Friday, January 19, 2007

Smell the warm and salty air
See a wave reflect a beam
Stop and find a pretty shell for her
Make it real your summer dream
-- The Beach Boys "Your Summer Dream"

I've been out of commission with Strep throat for a week, but not before having a wonderful weekend in Corolla, NC. Amazing, amazing weather; so warm and beautiful, and a fantastic time with good friends. We stayed in the sun every possible minute. It's ironic to be loading these picures as I watch the snow melt outside...what a difference!

The Short People had a ball too, as you can see from the photos. They played outside until they dropped; on Saturday an eerie silence sent us downstairs to check on them all six children were in their beds putting themsleves down for a nap!

Since our Corolla weekend I've been pretty ill; the seventh time since May. I just returned from some lab testing at the hospital...still on the hunt for what is going on with me. Hopefully we'll find something soon. 'Til then, the beach is good medicine.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

And there's no difference
Between the Earth and the sky

There's no reason
We have to die
--"Evergreen" Matthew Sweet

-- India Turman

This is a common refrain in our household. The Short People and I will be playing a rousing game of Candyland, driving in the car, or eating lunch and India will launch into this now-familiar statement. She's said it so often that Kate will join her and they chant in unison. There's always that special emphasis on the word "dead".

It all started with "The Lion King". India was curious and asked lots of questions about Mufasa "gettin' deaded"; then last spring after my grandmother passed away India had many more questions. At one point she even asked me if Granny fell off a cliff just like Mufasa (talk about comic relief)! She's a bit obsessed with the subject; can't decide which I dislike more...incessant talk about "The Little Mermaid" or incessant talk about death.

The other day India wanted to know where your body goes when you die. I explained about graves and cemeteries, and she insisted that we drive past one so we did. I really believe in answering kids' questions in a limited, simple, but honest way so I try to be truthful in discussing difficult topics. So we talked about cemeteries as a place to honor our loved ones and the comfort that brings to the rest of us. I opted to avoid discussing cremation and explaining that is what her Daddy and I have chosen...especially since a recent fire safety segment at school scared the begeezus out of her!

I strongly believe that our culture inappropriately shields children from death. No longer do we see farm animals die so we may eat, no more do we hold wakes in our home; death is sanitized to the point that we just don't talk about it. Now people like me are hired to enter schools and counsel children on how to deal with something that was just a part of life 50 years ago. With that said, however, I feel there is a happy medium of what is appropriate for a 4 and 2 year old and walking that line can be difficult at times. India and Kate are not upset by the subject, just curious. And I'm okay with a point. India's death refrain always stops me cold. I hide my tears, hug them close, and tell them "That is exactly right, my loves. Exactly right."

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

We spotted the ocean
At the head of the trail
Where are we goin'
So far away
And somebody told me
That this is the place
Where everything's better
And everything's safe

--"Walk On The Ocean"
Toad the Wet Sprocket

All this gobal warming has produced some wonderful spring-like days on the Eastern Shore. My body has been tricked into thinking summer is coming, and I'm trying to soak up every minute before reality hits hard. We've felt incredibly close to nature the last few days thanks to gorgeous weather and the gift of two rare visitors.

The first was a bald eagle, who graced us by standing in our backyard about 50 yards away... until I decided to make a break for the camera and he flew off. Sorry guys, I would love to have a photo of him but I chased him away!

I did snag photos of our next visitor. This jellyfish was undulating along Cape Charles Beach Sunday when we went for a stroll. The Bay is full of "nettles" (tiny, opaque jellyfish) in the summer, but to see a large, live, colorful jellyfish in action in the Bay in JANUARY is something I've never witnessed. The Bay is unusually warm for this time of year and I think a lot of strange things are happening in there. This big beauty was fascinating as she undulated and waved her tentacles. The photos just don't do it justice. Just glad it was too cold for swimming!

All of our outdoor adventures took place between doses of Ibuprophen for India. She fought high fevers all weekend (103.8 at it 's highest) but would recover with meds and start playing soccer or running down the beach until we made her stop. After 5 days of high fever I took her to our pediatrician and she has strep...never once complaining of a sore throat! Now I am thowing out toothbrushes and Lysoling anything that doesn't move in the hopes that Kate won't come down with strep too. We are planning to head to the Outer Banks with a big group of friends for the weekend and I need to go...that way I can keep fooling myself that Spring has Sprung.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Kate Starts Preschool

I can see you in the morning
When you go to school

Don't forget your books

You know you've got to learn the golden rule.
--Supertramp "School"

Kate managed to simultaneously break my heart and thrill me to my marrow all in the same day as she started preschool on Thursday. Having two days a week to grocery shop, clean, paint (an impending "This Old Turman House" project) and, perhaps most significantly, actually go the restroom or shower without Short People commmentary is heady stuff. And the fact that Kate seems to already LOVE it makes the whole plan so much more palatable! Now I'm just left with the "what kind of stay-at-home- mom are you" guilt that goes along with unnecessary preschool enrollment, and I'm dealing with that with a few glasses of wine and lots of support from my friends who assure me I'm not going to Hell for enrolling Kate at Belle Croft with her sister.

But Kate is THRILLED! I was dismissed Thursday, her first day, with a smiley "Bye, Mommy!" and greeted in the afternoon with a tour of all her favorite spots. She also managed to keep her underwear dry the whole day, which for me is almost more exciting than anything else. I will not shed a tear when I say goodbye to diapers, that's for sure. What a grown-up girl Katie is. I can't believe that I have one child old enough for Kindergarten next year and another who is wearing underwear and attending preschool. Time flies...

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

I'm down to my last cigarette

Gonna smoke it down, and try to forget

I know i could make it through the night

If i could only get a light

-- Blues Traveler "Can't Get a Light"

Smoke 'em if you got 'em, baby! This was one of my stocking stuffers from Santa, aka my parents. I know, sick kind of gift, but these are the same people who gave me a mannequin for Christmas in 2001 and have also given me a real coffin for our annual Halloween party. I was telling my parents about a nebulous childhood memory involving a vending machine that sold toys, from which we purchased a small smoking monkey. Dad remembered the incident and couldn't track down the monkey, but did find this smokin' number. The girls love it, and ask questions like "Is the baby finished it's cigarette yet?" or "can we make him smoke again?". Probably not the best role-modeling for the Short People. I should have a talk with them about the evils of tobacco.

All right, this is for Clare...what do we name him? Everybody please send a suggestion. This baby needs a moniker, especially for when he enters rehab. How can you participate in group therapy if you don't have a name?

Monday, January 01, 2007

Should auld acquaintance be forgot
and never brought to mind?

Should auld acquaintance be forgot
and days of auld lang syne?

For auld lang syne, my dear,
for auld lang syne,

we'll take a cup of kindness yet,

for auld lang syne.

Auld Lang Syne--attributed to Robert Burns

We celebrated the New Year with gusto, kicking things off with an impromptu party. What began as a chance for my friend Debbie to escape from being a housebound new mother and giving her other two children an outlet to play quickly transformed into 7 children, 6 adults, a bonfire, a Pizza Hut run and a bottle of wine. Tracy called to inform me that he ran into Debbie's husband Brad coming out of surgery (he's the physician, not the patient) and was bringing him by for a drink. At the same time, our friends John and Susan pulled up, children in tow, to borrow our bathroom (they were returning from a trip across the bay and didn't think they could make it the 20 miles to their house). They stayed too, it was a great time, and a perfect way to start off a holiday weekend. This is perhaps my favorite thing about small town living...where else could that kind of party serendipity happen?

Saturday was also a day of celebration. First for Tracy and I, because we purged the house of literally BAGS of toys for donation that the girls have outgrown. Most of the remaining toys are now ensconsed in THEIR room upstairs, so we can actually see the floor in the den for the first time in 4.5 years. Saturday was also a celebration for Kate because she moved into a big girl bed. She scoffed at our offer of a bed rail, stating "I a big dirl (girl) an' I don' need dat". She slept through the night without incident and is so proud of this as well as her almost exclusive move to "un'wear". She's so cute, walking around muttering under her breath about "hewwo kitty un'wear", "big dirl bed", and "I so gwown-up".

Sunday we started the great Christmas Decoration Purge. I always dread this, and there is still so much to do. It's a depressing process. I am very much a sunshine and outdoors kinda girl, and the end of the Holidays signals the beginning of a vast stretch of endless dreary days. I feel like hibernating (translation: eating and sleeping) until spring. This is always a hard time of year for me, but particularly so now that we have children because where we live is so isolated that there is not much entertainment. Winter days can seem endless on the Shore. Thank god for craft supplies or I wouldn't survive 'til spring!

Sunday night we went to our friends John and Susan's for a New Year's dinner party. Pretty cool to sit on their back porch and listen to the ocean bring in the New Year. We were home at 2 and the girls were up at 6:30 so you can bet that we are pretty tired and a litte hung over today! Hope all of you are feeling better than I am and are having a great start to 2007.