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Archive for June, 2007

Renaissance weekend

Autumn got some quality time in with her cousins this weekend. As you can see from the photo above, Ashley and Autumn got along famously. I saw the two of them siting together and coloring like this and just had to snap off a few pictures. Seeing them like this also made me a little sad that Autumn’s going to be an only child. I know she’d have a ball with a brother or a sister and it would probably do her some good to not be the total center of the universe around here. Oh well. We can’t turn back time, can we?

Yesterday we spent the afternoon at a renaissance festival. The university puts one on every year during the week of the Shakespeare festival, but that one is tiny compared to the one we visited yesterday. We were greeted at the gate by woman wearing a large, heavy frock and a purple top hat. There was a dragon (lizard) at the ticket booth and Spencer got into a sword fight with a gentleman who’s claim to fame is a YouTube video of himself getting hit in the groin with a large piece of foam. For lunch, Nathan and I took out a second mortgage to order two of the hugest turkey legs we’d ever seen and kept Autumn up way past her nap time. All in all it was a great time. We took Ryan and Marla with us and all the kids had a blast.

I took my camera and gave Ashley and Spencer a camera each to record their visit. Ashley manned our video camera and Spencer had a small, point and shoot digital camera. Ashley took a little bit of video but soon became so engrossed in the treasure hunt that I don’t believe she even recorded five minutes worth of footage. Spencer, on the other hand, was prolific with the photo taking and wound up snapping quite a few pics of this lady here:

As I was going through his photos I noticed that she’s everywhere, mostly with a sword in her hand. I automatically assumed Spencer liked her revealing outfit. He is male and a Noah, after all. Being only seven though, I’m pretty sure he was more interested in her hardware than her software, if you know what I mean. He ended up buying his own bamboo sword from one of the vendors and was quite thrilled to run around the house playing Lord of the Sith when we got home.

I’ll definitely have to consider going back next year. I took some good pictures, but I didn’t take the time to try different things. I’ve been trying to get to know my camera better by trying different exposure modes and whatnot. Trying to calm a cranky child and keep up with our friends left me a bit distracted. Here are a few of my favorites:

This is the guy Spencer dueled with (with foam swords, of course). I thought he was very entertaining. Spencer, however, has officially labeled him a “dork.”

I loved this lady’s outfit. The hat was gorgeous.

Autumn getting up close and personal with a “dragon.”

Raymond getting ready to duel the dork.

One of the many cast of characters roaming the fairgrounds.

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Parent crap

My father-in-law has a girlfriend.

We learned about her a couple of weeks ago, apparently before she had achieved “girlfriend” status, but there they were yesterday sitting on the couch holding hands very much like a girlfriend and boyfriend do.

It creeped me out. I hate saying this, but I. DO.NOT.LIKE.THIS.AT.ALL. Don’t get me wrong. The woman is lovely and I’m sure we’ll all get used to the idea of her being around eventually, but it’s only been six weeks since Nathan’s mom died and I’m just not ready for this.

We sat at the big dining room table for dinner for the first time since the holidays. The table was set and the house has never looked cleaner. Even the spare bedroom was cleaned of most of the junk that had resided there for years. These are all good things, but it seems like my father-in-law is trying to erase whatever was left of his life with Nathan’s mom. We heard through one of the twins that there has been talk of remodeling the kitchen, bedrooms and finally completing the master bathroom where a solitary working toilet has sat next to their dresser for God knows how many years.

All I can think is why the hell didn’t he do all this stuff when Mom was alive? Didn’t he think she’d like a clean house, walls around the toilet and tidy spare bedroom? I can’t tell how many times I heard her complain about the unfinished chicken coop and other things she could never get him to do. Why now?

Since Autumn will never know Nathan’s mom, Nathan has said he’d like to start writing down his memories of her. He mentioned it to his dad a couple of times and broached the subject again this past weekend following a golf outing. All Nathan wanted was some input on dates of family trips and whatnot. His dad more or less said, “Write them yourself. I’m not going to remember when we did all those things.”

I told Nathan it was very rude of his father to say that and Nathan admitted he now wonders, considering his father’s response, if there weren’t some problems with their relationship he wasn’t aware of. Nathan doesn’t often admit when he’s hurt, but the fact that he shared this with me means that it did hurt. He’s not in the same place as his father. Whereas his dad seems to be ridding himself of the past, Nathan wants to remember and his dad wants no part of it. So right now I’m torn between being really angry with his dad for being such an insensitive jackass and trying to be happy for him and wish him the best.

Guess which emotion is winning right now…

Yesterday I sat in the rocker that Mom used to always sit in and looked into the kitchen at her collection of roosters. I wondered how long it would take for the rooster wallpaper border to come down and the rooster nicknacks that Mom collected to be put into the trash.

I think the worst part is that instead of feeling like a family, we’re divided now. There are those who are okay with this new relationship and those who are not. Nathan says he’s okay with it, but it was hard for him to see his dad so close to this other woman.

On the way home yesterday I told Nathan that I just wasn’t ready for another big change like this. We’ve gone through as many life changes as people our age can go through and I was just ready to settle down, content in knowing that life will go on as usual.

But…I guess life just goes on.

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Illumination

Monday I had my yearly physical.  I’ve been putting it off because I wanted to switch doctors and also because I didn’t want to hear the lecture about my weight.  My old doctor was very nice and never lectured me about my weight, but her office was a disaster.  During my pregnancy it wasn’t uncommon for me to have to wait up to an hour to been seen for a 10 minute checkup.  I just didn’t want to deal with that anymore so I decided to switch to one of the OBGYNs in the same practice with Autumn’s pediatrician.  They’re much closer to home and work, so that’s a plus as well.

While I’m not the heaviest I’ve ever been, I’m pretty darn close and the lecture was forthcoming as I had expected, but it wasn’t the finger-wagging “shame one you” type of lecture I used to receive from my old, old doctor.  My new doctor is actually very pleasant and struggles with food issues herself.  She recommended Weight Watchers or South Beach (which she follows).  She admitted she’s biased towards South Beach because it has worked for her, but she stressed it isn’t what I do so much as that I do something.

Her advice didn’t fall on deaf ears because I had actually re-joined Weight Watchers last weekend.  I’m reading this book, which I bought about three years ago but only got through the first few pages (ironic, huh?).  I picked it up again last week after a particularly bad day at work and have been reading it since.  I’m not really big on self-help books because people who read self-help books tend to talk about them a lot (which I have done) and recommend them to others who they think will benefit from reading them (which I have also done).

I won’t bore you with the details of my enlightenment, but one of the things I realized is that I’m not the hard worker I thought I was.  I’m what the book calls an “extreme low risk-taker” (don’t you just love psychobabble?) who avoids high demands at work.  That’s why I have a degree in English Lit and work in an office pushing paper and answering phones.

So now I want to change, but according to the book, I shouldn’t try to change too much at once.  Changing too much at once can overwhelm you and I’m totally the kind of personality who wants to do it all and wants to do it now.  I can see it happening already.  I joined Weight Watchers, am contemplating applying for a higher-level position at the university and am toying with applying to the school’s master’s program in English Lit.

*Sigh*

Change doesn’t happen over night, you know.

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Autumn’s hemoglobin levels were low again at her 18 month appointment so I had to take her into a lab to get her blood drawn.  That in itself would have been traumatic for any child, but the result of the test is that her iron levels are low and she has to take drops of ferrous sulfate twice a day for at least the next six weeks.

I picked the drops up from the pharmacy last night and gave the first dose to her just before dinner.  She looked at the bottle and familiar dropper and eagerly anticipated the fruity grape taste she has become so accustomed to whenever I give her Tylenol or the like.  The moment the drops hit her tongue a look a betrayal crossed her face that said, “You lying bitch!”

Not one to be fooled again, she tried to run away from me as I opened up the bottle this morning.  And I’m supposed to do this twice a day.  For at least six weeks.

On top of feeling bad about the ass-tasting medicine there’s the guilt over not feeding my child enough grains and green leafy vegetables.  I’m sorry, folks, but if the meat is not chicken, not breaded and not in the shape of a dinosaur and the vegetable is not a pea she ain’t eating it.  I’ve read the literature and visited the websites, so I know getting a toddler used to new foods is a challenge, but how many times can you see good asparagus thrown onto the floor where even the dog won’t eat it?

Oh, what fools we were, Nathan and I, when we decreed that our child would not be picky.  Our child would appreciate broccoli and fish and enjoy experimenting with different foods as we do.  I guess when you spend your entire pregnancy eating pizza and ice cream your child is not going to emerge with a gourmet palate like the Barefoot Contessa.

Still, it would be nice if she wouldn’t feed Molly the lovely pork roast that Nathan smoked on the grill for well over an hour and a half.  That’s just insulting.

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