Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Thankful to be so BUSY!

Have I ever gone this long without posting?? Really, I've not been slacking! We've just been BUSY. In fact, someone needs to create a new word for the kind of busy we've been. It's been crazy and exhausting but also sweet and exciting and fun... and it's looked a lot like THIS:
Visit with KellyMasi in October during Fall Break. She and I went to a concert [The Airborne Toxic Event!] and Ba kept the boys at Masi's house.
A trip to Zoo Atlanta with Ba. You know, see the family again ;)

[Sorry for the sideways picture. My computer is NOT cooperating...]
Diwali--Indian New Year. We celebrate by washing money (to bring prosperity in the new year) and lighting a diya...or in our case, tea lights. We didn't have a big celebration and didn't follow all the traditions, but we at least try to do something to recognize the Indian holidays.

Rotary and theatre. Sandy organized a
huge fundraiser for Rotary Club called Parrots of the Caribbean. And I was in a show at UAH AND produced the one-act at school for competition. We were officially worn out afterwards. And, of course, the boys went easy on us.

Yeah.

Of course, Halloween. This year, we went on a hayride with some friends of ours--the BEST way to Trick or Treat! Fortunately, the boys chose easy costumes. Red and black Power Rangers (on the left). Mind you, they don't even watch the Power Rangers. Apparently, one of their friends at school likes them a lot, and it's rubbed off. Also in disguise in this picture are Eli as Samurai Jack, Finn as the robot [not to be confused with a ball of flames], and Nathan as Darth Vader.

Gryphon's birthday. The boys celebrated our 'grey-haired puppy' by making a cake of cheese, peanut butter and doggie treats. Yum! [Only the dog ate it, trust me.]

Soccer? Well, the truth is, it didn't keep us busy, because the weather was rainy so many Saturdays in October that all his games were cancelled except the last one.


Sandy and I got to visit St. Jude Children's Research Hospital with friends Melissa and Evan, our favorite 'St. Jude dude.' I plan to post more about our visit on the baldonpurpose site. The place was incredible. And Evan? What an amazing boy...

Sold the house! Funny story: I was alone with the boys when Sandy went on a trip with his buddies to Florida. I saw a police officer pull up and thought, "This is what they do when people die." My heart sank as I imagined the worst, and I tried to prepare myself and figure out how NOT to become hysterical in front of the boys. I watched the officer get out of his car...and get a flyer about the house! Once I was able to breathe again, I joked with our friends that I would forgive him IF he bought my house. Two days later, guess who made an offer! :)

So we scurried around to find a new house...and...

Tada! We moved in this past weekend, and we LOVE it. L.O.V.E. It's bright and open and big and has tons of closets and new carpet and pretty hardwoods and a big yard and gas fireplace and jacuzzi tub and and and... Oh, and lots of boxes right now. So I'd better get
busy :)

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone! I realize this year, more than ever before, that we have so much to be thankful for. Everywhere I look, I am reminded that LIFE IS GOOD.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Wordless Wednesday



I know that the whole point of Wordless Wednesday is to post a photo and shut up. :) But these photos move me because of the story behind them.

My friend Shawn adopted sweet Tihun from Ethiopia just a couple of weeks ago.


To see them together, and to see that beautiful smile...
well, I don't have any words to describe that.
[So that counts, right?]

Monday, August 24, 2009

A note from the boys to Momma...

Here is a video message to Momma from her boys just before K tried to decapitate C. Boys.



Cheers, S.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

And the baby is 3

A week ago, I celebrated my little sister's birthday. And Saturday, Kieran celebrated his little brother's.

When Connery was born, 3 years ago, he looked EXACTLY like Kieran. EXACTLY. It was a bit eerie, to tell the truth. We had one little boy, 19 months old, and then gave birth to his identical twin. Except for one thing. He had a little 'stork bite' under his nose. [Sandy called it a snake bite. Said it sounds tougher.] In some pictures, that red mark is the only thing that clues me in to which baby I'm looking at.

In fact, when I quizzed family and friends with some photos of the boys, NO ONE got 100% right. And the other day? When we were out shopping? A young woman stopped us and apologized for staring at the boys. "They look JUST alike," she said. We laughed, told her we think the same thing, and a few minutes later, I heard her call to her mother, "Look at these boys. I can't get over how alike they look." People constantly ask if they're twins, until they see the height difference.

I remember rubbing my pregnant belly while holding Kieran in my arms. And I worried. I adored this little boy. He was my heart. And, yes, I asked THAT question. "How will I ever love another child as much as this one?" I think every parent asks that question. And everyone told me, "You will. Don't worry, you will."

But I never spoke the question that really worried me. "Will having a second child TAKE away from the love and attention that my first child deserves?" My first child? That little boy that I adored? That was my heart? He would have to share me now. I couldn't give him ALL my attention anymore. I felt guilty about that.

And then the second child was born. And the two brothers met. And face to face, they looked like a mirror slightly out of time--one side a 19 month old toddler and its reflection, a newborn eager to catch up. And all those fears disappeared. Because I realized that I wasn't taking anything away from Kieran--I was GIVING him everything. This little baby was the best gift to any of us.
And, of course, Connery will tell you the same thing. A few nights ago, I asked Kieran, "Who's your best friend?" Before he could answer, Connery excitedly said "His best friend's right here!" ...and pointed to himself. I know that Kieran won't always agree with that, especially when they're teenagers, or--who am I kidding?--even tomorrow morning. But he didn't argue that night. And whenever he gets a toy, or piece of candy, his first question is ALWAYS whether he can get one for his brother, too.



The Big Brother's Tribute to the Little Brother:

... I like to play with him because it's fun. When he's hurt and when he's sick, I be nice. And when he's not hurt and he's not sick, I play with him. I love him all the time I do that, but I don't like it when he's sick and he's hurt.

[What do you like best about your brother?] He knows how to do a flip.

I don't like when he spits at me and hits me and bites, but I like when he plays with me and he lets me be the doggie and he lets me be Sharkboy.

Connery, thanks for letting your brother be Sharkboy. I have to remind you a lot that you're only 3, and I know that you think you're much older. And I know that you also can't read this...but one day you will. One day much too soon. And I hope that when you do, you catch even a glimmer of the love that I--WE--have for you. Love's not even the word. It's too small.

Our C-dude, Baby Dude, Dodderdy, Gubbuh, Kie-onnery... Beautiful, Beautiful, Beautiful, Beautiful Boy.



Thursday, August 6, 2009

Multiply Life By the Power of Two


I won't lie. I didn't always like my sister. She. Got. On. My. Nerves.

A lot.

There is a 5 year difference in our ages, and I think that contributed a lot to the fact that my sister was annoying. Er, I mean--that I didn't appreciate her. Come on, when I was 13, becoming a teenager and teasing my hair up in honor of Motley Crue and Poison? Kelly was 8. And what was she listening to? I don't even know. I didn't have time for that.

So I was pretty mean to her. I tricked her into eating grape Kool-aid powder. Not the Kool-Aid already made up. The POWDER. It will kill tastebuds and brain cells. Try it someday. Then imagine someone holding you against the kitchen counter pouring it down your throat.

Our babysitter (!!) helped me paint my face to look like I was possessed by spirits. She ran to get my sister who was playing outside. "Something's wrong with Amy!!" I was sitting in a closet rocking back and forth, a thin sheet over my head like a shawl. My sister FREAKED!! Crying, not because she was afraid OF me, but afraid FOR me. [Yeah, I felt really guilty about that one.]

And maybe the thing I feel MOST guilty about? I called her stupid. A lot. A few years ago, when we found a journal she kept in elementary school, we saw where she wrote that when I yelled at her, it made her 'nervose.'

WHY? WHY did I do that?? I've spent many nights asking myself that question. Sometimes I think it's because I was jealous. Or maybe resentful? Just plain selfish? I don't know.

Only now do I realize how cute and precious she always was. How smart she was. And very loving.


When we were around 4 and 9, we shared a bed, and E
VERY night, she would sweetly ask, "Amy, will you put your arm on me?" Sweetly, lovingly. And every night, I said NO. I rolled my eyes and sighed with disgust. I know that sometimes I gave in, because I can recall flopping my arm over and waiting for her to drift off to sleep so I could get my arm back. Other nights, she tried to compromise and said my leg would be okay. I remember going to sleep some nights with just my toe on her calf.

So now, I consider it a mission to make up for all that time I terrorized her, kept her as far from me as possible. And I don't always know how to do that. I wasted many years when I could have been learning to be a good big sister. There are some walls between us. Some scars.

Today is my sister's birthday. She's the big 3-0. And I hope that somewhere in her celebration, she knows that for every one time that I made her feel unloved, I have regretted it at least twice.

I hope that sometimes, when she looks back on growing up with me, she remembers that I let her lay across the back of the big chair, stood behind her and strummed her belly like a guitar. That I traded rooms so she could have the big room. That our cousin Diane and I feathered her hair and took pictures because she looked so pretty. That I cried when we couldn't find her in the neighborhood once. That we were together with Grandpa when he died. That she was my maid of honor. That she is my boys' ONLY masi. That she is my favorite sister ;) That when I hear my own voice on the answering machine, I think it's her.


And that, as different as we may be, there is NO other person on this earth who has so similar a genetic makeup, family tree or common experience.

I wish I could snuggle in bed with her now. I would put my arm over her and sing this song.




Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Thursday, July 16, 2009

The old "I'm shaving my head that night" excuse

I haven't posted about the Wild and Crazy Guys lately...NOT because they haven't lived up to their names! Trust me, I've got stories. But I haven't posted because we've been busy raising money for St. Jude Children's Research hospital.

I've posted on here about my friend's little boy, Evan, who has been treated for three years now for Stage 4 high-risk neuroblastoma. He's a really amazing kid, and I've wanted to do something for a while now to honor him and help the hospital that takes such amazing care of him. So I decided. To shave my head.

You can read my first announcement as well as stories about Evan and other children suffering from cancer at www.baldonpurpose.org And you can donate there, too. A lot of people have donated over the past month. I am amazed that we have raised over $5000 to date!

Here's the post from baldonpurpose about our 5k run for St. Jude on July 10, with videos from the headshaving right after. Sandy and I both shaved our heads!

Sandy and Eleana, our niece both finished the 5k around 30 or 32 minutes...(I'll find out the exact times soon) which just amazes me. In the time it takes to watch a sitcom and maybe grab a drink, THEY ran 3.1 miles. Wow.

Me? 35:19. My goal was 34, but I'm not disappointed. I'm glad I finished. And having my two boys cheering, "Go Mom-my! Go Mom-my! Go Mom-my!" Well, that's what I'll remember about crossing the finish line. Not the digital number that shined by my head.

But you know what's fabulous about that number 35:19?? We've raise more than $3519! [Note: That was a week ago! And we've raised over $1500 more since then!] My 5k time is SMALLER than the amount of money we raised by running it. And the donations are still coming in online and in checks! I can't tell you how YOU have exceeded all my expectations!! It makes me incredibly proud...

And now, the moment of truth. The head shaving. It meant so much to have the boys there, along with my Momma, my best-best friend and her mom and daughter, a good friend of mine from work, and a former student and her boyfriend. And my hairdresser? I've decided that for the next few months, since I won't need hair cuts, I'll make appts. and go to coffee with him. Because I love him.
Here, Alison, the 5k coordinator introduces us to the everyone and lets us explain why we're going bald. [I had a great speech written out. And left it in the car. It had some great stuff by Melissa and Evan. Duh. As it turned out, I just tried to make sense.]




Here Jonathan lets Sandy take the first cut, then my 4yo, then my mother. Then...there's no turning back! And the crying? Well, I was fine except that I looked up and the camera-girl (my former student) was crying. I blame her. At one point, Jonathan asks, "Are you okay, baby?" And all I could think to say was, "It's not the hair..." It's Evan and Jessica and Kayla and David and Hunter and Rayley and.... and.... and....




Here I get the first look at it. And I LOVE it! Makes me feel like a real rocker chick. :)




Here Sandy takes his turn. [I joked that he'd better not back out...] I'm proud that he did this with me. It's one thing to support your crazy wife when she says she wants to shave her head. It's another to JOIN her.



Thank YOU for joining us, too. And the road's not over. The donations are still coming in. Because the children are still fighting this cruel disease.

As the banner hanging over the registration table read: "No child should die in the dawn of life."

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Monday, May 25, 2009

Peanuts and Crackerjacks
















Sounds like new nicknames for the boys! ha!

They're taking us out to the ballgame, because it's T-ball season again! This year, Kieran plays for the Red Sox...but he says "some socks are stinky" so he prefers the team to be called the Eagles. And Connery? He thinks he's on the team, too. Not that he expects to bat or catch the ball. But he wants a shirt and hat, and he likes to run around on the field. And we let him.

Here is a video that will be replayed on ESPN one day, I'm sure. But don't worry. We'll stay away from the steroids. He'll get to the majors on chocolate milk and good ol' Flintstones. And Daddy's good coaching.



(His "homerun" after which he slides into home. He does that every time. Tonight was the first time he wore his baseball pants, which he requested just for this purpose.)



Monday, May 11, 2009

Thou art thy mother's glass...


Thou art thy mother's glass, and she in thee Calls back the lovely April of her prime. ~William Shakespeare





My grandmother with her mother (1937)..................... Me with Kieran (2005)








When my first son was born, I gave my mother a series of four photos. And for my first Mother's Day, she gave the same photos to me. They show
my great-grandmother with my Gran, my Gran with my mother, my mother with me, and me with my son. Photos taken almost 70 years apart, proving five generations of Momma's.

I know the names of ancestors going back several generations. "Ancestors" always seems like such a formal word to describe the people whose eyes, hair, freckles and mannerisms might explain me. So I'm thankful to have a photo of my great-grandmother Stella Frances holding my grandmother Helen Louise. Frances is young here and looks so much like my Gran
did as a teenager. Gran remembers very little of her mother, since Frances died of tuberculosis when Gran was only six. She told me once that she does remember running through the house and being told to be quiet, because her mother was sick. She remembers peeking into the room and seeing her mother in bed. I wish she had happy memories of her mother, or that I had the chance of ever knowing her either.

The candidness of this photo strikes me. My Gran so young.
Twenty, I think, with her new baby. My mother. The summer of 1956, soon after my mother learned to sit up. My
grandmother tells the story of giving birth to my mother at home during a harsh winter in the mountains of Tennessee. The doctor arrived late, after my mother was already born, and not having a scale to weigh her, he guessed that she weighed about the same as a five pound sack of sugar.

Seventeen years later, a few months after my mother and father married, Momma was helping cook supper in
the kitchen and told my Gran, "I think I'm pregnant." Gran stopped cooking, smiled big, turned to her and said, "I think I am, too." A couple of months later, my mother's sister Rhonda announced that she was pregnant, too, and the three of them were pregnant together. I was born in April of '74, my uncle John was born two weeks later, and my cousin Brian was born two months later. They raised us like little triplets. John was the seventh--and last--of Gran's children ;)


Here is my young Momma. In her short shorts and ponytail. Holding a very cute, fat, redheaded baby. Two years before, she and my dad dated and broke up. Then she and one of my uncles were in a terrible car wreck that almost killed her. As she woke in the hospital, she asked for my dad, so of course, they got back together ;) They married in June of 1973, and I was born the following April, so they didn't have much time to be newlyweds before they became "three of us." (Don't worry. I've done the math on that one, and it's all good. ;) What I love about this photo is my mother's sweet smile. I know that smile.

And if you look carefully on her right hand, she's holding my pacifier, or my "fooler" as my other Granny called it. Just a couple of months after this photo was taken, we moved to Germany. My family said goodbye to me and Momma at the airport, (Daddy had already shipped over) and after my mother boarded the plane with me, my Granny looked down and saw that she had my "fooler" on her finger. Granny cried all the way home, not knowing that Momma had another one on the plane.

And the lineage continued when I gave birth to Kieran. It's hard to describe how instantly I felt that I was doing something for my mother, my Gran, my Frances...and our many mothers before us. Not in honor of them, but for them. Something they started and that I was now continuing. I never anticipated that I would feel that way. That's the meaning of legacy, after all, right?
Something handed down from an ancestor or a predecessor or from the past. Now my journey, my adventure, my blessing is that each day, I shape what exactly I hand down. A sense of humor? Love of the grass under my feet? Stories of life in the country? Good looks? ;) A killer work ethic? Amazing recipes? ...I'm not always sure that I'm doing my job well (especially with the whole 'cooking' thing). But I'm so thankful to have the chance.

The boys are intrigued by these photos and aren't quite sure whether to believe me when I say that the babies are me, Ba and Gran. Connery shouted, "There's all the babies! And all the momma's."

All the momma's.
And I smile, looking a lot like my own Momma did when she held me in that rocking chair.



Friday, May 8, 2009

See Mommy Laugh

So what exactly do the boys see when they look at me? Of all the things I say. Of all the things I do with them. What sticks out in their little 4yo and 2yo minds?

I stole this idea from another blogger. 'Cause it's fun. And just in time for Mother's Day. 25 questions about Mommy...

1. What is something I always say to you? K: You love me. C: Hey.
2. What makes me happy? K: When you told me to clean up and I do it. C: Me.
3. What makes me sad? K: When I don't listen to you. C: Him. (p
oints to Kieran)
4. How do I make you laugh?
K: When you do [See photo.] You know what makes me laugh? When you say 'monkey head'! (Hits his head and laughs.) [Note: I never do that.] C: Hahaha
5. What do you think I was like as a child? K: (shrugs shoulders.) I don't know. C: Hahaha
6. How old am I? K: I don't know. How old is Gryphon? (Me: six) How many is Sweets? (Me: 12) How? Does Sweets have 12 birthdays? (Me: What if you had to guess how old I am?) C: I don't know. Eleven! Thirty! K: Thirty-one.
7. How tall am I? C: This big. (Points to bag of chips.) K: (stretches his arms up and down)
8. What is my favorite thing to do? C: Um (growls) K: Having students.
9. What do I do when you’re not around? K: Go to work. We don't know what you do when we're not around. 'Cause if we watch you we do know, and if we don't watch you we don't know. C: I don't watch you.
10. If I become famous, what will it be for? K: So everyone in this world can know you. Everyone in Africa. And ... C: And I'm not in Africa. K: and in Alabama... C: Mommy, I need to go potty. (for the third time)
11. What am I really good at? C: You. Me. K: Having a car.
12. What am I not really good at?
C: You're not good at your car. K: Standing on one foot for a long time.
13. What is my job?
K: Your job is to tell us what to do. C: I don't know.
14. What is my favorite food? C: I don't know. K: Pickles! [Um, actually. I don't like pickles very much.] C: Tell me what your food is. (Me: Chili) C: (pauses) I'm going to tell you your food is. Do you like pickles? Do you like jelly beans? Do you like candy? Do you like pickles? Do you like coffee? Do you like my head?
15. What makes you proud of me?
K: When I, when you, when I, when you clean up a mess and I didn't tell you to, and you listened, that makes me proud. C: Me!
16. What makes me proud of you?
C: Him (points to Kieran) K: Nothing. When I listen to you.

17. If I were a cartoon character, who would I be? K: Princess Leia. No, Wonder Woman C: Wonder One, Mommy, Wonder One.

18. What do you and I do together? C: Boat! Potty! We do potty! K: Nothing. Stay home together!
19. How are we the same? K: Because we all have Patel in our name. C: With the part [I have no clue what this means.]

20. How are you and I different? K: Because we don't have the same name. You're Amy, he's Connery, I'm Kieran, Daddy's Sandy. C: Two! [Again, only Connery knows.]
21. How do you know that I love you? C: Cause. K: Cause we listen to you. Cause we just do.

22. Where is my favorite place to go? K: School. C: I don't know. School.
23. What is one thing you wish you could change about me? K: So you can be a boy.Aand Daddy can be a girl. Let's call Daddy Amy when he's a man and call you Sandy when you're a lady. Is that a good idea? It's a silly idea. C: Here's a rocket!
24. What would I do with a million dollars? K: (giggles. giggles harder.) I am a stone. C: I don't know. K: I want you to ask me. Pay a million. (giggles.)
25. What do you wish you could go and do with me?
K: Go to work a lot and have doughnuts a lot. C: I'm gonna be right back.

Well. I certainly learned a lot about myself. I'm thinking that each Mother's Day, I will ask them the same questions to see how their answers change each year. But someone will have to remind me to do that. Because--as you can imagine--my mind is not entirely stable.

Gonna run and learn to stand on one foot for a long time now. Happy Mother's Day!


Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Wordless Wednesday

No, not taking a vow of silence today. [Though I did consider it last Thursday on Charlie Chaplin's birthday.] Instead, I've run across an idea that embodies the whole "A picture tells a thousand words" concept. And I guess you've noticed I take lots of pictures. Would love to learn about photography...but um, when?

Anyway.

So the idea is to post a photo without explanation. www.wordlesswednesday.com has a listing of bloggers who participate each Wednesday (at least).

So here's my first. Really says... a LOT.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Getting into a little bit of "fubble" and a lot of "fazy."

I know the last post was full of random one-liners and things the boys say. Well, there's more where those came from ;)

Tonight, the boys and I baked cookies at Ba's house...and made a complete mess, of course. Connery ate flour right off his spatula while Kieran carefully placed his cookie cutters. (Could they BE more different?) On the way home, Kieran asked if we brought a heart cookie for Daddy, "because I want him to have a heart cookie, because I love him really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really bad." Hm. Really? Later as he brushed his teeth, he reminded me, "I love my daddy 200 bad."

Could be because they look JUST alike. I nearly cried when Sandy showed me this picture.
He was barely 5 in this photo, and when Sandy showed it to Kieran, Kieran smiled and said "That's me." No need to wonder why.
It's like going back in time... I am curious to see when he starts to veer off and look different--or if he ever will.

I've updated the photos on the right, and if you click here, you'll go to our Picasa page, where we have folders of pics from the past few months.

Here are a few Connery-bits I've been saving up:
He still loves his fire-f*ck hat. And still gets in "fubble."

It's funny when you see your children do things that you know they learned directly from you. Connery grabs the sides of my face, puckers his lips and says, "Oo yistening to me?" That's EXACTLY what I do when I'm angry with him. But it's not as cute when I do it.

Says 'yow' instead of yes. We have no idea where he came up with that one.

Noticed the freckles on my arm one night and asked, "Why oo have dese? Oo get dem fum de mall? Dem tattoos?"

Mysteriously hurts his 'pinguh' whenever it's time to clean up toys. He gets a really pitiful voice and tells us 'My pinguh is hurting."

Iyuh oo.--I love you.

I am yisten.--I am listening.

One night,
Sandy and I worked out at the gym while the boys played in the gym's kids' room. The next morning, I changed Connery's diaper and found 2 AAA batteries! Kieran told me (very matter-of-factly) that they were from the tv remote from the gym. WHAT?? I asked Connery if he put them in there, and he (also very matter-of-factly) told me that he had. I asked him why, and he gave his usual explanation. "Because. I no have pockets."

It's a little scary how quickly he can change emotions. When we tell him he has to stop crying before he can get whatever it is he wants, he takes a deep breath, then wipes his eyes with both hands. All done.

One night as I gave the boys a bath, Sandy walked into the bathroom and asked, "Are you boys being good?" They both were, and Kieran proudly announced, "I am!" And Connery stood up and said, "I am... NOT!" HUGE smile on his face...I guess because he knew it would make us laugh. And it did. He's constantly cracking us up.

And even though he started his preschool class in January, in his mind he's still transitioning at school. He still calls his class his "big boy class" as if he may one day go back to the old one.

And some Kieran-isms:
Kieran still translates when we can't figure what in the world C's saying. It comes in very handy. Even when he barely pays attention, he understands better than we do.

Girlfriend update: "Madeline is a little crazy about me, but she's a
lot of crazy about my brother. When I have my birthday, I'm not going to give her an invitation."
"You're not?"
"No, 'cause I want her to be a
lot of crazy about me, too."

I took K to see Chitty Chitty Bang Bang the Musical (actually back in February). Uncle Mike (aka the Lone Ranger) and his wife and son (aka Tonto) went and had extra tickets for us. We invited one of Kieran's friends from school with his mother. The boys were funny together...instantly silly, of course. They both really liked the show. Kieran said his favorite part was the dancing, and Ryan liked the flying car. (Which was pretty freaking awesome!) After the show, Kieran and I broke all the rules and went out for burgers and milkshakes. Just me and the boy. A nice little date. It made me realize how little time I get with just one child at a time. I think I'll try to build in some "date nights" with each one.

We spent a weekend at Aunt Mary's just before she passed away, and the boys were surprisingly VERY good the entire time. When we got home, Kieran pointed out "We didn't have to find a corner at all. And they had some corners, I saw them."

Ah, the way he describes things: When he didn't want crust on his pizza, he explained, "My teeth shake when I try to crack it." And he has a hard time getting to sleep sometimes. He tells us he's trying to go to sleep but his "eyes won't stick together."

K just told me that sometimes he gets in trouble but 'when my daddy tells me I'm in trouble he still loves me.'

KellyMasi came into town last weekend and took Kieran to Build-a-Bear...and he built a monkey! ;) As much as he looks like his dad, he's also very much MY child. He named it Batmonkey, because he dressed it like Batman. Masi didn't want Connery to be left out, so she bought him a smaller monkey, too, which, in true Connery style, he named "Nuffin."

He sadly told us that his friend Chloe was "never, ever, ever, ever coming back to my class." He sat quietly for a minute, then asked Ba to flip her rearview mirror to look at him. He pointed to the corner of his eye. "Ba, do you see that little water?"

The boys have learned more about car batteries in their short lives than I have in my own. My van's battery was pretty old, and twice, we left one of the interior lights on and the battery died. A few months later, we were driving home, and I noticed that the light over Kieran's seat was on and casually asked him to help me remember to turn it off when we got home. It was a cold night, and neither one of us remembered. The next day when Momma explained to him that my "car died," Kieran immediately made the connection: "I didn't turn off my light." :( The next night, I kept calling him to get out of the car, but he was trying to turn off the interior lights that were on because the door was open. :( And another night, he asked if we could turn on the light and promised he'd turn it off. Connery said, "Oo cah will be die. Oo battery will die." Needless to say, Sandy has replaced my battery since then.

And the music around here? Kieran loves Kenny Chesney and sings along with "Everybody wants to go to KEVin" ;) (For those of you non-Kenny fans, everybody really wants to go to Heaven.


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I do realize that I've not updated about several important events like Kieran's birthday party, PaGaga's return from Afghanistan, our visit to TN over Spring Break, Easter, or my own birthday. Sorry 'bout that. Don't get me wrong. We are extremely thankful for those big moments. And I get pictures, of course.

But the little moments, the little "out of the blue" moments are the ones that come to me when I sit down to write. They're unscheduled, unrepeatable, and sometimes, I am almost terrified that I will forget them. I've heard enough people say,

"Enjoy them while they're young. They grow so fast."

And when Kieran puts on pajamas and cries when we explain that they're too small now... I believe all those people, and it makes me more than a little sad.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Exactly enough time

That's exactly what I feel like I don't have enough of. Time. But if there's ever a moment in my day when I feel the noisy world fade out into someone else's direction, it's when one of the boys says something funny, or makes a new face, or touches my hand. Their skin is cooler than mine, and of course softer.

That's why this Brian Andreas print stopped me tonight.
I need to remember that.
So here's an update on our latest adventures and some KieranSpeak and ConnerySpeak. With a few photos thrown in.

We've spent more time in Tennessee during the past month or so, and it's been wonderful. I remember spending weekends and then weeks (months, even?) in TN when I was little. In fact, almost ALL of my childhood memories are there, while I remember very little of my neighborhood or friends here. I want the boys to know the country, to walk the same gravel roads I used to walk down...back when they seemed much longer to my little legs than they actually are. So I was excited to take the boys to TN for several days during Spring Break. And the weather was perfect for walks down to the barn and the cemetery at Granny Pugh's house. Connery got a little confused when I said we were going to see Grandpa Carson's grave--"Not GRANDPA Carson. CONNERY Carson." The boys helped Granny weed in the yard and showed off for Aunt Estella. She hadn't seen them since they were babies, so she was pretty amazed.

At Granny Roysden's, the boys stayed fully entertained by all the cousins. And Kieran LOVED Uncle Terry and Aunt Brenda's horses. He didn't recognize Cheyenne from the last time we saw her...when she was only a few days old. I've got TONS of pictures from the weekend, but I just got a new computer and haven't gotten many pictures transferred over. That's why the slideshow over on the right is from DECEMBER! Sorry.

CONNERYSPEAK
Das Fazy--That's crazy.
infeBiDles.--increDiBles.
a yil bit--a little bit. That's usually his answer when we asked if he got in trouble at school.
oppopus--octopus
heyo daryin--hello, darlin'
hey, fitty yady--hey, pretty lady
...and one of my favorite things he says, "Oo yisten to me, Mommy?" while he holds my face in his hands.
...oh, and how can I forget the night he dropped his spoon on the floor and said, "What in the head?!" !!!!!!!!!! My jaw dropped! And I had to turn my face so he wouldn't see me laugh. We asked him where he heard that, and he said, "From myself," so we may never know the culprit who taught him that. We're just glad he thinks it's "head."

As you know, C LOVES to sing, and often requests a bedtime song. One night, he told me he'd sing one. 'On Top of Spaghetti.' Gotta love that kid.

Oh, and he loves to take his clothes off. We've noticed that he takes his socks and shoes off in the car a lot. But lately, when he's home, he's not satisfied with being barefoot. One morning, I found him dancing wildly in front of our full length mirror. Stark naked. When I asked what he was doing, he told me he was Obi Wan Kenobi. Not sure which scene he's thinking of...

One night, Sandy caught Connery drawing on the floor. Of course, he got onto him...and then felt bad when he realized he had drawn "tick up, tick down, tick afoss"--an A. Sandy asked him what it said, and Connery told him "I love you." Poor Sandy got a full dose of Dad-guilt there.

KIERANSPEAK
He's constantly telling us something that impresses us. Like when he asked me to "accelerate" and knew what it meant. I asked where he learned that, and he said, "I heard it in my imedicination." Yes, folks, i-medicin-ation. It turns out he learned it from Ben 10, one of his favorite cartoons. one of the aliens' names is XLR8. Makes me feel a little less guilty about letting him watch so much tv.

He's been struggling with the concept of city and state. He knows we're in AL but gets confused when we say the city. And when we go to TN, we go to two different cities sometimes (Crossville and Chattanooga), so he asks a lot: "Are we still in Alabama or are we in Tennessee? Which Tennessee are we in?" He told me once that we were in California, Tennessee. I think a globe is our next purchase.

Sandy told him that he was going to buy him a new house. He replied, "Daddy, you can only buy a new house if yours blows up." We have just started our house-hunting, and I'm just a little concerned about how the boys will adjust. One day we pulled up in front of the house and he saw the realtor's car. When I told him why she was here, he said, "I like our house best. Not another house." That will be the sad part about moving. This is the only house they've ever known.

He asks us almost every day if it's "a stay home day." Even though on our "stay home days" we usually go somewhere.

One night, he told me out of the blue, "I love my daddy and all his clothes."

Our newest toy is a four-sided Lite-Brite. And the boys love it. It's the "Light Game." The first time they played, Kieran cheered "I'm winning" every time he put a peg in.

He's in this "smile like a freak" stage that cracks me up. I'm guilty of taking LOTS of pictures, and he's great about smiling for them, but oftentimes the smiles are so fake.
This is pretty much his real smile. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . This is NOT. ;)













They both loving watching YouTube cartoons on Sandy's iPhone. One morning, they were zoned out watching Thundercats. (Great blast from our childhood!) Suddenly, Sandy and I noticed that the cartoon was in Spanish. ha! The boys never seemed to notice.

Speaking of Spanish. Every day, we ask the boys what they did in school. Almost every time, Kieran says "I didn't do Spanish." Clearly, Spanish class is a highlight for him.

Kieran has started reading a few words! He's learned a few sight words like dog, clap, and cat. One of his favorite books is
Bad Kitty by Nick Bruel, and he excitedly points out the words "kitty" "bad" and "good."

It's just hard to believe he's big enough for that.

I think that every day.

Friday, March 13, 2009

The Wind Cries...Mary

Dear Mary, You will be missed and always loved. Where ever you are now, know that I am a better person for having the chance to have you in my life. I look forward to seeing you again in the next life. Love, Sandy.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

There's Something About Mary

The past couple of weeks have been trying. My dad called me on Feb. 26 to tell me that my great Aunt Mary had been sent home on hospice care. She is my great aunt for more than the obvious reason that she is my Granny's sister. Here is another reason...
That's her with some of her grandchildren at our family reunion. For years, she has made an appearance in the bikini shirt. Dances. Sings. And last year, when it was difficult for her to walk, her granddaughter's boyfriend helped her strut around.

Here's another reason...I've always known that Mary was incredible. Yes, she was sweet and wise, but sweet Lord, she was FUNNY! Her sisters (including my Granny, the one they call "Saint Alice") were usually embarrassed because she wasn't afraid to say something inappropriate. She always seemed much younger than her years. And she could grab a baby and love on them like no one else. As she would say, "I could just kiss your face off." (This is her with Connery in July 07.)

Sandy and the boys and I drove to Chattanooga to see her the weekend after Daddy called, and as hard as it was to see her weak, it was also comforting just to see her again, to be able to tell her how much we loved her. To see her wake and brighten when she saw the boys or when one of her grandchildren fed her ice cream or brushed her hair. When I first saw her, I sat by her bed, held her hand and cried silently. She opened her eyes--crystal blue, by the way--reached up and wiped my tears. As long as I live, I will remember that. It really symbolized what she did all her life. Even when she was in pain, she tried to comfort others.

When we left to come home on Sunday, I felt a strong pull to stay behind and just let the boys go home. My cousin David told me that my Granny felt the same way when she left. So on Thursday, I picked my Granny up in Crossville, TN and drove to spend Mary's last days with her. Those last days taught me more than I can ever sum up here. In fact, I think I will realize more of those lessons in years to come.



...Those two sisters taught me to appreciate my own. When they look at each other, I wonder if they see what they looked like when they were little.
...Looking through old pictures taught me that time is fleeting by. And that my dad and his cousin Pam played house when they were kids. ;)
...Watching Mary's children laugh and cry with her taught me that the bond between mother and child is always, always as precious as the first moment they meet.

We cried a lot that weekend. But we laughed. A lot. Often through the tears. And that, I think, is the greatest lesson.


My granny amazed me. She stayed by her sister's side almost the entire time we were there. At 11:20 Friday night, my cousin told me I needed to make her go to sleep. (I was flattered that they thought I could make my granny do anything. ;) But when I asked her to get some rest, she sweetly said, "I will. Just give me 30 more minutes. You can time me." I think she knew that Mary was leaving; 10 minutes later, she called my cousins to the bed, and I went through the house to get the others. At 11:35, Mary took her last breath.

Mary passed away quietly with her children, grandchildren and her oldest sister all around her.
At her funeral, I sang a song called "Mary" by Patty Griffin. Now, I can't get these lines out of my head.

Mary, she moves behind me. She leaves her fingerprints everywhere. Every time the snow drifts, every way the sand shifts, even when the night lifts, she's always there.

Sweet Mary, I do love you "gooder'n snuff and better'n bakker." I'll laugh at least once every day for you, kiss my boys at least twice, and make sure somebody wears that bikini this year. They'll dance. And we'll laugh.