Monday, June 30, 2008

Good life

Other reasons it's great to be home:

1. A batch of chocolate covered banana-sicles made up with an enthusiastic Bean this morning.

2. A batch of chocolate chip cookies, also made with Bean's help, for our new neighbors one street over with a son Bean's age.

3. The discovery of an ENORMOUS, 3-inch long, disgusting grub in our compost pile this morning. Very exciting and totally gross!

4. The discovery that Bean, quite suddenly, knows how to draw scary monsters with her colored pencils. This thrills me. Though I do wonder where the drawings of blood come from. "'Cause monsters have blood, Mom!" she tells me as if I'm an idiot. Still, I can't help but wonder if my Bean has dark, Goth chick leanings already...

5. Oh, and the disappearance of our USB cable so that I can't post a single damn picture of any of this.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

A what?

Just saw one of these out in our garden--a zebra swallowtail. Never seen one before!

But in other, more personally relevant news, we're back from Topsail Island as of yesterday afternoon. Even though it took me vacuuming and sweeping the house, unpacking several suitcases and bags of leftover groceries, the immediate evacuation of a small colony of hatched and starving butterflies to the outdoors, SEVEN LOADS OF LAUNDRY, and a marathon session of plant watering to get the house back to normal, I am officially back to normal. Insert contented sigh here. I love coming home.

Overall vacation verdict this year is that it was sorta wasted on me. I swam in the ocean a grand total of two times because I was mostly stuck indoors with Sweet P whose tender skin I was afraid to scorch. Husband and I still had to get out the weekly fabric shipment and do some Spoonflower work from the beach. And we helped fix meals for way more kids than usual. But at least Sister and Bean had a blast. As Bean recounted with premature nostalgia when told that we were leaving the next day, "Mom, I played for days and days at the beach." She sure did!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

7 of 11

7 of 11, originally uploaded by Secretsugar.

It's so hard to get a group kid photo when there are 11 kids to corral and one of them REFUSES to leave my arms for any reason. This is as close as I've gotten this year--7 of the assorted cousins, including 2 kids of my own, snapped while they're eating and quiet for a change. They're chatting to themselves, but it's not the utter mayhem that has otherwise been their mode this year.

I've hardly seen Sister at all this week because she's suddenly old enough to not make a nuisance of herself among her teenage cousins. She's hanging out with them and they're not annoyed by her presence. She's also old enough to be responsible, not get lost on beach walks, stay hydrated, not drown, etc. I'm sorry to say that what interaction I've had with her has been mighty sassy on her part. Trying to save face in front of these same teenage cousins, I guess.

Bean has needed, as usual, a lot of entertainment and Sweet P has needed me. A lot. Like, nursing half the night and miserable whenever I put her down during the day. I am exhausted. On vacation!

This is one beach trip I won't be sorry to see over, however much cat barf there is to clean up or laundry to do at home when we return.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Beach quickie

I'm sneaking in a quick blog post here while I nurse the baby (to sleep, I hope!) and supervise Bean's settling in for a nap (which isn't looking very settled at the moment). We're all three in our shared beach house bedroom on Topsail Island, NC for our annual clan convergence. Ratio of children to adults--11:6.

It's a chocolate chip cookie snarfing, hot tub splashing, thunderous overhead porch stomping, sandy pocket emptying, no-more-than-2-sodas-a-day-please saying, giant lunch cooking, wet floor wiping, shrimp peeling, watermelon seed spitting, close-that-door! shouting, I-SAID-no-more-than-2-sodas! reminding, wet towel hanging, kid skin sunscreening kind of vacation.

Pictures to come, I hope, if I can remember where I packed that damn USB cable...

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Summer spruce up, plus bloggers visiting me!

I ought not to mind getting older. I tell myself this often, chastising myself that it's shallow to care. 'Cause I mean, I could be dead, right? Nevertheless, I find that I do care that every.freaking.year. the annual getting-ready-for-summer beauty routine gets harder. Or rather, it has less of an effect. And out of frustration about my mousey self, I end up doing idiotic things like dyeing my hair lurid purpley-red, as if I don't remember that a red that bright just doesn't go so well with the jeans and spit-up encrusted t-shirts I might manage to pull on late in the morning. With my old, cute, black crepe flapper dresses, yes, but with mommy gear...uh, no. Sigh.

Nevertheless, I doggedly kept a bikini wax appointment today, more to avoid scaring the passel of children who will be attending this year's family beach trip than in the hopes that anyone might look twice at me in a bikini. I mean, tankini. I mean, skirted tankini. (Do they still make flapper bathing suits? I would so wear one at this point!) I bought some bronzer and some mineral make-up stuff that I actually think does make my complexion look better in some subtle way. And I painted my toe nails pink.

That about does it for my summer sprucing up this year. That's all I have time for, and that's all I have the heart to try.

On a brighter note, I'm pretty damn excited that tomorrow night I have two bloggers coming over to my house to hang out--woo-hoo! I met Beth from Blind as a Bat last year when she was in Raleigh visiting her daughter, and she was just as friendly and funny in real life as she is on her blog. Joan from Southern Suburbia I've never met, despite the fact that she lives only about an hour away from me. Small confession here: I kinda had her in mind when I painted my toenails tonight, having gotten an inkling how she is about her own toes.

I'm only slightly embarrassed to say that I'm serving them take-out pizza for dinner, feeling like a big salad, homemade brownies, and Kat's Bourbon Slush (scroll down to the end of the post) ought to make them feel welcome and feted, regardless. I'll let y'all know how it goes, okay?

Monday, June 16, 2008

Mummified Barbie with precious oil

What?! Your kids don't anoint Barbies with fragrant oils and mummify them in toilet paper when it's summertime?

P.S. Lest y'all think I'm the most permissive of mamas, letting my girls play around with my perfume collection, know that the bottled Gap stink pictured here is a yard sale find that Sister picked up this weekend. Perfume makes my nose hurt. (All mummification around here happens on the porch.)

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Summer on the porch

I bought the girls a kiddie pool the other day to help us all stay cool in the scorching heat. (100 degrees here for, like, 4 days in a row! Ugh!) We've all enjoyed soaking in the freezing cold hose water, even Sweet P. Yesterday, after we all had a dip, we had a snack picnic on the porch while our skins dried under the ceiling fan. Then Bean went outside to "chalk."

I shucked off my wet suit, wrapped myself up in a beach towel, and nursed Sweet P, who drowsed off in my arms in the rare peace. I laid her next to me to finish her nap.

Peace while the kids are awake is seldom seen around here, so it was an especially sweet afternoon that I want to remember.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Rising fifth grader, not rising at the moment

This is how Sister intends to spend a good portion of her time now that school has let out. (Today! Finally!) Can you tell she's psyched? And do you remember when you had this kind of leisure time? I remember long afternoons and evenings spent curled up in a chair or on the porch with nothing to do but read if I wanted. Back before the days of the internet, clearly.

Happy summer, everyone!

Monday, June 09, 2008

My baby can sit!

DSC00865, originally uploaded by Secretsugar.

And does she not look like a little angel baby who requires some attention? Yes, she does. Which is partly why I haven't been blogging lately. My two little nappers do tag team napping now, with Sweet P's naps sorta bracketing Bean's single afternoon nap. Neither of them much appreciates mama being on the computer when awake either. Only 6 more months and they might actually nap at the same time, right?

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Feeling better

Happy baby, originally uploaded by Secretsugar.

Trying to post today if only to get that last one down a bit. I'm feeling a lot less sorry for myself today, thanks. I've been so busy lately with the kids and the new business that I've been really struggling. Last night, though, I realized that my help with the business is the thing that should give around here if I need something to. The kids shouldn't be the thing I let go, right? I mean, if my help consists of responding to people's emails and posting on our blog now and then, that could probably wait longer than a lonely young'un in need of some mama time? Yes.

This morning, Sweet P woke me up at 5:30 to nurse. After I got her tanked up and back to sleep, I went on downstairs because it was already getting light outside and I relished the thought of having the quiet house to myself, sleep deprivation be damned. I sat alone on the back porch with the birds singing, drinking my tea. With quiet time to think, I made a new plan to think of some way of giving each of my daughters some small thing they want each day, something to make them cheerful and happy about the day. For Sister, it was biscuits and strawberries for breakfast and a trip to the library after school today. For Bean, it was my undivided attention for a couple of hours while Sweet P napped. We went out in the garden together and planted vegetables and sunflowers, dug for worms, and chatted. For Sweet P, I'm vowing to just play with her more rather than popping her into her swing or her bouncy seat so I can blog, send emails, steal a few minutes for a sewing project. Sewing projects are going to have to wait til after the kids are in bed now, I think. It's going to require some focus on my part, but if I get up a little early every day, that may just give me the break I need to be able to do all that for everyone else.

Everyone gets a little something, mama included.

Monday, June 02, 2008


Oy vey! I hope the rest of you out there aren't feeling as stressed and overwhelmed as I am lately! I feel like I just don't get a break anymore since our babysitter has left town for the summer and my mom has my little brothers to keep her from acting as regular grandma. Know what stupid thing happened today? Bean was in the bathroom washing her hands after lunch when all of a sudden she let out a loud wail. My nerves were already pretty jangly after a morning full of wails from both little girls. I come rushing in to see what's happened now and she's in tears because she's tipped over her potty which was apparently full to the brim with pee. Pee is now all over the bathroom rug and floor and Bean is still wailing. I put the baby down in her swing so I can clean the lake of pee and she starts screaming.

It was just the last straw for me, I guess, because then I burst into tears.

I'm over myself now, but jeez! Do I really need to wait til the babysitter is back in town to feel like I'll get a break?