Friday, December 21, 2007

Just Hear Those Sleigh Bells Ringling

Jing, jing, jingling too.

Come on, it's.... OK, I'm done.

It's almost Christmas. Are you ready?

I'm pretty much ready. I think. All I have to do is wrap presents and make sure the church gets "greened" on Sunday. I bet, if I didn't show up, it would still get greened. Maybe we should try it and find out.... Hmmmm. No, I guess that would be wrong.

Mr. Swizzle has been off work since Wednesday. That's only two days ago. Seems like longer. What is today? No really. It seems like longer because of everything that we've accomplished in two measly days. OK, three if you count today. We've both been exhausted every night since Wednesday, I think because both of us have done more, or at least moved around more, than we do on a normal day.

My parents are arriving tomorrow. They'll be spending two nights here and two nights at my brother's house. Mr. Swizzle had offered the guest room to his parents Sunday and Monday nights, but they couldn't seem to decide/commit to staying with us instead of his sister 30 minutes away. His mom actually said, "Well, you know, we usually stay with her because she always has something that needs to be put together on Christmas Eve." Mr. Swizzle said, "Yeah, I can see that. 'Cause she's only 42 years old. I can see how you'd want to sleep on a fold-out couch in a living room with no privacy. That makes sense." (he doesn't put up with much anymore) So she said they'd think about it. He's talked to his mom 2 or 3 times to find out if they've decided. Today, I talked to my mom and asked if they could stay here Sunday night, instead of just Saturday night. She said sure and Mr. Swizzle called his mom and said the Sunday night ship had sailed. That's when he found out that his parents are coming into town on Monday and leaving on Tuesday. Okely-dokely.

Anyhoo, I'm sure the next few days will be fun. We're getting together with friends on Saturday afternoon and Sunday evening. Getting together with family, one way or another at some point. It will be interesting to wake up Christmas morning with only the 4 of us here with no grandparents. I suppose that happened two years ago when my parents were at my brother's Christmas Eve, because I know Mr. S's parents weren't here. It's all foggy. Could be the wine. Then. Not right now. Yet.

I'm really trying to take something away from losing Janet. Anything. I'm recognizing little moments that are truly dear and to be enjoyed no matter what. I should probably try to have fewer items on the "I wish I had...." list down the road. But then, life comes along with frustrating babies and in-laws and 6 year olds that must have ears full of cotton because I can't imagine how someone could... oh sorry.

Yeah. Life comes along. I'm trying, though.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Where To Begin?

I've posted several times about my friend, J. This summer, she found out she had leukemia. She went into the hospital June 26. Aside from a short 1 or 2 day visit to her home, she has been in the hospital ever since.

Until today. Today she left the hospital. To use MB's eloquence, "Janet passed peacefully into larger life this morning just before 8:00 a.m."

At the beginning of November, she had a stem cell transplant. Around Thanksgiving, we received word that Janet would be leaving the hospital the following week. There was much rejoicing. Then, there was a delay. Then another delay. And another. Turns out that the leukemia, despite rounds and rounds of horrible chemo, never completely went away. Add to that, her body was slow to accept the new stem cells, and you end up here.

Friday I found out that the decision had been made to discharge her to hospice care. I was devastated. The general feeling was that she would not actually make it to today, when she was to have left the hospital. I've been bawling all weekend. I'm not alone.

J was so thrilled about our adopting Sparkle. On the Sunday before we left for China, J grabbed me by the shoulders, gave me a big ol' kiss and said, "You are so loved. We are all going to China with you. Go bring that baby home." She was at the airport to welcome us home and to fawn over Sparkle.

I'm so not finished with J. We had things to do. Laughs to share. She and her husband had all kinds of plans. Her daughter just had a baby girl (after 3 boys) in September. We all knew that she was going to get through this in her tough British fashion.

But, she didn't. And now, we are left with a gaping hole in our lives. She will be SO very missed by so many people.

Friday, November 30, 2007

The Reason for the Season - 2 Perspectives

I sent this in an email to a few friends this morning, so if you received that email, I'm sorry for repeating myself. I was just really moved to use my brain this morning by the following chain of events.

First, I received an email from my sister-in-law. The title of it was "Shout Merry Christmas". OK, what's this about? The text is below. I read it, and it annoyed the bejesus out of me on SO many levels. What's Al Franken ever done to you?! It's so political and... well ... annoying. Sorry, mister dictionary has failed me again.

Here's the text:

*Twas the month before Christmas*
*When all through our land,*
*Not a Christian was praying*
*Nor taking a stand.*
*See the PC Police had taken away,*
*The reason for Christmas - no one could say.*
*The children were told by their schools not to sing,*
*About Shepherds and Wise Men and Angels and things.*
*It might hurt people's feelings, the teachers would say*
* December 25th is just a "Holiday ".*

*Yet the shoppers were ready with cash, checks and credit*
*Pushing folks down to the floor just to get it!*
*CDs from Madonna, an X BOX, an I-pod*
*Something was changing, something quite odd! *
*Retailers promoted Ramadan and Kwanzaa*
*In hopes to sell books by Franken & Fonda.*
*As Targets were hanging their trees upside down*
* At Lowe's the word Christmas - was no where to be found.*
*At K-Mart and Staples and Penny's and Sears*
*You won't hear the word Christmas; it won't touch your ears.*

*Inclusive, sensitive, Di-ver-si-ty*
*Are words that were used to intimidate me.*
*Now Daschle, Now Darden, Now Sharpton, Wolf Blitzen*
*On Boxer, on Rather, on Kerry, on Clinton !*
*At the top of the Senate, there arose such a clatter*
*To eliminate Jesus, in all public matter.*
*And we spoke not a word, as they took away our faith*
; * Forbidden to speak of salvation and grace*


*The true Gift of Christmas was exchanged and discarded*
*The reason for the season, stopped before it started.*
*So as you celebrate "Winter Break" under your "Dream Tree"*
*Sipping your Starbucks, listen to me.*
*Choose your words carefully, choose what you say*

Shout
MERRY CHRISTMAS,
Not
Happy Holiday!


So, yeah. Annoyed?

30 minutes later, I received an email from my mom, who had also received the above from my SIL. The subject line of Mom's email was "A Letter From Jesus". Also a forward. My first thought was, "Ugh. Here's another one." But I read through it.

Here's the text:

Dear Children,

It has come to my attention that many of you are upset that folks are taking My name out of the season.

How I personally feel about this celebration can probably be most easily understood by those of you who have been blessed with children of your own. I don't care what you call the day. If you want to celebrate My birth, just get along and love one another.

Now, having said that let Me go on. If it bothers you that the town in which you live doesn't allow a scene depicting My birth, then just get rid of a couple of Santas and snowmen and put in a small Nativity scene on your own front lawn. If all My followers did that there wouldn't be any need for such a scene on the town square because there would be many of them all around town.

Stop worrying about the fact that people are calling the tree a holiday tree, instead of a Christmas tree. It was I who made all trees. You can remember Me anytime you see any tree. Decorate a grape vine if you wish: I actually spoke of that one in a teaching, explaining who I am in relation to you and what each of our tasks were. If you have forgotten that one, look up John 15: 1 - 8.

If you want to give Me a present in remembrance of My birth here is my wish list. Choose something from it:

1. Instead of writing protest letters objecting to the way My birthday is being celebrated, write letters of love and hope to soldiers away from home. They are terribly afraid and lonely this time of year. I know, they tell Me all the time.

2. Visit someone in a nursing home. You don't have to know them personally. They just need to know that someone cares about them.

3. Instead of writing George complaining about the wording on the cards his staff sent out this year, why don't you write and tell him that you'll be praying for him and his family this year. Then follow up. It will be nice hearing from you again.

4. Instead of giving your children a lot of gifts you can't afford and they don't need, spend time with them. Tell them the story of My birth, and why I came to live with you down here. Hold them in your arms and remind them that I love them.

5. Pick someone that has hurt you in the past and forgive him or her.

6. Did you know that someone in your town will attempt to take their own life this season because they feel so alone and hopeless? Since you don't know who that person is, try giving everyone you meet a warm smile; it could make the difference.

7. Instead of nit picking about what the retailer in your town calls the holiday, be patient with the people who work there. Give them a warm smile and a kind word. Even if they aren't allowed to wish you a "Merry Christmas" that doesn't keep you from wishing them one. Then stop shopping there on Sunday. If the store didn't make so much money on that day they'd close and let their employees spend the day at home with their families

8. If you really want to make a difference, support a missionary-- especially one who takes My love and Good News to those who have never heard My name.

9. Here's a good one. There are individuals and whole families in your town who not only will have no "Christmas" tree, but neither will they have any presents to give or receive. If you don't know them, buy some food and a few gifts and give them to a church or charity which believes in Me and they will make the delivery for you.

10. Finally, if you want to make a statement about your belief in and loyalty to Me, then behave like a Christian. Don't do things in secret that you wouldn't do in My presence. Let people know by your actions that you are one of mine.

Don't forget; I am Jesus and can take care of Myself. Just love Me and do what I have told you to do. I'll take care of all the rest. Check out the list above and get to work; time is short. I'll help you, but the ball is now in your court. And do have a most blessed Christmas with all those whom you love and remember.

I LOVE YOU,

JESUS


So. Yeah. Mom's getting a little unafraid to speak her mind the older she gets. Hmm.

Now, for those of you who may be annoyed/offended by both of these. I apologize. Except it IS my blog. So....

I just found it interesting that both of these emails were, supposedly, started and sent around by "Christians".

What do you think?

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Whew!

Well, apparently the medication hasn't helped me blog more often.

It did help on Thanksgiving Day though. I think.

It was an odd day. My parents got here Wednesday. Mom and I prepped a little Wednesday night, then cooked on Thursday morning. We told everyone we'd eat at 2:00. So, Mr. Swizzle's mom called to see what time they needed to be here. He told her, "Well, we're eating at 2, but you can come over as early as you'd like." They got here at 2.

My brother and his crew got here a little later, but had called to warn us they were running a little late. So, we probably ate around 2:45. No problem. Twinkle once again this year, asked if everyone could please just be quiet and eat. She cracks me up.

Everyone got along. Mr. Swizzle and his sister talked non-stop, as usual. After we ate, I sat with my brother and my dad on the couch watching football. I watched so much football over the holiday weekend, it's amazing. And I enjoyed every minute of it.

While we were watching the Cowboys' game, we saw some snow falling at the stadium. Hmmm. That's odd. The brief mention of this made Mr. Swizzle's mom declare that it was time to go because the roads were icing over. Of course, it was close to 40 outside and had been in the 60s the day before but, hey what do I know? Then she said, "Well, we needed to leave by 5:30 anyway, because we have to drive back home tonight (2 1/2 hours away)." Why? Why can't you spend more than 4 hours at our house interacting with your granddaughters? Because they had to get back to pack for their cruise. That they left for yesterday. Yes. The cruise left 6 days later, but ....

Anyhoo. My family stayed around until the end of the game and a little past that. Twinkle received an invitation to go spend the night with her cousins the next night. My parents took her with them when they went to spend a couple of evenings with my brother's family. We went to pick her up on Saturday evening and all went to a hockey game. She had a blast at my brother's house and at the game and wasn't ready to come home. Of course, she fell asleep within 5 minutes of leaving the hockey game.

All in all, it was a pretty good, not very stressful weekend. We didn't hit any stores on Friday, 'cause I just don't do that. I got to hang out with my family, sit in front of the fire, and relax.

Not bad at all.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

All Signs Point to Yes

Is the medication helping?

I'd have to answer this question with a resounding yes. Last week, Monday-Wednesday at least, I felt fabulous and accomplished several things that I really can't imagine having done a few weeks ago. The latter half of the week was OK, I just didn't do as much. I even went to the gym on Wednesday. Sparkle wasn't thrilled about that, but she'll get there.

The weekend was pretty nice, though I couldn't tell you right now what all I did. Hair appointment. Furniture shopping. Y'know, stuff. I DID make it to church Sunday, so, cheers.

This week is going well. Twinkle doesn't have school all week. We've watched Night at the Museum about 50 times since this time last week. My parents are arriving tomorrow and Mom has taken charge of all the food for Thursday except "my" mincemeat pie. I guess the true test will be the mixing of my and Mr. Swizzle's families on Thursday. Wish me luck.

My family is quiet. His family - not so much. Last year when it was just his family here for Thanksgiving, Twinkle, my loud, carefree, talkative Twinkle actually said at meal time, "Can we all just stop talking and eat?!" Yeah. They all talk at the same time and never stop. It makes me batty. Of course, MY family makes Mr. Swizzle batty because we can all sit in the same room watching a football game and not feel the need to speak at all. We all get along. We all love each other. We all know this. No discussion needed. Politics? Religion? World peace? (I typed that three times as "world peach") We have no need for them. We are a simple folk and enjoy each others' company talking or not.

So, yes, Thursday will be the true test of my medication. At least my family will be here to be a buffer for the loud ones. It'll be a good time, I'm sure.

And just you wait for the stories that will come out of it!

Friday, November 9, 2007

I Promised I Would

MB over at Terrapin Station, in a blatant attempt to get me out of my blogging slump, tagged me to do the following:

Here is my kitchen window:
What's in there? Hmmm.

From left to right we have: a pottery bud vase, plant food, a collection of Twinkle's sand art, two small pots that Twinkle brought home from Kindergarten last year with something in them that was supposed to grow.

Behind the faucet (which is new BTW) is a small pottery dish with tea light candles in it.

Next is a pot that Twinkle painted and put a flower on using paint on her fingers when she was 3. It didn't get sealed, so if you water the plant, the paint comes off. Now it has a fake plant in it.

Next is a box of hummingbird food, and various lotions.

Finally, hanging on the window is a green glass sun catcher with a Celtic cross on it.

And it's not a bad view, to boot.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Things That Make Me Smile

Well, thanks to my procrastinator ways, this first thing really makes me smile. The white qipao that I bought for Sparkle in China back in May to wear for her baptism still fits! Yea! (This link is not the dress, obviously, but it's just here to show you what a qipao is. And since the picture is kinda small, it's still hard to tell. It's a dress.)

Interestingly, white is a color of mourning in China, not of celebration. They have these baby sized qipaos in white at the stores in Guangzhou, I think, because of the number of Americans adopting babies that will be baptized back home. I did buy Sparkle a red one for New Years, and I really considered using it for her baptism. What would Fr. D say? Actually, I'm a little afraid it would bleed in the baptismal font.

So, that's one thing that makes me smile. I don't have to go searching for a baptism gown sometime between now and November 4. Whew!

The other thing that makes me smile is the following conversation that took place between Twinkle and me last night. She was an angel yesterday. Very well behaved all day. No whining. No arguing. It was wonderful. I guess it got to her, because she had a little bit of a cry fest while getting ready for bed over something very tiny. After she recovered, she decided that she wanted to go to sleep in her bed, instead of on the couch as had been previously discussed.

She asked, "Mom, could you read me a story and then snuggle with me?"
Me: Sure that sounds like a great idea.
T: You're welcome to do that any night you'd like that I go to sleep in my bed. (that phrasing?!)
Me: OK
T: But not Dad.
Me: Oh? Why not?
T: Because HE just reads POEMS!!!!

I laughed so hard. Then she said, "Well, he doesn't ALWAYS read poems."

Later, after we'd read a story and I was snuggling with her in her bed, she turned over and looked me in the eye and said, "Mom. POEMS!" Which, of course, made me die laughing again. I said, "You're so funny!" and T (my girl) said, "YES I AM!"

Oy.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

One Step Closer

Not only have I made the call, I actually went to the doctor today.

AND I had to take both girls with me. They were very well behaved. I was incredibly thankful.

My doctor was as understanding as I remembered. She did prescribe the medication that I previously took and faxed the prescription in for me. I went to pick up the prescription from the pharmacy and was informed that my insurance company requires pre-authorization for this medication. I seem to remember that from before. I'm not overly concerned that they won't do it, but I am slightly annoyed that they have an inkling that they may know better than my doctor.

Whatever. The upside is that I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. I may not start on the meds today, but I will shortly and in a few weeks, I'll be a new Mrs. Swizzle.

Friday, October 19, 2007

The Decision Has Been Made

Well, mostly...

I haven't actually made the call, and deciding to do that could take a few weeks, but I've PRETTY MUCH decided that I'm going to get back to my doctor and get back on my happy pills.

Shortly after Twinkle was born, and I honestly can't remember how long - could be a few months, could be a year - I started taking Welbutron. I have a wonderful doctor who thinks it's silly for people to suffer from any level of depression with so many wonderful medications available. I stopped taking it a little over a year ago.

Lately, I've been keeping to myself a lot. Partly by choice, partly by being "homebound" while Sparkle naps. In the process, I fear I'm alienating some of my friends. While they may have always realized that I'm not the best at returning phone calls and such, I think my recent disappearance is throwing them off.

Most of my friends don't realize that lately I spend most days irritated. Just generally irritated. I can't pinpoint any one thing that irritates me. Though, I can say that I'm irritated by things that really shouldn't irritate me.

I find that I'm not enjoying my girls. Sparkle is on the verge of walking. I should be encouraging that, but it seems like I hardly even play with her. She naps pretty well, but most days when she wakes up from her nap, I just think "can't you sleep a little longer?" Twinkle is pure joy in her very core. I'm afraid I'm going to mess that up with all the snapping at her that I do.

And Mr. Swizzle? He's at least above the dog in the order of things around here. Well, except for when the dog was sick a couple of weeks back. Then, he may have been at the bottom.

Last Sunday, I left the house around noon to go to the church for a knitting gathering. I was really looking forward to it. I had a blast. But I have to admit, when I left the house I thought, "My family isn't expecting me back until 3 or 3:30. I could just get on the freeway and drive. How far could I get?"

Having taken happy pills before, I know I can feel better. Yes, I want to feel better for me. Certainly. But, my family and my friends deserve a happy, less cranky Mrs. Swizzle.

Now I need to just make that phone call.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Thanks Heavens It's Not Just Me!!!

Stop what you're doing right now, and click this link. Trust me, just do it. Then laugh until you stop.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Creativity is Good, Right?

Friday when I went to pick Twinkle up from school I had the following conversation with her PE teacher.

Teacher: Twinkle told me that over the summer she was riding her bike on the hill in front of her house and had a wreck and had to have surgery on her face.

Me: Uh...

Teacher: I told her that she didn't look like she had any scars.

Me: (to myself - Obviously, this woman has my child confused with some other kid.) Aloud - uh, no. No surgery.

Teacher: Yeah, it didn't really seem right.

Me: Yeah, um, no, that didn't happen.

Fast forward --- Twinkle is securely buckled in and we're on our way home.

Me: Twinkle, your teacher told me that you told her you had a wreck on your bike and had to have surgery on your face this summer.

T: Oh! Yeah! (all excited)

Me: Why did you tell her that?

T: I was just telling her a story.

Me: Yeah, but you didn't tell her it was a story. You made it sound true.

T: Well, remember when I DID ride my bike down the street and I DID have an accident?

Me: Yes, but that was 2 years ago.

T: Well, yeah, but that part is true!

Me: OK, what about the face surgery?

T: Well, that part FEELS true, but it isn't.

Me: Right. OK. I'm really glad you're so creative and all, but it really isn't nice to tell people something as if it's true when it isn't really true. You need to make sure they know you're just telling them a story.

T: OK. It felt true, but it wasn't.

Me: Right.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Deep Breath

You know, it's hard to post when you don't feel like doing anything. And boy, I feel like doin' nuttin'. Absotively nuttin'.

It kinda sucks. Or possibly, blows.

I'm not sure what it is. I'm feeling really...ugh. I feel like I have so many things that I need to do, and I don't want to do any of them. I'm just going one day to the next. Feeling overwhelmed and thinking, "tomorrow, tomorrow...I'll do that tomorrow. It's ALWAYS a day away....."

There are many things about which I think, "it's just short term." But short term seems to be drawing out more and more. It seems to be turning into a "not so short term."

I keep thinking I need a girls' night. It'd be great. I don't feel like setting THAT up.

I need a kick in the pants. I NEED more sleep. I probably need more exercise, because that has fallen off with the addition of the new little one. Better food would be a good thing.

But see? Listing those things out? Doesn't make me feel any better. It just makes me feel more overwhelmed.

Send me some love. Send me some prayers.

I'm going to bed.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Now My Dog Has Been Tagged!

MB, at Terrapin Station, kindly sent along these questions for Senna from her pups, Josie and Boudreaux:

Okay, Senna! Josie and Boudreaux want some answers to the Five Questions meme...

1) Will we be meeting you at the Blessing of the Animals this coming Sunday? If we do, and we bark at you, will you be offended? (We don't really understand that dogs as big as you ... could eat us for a snack.)
I'm not sure I'm going to make it to the Blessing of the Animals. I went last year and it was great! That big, tall guy in the dress kinda freaks me out, though. If I'm there, you can bark at me and I won't be offended, though I may sniff you.

2) What is your favorite place to play? At home, the park, with your people?
My favorite place to play is the backyard! Sometimes, mom throws my Frisbee and sometimes I just run along the fence and try to catch cars, or other dogs.

3) What do you usually eat for dinner? Do you get any leftovers, or is it just DOG FOOD ALL THE TIME?
Dinner is the best! I just got this new food that doesn't make noise when you put it in the bowl! It's nice and soft. Tastes like chicken. I don't usually get leftovers, but the new, smallest human is very generous in sharing her food with me.

4) If you got to go on a vacation, where would you want to go?
Well, I went on vacation once. There were a lot of trees there. I'd like to go there again. It was great! Mom says it's called "the woods" and it's where her parents live. She also says we have to look out for "ticks", whatever that is.

5) How do you feel about going in the car?
The car?! We're going in the car?! Gotta go!!!!!!

Friday, September 28, 2007

I've Been Tagged

Heather over at Cool Zebras tagged me for the Fab 4 Meme...John, Paul, George and Ringo! Do I win? Oh wait...

4 Jobs I’ve Held

Checker at Wolfe Nursery (right up until they went out of business - it wasn't me!)
Paralegal
Chiropractic Assistant
Mama

4 Films I Could Watch Over and Over

Silence of the Lambs (yeah)
Master and Commander
Gladiator (sensing a theme between those two?)
Any Harry Potter

4 TV Shows I Watch

The Office
Rescue Me
Man vs. Wild
Dirty Jobs

4 Places I’ve Lived

Longview, TX
Lewisville, TX
Highland Village, TX
Durham, NC (70 odd days - interesting story)

4 Favorite Foods

Beans & Rice
Any Pasta
Mexican Food
Indian Food

4 Websites I Visit Everyday

Etsy (this has been cutting into my blogging time - go shop!)
Go Fug Yourself
CNN
The Superficial

4 Favorite Colors

Purple
Pink
Twinkle's eyes (yummy brown)
Green

4 Places I Would Love to Be Right Now

NYC
Ireland
Scotland
Belize

4 Names I Love But Would/Could Not Use for my Children

Quinn
Eden
Lola
Veronica

I pass this Fab 4 MeMe on to: Elastigirl, MB, Duchess of Insanity, Miss Smarty Pants

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Update on the Pup

Well, the good news is that Senna has Addison's Disease. While serious, it's good news because it beats the alternative of renal failure. It is treatable with Prednisone and other steroid type medication.

So, she's still at the vet. They wanted to keep her there until she eats something. Hopefully, she's getting better. I'm expecting a call from the vet this afternoon with an update.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Pets

Meet Senna. (The dog, not the child).

Senna is 4 1/2 years old. She was born the night the US invaded Iraq, the runt of the litter of about 10. She has always been and is still kind of a submissive dog... In a "so submissive she might freak out and bite a stranger she feels threatened by" kind of way.

I have a love/hate relationship with this dog. She's such a sweety to me and the fam. She recognizes my Alpha Bitch status. But she sheds like a mofo, which I've mentioned before. She frightens most who come to the door. She pretty much needs to stay in her crate for most visitors - especially if they happen to be over 5'2" or male. Our priest flat out overwhelms her.

Senna is the first dog we've had since having children. Before that, we had a dog, Jaz (but pronounced Yaz. Ah the 80s), that I got when I was a junior in high school. She lived to a ripe old age of 14 and had to be put to sleep when I was 4 months pregnant with Twinkle. The vet was great throughout the whole thing, but I digress.

I'm realizing that dogs post kids are very different from dogs pre-kids. She is just at the very bottom of the totem pole. Our adding another child in May just pushed her down another level. I just don't feel the bond with her that I did with our previous dog.

The past couple of days, Senna has not been eating. She's been a bit mopey, even for her, and she's not an active dog. She hasn't even been cleaning up the food Sparkle so sweetly drops on the ground for her. So, this morning when she [pardon me] regurgitated something foul smelling, I decided that I probably should do something. Long story short, Senna is spending the night at the vet with an IV to rehydrate her while they try to figure out if she has Addison's Disease or kidney problems.

I, of course, feel bad for her low station on the totem pole around here. That's just the way it is right now. I'm anxious to find out what exactly is wrong with her, and where we go from here.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Today's Sparkles

My miniature roses off the front porch.

I had fun trying to catch a drip with the camera.

It really seems like there should be a frog under there.

More roses.

These are the bracelets I'm wearing today.

Leave me a comment and let me know how you are making your day a sparkly one.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Here's a Question...

Can anybody tell me how to get rid of my 13 month old's dog food breath? Anybody? ? ?

New rule at Chez Swizzle, dog food bowls come up off of the floor once the dog has wandered away.

Ugh.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Be Sparkly!

Friday is Sparkly Hannah Day. Hannah would have turned 6 on Friday if not for a horrible tragedy that happened two months ago today.

Hannah was a very sparkly and fancy girl who loved "all things bright and beautiful" and often found beauty where most adults wouldn't think to look.

Hannah's mom has been keeping up with her blog and "talking things through" in a way I can't imagine doing myself. They have a wonderful day planned for Friday. She invites us all to go out of our way to wear or do something sparkly on Friday, or just slow down to notice beauty around you that you may have not noticed before. Notice the dew on the grass. Paint your toenails. Wear that jewelry that you never wear because it's "special".

Start thinking about Friday and how you can honor this precious spirit.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Where Has the Week Gone?

It's been a little crazy around Chez Swizzle, but only a normal crazy.

Twinkle had her second soccer game of the season on Saturday. She had lots of fun and really enjoys chasing others around the field. She even, apparently, ignored some trash talk from a player on the other team. Something about how they were going to win and we weren't. Poor child has a math problem. Ah well.

After we'd been home from the soccer game for a few hours, Twinkle came down with (is that the right way to say it?) a fever. She managed to hang on to that fever all day Sunday and part of the day on Monday - except of course while at the doctor's office. She's perfectly peachy today. Thank heavens!

Clearly, she didn't go to school on Monday. What made this a bit interesting is my carpool set up. See, the next door neighbor that I carpool with (and her husband) are in Rome this week for his job. Instead of having the direction-impaired grandparents participate in our carpool schedule this week, I said I'd drive Twinkle and the girl next door (GND) to and from school Monday and Wednesday. How could this be a problem? Oh, right. If Twinkle runs a fever for 2 1/2 days. Right....

I did take the GND to and from school Monday. Mr. Swizzle stayed home Monday morning so I could take her to school without the Viral One. He also came home from work in time for me to go pick up the GND (and Twinkle's work) in the afternoon. It really wasn't that big of a deal for ME. I couldn't have done it without Mr. S, but I didn't really feel put out to do it. I'm not sure why.

Last evening around 5:30, we received a call from Rome. On their cell phone. Clear as a bell. My neighbor had, of course, called her daughter and in laws to see how things were going. GND told her mom that Twinkle was sick, etc., etc. She was exceedingly grateful and swore that next week she'd take the girls both to and from school. It really didn't bother me to do it. I'm still not sure why. She went on and on about how grateful she was and that I didn't have to do that tomorrow if Twinkle was still sick. Thankfully, Twinkle WILL be going to school tomorrow.

I think I may have done something to form a bond with my neighbor. It's a nice feeling. We've lived here for 3 years. Twinkle and GND love to play together even though GND is a couple of years older. My neighbor is less talkative than I am. As usual, our children have brought us out of our shells.

Maybe it has been a little crazier than normal this week. It IS only Tuesday.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

A Time To Remember

What's missing from this picture?

I took this picture last year from the Brooklyn Bridge. There's so much in this picture, yet all I can see when I look at it is a large hole.

I'll never forget this day 6 years ago. A Tuesday just like today. When I think of it, my eyes still fill with tears and my heart races.

So much has changed in the last 6 years. Twinkle was only 3 1/2 months old and not aware of much about the world around her except for those people she saw on a daily basis. Adopting from China wasn't so much as a spark of an idea. We lived in a different house. Mr. Swizzle had just started a job on September 1 after 5 1/2 months of no work. Dear friends now, were strangers then.

So much hasn't changed. The people who orchestrated this horrible thing are still out and about. I'm still disappointed in our President's response. I still can't comprehend this event.

The number of American soldiers who've died in Iraq has exceeded the number of people killed on this day 6 years ago. I still haven't figured out the link between Iraq and 9/11/01. Why are they there? When bin Laden and friends aren't? Does anyone remember that this date was used as a reason to go to Iraq?

It's a day full of answerless questions.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Perspective

What a morning. It has been pouring rain since about 6:30 this morning. Crazy amounts of water falling from the sky.

Luckily, for me, my neighbor offered to drive the girls to school this morning because next week I'll be driving to and from school while she's out of town. I felt bad for her having to drive in this, really I did. But I hate and am slightly terrified of driving in this kind of weather. This is probably due to the fact that the only wreck I've ever had involved hydroplaning on the freeway, hitting a guardrail, and ending up facing traffic. But I digress. Obviously if there had been no one else to take Twinkle to school today, I would have done it. I just would have been a mess when it was all said and done.

After driving, yes driving, Twinkle next door for her ride to school, I came back home and had some tea, unloaded and reloaded the dishwasher, and generally relaxed. I had planned to go to the gym today, but the image of carrying Sparkle and an umbrella in a monsoon deterred me. What can I say? Sparkle and I are going to have an inside, thank God we can stay dry, kind of day.

I also checked out the radar. Our area on the radar had this huge, red blob on it. "Well, that explains a lot," I thought. Then I wondered what more was on its way toward us so I zoomed out on the radar. I kept zooming out and zooming out until I could see all of our state and the states around us. Our big red blob became very small, almost impossible to see for all the green which simply shows that there's rain in the area. There were green dots here and there around our state and to the north of us. But, on the whole, it was mostly clear. Here we are covered in red on the close up, wondering what is going to come washing down the street, while around us others are waking to the sunshine.

It just hit me. So many things can make us try to find perspective in our lives. Reading about the death of a child who is close to our own child's age. Hearing about someone losing their home to a fire. A friend finding out they have inoperable cancer. Today, for me, I got all philosophical about the radar. It's hard to imagine that there are others out there, maybe only an hour away, who aren't covered by a big red blob. They are in the clear. And we could be in the clear in no time. And when we are in the clear, they may under the big red blob.

I guess the next time I'm feeling like I'm under a big red blob, I'll try to zoom out and get perspective. Sunshine isn't too far away.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

A Happy Report

I'm happy to say that Twinkle did well on her tests Wednesday. She said that she finished all 25 problems before the timer went off on her math test. Mr. Swizzle asked how many of the other kids in her class also finished and she said 3. The two other kids she named sit near her, so I don't know if there were others behind her she was unaware of.

Today was her first soccer game. The game consist of 10 minute quarters. She played two of them. She finally started getting into the competitiveness of it about half way through the fourth quarter. It was hot and she got distracted a few times, but she did pretty well for her first soccer game ever. Sparkle? She would have been happy anywhere else. Poor thing was hot and missing a nap and couldn't manage to get comfortable or happy. She did like us pouring water over her head and was happy to eat cheerios, but overall she was not a happy camper. Next week's game could interfere with her afternoon nap, but hopefully she'll be a little better off than this week.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

The Down Side

Twinkle and I have been doing pretty well with the home school thing. We've had our struggles with handwriting and the usual listening issues. I've been really glad that this is the schooling path we have chosen.

This week? Well, we really haven't had school yet this week. Monday, being Labor Day, there was no school. Tuesday, a home school day, there was no school either because we finished Thursday's assignments on Thursday. BUT. Tomorrow, there will be testing. Some phonics stuff that I'm not really concerned about and math. Hmm. Math.

Twinkle is going to have a test in math tomorrow on doubles. You know, 2+2, 3+3, 4+4, etc. All numbers from 0 to 9. Last week, she had a mental block for a little while about 6+6, but she's over that. She pretty much has them down. The test? She will need to complete 25 problems in 1.5 minutes. She's had a little stress today about that timing thing. I feel her pain. She knows the information. She can do 25 flash cards aloud in less than 1.5 minutes. We worked for about 45 minutes earlier today. She did 23 once then went back to 15-20. Oh, the sadness she was feeling. "I just can't do it mom!" My poor girl. I don't know the right words to say to get her to focus. That's all it is.

We took a big long break. Watched some cartoons. Had a snack. Went to a pet store close by that we haven't visited yet. Deep cleansing breaths all around.

We came back and tried again. First try, 23. Sweet! Much rejoicing. Second try? 21. Slight pout from Twinkle, then a deep breath and a "let's do it again!" Third try? 25! Yea! Woo Hoo! Dance with me! Fourth try? 25! "Mom, we're done!" OK. I told her we'd practice until she could do 25 twice in a row.

She seems less stressed. I'm curious how she'll sleep tonight. I hope she sleeps well and doesn't fret over it. She knows the info. She doesn't get them wrong when she moves faster. I think being in the classroom tomorrow should really be easier for her, even though she didn't have TV or the dog or her sister distracting her today. She'll just be in a different setting where she behaves differently.

This process wasn't fun. I didn't want to push her so hard that she totally freaked out. But, she really wasn't focusing like I know she can. It WAS fun to see her so proud when she finally did it. Whew!

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Is It Wrong?

Is it wrong if my 13 month old is living on Honey Nut Cheerios and formula right now? 'Cause that's all I can get in her sometimes.

That, and every now and then, at least half a dropper of vitamins.

Just askin'.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

The Weekend

The weekend is almost over. I didn't make it to a farmer's market. There is actually one not 10 minutes away in the refurbished downtown of the the town next door. It wouldn't have been difficult to do, but I just didn't.

Instead, I worked in the yard yesterday morning. Did I mention yesterday was my birthday? Yep, happy birthday to me! (I had to change my blog profile to reflect this.) I love working in the yard, so it was actually just fine with me to spend part of the day this way. The front flower beds may never recover from our trip to China. Well, that's not true. They may recover with the help of a bulldozer.

My first step in the attempt to help the flower bed recover came yesterday when I sprayed the weeds with POISON(!). I know, not nearly as environmentally friendly as lovingly pulling each of the little buggers out by hand. Desperate times call for desperate measures. I've lost the edges of my flowerbed and the yard is moving in! These are desperate times, indeed.

After I hit as many weeds as I could, I moved to the backyard, AKA the sunny side of the house from dawn until about 4pm. I didn't have as much to do, which was a good thing because it was, ummmm, hot.

This is the work that I actually prefer. Trimming shrubs here and there with my hand snippers. It was almost ok that it was 1000 degrees outside. I could have lapsed into a zen like state if not for the one rose thorn that reached out and burrowed itself into my arm. I almost hyperventilated - not because it hurt so much, but I had this instant feeling of being trapped and never being able to extract myself from this thorn without losing an appendage. Remember that guy a few years ago that was rock climbing and had a boulder land on his arm? He was literally stuck between a rock and a hard place with his arm crushed and couldn't move? He ended up amputating his arm like at the elbow with, I don't know, a paper clip? OK, he did cut off his arm, but I think the tool was slightly larger than a paper clip. The point is, I felt at one with him for like a tenth of a second yesterday while attached to the rose bush. Luckily, that passed, and I pulled it out, but it was kind of a weird moment.

After all that sweating, last night we went with some friends to a sushi restaurant for dinner then everyone came back here for some ice cream and conversation. The daughter of our best friends babysat Twinkle and Sparkle. It's an odd feeling when you remember a child's birth and now they are babysitting for you. She's only 12 and fairly new to the babysitting thing, so her dad came with her. He did warn her, however, that he was only here to talk to the firemen. Apparently his services were not needed, because everything was hunky dory when we returned. We did make it an early night though. Can't keep the 12 year old out until midnight.

Today I went to a bead store to get supplies to make a bracelet for a friend. I think things might be settling down enough around here that I can start making jewelry again. I checked on my website today; something I haven't done in months. I decided that I needed an "inventory reduction" sale to clear some older pieces out, and make way for the new. Not that anything new is waiting in the wings, but I can feel the creativity bug starting to buzz. It's pretty cool.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Disappointment is...

Getting the package of blackberries that you bought yesterday out of the fridge, washing them and putting them into a bowl, sprinkling them with sugar and pouring milk over them...

and them tasting like the butter* we had every year at my grandmother's for Thanksgiving that had been absorbing fridge odors since Labor Day. Bleck!!!

For real.

Gotta find a farmer's market this weekend. And I need to get my mother-in-law to bring me some clippings from her blackberry bush so I can, once again, have my own blackberries in my own backyard.



*Growing up, my parents used margarine and the only time I had butter was at my grandmother's house. It wasn't until I met Mr. Swizzle that I discovered this wasn't what butter actually tasted like.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Crikey, I'm Tired!

Don't you miss Steve Irwin?

No this is not a post about Steve Irwin. This is a post about the beginning of school.

Yesterday, I went to Twinkle's new school for parent orientation. A delightful time wherein you learn just what you've gotten into with this whole private school/homeschool hybrid. And you learn things like, don't call them a "homeschool school" and the like (note to self.) I learned about carline. I'm happy to say there is only one page of carline "rules" unlike Elastigirl faces at her boys' schools. 40, 50 pages was it?

Most importantly, I learned what the heck it is I'm supposed to be doing at home. I went into the day feeling like I knew absolutely nothing, and I came home feeling much better. I mean, down to, "oh, that's why I needed a 2 1/2 inch 3 ring binder." And now I know it's ok that I bought a 2 inch because I couldn't find a 2 1/2 inch.

Today. Oh, today. Today was the first day of homeschool. I was actually excited about it and looking forward to it last night, as was Twinkle. Always a good sign. Everything actually went really well. Up until the handwriting lesson. Even then, it wasn't horrible. But, Aye Chihuahua. I really don't want Twinkle to end up with handwriting like Mr. Swizzle (no offense, Dear). And really, I do realize she's going into first grade, and who writes well going into first grade? What pushed me to the edge was that she didn't seem to be trying all that hard.

I know, who cares if the "l" goes all the way from the top line to the bottom line? Who cares of the top of the "n" doesn't make it up to that middle line? I'll tell you who cares...Twinkle's new school. Twinkle? Not so much. I realize that they'll cut her some slack at the beginning of the year, but it is something we REALLY need to improve. Just improve. I'll take that.

I also found the school rules that were in the orientation packet interesting. I cut them out of the orientation packet to use at home. There are 5. Numbers 3 - 5 shouldn't be a problem. Number 1 is "Follow directions the first time." Number 2 is "Talk at appropriate times only." HA. I've already apologized to Twinkle's new teacher for the amount of talking. I must say, posting these at home has worked pretty well today. I've been able to point at them and remind her - and she actually stops what she's doing and follows the rule! What? All I had to do was write something down and say it was a rule she'll have to follow at school? Who knew?

All in all, I'm still really excited about this school year. She (and I) are going to learn so much. It's OK that today our phonics lesson was "What's this letter? What sound does it make." She actually looked at me like I had to be kidding. It's good that we don't have to tackle the hard stuff when we're still figuring out what we're doing.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Ch-ch-ch-changes

Wow. The summer is just about over. Well, not the hot temperatures by a long shot, but carefree, unstructured days of a whole lotta nuttin' are drawing to an end.

I swore back in June that we were going to use the neighborhood pools more this summer than we did last. Well, that didn't happen. Although I have to say, I did take both girls to the pool last Friday all by myself. I was proud that I did it, but quickly realized why I hadn't done it sooner. Wow. Keeping my eye on Twinkle, while holding Sparkle wasn't easy.

We had some fun this summer AND you know, added a family member. When I think about it, that alone was enough for our summer to be complete. Everything else is gravy.

We went to Twinkle's school today for "Meet the Teacher". I'm really excited about school this year. She's starting first grade at a new school. From age 2 through Kindergarten, she went to the Montessori school at our church and loved it. This year she is going here. It's a hybrid between a private school and homeschooling. She'll be home on Tuesdays and Thursdays with yours truly as her teacher. Although I have moments of, "What was I thinking?!", I'm really glad she's going to be home those days. This is actually a reduction in "at school" time compared to Kindergarten last year. She's a very social creature, so I hope that only three days a week at school will be enough for her. I'll just have to make sure she has outside activities as well.

Which brings us to [insert ominous music] soccer. I've fought it (mostly Mr. Swizzle's begging). I just have this thing about not wanting to join the hordes that flock to the soccer fields every Saturday morning in the Fall. I finally gave in. Actually, I think I gave in to peer pressure. The friends and neighbors who've already been sucked in telling me how good it will be for her, etc. I'm sure it will be. Especially since practices are on Thursdays and she will have been home all day with me. She'll be needing others to run and play with. My only concern is her trying to take over even though this is her first year. I hope she listens to her coaches and her teammates and gets along.

While I was writing that it occurred to me - that's really what I hope for Mr. Swizzle too. Play well with others, dear. Try to be nice.

We went to a little swim party to get to know her team last night. It was nice. The parents were nice and normal. One of the other moms even said, when talking about a friend's team, "They're really, uh, really competitive. We're just here for fun. I mean, our girls play pretty well, but they aren't...like that." That made me feel better. A friend told me today that her son has been switched to a different team from last year and this new team practices TWO times a week, plus games. That seems like a lot. I don't know if I'd want to do that.

So, there's a whole lot of new going on here at Chez Swizzle. We need to shop for school supplies, a bookcase for the home school room, cleats and shin guards.

What fun! What fun!

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

All That Happens

MB (are you tired of seeing your name on my blog?) had this post earlier this week. I've been pondering it the last couple of days. "...banish cares, take no account of all that happens...."

My very first thought when I read it, was about my friend J. She left the hospital over the weekend having been there for about 5 weeks while undergoing chemo for leukemia. The kicker is she still had leukemia when she left the hospital Saturday. She's taking a 2 week break at home, then going back to the hospital. At least, that was the plan when last I heard it.

Since first reading MB's post, I've had a few other things pop up that made me return to her blog and read it again. Yesterday I was catching up on blogs I haven't read with great regularity, even though some of them are listed on the right in the "Daily Reads". I came across this. This post just made me ache to the core. I can't imagine. I think it hit me because the girl is just 4 months younger than Twinkle. Just a mom. With a blog. Posting pics of her kids from one day to the next. Then, out of nowhere, the world is upside down.

This morning I received an email with a prayer request for a six year old girl (like Twinkle) not more than 5 miles from our neighborhood out doing what six year olds should be doing - riding her bike. She wrecked and hit a parked trailer which happened to have rebar on it. She's in the hospital with part of her skull removed to relieve pressure on her brain. The parents have 72 hours, at least, of waiting to see how things will go.

How do you go from day to day and manage to "...banish cares, take no account of all that happens...."? Without even taking in to account my own daily annoyances (and they are minor annoyances in the grand scheme of things) of the arguing 6 year old or the cranky 1 year old, how DO you live without feeling "stomped by 'all that happens'", as MB said?

Perhaps a "grouchy gratitude list" is in order.
  • I have a ridiculously comfortable life
  • I have a husband I love, who loves me despite me
  • Twinkle and Sparkle continue to, well, twinkle and sparkle
  • I have the best friends and family anyone could ask for
  • My roses look great, especially in the bright sunshine outside my window
  • The sun is shining, the birds are singing, and RIGHT NOW is a great place to be
It's a start.

Remember to have gratitude. And pray constantly. For J, for Hannah's family, for Alexa and her family. They are all in my thoughts and prayers.

Monday, August 6, 2007

Mother of the Year

That's right. I've won. The rest of you can just take your names out of the running and concede.

As I mentioned previously, the trip to The Woods made Sparkle a bit congested. At first her nose was runny, then she became congested in her sinuses. Since we've been back from The Woods, that congestion has gone, and each morning she wakes up with a bit of a cough that goes away after she's been upright for a while.

As I may not have specifically mentioned before, I have a bit of a laid back approach to health care. I'm not one to rush to the doctor every time one of my little darlings sneezes or coughs. So, since Sparkle's symptoms started out as an allergy and have seemingly improved upon our return to the non-piney woods, I haven't been all the concerned about her recovery.

Well, Saturday came around and Mr. Swizzle took Sparkle to the doctor for her 12 month well check. Turns out? Not so much a well visit. Apparently, despite having no indication from Sparkle, she had an ear infection - bad in one ear, starting up in the other ear. Oh, and that slight rattle in her chest? Well, we need to check her blood oxygen level. Well, her blood oxygen level is 97% and that just won't do. Mr. Swizzle had to give her a breathing treatment at the doctor's office which brought her oxygen level up to 100%. They came home with prescriptions for antibiotics, a nebulizer, and associated medication and instructions to give breathing treatments three times a day for a week. Yee ha!

Now, I must say I'm still not entirely convinced all of this is necessary. But I'm not a doctor. This child has not had a fever, she has not whined or cried as if she's in pain, she has not pulled at her ears. She has done absolutely nothing but be a happy baby that wakes up with a cough. But, I will, obviously, treat my child as instructed, hoping that I'm not giving her unneeded antibiotics. At least it's only breathing treatments for a week. Hopefully giving her THAT medication won't have any long lasting effects. I'll have to research that.

It just seems to me that kids today have more cases of allergies and ear infections and asthma than ever. I often wonder if jumping on the antibiotics and other medications right away can be detrimental down the road. Obviously these things are needed, but it just seems like the body often doesn't get a chance to fight off things on its own.

But I digress.... I won't even go into a lot of detail about "the incident" at church yesterday with Twinkle that secures my Mother of the Year award. Suffice it to say that it's difficult to carry a kicking and screaming six year old out of church while wearing heels. I thought maybe the pre-Eucharist hymn that was going on at the time would cover some of the sound. Apparently not.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

MB Keeps Testing Me

MB continues to have little tests on her blog, and I just feel drawn to doing them. I can't say I'm overly surprised by the results.

Click to view my Personality Profile page

Monday, July 30, 2007

Still Recovering From Time in The Woods

All in all, the trip to my parents' house was....so so.

I usually love going there. It's so quiet and relaxing that most of the time I wish I could stay a little longer. This time was different. Ah, the difference a new child can make.

Apparently, Sparkle is allergic to nature. Well, at least pine trees. That's what most of the trees are in Granny's forest, as Twinkle calls it. We arrived there on a Thursday afternoon. Sparkle did not appreciate the lovely pack 'n play that I took especially for her to sleep in. Thursday night was not pretty. By mid day Friday, the allergies kicked in. She slept ok on Friday and Saturday nights. Then Sunday, I decided she needed decongestant, AKA baby cocaine. The girl could NOT sleep on Sunday night.

Sunday night is the night that I realized exhaustion and I do not mix well. Oi, is that an understatement. I'm mean. I'm sullen. I'm ugly as my mother used to call it when I wasn't nice. And I'm probably actually ugly to look at.

We returned on Wednesday. All three of us were happy to be home. Sparkle and Twinkle and I all slept like we haven't slept in a long time that night. There's just something about being in your own bed that does a body good.

Since we returned home, I've gone to bed before 10:00 every night. I think I'm on to something here.

The upside about the trip is that Twinkle got to play with 3 of her cousins for several days. She had a blast. Another upside is that I did actually get to eat a lotta peaches. And purple hull peas and corn bread.

As Sparkle gets older, I can give her some East Texas honey for a week or two before we go to The Woods. Maybe that will help. The whole time all I could think was that I wasn't really surprised by her allergy. That is the first time in her whole life she's ever been anywhere with plants like that.

She did love the purple hull peas. We'll make her a Texas girl yet.

Once Again Inpsired by MB




You're To Kill a Mockingbird!

by Harper Lee

Perceived as a revolutionary and groundbreaking person, you have
changed the minds of many people. While questioning the authority around you, you've
also taken a significant amount of flack. But you've had the admirable guts to
persevere. There's a weird guy in the neighborhood using dubious means to protect you,
but you're pretty sure it's worth it in the end. In the end, it remains unclear to you
whether finches and mockingbirds get along in real life.



Take the Book Quiz
at the Blue Pyramid.

I guess I'm To Kill a Mockingbird. Alrighty then. If you say so.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Moving to the Country, Gonna Eat a Lotta Peaches

Am I the only person who liked that song?

OK, I'm not actually moving, just visiting. But I do plan to eat a lotta peaches, because it is, after all, that time of year. The girls and I are heading to The Woods to hang out with my parents for a week. They are BOTH actually taking next week off from work. Too cool.

I think my brother's wife and 3 of his kids will be there at some point, but I'm not sure when. We'll be back on Wednesday, because Thursday is Sparkle's 1st birthday (!) and we can't be away from Mr. Swizzle for that! (I had to write it out like that to realize that her birthday is exactly one week after my dad's. He's turning 65 today!)

I guess some time between now and then I should make plans for a celebration of some kind to take place the weekend after we get back. Hmmm.

Sparkle is taking a much needed morning nap. Twinkle is, oddly, watching Barney. And I have some packing to do.

Miss me.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Sweet - I Think

You scored as Remus Lupin, You are a wise and caring wizard and a good, loyal friend to boot. However sometimes in an effort to be liked by others you can let things slide by, which ordinarily you would protest about.

Remus Lupin

75%

Hermione Granger

70%

Albus Dumbledore

65%

Sirius Black

60%

Ron Weasley

60%

Severus Snape

55%

Harry Potter

55%

Draco Malfoy

50%

Ginny Weasley

30%

Lord Voldemort

0%

Your Harry Potter Alter Ego Is...?
created with QuizFarm.com

Since it seems to be cut off and I don't know how to fix it, what it actually says is this: "You scored as Remus Lupin, You are a wise and caring wizard and a good, loyal friend to boot. However sometimes in an effort to be liked by others you can let things slide by, which ordinarily you would protest about. "

I kind of like being Lupin, though I'm not sure about the "let things slide" bit. Not sure how I got 0% on Voldemort, I must have lied about something.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

If Only I Were More Animated

If I were on the Simpsons, I'd look like this:

Go find out what you'd look like here.


If I were on South Park, I'd look like this:

You can make yours here.

Help me. I think I have a problem.

Magic

It's been another good week. Thanks for the comments to the previous post about how things are going.

Twinkle has behaved pretty well this week. A couple of days have been made up of way too much time playing a Sponge Bob video game, and I think today is reflecting that. Just a little argument this morning which resulted in no more of said video game for the rest of today. Heaven knows it was time for that. She has come into our room the same two nights as the days she spent playing Sponge Bob. Hmmmm.

Sparkle continues to do really well. She's expanding her menu daily. Her naps have gotten to be a little screwy, but it's ok. Instead of 2 short naps, she takes one long one. This does mean that she gets up in the afternoon around 2 or 3 instead of 4 or 5, but it also means she goes to bed earlier.

Tuesday at midnight, Elastigirl and I went to see the Harry Potter movie. It was great fun to do something like that, and get home at 3am. It's been a while. I knew the next day would be interesting with only 3 hours of sleep, but it was much better than I expected. I've just finished re-reading book 6 in anticipation of book 7 coming out in 9 days. I'll be in the woods with my parents when it comes out, but I plan to drive the 20 minutes into town at midnight to buy the book at WalMart. I'm anxiously awaiting the release and to see how JKR wraps everything up.

Mr. Swizzle and I did not get on the HP bandwagon at the beginning. I frankly didn't see what all the fuss was. I have friends who still feel this way. In the fall of 2000, Mr. Swizzle picked up a paperback of the first book when he was flying back and forth to N.C. Book 4 came out shortly thereafter, so we ordered the first 4 in hardback. We both read them all quickly and then, hmmmm, joined the masses in waiting and waiting for the next book. In re-reading book 6, I got to the last few chapters and almost put the book down without finishing it. It's a rough last few chapters that still make me gasp audibly when I read them. Even though I've read the book at least 3 times now, I always hope that somehow, magic maybe?, the ending is different. I've tried not to really speculate how the next book will go, and I definitely stay away from reading others' predictions. Like I said, I'm just really anxious to see how it all turns out.

And speaking of anxious, I can't recall if I mentioned this on here. For Mr. Swizzle's 40th birthday, I bought him 6 laps around the Speedway nearby driving an Indy car. Did I mention he can go up to 145 MPH? Yeah. So, that's tomorrow - Friday, the 13th. I'm sure he'll be fine. AND I FINALLY got him a present that, in my opinion, rocks.

Saturday, July 7, 2007

I'd Say That's About Right!

Inspired by Elastigirl, who was inspired by MB...


Enneagram
free enneagram test


Here's the fuller description:

Type Six The Loyalist -
The committed, security-oriented type. Sixes are reliable, hard-working, responsible, and trustworthy. Excellent "troubleshooters," they foresee problems and foster cooperation, but can also become defensive, evasive, and anxious—running on stress while complaining about it. They can be cautious and indecisive, but also reactive, defiant and rebellious. They typically have problems with self-doubt and suspicion. At their Best: internally stable and self-reliant, courageously championing themselves and others.

Friday, July 6, 2007

So What Is It?

Things are improving here at Chez Swizzle.

It's been a pretty good week with Twinkle. I think it was Sunday night, after whining and fighting about bed, that I had an idea. I told her that I was really sorry that we had to leave her for 2 weeks in May to go get her sister. That I knew she had fun with her grandparents, but I knew it must have been hard for her to have Mom and Dad gone for so long. I told her we weren't going to do that again, and that she didn't have to worry about us being gone. I also told her that she didn't have to come into our room to check to make sure we were still there, because even if she couldn't see us in her room, we were home and not going anywhere. I did throw in that if she DID need to come to our room in the middle of the night, there was a blanket and pillow on the floor for her where she could sleep if she needed to sleep in our room. Since Sunday, she has come into our room once at night. And I think it was July 4th, a night she stayed up way too late.

Twinkle did continue to fight me and argue during the day with me a few days this week. On Monday, we went to visit my friend S at the hospital. Twinkle really wanted to see S's new baby, but that wasn't possible at the time. Now, I understand that it is difficult for a 6 year old to be still in the best of circumstances, but Twinkle was just nuts. This was intensified, for me at least, by the fact that she wasn't listening. Long, annoying story short, I was talking to Twinkle on the way back out to our car telling her that I was disappointed in her behavior. When we got to the car, she kicked the stroller while staring me straight in the eye as if to say, "what are you going to do?" After driving out of the parking lot, I was talking a little more, and she decided to stick her tongue out at me. Thank you God for not letting me lose it right there. That was the first day she had all TV taken away from her. The next day involved throwing a fit when LEAVING the gym. Again no TV. The rest of the week has been much better.

So, I'm getting better sleep. The fights with Twinkle are diminishing. Sparkle is sleeping through the night and, until right this moment, napping well. I'm even going to the gym (3 times this week). I'm still feeling beaten down.

Am I just expecting to recover from the weeks of Twinkle-interrupted sleep and arguing too quickly? Or hoping to adjust to the mother of 2-hood more easily? I just want to go through my days without feeling too tired to do whatever may present itself.

Right now, I really need to empty and re-load the dishwasher. I just can't manage to. I don't feel like I have any quality time with either girl. I still feel like I'm in survival mode and I guess I thought I'd be moving out of that by about now.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Update

Doctors confirmed that my friend, J, has Acute Myeloid Leukemia. She is starting chemo today.

The word is that it is treatable, her doctors expect full remission, but the chemo is really a bitch. A "simple" infection or exposure to germs could do her in. She is such a strong person, and is in my thoughts and prayers constantly. I know she can come through this. She said yesterday that she knows that the prayers will give her the strength that she doesn't have on her own. Say a prayer for that strength. And courage, and....

Though it's only noon, it's been a good day with Twinkle so far, even though she came in and slept with us at some point during the night. I'm definitely tired today, and may try a power nap when Sparkle takes her afternoon nap, though she hasn't woke up from her morning nap yet.

On a brighter note, literally, the sun is out - at least for now. We have a Flash Flood Watch until 7pm, so I guess it's going to rain some more. But, for now, the sun is out. The lake that's less than a mile from our house is 8 feet above normal. Last year at this time, it was 8 feet below normal. It's a lovely sight to behold.

So is the sun.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Life is Crazy

Two posts in one day? Yeah, it's an odd day.

After battle with Twinkle this morning, the rest of the day with her has gone much better. Not sure how the night will go.

I found out this afternoon that a dear friend who kicked breast cancer's ass a year ago is at the hospital now to have a bone marrow biopsy. Her doctors are fairly sure she has leukemia, though I don't know if they know what type. I have no words for this, though most of them would have #$*#*^!~ somewhere in them.

This news arrived after receiving an email from a friend that her 52 year old sister died last night after 9 months of battling breast cancer.

So, as I dive deeper into the pit, I go over to MB's blog where she has posted a "Grouchy Gratitude List". Oy. My eyes tear up, my heart races. Where's the gratitude? Where can you find gratitude on a day like today?

Here goes:
1) My Twinkle is the embodiment of joy. I could learn from her.
2) My Sparkle is 11 months old today and has been with us, her forever family, for a month and a half. She has bonded so well to us, especially me, that it tires me out. It's a good tired.
3) My good friend, S, is a week away from giving birth to another precious girl. I can't wait to meet this new little one.
4) Mr Swizzle turns 40 this weekend. We are having as many friends as possible over to celebrate.
5) I'm a lucky, lucky woman to have the friends and family that I have.

Thank you MB.

Heaven Help Us All

What a day. It's not quite noon.

Can anyone out there tell me some magical formula for making a six year old listen? I realize the addition of a sibling is causing some angst that is coming out in all sorts of ways. Ways that don't seem to be related to said sibling. Apparently, it's also a six year old thing to be obstinate.

For about a week now, Twinkle has been waking up multiple times a night saying she's having bad dreams. In her very dramatic way, she informs us "I just can't take the nights!!!" Sometimes, she just cries without actually waking up. Not in a night terrors kind of way, because she's had those before. Doesn't wake her up, but wakes us up. Last night, I don't know how many times she cried. Most nights she ends up in our bed. I wonder if somehow, even subconsciously, she feels like that's the only time she gets us to herself.

Today, she's been ... bi-polar? I thought I was going to scream earlier because she was being so defiant. Now, she's all "I love you, mommy" with a cheesy grin on her face. It seems like the only reason that she's not getting in trouble for not listening right this moment, is because I'm not doing anything she should be listening to. I know she feels sorry for earlier, and maybe the cheesy grin is a way to see if I'm still angry with her.

I hate doing this everyday. I hate feeling like I fight with her everyday. I hate feeling annoyed every single day. Mr. Swizzle probably wonders why I don't get out of the house more and go do things. It's just not worth the fight. I need to take Sparkle to get more blood drawn (long story) but I just don't want the hassle of the fight I expect from Twinkle.

Everything is a fight. And I'm wearing down to nothing.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Oh, My God, the Dog Hair!

I find myself slightly wishing we didn't have a dog. We've had dear old Senna for 4 years now. She was born the night the US invaded Iraq. That's how I keep up with how long we've been there.

Anyway, this dog... I love this dog. She really is a sweety when she's not pretending she's Cujo. BUT. The Dog. Sheds. A. Lot. No really. I've told several people that I think we could make another dog every week with the hair I clean up. I don't remember her shedding like this the past couple of years.

Of course, we have added a 10 month old to the house in the last few weeks. A 10 month old who crawls, army style, all over the hard wood, dog hair coated floors. We should have named her Swiffer. In fact, I may start referring to her as "Swiffer" here instead of Sparkle. Though she does make my world sparkle.

I honestly cannot believe that I can sweep or swiffer every single day and still get covered in dog hair when I pick up Sparkle.

I can't keep up. I just had this realization, not related to dog hair, as I walked through the kitchen. Oy, I can't keep up. All of the bottles are dirty again? Hmm. How about that? It's Saturday. You mean I have to constantly clean on Saturday, too?

I received a piece of junk mail this past week that I've received many times before. All of the other times, the slogan has annoyed me. This week, I just read it and thought "You ain't kiddin', sister." The slogan on the outside? "Life's too short to clean your own house." It does still get under my skin a little, that slogan.

When we returned from China, Mr. Swizzle's mom said something about how we should get a maid. My first reaction, as it usually is with her, was along the lines of "how dare she?!" But, Mr. Swizzle saw some merit in it, and I think she WAS actually thinking about saving me some cleaning. (Of course, I was still cussing from her chopping the hell out of my rose bush while I was gone, but hey. I WILL let that go one of these days.)

So, I'm considering taking the plunge and getting some help cleaning the house. How sad is that? I mean, yes I do have 2 kids. But JUST 2. I'm a stay at home mom. What else do I have to do but clean the house? "Life's too short to clean your own house"? But, I don't really have a life. So, where does that leave me?

I really am HATING the dog hair, though.

Friday, June 8, 2007

Update from Chez Swizzle

It's been almost 2 weeks since we returned from China. Sparkle seems to be pretty much adjusted to the time change. She now goes to bed around 9, wakes up about an hour later for a couple of minutes, then sleeps the rest of the night until about 7:30.

Now, daytime naps? That's a whole other issue.

At first, she would take about an hour nap in the morning, then a 3 hour nap in the afternoon. This week? Tuesday morning she fell asleep in the car on the way back from dropping Twinkle at VBS. So guess what? When we got home, I closed the garage, opened the car door, opened the door to the house, and let her sleep. She napped about 45 minutes. That's the one morning nap she's had this week.

Afternoon naps? I won't go into the daily details, but I think the longest afternoon nap she's had was just short of 2 hours. This makes for cranky baby (and cranky mommy) right around 6pm.

I'm just stuck wondering what to do. If she naps for a total of 2-3 hours a day, can I put her to bed at 7 and have her sleep all night? I really would like to get her to bed earlier than 9 at night. If I do that, am I totally screwed on naps? WWSND? (super nanny)

Today, she's having a morning "nap". She just IS, damn it. Maybe we should call it alone time. I took her upstairs a little before 10 and she was rubbing her eyes and still, but not wanting to sleep. I put her into her crib about 10 and left. She cried for maybe 5 minutes, and now, 30 minutes later, is still awake, but not crying. Just hanging out.

This baby really needs to learn the joy of sleep. Really.

Saturday, June 2, 2007

What Would I Do Without Mr. Swizzle?

It's really too scary to think about.

He is upstairs with Sparkle right now, trying to help her back to sleep. She slept better last night: 11-9. That came after he was with her for about 2 hours - 1 asleep and 1 crying. She just woke up after having been asleep for 1.5-2 hours. I'm not quite sure. Hopefully she'll go back to sleep quickly and sleep the rest of the night.

Mr. Swizzle has much more patience than I do for the whole thing. He can sit in the same room while she cries. He reassures her the whole time, but doesn't pick her up to comfort her.

I just can't do it. I can't stand the sound. I'd rather hold her on me for hours, even if I'm uncomfortable, just to keep her quiet.

It really is better for him to be doing this. It astonishes me that he doesn't get frustrated or frazzled. I really can't grasp the concept of going through what he's doing and not coming out the other side needing a whiskey. And pulling my hair out. And screaming at the top of my lungs - while hopefully not choking on the whiskey.

God bless Mr. Swizzle. He's saving lives. And my sanity.

Friday, June 1, 2007

Since Elastigirl Asked

Your Dominant Intelligence is Spatial Intelligence

You've got a good sense of space and how the world around you looks.
You can close your eyes and "see" images. You have innate artistic talent.
An eye for color and shapes, you're also a natural designer.
Since you think in pictures, visual aids and demonstartions help you learn best.

You would make a good navigator, sculptor, visual artist, inventor, architect, interior designer, or engineer.