In Which the Universe Doesn’t Hate Me

For awhile there we were thinking we had some major karmic debt that was crashing down on us demanding repayment, what with the kids getting hurt and bringing home health plagues at every turn.

But the last week or two has been pretty great, I have to admit. We have had some major landscape plans coming to fruition, which makes me very happy. I had one side of the garden area out front bordered in. The front and back deck have been getting stained and are almost done. Paul made me 2 raised garden beds and set them out front and ordered up some dirt. That was his excuse to play with his new toy:

He used this bad boy to move the dirt into the new raised beds.  We got part of the first one filled:

and then ran into a snag:

A busted hydraulic line slowed things down a bit.  I spent time admiring my roses while I waited.

I had a bunch of vegetable plants waiting to go in, and while the machine was being worked on they started looking rather sad.  They also suffered some Sushi – style damage.  Bite marks, chewing, and the like.  So when everything was ready for them to go in the ground I jumped to it.   Unfortunately I wasn’t exactly prepared to do it.  I ended up in the big ol’ box o’ dirt barefoot and using my hands to get the plants set and happy.  It was evening and was somewhat chilly but the dirt was still warm from being in the sun all day.  There was actually something really fulfilling on a primal level about being in the dirt like that and setting the veggies in place.

Anyway I still have a lot of work to do and more plants to put in, but the seedlings are happy in their new home:

Now they just need to grow big and strong and give us some yummy tomatoes and veggies!  So the work continues.  The other box needs to be populated with some squash and I need some flowers to fill in the gaps.  But everything is coming along nicely and I think it’ll look good for Neve’s birthday this weekend.  My baby’s turning 5! And speaking of babies, my little Oona discovered Oreos a few days ago.  Yummy!

Of Mucous and Migraines and……..Marcia?

I have got one kick-ass cold going on.  It’s been making the rounds hitting all members of the family, and Oona is its latest victim.  SHe was up all night congested and feverish, poor thing.  Of course you know that means I was up all night as well.  And when I threw in the towel and went downstairs at 2 this morning, Paul was still awake, too, trying to keep the ultra congestion at bay.

The worst of it for me has been that the massive congestion gives me massive migraines.  I took an Immitrex yesterday and was then useless for a good few hours, but when the pill wore off the pain came right back.  Today I’d been keeping it at bay with Advil, but the cottony feeling inside my head just would not let up, no matter what.  And that’s when I though of Marcia.

You see, my friend Marcia used to be knocked around pretty well by allergies when she lived in Virginia, and I remembered reading a while back on her blog that she had tried a Neti pot with positive results, and I figured if it worked for Marcia, it just night clear out my problems as well.  So I tried it today.  I irrigated the crap out of my nasal passages (and hopefully the sinuses beyond) with a nice saline.  And the congestion has lessened quite noticeably! Which is great because I was at the end of my rope, let me tell ya.  I am not 100% better (for example – I still couldn’t taste the super spicy rhubarb chutney and naan I just ate) but it is certainly an improvement.  I’ll do it again in a few hours and see if I can get even better results.

Thanks Marcia!!!!!!

Cold vs. Allergies

Either way, I’m sick.  I ache, I’m congested, it stinks.

Mother’s Day was great – I got nice stone edging around my herb garden, and two raised beds made for veggie growing.  Yay!!!

I got next to no knitting done but considering all the landscaping, I won’t complain.  Plus I got the first ever bloom off my rose bush!

Also my peonies are doing very well so I’m excited.  You know, it was only very recently that I smelled a peony for the first time since childhood, and it was amazing how the scent made me feel.  It brought to mind immediately my grandmother.  She had huge peony bushes (and lilacs and a huge mulberry tree!) at the hotel.  I never had cause to realize how strongly peonies and grandma were connected for me.  It would probably surprise her as well.  And as I write, I just remembered it’s her birthday.  I need to call her and let her know how she’s on my mind quite a lot.  I never get to tell her with all the noise and craziness around here getting in my way.  But really I need to call her anyway, especially now that grandpa is gone, to see how she is doing.  Oona never got to meet grandpa, and I want to be sure my kids get to know grandma well.  Oona’s growing like a weed here.  Just yesterday she had some avocado and a banana cookie.

They grow too fast.

Until they hit about 3 or so – then they don’t seem to grow up fast enough.

Mother’s Day

You know, once a year we see all these commercials and sappy cards about how much mom means to us.  And I do buy into it – I think the mother/child bond is a pretty strong one – stronger in most cases than the father/child bond.  (Don’t get me wrong – I think dads are just as important for kids as moms, and I don’t ever want to imply that all moms are better than all dads at the whole parenting thing.  I am generalizing because this is Mother’s Day so forgive me. )

What gets me is that it’s a holiday that seems to say Wow, mom – it must be hard raising kids – thanks for being so graceful at it! The truth is, I don’t know anyone who feels very graceful at it.  And I think the hard work involved gets kind of glossed over in the name of making us feel like a crappy card and some flowers once a year makes up for all the pain & sacrifice.  And since we already know all the reasons why motherhood is worth it, I’d like to make up a list of some of the more painful truths of motherhood that not everyone may realize (hello fathers/husbands – listen up!):

Your body gets weird. Losing the weight from having babies is HARD.  And unless you’ve got the money or support to get childcare and a gym membership/personal trainer/weight set to rebuild your muscle tone…..well you’re going to be all lumpy.  And you will feel like your belly has become some sort of flabby empty pouch.  And the boobs?  Forget it.  If you’re lucky, they’ll just sag a bit.  Most of us end up with droopy skin sacks that look like they belong in National Geographic. Plus there’s stretch marks, and for many of us that nurse, the various bruises and welts that we will sport on our arms and chests from babies who like to squeeze and scratch while they eat.  You also can’t count on getting a regular shower.  So add sweaty, stinky and greasy to the list of how you feel.

Speaking of bodies….you lose your sex life.  It’s hard to get intimate when you have a barnacle hanging off you all the time.  Even when they’re not infants, most kids don’t understand the need for “personal space” or “private time”.  Then there’s the sheer exhaustion.  If all of this weren’t bad enough, many of us are insecure about our post – pregnancy bodies and don’t feel attractive enough (most men don’t seem to be bothered by our new bodies.  They just want to get naked and get it on.  The men that are bothered…well, they are immature jackasses and don’t deserve a baby mama).  No sex equals a lot of tension in a relationship…but it doesn’t matter because you don’t have time for a relationship now anyway.

You can lose your sense of self.  Your interests get subjugated to those of the family.  (no, going out alone to get your hair done does not constitute “me time” anymore than managing an hour without the kids to buy groceries or do laundry does).  You are, for better or worse, chained to creatures who don’t mind screaming and making a spectacle in public and will get in your way no matter what you try to do.  Again, only people with money for nannies or fabulous husbands get regular “free time”.  Even bathroom time is no longer sacred.

You spend great effort to clean/care for/ dress/ feed small people who will complain and fight you every step of the way.  They don’t want to wear that adorable outfit from Gymboree that makes them look sweet.  They want something garish and sparkly that doesn’t match, hasn’t been washed yet and most likely smells of pee.  And just try to brush their hair.

They also don’t want any food you make.  It’s gross.  They don’t care if it’s good for them, if it’s your specialty, or even if you prepared it because you just knew they would love it.  Just because they ate it at grandma’s doesn’t mean they’ll eat it at home.  And if they do, it’ll stain that adorable outfit 3 seconds after you’ve gotten it on them.

Forget sleep.  You’re on duty 24/7 now.  You’ll spend most nights in an awkward position, one ear open and waiting for the sound of being needed.  If you manage to nod off for a quick nap during the day you will encounter either your other child/ren making this almost impossible, a terrible crook in your neck, or your spouse remarking that you certainly don’t look overworked, what with all the snoring and drooling in front of the tv.

If you work outside your home, don’t think you’re getting off easy.  You’re still going to come home and do all the  housework and be mama all night.  It’s sexist, it’s unfair….it’s unavoidable.

The house will never be clean again.  Children are gross.  When they’re not bringing home germs and parasites they are  wreaking havoc on  any sense of order you treasure.  Books and toys scattered everywhere.  Food spilled and smeared on the windows, couch, floor and door knobs.  Crumbs and half – eaten apples under the beds.  An explosion of laundry from which you’ll never satisfactorily recovery.  And a nice little pair of poop stained undies sitting by the front door that you won’t notice until someone pays a visit.

Things you love will be ruined/broken.  It’s gonna happen.  Maybe it’s a cd, maybe it’s your necklace.  Maybe it’s your Kate Spade handbag.  Protect what you can, and be prepared to lose something.

Your patience and strength of will are continually under assault.  You will always be worried, and you will love them so much that sometimes it will hurt.  Like right now, when my 8 month old sweetie Oona is saying “Mama” and giving me kisses.  Looks like it’s payday.

So Traumatized

Two things happened this weekend which did not add anything to my well – being.

On Saturday Paul and Neve were outside while he moved cars around to work on the truck.  Pippa went wild barking at one point and when I looked out the window I saw Paul and Neve in the driveway making way for a probably 8 foot long blacksnake that was slithering across in front of them.  I ran for the camera, but he was so fast (really really freakin’ fast) he was already headed into the woods.  Apparently Mr. Snakey had been layin’ low under one of our cars.  Eeeewww!  (but at least he kept any mice from crawling into the engine bays)

On Sunday morning I got out of bed and went downstairs to make coffee.  Paul came down with Oona so I made 2 cups of coffee and grabbed 2 chocolate croissants and went over to the couch.  Oona got fussy so I grabbed her from Paul and sat her on my lap.  After a moment I went to grab my coffee on the table in front of me when Paul screamed “Don’t Move!!!” at me and took his napkin and smashed it hard on my shoulder.  He had witnessed a big garden spider CLIMB OUT FROM INSIDE MY  SHIRT and onto my shoulder.  I am still traumatized.

Oh yeah, and thanks to Maddie for promptly reminding me that the average person unknowingly EATS 8 spiders in their lifetime.  (usually in their sleep)

I don’t think I’ll ever be the same again.

The Feline Predictor Of Doom

Sushi’s been making me nervous.

She’s always been a funny little cat in the “tortie-tude” kind of way, but she’s also a selective snuggler.  She only ever sleeps on me at night when it’s very quiet……or when I’m sick.  Yup, my normally attention – fickle kitty will climb into my lap (or onto my back, or legs, or feet, or head) anywhere I am if I am unwell.  She does the same thing with the kids.  If they’re sick, she’ll lay right on top of them.  It’s a pattern we noticed after we’d had her for about 2 years and Emily came down with pneumonia.  Sushi slept on her chest every night until Ems had to be hospitalized.  Then she was elusive as ever.

A few months later I had one of those puking viruses and Paul took pictures of me passed out with the cat on me (no, I will not be sharing those….).  Anyway it’s gotten to be a regular thing.  You’re sick?  Here’s Sushi on you!!!

So the last 2 or 3 days she’s suddenly been following me around.  She’s even been curling up on the couch next to me in the middle of the day with the baby trying to grab at her and Neve trying to kiss her.  I checked the cats’ food supply, thinking she’s either desperately hungry or thirsty, but both food and water are plentiful.  So what gives?  Am I getting sick?  Or is it a clever kitty ruse to mess with me?