Thursday, April 26, 2012

Nashville-bound Day One: Mary Poppins, Mariachis and More

There is a special bond that forms during road trips. Something about driving down the Interstate with the windows down and sunroof open singing really (really) bad and loud to music has the potential to create a bond you won't soon forget, especially if the person joining you in bad singing and sitting next to you is your child.

Isabella and I haven't had much time alone together since Paloma was born, and I miss it. When I found that my friend's wedding in Nashville conflicted with a chance to join James at the ever popular and glamorous White House Correspondent's Dinner, the choice was a no-brainer: Nashville.

See, I immediately knew there would be the opportunity for a long road trip with Izzy and I longed for time alone with her. I know seeing Jane Ann walk down that aisle and commit her marriage to Christ is something that far trumps a night with reporters and abnormally large egos all in one room at once.

I met Jane Ann at Tennessee. Not coincidentally, we happened to enroll in the same Monday, Wednesday, Friday speech class, and the same Tuesday, Thursday statistics class, both at 8am. Our eventual friendship led to her inviting me to a church she heard had a great new kids Sunday school space she wanted to take the "little sister" she mentored throughout the year. I met her for the 9am service at Sevier Heights Baptist Church, an event that would change the trajectory of my life and the reason my abnormally strange love for the southeastern United States all made sense. I'll save the long version for another time, but in short, I went every Sunday after that (because I actually wanted to, a novel concept to this Catholic girl,) enrolled in Sunday school, and about a month later walked down the aisle during the invitation and met my Sunday school teacher, Don Wilson, at the end and, barely able to hold it together said, "it's time," and BOOM! Niagra falls and ugly sobbing from the sheer relief and joy I felt from accepting Christ in my life and finally understanding that He wasn't just an invisible something out there, but a real, loving, living God I could have a personal relationship with.

All because a sweet girl from Nashville, Tenn., invited me to church.

And now that that major ADD tangent is over, let's circle back around, shall we?

Because an 11-hour car ride doesn't suit a toddler, and because she can still ride an airplane for free, Paloma flew to DC with James where she will spend quality time with her Abuela.

After Izzy and I dropped them off at the airport, we were off. First, there was some reading.

Then some sleeping.

Then there was the singing. It started with mariachis because my iPhone landed on Juan Gabriel's La Farsante while she was waking from her nap. Or maybe me just singing that song extra loud (twice) woke her up. Not sure. Then we moved on to Taylor Swift for a good two hours (because singing Mean just once is never enough,) followed by a very good hour or more of singing the entire Mary Poppins soundtrack in our best British accents, followed by more reading and a Doritos break. One must rest the fragile vocal chords, you know.

Then it was Juanes, Michael Jackson, Elvis, Rithie Valens, Bobby Darin, and ended with Brian Setzer's amazing rendition of MalagueƱa.

We stopped in an Atlanta suburb to visit out beloved Aunt Millie, the cool aunt we love to love but don't see enough of. Dinner and a margarita later, it was small town talk of Vidalia and off to bed.

Today we finish the drive and hope to tour Nashville by trolley so Izzy can see where Elvis recorded his first record. I love that she loves Elvis. Update to come. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

We Clean for Babysitters

This month has been absolutely bonkers.  It's big one gigantic blur.  I mean, one big gigantic blur.  See what I mean?  I would have undone that dyslexic typo, except then I thought, no, that's a perfect example of what this month's been like.

It actually started at the end of last month when we we dropped everything to say our goodbyes to James' grandmother as she prepared to meet Jesus.  I stayed with the girls most of our time there, during which time Paloma managed to get us kicked out of the hospice on account of her being REALLY LOUD.  That was fun. 

We drove back the evening after the funeral and hit the ground running.  Isabella had unexpectedly missed a day of school, which meant we fell behind on papers and folders and papers in folders, and now it's all just one mess.  Yesterday I discovered one of said papers that was in her folder and remembered that she has a project due in a week.  A project we haven't started that requires soil and daily analyzing and an egg an carton, and well, that will have to be late.  I feel like I'm the one in school again, scared to draft the e-mail to her sweet teacher that, oh that project that's due, yeah,  the one that was in the folder at the beginning of the month, well I just found it and well,  I dropped the ball on that also.  Sorry.  Again.

My poor child.

So anyway, then it was Easter and of course I hadn't made the girls an Easter basket, and then Easter weekend was full, then it was last week and that was crazy catching up with all the housework and meal prepping I missed running around trying to clean up from the trip and preparing the Easter baskets and doing laundry I hadn't done from trying to dye eggs.  I'm not sure if any of that makes sense.  This weekend it was my good friend's baby shower which took up our whole day, which was kind of nice because the kids were entertained, I could take it easy at the shower and James got the day to play 18 holes.

On our walk to the grocery store Sunday we ran into a co-worker on the elevator who was visiting our neighbor at the pool, and of course immediately afterward Isabella started begging us to take her to the pool because now she knew all the young girls were out there.  So after our trip to the grocery store I took her down.  A whole group of neighbors had gathered in a neighbor's poolside unit where they were enjoying the day and drinks.  After about an hour our neighbor/co-worker/occasional babysitter went in to refill her beverage and Isabella asked to hop over the barrier to say hi.

When she rejoined me in the hot tub she says, "Wow, Mr. Ryan's house is reeeeeally CLEAN!"

That's what she said.  Part of me was at a loss for words from the mind-numbing flabbergastededness  her sweet ignorant words placed me in, and the other part of me wanted to rant off exactly WHY our unit wasn't as polished as the one that belonged to the young bachelor and his roommate, outlining everything I just did above and then add, IT'S ALL YOUR FAULT!  YOU KIDS DRIVE ME BONKERS AND I CAN'T SEEM TO CATCH UP!  I'M EXHAUSTED!

But I didn't, because I'm not five, and it isn't her fault.  It's life as a mom with two kids and a dog and ADD.  Last week I couldn't find the pasta I had prepared the night before, and so I gave up thinking I may have thrown it out.  Then the following afternoon I went to grab a container to store the guacamole I made and there, top-on and neatly put away with the clean containers, was the pasta I put away, just not in the refrigerator where it belonged.

So to come full circle here, let me get back to the point.  This morning I was reading the Pioneer Woman's post on why she homeschools and found myself laughing out loud, mainly from just relief.  Relief from knowing that, despite what you read, and aside from those two moms you know that are weird and totally organized because their minds follow one steady stream of thought and focus, moms can't keep a house clean all the time.  Sometimes, we just don't want to even when we have the time because we'd rather just catch our breath (or, blog about it).

But, I found that we do all clean as a family when James and I have a date and the babysitter is coming over.  It's mainly to save face since our babysitters all work in James' office and we don't want them to be all, wow, their house is a wreck.  I mean, we know it is most the time, except for when months and weeks aren't totally bonkers and I'm constantly falling behind on everything because my energy level is abnormally low.  So our date nights are actually a good incentive to give our place a deep clean, so I think I shall vote to have more of them.