Jessica does with the money is her business. It was not even a question. They are going to share the proceeds from Tooth Fairy Collections 5050 no matter who's tooth it is. I was surprised but in a good way.
It was a day where I really got to see the love parts of our family and how we are happy to take care of one another. I did my fair share of taking care of them but they took care of me just as much, fetching water, medicine and reminding me to rest. All in all, it was a nice little day. The kind you don't remember but then, years later, you wish you could have back.