Tuesday, June 30, 2009
My little Bible Scholar
Monday, June 29, 2009
You know you're neglecting your yard when...
Anyway, in the midst of all of this family crisis, an unusual event happened in our backyard. Despite my manic painting, I simply have not had time to attend to beautifying our yard. I also don't have a green thumb. Plants fear me. I love them, therefore I stay away with my angel of death powers. I should, however, weed the low maintenance landscaping that we do have, but since I'm focusing on the painting, plus add in working full-time, caring for Henry, and keeping the house clean, I'm fresh out of time and energy. So, our yard is looking a bit bedraggled. Mike keeps the grass mowed, but it's seen better days.
So, the other day I spot an Eastern Cottontail rabbit in our backyard. Boy, these are cute little buggers. Silky ears, absolutely heavenly looking fur, and faces cute enough to beat the band. They are also incredibly destructive to backyard gardens. I've always coveted them in my yard, because I have nothing for them to eat but weeds. People with flowers loathe them. This year, we planted vegetables, so the mean gloves have come out. We went from "OOOOHHHH! Bunny!! Hi Bunny! Aren't you adorable?" to "Hey *you*! Get out of there! SHOO! SHOO!" pretty quickly.
So, over breakfast I spot an offending bunny rabbit. He wasn't near the vegetables; the marigolds seemed to be doing their job. But he was acting strangely. He had honed in on a patch of dead grass that I've tried to replant and revitalize for two years running now. He was ripping up clumps, and with a flash of white tail, disappearing into our heavily weeded landscaping near the back fence. I was starting to get suspicious, but Mike seemed strangely unconcerned, convinced that the rabbit was just hungry. It was leaving the tomato and pepper plants alone, and that's all he cared about.
Well. The next day Mike went to spray some weed killer on the grass, and came rushing back into the house.
"THE BUNNY IS HAVING BABIES IN OUR BACKYARD *RIGHT NOW*!!"
Oh fabulous. Turns out the 'he' was very much a 'she.' I like the cute bunnies, really I do, but I wasn't expecting to have to be quite this accommodating with my property. So, not only do we have to worry about random neighborhood rabbits eating our vegetables, now we have a full fledged family of them out there to fret over.
I rush out there, Mike on my heels with a bag of carrots. Mommy bunny is in the nest that she built with our grass, trembling with fright. Although she normally would have scurried off at top speed with the approach of dreaded humans, she was sort of stuck for the time being. Mike, suddenly converted to a tremendous love of bunnies who are in the family way, lovingly tosses carrots over toward the nest.
"Honey, don't scare her!"
"I just want to make sure she has enough to eat. She needs to keep her strength up."
*snorts* Pretty soon, mommy bunny hops out of the nest and retreats to the back of the yard to bathe and eat more weeds. We creep over to the nest. Inside, are a gaggle of teeny, tiny bunny rabbits. All squirmy furless bodies and kicky limbs. We call reassuring things to the mother, that we wouldn't hurt her babies, though she ignores us pointedly. Mike leaves more carrots for her, and we go inside.
It was all quite fascinating. But, for the love of heaven. My landscaping has so many long weeds that rabbits are nesting in it. This is beyond embarrassing.
Friday, June 26, 2009
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
Off for a few days...
Typical CatholicLibrarian/sister/mother event yesterday. Lots of family stuff going on. I'm volleying between my reference shift, starting on my annual report (kill me now), dealing with what is coming into my Inbox, and phone calls from my mom and sisters. Typical conversation with my mom, who insists on only talking on her cell phone blue tooth during the day, when she's doing a dozen other things:
"Mom. Mom? MOM. Can you hear me?"
*garbled, shouting background noises. She works in a high school* "WHAT? YEAH, YEAH."
"What's the latest? I'm worried."
"What honey? Oh, yeah, hold on a minute. Sherry, could you put that over there? Yeah, uh hum..."
"Who's Sherry? Can you hear me, mom?"
So, after talking to both her and my dad, the sister conversations begin. I'm on with Shauna'h, who is in route to the airport. My other line beeps in. It's Rhonda. I let her go to voicemail, figuring I'll call her next. Shauna'h and I continue to talk a mile a minute. Shauna'h then announces: "Oh, Rhonda is beeping in." "Yeah, she just called me too." We gab for another 10 minutes or so, and I head off to call Rhonda back.
"Oh, good. All of a sudden, nobody was answering my calls. I just tried daddy too. He didn't answer either."
"Ok. I'll try him. Shauna'h wants you to call her back."
"Ok. I'll call her, you call daddy. Have you talked to mom? I can never hear her when I call her."
As you can see, it was difficult to get any work done yesterday afternoon. But, that's just the way it goes sometimes...
Monday, June 22, 2009
Male reaction: "This sucks. Moving on..."
Female reaction: "*&%!@$ *Months* of analysis with sisters and girlfriends about the cause of aforementioned upsetting event, and placement of blame. Possibly tears on multiple occasions. Creation of a new music playlist based on the event, and at least 1 glass of an alcoholic beverage consumed with a highly caloric item of food.
I'm generalizing obviously, but the point is, most of the time, females are more emotional and take things harder than men do. It's just in our nurturing nature :)
So, growing up in a family of 3 sisters, I'm very familiar with this phenomenon. I'm the middle, in case you're wondering, and no I don't have a complex. I like being a middle child; we're happy to please and pleased to be happy. My sisters and I are also spaced apart in age. My older sister is 5 years older than me, and our younger sister is nearly 9 years younger than me. So, there's been drama in our parents' house for a LOT of years :)
And despite the fact that we're all married and have been adults for a LONG time, we still resort to a certain child-like state when anything emotionally trying comes up. We gossip and comfort amongst ourselves, and hide things from our parents. I know it sounds ridiculous, but we do. All 3 of us adore our parents and have good relationships with them. But there's something soothing about having a sisterly conference call or online chat prior to addressing the issue at hand with the parental unit that has not dissipated with time. It's different as adults, certainly. But we still do it. And often times, it leads to sticky familial situations.
I encountered one this weekend. I get an innocent phone call from my wonderfully loving mom. We exchange pleasantries. And then I get the questions that all sisters dread:
"So. Have you talked to *your sister*?
Ok. So, right at the outset of these simple statements, I know several things. I know that:
(1) I can buy myself a few seconds by innocently querying: "Which one?" and,
(2) I have no earthly idea what she is talking about. However, I can guarantee that,
(3) Whatever it is that she's talking about, not only do I already know about it, I have the complete detailed lowdown and week-long analysis on it. *But*
(4) I knew about it before she knew about it, and if she knows that I already know, she's going to feel left out be very unhappy. Thus,
(5) Even though I already know, I cannot let her know that I know.
Inevitably, this leads to me being vague, which leads to a follow-up slew of pointed questions. In the end, nobody is happy, and yet another sisterly conference call is initiated. And the cycle starts anew.
I always smile when I think about an anecdote my mom told me once. I was away at college, my older sister Rhonda already had a job out of town, and our younger sister Shauna'h still lived at home. My mom was on the phone with 2 sisters at once, me on one line, Rhonda on the other, and Shauna'h was in the room with her. All 3 of us were crying about different things. It's just the way it works with 3 girls. Lots and lots and lots of hormones...
Thursday, June 18, 2009
Continuing house transformation...
And, in the spirit of bold color choices, here's the bathroom after:
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
And yet more painting...
In my own defense, I rarely take time off during the main semesters. Really, in recent memory, the only days I've taken off during fall and spring semesters have been Henry-related or surrouding major holidays, like the day after Thanksgiving. I have amassed an unbelievable amount of stored vacation and other compensatory time (don't hate me, I'm in a union). And eventually, you'll lose the days if you don't use them. So there :)
Now that I've justified my painting obsession, we can dwell on the interesting details. I think I'm going to tackle the upstairs bathroom, the pink not-so-paradise, and paint it a warm mocha. It won't take long, since the room isn't that big, and it's tiled halfway up the wall. So, in between those coats I'll be once again schlepping with the white semi-gloss onto the trim in the bedrooms. This is gallon #2 since we moved into the house, and within days I'm going to need to purchase gallon #3. Again, maniac. But, it looks bright and cheerful, and the trim *badly* needs it.
I love these days I've been spending at home. I listen to my podcasts, paint my little heart out, and gradually our house feels more and more like it reflects *us*. It makes me happy :)
Monday, June 15, 2009
Back from long weekend...
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
The cuteness of baby things...
Skilled hunters, these guys are. And they're not shy about it. As the article notes - even the babies have razor sharp talons. And they bite.
But baby anything gets my squealing instinct kicked into high gear. Birds, dogs, kids...you know what I mean. My Henry, at 3 and a half, is so cute, I can hardly stand it. Of course, as all parents can relate to, there are times when I can hardly stand to be in the same room with his high-pitched whining, but that's just part of parenting. The things little kids do only get cuter as they age, I swear it. Some recent examples:
"Mommy." *Henry rushes over, completely naked* *points to nipple* "What's this for?"
"Mommy, why do I have a skeleton? Can I take it out?" (Cute follow-up being me spotting Hank and Mike's afternoon reading material next to each other on the coffee table when I got home from work: The latest issue of Sports Illustrated and the Scholastic Honey Bee book of the month, Understanding the Human Body).
I love how 3 year olds don't understand contractions quite yet: "Mommy, do you have M&M's? Why do you don't?"
"Mommy, why that robin fly away?! I wanted to pet him!" In Hank's mind, how could anything eschew such loving affection?
We're bound for a trip this weekend to visit Mike's relatives. Should be fun, but consumed by family picnics that inevitably turn out to be overwhelming and exhausting. I'll survive. Hopefully, there will be wine. Oh, and I'm taking tomorrow off to continue my maniacal painting project. You'll get an update.
Monday, June 8, 2009
Children at Mass
I know that parenting philosophies vary with regard to how to keep the children quiet and behaved for an hour or more once a week. My personal philosophy is: I'll do *anything* to keep them quiet and happy. Pretty much *anything*. This includes (neat, never messy or noisy) snacks, sippy cups, books, crayons, and a stuffed toy. I know that some disagree with me on the snacks and sippy cups, and to each their own. I won't judge you if you don't judge me. We're talking goldfish crackers here for the 2 year old, not a 5 course meal involving melted cheese. Now that Henry is 3, I'm trying to wean him off the distractions so much, particularly the snacks. No more sippy cup, and he gets 1 small snack per Mass. Like those individually packaged fruit snacks. When it's gone, that's it, and he knows it. I'm trying to get him more involved in the Mass - he does the sign of the cross, drops the envelope into the collection basket, and shakes hands during the peace offering. That's definitely helped. Inevitably, we get one "I have to go potty!" per Mass, and usually NOT because he actually has to go potty. He just likes the church bathroom. Sigh. We bring books, and he's pretty good about looking through those. Naturally, he has to ask questions about them in that toddler stage "whisper" but... you win some, you lose some. That just comes with the territory with pre-school aged children.
For younger children, my feeling is that whatever you need to do to secure their contented happiness for an hour - DO IT. We all understand, and those that don't will get over it. Jesus tells us to bring the children to Him, and for those that brave wrestling the 18 month old in church, much reward will come your way :) You're doing the right thing. I'm definitely of the mindset that the way to get children to behave better in church, and hopefully enjoy it as adults, is to bring them. That's how they'll learn and get an appreciation for being in a sacred space. There are certainly weeks wherein you just *know* that bringing them will be a near occasion of sin for you, because the chance of them behaving atrociously is near to 100%. I've had many a week of that myself. But we persevere, doing the best we can. Right now, Hank likes "chooch" and asks to go with me each week. He's a real sweetie pie :)
Wednesday, June 3, 2009
The joy of painting...
And here it is, after:
Hank included, extra :)
Let me see if I can dig up our living room, and the infamous fireplace...Ah, here it is, the front mostly stripped by your resident crazy person. But note the wall-to-wall gold carpet. They even had *extra pieces* of this thing throughout the house, for use as mats. Welcoming? I think not.
And, thank merciful God, the after:
So, I'm scheduled to take some more time off in a few weeks to finish the hallway, and then tackle Hank's room and the upstairs bathroom. I'm looking forward to it, rubbing my palms together in a devilish fashion...
Monday, June 1, 2009
Painting and other fun projects...
The walls truly look awful right now, but that's because they haven't been painted, like, since the house was built. In 1935. I'm not joking. And it's all in flat finish, and they look dingier than a warehouse. I'm a machine when I paint, too. It's the reason why I have to take time off from work to do it, instead of trying to paint when Henry is around. Well, granted, there are other logistical issues surrounding why it is a bad idea to paint with your 3 year old "helping" you.
"Mommy look! I painted the (solid oak) cupboard! MMMMOOOMMMYYYY! I got paint *all over me*!"
But when I'm armed with painting tools, watch out sister. I'm feverish in my desire to accomplish, and even surpass, my painting goal. I'm a woman on a mission, I tell you. I'll post some before and afters on Wednesday :)