Thursday, May 31, 2007

C.S.I. - This stinks to high heaven

In an incident reminiscent of last year's "C.S.I.-Faith's room," we had another mystery in our house. Faith has become the prime suspect once the cat was cleared in the case. Although she professes her innocence, we have our suspicions. In recent days a stench filled our utility room, which is a converted carport that our adult cat now uses as his dining room, bedroom and bathroom. It houses his litter box, bed and food bowls. It's his refuge from intermittent aggression from canine visitors. First, my husband thought the cat started marking his territory now that we have a new kitten. I didn't put much stock in that theory because the smell was more like rotting flesh. Because the litter pan was clean, my thought was that some little creature had died or succumbed to feline torture. Recently Moo Moo the cat deposited half a lizard at the back door. I just figured the tail end was decomposing somewhere inside. As the stench began to rival anything I'd smelled at crime scenes where a body was discovered days or weeks after death, I started poking around under the shelves. Nothing. Alas, as Faith and I were getting ready for bed last night, my husband was headed for our bedroom. "Do you want to see what was causing the stink," he asked as I saw him approaching with something in his hand. "Don't bring something dead in here," I nervously told him. In he walked holding a cat food can. It was a pop-top that was popped but the ring was broken off. A crack in the seal allowed the meaty morsels to become maggot food. None of us, including Faith, remembers leaving a partially opened can of food in the utility room. The scary thing is that we haven't bought that kind of food in months. EEWWW. The smell is gone, but the mystery continues.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

a difference of two years

My mother is a full-time babysitter for a three-month-old, a job she delights in. She didn't have the baby over the holiday weekend, and yesterday when I spoke to her she was amazed at the changes over just those three days. "She's getting her own personality," mom said.
I remember those days. I'd get up with Daniel after working overnight and think "When did he start doing THAT?"
Now, at five, I think of my boy as very grown up and chinging more slowly. He's always been an independent little thing, and is proud that he brushes his teeth and takes care of all personal hygine matters by himself. I've even let him start helping me clean his bathroom - "here's a clorox wipe, you wash the sink, I'll get everything else." And he's very proud to do so.
But this weekend we were at a party where he played with a young man just two years older, and I was amazed at the difference. Nicholas was able to ride a scooter (fast!), ride a horse on his own, and dive to the bottom of the shallow end of the pool, all things Daniel was too afraid or lacked the coordination to do. So I realize, as far as we have come, we've far to go, my little man and I.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Crossing the bridge

Faith bopped happily across the little bridge at Wesleyan College. Her recent "bridging ceremony" celebrated going from Daisy Scouts to Brownies. The white painted planks symbolized the steps she's taken in learning important tenets such as courage and helping others. Just days later, she wrapped up her kindergarten year and became a "mommy"to a little kitten. Everything is moving so fast that it's nice to take time to pause and contemplate the changes in her life. "I can't believe you're a first grader," I told her over the weekend. "I'm not. I'm in kindergarten until next year," she replied. I bet she'll feel differently at the end of her junior year. She'll be claiming senior status immediately, I'm sure. It won't be long now. When I look at her, she seems so tall, so grown up, so mature. Yet, there is so much more to learn. Do I still have enough time to train her to be tidy? Can I find a happy medium between her eagerness to do things by herself and her ignorance about the dangers she faces? Will I be able to steer her clear of life's pitfalls? Just last night, she broke a crystal butter dish and walked her bare feet right through the shards of glass. Thank God there was only a little cut on her foot. She was on her way to feed the kitten and had one of those pop-top cans. I was telling her to wait for me when she accidentally knocked the dish off the counter. Daddy bandaged her up and she was off to bed. When I went to kiss her goodnight, I remembered we needed to feed the kitten. Too late. Faith had already done it herself, not realizing she was wielding a razor sharp lid just minutes after blood was dripping from the cut in her foot. Life lessons are hard, and I realize I won't always be able to protect her. I just pray we keep the bloodshed to a minimum.
- Liz Fabian

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Holy book fair, batman!

Go get your calendar. No, really, I'll wait.....
Got it? Day runner, calendar, chalk on fridge, I don't care how you mark the date, but June 8 and 9, that's a Friday and Saturday, Scholastic will be holding a book fair at the Ga National Fairgrounds and Agricenter in Perry.
Scholastic, the kings of reasonably priced kids and pre-teen books.
At the Ag Center.
10 a.m. to 4 p.m. both days.
It's gonna be huge moms! I'm so excited I can't stand it. (Does it show?)

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

playdate precautions

I arranged a playdate for Daniel this weekend, but forgot to ask an important question. So it wasn't until we had been at the home for some time that I found out the parents and one of the kids had been sick with a stomach virus. Uh oh.
What questions do you ask before arrnaging a play date? Do you ask about pets? If snacks will be served? Do you bring your own snacks (enough for everybody)? Do you ask if the kids will play indoors or out and if the parents will apply sunscreen and bug guard? Don't be bashful, and as far as I'm concerned there are no dumb or offensive questions. These are your kids, after all!

Friday, May 18, 2007

My little chef

Daniel cooked dinner last night. No, really.
I bought a bar stool so he could sit by the stove and watch me cook, but he's pretty inistent about stirring. So last night I showed him how to touch only the pan's handle, brown hamburger and stir in the spices, pasta, liquids and vegetables to make a quick stroganoff. He then proceeded to eat two bowls. "It tastes yummy, mama." It always does when you make it yourself, baby.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Where'd my hellion go?

I'm having one of those weeks - you know - "Who are you and what did you do with my child?"
Daniel, as he approaches five, has turned into this sweet, charming young man who says "yes sir" and "no ma'am," who asks before he takes things (like bubble gum or a banana off the counter), who obeys me and the house rules - for the most part - and who is generally self-sufficient in matters of personal hygine.
Now, I still expect battles over picking up "all" the toys and putting them away, and he woke up on the wrong side of the bed this morning - cranky and whiny. But then, I have those struggles myself. But I am delighted with this new small person who shares my home - and a little bit proud. "Look what I did!"

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Summer safety awareness

Today at Turner Field, representatives from GM are getting together with child-safety organizations to put the spotlight on summer safety for kids. Did you know that Georgia is #1 in child deaths from heat exposure? We've had ten children die in nine years from being left in a hot car. And that's inexcusable. So this summer, take the extra minute and a half to unbuckle your kids and bring them in the store with you. I don't care if you're just running in for a gallon of milk. What if there's a line and the register runs out of tape and you've got a trainee cashier and someone needs a price check? Two minutes turns into five turns into ten real quick. Let's have a summer where all our kids (and pets) stay safe and cool away from a hot car.

a hard act to follow

It took me a couple of days to get through the "wow" factor of Liz's bunny post. Some things, when you read them, just hit you and stick.
I keep thinking about how many times a week (sometimes a day) I call my mom just to ask a quick question, pick her brain, or tell her about something Daniel has done. And her help right after my surgery in December was a Godsend. I guess even with four states between us, we're close.
I hope I'm cultivating the same kind of relationship with Daniel. We spent the weekend stuck in the house together with the stomach bug that's going around, and for the first time, we didn't have a fight, and he didn't get in trouble, all weekend. We watched movies. drew pictures, read books and he played trains while I scrapbooked. It was a glimpse of what could be - a great relationship between parent and child.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Every bunny needs a mommy

The walk through the card aisle hit me right in the throat. This is the first Mother's Day I am not shopping for cards. I wasn't prepared to be so emotional as I was heading for the prescription counter of the drug store. But it was a relief of sorts as card shopping used to be difficult. So often the flowery language didn't fit the relationship I had with my mother, who died last year. Sure, there was plenty of love to go around and sacrifices made in raising my brother and I, but in recent years my mother became more distant. Since I married and started a family, I wasn't visiting her as much as I did in my single days, and she rarely accepted an invitation to come see us. But that doesn't stop the tears from welling in my eyes as the reality hits. Mom is gone. I remember seeing a little bunny rabbit fleeing from a wildfire last year. As smoldering smoke rose through the blackened trees, I wondered where the baby rabbit's mother was. Clearly the little one shouldn't have been on his own in the midst of danger. The little fur ball found a tuft of dry grass and burrowed in for safety. Oblivious to the world around him, the tiny creature didn't protest when I stroked its back. I hated leaving him there, but what would I do with a wild bunny? I hoped his mother would be back to care for him. A year later, I'm thinking maybe he was all right. Perhaps the Mother Bunny taught him survival skills that helped him make it out alive. That's the way I'll approach Sunday. I'll be thankful for all the years I had with my mother and be grateful for all she did for me. But it's still hard to swallow that during the next wildfire in my own life, I'm on my own.
- Liz Fabian

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Mother's Day is coming!

Gift ideas from

A "hand"made tablecloth
"My husband bought a large, white tablecloth and had the center embroidered with a Mother's Day greeting and the year. The two of us then painted my daughter's hands and made her handprints next to the date. Each year since, he has the year embroidered along the edge of the tablecloth and we add a new set of handprints next to it. It's been fun to watch the handprints get larger. Last year, we added baby #2!"
— Lara Lei Bailey, mother of Brystan, 4, and Braeden, 1, Santa Ana, California

Berry picking
"We head to our local strawberry farm and spend the afternoon picking luscious, ripe strawberries. Afterward, we go home and find different strawberry recipes (jellies, tarts, pies, and cakes). The strawberries also make a great gift for all the other 'moms' (babysitters, teachers, grandmothers) in our children's lives."
— Jennifer Steed, mother of Danielle, 6, and Daniel, 3, Benedict, Maryland

Love letters
"Each year, I write a letter to my daughters about the things they're interested in, the funny things they do, the things that make me proud, and I tell them that I love them. I place the letters in their baby books. I haven't decided when I'm going to give them these letters — it may be when they start high school, break up with their first boyfriend, get married, or have their own children."
— Janet Roden, mother of Jill, 6 1/2, and Laura, 2, Sharpsburg, Georgia

The gift of giving
"I make a charitable donation to an organization that helps mothers and children."
— Pamela Dickinson, mother of Luke, 21 months, Littleton, Colorado

Picture day
"My husband shoots an entire roll of film of me with my children each Mother's Day. I know I'll always get at least one portrait-quality photo, and I have an exact record of how everyone is growing."
— Heather Schechter, mother of Gabriel, 6 1/2, and Irene, 1, New York, New York

How about it, Middle Georgia moms? What's your favorite Mother's Day present to date? And what do you WISH your family would think to get you?


Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Great gift for both of us

There was such joy in Faith's voice last week as I laid out my jewelry for the next day. "Mommy, that's the necklace I made!" She recognized the bronze-colored glass beads and silver accents that she strung together for my last birthday. My gift consisted of the necklace, matching earrings and bracelet. I wear it with pride, an emotion Faith shares when she sees it on me. Daddy had a stroke of genius last fall and took her to a local bead store to work on Mommy's present. I'm not sure how long it took, or how much it cost, but it was a very thoughtful gift. The ladies at "Bead me Up" were very helpful steering Faith in the right direction, he said. She has made me necklaces before, and although I wore them, the string and plastic beads had a homemade quality that wouldn't grace the covers of fashion magazines. This ensemble was a gift that Faith enjoyed making and I really enjoy wearing. Daddies are you listening? Mother's Day is Sunday.
- Liz Fabian

home again, home again

Daniel didn't want to leave great-grandma's house. Can't say I blame him. After four days of going to bed early and sleeping late, visiting with family and friends I haven't seen in six months, and feeling more relaxed than I have since I was anesthetized for my surgery, getting back into the groove has been a challenge. Maybe I should build in a "lazy day" to come home to!

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

road trippin'

Daniel and I are seasoned car travelers. Five hours is a reasonable trip for us. Twelve is about our limit together, but I've done the seven-day, cross-country jaunt. As we pack for yet another visit to Grandma's house (literally over the river and through the woods to the middle of nowhere), I have been thinking about things I can't live without when it comes to a road trip.
1. map. Duh. I get lost getting out of my neighborhood some mornings. But give me a map and I can get from point A to point B, even if I take a different route every time.
2. Water. also caffeinated beverages. something sweet, something salty. I'm waiting for potato-chip flavored gum, but most often, I'm good with a bag of Gardetto's and some Dentyne Fire.
3. Car tunes. I have been known to make a new CD for every trip. It's interesting how, months later, I pull out that CD and the whole trip comes back. For instance, the theme from "Angel" will always remind me of Daniel's first car trip, at five months old. These days, I'm kind of stuck with the "Little People" CD, but bring on #4.
4. Travel DVD player. Daniel gets a new one for his birthday this year, as we've well and truly worn out the old one. Nothing like a new Thomas DVD to ward off "Are we there yet?" for those last couple of hours.

What's your travel "must?" MAybe I'll add it to my list.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Happily Ever After?

Radio commentator Paul Harvey usually expounds on the "rest of the story," but last night I got a chance to find out what happened after Cinderella married her handsome prince. Thanks to a Disney sequel, Faith and I learned of the challenges the blonde bombshell faced in the castle. She proved to be a formidable foil for the uptight protocol mistress appointed to teach her how to be a princess. While the prince and king are away, Cinderella defies the royal status quo and makes loads of changes in palace rules. I'm glad she didn't marry into Henry the VIII's family! Of course, the king loved chocolate pudding in place of stewed prunes and enjoyed the company of commoners at the royal ball. Although it was a fun little movie, I wasn't expecting so much controversy in her "happily ever after." It was a little like Disney does Princess Di. But the forbidden romance of one of the ugly step-sisters is heart-warming. Cinderella III is now at the video store. Even though I wonder what she's up to next, I can't help but think it might have been better left to the imagination.
- Liz Fabian