Thursday, July 30, 2009

And I was all hers

One of the most difficult things about having 3 children is finding enough time.....and energy to give them individual, QUALITY time. At least for me, that's a challenge. For one thing, I'm at work all day, five days a week, so my time at home is already limited. We spend a lot of that home time as a family, doing things ALL TOGETHER.
Even if you don't have kids, you know what I'm talking about. It's the difference between spending time with a group of friends and with one individual friend.
In a group, you divide your attention, your friends divide their attention, things can get loud and hectic....this is the typical state of my family.

Rarely is it the one on one conversation of just you and a close friend, focusing only on each other, no distractions, just an intimate exchange. Patrick and I get that after the kids go to bed, and we do make time to get out without the kids. But when it comes to me and my kids, one on one time, is scarce.

Yesterday though, Emily and Damien spent the night at their aunt's house, and Patrick went to his friend's house for a little bit. So for a couple hours it was just me and my monkey. And I was not stressed, and I was in the moment, and she could tell the difference. And we connected.

We played 4 rounds of her new board game, made dinner....which is a much simpler affair when it's for 2, rather than 5. She played in her pool, and I just sat and watched and talked with her. A simple thing, but so elusive, that uninterrupted calm.

We had peaches for dessert, and she tried to give me some of hers. I gave her a bath, washed and brushed her hair. We brushed her teeth, and I read her some books.

We laughed and smiled. We hugged and cuddled.

We're friends, my girl and I.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Pick up pieces

This is how Caliana plays poker. Messy, but fixable.

This is how Caliana plays pick up sticks

Remember that game? I loved that game. In case you can't tell, each one of these is snapped into two or more pieces. Let me bring you in for a closer look.

I guess the snapping and tossing was oh so satisfying

I wouldn't know, I've never been the destructive type

What? You have a problem with the way I play?


Friday, July 24, 2009

But I'm so good at it

I'm jealous of women who know they're done having kids. They know what they want, and they are confident and sure. "Abslolutely, we are DONE! Got my tubes tied after number 2" Blah blah blah. I have not felt this certainty in my own life. I keep expecting it to happen.

1 way am I done

2 not quite.

3 kids.....uhhhhh, 3 is a good amount, but.....but......I just....I'm not feeling that done-ness.

I probably shouldn't even write about this because my husband will read it, and I will go home and get a lecture. Plus all the well meaning questions from friends. "Are you guys really thinking of having another one?"

NOT that I don't get the questions already.

"You guys are DONE now right?"
"You're not having any more are you?"
"Wow, you're like a little baby factory, aren't you?"

Yes, that's me, baby factory. You nailed it. Insert ingredients here....wait 9 months.....your product will be delivered from the same door. Or 9 months and then some because my factory runs a little behind schedule.

My mom had 4, my grandma had 5, and just look at the Gosselins and the Duggars! See I'm not that crazy. But, I can't help but think of my mom. She was baby number 5 in her family. If my grandparents hadn't said "screw it, let's have another" she wouldn't be here. Neither would I. Or *sob* my children. And that just makes the decision to be done seem so huge. Who might I be depriving the world of?

People tell me I'm still young, and I don't have to decide soon, but I'm already here and doing it. 10 years of parenting under my belt thus far. How long till starting over is just too daunting. This factory can't stay open forever....

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Wait, don't shoot!

My sister called me from Florida. Her daughter is starting kindergarten this year and she's been having a difficult time getting ahold of the dr's office here to get a copy of her shot records. So I went down there for her. I brought Cali with me. She thought it was neat. She has no fear of doctors.

She hasn't been to one since she was 2 months old. That's when her dr quit her practice. Lo and behold I could not find a single doctor that took her insurance that was also accepting new patients. So I gave up. She's incredibly healthy. She's never had an ear infection or a high fever or anything beyond the occasional sniffles.

But what about her immunizations you ask? The answer is simple. We haven't been doing them. I have 2 friends with sons with medical/behavioral problems. Severe. Both started with seizures. Both are in special schools. And both swear it's because of their immunizations. My other friend's daughter also developed shingles after getting the chicken pox vax. That was enough anecdotal evidence to give me pause.

Now I know that there are no proven links, and I know that immunizations have all but eradicated many diseases in our society, but I also know that there is a fund set up for families of children damaged by immunizations. What's up with that?

I've tried "researching" but there is just so much "he said, she said" and I really don't know where I stand. Autism vs. Polio. Ya know?
It's a lot like the debate on circumcision. Most people have very very strong opinions, based on what they've done personally with their own children. But, on that topic, I can just go with my instincts as a mother. It's a lot less complicated.

So, immunizations have been on my mind a lot lately. She only has 2 more years until she starts school. Emily and Damien got all of their shots and they're fine. I feel she probably should be immunized, but I'm thinking I'll space them out and skip a few, like chicken pox.

I've set up an appointment for her to have a check up next week, and I'll talk with her new doctor about it. I'm not looking forward to Cali changing her views on doctors though.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009


Photography is magic. A moment in life, frozen, captured on paper, held there for eternity. If I were granted 3 wishes, one of them would be that my entire life would be held somewhere on film, that I could go relive any moment I choose, remember details that time forgot.

This is the oldest photo I have of my husband and I together. It's not even a real photo. It's a printout from a black and white sketch photo booth at chuck e cheese. Bought for a dollar. We were 21. It was taken more than 10 years after we met. 7 years after our first kiss. I'm not even looking at the camera. But he loved that hat. A moment. Details. Magic.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Bits of a day


I can admit now that I was a little concerned about how she might act in a "structured" setting with a stranger for a teacher and all. After all, she's only ever been to her grandma's house for daycare and is now home full time with Daddy, so no preschool or anything to prep her. Plus, she JUST turned 3.
However, I'm pleased to announce that she did wonderfully. She jumped right in like she'd been doing it for years. Enthusiastic is an understatement. She was go go all the time. Front of the line, I can do this thanks. And at the end, she said "I want to do that AGAIN!"

Here are a few not so great pictures. Btw how cute is it that she's wearing Emily's old unitard?


Since I couldn't find tom and jerry supplies anywhere, I decided to decorate in red and silver. The party store I went to was out of the silver balloons in the small package, so I was like "I NEED silver balloons, I can't do just red, that would throw off the entire thing!" So I bought the giant $8 bag of silver balloons and decided we could use some of the extra for water balloons.
The thing is, Patrick was supposed to decorate and fill up the water balloons while I took Cali to gymnastics and then went home to make my pigs in a blanket and separated the hamburger into patties.
Turns out we couldn't fill up the water balloons at the lake because of a water shortage or something, so Patrick sent all of the children with me, so they could do the water balloons while I cooked. There were a few problems with this scenario.

#1 He sent all of the balloons home with me, so he had none to decorate. Waste.Of.Money.

#2 The kids could fill the water balloons, but they couldn't tie them. I tried to teach them. They are dysfunctional. So I cooked, and every 10 seconds I stopped, wiped my hands on a towel, and tied a balloon. I dropped no less than 3. I was wet, the kitchen was wet, and the kids were soaked. But we had water balloons, and it was fun.

The Banner

The banner was perfect and underappreciated.

The cake

The cake was an unexpected delight. It turned out much better than I imagined it would. I was stumped at first. What could I use to build a 48 cupcake tom head on? SO Patrick took a large picture frame and covered it with butcher paper, but then I was like "um, it has to be able to fit in the fridge" So then he was like "why don't you just use one of the fridge racks?" and I was like "you're a flippin genius!" So that's what I did and it worked perfectly.
Caliana LOVED it. She kept wanting to go look at it in the fridge.

Here's a quick video of the attempt to blow out the candles. I had to covertly help out, because she can blow, she just can't aim.

This is the beauty of a cupake knives, no plates, no forks, no serving. Just have everyone dig in.

I made everyone stop halfway through so I could document the mutilation of Tom.

The guests

We had a really good turnout and everyone seemed to have a good time. Lots of smiling.

The husband

Was awesome. He set up. He cooked. He cleaned up. I really recommend getting yourself one of these.

The girl

The girl turned 3. The girl swam. The girl ate a little food and a lot of cake. The girl got lots of presents and played with her friends. The girl had a wonderful time, even if she doesn't show it for the camera

The girl got worn out. Turning 3 is tiring.

Friday, July 17, 2009

red and grey is close enough, right?

We're throwing a party for Caliana up at the lake tomorrow. Complete with swimming, water balloons (maybe), and good food (definitely).
Tonight I have to bake 48 cupcakes and try and smoosh them all together and frost them to look like Tom's head (from tom and jerry, not the myspace guy). I may or may not be sharing a picture of my work on Monday. In fact I may give up and just smear all the frosting together into one big blue grey mass, because I am SO not artistic. But I'm going to try, because it's the only way she's getting a tom and jerry cake.
I will however also be making my delicious salami roll ups and honey-brown sugar pigs in a blanket, which I'd be glad to take a picture of, but you won't get the full effect. I haven't figured out how to translate flavor through a photo yet. Just trust me when I say....divine.
I have to run after work today to pick up red and grey party supplies, because no one anywhere in the U.S. of A. has tom and jerry party supplies. But lucky for me, I work for a graphic design company and they whipped me up an awesome tom and jerry happy birthday banner, so at least there's that.

I think over the next year I'll try and cultivate in her a love for spongebob or barbie or hannah montana. That shit is everywhere.

Thursday, July 16, 2009


-We no longer are lugger arounders of the pink potty. It is staying right where it belongs in the downstairs bathroom. There will be no more peeing in the trunk of the car. We had a breakthrough on Tuesday. Caliana and I were at the gym watching Emily's gymnastics practice. About an hour and a half in, Cali says "I wan go home and go potty"
I grabbed her hand and said "no come on let's go" and we ran to the bathroom. She started to resist, but I plopped her on the big potty, and she unwittingly..... went. And then she was surprised, and then pleased. And then she wanted to go again, and then again, and really I got pretty tired of standing around in the bathroom. But if that's what I've gotta do, I'll do it.
At least that one time.

-My dance company is closing. Due to..................can you guess..............the economy. Not enough enrollment. Not enough money. So my dance class is no more and I'm terribly sad about it. How am I supposed to get my hour a week of exercise now? I've been thinking of finding a class somewhere else, but I may wait a couple months. I need to grieve properly.

-My baby turned three yesterday. THREE! That is just so old. She's not in diapers anymore, not in a crib or a toddler bed even. She's just not a baby anymore. I was SO eager for this stage with my first. Yay, all the new things we get to do, that she can do, and shopping together and reading, and extra curriculars and look at all of the toys that are for ages 3 and up that I can buy her. But I've been there, done that, so it's harder now. I'm still excited to watch Cali grow, and get to try new things, but it's still so heart wrenching. I want her to be my baby too.
She gets to start gymnastics on Saturday morning. She's been yearning for it since she could walk. She's spent a lot of time at that gym, but has never got to run out on it's mats, or jump on it's trampolines, or swing on it's bars, or even step beyond the barrier of the gate. So this is huge in her world. I pulled out Emily's old unitards and leotards and we tried them all on her, and she looks so big and so tiny all at once. Please excuse me while I go cry all over my keyboard.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

If I had wings

Someone asked me this morning if I'm still going to be a pilot. I told them "I don't know."
In case you didn't know, that's what I decided to "Be when I grow up". I decided a few years ago. I found a school that will have you "working in your field" in 15 months. I drove the six hours to tour the place, and ask all of my questions, and I was like "hell yes, I'm going to jump in and DO THIS!" So I took a lesson, just to make sure, and then I wrote my essay, and submitted my application, and I paid the $500 deposit, and I waited. And I was rejected. Rejected because of my credit. Because life happens, and sometimes you're a single mom with 2 kids, trying to live on $12 an hour and sometimes the cable gets shut off because it's that or food, or rent or the car payment that gets you to and from work. But I'm much better now, I promise. But promises don't count.

So then they asked me if I had anyone willing to cosign on the student loan. For $55,000. Yeah right. If I did, do you think my cable would have been shut off all those years ago? Pff. So that was over a year ago, and then the economy freaked out, and planes started crashing, and I've tried to back out. It's too hard.....I'm lucky to even have a job....maybe the crashes are a warning from god to go another family is depending on me to support would be stupid to give up my job and go into debt....I don't qualify anyways....I'm getting too old....I shouldn't uproot the kids, they have lives too ya know.....

But sometimes, I'm disappointed in myself. You're going to let all of that stop you Brandi? What about perseverance? What about letting nothing stand in your way? What about going for what you want?

But what if I don't know what I want? Shouldn't I know? I'm 28, not 18. I should know.

I just don't know.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Mommy's helper

I woke up early yesterday. Early early. Like 4am early. Cali was crying. I was just about to drag my half asleep self from bed when I heard her calm down and start talking. She shares a room with Damien and he had woken up.

C: Damien I pee my bed *sniff*

Instead of saying "Go tell mommy and daddy" he says

D: Ok baby, come on

Then he takes her to the bathroom (in between their room and mine) and runs a bath. He helps her undress, helps her in, calms her down and rinses her off.

I lay in bed, torn. Should I get up and relieve him of this duty. I'm the parent after all. But on the other hand, he's handling it well. It's good for him to help take responsibility for his baby sister.

Eventually I got up because I hadn't heard anything but the water running for a few minutes, so I had awful images of him having gone back to bed or something and the water overflowing and.............her left alone.

But no, he sat quietly on the toilet, the water was only half full and he had a towel all ready for her.

D: Oh, hi mom, Cali wet the bed, so I was helping her clean up

Me: Ok, so you got this? Want me to get some clean jammies for her?

D: sure

I got them for him and went back to bed. I try not to look at in terms of my own laziness, but more as a favor for Damien's future wife. Right? Right.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Not much help

"Hey Cali, what do you want for you birthday?"


"What kind of presents?"


Friday, July 10, 2009

Yes, I do like pictures, thanks for asking

If I had started this blog way back forever and 3 years ago before my baby was born, I would have subjected you to the photos I had taken of her monthly. I didn't do this with my other kids, but thought it would be fun this time. Granted, Emily did have her fair share of studio shots, but that's because I worked in a portrait studio during her first year. But it wasn't done in the supremely organized manner that Cali's were.
Now, just because I didn't have the forsight to start this blog sooner, doesn't mean that you should have to miss out on these photos. I know you're dying to see them. Wait! Don't die yet. They're coming up. Just hold on.......

One month. She was born with all of that hair. It covered her entire head. The staff at the hospital said they'd never seen a "caucasian" baby with so much hair. She slept through her entire first photo session, which was fine with me. This is exactly what she looked like at one month. Sleeping. All the time. Except you know, at night.

Two months. That background looked much prettier in person. In the photos it reminds me of custard. Like baby in a pie. But look at the tiny little bow on her elbow, and she's smiling. It's not easy to catch a two month old smiling on camera.

Three months. I paid a LOT more for these pictures than for the other months, because they brought in "special" backgrounds and props. Insane amount of money really, and I never signed up for another "special sitting". But the remarkable thing about this picture is that my baby is 3 months old and standing! Yes, I'm holding her hands, but just wow. Cool huh?

Four months. I loved these shots. The red was just so BOLD. And so different from the muted pastel-ey colors we had previously done. The studio actually used this picture for their Valentines Day display. I think they liked the ginormous bow.

Five months. Her outfit just happened to match this background almost perfectly so we went with it. I love this shot. I learned a long time ago to love serious faces, because the EYES! My god, I can die on the spot.

Six months. This picture marks the end of the headband era. Her hair was just getting too long for them to work right. Not that it's not a little bit crazy here, but hey, you try styling a full head of hair on a six month old. They still lay down a good amount of time. Makes for some crazy bed head. Also, most of the photos around six months, appear with a pinkish ring around her mouth, because she was in full on drool mode. She stayed in that mode for a good while.

Seven months. I had to do something with that hair! This month marks the emergence of the pigtails. Not that you can actually see them on that black background. That would be the only time I would use black for her shots. Plus with the black pants....she looks like half of a baby with no hair.

8 months. One of my favorite sittings. You can really grasp the full effect of the pigtails here. And the dress. It was very spring-y and feminine. I couldn't pick just one.

9 months. She's looking more like a toddler and less like a baby. Please note the bruise on her forehead. She loved to stand up and pretend she could walk, which resulted in many carpet crashing face plants. It was around this time I started calling her "monkey".

10 months. And the hair comes down. Three pigtail months in a row, seemed like enough. This was my least favorite of her sittings. She sogged her shirt up good before we went, and something about the rustic crate....I just wasn't feeling it. But look at that smile.

11 months. This sitting made me forget all about the 10 month mess. She had a red nose from yet another face plant, but I adored it anyways. The chair, the outfit, the high pony, and the personality! I remember viewing these photos for the first time and thinking, oh my god, she looks like......ME!

By her one year photos, she was like "hey people I got this! I'm a model from waaaaayyyyyy back. You want variety? You want personality? No problem. Just don't forget to sign the paperwork with my agent."

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Role reversal

She was 5
He was 2
He was a trying toddler
She had eternal patience
She pushed him
He laughed
Big sister
Caring for little brother

He is 7
She is 10
He is strong
She is carefree
He carries her
She laughs
He smiles
Little brother will someday be
Big brother