Saturday, February 28, 2015

A Pet For Easter

Easter is coming up, and due to the ferocious weather conditions many of us have had this winter, most people are anxiously waiting for *any* signs of spring. Easter has traditionally heralded that spring is right around the corner. 

With that in mind, let’s talk about what to give your child for Easter. Oh yes, we all know Most Parents give their child a pretty basket with “Easter grass,” filled with assorted candies and little trinkets. 

But do you want to just be Most Parents?” NO! You want to give your child something that will make him look at you with adoring eyes and forever remember this Easter as the Best Easter Ever! 

And that means a pet. But not just a little chick. Little Susie or Tommy could get their eye pecked out by that pointy beak. No, I’d like you to think about one of these more exciting pets for your little darling, and write me to let me know how it all worked out for you. You can show your appreciation with checks, cash, and debit cards. 

Now here are my top suggestions for an Easter pet:

Give your child the dream of a lifetime! Giant Rabbit comes with large rear feet for speed and over-sized toes for better traction. Set at rear feet drive or front paw with the flick of a hair. Side-head eyes allow for extra peripheral vision and the safety you desire for your child. No "deer in the headlights" danger for this bad boy! Ears the perfect length for steering allow your budding NASCAR racer the control he needs for those unexpected twists and turns in your back yard. Seats one average toddler or two precocious infants. Ages 9 months to 3 years. Made in Germany. Über! 

*Comes with a lifetime supply of large raisins inside, at no extra cost!

For canine lovers out there, this is Giant George, who stands at 43 inches tall. Both fore- and hind-leg drive, he’s built to fulfill your child’s need for speed! Extra strong claws for better traction allow him to reach the nearest tree in seconds, plus he can knock down a Mailman weighing up to 450 pounds. Front-facing eyes will spot out any obstacle in your child’s path, like squirrels or cats, even in the foggiest weather. With super sensitive hearing, Giant George will return your child to you at your whistle. Features the newest GPS nose for direction and tracking, and ear flaps for protection in the rain. 

The Giant George Family Edition seats two adults and one child if you’d like to ride your dog…

…or maybe your dog would like to ride you. ;)

*Also comes in this Limited Edition UK model. Saddle and bridle not included. 

If speed isn’t your main concern, or you prefer a slower pace in life, the Giant Tortoise may be the gift you’d like to give your child this Easter. At a quarter ton, this baby is built to last long after your great-grandchildren are gone from this world. Premium leather covers the front and back paws, as well as the neck and head, with that weathered look so popular among today’s youth. The Giant Tortoise features a hard-core protective shell roof your child will love to polish to a high sheen. 

Though the shell roof and undercarriage allow room for GT‘s front and back legs, as well as the swivel head, I do feel the need to warn you that your child will unfortunately be unprotected when the Giant Tortoise goes into stealth mode. Low maintenance, requires plant-based fuel, and do note that no matter what little Jimmy says, you will probably end up walking the Giant Tortoise yourself.  

If you’d like to give your child something even slower, you might consider a Giant Snail. Or, um….let’s not even go there. I think I’m going to go vomit now. 

This is better, and out of all the Easter pets is the easiest for your child to care for. This Giant Goldfish comes with a lifetime warranty on all fins and scales. Super sleek scale patterning provide for a smooth ride through your back yard pond and speeds of up to 3.1 MPH to thrill your child. Side-head eyes allow the Giant Goldfish to spot any dangers like the venomous lionfish or the electric eel lurking in even the murkiest of waters. 

Worried about what’s in front of little Rachel as she rides the waves? Set your fears aside, because the Giant Goldfish features swivel eyes to see in front of the snout, and with front-fin steering, she will have maximum control over her fish. Includes a bonus leash trailing from the rear end propulsion system. Available in these colors: Blaze Orange, Tangerine,  Neon Carrot, Mango Tango, Electric Orange, and Kraft Macaroni & Cheese. 

*The Giant Goldfish is also available in marked down Irregulars, which may be missing a fin or two but still provide a quality pet for your child.

I’m sure you know what pet is best for your child, and I hope I’ve been able to provide you with some helpful reviews of each of these suggested gifts. Hours of enjoyment await your child  and your family when you purchase a pet for Easter. Further evaluations available upon request. 

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Megan's Birthday 2015

So, another year has passed since Megan’s last birthday. Sunday was the big event, and I thought I’d share it with you in pictures. It was a wonderful day for her, and I’m glad for that because I always want my children to have special memories of their birthdays.

The day began with donuts, including heart shaped ones! 

Megan was so excited to get a sketch pad and big pack of colored pencils from Caitlin.

Phil and I got her some baby clothes for her baby doll that Caity had given her for Christmas. Yes, real baby clothes, because they’re at least half the cost of doll clothes!

She also got the Guess Who game and two puzzles which are more than the 100 pc that she’s used to (to challenge her, and I’ll help!).

Megan wanted to thank everyone by giving them a hug. You can see the amount of restraint Timmy had to use to tamp down his abundance of joy about it. ;)

Caity, of course, has no problem hugging for a photo; it gives her a chance to make a goofy face for the camera.

Ryan acquiesced halfheartedly to a shoulder hug, but used his ever-present hood to hide his face from the camera.

After lunch we sang happy birthday to Megan with her cake. I used 6 candles from a bag containing candles from birthdays past, and unbeknownst to me, two of them were relighting candles. One of them relighted 5 or 6 times. You can see by the expression on Megan’s face how she felt as we sang to her, then how she felt about the two candles that kept relighting, and finally they stopped and we could cut the cake. ;)

Click to enlarge. :-) 

We took her out for her special birthday lunch yesterday since it was the only day that worked with everyone’s schedules. She chose the Chinese buffet we like and we stuffed ourselves silly.

Afterwards, we went to Walmart to exchange the clothes we had given her for her baby doll. The newborn size was just too big, but the premie sleepers fit perfectly. Last night Megan wanted me to hold my grand-doll with the new sleeper on. I held her close and Megan piped up, “Mummy, don’t bweastfeed her!” 

Then she giggled, took her baby back, and went to bed. <3 

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Another Conversation With Megan ;)

At Shoney's on Megan's birthday 2012: Megan and Caitlin and food! And then the two of them blowing spitballs! 

While dicing veggies for supper last night:

Megan: My birfday’s coming up soon.

Me: Ohhhhh, noooooo. <look of anguish> Oh, Megan, I forgot, you hate birthdays.

Megan: No. No. I love birfdays.

Me: Aren’t you fasting from birthdays this year?

Megan: No, *Mummy*! 

Me: But aren’t you allergic to cake?

Megan: No, no, I’m not. I’m not. <kind of getting a little agitated, even though I do this every year with her>

Me: Doesn’t frosting give you hives?

Megan, getting her humor on: No, YOU give me hives! <big belly laughs> 

Every year Megan starts talking about her next “birfday” the day after her birthday. She does the same thing with Christmas, only last Christmas she started talking about it before the day was out. 

She starts out by saying her birthday is coming up…

Megan: My birfday is coming up!

Me, laughing: You silly, you just had your birthday yesterday!

Megan: Yeah, but it’s coming up soon.

Me: Welllllll, in another year it is, but you just had your birthday yesterday. You have to wait a whole year to have the next one. 

Megan. Ohhhhh, yeahhhh. For my birfday, can you get me more dollhouse people? And dat coloring fing? Da coloring pages in da book? And new markers. 

Me, resigned to it: We’ll see, okay? 

And so, for the next two months at least, this conversation is repeated over and over. And over and over and over again. ;) 

It’s okay though. Someday, far in the future, I may start repeating myself over and over again too. ;) 

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Two Days a Week

Getting the kids off to school isn’t a big deal. After all, Ryan and Timmy are 14 and 11 and fairly self-sufficient. They get up about an hour before they have to walk out of the house, do what they have to do, and then leave.

But on Wednesdays and Fridays now, Megan goes to her program, so getting The Three off to their respective places to be gets a little more hectic. This is a little look at what a typical morning is like on those days.

6:00 a.m. My phone alarm goes off. Almost every day, I’ve been awake for hours before this. I get Ryan up by turning on the light in his and Timmy’s room halfway (it’s one of those dimmer lights) and telling him it’s time.

Go through to Megan’s room and get her up. She turns on her TV and starts getting dressed.

6:05 Ryan hops in the shower. Since he’s turned 14, he’s gotten so protective of his privacy, and locks the door. Speaking of privacy, when Ryan was little he called his privates his “pirate parts.” And we concluded that at times he must want his “piracy.” Arg, me matey! ;) 

6:15 I’m on my laptop or reading or whatever, but I go in and tell Megan she needs to make sure she’s ready. 

I go get her morning meds and put them at the table for her and get her a glass of water to take them. I run through what she needs to take with her on a Wednesday: they go out to a soup kitchen for lunch, and usually go into the community to stores or the mall or the library. No lunch needs to be packed, but I make sure she has a bottle of water and a snack like granola bars and applesauce. I usually give her a dollar and change to get a soda while out. 

6:25 Ryan finally emerges from the bathroom, which is steamed up like a sauna. He has combed his hair and shaped it into the Bieber-do he insists on, at least elevendy-nine  times. 

6:30 I go back to Megan’s room where she’s moving quick as a garden slug and remind her that she needs to get going. “I’m all set!” she tells me. And she finally comes out of her room fully dressed, shoes on, toting her backpack. 

I go in and tell Timmy to wake up. He’s totally under his blankets. No, there is not a sheet on his mattress; he refuses to use one. I’m not making a battle about using a sheet on his bed.

6:35 I’ve made Megan some hot cereal for breakfast and she eats after she’s fiddled around for the past 5 minutes. ;)

Ryan gets himself a couple bowls of cold cereal. Sometimes I make him 3 fried eggs and some toast, but many mornings he just wants cold cereal. 

6:40 I go back to Timmy, who hasn’t moved a millimeter, and tell him again it’s time to get up for school. “Don’t make me sing to you!”

Then I break out in one of the songs I made up when my girls were little. 

 ♫ Wake up! Wake up!
Wake up and face the world!
It’s time to get up!
Get up and face the world! ♫

This time he moves a little. He looks for clean clothes that he was supposed to have gotten ready the night before, and heads into the shower.

Yes, I’m tracking the Elusive Timotheus, but he’s behind closed doors. Ryan has started calling me Stalker. 

6:45 I do Megan’s hair while she’s finishing breakfast. She got a new hair bow last night on clearance and wants to wear it today.

Ryan spends his time waiting for his time to go by playing his favorite game on his iPod.

6:55 Ryan goes into the bathroom to comb and check his hair AGAIN, even though he insists on wearing a hoodie all day with the hood on.

6:58 I check on Megan again, who is washing her glasses. I tell her again she needs to be ready and sitting on the stairs because her bus comes at 7.

Timmy exits the bathroom all shiny clean and looking sharp as only my little brown boy can. 

7:00 I tell Ryan the time and tell him he needs to go out for the bus. He argues with me that it won’t come this early.

Megan is finally ready and at the door, which I stand by and look out every minute because it has a small window too high up for me to see through. 

7:03 I tell Ryan he needs to get out that door, so he stands by it. Yes, he is wearing shorts and it’s only 20° out.

7:04 Megan’s bus arrives and she hugs me and goes out to it. I stand in the doorway to make sure she’s seated and buckled before the driver moves that bus. She waves at me and tells me “I love you” in sign language. 

7:05 Ryan is finally heeding my direction to go wait for his bus, which comes within seconds.

7:10 Meanwhile, Timmy spends his time before the bus playing video games, unless he’s in trouble and has lost TV privileges. In that case he reads. He eats cereal, almost always without milk (even corn flakes!), and this morning he’s using a food storage container because my boys are loathe to wash a dish when they’re all dirty. Seriously, it probably took him longer to dig through the Plastic Jungle than it would have for him to wash a cereal bowl.

And yes, that room is messy, but it’s one room I refuse to clean. The boys are in charge of it. My room was always messy when I was growing up too. ;)

7:37 Timmy gets his backpack and heads off to wait across the street for his bus, which comes at 7:43 precisely. 

And finally, all is quiet…until Ryan comes home at 3:00, Timmy at 3:30, and Megan at 4:45. ;)

Monday, February 2, 2015

A Year Later

Well…it’s been a full year now. One year ago, my beloved younger brother Steven died. Tomorrow is the year anniversary of when I found out. I could never forget that call at 8:30 in the morning. After I hung up with my father, I sobbed so loudly that Caitlin heard me upstairs in her sleep and came down. 

I still remember how I felt, the shock and disbelief. The utter sadness that swept over my soul. Telling my mother was one of the most awful things. My heart broke into another million pieces. I don’t think it’s possible to even find all of them again. Even now, a year later.

A flurry of calls were made back and forth between various family members, and plans were made, lists written, packing done. We left on the 6th and were in Massachusetts by the 7th, staying at a hotel. The next few days were spent visiting with my sister Susan and her family, and my mom, as well as Angela, Steven’s first wife. They had a friendship for years after they divorced, until he died. 

We held the service for Steven on February 11th, 2014. I couldn’t go see him in his casket. From what I heard, he didn’t look good, and I didn’t want that image in my mind. I wanted to always picture him the way I remember him. I sat with my mom because she also didn’t want to go up to him.

The service was nice, and I believe Steven would have loved it and approved. One of my nephews spoke, as did my other sister and Angela. My sister Susan arranged for our childhood neighbor to sing Carole King’s Home Again. I read two poems that I had written. We were not only saying goodbye to him, but celebrating his life, too.

Afterwards we had refreshments in the basement kitchen of the church, looking at the many photos we had of Steven, talking to friends and family, renewing severed ties, strengthening existing ones. 

Phil, the kids, and I left that night, after spending the rest of the day with my dad and his wife. We drove straight through again, arriving home on Wednesday, the 12th, and a snowstorm. By the next day we had 19 inches of snow. Yes, in Virginia!

It’s been a year now. Looking back, I remember so many times when I thought I could not bear the burden of grief, the sorrow of Steven being gone. Sometimes it felt like it couldn’t be real, that he couldn’t be dead…and the sickening reality would hit me that yes, Steven died, and he’s not coming back. I will never hear his voice, his laugh, or see his loving face again. 

I’m crying yet again, as I write this, because…I love him. I love him and I miss him, and I wish he hadn’t died. I just miss him so much, it hurts. 

Before I give myself a headache from these tears, I want to share one of the poems I wrote and read at Steven’s service. I wish everyone could have known my brother. Love you forever, Steven Erik Amoling.

I’ll never see your smiling face
Or hear you on the phone;
You struggled hard
While you were here,
And now we’re left alone.

Though my heart breaks,
And tears do flow,
My grief so hard to bear…
I’ll choose to see you here with me,
An answer to my prayer.

I’ll see you in a kitten’s eyes,
I’ll see you in a smile;
I’ll see you in your daughter’s face,
I‘ll see you all the while.

I’ll see you in some Autumn trees,
I’ll see you in the spring;
I’ll see you when I read a book,
And especially when I sing.

I’ll see you when I hear a laugh,
And when I see your friends;
I’ll see you in your favorite foods,
And in letters you have penned. 

I’ll see you in the things you loved,
In the people you loved too;
I’ll see you, Steven, everywhere
where honest love shines through. 

~VJC 2.6.14~