Friday, September 28, 2007

364 Shopping Days Until My Birthday!

Okay, I try to be a good mom. I try to be nice, I try not to yell too much, and yes, whenever it's possible, I try to be accommodating.....but I didn't see this coming! I guess I should have. My oldest child (older than his twin brother by just 2 minutes, he will surely point out that makes him the firstborn!) is Dog Obsessed. This began a few years ago, about the age when every normal red-blooded American boy decides he must have a pet. Patrick's obsession deepened until he could quote facts and statistics about almost any dog breed, recognize any dog you'd see on the streets or in a movie, and even understand and translate for the neighborhood strays---nah, just kidding, but the boy WANTED A DOG! So, in a moment of temporary insanity, we got him a puppy last December as an early Christmas present. He is a toy poodle, named "Samson" by his loving owner. (Samson now lives at Grammy's house, but that's fodder for another post, LOL!). When we got Samson, his papers said he was born on Sept. 25th, just two days before MY birthday. Anyone who has known me any time at all can tell you the Ritual of the Birthday. It is involved, it is ongoing, and it is effective----my friends rarely forget my birthday (it's okay Christine, really!). I started the brainwashing---er, tradition--- way back before I can even remember now; every month on the 27th, I tell everyone how many shopping days they have until My Birthday on September 27th. For example, on April 27th I'll say "Here's your friendly reminder that you now have only five shopping months until my birthday!!". It has become a family joke, and it's really NOT about the presents to me, it's about The Birthday!! We all love to have a day that's all ours, right? :) I had no idea that in 2007 I would be soooo upstaged: when I learned right after Christmas that I was pregnant and due in September, I knew that this year I would be passing on the Birthday Ritual Torch to my new offspring. I resigned myself to it, and I was okay with that. I can step down and let Rachael take the torch.....but this was before the DOG had to have a birthday party! I"m okay with my being overshadowed by my daughter, but the DOG????? When Patrick wanted to have a birthday party for Samson, being the good mommy that I endeavor to be, I grudgingly agreed. Having lots of leftover icing in the fridge from Rachael's birthday cake last week, I even magnanimously volunteered to BAKE THE DOG A CAKE (for his humans to eat, of course!). That was BEFORE I remembered, at 11 p.m. on the 24th, that my oven wasn't working. Fine, I decided to bake the cake at my mom's home first thing in the morning. I took the cake over, baked it, and my mom removed it from her oven when it was done. She left it to cool on the counter while she ran a quick errand, leaving my 84 year old somewhat senile grandmother at home. When my mom returned, Gramma had eaten a three inch wide strip of the cake! She probably ate 20% of the cake! My mom was mad, and Gramma got sick, and it was rather also made decorating the hacked-up cake quite a challenge! I cut it into the best bone-shaped cake I could, and it turned out quite well, if I do say so myself. Patrick was thrilled, Samson was oblivious to the whole Event, and we all ate cake. Happy Birthday, dear Samson!---but don't expect a party next year. :)

We All Love a Parade!

The State Fair is a Big Deal in Texas. It happens every year, and every year I know it's coming, because it ALWAYS begins the weekend of my birthday (another internationally recognized holiday, but I digress!). Every year, on the Opening Day of the State Fair, I have the same "oh drat!" moment at about 10:05 p.m.----that's about the time that the local news airs clips of the festivities, and I realize that ONCE AGAIN I have forgotten about the parade!!!.....and I kick myself for another year, haha. My children LOVE a parade; there is a reason for this. Several years ago, when my oldest boys were just toddlers, they got on a jag of watching "The Sound of Music". Often. Too often. Daily. This went on for months. I can quote EVERY SINGLE LINE in that movie, and sing every song (when the children ALLOW me to sing along, that is)! In order to cure them of what was destroying my love of a great, classic musical, we introduced them to "The Music Man" (Thanks, Auntie Linda Lou!!!). heehee...I'm sure you see where this is going! We then watched, ate, slept, breathed, sang, and danced "The Music Man" for probably six months (Can anyone say "Shepoopie"?). After this the twins developed an obsession for marching bands, and percussion instruments. Soon after, we began our family tradition of attending the local Fourth of July parade, and it took me several years to even realize that we have a State Fair Opening Day Parade. I was proud of myself and thrilled that somehow my sleep-deprived brain recalled this tidbit of information this year, well in advance of the date. My dear honorary cousin Kathy works downtown, and so we decided to meet up and watch the parade. I made a picnic lunch, we enlisted my dad and stepmom Linda to go with us, and off we went! It was truly fun, a gorgeous Texas autumn (now there's an oxymoron!!) day, just perfect. We arrived in plenty of time, met up with our Downtown Guide, Kathy, and walked a couple blocks over to Main Street. We settled in on a nice curb and ate lunch while we waited for noon. The parade was worth waiting for! The children were delighted (Jason was not too impressed with the clowns!), and made several memorable comments ( Patrick, upon observing the collegiate drill team in their flesh-colored tights, said, "Their legs look like plastic!!"). It was really a pleasant family outing, and a memory of a fun date with my family that I will look forward to scrapbooking! To top it all off, if you check out the Sept. 28th page of and click on the video clip that says 'State Fair Parade', towards the end of the clip you will see a lovely full-screen shot of 4 of my 5 children! We're famous!

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Blogging, Take 2--or, The Dangers of Blogging

After a year-long sabbatical, I have returned to the world of blogging. My previous dalliance with a blog was brief, and devastating---it nearly destroyed several relationships that are very important to me, and to some degree the damage is not totally restored.

Last year, someone read my blog and took something I said completely out of context. Instead of contacting ME to clarify my position, said person called other people and perpetuated the misunderstanding, which soon grew to gargantuan proportions!

Without going into further detail, let's just say that a Big Mess ensued, and feelings were hurt, and Stuff Happened that cannot be undone. Several of those involved never actually READ the offending blog post, they merely leapt into the fray and passed judgment and then unsolicited advice my way.....and it surely didn't help that when this all went down, I was about 38 weeks pregnant, and more than a little sensitive!!!

I learned some things through that experience last year. I learned that you cannot take relationships for granted, big or small. The people involved in that brouhaha last August were Important People dearly loved by me! That's what made it so painful to go through. I ranted, I raved, I cried, I threatened to never blog again.....but as time went on, I realized that we cannot hide from the world when we have been hurt. The world is full of hurt (and hurtING!) people, and we need to use our hurts to spread compassion and empathy, reaching out to those around us.

Because of my hurts and the painful experiences through which I have lived (and believe me, some of them are MUCH WORSE than a misunderstood blog post!!), I am qualified to reach out to others in the same place of pain. A very wise and much-respected father in the faith once said to me, "You are not disqualified because of the things you have been through! You are more qualified than ever!". That statement was FREEDOM for me!

So, here I am, blogging again. Admittedly, I may be a bit more careful what sorts of things I say here, but probably only for awhile. I still stand on my original belief that those who know me well enough to read my blog ought to know me well enough to understand my intents----or at least well enough to ask me if something I say causes confusion!