Saturday, February 28, 2009

it's all about song choice

I just had a new baby start a couple weeks ago. She is 3 months old and smiley and wide eyed and just the right amount of sweetness. There is nothing she likes more, when she is here, than to be rocked in my arms and sung to. Now, my voice is so far from melodic, they're not even in the same hemisphere but you know, that never seems to matter to kids. Just one of the things I love about them. They always tell me I sing good. Anyways, I've spent a lot of time the past couple weeks sitting and singing to this little monkey. Some are songs I make up, for example:

You need to sleep now
I have work to do
The big kids are going bonkers
did you just go doo-doo?

But most are songs from my own childhood. I sit and I sing these songs I hold near and dear to my heart and I lovingly remember my Mom singing them to me and my brothers and sisters. My Mom always sang through her day, with a much better voice than my own. And just as I was about to get all teary eyed with nostalgia I started noticing something a little, ummmm....interesting, about the songs she sang to us. Here, let me give you a sampling of her repertoire

Little Brown Jug
Yah, ha ha! You and Me
Little Brown Jug don't I love thee
If I had a cow that gave such milk
I'd dress her in the finist silk
I'd feed her on the choicest hay
and milk her twenty times a day
Yah! ha! ha! you and me
Little Brown Jug don't I love thee! case you weren't sure, that little brown jug did NOT contain apple juice. It's not inappropriate for small children to belt out songs concerning brewing and imbibing moonshine, is it?

Goodnight Irene
Irene Goodnight, Good night Irene
goodnight Irene, goodnight Irene
I'll see you in my dreams.
Sometimes, she wears her pajamas
sometimes she wears her gown
But when they're both in the laundry
Irene's the talk of the town
Irene goodnight, Goodnight Irene
goodnight Irene, Goodnight Irene
I'll see you in my dreams

Yikes! I never really gave this one much thought...but ummmm, creepy!

I Love you
I love you, I love you, I love you so well
If I had a peanut, I'd give you the shell.

My Mom sang this to me all the time. There was another verse but it's slipped my mind. And Mom didn't have any favorites...why do you ask?

Hey Good looking
Hey, good looking!
Watcha got cooking?
How's about a cooking
something up with me?
Hey, sweet baby!
Don't you think maybe
we got ourselves a wee bit of company?

Lovely, a proposition. Every child should be lulled to sleep with such sentiment.

a, one, two, three, four conga!
I wish my legs were longer.
And if they were I'd holler
a quarter of a dollar

She'd grab us up and make us participate in an crazy conga line through the kitchen as she sang this. I have no idea what this song is about. It's catchy though.

Drunken Sailor (do I really need to go on?)
What do you do with a drunken sailor?
what do you do with a drunken sailor?
What do you do with a drunken sailor
early in the morning?
Heave ho! and up she rises!
Heave ho! and up she rises!
Heave ho! and up she rises
early in the morning.

This one here is a family favorite. There have been times when gathered with my Mom's siblings and their children that the entire extended clan sang this song substituting in family members professions for sailor. Oh, but we are a clever bunch. And just for the record, we did this completely sober.

So there you have it...not much Brahms and Rockabyes in my childhood home. And I wouldn't have had it any other way. I used to pretend I hated when she'd grab me and swing me around as she regaled the rest of the family with "Little Brown Jug", but secretly I loved it when she did. My Mom's sense of fun and humor shine brilliantly through in the songs she chose to sing with and to us. They may not be the most appropriate songs and maybe I'll chose others to sing to my new little baby (can't have the daycare kids going home singing about being drunk now...can I?) but I really need to start singing them to my own kids and dancing around the kitchen with them while I'm at it.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Monday, February 23, 2009

a note of gratitude

The other morning I woke up achy and my throat was sore and my nose was stuffed. I wanted nothing more than to curl back up into my nest of blankets and go back to sleep. My kids on the other hand woke up rested and hungry and full of grand ideas. They descended on me in my misery and not so gently prodded me to semi consciousness. They whispered sweet nothings about breakfast and ihop and bacon and french toast and eggs. I tried to roll back into the blissful ignorance of sleep but they wouldn't allow it and to be quite honest it annoyed me.

I dragged myself out of bed muttering under my breath about "sick and tired and tired and sick", which they took to mean we were going out for breakfast. Now I love going out to breakfast as much as the next guy...probably more...but I was just not up for getting everyone dressed, washed and brushed to head out to eat. I grumpily told them it was not happening. I was in no mood to go out for breakfast. Were they downcast that their plans for the morning were squashed? Not at all. As I made my tea I saw the three of them huddled together over at the kitchen table with the marker box and some pieces of paper.

Next thing I knew they had taped signs up around the house that colorfully indicted we were now an IHOP franchise. Sam presented me with menus, a drink menu and a food menu that they created. They then went to work setting up chairs in the living room and putting out napkins. I couldn't help but be drawn into their enthusiasm. Sam and Teresa put on aprons and took orders on little notepads, which they brought to me in the kitchen. They were able to cook the frozen waffles and pour the cereal that were ordered but needed my help with the French Toast. Sam and I went online to The Entertaining Kitchen and found a french toast recipe...yes I needed a recipe, no need to laugh. And Teresa and he helped me put it together. My only job was to supervise and cook them up in the pan. They then served everyone their food and we all relaxed in the living room, oops I mean, restaurant, as we ate.

Afterwards I got to thinking about how much fun they had and how my protestations did nothing to stop them. They moved from one plan to the next with excitement and they dragged me, rather reluctantly at first, along with them. I am so grateful to these three little people for not letting me wallow in my misery. They remind me to celebrate life every day, not matter how I may feel. I am so very lucky.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

tuna salad with a side of nostalgia

I was making tuna salad sandwiches for dinner the other night. The bread was all laid out on the counter, Miracle Whip (my preference) and tuna mixed and plates waiting to be filled...when I had a flashback. Standing at the kitchen island in my parent's house with a big bowl of tuna and Miracle Whip and at least three loaves of bread, white, and the blue plate. Every Friday night was the same. The blue plate loaded with tuna sandwiches was on the table covered with a dishtowel and Mom or Dad would dump a big ole bag of potato chips into the dented metal bowl (which also served as our throw up bowl when it was needed...why did we not think this was GROSS??!!) and we would all sit down and dive in.

Our favorite way to eat tuna sandwiches was to put the potato chips inside the sandwich...which I still do. Joe said he used to do the same as a child. What??? No way! I thought we invented that. Terry didn't eat tuna and he was served peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. None of us questioned it or asked for something different ourselves. I have no idea why. I remember the night he first refused to eat them though. He said "no" and my Dad said "oh yes you will or you'll sit there." And so Terry sat. Until about nine o'clock at night. Finally my Dad caved and let him get down from the table. All this from a kid who probably wasn't more than five years old. He got the peanut butter and jelly from that point on. There was never any question about what would be for dinner Friday nights. Sometimes my Mom would change it up and we'd have egg salad sandwiches but that was about as varied as it got.

And I really don't remember minding. It was all part of the familiar that was our home. My siblings and I like to ramble off the weekly menu from our childhoods...Monday casserole, Tuesday more casserole, Wednesday spaghetti or American chop suey, Thursday casserole yet again, Friday tuna sandwiches, Saturday hot dogs and beans, Sunday pot roast. We always ate together as a family, except for my parents. Most of the time there was no room at the table for them and even if there was they'd spend dinner getting up to get seconds or milk or wipe up the inevitable spill. But they were there...hovering in the background and keeping the conversations going.

We are a family that loves to talk as we eat. We'd have spirited conversations; arguing over religion, sports, politics, books and school. My aunt used to call dinner time at our house "the Cooney debating society." Sometimes someone got angry and stomped away, hollering as they went, hoping to have the last word. But more often than not, the differences in opinions were forgotten as we cleared the table and argued once again about whose turn it was to wash, dry, or put away the dishes, sweep and make up the milk.

I stood there at my own kitchen counter, remembering all this and smiling. I'm sure my parents never meant for the routines they constructed for their own sanity to be anything but that...simple routines. But for me, and I think for many of my siblings, they have become treasured memories. I wonder what simple task or food or words will become my own children's unplanned treasures?

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

showing off

Wilma, you asked to see a sampling of Teresa and my scrapbooking pages. I had a hard time photographing the pages so please disregard my bad photography. I make no claims of being a scrapbooking master or even very accomplished when it comes to designing pages. The time I spend on a page often depends on my mood, how much time I have and how much I love the pictures. Most of the time I end up with something that pleases my eye and in the end that's all that matters. Sometimes I end up with something I really don't care for at all but, eh...oh well...I'm not about to do it over again. I'm no perfectionist. I adore looking through the scrapbooks I've created and it thrills me to no end to see the kids poring over them too. Here are a few pages I've made recently and also a few Teresa put together.

Friday, February 6, 2009

some scattered thoughts

I've been wanting to write. I've sat down and opened up the New Post page and then I just sit here. I have things I want to say. I have stories I'd love to share. But they aren't coming. Some things have been getting me down and to write about them would mean I'd have to face them head on and I just don't want to right now. I want to go on pretending to myself that I can handle everything and I'm not overwhelmed and anxious. Let's just say that I'm taking over a large part of Sam's schooling myself because he is not able to learn it at school and things are going downhill fast over there. He has numerous appointments with a variety of doctors and is being re-evaluated by the school. I was told by the school physcologist and his teacher "we don't want you to get your hopes up. It's highly unlikely he'll qualify for services." And yet, they had no suggestions to help Sam with his struggles and shot down the ideas I brought to the table. They just seem to want to complain to me. Well, guess what? I DON'T WANT TO HEAR IT!!!

I had a horrific dream last night. I was with a couple of my sisters and all our children and we were walking down a street that split. I was standing at the split shunting the kids to the side we were heading down and preventing them from going across the other which was a very busy street with huge eighteen wheelers barrelling down it. I didn't realize there was a gap in the fence and I watched as Teresa skipped down the street, slipped through the gap in the fence and ran across the busy road. I was screaming for her to stop but the trucks were so loud she couldn't hear me and I watched horrified as she was hit by one of the trucks. That's when I woke up with a feeling of utter terror and overwhelming sadness. I don't put much stock in dreams and don't think they are much beyond our subconsious playing out the wanderings of our minds. But I haven't been able to shake the horror of this dream.

And just so this post isn't all doom and gloom...
This morning in church our Priest gathered the First Communion class and spoke with them about prayer. He told them that a good way to pray is to go somewhere quiet and to immerse themselves in their play. He also mentioned that people should pray every day. Sam informed me on the way home from Religious Education that he needed to go up to his room and play. That God wants him to stay up there all the time and play because playing and praying are the same thing. Before I could fine tune what the Priest was actually trying to say Sam added "I guess you're just going to have to bring my food upstairs to me from now on. "

Monday, February 2, 2009

Katie Lady and her soul sister

What are the chances of showing up in the same dress AND accessories...truly a match made in heaven. :)