It was November 29...which means it was not even December. I stroll into Hobby Lobby to purchase decorations for a Christmas event I'm doing for a client. The sample decor pieces I had purchased the week before were sold out so I set out to find a Hobby Lobby clerk to see if they might have more in stock. I heard quite a clatter a few aisles over so I headed in that direction. I found not one, but three employees stripping shelves and replacing product with a "Spring Collection."
As I asked them if they had more of a particular type of ornament in stock they looked at me as if I had three heads and said "No. Christmas is over in our world."
Are you kidding me? It's not even December but I am out of luck on my Christmas decoration hunt because it's time to focus on plastic beach toys and fake rocks that say "Mom's Garden"?
I was deflated.
So....next year, I am planning a Christmas project shopping spree for August 27. By then all the Halloween and Thanksgiving items will be on clearance and just about gone so we can focus on Christmas shopping...you know, on our way to a cookout at the pool.
My heart almost burst with love for you yesterday.
We were decorating for Christmas and you walked over to a box of ornaments, picked up a little wreath that had a bell attached and shook it as you sang--in the faintest of voices-- "Jiggle Bell, Jiggle Bell, jiggle all away..." The rest of the chorus was muffled but it was undoubtedly the sweetest thing I have ever seen. I didn't know you even knew that song much less an attempt at the words. No, it wasn't some huge milestone that has its own page in baby books. It was one of those little nuggets of time when I wanted to press the "pause" button and soak in the wonder of you. I have had many of those moments in the past three years. And, one thing is for certain. Your fiery temper and independent "I do it" nature is balanced well with a tender, sweet, playful spirit that shines brightly through those big, blue eyes...eyes that make me melt on a daily basis.
I remember three years ago like it was yesterday. The classic image of an expectant mother, I was sitting in your nursery rocking in a rocking chair with nothing but a small table lamp illuminating the features of your room. I surveyed the murals on the wall, the closet full of tiny clothes and the basket of stuffed animals ready to be loved. I listened to the rain drops fall softly on the window ledge outside and dreamed of holding you and gently rocking you to sleep. Two short days later you came into this world and the countdown to bring you home began. As grueling as that process was in 2007, it is but a distant memory as you sit 3 feet from me right now playing with the new tool set you got for your birthday.
The joy you bring to our lives is inexplicable. Your enthusiasm for each new day, your sly little grin and the way you bound into my arms each morning makes my heart smile. You are a wonderful, smart, curious, energetic, humorous, stubborn, sweet child and I am blessed to be your Mom.
Happy 3rd birthday, Jacob. I could not love you more.
They say love defies barriers of all kinds: distance, age, race, time, language and even socio-economic status. But love's got nothin' on the King of Pop. And for that, I am grateful.
You see, good friends Amy and David recently expanded their heart and their home to bring home a sibling pair from Ethiopia. Mary and Mel (ages 10 and 8) have experienced more change in their short lives than many kids do well into adulthood. After the death of their biological mother last year, they were living in an orphanage before making their transition to America following the finalization of their adoption by the Watsons.
Being an adoptive parent myself, I know firsthand the challenges presented by bringing home a child who has not been exposed to the English language. For Amy and David, that issue is multiplied not only by the fact they brought home two children, but also the older age of their kiddos presents its own inherent challenges. Accustomed to being able to communicate their needs and emotions, Mary and Mel are now surrounded by well-meaning Americans who long to talk and interact with them but are, understandably, intimidated by the language barrier.
This is the situation I found myself in while hanging with Amy and the kids this evening.
Shy and quite timid around adults, Mary is a beautiful young woman whose maternal instincts towards her brother Mel remind you that they are used to watching out for each other. Mel, on the other hand, is quite the little charmer. His big brown eyes sparkle with mischief as he ducks from your gaze all while trying to conceal the huge grin on his face. My attempts to communicate with Mary were mostly limited to a quick nod of the head or smile while my time with Mel included several rounds of "gimme five. way up high. way down low. You're too slow..." (only he got me every time. ) That was, until Mel turned on the CD player and on came a Michael Jackson song. Without thinking, I immediately started singing along.
"Hey pretty baby with the high heels on...you gimme fever like I've never ever known..." The familiar high-pitched strains of the song "The Way You Make Me Feel" came on and, when I started singing, both Mary and Mel looked up and stared with smiles on their faces. Just then, Mel started showing me his finest M.J. dance moves as I tried in earnest to hit the high, high notes "hee! hee hee!" Mary started giggling and watched me intently for the first time since we'd met. She then looked over and told Amy I was "crazy."
I couldn't have been more thrilled. Know why?
Because I AM crazy. Everybody tells me so. And thanks to Michael Jackson, Mary knows so, too. The power of music transcended culture, heritage, age and especially language as it brought me a little closer to these children for whom I had been praying for a very long time. For a moment, a simple song on the radio made it feel as if those kids had always been a part of our lives and that there were absolutely no barriers with which we had to contend. There was just a boy and a girl,smiles on their faces and a crazy blonde lady singing along to the radio.
Thank you, Michael Jackson, for the gift you gave me this evening. The gift of moving one tiny step closer to gaining the trust of these wonderful kiddos.
It had been a rough few days at the Casa de Bodiford. After the marathon trip from Vegas, I got to have an unexpected Mommy-Son Date at the Vanderbilt Urgent Care on Sunday morning. Daniel was diagnosed with Strep and I, not wanting to be left out of the fun, came out with an inner and outer ear infection. We don't believe in doing anything halfway. No sir.
Then, there was the rush-order eagle habitat diorama project thingy, Daniel returning to school to turn in project thingy in the pouring rain, followed by my ear infection turning into "There Has to Be a Midget Lodged in My Ear Stabbing Me With an Ice Pick" syndrome landing me back in urgent care for a re-evaluation.
Isn't this fun to read about? Oh but wait. There's more. Yes, I said more. The FUN IT NEVER STOPS, I TELL YA.
So after getting a shot in the boo-tay which made me feel a million and one times better, I tell D we are going to pick up Jacob, meet Dad for dinner and go find his Halloween costume. I showered. I picked out an outfit that was not made of a stretchy material, I put on make-up and I even DID MY HAIR (meaning no pigtails or ballcap, y'all. I'm not making this stuff up!). I might have even felt somewhat sassy. (I guess being clean will do that to ya)
So, I have picked up the youngest of my spawn and we are toodling (yes, I said toodling) down the highway picking up speed when all of a sudden BAM! a deer runs out onto the highway from my left hand side and straight into my van. It was such an out-of-the-blue startle, I tried to veer to the right but it was too late. I hit it full speed, it crashed into my door, knocked off the mirror, flipped onto my windshield breaking it before flying over the top of my van and into the unknown. Daniel (who has been in an accident before) flipped out and I pulled over to the side of the road and tried to console him before evaluating the damage.
After trying my door which would not open, I had to "Bo Duke-it" (if you don't get that reference, that means I am old) out the passenger side door. I called the police who showed up in full force making it look more like a drug bust than an accident scene.
The good thing is the boys and I were not hurt. Yes, Momma's Morning Party Van is a little banged up but it's nothing that can't be fixed. It is just another speed bump in the road of life...slowing us down and making us remember the important things. Life, loved ones and finding Halloween costumes which Daniel pointed out to me as I was answering the police officer's questions.
"We're STILL GONNA GO GET MY HALLOWEEN COSTUME RIGHT, MOM?"
"Yes, son. We're all alive and safe and not in an ambulance. And yes, we're going to get your costume."
See how good I am at teaching priorities?
So, here I sit, alive, still somewhat clean and nursing a 2 year old with a 102 fever. The Week of Non-Stop Fun Continues. :)
I could have chosen to think of it as "mood lighting"... because the dim lights and darkened counters that I discovered at the Delta ticketing area at Las Vegas' McCarren International Airport at one o'clock this morning put me in a mood alright. But not a happy one, I assure you.
You see, I had chosen to take a red eye flight so that I could get to Birmingham in time to drive down to my Dad's, pick up the boys, and make it back to Nashville earlier rather than later. So, I stayed up last night and headed to the airport at 12:15 to return the rental car and check in for my flight. Even after trying to find my way into the airport because of road closures and returning a rental car, I walked into the terminal at 1:00am for a 1:50am flight. Since I was checking no bags and was armed with only a backpack, I thought it would be a breeze to board my flight and be home bound.
Not so much.
Because almost a full hour prior to my 1:50am flight, the Delta Airlines ticketing area showed no signs of life. No one to be found, Lights off. Self check-in kiosks beaming the message "Closed until 3:30am." WHAT? This had to be a mistake. How would I get my boarding pass for the flight since I was still under the typical 45-minute cut-off? I raced to the reader board and it said "Delta Flight 1788 to Memphis. Gate D36. On Time." So I knew there was at least ONE Delta employee in that airport checking folks in at the gate. But I did not have a boarding pass, so how would I get to them?
I ran to the security line, explained the situation and what was their Response Filled With Compassion and Humanity? It went something like this:
"Well, I can tell you this. You're not getting through here without a boarding pass."
Thank you. Thank you for that helpful tidbit of information.
Without going on about every painful detail of the next 20 minutes, I will give you a brief summary:
1. Dark ticketing area abandoned like a Wild West town without the tumbleweeds blowin around
2. Raced to D-gate security and encountered Ms. Congeniality and her faithful sidekick "I Don't Work for the Airlines So I Can't Help Ya"
3. Used white COURTESY phone (yeah, need a name change on that one) and was told to call Delta on their main 1-800 number. Yeah, that'll get me a quick local response.
4. Tried 10 more self check-in kiosks only to find them all glaring the words "Closed Until 4:15am"
5. Tried the white "Hotline from H-E-double-hockey-stick" again to discover a recorded menu "for driving directions to the airport, press one" (um, I'm already here? "for travel tips, press two" (um, yes, DON"T FLY DELTA would be my tip o' the moment.)
6. Used the white COURTESY phone one more time to have someone tell me "I talked to one of the luggage guys and he said you are now too late for the flight." IMAGINE THAT.
Needless to say, I spent a frustrating evening alone in a deserted airport surrounded only by the little Asian man buffing the floors and 5,300 slot machines singing "bing bing bing bing, bong, bong, bong, bong, Wheeeeeeeel! of! Fortuneeeeeeeeeeeeeee!" I will spare you the rest of the gory details about finally getting on a 6am flight, being charged a change fee to do so and the unbelieveable rudeness I experienced at the gate trying to board the plane. Needless to say, Delta did not make Katie's list of "Things I Love about Life" last Friday.
As the warm, gentle glow of morning light softly kisses the horizon and the stars fade as a new day opens its sleepy eyes to greet me, I hear "POP TART CHOCATE MILK!"
Such is the good morning greeting I get from the youngest of my spawn.
Everyone has a routine of sorts in the morning-- even if their routine is to not have a routine at all. Lately, mine has been the demand of a 2 year old for a Pop Tart. Lest he think that is how to get what you want, I go through the motherly motions of "is that how we are supposed to ask?" or... "what would be a better way to ask Mommy?" So, then he tries again: "Peez Momma, may I have PopTart and chocate milk?"
The culinary demands of my oldest are much more refined. He has developed a negotiation strategy that has served him well. "If I get up on the first try, will you make me an omelette?" Now, seeing as this child makes a toothpick look meaty, I will pretty much cook him anything he wants if he will eat it. After the terms of the agreement are ironed out, he jumps out of bed and I head to the kitchen (a.k.a. Katie's Trusty Skillet) to fulfill his request.
Although the "getting-ready-for-school-catch-the-bus-where's-my-other-shoe-did-you-grab-your-homework" hub-bub of my mornings can be a bit chaotic at times, I wouldn't trade it for the world. Pop tarts and chocolate milk and cheese omelettes aside, those little fellas need me. But for now, I wear my Short Order Cook uniform proudly and will serve up whatever their hearts desire (within reason, of course!) :)
The sun was just cresting the hillside in the distance as I laced up my shoes for my morning walk. It had been too long since I had done the 2.3 mile loop the encloses the pasture across the way...and I was ready.
Before heading out I fired up the trusty iPod and did some stretching. Just the process of getting ready to walk was as cathartic to me as the walk itself. Making myself crawl out of bed, get dressed, stretch and actually walk down the steep hill to the road-- all essential parts of the "getting back to taking care of Katie" process.
Now I gotta tell ya, I know 2.3 miles is not as noteworthy accomplishment. My morning dose of Facebook reminds me of this. "I did my 20 miles today..." and "Time to run for 5 hours..." seem to be status updates that are popping up more often. So I do know that my walk doesn't rank up there in the realm of Astounding Athletic Accomplishments. But that doesn't matter. Not a bit.
Because on this morning, I am happy. I am awake and alive and watching the golden rays of a sunrise illumninate the weathered wood of an old barn. I am feeling the brisk air on my skin and watching the water trickle over rocks in the creekbed below. I am snapping mental photographs of the vine crawling over the split rail fence as I crest the hill and I am singing my favorite playlist at the top of my lungs with only the horses and cows as an audience.
As I came around the last bend, I delighted in the sight of the morning sunlight slanting through the trees of a deep creekbed, casting long shadows on the grass still wet with morning dew. It is here I spent the most time. Walking back and forth, I soaked in all this morning had to offer.
I was happy on my walk today. Motivated. Alive. And maybe, just maybe, inspired to do it again tomorrow.
I have been accused of being a somewhat passionate sports fan. And competitive at that. So when my Crimson Tide went down today at the hands of a very capable South Carolina Gamecock team...I had calls of condolence and numerous Facebook messages from empathetic friends.
Now I love the game as much as the next person and, although I am bummed that our winning streak has been broken and that we will no longer hold the #1 spot in college football, there are worse things that could happen. For example, Blue Bell could decide to stop producing their Homemade Vanilla ice cream. Bruce Springsteen, or leg warmers for that matter, could make a big comeback. Or, the television show Modern Family could be cancelled. And, perhaps worst of all, I could be a fan of a team whose colors contain any shade of orange. I say this not in reference to any particular team but because orange is just simply not my signature color.
You see, there are worse fates.
But for now, I celebrate the run we had. I celebrate 19 wins, an SEC and National Championship last year and 5 wins so far this year. I celebrate the time spent with friends and hearing the fight song on a crisp autumn day and pom pons waving in the air. I applaud the effort our guys have shown and the light that this loss will shine on areas of needed improvement.
You see, as cliche as it may sound....football is just a game. I say that when we are winning and when we are losing. It is a game. And I was actually happy for those South Carolina players today because they played their hearts out and were rewarded with a sweet victory over the strongest team in the nation. For them, I was happy.
But lest you think I am a candidate for the Nobel Peace Prize with my open-minded and mature view on collegiate athletics, let me tell you...had it been a team like Auburn, I might not have included that last paragraph. I mean, a girl may be classy in the way she handles the disappointment of defeat--but I do have my limits, y'all. ;)
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to star in a horror film where a marching band (well that's not sounding very scary)...a marching band of killer zombies comes slamming through your back door at 10:30 at night while you are home alone with your children?
OK, so maybe zombie killers is a tad much but bear with me.
I had tucked the boys safely in their beds last night and was working in my office when the LOUDEST, CLANGIEST, DRUM-BEATING, WINDOW-RATTLING sound started pouring out of the laundry room. This was not your ordinary, run-of-the-mill-the-washer-is-off-balance-because-of-a-heavy-blanket sound. Noooooo. This was "the house is falling down around us" banging. I jumped up from my chair just as the boys came screaming and crying down the hall with their hands over their ears. Just then, the sound stopped.
I slowly crept down the hall lacking only a shaky video camera to document the terror. I turned the corner to find our front-loading washer sitting squarely in the middle of the laundry room, hose stretched as far as it could without snapping off, door hanging wide open, storage drawer popped out and dead as a doornail. I tried to close the door and it was broken. I surveyed my now lifeless (brand new) washer for signs of foul but even my best NCIS investigative skills turned up nothing. What would cause my nearly-new washing machine to go mad? I had been working it a lot harder than normal this week. Was this some sort of freakish Appliance Protest? With no clue or solution at hand, I left it as I found it and returned the boys to their beds assuring them that the "monster washer" was not out to get them (although not fully convinced myself).
Hopefully a repairman can come and check on it today so my laundry doesn't pile up again. Until then, be looking for us on the latest episode of "When Appliances Go Mad."
I was doing the most important thing I could be doing just a few minutes ago...or so I thought. That was until a little boy clad in red and blue-striped footy pajamas changed my mind.
I was scrubbing the tub in the master bathroom and was on my hands and knees up to my elbows in Scrubbing Bubbles when I spotted Jacob shuffling in...his slightly-too-big footy pajamas irresistable to my motherly senses. Just then, the playlist on the computer in my office began to play "You Raise Me Up" by Josh Groban-- a song that became very dear to me during our adoption of Daniel. I reached down and held out my arms for Jacob and he willingly climbed up and laid his head gently on my right shoulder. The cadence of the song was just perfect for a slow dance with my youngest fella so I quietly slid open the sliding door and stepped out into a glorious fall evening.
As we went out onto the deck, Jacob's head lifted and he gasped at the night sky and said "stars, Momma. Stars." Millions of diamond-like clusters were suspended above us as if they were giving us our own private showing.
"You raise me up, so I can stand on mountains..." the song crooned from just inside the door. I slowly swayed back and forth when Jacob sat up, glanced at me with an indescribable look of genuine affection, kissed me and laid his lead back on my shoulder. My heart melted as my feet stepped in beat with the slow rhythm of the song pouring into the night air. A slightly warm gust of wind blew through at that moment, creating a dream-like atmosphere for me and my little man.
As I felt him relax, I leaned him back and cradled his long, lean body in my arms so that he could enjoy the breathtaking view. I danced and rocked him back and forth as he marveled at the scene above us. I continued to sing to him as he soaked it all in...his eyes filled with both wonder and contentment.
As the years go by, I know I will forget these special encounters with my boys. That is why I write. I write to celebrate and to share these parts of my life. I write so that I will never forget these priceless moments that we share. But mostly, I write so that one day a grown Jacob will be able to read about a Fall evening in 2010 when his Momma fell even deeper in love with him as she danced with him under a perfect September sky.
There is a butcher knife sitting on my desk and I'm not really sure why.
On a daily basis I find myself piling up the non-Katie-office clutter that finds its way to my office but this one takes the cake. Was there plastic packaging that needed opening? Did I miss a news report about a mad killer on the loose and my thoughtful family members wanted me to take every precaution to protect myself? Not sure. Guess I'll go return it to its home in our knife block...but can't help but wonder: Did Mrs. Peacock do it in the Conservatory with the Butcher Knife? Hmmmm......
But seriously, how and why did it get there? There is no tellin.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
The most glorious season ever created--AUTUMN--has arrived and I am school-girl giddy. The air this evening is crisp and cool causing me to ceremoniously throw all the windows and doors open to usher in this most refreshing time of year.
There is no doubt that I have an extra spring in my step as the cooler temps start becoming the norm. The oppressive summer heat only distant memory, my mind reels at the "fall-ish" recipes I want to try and the pots of mums that will soon be gracing my front porch. My favorite season also creates in me a desire to can something or harvest something so I can cook something and put in a mason jar. Have I ever done this a single day of the 39 years I have walked on this Earth? No. But Fall time inspires me. Motivates me. And yes, makes me delusional with dreams of culinary achievement. (note: a dream of culinary achievement for me right now would be buying more than one night's provisions at the store each time I go. Just sayin.)
I welcome you oh season of autumnal goodness. I can't wait to see what you have in store.
I looked at the clock and it read 4:18pm. Daniel's bus would be pulling up any minute and I was more than excited to hear how his first day of school went. But, I couldn't let his homecoming be just like any other day, could I? This was the First Day of Third Grade. A surprise attack was clearly in order.
I changed into a tank top and the bottom half of my bathing suit and took my position in the bushes at the front of the house--strategically placed next to the spicket. Do you see where I'm going with this? Oh yes. The boy that always seems to wrangle the hose from me at night and spray me was gonna get a taste of his own medicine. I was a woman on a mission.
About 10 minutes in, I got tired of crouching on my knees in a mixture of prickly holly leaves and bark and leaned against the side of the house to wait. I suddenly realized there I was, hair all tousled, white tank top, black skirt, sweat on my brow, leaning against a brick wall with a garden hose in my hand. I chuckled as I imagined I was posing for an Abercrombie ad (that would of course be shot in black and white). I wasn't a mother that had lost her marbles...no, no....I was a cool model for a teenage clothing line. Insanity is a beautiful thing.
So...4:20 came and went. So did 4:25, 4:28, 4:30 and 4:35. His bus always came around 20 after last year so my Momma-worry was about to kick into overdrive when I spotted the familiar golden yellow cheesewagon coming down the road. The lights started a-flashing and I dropped into strike position and waited on my victim to make his way up the long grassy hill that is our front yard. I slowly turned on the water so as not to call attention to my whereabouts. And I waited. And just as he crested the top of the hill I lept out spraying him the best I could as he screamed, dropped his backpack and darted about trying to avoid getting wet. The look on his face was priceless. He clearly did not know what hit him and I couldn't stop laughing. At one point he had the nerve to yell "is that all you got???" Oh yes he did. So what started as a surprise spray attack turned into a full-on water war right there in the front yard.
Yes, it's true. I probably shoulda had a plate of cookies ready and gently hugged him as I inquired about his first day. But, that would have been nice and normal and wouldn't have involved garden tools.
I have written before about the romance that has been brewing for over a year between my youngest and the love of his life (all 2 years of it) Izzy.
Well, after a brief separation caused by Jacob moving up a class, they are reunited. (cue the music) "Reunited and it feels so goooooood...."
OK. 80's ballads later. This is good stuff.
So, I take Jacob into his class this morning and they were seated at the table having fruit loops. As soon as we walked in the door, several of the girls started crooning "heyyyyyy Jaaaaacobbbbbb" to which Jacob responded by grinning shyly and hiding his face in my pant leg. Then, he spotted his woman.
He pulled out his chair, sat down right next to her and that's when it happened. Izzy reached out her cute little hand and said..........
JAKE-EE-POO???? Seriously? Bwahhhhhhhahaha! This chick is 2 years old and she's addressing my son as Jake-ee-poo?
The only dividing line between my work life and home life is a single french door. As much as working from home has its advantages, the line between my two worlds often blurs and I find myself sitting at my computer more often than I like...or need.
Well, today I did a couple of things you might consider funny...but I succeeded in finding a balance in "wife and mommy Katie" and event planner Katie. And it was nice. Very nice.
First of all, I used the french doors that open onto the deck from my office as my entrance and exit all day. As I returned from dropping the kids off or when I went to the store before picking them up, I used this door instead of going out of the laundry room as usual. And, as I suspected, it felt like I was going to/from an office instead of my house. One might say I am playing mind games with myself. You could be right...but in my quest to focus on work during the day, it was a huge success.
The other somewhat drastic but creative attempt at re-jiggering my thinking was the sign Keith found on the french door when he got home from work. It simply read "KB Events, Inc. -- CLOSED-- will return in the a.m." He smiled and chuckled at my tactic. But again...it worked. Instead of having to swing by and pick up the boys on his way home then walking into a wife sitting at the computer without a clue what she's making for dinner...I had closed down a little early, gone to the store, picked up the makings for dinner, picked up the boys and was cooking with them when he got home.
Not an earth-shattering scenario, you say?
For me, it is. You see...I have been majoring in the minor things for far too long. And tonight was my first step in the right direction. The house was spotless (thanks to having company on Sunday--honestly), the laundry in progress and a healthy non-restaurant meal was on the table. Notice I said TABLE and not coffee table. We talked as a family and laughed and discussed our day. And while Keith and Daniel ran to the store to pick up a few school supplies, Jacob and I spent some quality time together. We played and did bathtime and sang songs and read bedtime stories and then he drifted off to sleep. It did my heart good and was just what I needed after an all-too hectic few weeks.
I know there will be slip-ups and the lines that I am working hard to reinforce will once again blur in my quest to be all things to all people. But all I can do is take baby steps in the right direction. And, one home-cooked meal and lullaby at a time I'll start to feel like my old self again. Or...maybe my new self?
I like writing about the little things...little everyday things that make life interesting and fun and memorable. I love writing about giggles and butterflies and clouds and rainbows... but there is a darker side that I sometimes just cannot ignore.
This morning I have been a bear. A growly, snippy, not-much-fun-to-be-around bear. The tone of my voice and the reactions I have had to even the littlest thing have made me want to get away from myself. I can only imagine how the three men in my life have felt.
I know it's PMS. I'm 100% sure. But that is no excuse. I just have no way of explaining to my poor husband what it is like to feel this way. The only description I can think of is to be trapped behind bars screaming to get out and knowing that the people standing all around you can't hear your pleas. I KNOW I am behaving harshly and as soon as I yell at one of the boys or snap at my husband, that little voice inside (behind the bars) is screaming "I'm sorry! I know it's not your fault I can't fit into my jeans! I know you don't deserve this attitude! I'm really sorry!" But something won't let those kinder words surface.
I could also blame our crazy life right now. Some days it feels like I am trapped in the fast lane and no one will let me over. Life is passing by at an alarming rate and I keep passing the exits but am going too fast to get off. The laundry mounds, the milk rings on the coffee table solidify and my to-do list grows as fast as kudzu on a Mississippi telephone pole.
It's time for a change.
But the first thing I'm going to do when my men return from the breakfast I forced them to go to without me is hug each one of them and apologize for my behavior this morning. My faults are not their fault. I am going to make this a good day. We don't know how many of these we get in life...so why waste them giving in to insecurity and the whims of moodiness?
Terror overtook me 10 minutes ago. And it taught me several things about myself and my oldest child:
1. I am trying out for the next Olympic track team. Look out FloJo. You got nothin on Katie in Crisis.
2. I scream loudly and resemble someone having a Grand Mal seizure when petrified.
3. My oldest child, if running ahead of me for safety without having a clue as to who or what may be chasing his mother, will slam the door in my face.
Folks, I'm more than a little scared of snakes. Some people do not like them. Others exhibit a healthy level of caution in their presence. Still others boast about how much they enjoy a good encounter with the slithery serpants. But me? No. No. No. I am PET-RI-FIED. Other than an out-of-body experience holding a friend's baby python on a dare, I have never seen one "in the wild."
Make that HAD never. Until ten minutes ago when I sprouted wings and my body transported itself from my front sidewalk to my kitchen in 1.27 seconds.
I think back now to my life PSE-- Pre Snake Encounter and it was good. The sun was shining. I had a bright red wagon filled with luscious topsoil and was all but whistling as I scooped it out and into the planters on my front porch. Until I looked mere inches behind the pot and spotted it. It was fifty inches around (ok, THREE) and rubbery and black and coiled up in the STRIKE position looking at me like an ice cream sundae. RIGHT THERE where I tend to my flowers and stargaze and moongaze and watch fireflies flicker sat The Biggest Snake I Have Ever Seen Except in National Geographic Magazines.
All I can tell you from that moment is that I tore off sprinting and screaming down the front sidewalk knowing that thing was right on my tail hissing and going 60 miles per hour on its slithery belly. I rounded the corner and Daniel dropped the broom in his hand and took off into the garage, into the house and proceeded to slam the door in my face. I mighta crawled through the doggie door at that point--it's all a blur. All I knew is that my offspring and I were safe in the kitchen and panting like we had hiked the Andes.
Until...............he looked up at me with his terror-filled saucer-sized brown eyes and screamed "MOMMY...............I NEVER CLOSED THE FRONT DOOR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"
(Katie's brain fades to black as the movie camera slowly pans the living room and then zooms in on the front door while the soundtrack to every teeny bopper movie where someone has been butchered to death plays omniously in the background....)
I peek around the corner, see the door cracked and--in an amazing fete of aerial artistry--run down through the entry foyer and leap into a karate-kick pose slamming the door closed with my foot. I'm pretty sure it was a move straight out of The Matrix.
Fast forward a few minutes and you will find my son and I sequestered in my office like the scene in Cujo where the rabid dog circles the broken down car while the mother and the little boy are locked up inside, sweltering and fearing for their life. My life is nothing if not straight out of a movie, I tell ya. (I would tell you Daniel is now playing Wii but it might dilute the seriousness of the situation at hand)
So, here I sit. Death staring me in the face and I have the presence of mind to write about it. Hopefully my courage will be lauded as my book is unveiled at Barnes and Noble. It has been nice writing for you and knowing you. Let me go ahead and hit "save" before...........................
For someone whose life has been a crazy mess of traveling and running here and there, I have developed a cherished ritual that involves my youngest child...a twice-daily task that I now relish as a highlight of my day.
If there is one thing that you would not expect a frequent traveler to do, it's to go out and invest in live flora and fauna to care for. But that's exactly what I did this summer. Not only did we surround the deck with notoriously-hard-to-care-for rose bushes, but I added pots and planters of various sizes all around the deck and the front porch. It always makes me happy to come home and see the bursts of color that my new flower friends provide.
But, I am in a fierce battle against the sweltering heat of summertime. Thus, I water. I water those suckers religiously. That's where my new ritual comes in.
You see, I have a water baby. Jacob "H2O" Bodiford is enamoured by my water hose. To him, it is not simply a vehicle for transferring water from house to plant. Oh no. It is a Marvelous Magical Mystery Wand spewing forth drops of sparkling aqua goodness and he is hooked. If I am in a hurry, I try to be discreet and sneak out before he sees me but I've never--not once--eluded his keen eye.
"I wa-duh da bowers, Momma! I wa-duh da bowers!!!!" he screams as he drops whatever may be in his hands at the time. Tonight, it was a Hot Wheels race track. I smile as I watch him come tearing through the back door towards the back yard hose. "My turn!" he shouts, "Myyyyy turn, Mommy!!"
And so it goes.
Our ritual includes the flowers out back as well as hanging baskets by the driveway and four planters out front. Tonight was especially relaxing to me. I had handed off the hose for him to finish up the front "bowers" as he calls them... and I looked up to see a full moon over the hills to the east. The crickets were singing their usual song to us as hundred of fireflies glittered the front sloping hill of our yard. As Jacob swung the hose to and fro, the lights on the front of the house created a shadowy backdrop featuring silhouettes of the rocking chairs, the taller plants as well as my child who was content as a toddler can be.
That's when it struck me. Traveling and hotel-ing and seeing different parts of the world definitely helps break up the monotony of a work week. And I will not lie and say that, although it gets old, a night in a hotel with no laundry to do and no bathrooms to clean can sometimes be a treat. But standing on the front steps tonight under the soft glow of moonlight, I realized that no million-dollar hotel view can match the glorious sound of a 2-year old giggling as he waters a pot of flowers with his Mommy. With the hose going every which-a-way (including across both legs of my now-drenched pants), I smile in the warm darkness soaking in what has quickly become a favorite part of my day.
Because I know that one day all too soon, I will not hear the pitter patter of little feet running to help me do such a mundane chore. And "wa-during da bowers" will never be the same....
I was sitting at the computer tonight knowing full well that my husband was somewhere in the skies between Dallas and Orlando when suddenly up pops this chat box:
"hey" says bkbodiford
Apparently he was trying a new inflight internet option for free but it was oh so cool (if not a little freaky) to know that he's flying high and typing away to me live. I even got spoiled and hoped to chat some more once I got the boys to bed.
GOT THE BOYS TO BED. Oh, I make myself laugh. It's 10:30 and I still hear them. We have what I like to call "sleep issues" in this house. I'll save it for another post.
But, once I got the boys in the bed for Round 1 (ding, ding) I raced back to the computer but he was offline :( A little while later he called me from the ground saying he had made it safe.
Well, this chickadee is ready to turn it in for the night. And yes, honey, per your reminder from up above the clouds, the trash has been taken out.
Have you ever listened to birds sing? Really listened? That was the only sound in the air as I lay on the trampoline this afternoon for a brief, but much needed, nap.
The sun was toasty warm on my arms and legs and a cool breeze made the intense sunshine feel like a warm blanket on a cold night.I laid on my back and stared at the brilliant blue sky and white and grey clouds overhead. And then I focused on the birds. Each different sound rung out like a familiar word:
"Tomato...tomato...tomato, " one chirped.
"Wheel...wheel...wheel, " the other answered.
I grinned thinking what they could actually be talking about... these birds in the trees. Quite possibly it could have been the person laying on the trampoline with a pillow in the middle of a Sunday afternoon. Who knows.
But nap I did. I drifted off watching the clouds move ever so slowly across the blue expanse. I didn't try to make shapes or faces out of the massive billowy pillows floating through the sky; instead, I let their slow cadence, deliberate yet graceful, lull me to sleep.
A little while later, I awoke to the cheerful songs of my newfound friends.
"Weep weep, weep weep," a new one crooned.
Such was my thirty minutes of heaven on a Sunday afternoon. Just me, a pillow, some clouds, a refreshingly cool spring breeze and a few feathered friends to serenade me.
Having surgery and the resulting helplessness you feel stinks. But you know what helps make that burden a little worrisome? The beautiful act of friends and family helping carry the load.
An emergency appendectomy just wasn't on my agenda last week. I have my first big event of the year this week in Colorado and believe me when I say I have plenty on the To-Do list without adding "removal of organ" to the mix. But, we don't always get to choose what happens to us and thus I found myself on a gurney being wheeled into an operating room last Monday. And as I was being prepped for surgery and was under the influence of some la-la juice, I apparently informed the surgical team that I had to help my eight year old make 50 indian arrows out of clay (including popsicle sticks and feathers and hot glue) for a school project on Wednesday. This was information I obviously felt was important to share with a group of people who were about to take a gander at my insides.
The next day, my husband was retelling that story (which the doctor laughingly relayed to him) to my friend Jodie who had come to visit. That's when I witnessed an amazing sight. That woman's gears got to churnin and within two minutes time she and Keith had formulated an alternate plan for Daniel's project and she grabbed her keys and rushed out the door. My dear friend then spent her afternoon shopping for materials before texting me asking what kind of pizza my family would like for dinner. (I'm not even finished) After picking me up from the hospital upon my discharge (so Keith could stay with the boys), I arrive home to find the project underway, pizza, salad and cookies for dessert all provided by this angel parading around in Jodie's body.
And I'm blessed to say she's not the only angel in our lives. There is Wendy who selflessly took two boys for the night at a moment's notice when we found out I was having surgery--and trust me, a night with Jacob can be a test for your sanity at times. There are the friends like Jeremy and Heather who came to visit and to pour sunshine into a gloomy gray hospital room. There were flowers and calls and endless Facebook messages of care and concern. There were friends like Melissa who live hours away who offered to come and stay and inlaws that offered to come to offer support. There are friends who have signed up to bring food and those who have simply called asking "what can I do?"
I must say, whether it was a kind "I am praying for you" or an in person gesture... it all makes such a big difference. Having surgery is a scary thing-- no matter how non-life threatening the situation. And the pain and recovery is a daunting task when faced with all the pressures life hands you on a daily basis. But there is nothing, I mean nothing, like knowing you have a generous network of support standing by to carry the load.
OK folks. The Tooth Fairy is tapped. After paying up for two teeth that came out naturally in the past few weeks, my oldest son Daniel had four (yes, 1,2,3, FOUR) teeth extracted today to make room for ones that need to come in. The poor guy has a sum total of TWO teeth (his middle bottom two) in the front of his mouth. He was a champ and really bounced back this evening...especially when the electric glow of dollar signs beamed from his eyes as he retired to his sleeping chamber for the evening.
It was the stuff sweet memories are made of. It was so Little House on the Prarie-esque. It was such a Norman Rockwell-would-paint-this kinda parenting moment. As he turned to walk down the hall he said, "Mom, the tooth fairy is going to pay up, isn't she???"
So, as I Google recipes that can be pureed in a blender, please consider making a donation to our Tooth Fairy PayPal account at http://www.mychildhas2teethleft.com/. OK, you really didn't click on that link did you? I am so totally joking. But hey....maybe it's not such a bad idea????? Instead of the stainless steel bling they put on two of his teeth, maybe we could get gold ones with stars or a peace sign engraved on them.
If there is one thing about me that I can say without hesitation...my life is rarely boring. Take this morning for instance.
Because I had a sinus headache and my child had already gone to bed and it would have been way too prepared of us to do it any sooner, the finalization of Daniel's class Valentines were put off until this morning. Why it is physically impossible for me to buy those little fold-over ones with the little tabs you seal them with is beyond me. It is like a sickness. I flat out refuse to buy them because it goes against every creative bone in my body to do so. I do not frown upon those that do; in fact, I envy those who pick up those boxes and toss them in the cart and don't waste precious hours of their life snipping and coloring and....oh forget it. I am just a freak. A freak that digresses. Where was I? Oh yes, the Valentines.
So we're finishing the Valentines the morning of. My eldest is clad in his pajamas signing said Valentines and my youngest is wearing a diaper that is hanging down halfway to the ground. Clutching his sippy cup he starts to yell..."BUGGGGGGGG!!!!" I look around for a fly or bee or any type of bug as he screams again. "MOMMMMMAAAA...BUGGGGGGG!!!!!" I am up to my eyeballs in construction paper and my left hand is fused together with spray glue and I am searching around for a bug so Jacob will stop screaming. Then Daniel comes flying into my office..."Moooooooommmmmmmmmmmmm...it's......it's.......a RAT!!!!!!!!!!!"
I go into the living room and sure as the dickens there is a mouse in the middle of the floor being tossed about by our dog and cat. They are screaming, the school bus is due in 20 minutes and I have a breakfast meeting in downtown Nashville for which I have neither showered nor dressed. I scream on the inside as I scoop up the rodent and dispose of him, decide we're car riders today, quickly finish the Valentine's, find socks for Daniel, dress Jacob, shower, get dressed and rush out the door to take both boys to school.
Both boys deposited, I head up into town.
Now, folks I may be hip in my heart but by looking at me toodling around town in my HotMamaMobile, I disguise it well. After having 30 minutes to regroup and try to transition from crafty-diaper-changing-rodent-disposing-Momma to professional event planner, I pull up to the Loew's Vanderbilt Plaza hotel. In my minvan. A minivan that is dirty and filled with crushed pretzels and car seats and half a dozen baby items returned to me in 2006 I think.
I hop out and tell the bellman I am running in to pick someone up and he directs me to a familiar-looking gentleman with a guitar case. The guy says, "are you here to pick us up?" After he sees my quizzical look he says, "The Peas? You're here to pick up The Black Eyed Peas?"
I started laughing and said, "oh. noooooo. Not picking up The Peas. But I said, "If you need a lift somewhere....?" and he laughed. It turns out the rock group The Black Eyed Peas were staying there and waiting on a ride over to the arena to rehearse for tonight's show and they thought I was it. Me in my filthy, carseat-filled minivan. I couldn't help but chuckle as I thought about chatting it up with Fergie as she hopped in the front "hey Ferg...just move that Capri Sun packet and hand me last week's mail...oh and that broken CD...it's not one of yours is it?" Afterwards, I did regret not saying "sure folks! Hop in! Where we going?"
We have a budding romance a brewin in the Toddler Two room of Jacob's daycare. Oh yes, it is the stuff dreams are made of. We walk in and you can all but hear the strains of Barry White crooning as the door opens and their eyes meet.
Jacob and Izzy.
She's a sprite of a thing barely a few inches taller than a sprig of grass with big beautiful eyes and sweet little flyaway chestnut colored hair. And Jacob adores her.
Last night he said, lifting his arms as he does when ever he asks a question, "where Izzy go?" And this morning, all the way to school he said, "Izzy. Izzy, Momma...."
I joked with his teacher about it this morning and she said when she sometimes moves to another room in the afternoon Jacob says, "Izzy go?" Is that just not the sweetest thing you've ever heard?
Today we took in Valentines for his class. When we made Izzy's he dropped his head and did this shy little glance upward. Oh my goodness. It's a tragic love story in the making. Boy meets girl. Boy falls for girl. Boy gets moved to Preschool One from Toddler Two and girl moves on with Trace or Jake or Matthew. Cue dramatic music. They see each other on the playground or perhaps during potty break or joint circle time.
I am taking up a new hobby that involves carving a customized stamp from a rubber pad. I have been on the hunt for such an item at the usual big box craft stores like Michaels, etc. But an artsy friend of mine said there are two TRUE art supply stores in the Nashville area and one of them is called....are you ready for this?
Folk, I can hardly say that without hand motions. Is that not just a party waiting to happen I ask you?
Now, I'm always up for a good O-Rama...but...but...an ART O-Rama? By someone named Jerry nonetheless? You know Jerry is the fun guy. The life of the party. The...CREATOR OF SOMETHING CALLED AN ART-O-RAMA.
I must go. It will be a pilgrimage of sorts. I will document the journey. It will be something to cross off my Bucket List. Well, it's not actually on my bucket list yet but it will be. Then I will cross it off. Oh yes I will.
An Art-O-Rama. I'm getting all fluttery just thinkin about it. [laugh]
Birdsong. That's really a lovely word when you think about it. Birdsong. Kinda just rolls off your tongue conjouring up images of spring flowers in bloom and a cloudless sunshiny day filled with the delicate harmonies of birds dancing on the air.
Unless....the last name of the person who calls your home at 8:13pm to leave a chipper message that schools in your district are CLOSED the next day is...Birdsong. Then, the word loses just a bit of its sunshiny happiness. Unless you are a kid, of course.
I am sure Carol Birdsong is a lovely woman. I bet we would get a long just fine chatting over a cup of coffee maybe discussing politics or the weather or even American Idol. But when the husband person is out of town and I have appointments stacked up today like a pile o' pancakes, I dread hearing her voice on the other end of the line.
"Hellooooo Williamson County parents, THIS is Carol Birdsong...."
"Noooooo. Not Carol Birdsongggggggg!!!"
Now, don't get me wrong. I am the kind of parent who would love to take the day and frolic in the snow with my kiddos. But a day like today is nothing but wet, mushy, slushy mess...just enough to make the kids wanna go out but it's really too nasty to be a fun day outside.
But it happened. The call came. And just as I was about to rant about how clear the roads are this morning, I look out the window and it's snowing hard again.
OK, Carol Birdsong. I'll give ya a break on this one.
OK...having read over the very few posts I have made recently I know it seems like life on Katie's Blog is gonna be a roller coaster. "She's happy and talkin about pizza and her hubby and then she's writing some weird post about DNA strands or somethin' or other..."
But that is exactly how I've been feelin lately. One minute I feel like nothin could stop me from accomplishing my goals and dreams and then the next day I'm feelin gloomy doomy and stuck in the aforementioned Yucky Place. But, I do realize that if I only write about the happy stuff then I will look back years from now and see nothing but a facade-- and that is something I just don't wanna do.
So, please pardon the ups and downs and know that it won't always be serious "what did she mean by that?" poetry but it won't always be sunshiny happiness. Hmm...sounds kinda like life, doesn't it? Well, for what it's worth, thanks for coming along for the ride. I am glad you're here.
Don't read too much into this. But I gotta write it all the same.
I have been in a yucky place. And I am tired. Tired of feeling this way. I have the world's most patient and understanding husband. I have two wonderfully independent and challenging and adorable boys. I have a great job. I have a great house. I have great family and friends who love me even though I am a little crazy and hard to love sometimes.
But none of this seems like enough.
So, I am digging out. I am no longer comfortable in my lack of contentment. I am going to write more. That used to make me really happy...writing about my family or even just writing about some birds I saw on a fence while waiting at the CVS drive-thru. It made me happy. I am going to spend less time worrying about why I don't feel content because the very act of worrying about a lack of contentment appears to be poisonous in the quest for happiness.
Not sure how this is sounding. Haven't gone back and re-read and edited and wondered if I should say something a partciular way. I'm just typing. And I am about to hit publish.
Just wanted anyone who might still stumble upon this slice of the internet landscape in hopes of finding a recent post to know that I am trying to get back to the "me" that found even the tiniest bit of solice in writing. In sharing. In connecting. It's been too long.