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Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Meanwhile, the Blog Sits at Home Singin' "Why Don't Write Me?"

Hey Y'all.

The rest of the FriedOkras and I are all just fine and dandy.

We slipped out the back, Jack.

Made a new plan, Stan.

Hopped on the bus, Gus.

Dropped off the key, Lee.


Yeah. All that Paul Simon-ish stuff. Also, ta-na-naa. Ta-nana-naaa. I've got diamonds on the soles of my shoes.

But I'll tell y'all about that part later.

Anyway, what I mean is, we've been on a little junket down to the homeland, and my-O-MY does it feel good to be down here in the sunshine. It's a wee might nippy, but the blue skies and brilliant sun make up for a few chill bumps and the need for light windbreakers. And well, hello? Chicago got eight (MORE) inches of snow within 24 hours of our hasty departure. Tomorrow we should see the mid-60s here. No snow in THIS forecast.

So we're down at the beach in South Carolina after days and days of drivin'. We stopped off in the Upstate to pay a long overdue visit to my parents (Oh the mother and child reunion is only a motion away) and see my Mom's fantastic new house, of which Al said this as we backed out of her driveway to come on down to the beach, (and you KNOW my mother, a Southern woman to her epicenter, is going to to shriek with laughter and pride when she reads it):

Man, your Mom's house is so beautiful. It looks like somebody set off a Southern Living bomb in there.


Yep. It appears Nana grabbed her up a box of ACME Freeze-Dried Perfect Southern Charm & Hospitality™, and per the instructions, Just Added Sweet Tea.

I will be SURE to take some pictures on the way back through later this week. (If Mama don't take my Kodachrome away.)

Lemme see, what else did I think of I wanted to tell y'all as I rode along in the car for 16 hours?

Oh, here's something.

Want a little sampling of what goes through the mind of a six-month-old who's been ridin' in the car for 13 hours and is now bein' put back into his carseat for the final leg of the journey?

Peabody's Brain: Here we go outside into the sun. Oh, this is nice! Mama's carrying me, smilin' and cooin' at me, it's all good, man. Nice necklace, Mama. Mind if I have a closer look? Maybe a taste?

Mama:Kkkkkkkkkkkkklllllllgh!!

Peabody's Brain: Wow! I made Mama make a neato noise. I wonder if I can make 'er do it again?

Mama:Kkkkkkkkkkkkklllllllgh!!

Peabody's Brain: Yep! I CAN make 'er do it again. One more time! Hey Ma--


What? WAITAMINUTE. Oh, I do not like the looks of this! Here's this sliding black door again. It's opening. OH NO! The dreaded car seat! UUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUGH! AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAGH! NO! Not the car seat. Wheeeeeeee up we go and ... OH NO! I'm in the car seat! Get me outta here! OUT! OUT! I want OUT! Mama? Mama do you hear me? OUT!

I still like your necklace, though. Wow, it's shiny. Mesmerizing, really. Can I -- AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAGH! NO! Not the straps! Don't strap me in! You're killing me. I'm dying here! NOT THE STRAPS! OW! MY ARM! You're breaking my arm! UUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUGH! I can't believe you're doing this to me again. LOOK AT THIS FACE! Check out these gigantic blue eyes crying REAL TEARS here! Do you see these tears? These are the tears of a boy betrayed! I thought we were just going for a walk, Mama! Why? Why are you doing this to me? What? Oh. A toy! Wheeeeeeeeeee! It rattles! Let me have it let me have it let me have it.

Aha! Got it. I'll give it a go myself! YES! I made it rattle! Again! Again! Rattlerattlerattlerattle. Wheeeeeee that's fun. Hey, let's see how it tastes. Come to Peabody. Oops, that's my eye. OW! MY EYE. AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAGH! Waaaaaaaaaaaaah. My eye!

Okay! Okay we're moving now! We're moving. Backwards! DAD? DAD? You do you know you're barreling down the interstate backwards, right? Hey Dad? DAD-DEEEEEEEEE! BACKWARDS, DADDY! Turn around! Bean? Tell Daddy we're going backwards, okay?

(This is why they call me Baby Driver.)

Okay. Okay. I DO NOT LIKE THIS. Stop the car and let me out. LET ME OUT! I've been in this car for TWO DAYS NOW and enough is enough. LEMME OUTTA HERE. AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAGH! Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah. I said WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH! Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa. Mwaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah.

Wait. I feel a little sleepy. Waaaaaaaah. Wah. Yawn. Wah? Yawn. Blink blink.

ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ.



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Actually the car ride went amazingly smoothly for all of us. Peabody napped off and on and only cried when we were due a stop to eat anyway. And Bean? Well, despite the fact that she literally started askin' "Are we there yet?" BEFORE WE WERE EVEN OUT OF OUR SUBDIVISION, she did remarkably well. She's a kid, right? All it takes is a "new" vehicle with a full complement of child-friendly features including ARM RESTS! THAT MOVE UP AND DOWN LIKE THIS MAMA!, the promise of the occasional stop at the Golden Arches and a daily dip in a (F-F-F-FREEZING) hotel swimming pool and this kid?

Would gladly make a vacation of just drivin' circles around Chicago in the rental van for ten days.

So we're all good.

We'll let you know when we're Homeward Bound.

(You know I had to say that.)



*Random quotes from Paul Simon song titles and lyrics. I know it's all a bit weird, but the rental van came equipped with satellite radio, and I've been singin' my heart out since we pulled down the driveway leavin' FriedOkra Manor. Gosh, I love me some (ahem) oldies.






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Monday, February 23, 2009

Now I'm Hungry for Waffles, Darn It!

Lisa@Take90West is fillin' in for me over at 5 Minutes for Parenting today. Will y'all please, pretty please with real maple syrup, whipped cream and a cherry on top, go on over and make her feel welcome?

Y'all can subscribe to FriedOkra's feed here.
Y'all can subscribe to FriedOkra's feed here.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Shhh. Listen. I Hear Violins. Do You Hear Violins? Because, Yep, I'm Pretty Sure Those Are Violins I'm Hearin'.

I've been thinking about writing this post for weeks. Debating back and forth the merits of sharing a little bit more of myself than I'm fully comfortable doing. Will I just sound like I'm whining? Asking for attention? Throwing myself a good old pity party? Because that's really not my style. I'm supposed to be FriedOkra - happy, perky, cheerful, life-is-perfect FriedOkra. It's what I expect of myself and it's what I expect you to expect of me.

And then I read Steph at Adventures in Babywearing's recent post, When I Can't Meet You Halfway and realized that maybe I'm not alone in feeling the way I'm feeling, and that maybe if I blogged about it, it'd help me. Maybe it'd even help someone else not to feel so alone or abnormal or guilty.

Here's the deal. I'm spent, people. The difficult(ish) pregnancy, the unexpected C-section, the adjustment to a whole 'nother little human being in my family, the Bean starting preschool, the husband starting a new job and commuting over an hour each way while studying full-time for a degree (who is nevertheless still amazingly helpful and supportive, of course, for the record), the sleepless nights, the long blurry, bleary days, the endless work of running the household, the attempts to keep up with my blogging commitments, the being a thousand miles away from family and the familiar, the harsh weather, the flagging economy and its added strain on Al, the body not bouncing back the way I'd hoped it would after Peabody, the endless maternal guilt about not being able to properly balance the needs and wants of both my children - all of this has just worn me to a frazzle.

I'm just sorta, well, I'm toast. Not always physically, but certainly emotionally. Certainly. Emotional toast.

And it's weird to me because I feel more depleted now than I did in the months immediately following Peabody's arrival. It's blindsided me more because I honestly thought I was out of the woods a long time ago. My confidence in my own ability to just suck it up and DEAL has been dealt a harsh and stinging back-handed blow seemingly out of the blue.

Now don't get me wrong, I know I'll be back. I'm like the durn phoenix or the cat with nine lives - I just keep comin' back, time after time, thanks to God's grace and an undefatigable resilience I inherited from both sides of my family. I'll even be stronger. I know this. But right now? Well, right now I'm just out of gas.

The thing is, none of this means that I don't need people or that I don't long for company and friendship, or connection to the world around me. In fact, I probably need those things now more than ever before. It's just that the part of me, the lively, creative, out-going Megan who loves to entertain, loves to step up and join in, loves to be the life of the party, loves to plan fun events and bring people together? Well, she's just necessarily been set aside so I can take care of what needs to be taken care of every day utilizing my depleted energy source, or on the worst of days a rusty, dusty creaking old back-up generator.

So this Megan who might look (and sometimes feel) like a woman holing herself up and away from everyone and everything is actually the same old Megan, who just doesn't have it in her to meet her world halfway right now, but looks forward with eagerness to being a fully-functioning part of it again and in the meantime hopes her world can find a way to meet her where she is.

Do you know this place? Have you been here? What did you do to get back to "normal?"



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Saturday, February 14, 2009

All That and a Box of Chocolates

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Happy Valentine's Day, y'all!

Al and Peabody have a top-secret double date in the works for Bean and me, and we're all aquiver with anticipation this morning. It's Peabody's first Valentine's Day and I feel especially, besottenly, goopily, dreamily in love with my sweet boy, so I think we'll be doin' Cupid prouder than ever this year.


What are y'all doin'?



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Friday, February 13, 2009

How I Really Didn't Save Valentines Day. At All.

Ah, yes, the second half of this week has gone muuuuuch better than the first. Bean returned to her normal happy, perky self by Wednesday, thankfully just in the nick of time to head back to school for her First Ever Valentines party. I'd almost literally been holding my breath hoping she'd rally in time to go, as I recall a time from my own childhood when I stayed home sick with strep throat instead of goin' off on the bus with my chums to collect my Valentines, conversation hearts and my absolute favorites, those gummy, chewy red-hot hearts.

Clearly if I still remember it in such vivid detail I must have suffered horribly, and I really didn't want Madame Drama to have to experience such misery.

Also, I have a lot to learn about being the mother of a school-kid. Fortunately, in the nth hour, I'd impulsively picked up some little fun-sized bags of m&ms for Bean to give out with her Blues Clues Valentines, thinking, OH! she'll have a little sumpm extra to put in her friends' bags! She'll be a Valentines Party hero! But wouldn't you know every single other kid brought a little treat to give out too? Man, not only was Bean not any kind of a hero (although she's the only one who brought m&ms, the best candy on the planet, so we've got that goin' for us) she really only narrowly escaped bein' labeled The Kid with the Cheapest Schmuck of a Mom in all of Miss Brenda's 4 year-old class.

Valentine providence, I tell you. Providence.

I am totally on track to be put in the Remedial Mothering class next fall.

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But I did get sumpm right this week! Check out our new Graco Ipo Twin stroller. It arrived yesterday and Bean and I had it outta the box and put together in about 20 seconds flat, and then Bean insisted she and Peabody have a little inaugural voyage in it. Around the living room and kitchen. And around. And around. And around.

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Oh, Mama! I love this stroller. Great quality, handles like a dream, plenty of storage, and it's not too heavy and pushes fine with only one kid in it. If you're looking for a double for twins or for a baby and your older child, take a look at this one. I got it for about 25% off the average retail price at Amazon.com.

And with that, I gotta stroll, myself. Y'all have a great Friday!




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Monday, February 9, 2009

Can I Foretell Doom, or Can I Foretell Doom?

Hey y'all. We're sick and worn out here at FriedOkra Manor. Head on over to 5 Minutes for Parenting, where I whined a little about it. (I know. I can really sell it when I want to, can't I?)

The beauty is, just about everything I wrote in my last post here came true in the space of 12 hours.

So bad news, my kid's sick and I haven't had more than 45 minutes of sleep in a stretch for two days, but hey, good news is it turns out I'm psychic!

Or maybe I just know how to play the odds.

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Thursday, February 5, 2009

Kinda Makes Me Wanna Curl Up and Watch Old "White Shadow" Re-runs.

Halftime buzzer sounds, Bean and Peabody walk into the locker room, sweating but upbeat.

Bean: Great year so far, man.

Peabody: Yeah, we're really wearin' Mom down out there.

Bean: I was a little worried about you at first, kid. Those early weeks when you were sleepin' six hours or more at a time? Dude, I thought it was over for us before we even got started good.

Peabody: That's my thing, man. I lull 'em into a false sense of security, then I come at 'em hard when they let their guard down.

Bean: Yeah, you faked 'er out man, you faked 'er OUT. Startin' about that sixth week, you never let up. Three, four, sometime fives times a night you were gettin' her up outta bed. I coulda sat the bench and let you do it all yourself.

Peabody: Yeah, you sorta did, sis. (Friendly punch on the shoulder.)

Bean: Hey bro, I like to ease off a little every once in a while so I can power up and come back strong on 'er. But check you out, gettin' her up and then STAYIN' up. For hours! DAWG! You got more guts'n I've ever seen in a player your age.

Peabody: (Chuckles.) Heh. Guess I ate my Wheaties. But you get your shots in too, B. Man, I like that "I gotta poo-poo" thing. Had 'er 'bout completely upside down for awhile there. Awesome strategy. Dude you should COACH. And check out Dad's moves, too.

Bean: Uh huh. That alarm-clock-goin'-off-at-4:45-in-the-morning play - killin' her every. single. time.

Peabody: Dude is UN. CONSCIOUS.

Bean: Y'know, you gotta hand it to Dad, though. He may be the oldest player we got, but the guy's still in it to win it. He's got some trick plays up his sleeve that'd wake up the DEAD.

Peabody: A real team player, that guy.

Bean: Yeah.

Peabody: Yeah. Slap me some skin, dawg.

(High five.)

Bean: Welp, kid. You ready? Let's go finish 'er off.

Peabody: I'm on it, man. Never let 'er sleep, that's my motto.

(They walk out of the locker room and out through the tunnel to the arena.)

Bean: It shows. Hey, I'll take third quarter with a cold, a stomach virus and a few random nightmares and I-wanna-sleep-wif-yous.

Peabody: And I'll hit 'er hard in the fourth with the ol' I'm-learnin'-how-to-pull-up and I-can-crawl-out-this-crib combination.

Bean: (Re-tying a shoe lace on the sidelines) And I'm sure Dad's good for a Godawful-early morning meeting if we need a lay-up.

Peabody: Yeah man, we got this one in the bag. (Sheds his warm-ups and stretches.)

She'll never know what hit 'er.

(They both trot back out onto the court as the buzzer sounds.)


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Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Shadow, This Blue-White Glow on the Snow Outside my Window. Clean and Smooth Like Line-Dried Linens. (But Colder, Obviously.)

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Well, I guess I've sorta fallen off the face of the earth internet.

I'll be back. I'm just tryin' to get some householdish and child-rearin' things put back in order after six months of total, utter, unabating neglect.

It's high time, people. High time.

Oh, and I met Lisa from Take90West! Oh yes, I did. She and I shared a plate of homemade oatmeal chocolate chip cookies and gabbed for ninety minutes straight without either of us takin' a breath (Well, I don't think I did. I was lightheaded and giddy when she left. Did you take a breath, Lisa?) right here at my kitchen table not five hours ago.

And she's delightful!

DEEEEEEE-LIGHTFUL.

I just wanted to tell you that.

And now I have to go scrub a toilet.

(This post ended somewhat less poetically than it began, no?)

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My Little Snugglebuddies.







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