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Friday, February 29, 2008

A reason to love...

This bowl filled with amazingly delicious strawberries is another example of why I will live in California forever. Things like this are plentiful at the grocery stores. Even in February. We ate them outside where the sun was shining and the temperature was a delightful 70-some degrees. Again, in February. I love California.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

The miserable downside of my fabulous new neighborhood

I never considered the downside of our fabulous new neighborhood with lots of fabulous neighbors. It never occurred to me that all of those neighbors would be able to hear what a terrible mom I am or how miserable, loud, and obnoxious my children are. But now that we spend a lot of time outside and the lot sizes are small and tightly packed, they can easily hear my children screaming, crying, and throwing temper tantrums, which are frequent and long-lasting.

Then between screeches, you can hear me trying to stop them from crying and screaming. At first, my voice is even-tempered and soft-spoken as I try to redirect them to something less frustrating. But as my attempts backfire and the crying escalates and shouting persists, I get annoyed and my even-tempered voice escalates into an annoyed boom. I cannot figure out how we went from happily swinging in the hammock to hair-pulling, kicking, and sobs alternated with screeches in just two minutes flat.

As this all-too-common scenario unwinds, I immediately think of the neighbors that I've met a couple of times and who I wave at whenever I see them. I think of their one child who is only 16 months old. I think of how at 16 months, she can't cause much havoc. And then--as they hear all of us shouting and crying and screeching--they must cringe and wonder what kind of terrible mom and terrible children and terrible family moved in right next door to them, not 15 feet away from them, and their nice, quiet, single-child household.

Then, I imagine, as they have a moment to consider the situation, they must certainly think: there goes the neighborhood. Sure this crying and shouting happened at the old house, but our lot was bigger, the house was bigger, and the neighbors were camped out in their own expansive house, far away from our loud sounds. Well, hopefully these new neighbors will be fabulous enough to overlook these flaws.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Someone gave the clutter our new address

It's been two weeks and we're getting settled in the new house. It's fabulous and I don't really miss the old house at all. Well, maybe I miss the views. Preschooler in Chief told me that he misses the kitchen. I honestly can't give that comment all that much credence. When we asked him what he likes most about the new house, he told us he likes the dining room table. But that table was at the old house too. Then again, perhaps he likes it because it's familiar.

There are still boxes everywhere. That is expected. But I'm have to admit that I'm a little bit surprised that all the of clutter from the old house ended up in the new house. It's a bit depressing. We got rid of furniture. We got rid of old clothes we don't wear. We got rid of toys and exercise equipment and outdated electronics. But somehow, even though we got rid of so much stuff, there is still clutter everywhere.

There are still stacks of paper to sort.

Toys are still scattered everywhere.

There are still baskets of laundry.

There are still dishes in the sink.

I guess I sort of thought once we moved away and left all of our clutter behind, it would not appear at the new house. Silly me. Oh well. We may have clutter, but at least we can walk to downtown, the park, and the elementary school.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Hoping for a hospital-free 2008

Many of you know that my son was born with severe heart defects and that he has had five heart operations. As a result, February 14 means more to me than just flowers and candy and the warm goodness that surrounds people when they love each other. That's because February 14 is also Congenital Heart Defect Awareness Day. Heart defects are the number one birth defect, affecting one out of every hundred babies born. That's more than 40,000 in the United States every year.

All wrapped up with hearts and flowers and candy, February has become difficult. For the past two years, February was just a couple of weeks from extended (and sometimes unexpected) hospital stays and surgeries. I'm keeping my fingers that we won't be there again in a couple of weeks. Right now R seems to be doing great. Still, because there are so many unknowns that sort of linger the way the smell of antiseptic lingers in the hospital's air, it's hard to not believe that we'll be there again. It feels sort of like we have a standing appointment in the Pediatric Cardiac Intensive Care Unit this time of year. It's like I'm waiting for that one thing to go wrong that sends us there again. That rips Riley from his routine at preschool. That disrupts our immediate family's lives. That affects our extended family's lives as they fly in to support us.

See Father in Chief's blog for suggestions on how you can make a difference in the lives of kids affected with a congenial heart defect.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Off the radar

A recent move has left me without a telephone or the Internet, and much to my surprise, it's been a little refreshing. Usually I sprint to the computer between toddler squeals and dumped over bowls of Cherrios at least 26 times a day because I can't stand the idea of getting behind on email and the latest headlines. But knowing that I cannot connect except for a rare moment at my gym--which offers free Internet access--has freed me to focus. I'm still need to finish packing up miscellaneous items at the old place, and I'm buried with boxes at the new place. And without Internet access, there is nothing to distract me... Well, except for my two kids and all their needs. But without the computer calling my name, there it seems as if there is at least a few more productive minutes in my day. Still, it has been a little bit hard to put my work on hold. For now, it is waiting patiently in the background.