Friday, March 27, 2009

First blood

The title is reminiscent of the movie I just finished watching - RAMBO...first blood part 2. Why don't they just call it second blood?

But I digress...

What I wanted to say is that I finally caught up on all the posts I've been delinquent on for the past few weeks. I've been working like a crazy lady and just came up from air this past week and got all caught up.

We did have a sad occurance last night that just broke my heart. Bella whacked her mouth with a toy and it started bleeding...and bleeding and bleeding. It was awful. I was quite stricken by my baby girl's mouth with blood in it...and my heart just hurt for her...she, of course, cried a little then was took her mama just a little longer to feel better.

Tomorrow is her 4 month well baby checkup and 4 month vaccinations. I'm already stressed about it...Those shots cause me great anxiety...I can make it through...I can make it through.

Oh yeah...and have I mentioned that the movers come in EIGHT DAYS?!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Visit from the Inlaws...

This past weekend we had the pleasure of John's mom (Bobbi), dad (Bop) and great grandpa Mike here for a visit. We were really excited that they were able to come and stay with us. We spent a lot of time just hanging out and talking...took them on a trip to see a few things and just enjoyed their company.

John graduated the day after they arrived...we all got to attend his graduation ceremony. I am so proud of him. We're all so proud of him.

Note the inscription...US Army Intelligence Center - Through this gate pass the leaders of Military Intelligence.

Three generations of soldiers - all Veterans - World War II, Vietnam and the Gulf War

Bella got the chance to meet her great grandpa Mike for the first time! He pushed her around the grocery store for me and kept her entertained.

I think he's smitten...

Bella's cousin Josh sent her "baby handcuffs." We had to take a picture of Bella in her jailbird attire. :)

On the top of Montezuma's pass where Coronado passed through AZ from Mexico

Ready to be OUT of this carseat.

Practicing my bite on Bop's knuckles...

Bop and I had matching morning hair!

I love my Bobbi!


We decorated t-shirts while Katie was here...

I particularly love this shot. Both of them with MOM "tattoos" on the sleeve of their shirts.

Cousin Katie came to visit

Cousin Katie came to visit during her spring break from school. She was such a big help with Bella and we had such a good time while she was here...

My favorite 7 year old Katie-ism from this trip came when she realized there were no brothers and sisters for her to play with...just old auntie anna and uncle john...

"Its no fun being an only child unless you want to play video games."

I think she had a great time anyway...

Blessing day...

Well, March 15th was Bella's blessing day up in Phoenix. She looked just beautiful and Uncle Ray did a great job. She only cried a little bit and then quieted right down. We took a few pictures to commemorate this wonderful special occasion for her...

Bella is 4 months old!

Bella turned 4 months old on March 13th...just a few pics of her 4 month birthday...

Hanging out in mama and daddy's bed...with ALL my toys

I chew on EVERYTHING now because I'm teething!

A bouncer that I get to sit upright in....I'm not too sure about these toys on this thing though...

I had AWESOME bed head that day after my morning nap and before my bathtub...

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Bella giggled and got a new sweater.

Oh! That title is terrible English. She didn't giggle and get a new sweater because of the giggle. Actually, she giggled today for the FIRST time. I ran around like a crazy lady looking for the camera and never found it, but John and I both witnessed the cuteness of her first little laugh.

Part two is really just a thing all on its own. My dear friend Homero is the king of knitting. He knows more about knitting than I do about New Kids on the Block. I know...thats SERIOUS knitting. And when he knits...he knits the most amazing things.

LOOK what we got in the mail the other day! It fits her perfectly and I can't wait to have her wear it out on the town!

Hey! I know I look a little wide-eyed, but check out my new duds!

What IS that thing pointed in my face? Let me grasp at the safety of mama's fingers!

Hello metal shiny thing. I'm Bella. Whats your name?

My new "thing" is sucking on my bottom lip. Cute aren't I?

I just wanted to try out a new facial expression!

Operation Find Mr. Whipple

Operation Find Mr. Whipple
Objective: Squeeze the Sharmin

I found the photo above and it brought back a story that I don't tell many people because really, its quite unbelievable. This is a dating story about how meeting a guy can end with 5 friends dressed in military uniforms with real guns (no ammo) running around Washington DC.

I admit that the dating story is mine...and while I'd like to be able to say that I had a normal dating life. I have to admit that mine has been anything but the usual dictionary meaning of that word.

It all started when I met Colin Sharmin. On first glances he seemed quite (again comes that word) normal. We had much in common...went to the same church, had many of the same friends, liked much of the same stuff, ran in similar circles...

**Enter psycho parading as normal man.** .

**Cue innocent gullible me.**

"Oh Colin! What has happened to your eye?" A giant white bandage covered his right eye. Yes, it had been too hard for him to tell me this when we first met...Colin had a brain tumor. He'd just been operated on. writing this out I think to myself, "Anybody should know that you don't recover from brain tumor surgery over the weekend...DUH"

But, little innocent gullible me doesn't think that at! In fact, over the next two months I got bits and pieces of the incredible life that belongs to Colin Sharmin.

** my defense...he is the master manipulator and eeked out the following in bits and pieces not all in one big lump so if it seems that I was OVERLY gullible please give me a few extra points! I mean, c'mon folks...HE CRIED REAL TEARS!**

1. Colin was once married to a woman named Colleen and she was killed by a taxi driver that was high on some drug or another. He had prepared a lavish dinner complete with rose petals and stood at the window watching as she was hit. He rushed to her side and she died in his arms.

Colin and I took flowers to Colleen's grave on the anniversary of her death. I stood back respectfully as he took a few minutes at his deceased wife's grave.

2. Colin speaks 5 languages.

3. Colin went to MIT and UVA.

4. Colin is the heir to the Charmin throne (yes, we're talking about the "Squeeze the Charmin" toilet paper throne.) When I asked about the difference in the spelling of the name - charmin vs sharmin - I was told that his great grandfather had changed it on the product because it looked better when written that way.

5. Colin had a sister that he tried to set up with my cousin. (he actually didn't have a sister at all and pretended to be her while communicating electronically with my cousin - FREAKY.)

6. Did I mention he had a brain tumor? Oh, and he even asked my sister to change the dressings for him one day - which she did. And thinking about that now makes me laugh, but really, we were so sad for him.

I could go on and on about even the most mundane daily items, work, home, cars, clothes, what he ate for breakfast....the more I got to know him the more lies or half truths I would catch him in about the stupidest stuff.

He knew I was catching on. So, he introduced new drama. An ex-girlfriend that was still in love with him. Suddenly, someone I didn't know...knew all about me and blamed me for ruining her life. Had I known then what I knew now I would have tossed him at her with a hearty, "he's all yours!"

Finally, the stories were just too fantastic...My roommates and I decided to learn the truth. We searched school alumni records, placed a few phone calls and then the fatal blow...

"Virginia Vital Records" said the sweetest old lady voice I had ever heard.

"Hello, ma'am," I said, "I'm trying to find a death certificate for Colleen Sharmin."

She asked me if I was family. I explained that I wasn't, but went on to tell her exactly why I was looking for it.

"What the name and the date of death, dear?" she asked. I gave her the information and she said,

"I can't tell you if there was anyone by that name that had died under those circumstances you explained to me dear. Thats against the law. However, I'd like to give you a little dating advice. You just go ahead and run away now dear. Don't look back and get a restraining order if you have to. You understand me, don't you dear?"


Come to find out...the ex girlfriend knew all about this compulsive liars issues and thought it was "charming." Actually, once I asked around a little...just about everyone who really knew him told me about his little problem with lies...I think someone even said they would have clued me in sooner, but they thought I knew all about it. GAAAAAAH.

And so Operation Find Mr. Whipple began. Somewhere is a videotape of the whole thing. We had a great time releasing the stress of all that craziness that had invaded our lives. And in the end...Mr. Sharmin got squeezed alright.

Friday, March 06, 2009

Growing old

I've been rereading Tuesdays with Morrie. (which, if you haven't ever read, you should.) Its a great story told from the perspective of a student that is now long past school who reconnects with his professor to find out his professor is dying. The story is about how this student goes to see his professor every Tuesday and all the amazing things he learns from the teacher pre-death.

Actually when I typed that out it sounded quite depressing. And yes, its the kind of book you cry at and wonder if you'll ever be so wise...and its not really depressing so don't let that stop you from checking it out at your next library stop.

BUT...I got to the part of where Morrie attends the funeral of a friend. He says, "It was such a waste...all those nice things people said and Irv didn't get to hear any of it." So, Morrie decided to have a living funeral.

Would you ever want one of those?

Now, I have no idea when or how I will "go beyond the great divide..." and I'm keeping my fingers crossed that its suddenly in my sleep instead of a long terrible illness. least if I knew I had an impending visit from the Grim ...I want to have my teeth in and my hair coifed. I'd like to put on my best duds and maybe some high heels? Can't hurt especially because you can get someone to wheel you around so your feet won't hurt. Gads...doesn't growing old sometimes just scare the pants off ya? back to living funerals.

Pro - You get to hear all those nice things people say about you.
Con - they are probably lying about some of it just so you feel good (but really - is that a bad thing?)

Pro - You get to throw one last party before kicking the bucket
Con - you're probably too tired to actually party.

Pro - You get to see all your friends that have been avoiding you because you are sick.
Con - Your friends HAVE to come see you...they can't exactly say they are busy when you invite them to a living funeral. So, while this is a con for them...its actually another Pro for you.

I think the pro's outweigh the cons. Yup. I'd have one. I think I'd want it near the ocean. I love the sound of water and being able to walk in the sand (or wheel through the sand) and see the seagulls and there are always children...and I think I'd want to arrive in style like on the back of an ATV or in a dunebuggy. Wouldn't that be fun? And we'd eat rice krispy treats which are good for old people because although they start out hard and crispy you can actually suck on them and eventually gum them if you don't have teeth. I'd have to have my other favorite treats like parmesan popcorn and brownies. NO VEGETABLES ALLOWED. Not for my last hurrah.

And like Gladys here...with her sense of humor and angel wings...

Come to think of it...why wait until I'm old and ready to "look toward the light?" We should have living funerals at age 40. They say thats when you head down the other side of the hill, right?

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

I'm an addict...

I admit it. I'm addicted to Facebook. I went from being a MySpace junkie and grew up into the adult world of Facebook.

I've compiled more friends than I know what to do with and find myself posting comment after comment on their photos. I write on their wall... I snoop into their lives. I relish every minute of this new method to keep tabs on everyone...Whats next? Twitter? LinkedIn? How many different methods can I use to watch the real-time reality show called my "top 100?"

I have found people I haven't talked to for years. Friends that I knew in ELEMENTARY SCHOOL. I do lament, however, that Zach VanMeter, my 3rd grade boyfriend and the one who taught me strip poker (a story for another day and get yer mind out of the gutter...we were 8 years old...) is not to be found. I'd love to see what he grew up to look like...whether he kept his wavy blond locks...who he chose (if he chose) to she anything like ME?

I mean, really, I was the start of his love career...we lasted on and off for both 3rd and 4th grade. - thats big time for gradeschool. During our off times I was BF/GF with his best friend David and Zack was BF/GF with my best friend Kristi. I even have a card he sent me when we moved away that lists all the ways he loved me...signed in his 4th grade scrawl.

But I digress...and digress even more as I realized I'd never even searched for David or Kristi on Facebook.

I'm back...David is not, but his SISTER is. And Kristi IS THERE. My excitement can hardly be contained. I moved away at age 10...that means its been 25 YEARS since I last spoke to her.

Is it weird to reconnect with a friend from 25 years ago? Will she remember me? Does she think as fondly of me as I do of her?

Do you see? Do you see what Facebook has started?

PS...I just found MR 4th grade teacher. He was the BEST. He kept rattlesnakes and boa constrictors in our classroom and (if you can believe it) we all vied for the opportunity to go snake and lizard hunting with him. I went once...he searched for snakes and it was my job to search for lizards to feed the snakes. Aaaaah...for the days way back when...can you imagine a teacher getting permission to do THAT now?

Monday, March 02, 2009

If Cruella came to stay...

This has been on my mind and since this is my place to put my thoughts...not just adorable pictures of Isabella, I thought I better just churn it out on paper before I exploded...

One of my dear stepmom (SM) friends is custodial to a 17 y/o boy that has gotten in trouble with the law. His mother lives in Europe and he rarely sees her. My SM friend and her husband decided (after doing all they felt was humanly possible for this boy) to invite the mom to come and help get stepson back in line and hopefully out of trouble with the law for good. So, she INVITED HER TO STAY AT HER HOUSE.

Maybe this isn't so crazy to some of you out there that have never dealt with stepparent life, but let me just say that my mouth dropped to the ground and I nearly fell over and the first expression out of my mouth was, "ARE YOU CRAZY?" There is no way in H.e. double hockeysticks that would ever happen.

I posed this question to John...What if Maddie lived with us and 10 years from now she was in trouble...would you invite Cruella to come stay at our house with us to help out and try and remedy the situation?

I hate to say it, but neither of us had any kind of heartfelt welcoming feelings even when pitched with the idea that MadMad might really be in trouble.

Well, I was humbled and a little ashamed of my vehement reaction when my SM friend said this, "She asked me, in a quiet moment, why I was doing this -- letting her come, inviting her into my house and into our lives. And I said, if the situation were reversed, I'd want the chance to be in my son's life, in whatever way I could, and that I'd hope be treated as well as I'm trying to treat her and she teared up. It was a really tender moment."

Not only was she nominated for the Stepmom Nobel Peace Prize by all my stepmom friends, but it made me stop and reconsider...first, there is little chance that we will ever be fully custodial to any of his kids, so I feel comfort in that fact, but what if...for some reason Bella were in trouble...what would I do or what would I want...who would I bring into my life if I thought it might help her?

Heaven forbid that it ever mean Cruella is the answer...I hate to admit it, but my resolve to be the bigger person would probably crumble beneath me.

This is what I count on my stepmom friends for - eye-opening, though provoking, character flaw identifying conversations.