Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Christmas Comes But Once a Year (Thank You, Jesus)

Christmas 2006 in the McPhail household is officially over.

Relatives have been seen, gifts exchanged, and the tree has been undecorated, dragged outside and set aflame for a giant weenie and s'mores roast (good thinkin', Zachariah).

Fortunately for us all, this year was pretty uneventful--especially compared to years past. I know that one year, my Grandma faked a heart attack and we all spent the night in the ER (somebody needed attention, apparently). One year, while passing out gifts, the hulking 9-foot Christmas tree (fully loaded with enough glass ornaments to fill a Pier One) fell over and almost took me and my brother out permanently. (A vast majority of the ornaments shattered on the tile floor, which in turn almost led to the amputation of our feet from all of the glass that became embedded in them.) One year, my house burned down. Yep, true story.

When I was younger, Christmas was this looming date of tremendous excitement and endless contemplation. It seems as though it eventually became more of a chore--so much work shopping and decorating, visiting relatives that I would rather not see at all, arranging travel plans and work schedules in order to meet deadlines and such. Having kids brought the excitement back, for sure, and reestablished the pleasure of so many Christmas customs. For that I am thankful.

However, there is a part of me that is always relieved to take down the tree, clear out the tinsel and lights, and throw away the boxes and bows. To feel relieved that we made it through another Christmas with family intact, loved ones nearby, and to mourn the loss of those whom we are without for the first time at the holidays. And to take a breath and say a prayer that we will all be together to celebrate Christmas another year.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Things I think, but do not say

On Thanksgiving, it's pretty normal for somebody to ask me what I'm thankful for at some point. That's a good thing, it makes me think. However, I often find myself hesitating and mentally running through my list of "Things I'm Thankful For" in search of a response that is actually appropriate. Because, you see, due to my natural sarcasm, most of the things I'm thankful for, are not, in fact, appropriate dinner conversation material.

For example, I'm thankful for the privacy fence my neighbors put up because although I can still smell the weed they smoke on a regular basis, I don't have to watch them do it in front of the toddlers that they keep in their home daycare.

I'm thankful for vodka, because when my son takes off his diaper, dumps out the poop, and then crawls through it on the living room rug, I can take take the edge off once it's been cleaned up and the kids are in bed.

I'm thankful for my husband's many talents and abilities. (We'll just stop there with that one.)

I'm thankful for whomever invented reality tv marathons. I don't actually have television in my house, but when I go to visit my parents, I can become completely absorbed in "My Fair Brady," (which might actually star the two most stupid people of all time--"Peter," from the Brady Bunch and that Adrian chick from some model show) and revel in the fascinating lives of such entertaining people.

I'm thankful for scanners. I would like to explain why, but then I might go to jail. And from what I hear, Thanksgiving in jail is not my kind of thing.

So, I've left the really naughty "Thankfuls" off of this list as well. I mean, who knows WHO reads this stuff. However, I can assure you, that while I am thankful for my family, my health (minus the diabetes), my home, etc., etc., I am also most immensely thankful for tank tops with built-in bras. And that's exactly what I'll be thinking of if you ask me.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Marriage, Divorce, and Getting Knocked Up

Just as October 17th is my most Unlucky Day of the Year, October 25 is my Luckiest Day. Yes, folks, today is my Lucky Day.

Why, you ask? Read on.

First of all, today is my Wedding Anniversary. Three fantastic years of being married to Blaker. Happy Wedding Anniversary to Me (and Blaker).

But lots of people have wedding anniversaries, so why is mine my lucky day? Well, it is also my Divorce Anniversary. That's right. Without realizing it (at least, without realizing it consciously) Blaker and I set our wedding date for the same date as the anniversary of my divorce from my first husband. Which would have been a day of celebration anyway, but this just makes it even more so.

Interesting, huh? But wait, there's more.

October 25th is also the day that we conceived Bellamy. Yes, while celebrating my divorce, we managed to create a new life. Yet another reason to love October 25th. (My Mom says I must really know how to celebrate.)

So there you have it--the reasons why I love today. Now, excuse me, but I have to go celebrate. Thank God my tubes are tied. :)

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

If I'm Gonna Die, It'll Be Today

Today is October 17th. October 17th is MY UNLUCKY DAY. My entire life, at least as far back as I can remember, October 17th has brought only unpleasantness (often long term) into my happy little world.


10/17/88-- I was diagnosed with Diabetes
10/17/90--I got braces
10/17/94--I broke my wrist
10/17/98--car accident

You get the idea.

Around 1999, I started just not even bothering to get out of bed on the 17th. I figured it was just safer if I stayed as close to home as possible. But then once the kids came along, that plan went all to hell. Kids sort of make staying in bed all day an impossibility.

So what have I done today? Thus far, not much. Took Bellamy to preschool, splurged on a giant, extremely fattening bagel for breakfast, ran errands, took Jenn to the airport...oh, and I am currently having Sam Adams Oktoberfest for lunch, but who can really blame me. It could, after all, be my LAST DRINK. Because if I'm gonna kick the bucket, it'll be on Oct. 17th. Maybe not this year, but someday.

If you hear from me tomorrow, you'll know I'm gonna last another year. Hmmm...I think it's time for more beer.

Wednesday, October 4, 2006

I like your hot black shoes and your sexy butt

Last Friday night, Blaker and I got to do something that is precious and rare in our household--have a night without the munchkins. My Mom was up visiting to babysit, we had reservations for a super-fancy restaurant, concert tickets, hotel reservations downtown, the works. It was going to be a night to remember.

As I was slipping on my best CFM shoes--black, sexy, with extremely high heels--Bellamy wandered into the room. "Hey, Mommy, what are you doing?" I explained that Daddy and I were going to have a grown-up night and I was getting dressed so that we could get going in time to make our dinner reservation. She sat for a minute and watched as I put on my lipstick and jewelry. Then she said just what I've always longed to hear from my three-year old daughter. "I like your hot black shoes and your sexy butt."


What happened to the days of "Mommy, you look pretty," and "Mommy, you need a hairbow like me"? The child DOES spend an eerie amount of time perusing my latest edition of InStyle each month, but she can't actually read it, so how damaging can it be? She doesn't watch television, and her movie experience is limited to Little Einstein and Disney. Last time I checked, Prince Charming never said to Snow White, "Hey, Baby, I like your hot black shoes and your sexy butt." So she formulated this on her own. Yes, my shoes WERE hot, and my butt did look pretty damn good, if I do say so myself, but I'd still rather have received a more toned-down compliment from Little Miss.

Ah, well, The evening DID go fantastically, and now I have yet another crazy memory of my crazy girl.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

That's NOT how I roll

I have come to the realization that I am never going to fit in with the other Moms at preschool. I've tried, I've struggled and molded my regular-Haley self into my preschool-Haley self, and they are still not convinced. As they shouldn't be. It's all a show.

I don't drive a minivan. I will NEVER drive a minivan. I don't wear capris. I don't LIKE capris. I don't want to help with the Silent Auction or School Planning Committee. I want to drive my Xterra to school, wearing my low-waisted jeans, and organize a trip to the zoo where we will formulate a plan to free the giraffes. Unless, of course, they enjoy their living arrangements. Then they are free to stay. I want to teach a Friday class on how to mix Mommy a strong cocktail. I want to blow off the fall party and instead direct skits centered around the short stories of Edgar Allan Poe.

Somehow, I doubt the other preschool Moms would go for that.

My child will be the one who calls another kid a crackhead or a jackass. At some point, she will probably want to remove her clothing and flaunt her "girl parts" for all the world to see. And although I don't often agree with her choices and decisions, I also know that she's only three. She's got a lot of growing to do, and I'm not going to stifle that--merely offer what I can to help her grow into a happy, healthy individual.

And no matter who she becomes, I will always, ALWAYS love her to pieces.

Friday, August 25, 2006

My Best Girls

Tonight two of my favorite girls are coming to see me for the weekend--Ray and Morgan. Now, Ray and I go way back. Ray, Blaker and I were the original Chapel Hill version of the Fantastic Four (minus one, because there are only three of us, not four--but the Three Muskateers is way too cheesy--Fantastic Four sounds much better). We were always late for everything (including class and graduation), took horrible liberties with breaks (our 5 minute bathroom break usually involved walking four blocks to Starbucks, getting a mocha, and meandering back, from time to time stopping at Lighyears to shop for jewelry on the way), occasionally snuck alcohol into lectures, and could at any time in the morning, afternoon, evening, or night be found in a bar on Franklin Street or at Breadman's having pancakes (hung over from being at the bar on Franklin Street). It was awesome.

As for Morgan, well, she's a youngin'. Since she was only 13 when we were living this crazy rockstar life, she was probably tucked safe in her pretty pink bedroom playing Barbies or something. (Right--who am I kidding--Morgan was probably drunk, high and getting tattooed while simultaneously having sex with some guy named Spike when she was 13.)

Anyway, what's the point to this? I'm excited to see my girls. And there's no telling what kind of trouble we'll end up causing for Richmond this weekend. Should be good stuff.

Wednesday, August 9, 2006

The Ex Factor

In the near future, Blaker and I are going to King's Dominion with one of my favorite people in the whole world--his ex-girlfriend, Heidi.

Most people think it's extremely weird that Heidi and I are pals. She and Blaker dated off and on for close to a year, sometimes serious, sometimes not, back around '99. They've been friends since, which is perfectly normal for Blaker. And honestly, I think it's cool. Heidi is pretty, smart, funny as hell, and has fantastic taste in shoes. She helped out at our wedding, has spent weekends with us, and we've spent weekends with her (both together and alone). I have not one ounce of jealously or dislike regarding Heidi. Or, actually, any of Blaker's ex-girlfriends (there is one exception regarding the dislike, but she's rather unpleasant and luckily, they haven't been friends in years due to her nasty disposition). I've met a lot of them, and they seem like a pretty decent lot. There are always reasons for a slight bit of awkwardness between us, I guess (yes, Random Ex L, I've seen the pictures of you (you know which ones....)--you're lucky I took them out of the photo album before anyone else saw them; Random Ex K, that's some really bad poetry, honey.... ), but no reasons for us to not get along or even be friends. I figure, Blaker is a phenomenal person--if he thought enough of someone to date them, then why wouldn't I like them?

That's part of being a grown-up--learning to be objective and accept. I'm happy to be there (now if I could achieve adult status in some other areas of my life, I'd be in business). I'm also happy to have made some extremely cool friends in the process.

I can't wait for Heidi to come see us. King's Dominion, here we come.

Saturday, August 5, 2006

And now I know my way around a stick

Today I learned something new. Today I learned how to drive a stick.

Back in January when Sutton was 8 weeks old, he got really sick. Blaker took him to the ER in the middle of the night because his fever was so high, and I had to stay home with Bellamy, who was sleeping. Blaker drove my car because that's where Sutt's carseat was located. After hours of awful tests (blood work, catheters, spinal taps), Sutton was diagnosed with meningitis. Nobody was sure if he was going to live. And where was I? Stuck at home with only Blaker's car to drive, which was a stick. I was horribly upset, and didn't want to try to learn to drive his car with Bellamy there and while I was such an emotional wreck. I had to find a random neighbor to drive me to the hospital (an hour away). A random neighbor who thought I was crazy because I was running through the neighborhood in January in my pajamas, no shoes, crying hysterically, carrying Bellamy, trying to find someone to drive me all the way to St. Mary's.

I vowed I would never be in that position again.

Today, Blaker took my car and hauled both of the babies to Durham to visit his crazy mother. All of my planets must have been in alignment or something, because I was able to stay home. (Whoo-hoo! No mother-in-law time for me!!) Of course, he had to take my Xterra because both of the carseats won't fit in his VW GTI. So I took advantage of the situation. I waited until they were gone, strapped myself in and took off. I figured if I could drive a stick through Saturday traffic in Richmond, I would never be scared to drive it again.

Know what? I did it. And I didn't crash, run over anyone, or stall the car.
That's one more thing to cross of my list of stuff to learn before I kick the bucket. Way to go, Me.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Doing Time on Parkwood Drive

Ever have those days where from the second you wake up, everything already sucks?

Yesterday was one of those days. Currently, we are having a hellacious time getting Bellamy to go to bed on her own and sleep through the night. Ironic that as soon as Sutt starts sleeping through the night, Belly stops. Oh, the joys of parenthood. So morning came early at 6am, with a hungry, screaming baby, and a pissed off, screaming toddler. And a very grouchy me, because I had forgotten to get the coffee pot ready the night before so that all I had to do was stumble over to the counter and push the "ON" button in order to get my caffeine fix headed in the right direction.

In addition to that, I've lost too much weight and my insulin pump no longer works. I had to find that out the hard way, when everytime I inserted the catheter into my stomach, it would bend, unbeknownst to me, until a couple of hours later when my blood sugar was through the freakin' roof from my body not having any insulin. So it was shots every hour on the hour, plus a few extra, and a call to MiniMed to inquire as to what the hell the problem was. That's how I found out that I'm too thin for the stupid tubes (which I've used for the past 10 years with little difficulty, but hey, I'm currently a bit underweight--not a problem until now) and that I will have to get NEW tubes that go in at an angle so they don't hit muscle or bone and bend. And they won't be here to Monday. So lots more shots are in my future. (They don't bother me except for the inconvenience. It's obnoxious.) And lots more high blood sugars, which make me EVIL.

I was sick. The kids were whiny. Bellamy was demanding pancakes. Sutton was teething. Neither of them would nap. The dog peed in the garage. My ghetto neighbors kept revving their motorcycles. I got bitten by an ant. It was a million degrees outside. Life just kept getting better.

Until about 4pm, when Blaker comes rolling in. With two dozen roses--a dozen pink, and a dozen white (my two favorites--I hate red roses). Why did my husband bring me roses? It was the anniversary of our first kiss. And he remembered (all by himself). He took Bellamy out to play in the yard, managed to get Sutton to take a nap, and left me with a glass of wine and my beautiful flowers.

How could I ever ask for more? Why would I ever want to? Life just keeps getting better.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Don't Hiss At Your Brother!

Before I became a mother, there was a world of things I never thought I'd ever have to even consider, much less say. For example, "No, sweetie, the Easter Bunny does NOT want to see your girl parts," (as we are at the mall, fearfully dodging the 7-foot pink rabbit who wants to give my children a bath toy and, most likely, nightmares). Yes, my daughter is a flasher, but that's another story. I've already had to explain to her where babies come from (see Mommy's c-section scar?) and why wine is inappropriate for her sippy cups. Most of the time, I don't put much thought into how bizarre our conversations are, or how far from my parental ideal I have had to venture. Yet today I happened to take notice. Why? Because as we were riding along Interstate today, I heard my daughter hissing (yes, HISSING) from the backseat. This was not a "let's pretend we're a snake" hiss, as I've heard that one before. This was a gutteral, growling, let's-call-an-Exorcist-quick-stat-stat hiss. Trying to sound nochalant, I asked, "Sweetie, are you hissing at Sutton?" The hissing stops. "Yes, Mommy." "Ummm...why are you hissing at your brother?" "'Cause he's looking at MY HAIR!"

Yes, folks, my daughter was hissing at her brother because he was looking at her hair.

Now, Sutton is 8 months old. He doesn't even know what hair is--just that he likes to pull it whenever he can get his hands on it. Most likely he was looking at Bellamy's hair from his rear-facing carseat thinking, "If only I could get my hands on THAT stuff...." So I can understand why she doesn't want him looking at her hair. Sort of. But why the hissing? What makes a 3-year-old hiss like something out of a Wes Craven movie?

And, more importantly, what does one do when one's child hisses at her brother for looking at her hair? If you happen to know a definitive answer on that one, please let me know. WHAT TO EXPECT IN THE TODDLER YEARS does not have section on either hissing or demonic possession (trust me, I've checked and rechecked). And until T. Berry Brazelton or Ferber or whoever the "in" baby guru of the moment is writes one, I guess I'll just keep telling my precious, gorgeous, demon-possessed baby girl, "Don't hiss at your brother!"