Thursday, August 26, 2010

The Wedding, Darth Vader, a shiner, 7.5 hours

My youngest sister Mikel got married this past weekend....which I’m actually still processing because she is the youngest of the 7 Kearns kids and I just can’t comprehend her being someone’s wife…..not for any other reason than she was my baby!

When she was a kid, she used to climb into bed with me, I took her everywhere with me when I was in High School. When I did not get a part in the school play, she bought me an orange dinosaur to cheer me up (which I still have, it’s now 23 almost 24 years old). She was there when I was dropped off at College and came back for my Graduation. She wrote me letters and drew pictures for me while I was away; I still have all of them. She was the one I called when I made the move from IL to MA and was having a meltdown because I could not get everything packed...she was 17/18 years old and talked me off the ledge...and never told anyone how much I swore or that I cried!

Mikel helped me paint my apartment, celebrate my 30th birthday and nursed me through a breakup with what’s his name. Mikel has kept my secrets and grounded me when I’ve started to take myself and the world too seriously.

Mikel was there was Lucy was born....gave Lucy her own dinosaur.....and then agreed to be Lucy's Godmother.......

And now she is married……to a Yankees fan….

Quite some time ago, Mikel asked her 5 sisters, her sister in law, her future sister in law and her best friend to stand up for her. We all agreed. She also asked her brother to stand up for Winston; he agreed.
So that’s 8 maids a milking, 8 groomsmen ushering, one bride a blushing, one groom a grinning, 4 parents (his and hers) beaming and 140+ guest a coming…..

We wore floor length navy blue dresses with closed toed shoes (I mention this because I was super excited I did not have to shave my legs or get a pedi). The groom and his groomsmen wore tuxes with a vest and Mikel wore an ivory strapless dress with a ruched bodice. We all looked stunning (hair done, make up done, double sided tape and pins strategically placed….)

Rehearsal dinner was Friday at the Sea Dog (a New England dinner….no, not beans, hot dogs and brown bread; clam chowder, mussels, and a steamed lobster with corn on the cob and corn bread!)

Mass was at St John’s in Bangor, the Reception was at the Hilton in Bangor.

Now as we all know, planning a wedding is stressful enough; but planning it with such a large party is even more stress….and there were a few tears, snipes and snaps along the way but for Mikel had every detail planed right down to a classy T – and it was, hands down, one of the best Weddings I have ever been to.

Highlights of the Wedding Week:

John (brother) and his family arrived the Saturday, August 14 from Tulsa, OK. He, Christina, Jack (6), Gregory (4) and Alexander (almost 2) stayed with us Saturday night. We had a cookout, walked down to Mr Charlie’s for ice cream and the camped out on the living room floor (ok, it was an impromptu camp out as we went to blow up the air mattress and discovered the pump was broken)

We (Sean, Lucy and I) got to stay with Aunt Marie and Uncle Bill.
Auntie M gave Lucy a pail…she filled it with acorns collected in the driveway…and rocks.

Thursday night, we had a cookout down at Mum and Dad’s house. It was great fun to watch all the cousins: Cooper, Jack, Gregory, Alexander and Lucy playing together…..until Lucy fell off the deck and scraped her face on the patio stone….wicked shiner for the Wedding. She’s tough though; she cried for 15 seconds and then demanded to be put back down so she could keep playing with Alexander.

We went out to UB’s farm in Newburgh (Home of Rickey Craven) for a long walk (an expotition, just like Pooh went on with all his friends to find the North Pole). We saw turkey feathers, UB’s gardens, a brook and collected lots and lots of rocks

The morning of said long walk, we were waiting for Christina so we could head to the Farm…I said to Jack, does your Mum always take so long?
Yeah, he replied, with his hands in his pockets as he was kicking at stones…….but Daddy takes longer

On the actual Wedding Day, Jack, Gregory and Alexander came down to Mum and Dad’s house while we were getting ready. The boys were all dressed in their suits.
Jack, I said, you look really nice…he responds with Yeah well if I had a mask on, I’d totally look like Darth Vader!

Speaking of Darth Vader, Jack does a great Darth Vader impression, you know, the breathing thing? He taught Lucy…..she’s been busting out with it at random moments….

When we were walking down the aisle at the start of the Wedding, I of course scanned the crowd for Sean and Lucy. And there they were…Sean looking handsome in his blue silk jacket holding Lucy who was dressed in a little flouncy white dress adorned with a pink flower at her waist. And in her hair, her Dad had strategically placed a white and pink bow…and I swear I heard her call Mama…but I think it was actually someone coughing.

In the middle of the Mass, the part where they were exchaning vows, someone was making monkey noises....

Lucy had a blast at the Reception; she dominated the dance floor….of course it was during the cocktail hour and there was no dance music playing but she twirled away

During the best man’s toast, we were all sitting at our tables listening with silly grins on our faces….there was a moment of poignant silence in the middle of the best man’s speech as he had just said something really nice when Lucy yells out…MAMA!!! She said Mama! We clapped at our table, a couple of people congratulated me and Lucy kept calling me Mama……Now she won’t leave me alone…..

We drove back to Boston on Sunday; 7.5 hours of car time…usually a 4 hour drive. Not really a highlight but totally worth mentioning. I’ve been making this drive back and forth for 10 years now and have never seen the traffic this bad. We usually don’t pick up traffic until Portland; Sunday, the traffic started in Bangor……and continued all the way home…absolutely brutal trip. Sean and Lucy both lost their shit in Portland….we stopped in Scarborough for about 15 minutes and then got back on the road…only to sit for the next 3.5 hours in traffic….then they really lost it at the ME/NH border so we stopped for dinner and crawled the rest of the way home……

So my youngest sister is married, Lucy’s shiner has faded and she’s finally saying Mama

Sean is back up in Maine getting his folk on and last night, our chimney broke…but that is another blog…

Maria, the Mum

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Fruit Loops, Dad's Boxers, a Play Date with (blank)

Fruit Loops
When I picked Lucy up last night, there was a little bracelet in her box made out of fruit loops (it's Learn About Circles week in the Toddler Room) I was all excited about bringing home her first piece of crafted jewelry. I went into the Toddler Room to get Lucy and she was hanging out with her teacher Liz and helping her pick up the toys.
Liz and I were chatting and Lucy worked the Fruit Loop bracelet out of my right hand and slipped it on her wrist. 2 minutes later, we go to leave and I look down to see Lucy bite the LAST FRUIT LOOP of the bracelet off smiling as she swallows and says MMMMM!!!

Best Birthday Gift Ever
Lucy gave me a 40 minute temper tantrum for my was the best gift I received. The Pandora bracelet Sean gave me was a close second.

Dad’s Boxers
So remember how I said I had connected with the Mum of an old childhood friend? Well, she just reminded me that when we were younger, we (and by that I mean we his daughters) used to take my Dad's boxer and sew them shut so we could wear them as shorts! And then we'd throw them in the wash and they'd get put back in his drawer…...Seems to me I also remember stealing his button down oxford shirts to wear…..

Uncle Michael married into our family. And when they divorced, he stayed in our family

When we were kids, we used to spend time at Uncle Michael's each summer.
For some of us, it was weeks at a time; for others it was a few days here and there.
All I know is this:
Whenever you were with Uncle Michael, you ate steamed hot dogs (he got tired of making us lunch so he would just throw hotdogs and buns in the steamer and we’d eat them throughout the day), watched Hill Street Blues and F Troop, were surrounded by Playboys in the bathroom, never got in trouble with him, got scared by Mrs Grace Peasley, made forts in the living room, and were allowed to play with things you probably would not be allowed to under normal circumstances (power tools, hide and seek in the coal bin, driving the truck)......

Sean, Lucy and I spent the weekend with Uncle Michael and Maureen (Nennie) at their home in Barrington, NH. It’s a great little house on a lake and it could not have been any more relaxing than it was. Lucy was so relaxed she fell asleep while we were paddling in the lake!

And Uncle Michael is still the same (albeit sober) He built a FROG (Furnished Room Above Garage) and stocked the bathroom in there with Playboys (bottom drawer of the vanity if you’re looking for them). He let Lucy "drive" the boat and ring the captain’s bell as many times as she wanted and told Lucy that Mrs Peasley had moved with him to Barrington....she may not have understood but I did!

Sean got to sail, Lucy got to dig in the sand and brought home at least a dozen more rocks for her collection and I got to simply be and enjoy

Yeah, No!
So Lucy's new thing is saying "yeah" to everything while nodding her head.
A week or so ago, everything was "no" with am empathic shake of her it’s nice to see her being so positive.
Hey Lucy, want to go play outside?
Nod and a smile with an excited Yeah!
Lucy, want to go up and take a bath?
She runs for the stairs while nodding her head and says Yeah!
Lucy, want to read a story?
Yeah! she says as she nods her head while reaching for the books in the box next to her toys
Lucy, can you say Mummy?
She looks up, smiles like the imp she is and says.....with a shake of her head.....NO!

Laughing String
We've booked our tickets to go to England. The Sykes Family will finally get to meet Lucy.....Sean is terribly excited as am I despite my irrational fear of flying. We'll visit family, some friends of Sean’s and his old school...Giggleswick....which I think is quite funny to say...I think its funnier when I say Laughing String but only I think that’s funny...I'm just hoping to see where Beatrix Potter used to live and write.

Anyway, we’re going in November.....I know it is not the best time of year weather wise but frankly, it was the most cost efficient and the easiest time for us both to be off work for an extended period of, it saves me the cost of shipping our Christmas gifts!

A Play Date with ________
Last night, I went to Target to pick up a few things.
I pulled into a parking spot and was going to get out of the car when this big old Hummer pulld into the spot next to me....and he parked so close, I could not open my door! I made eye contact with the driver and gestured to the door; he laughed at me, shrugged his shoulders and scurried into the store. Who does that? I don’t even know what to say… I move to a new spot.

I head in to the Customer Service desk and am in such a state of flurry and bewilderment I misplace the receipt for the item I need to return.
Now I know at Target, if you paid with a card and the purchase was in the past 30 days, they can actually access the receipt and you can return things without having said receipt.
I ask the girl to do so and she says Nope, I need the receipt.
But I know you can do this I say, could you please try?
Nope, I need the receipt.
So I’m thinking you little snot nosed twit! I ask her again nicely
She refuses
I call over the manager who happens to be standing there and I explain that I have misplaced the receipt but have the card I made the purchase on could I please return the item
She says of course we can do that
So I say thank you so much but I think you should know, this young lady refused to help me. She would not let me return the item insisting I needed the receipt.
And would you believe the young girl looks at me and says
Why do you have to be such a narc?

Then I go the baby section. I swing into an aisle and this woman says, I think I know you. You look very familiar.

I'm sorry, I say, I'm not sure who you are...but I do have one of those faces…..
I don't even know what that means but I’ve heard it used in movies and it always seems to get the fugitive out of whatever situation s/he's in so I thought it would work for me.
I continue shopping

She catches up with me in the next aisle and says
You do look awfully familiar, how do we know each other?

I just smile and keep moving muttering I'm not sure we do.......
So I turn the corner into the diaper asile and bam! There she is

I know how I know you! You're Lucy's mother! From Puddle Duck!

What? Puddle Duck? Yes, Lucy's my daughter.

I knew I knew you! Yeah, my __________ is at Puddle Duck…....and _________ just loves Lucy! Every day, Lucy waves hello to us and then waves goodbye when I come back at night! She has changed so much and she is just so cute…...can you believe how blonde she is? How is she blond you have dark hair? So how do you like Puddle Duck? We love it!! _____________has learned so much.....and just adjusted so nicely (to what I have no idea..)

Now, I'm leaving blanks because I have no idea what she said her child’s name was and have no idea who she is - I think she said her name at one point but frankly, I just wanted to get diapers so I could go home and have leftover birthday cake!

And for 20 minutes, she went on and on and on about her child, Puddle Duck and Lucy and babies and diapers and changes and baby talk and blah blah blah

Normally, I love talking about Lucy but it's been a tough week at work, I have a ton of laundry to do and I left Sean home alone with the leftover chocolate, I had just been boxed in by a Hummer, called a Narc and at some point, tripped over my own foot causing me to stretch a little too far and I think I may have pulled something...really, I just want to go home....

She was still chattering away so I try to extract myself by saying something about having to get home to do the place cards and program for my sister’s wedding (ok not entirely true….I mean my sister is getting married but Sean is doing the program, not me and I’m not doing the place cards, I just suggested some to her….but God understands…I think he could tell I was desperate…)

Well she latches on to that and starts talking about her wedding(s) and another 5 minutes pass before I say it’s been lovely chatting with you (I said it was lovely chatting with you?!?!? What the %$#&?!?!) but I really need to be going.

We really should get _________and Lucy together for a play date

Sure I say (anything to get out of there!)

So I think I may have made a play date for Lucy with _______
I’m just going to apologize in advance for standing them up…………sorry.

Maria, the Mum

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Lucy has more friends than us.....

Circle of Life
I let Lucy watch TV, and I'm not going to apologize for it.
Sometimes its the news, the baseball game and occasionally, Housewives of New Jersey.
Mostly, its PBS, Nick or The Animal Planet.

When I flip on Animal Planet, I try to watch a few seconds to make sure its nothing she should not be know like something killing something. I know its the circle of life and all but shouldn't I show her The Lion King or Bambi first?

Anyway, we come home one night and I flip on the TV while Lucy has her appetizer (cheese and crackers) in her high seat as I prepare her dinner (and by prepare, I mean the 3 minutes and 30 seconds it takes to boil the water for her Easy Mac) I flip to Animal Planet, and see cheetahs just sort of roaming around......and then I hear a voice tracking their movements:

"The mother cheetah is watching from a distance as the cubs are them some space, letting them test their limits.....look at those little guys....."

As I'm hearing this voice it cuts to a shot of a warden talking about the big cats and I figure oh, harmless, it's a show being filmed in some Game Park in Africa being narrated by the Game Wardens.

So Lucy and I watch for a few minutes and all that's happening is the Wardens are following around this family of cheetahs that just had babies talking about how well the babies are doing and adapting.

The microwave goes off and I walk away to mix the Easy Mac.
Then I hear Warden Steve say

"Oh, the wildebeest are crossing right in front of her......Wait! I think she sees him....oh now he's running......and she's chasing.....she's getting close...."

I look over at Lucy who is watching the TV with rapt attention and move quickly to see what's on the screen. I look up in time to see the cheetah tackle the wildebeest and Steve declares


My first thought was Lucy is going to be traumatized...she loves animals so much and she has just  witnessed one killing another....
But Lucy was not traumatized;
When the cheetah caught the wildebeest, Lucy let out a whoop and started clapping.......

The horse neighed at us
For her Number 1 Birthday, Lucy got a Leap Frog Fridge Farm Magnetic Animal Set, she loves plays music and you can mix and match the animal parts and when you press on it, it either sings to you or makes the animal sounds...really a great gift/toy.

But here's the thing: sometimes it just makes random noises. It may be an animal sound, a couple notes of one of the'll be standing there, washing the dishes minding your own business when all of a sudden, a duck start quacking...or a pig oinks or a sheep baas, a cow moos or a couple bars of She'll be coming 'round the mountain plays....

When this happens and Lucy is downstairs but not playing with it, she'll barrel into the kitchen to see who is playing with her Barn.....and her arms are always poised as if to push someone out of the way if they are playing with her Barn...maybe she is a bully....

Ben, Chase, Cora, Calla, Aubrey, Ave, Jay, Catherine.....
Sean and I realized tonight that Lucy has more friends than us...ouch.
We started ticking off all the kids at Puddle Duck she hangs with and realized by the time we got to Catherine, Lucy has more friends than us.......

Lucy ate Elmo last night

My high school reunion is this weekend and I'm not attending but for some reason, I am oddly obsessed by it. I have no idea who is going  or how many people or going but I am completely obsessed with it and in a weird way, want to go......which I don't get because I don't even keep in touch with anyone from High School......and I'm not even sure that I ever wanted to go, I'm just curious about it.

I blame Facebook because I keep getting all these friend suggestion of people I went to high school with and grew up with in Orrington (which I think I get because my sisters are friends with some of these people who are friends with other people, and so on and so on)

And then I randomly reconnected with the mother of an old classmate (she's one of those mums you totally wanted to be like when you grew up but deep down inside knew you would never be cool enough to pull it off) and she keeps in touch with a few people I grew up with so my fascination grew.....

I suppose I think by not going I'm going to miss out on something...kind of like the nagging feeling I have that I missed out on something great in high school......but then somewhere between (remembering) Junior and Senior year, I get over it.....

She has 10 more days
Lucy still is not saying Mummy, Mum, Ma, Mom, Mother
She makes a noise that could probably pass for mama...but she does not associate it with me at all

Lucy loves her belly. She pats it, rubs it, slaps it any chance she gets...and will gladly pull her shirt up so you can see it. She is also quite enamored with Daddy's belly...and will pat, rub and slap it any chance she gets. But the funniest is when she sticks her finger in his belly button and says "beeeeeppp"

The Mum

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Lucy did not eat Elmo

When Lucy takes her shoe or sock off, she holds it up to her nose and declares "Peee-eeeewww" while wrinkling her nose

Lucy does not like being on the changing table. Sometimes, it takes both of us to hold her down to get her changed or dressed...amazing how strong a little being is. Sometimes, we're able to occupy her with a Lego or her tennis ball....but a book works best, Pat the Bunny specifically. Although at the moment, she is totally into the Sandra Boynton books Aunt Nell gave her. So she lays there looking at her book as if she's studying for an exam....makes me laugh watching her stare so intently at whats on the page. She's really quite serous about her books...until they make her laugh...and then she just  giggles uncontrollably

Last night, Lucy was copying everything Sean did. It started when he interlocked his hands behind his head, Lucy did it. Then he had his hands on top of his head, Lucy followed, Then he realized what she was doing so he started making all kinds of kooky gestures (no, nothing obscene, it was Sean not me) and Lucy kept copying him and giggling....really quite endearing

After said miming session, I was standing in the refrigerator looking for something (I think it was carrots for the salad) My hand was hanging down at my side and Lucy walked over and bit my finger - hard! No reason, just bit it and kept moving....

Aunt Teresa and Gina have been staying with is this week. Last night, Aunt Teresa thoughtfully stopped at the store and picked up an early birthday cake for me and also picked up a cupcake for Lucy. The cupcake is decorated to look like Elmo - but only his face. We're all excited to give Lucy the cupcake thinking she'll go bonkers because after all, it is Elmo. We're poised with our cameras ready to catch any cuteness that may ensue and Aunt Teresa presents the Elmo cupcake to Lucy.......waiting for whoops of joy, our fingers hover over the take the picture button......but there is no joy...instead, Lucy takes a couple steps back and tries to hide between my legs....she looks all bewildered and like she's trying to work out in her head what the hell happened to Elmo's body...and why does everyone want me to eat Elmo?!?!? It took a bit of work, and a whole lot of reassuring but Lucy finally reached out and dipped her pudgy little finger into Elmo's head, had a lick of frosting and was good. So she did not eat Elmo and we did not make her eat Elmo...I can't promise I won't eat Elmo but he is home on the counter waiting for her (this morning, she did wave at him when she saw the container and declared Elmo!)

When I was in grade school, we had this substitute teacher called Mrs Swett, she was the best! She played the accordion and taught us all these fantastic songs many of which I remember the words too - and I've started singing them to Lucy.
There is one called Alice the camel - it goes like this:

Alice the camel has 5 humps,
Alice the camel has 5 humps,
Alice the camel has 5 humps,
Go Alice Go,
Boom Boom Boom (at which point you tuck your arms into your body at the elbow like a chicken and shake your bum)

And it goes down to 4, then 3, then 2, then 1, then it ends with

Alice the camel has no humps,
Alice the camel has no humps,
Alice the camel has no humps,
'Cause Alice is a horse!

Now when you sing this, you use your hand to signal the number of humps everytime you say the number.

As soon as I start singing the song, Lucy holds up her 5 fingers! She has not figured out 4,3,2,1, none yet but when I get to the end ('cause Alice is a horse), she laughs like the little monkey she is - and when I do Boom, Boom, Boom, she shakes her head from side to side

_________(Fill in the Blank), the Mum

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Now Daddy is Elmo.....Elmo is still Elmo....

I opened the dryer tonight to pull out the clean dry clothes and out fell an acorn, two twigs and a three rocks

Whenever Lucy does something or likes something, Sean immediately pipes up, she takes after me
For example:
Lucy loves cheese, eats it like a little mouse; Sean fancies himself a cheese (and wine) aficionado, so  she takes after Sean
Lucy loves being in the water, swimming, floating and splashing around; Sean fancies himself a strong swimmer and a land locked sailor so Lucy takes after him.
Lucy enjoys her ice cream, looks forward to it as its a treat; Sean loves ice cream (old lady flavors which I can say because two of his favorites are just what my grandmother always ordered), so Lucy takes after him.
The other day, Lucy was being defiant, would not do what we were telling her to do; Sean looks at me and in all seriousness says, She gets that from you

For a weekend, Lucy was calling me bubble....then she was calling me Elmo
Until Daddy bought a red shirt with two big white eyes, a huge orange nose and a big old black mouth stretched out into a grin - that's right, an Elmo T she calls him Daddy and Elmo. She just looks at me and laughs......

A few weeks ago, we bought these kick ass hammocks from REI. They are nylon and have these slap straps that go around the trees (which by the way are tree friendly, now how many Catholic Conservatives do you know that are tree friendly AND like folk music but still vote party line?) So yesterday, we set up the hammocks. Sean was in one, Lucy and I (along with a bag of Goldfish and a handful of acorns) were in the other. For the first half hour, Lucy was chattering away, looking ar her books and wiggling about...then she fell asleep; within minutes, Sean and I fell asleep.....we woke up an hour and a half later.....great nap.

Lucy now says monkey...and she has a whole list of animal sounds she makes including an elephant........and unlike me, she does not need to use her arm as a trunk to make the elephant sound.....

Maria, Bubble, Elmo, No name, the Mum