Thursday, September 29, 2011


My little baby is 3 years old. Yesterday was her birthday and her party is this Saturday. Let me tell you a bit about this special girl.
Cutecumber is one of a kind. Before she was born, I spent a great deal of time, daydreaming about what she would be like. I already had a very girly-girl and really boyish-boy. Would she be more like the Scientist, analytical, serious, and into dirt and bugs? Would she be more like Ms. Thang, carefree, outgoing, and easy to read?
Well, she was her own little person right from the start. She came into this world with a bang, and kept a sour puss on her face for 3 straight days! As each year goes by, her personality traits start to stand out from her typical age characteristics.
Cutecumber is a nurturer. She soothes anyone and anything, from grasshopper boo-boos to teenage tears. If the scientist frowns when he realizes his turtle is no longer trapped in the "home-made habitat" in the back yard, Cutecumber kneels beside him, arm around his shoulders, and tells him it's going to be ok. If she notices a nick on my leg from shaving, or even a large freckle on the back of my arm, I am treated with a q-tip of meds (lotion) and a band-aid, with meticulous care and gentleness.
She only opens up to people she knows. Unlike her brother and sister, who try to make friends with every person in line at the grocery store, Cutecumber greets even the friendliest strangers with a low brow, and short answers. She doesn't flash her winning smile to just anyone. She saves it, like a little treasure that only her true and trusted friends can enjoy.
She does have a good dose of influence from her siblings though. She loves dinosaurs and earrings. She wears a princess dress to dig in the dirt. She'll catch a june bug and rock it to sleep. She cries when humpty dumpty falls off the wall, yet was laughing hysterically when I caught her throwing the last egg (of a full carton) onto the floor.
She has a special place in my heart, being my only planned baby. The one that opened up a new level of love for me. We were a family, so wonderful, that we purposefully expanded. She is a symbol to me, the final layer of the greatest thing I've ever created. The sealant, making everything shiny and long lasting. The cherry on top of a perfect sundae. She's my last baby, the final chapter in my book of motherhood. I'm more mature this go-round. I have more patience and knowledge, and knowing she is my last, she gets more of my undivided attention as she reaches a new milestone and I soak it all in, remembering each detail of how it feels to have a child asleep in my arms, or "5 little Monkeys jumping on the bed" on repeat in the van.
We are all so very much in love with her. She has each and every one of us by the heart string, like a handful of balloons, and we couldn't have place them in better hands. She's gentle, kindhearted, compassionate, and places each of our hearts in their own little bed at night, singing to them softly, kissing them good night one by one, and trying her best to mend any broken pieces. She's a special one, my little girl.

Thursday, September 22, 2011


It's a hard thing for me to process really. It's not like it snuck up on me, she's been "growing up" since the day she was born, but here she is 14 years old today and I just can not believe it. She's going to Homecoming tomorrow. HOMECOMING! How can this be?

But I know it's true. Lately she has really shown me her maturity and I'm forced to realize that my baby girl is growing up. Recently an event took place that really tested my role as her mother and although she still needs me, my role has become one of guidance more than enforcement. She is still *only 14 and I am still right behind her because she isn't capable of protecting herself from some dangers, but she is her own person now, and she represents that person well, and so mature on many levels.

She CHOSE to take harder courses this year. She dropped a favorite (drama) for Academic Challenges. She skipped another elective choice to be in AVID, a program that helps you develop study skills, and prepares you for college. She's active in the student council, plays the flute (and also took violin, so she can now play two instruments and read music, something I can not do!) and has the best group of friends. A far cry from her social group last year, which she opted to leave behind, although it was hard, and find friends that raise her up rather than drag her down. I just gave advice on how to put those things into action and achieve her goals, but the choices were hers.

She's healthy. Not just physically, but mentally healthy. She makes good choices and once her mind is made up, there is no stopping her. She's determined and self motivated to be better. These are not signs of a child. These are signs of an adult.
I am so proud of her. She doesn't dwell on things that would have crushed me at her age. She cries and she moves on. She's an amazing person, my daughter or not. She makes it *a little* easier to let go of the apron strings and let her experience life without me holding her hands. It's hard though, because from the moment she was conceived I vowed to protect her with my entire being and it goes against everything in my body to let her go, but it's like a child learning to ride a bike. You run along behind them, pushing and steadying, and eventually you let them go and they can do it alone! You're proud of them, but in that same instant it hits you, that they are suddenly 20 ft ahead of you, continuing in the opposite direction, not needing your push and it becomes a bitter sweet moment that you didn't expect.

That is where I am at on this 14th birthday. I am so proud of everything she has accomplished, and excited about her future goals. I'm watching her ride alone, and gasping at every wobble, wanting to put my hands back on, just in-case. I'm still there to put the band-aid on when she falls, but she is falling less and less. It's great, but bittersweet.

The bond is so different now than it was 14yrs ago. She needs me less, but understands so much more. I hold her less, but we are so much closer. My heart aches for the baby I've lost, but I wouldn't trade the 14yr old I have now for that baby again. As much as I love that little toothless, curly hair toddler, to the point it just HURTS, I love this 14yr old that much more. You lose something precious, but you gain something better. It's bittersweet.

That's being a mom. I knew about the diapers. I was warned about the messes. I expected the worrying and the drama, but the heartache of watching them grow, I just didn't know. It's hard and because I feel like indulging in the tears I feel welling up....

Monday, September 12, 2011


What a roller coaster of a day.

Woke up and the Scientist was complaining about a sore throat. No temp, no redness or swelling. I had doubts that it was real. He tends to get a bad case of the Mondays. I made him drink a bunch of water, gave him his vitamin and sent him off to class with a cough drop I knew he would spit out in less than one minute. I worried all day that I would get that call from the nurse and end up as that horrible mother that didn't believe her child was ill and sent him in to infect the whole class.

I did get a call, but not for his cough. Instead it was the mandatory call that's made when your child gets 2 warnings in class. His was for talking, and although it verified that his throat was completely fine, I had to talk to him on the phone while his teacher hovered, most likely in a silent room where my every word was heard. I pulled the: "You better straighten up from here on out and listen to your teacher. We will talk about this more at home" card. I followed through, and also talked with his teacher after school. They are a lot more strict this year and give out "warnings" at the drop of a hat, but I guess the "kindergarten mentality" has to end sometime. He'll adjust. He was sent home with a questionnaire for me to fill out and bring in during his beginning of the year assessment conference. On a day like today, I took it too literally and started stressing over my answers.
Q: What would you like us to know about your child?
I wanted to put "More than I could ever fit on this page."
Instead, I wrote that he learns best with visuals and "hands on", along with other more relevant things than his entire life's story which is what I wanted to write. lol

Around 7pm he started losing his voice.

Ms. Thang is in another state visiting with her father's grandmother. She's elderly and extremely ill. She is dying. MT went with her dad so they could basically say their goodbyes. It's been very difficult for her and I hate having to hear her so upset and not being able to hug her or see her during this hard time. I was worrying for her through most of the day as well. I was wishing she didn't have to stay and witness that, wondering if it really was a good idea after all, especially after a phone call that was basically one uninterpretable sob. I guess we all have to deal with death at some point. Still, I want her home. I'm eager to comfort her and in doing so comfort myself when I see her healing and dealing.

She was scheduled to come home on Wed. , missing 3 days of school, and I had a great time this morning going up there to explain her absence and fend the janitors off of Cutecumber. I couldn't tell if they were "a bit slow" or "a bit child-molesty" with their constant high-fiving and going on about how adorable she is. I smiled and gave her a reassuring nod, but inside I was wanting to kick them in the nuts just to be on the safe side.(Add another layer of stress knowing Ms. Thang is around these guys 5 days a week.) However, her grandmother's condition has taken a turn for the worse and the idea that MT could stay away all week, in case of a funeral on the weekend, was mentioned. Her 14th birthday party is scheduled for this Saturday and may end up being rescheduled.

Just last week she was feeling overwhelmed by the new work load at school. She's taken harder courses this year and missed an assignment that was mailed out over the summer. She had to read the most boring book in the history of mankind (Johnny Tremain) and write a paragraph about each chapter as a "journal-entry" in 3 days. No biggie, but put that on top of her regular school work (homework every night even in the class she was writing the paper for) it was a lot for her to adjust to. Great preparation for the future though. She found her stride last week, and I knew she would, but now if she ends up being a week behind, she will have to adjust all over again.

And the birthday party. I've got Ms. Thang's on Saturday (maybe) and Cutecumber's two weeks later. Ms. Thang is doing an 80s theme and our budget is tight right now. Her party is the 17th and we get paid on the 15th. I wasn't able to buy much of anything in advance. That really puts the pressure on to pull a party together for a bunch of teenage girls in just 2 days. Plus, Ms. Thang has declared it the social event of the year and has rather high expectations. I really want to make it special too, especially now that she's had such a rough week. Maybe having to push it back will be a good thing. Still, it's up in the air and that adds a layer of stress.

Cutecumber's party is the big family party. She picked Dora as her theme and I'm taking that and running with it. I've always wanted to throw a fiesta styled party and this is my chance. I've perfected my spanish rice recipe. :) All she wants is a slide. It's been slide talk 24/7 for the past 2 months. Again, I aim to please. Slides are in abundance on Craigslist! Until you want one...

Honey is working late tonight. I'm so mentally exhausted I didn't even officially make dinner. The kids had Ravioli (as in, Chef Boyardee) and I ate ...ya know I didn't even eat. Here it is 10 pm and I'm famished. I'm going to eat pb&j and watch it instantly attach to my thighs. Probably just one thigh and I'll be all muddled looking, just like my brain.

So as not to leave this on a bad note,
Thank you God, for giving me a mother and friend that helped me through today. What blessings they are.
Thank you for giving Honey a few extra hours tonight when we needed the money, and thank you for a great marriage that is strong enough to keep us together even when we must spend extra time apart.
Thank you for being with Ms. Thang when I can not, and thank you that these troubles are so very minor. <3

Saturday, September 10, 2011

From Frame To Couch

Today I found a beautiful framed embroidery piece at Helping Hands. I've always been drawn to them (especially the floral) but they are usually FILTHY and how can you clean them? Honey has terrible allergies and the dust collectors never get to come home with me.

Then I saw a fantastic idea on a blog, (don't remember it drat!) where a woman had taken the embroidery out of it's frame and turned it into a decorative pillow. WHICH CAN BE WASHED!

So after this light bulb moment, I couldn't find any more pretty pieces (of course). Some are just so ugly. I hate using that word because so much hard work went into them, but it does make me wonder if most everyone in the 70s was colorblind. It's also the type of thing that really borders on the "This should be in an old ladies house and not MY house" direction, but also gives a feeling of elegance when you decorate with such a detailed piece and the work put into each leaf and petal is beautiful and full of love. There is a story and warmth behind this type of artwork that I just can't help but appreciate.

I found the perfect combination of all those things today, hiding behind a string-and-nail art piece (that was actually made with thin copper wire on black velvet) of a horses head. Another type of tedious/meticulous art that I haven't found a fondness for quite yet. :/

I brought it home ($1!) and hung it on the wall in my kitchen for this picture, which didn't turn out that well and makes the coral colors look a little rusty orange, but it's my only before shot. It's all done on a burlap-type material.

It kind of made me pause for a minute wondering if I really wanted to take a chance of ruining it in the washing machine or taking it out of the frame because the coral colors and greens really went well with my persimmon Fiesta ware, but it was just so filthy it had to be washed either way.

Here is a closer shot of it before it was washed. Filthy but beautiful. A diamond in the rough.

It was framed really well and it took a little work to get it off (sewn tightly around a piece of particle board) but once i had it off, it was as easy as 1 2 3.

1. Take it out of the frame.

2. Throw it in the washer. I skipped the dryer and just laid it out and it was dry in 10 minutes.

3. Find some scrap fabric for the back, sew it and stuff it!


It was so exciting to see the colors when it came out of the washing machine. The corner has initials and the date '77. Thank you G. F., it's beautiful!

Ps This is my first pin on Pinterest!
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