Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Super Bowl Sundae

I'll be honest, sports aren't for me.  When I accompany my basketball/soccer/baseball/collegiate women's bowling-loving husband to sporting events, my focus is "What am I going to eat?"  Eating churros is how I support the team.

Since the "Big Game" is this weekend, I'm already planning what I'll be eating.  The answer is ice cream!  My husband and I are having simultaneous parties this Sunday.  He'll be watching football, and I'll be throwing an ice cream social.  It's a tie!  Everyone wins!

Do you have any favorite game-time snacks?

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Talking to My Children about Dominic

5's been such a long time.  5 years ago, our world fell apart with the sudden loss of my nephew, Dominic.  He had been sick with a barrage of normal kid things, but the one that took his life was unknown to all.  Dominic had acute lymphoblastic leukemia, an extremely aggressive form of cancer.  The heart-wrenching part was not being able to say goodbye to him; however, there is solace in knowing that his last days were spent frolicking happily through the snow with his buddies.

Dominic was an incredible human being.  He was so caring and thoughtful.  He loved, loved, loved stuffed animals, even at ten.  He was creative and incredibly intelligent.  The last time I saw him was Christmas, and he had received a kit to make your own sock monkey-type creature.  I wish I had made it with him. 

Georgia was three months old when Dominic died. They had only met on that Christmas trip (my sister and her family live in Maryland).  Georgia, of course, didn't remember that holiday or the trip cross-country for his funeral.  Harper, the younger of my children, wasn't even born.  It broke my heart to know that they missed out on getting to know how amazing their cousin was. I was determined that they knew about him, which meant they needed to know that he was gone.

Dom had been reading Each Little Bird That Sings when he died, a book ironically about a young girl who deals with death regularly as her family runs the town's mortuary. I read it to my class of 4th graders each January. When my girls are older, I'll read it to them, too. 

I feel it's important for our children to know that death is real, but not in a scary zombies are going to attack way.   It happens, and we grieve and then, when we're ready, we go on living.  Living is different without Dominic, but that's to be expected.
Part of my going on living after Dominic was to keep in our hearts and our conversations.  We talk about him whenever the Beatles come on, when we find giraffe stuffed animals, when there's a pretty bird, or when we replace the toilet paper roll.

I know the picture is inappropriate, but a donkey using a urinal? C'mon, that's funny. It makes me happy to share Dominic with my girls.  I'd love to share him with you also at

Friday, January 25, 2013

The Backyard: Before & After???

Our next door neighbor asked the man who flipped our house why he wasn't going to do anything about the backyard.  His response was that backyards are very personal and everybody has their own idea about what they want.  What we wanted was grass, lots and lots of grass.

The yard started out as weed/dirt/trash pit.  Seriously, how old is that milk carton?  The girls would go and "explore" and find shards of glass and other such treasures.  

The yard is super long (83 feet, according to our measurements) and skinny.  Originally, we had two unidentified shrubs and two avocado trees.  Yum, right?  Can you imagine the amount of guacamole I could make with two avocado trees?  I just need a lime tree, and I've got a fiesta!

The gardener who was going to install sprinklers delivered some heart-crushing news.  If we wanted grass for half of the yard, this avocado tree had to go.  No grass could grow with the incredible amount of shade it provided.  I was consoled by the fact that I still got to keep one tree.

So out came the tree and away went the garbage.  Except to Georgia, it wasn't garbage.  To my sweet five-year-old it was her "grotto" and the sticks that disappeared were her "stick family."

After seeing the backyard devastation, she laid on the floor in the fetal position and said, "This is how you destroy a home."  Wow!  Totally harsh.  I promised that she would love having a place to play, that we would go hunt for new sticks, and the original stick family had gone to build homes for small woodland creatures.
One week later, the grass came in.  We were out of town when the sod was laid, so it was such a fun surprise to come home and see green for miles and miles.  Okay, feet and feet.  
Now, we've got a totally prepped blank slate.  Our goals for the backyard:
  • Replace the Frankenstein fence
  • Make a new and improved "grotto"
  • Incorporate a fun place for grown-ups to read and drink coffee

We're not quite sure what the grotto should include.  A play house?  A rock wall?  A chicken coop?  Please don't vote for chicken coop unless there are magical chickens that lay Cadbury Creme Eggs.  Do you have a backyard play structure or other favorite feature?  I'd love to hear what we need! 

Monday, January 21, 2013

Mommy Doesn't Play Doctor

One component of being a mom that I'm not comfortable with is playing doctor.  Nurse, yes.  Doctor, no.  I can comfort and soothe, clean up bodily fluids, or turn on another Disney movie with no problem.  What I can't do is diagnose.

Croup again?!?!

I am very comfortable yielding to the professionals.  I, of course, want to have a voice in the medical treatment of my children.  However, I am becoming so disappointed by my increasing role as medical diagnostician.

My girls have been sick a lot the past few months.  Ear infections, the flu, croup, countless cases of sniffles...the list goes on and on.  We don't rush to the pediatrician for every bump or bruise, but with such an expansive assortment of ails recently we have seen the good doctor a bunch.  Each time I go I get asked things like, "Do you want to do a strep test?"  If there's a chance she has it, yes.  I elected to torture Georgia with a blood test for mono after weeks and weeks of not improving.  I never thought mono was a possibility until it was brought up, but then I was asked to make the call.

Here's how I'd like the visits to the pediatrician to go...
Me: I'm concerned about fill in symptoms.
The Doctor:  I think the cause may be fill in possibilities and I'd like to do the following tests: some stuff I saw on House.  Do you have any questions or concerns?
Me: Nope, awesome.

Ask me what my children had for dinner the past month, and I can tell you.  But I just want a doctor to tell me what my sick children need to get better...and I'll even pay you!  Okay well, my insurance will pay you.  Is that really so much to ask?

Although I like the pediatrician a great deal personally, I'm contemplating finding someone new.  Is this a common experience, or am I expecting too much?